The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘satan’

What Spirit is Working in You?

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 27, 2011

And you [saints] hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:1-2)

I’d like to draw your attention to the last phrase, “the prince of the power of the air [satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”  The saints to whom Paul was writing had walked according to the course of this world only in time past.  Since then they had died with Christ, and been raised to a new holy life. Their conduct was no longer disobedient toward God, for those who are disobedient now are still being controlled by satan.

Many profess to be children of God and filled with the Spirit of God. However, the tree is known by the fruit it produces (Luke 6:44).

The Spirit of God is the HOLY Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to and finds rest in only those who obey God (Acts 5:32).  If a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, his works will be holy, for the Spirit working in him will produce fruit after His own kind (holiness). The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love (obedience to God’s commands–Jn. 14:23), joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance [self-control] (Gal 5:22-23).

If the fruit being produced in a man is fleshly and disobedient to God, the spirit at work in that man is the devil. He can say he believes in Jesus all he wants; even the devil himself believes in Jesus. Not only that, but the devil trembles, knowing that Jesus will soon crush him beneath the feet of the saints (Jam. 2:19; Rom. 16:20).  What the devil will not do is obey Jesus. And those who are taken captive by satan to do his will also live in disobedience (2 Tim. 2:26). As their father does, so do they.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. (John 8:44a)

Those who are doing “the lusts of your father [the devil]” are yet children of the devil.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (I John 3:10)

Are you DOING righteousness? Not merely acknowledging that Christ was righteous, but doing likewise–living as He lived? Have you crucified your flesh with its affections and lusts?–If not, you are not yet Christ’s (Gal. 5:24). If you are still walking after the flesh, be assured that you will die (forfeit eternal life; Rom. 8:13). Let no one deceive you that you can walk after your flesh and yet possess eternal life.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Gal. 5:19-21)

Those who DO such things shall NOT INHERIT the kingdom of God. For King Jesus Himself will send His angels to remove from His kingdom all things that cause sin and those who DO sin and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41-42). It makes no difference what you believe in your mind and profess with your mouth, if your works continue to be unrighteous.  For many will say “Lord, Lord” on judgment day, and the Lord will turn them away forever because they did not put His words into practice in their everyday lives (Matt. 7).

So I ask you, dear reader, what spirit is working in you? Is it the Holy Spirit of God, working what is righteous and obedient to the Lord? Or is it the spirit of the devil, working what is disobedient?

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  (Eph. 5:3-7)

“Let it not once be named among you,” for the children of disobedience have only wrath to look forward to! Those who live and preach that we can only be disobedient for the rest of our lives have missed the whole purpose of the gospel of grace; they do not understand that Jesus has come to redeem us from all sin and purify for Himself a peculiar people who no longer walk in disobedience, but are zealous for doing what is good (Titus 2:11-14).

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [lust], and covetousness, which is idolatry:  for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. (Col. 3:5-6)

Again, the children of disobedience will have wrath!  If this describes you, your only hope is to repent of doing evil, and turn to the Lord in obedience, trusting in His sacrifice to atone for your past rebellion.  Do not receive the grace of God in vain; do not do injury to the Spirit of grace by continuing in willful disobedience after coming to know the truth, lest you be considered worthy of greater punishment than those who despised Moses’ law and died without mercy (Heb. 10:26-29).

You must let the devil do his works in you no longer, giving him no place (Eph. 4:27).  Submit yourself to God (letting Him reign and rule in your life); resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jam. 4:7).  The Son of God to Whom you submit was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (I Jn. 3:8). In becoming Christ’s servant and the servant of righteousness, you will no longer be the servant of sin or the devil. In submitting to His yoke (both His control and His divine assistance), you will find rest for your soul at last.  Follow the Lamb of God–Jesus–who only did what pleased the Father (Jn. 8:29).  As He lived, so you are called to live in this world (I Jn. 4:17).  If you do this, you will have confidence before Him at His coming because you have been abiding in Him (I John 2:28) and His Spirit has been living in you (I Jn. 3:24).

May God bless you and dwell in you by His Spirit!

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Guarding the Fruit (Lessons From the Garden Part 2)

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 10, 2011

In my last post, I described a garden that had a rough beginning, but was really looking beautiful. The lesson I learned was that we must not grow weary in well doing, for we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.

If I thought that was the end of the story, and I could now sit back and wait for the fruit to drop into my hands, I was wrong. My first culprit seemed to be plant shock, and perhaps fungus. Now that those are under control, my garden has a more insistent predator. In one week’s time, a rabbit has finished off an entire row of lettuce plants, and most of a row of bean plants. Not only that, he destroyed all the marigolds I planted all around the garden. There are lots of leafless and flowerless stems left, looking stark and sad against the brown mulch.  That’s alot of work and watering seemingly for nothing.

I confess I am discouraged. But this time, I know that self-pity is a waste of time, and is a robber of the good fruit that follows patient endurance.

Obviously, sin has ravaged our earth, and producing fruit here is not going to be an easy task, whether we are referring to physical fruit or the more important spiritual fruit. It is going to take more work than we understood when we came to Jesus on that happy day that He washed our sins away and made us “the planting of the Lord” (Isa 61:3). We have to fight more than drought and blight; there are predators sent by satan to make us fruitless even after we have produced life and made some progress. Satan knows that if we are fruitless, we shall be hewn down with all the fruitless trees which are cast into the fire (Matt. 3:10).

Satan is not going to rest while we casually produce fruit and effortlessly plunder his dark kingdom. That is why we must “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (I Pet. 5:8-9)  After all, God hasn’t called us to a life of ease. In fact, “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1) that stretch out upon their couches and entertain themselves while the church around them falls into ruins and disrepair. God has called us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

Follow Him where? Wherever He goes (Rev. 14:4).

What if He leads us into trouble and hardship? Follow Him, for “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

What if He leads us into the valley of the shadow of death? Follow Him. We will not fear evil even there; even surrounded by enemies, He spreads a table before us.

There are many enemies, there is much work to be done, there is the hope of a harvest, but there are so few willing to labor and overcome.

Saints, all around us we see (in the Spirit) the broken walls of a destroyed city–the city of the Great King–seemingly in ruins. Apostasy is here. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many (for Jesus) has grown cold (Matt. 24:12). If these anathemas describe you, there is no time to lose–rise and shake off the dust, repent!  Fan into flame the gift that is in you before your lamp goes out and the light that is in you is only darkness!

False teachers have ravaged the sheep and fattened themselves on their flesh, and those who haven’t utterly been destroyed wander on every hill like “sheep without a shepherd,” following every wind of doctrine. It is easy to think there is nothing we can do, and this is precisely what satan wants us to think. He wants us to grow weary in well doing, so that we pine away in self-pity & the harvest never comes. Wave after wave of setbacks will come. We are called not to wilt under the pressure, but to overcome them in Jesus! You must not shrink back when everyone else says it’s hopeless, for “if thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Prov. 24:10) And “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38) Have the footmen already wearied you, fainting saint? God will soon ask you to run with horses. Has the land of peace seemed  too difficult? The Jordan will soon swell (Jer. 12:5). Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power!  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, but you will not take the kingdom without the faith of Joshua and Caleb.

I am reminded of Nehemiah, who arose in the night and went “by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.” (Neh. 2:13)  I don’t think the word choices in this verse are by accident–“the gate of the valley”–“dragon well”–“dung port”–all seems dismal and overwhelmingly hopeless. But our God brings life out of death, starting with the passion in our hearts to make a change whatever the cost to us, however heavy the cross. Just as I must now construct a wall around my ravaged garden to keep future predators out, Nehemiah would eventually oversee the daunting task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in the face of tremendous opposition.

I sometimes look at Acts 2 wistfully–all seems blissful–the saints living, eating, and ministering together and enjoying peace while God added to the church daily. But we do disservice to ourselves if we forget that all of life proceeds in seasons. We must understand the times we live in and behave with the wisdom God gives. There is a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted (Eccl. 3:2). There is a time to celebrate the good harvest of the Lord, and a time to mourn for the devastation around us, seeking to repair the breaches in the house of the Lord wherever we find them–we must keep in step with the Spirit. When predators come to rob the fruit in the garden of the Lord, it is not time to go into hiding or to lounge at ease on our couches, feeding ourselves on past harvests, but to stand and fight, not “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12)

Beloved, fortify your life and your labor against the wiles of the devil, having your spiritual armor on at all times (Eph. 6) and determining that as long as you have breath, you will serve the Lord wherever you are, however you can. In humbled ruins, there are dormant seeds.

Scripture says “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (I Tim. 4:1-2) Many of the mighty are already fallen; many are already turned aside after satan. But do not let the ruins and devastation immobilize you; continue rather “in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Tim. 2:25-26)

Every soul recovered is another stone in the rebuilt wall, and even one soul makes a lifetime of backbreaking toil worthwhile.

As for me and my vegetable garden, it is time to dig a trench and plant a fence.

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Spiritual Drunkenness, Part 2–“Be Sober”

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 21, 2010

Be Sober

In the previous post, I shared Scriptures that both condemned drunkenness and revealed that spiritual drunkenness is a judgment sent by God on the disobedient. Now I would like to examine the Scriptures that command us to be sober, and examine 2 “proof texts” used by false teachers who peddle the evil spirit of drunkenness.  All Scriptures are in the KJV version.

Amazingly, the phrase “be sober” (or its equivalent) appears 12 times in the New Testament! For simplicity, I have included only the parts of the verses which apply to our study, but I encourage you to look up the verses in your Bible or Bible program.

Scriptures Commanding Sobriety

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. I Thess. 5:6-8

A bishop then must be…sober, of good behaviour…I Tim. 3:4

Even so must their wives be grave…sober…I Tim. 3:11

For a bishop must be blameless…sober…holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:7-9

Note: the teachers peddling spiritual drunkenness are neither holy and temperate, nor are they holding fast the faithful word and sound doctrine.

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith…Titus 2:2

The aged women likewise [sober like the aged men], that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness…Titus 2:3

That they [the aged women] may teach the young women to be sober…Titus 2:4

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. Titus 2:6

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Titus 2:11-12

Note: The grace of God that brings salvation teaches that we should live soberly! To be given to a drunken state–regardless of how it is achieved–is to follow worldly lusts.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:13

Note: Those who are not sober minded are not “girding up the loins” of their minds. Their minds are open and vulnerable to attack!

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. I Peter 4:7

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8

This is a command with a terrible consequence for disobedience! My friend, if you refuse to be sober minded, the devil is going to devour you. These words of warning are from the Lord for our good.

The command to be sober has gone out to the bishop, the bishop’s wife, the aged men, the aged women, the young women, and the young men! That’s EVERYONE! Are you going to obey the Word of God, or are you going to obey some staggering teacher who is clearly in rebellion against God and desires to defile you as well?

Examining the Scriptures The Drunkards Twist

First, we must have a close look at Acts 2:1-18.

1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place…

4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

First, I would like you to observe that when the men spoke with other tongues, there were people present who understood their words in their own languages (vs. 6). In fact, they heard them speaking the wonderful works of God (vs. 11).

Second, observe that the ones who accused these men of being drunk were mockers (vs. 13). Mockers are not known for speaking truth.

Third, observe that Peter did not use this occasion to teach the crowd that a new way to get drunk had been given by the Lord. He did not say, “No longer do you have to buy wine; now you can get drunk spiritually–come, get some!” In fact, Peter quickly corrected the false accusation with, “These are NOT drunken”! (vs. 15) Can it be any clearer? They were not drunk!

If one reads to the end of the chapter, one can see that Peter used this miracle to point to Jesus–Jesus had been crucified by sinners, raised up by God, and now it was the crowd’s responsibility to repent and believe the gospel! Nowhere did Peter teach that spiritual drunkenness had occurred.

Next, let’s look at Ephesians 5:18.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

This verse is often used to say that instead of being drunk with wine, we should be drunk with the Holy Spirit. I submit to you that being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is NOT the same as being “drunk.” The Christian is commanded to be sober; therefore he must be filled with the Spirit and sober at the same time. The term “drunk” should NEVER be used in conjunction with any work of the Holy Spirit, who always promotes sobriety and holiness. Let’s examine the immediate context to see what Paul meant by being “filled with the Spirit.”

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Eph. 5:18-21

So we see that those who are filled with the Spirit will build themselves and one another up with Psalms/spiritual songs, they will abound with thankfulness to God, and they will submit to one another in the fear of God. If you continue reading, Paul goes on to talk about loving one another. Being filled with the Spirit produces love for God and men.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17

The Holy Spirit empowers hope (Rom. 15:13), gives joy (Acts 13:52), empowers witnessing (Acts 1:8), encourages speaking the Word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31), comforts those who have the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31), sanctifies (Romans 15:16), and teaches (I Cor. 2:13). Nowhere does the Holy Ghost, who is first of all HOLY, cause or condone the sin of drunkenness.

There are mockers among us telling us to get drunk spiritually. They are blind leaders of the blind.  They claim spiritual drunkenness is a “higher plane” or “something deeper” to be sought after. They are like the serpent in the garden telling Eve that she can have more knowledge than God has allowed. Had Eve been at her husband’s side and submitted to the Word of God ALREADY given, she would not have been deceived. And if the church would remain glued to the side of Jesus (her husband) and be submitted to the Word of God ALREADY given, she also would reject this evil “drunk in the spirit” doctrine, seeing it for what it really is–the same old serpent offering the same old bait on the same old hook.

Be not deceived. The Lord has already commanded, “BE SOBER!”

God bless you.

Posted in Christian Life, False Teachers, Judgment of God | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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