The Grace of God

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

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Out of Egypt I Called My Son

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 13, 2014

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. (Hos. 11:1)

Through the prophet Hosea, God makes this wonderful statement. He goes on to paint the lovely yet sorrowful picture of a God who took “Israel” by the arms, healed them, drew them with gentle cords, took a yoke off their neck, and stooped to feed them. But they were bent on backsliding from Him. They sacrificed to the Baals, refusing to exalt Him in truth. Though they had encircled Him with lies and deceit, yet His heart churned within Him, and He cried out, “How can I give you up?!”

Yet in verses 10-11, the prophet makes this prediction:

They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, then His sons shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses, says the Lord.

Now before we decide that everyone from apostate Israel would come to walk after the Lord, and be physically restored to “dwell in their houses,” let us remember how Matthew interpreted Hosea 11:1–

When he [Joseph] arose, he took the young Child [Jesus] and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matt. 2:14-15)

Matthew says Hosea 11:1 was “fulfilled” by Jesus! Please take some time to think about what that means. If we were reading Hosea alone, we might not have even realized that this verse pointed to Christ. But there are many passages in O.T. prophecies that point to Him and find their fulfillment in Him.

According to Matthew, the fulfillment of Israel being called out of Egypt is Jesus, God’s Son. Now this sheds much more light on the subject of Israel, does it not? Remember, national Israel drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. It is Christ who came out of Egypt, leading His people out of bondage! (I Cor. 10:4) BUT–

With most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (I Cor. 10:5-11)

And so we have this glorious picture of Christ (the True Vine) coming out of Egypt (the world), roaring like a Lion, and His people following Him into that kingdom which is not subject to this world or its god (pictured by Pharaoh). And with it, we have a warning from history, that unless we are faithful, we too shall not inherit the promises. For to remain in the true Israel (Jesus), we must abide in Him and keep His word. Many branches have been cut off already!

Every person who forsakes the world and enters Christ, goes on a spiritual journey–they walk after the Lord, as Hosea said they would. He roars like a Lion, and His sons come trembling after Him. And who are His sons? You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26) They follow Him to Mount Zion (Heb. 12:22), and they dwell in their houses under His protection, for your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God. (I Cor. 6:9) They also dwell in the corporate House of the Lord itself, as living stones in its very construction, and members of a holy priesthood. (I Pet. 2:5) They are given a place in Christ/Israel, for He goes to prepare a place for them, that where He is, they may be also (Jn. 14:2-3). Though Paul says believers are already spiritually seated together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6), the inheritance will be fully and finally fulfilled when Christ returns and our mortal bodies are changed, so as to be able to inherit the kingdom which flesh and blood cannot inherit (I Cor. 15:50-54).

These promises were seen “afar off” by those who died in faith (Heb. 11:13). They did not receive the promise in their lifetime, for God has prepared something better–we shall all be made perfect TOGETHER in the end (Heb. 11:39-40).

Yes, out of Egypt, God called His Son. He, and those married to Him through the covenant in His blood, are the Israel of God.

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Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Church | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Hear & Do the Sermon on the Mount

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 30, 2014

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matt. 7:24-29)

Thus ends the “Sermon on the Mount” which began in Matthew 5.

When Jesus instructed His listeners to “hear these sayings of Mine” and DO them, or else be destroyed, He was teaching them as “one having authority.” Do His sayings carry that much weight? They do.

So what are the sayings we must do from the Sermon on the Mount? (If you’d rather read Jesus’ actual words than my summary following, please read Matt. 5-7, then skip ahead to the bold type at the bottom of this writing. Otherwise, keep reading.)

Here is a summary of what we must do, in my own words:

1. We must be “poor in spirit” to enter the kingdom of heaven. (5:3)

2. We must mourn appropriately to be comforted. (5:4)

3. We must be meek to inherit the earth. (5:5)

4. We must hunger and thirst for righteousness to be filled. (5:6)

5. We must be merciful to obtain mercy. (5:7)

6. We must be pure in heart to see God. (5:8)

7. We must be peacemakers to be called sons of God. (5:9)

8. We must be willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake to gain heaven. (5:10-12)

9. As “the salt of the earth,” we must not lose our flavor and become good for nothing. (5:13)

10. As “the light of the world,” we must be willing to challenge the darkness with our light, rather than hiding it away as if ashamed. (5:14-16)

11. We must not break “the least of these commandments” or teach men so. (5:17-19)

12. Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees and scribes; we must be inwardly clean, not just outwardly clean. (5:20)

13. We must go beyond the letter of the law to the Spirit of it in our obedience. Example: in addition to not murdering or committing adultery, we must not allow hatred or lust in our hearts. (5:21-28)

14. We must attempt to be reconciled to our brother if he has something against us, or else our worship of God will not be accepted. (5:22-26)

15. We must deal with our own temptations and sins to the point of hurt unless we want to be cast into hell. (5:29-30) “Make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14). “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:4)

16. Except in cases of sexual immorality, we must not divorce lest we cause another to commit adultery. (5:31-32)

17. We must not swear by anything; we must be people who keep our word. (5:33-37)

18. We must not “resist an evil person,” but turn the other cheek even if he is violent. “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is not to be the creed of the New Covenant Christian. (5:38-39)

19. If we are sued, we must be willing to give up more than was asked. (5:40)

20. If we are compelled to go a mile, we must be willing to go two. (5:41)

21. We must not turn away from those who ask for charity or to borrow from us. (5:42)

22. We must love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who use or persecute us. We must go beyond the “goodness” of the world, which loves friends and hates enemies. We must emulate the Father, who blesses both good and evil people in this life. (5:43-48)

23. We must not do charity with a motive of being praised by men, but instead a motive to please God. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:1-4)

24. Our prayers must not be motivated by a desire to look spiritual before men, but to please the Father. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:5-6)

25. We must not pray with “vain repetition” as if, by it, we can coerce God with many words. (6:7-8)

26. Our prayers should acknowledge God’s glory and kingdom, our submission to His will, our trust in His providence, active forgiveness of others and asking forgiveness, and asking for strength to overcome temptation. (6:9-13)

27. We must forgive others, or we will not be forgiven! (6:14-15)

28. Fasting must not be used as a show of pretended spirituality, but is between us and the Father. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:16-18)

29. We must value and store up heavenly treasure rather than earthly treasure. (6:19-21)

30. We must keep “a good eye” (focus on what is heavenly) lest we be filled with darkness. (6:22-23)

31. We must not attempt to serve both God and money. We must love one and hate the other. (6:24)

32. We must not worry about even necessities (food and clothes), but trust God will provide what is needed. (6:25-32)

33. We must have as our highest priority the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, not our basic necessities. (6:32-34)

34. We must not judge others hypocritically, while ignoring our own sins. (7:1-5)

35. We must discern to whom we should “cast pearls.” Forcing truth on those who do not value it will only hurt us. (7:6)

36. In our pursuit of God’s kingdom and righteousness, we must ask, seek, and knock, trusting that God will respond by giving us the good things we need. (7:7-11)

37. We must consider how we want to be treated, and treat others accordingly. Sincere benevolence toward God and men fulfills both the Law and the Prophets. (7:12)

38. We must choose the narrow way and difficult road that leads to life, even though only comparatively few others will be on it. To choose the easier, more popular way will end in destruction. (7:13-14)

39. We must beware of false prophets, and judge them by their fruits, lest we be destroyed like sheep ravaged by wolves. (7:15-20)

40. We must go beyond calling Jesus “Lord” and prophesying/doing wonders in His name. We must do the will of God and refuse to practice lawlessness/disobedience. Otherwise we will not be allowed entrance into heaven. (7:21-23)

These are the sayings from the Sermon on the Mount that we must hear and do lest our house be destroyed!

I have been told that I take this Sermon “too literally.” I am urged to accept either the American version or the Dispensational version of this Sermon, instead of the actual Sermon Jesus delivered.

The American version twists it to make it more accessible to the lawless, the haughty (proud to be an American), the non-meek (who take the earth by force), the unmerciful, the non-peacemaker, the lover of earth’s treasure, the pretender at spirituality, the despiser of the poor and the stranger, the unforgiving, and the one who places his own earthly needs above the kingdom of God. It does this by claiming Jesus did not mean what He said, but meant something different. Meekness, peacemaking, mercy, etc., are said to be applicable only in situations where being such doesn’t cost much. How very convenient! (One commenter on this blog said that if I would not literally pluck out my tempted eye, then I also did not have to literally love my enemies. This ridiculous logic is destructive and reveals a purposeful disobedience to Christ.)

The dispensational version of this Sermon simply claims that only physical Jews need obey it! Even more convenient! With this version, we don’t even have to rationalize away this or that uncomfortable part; we can just reject the whole thing outright as long as we are Gentiles. Oh, how the western church has sought out many inventions!

I reject those adulterated versions of Christ’s Sermon as lies from the devil!

I reject the notion that I can take Jesus less seriously than I do, and still live.

I reject the notion that Jesus respects self-centered American ideals more than He respects the selfless ideals of His own kingdom.

I reject the notion that we can try to have both, and still please the King of heaven.

I reject the notion that Christ’s words are for some other people group other than those who hear His words.

The words of Jesus are spirit and life. If I hear them and do them, my house will stand firm. If I do not, my house will be destroyed. I believe the same applies to YOU, no matter who you are.

As Jesus would say, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And let the one who hears also DO–lest, hearing only, he deceive himself!

Posted in Apostasy, Christian Life, False Teachers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Born in Zion

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 23, 2014

I’d like to share two Old Testament passages that demonstrate that God’s city of Jerusalem/Zion is a spiritual city that has Gentile (as well as Jewish) inhabitants who are born in her by faith. New Testament passages that confirm these truths will also be shared.

We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. (Isa. 26:1-2)

Notice:

1. The strong city of God has walls not made of bricks and mortar, but of salvation. All who are abiding in Jesus are also in the city whose walls are salvation. For we are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20) and have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22). It does not say we will come some time in the future, but we have come (if we are born again).

2. The gates of this city of salvation are opened to only the righteous nation. (That rules out the Middle Eastern city called Jerusalem–people who live there can join God’s city, but that earthly city is not God’s city!) What nation is righteous? It is the nation that keeps faith! Remember this passage was written before the New Covenant was ratified by Jesus’ shed blood, and yet faith was already the basis for entering God’s city of salvation. What nation keeps faith?–the nation addressed in 2 Pet. 2:9. If you are in Christ through faith, you are a member of this nation and considered the true seed of Abraham and a part of God’s chosen people (Psa. 105:6; Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:29).

Now we will look at Psalm 87.

He has founded his city on the holy mountain.

The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are said of you, city of God: “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me—Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush—and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’”

Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”

As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”

Notice:

1. The Lord’s city of Zion is founded and established by Himself. Abraham dwelt in the land of promise as a foreigner, waiting for the city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God. He died in faith not having yet received the promise, confessing he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. There was nowhere on the earth that he was not a stranger and pilgrim. There was nowhere on the earth that fulfilled the promise to him. What country was he then longing for?–a heavenly country; therefore God was not ashamed to be called his God for He has prepared a city for Abraham and all people of like faith. (Heb. 11:9-16)

2. Gentiles are said to be “born in Zion,” and God Himself keeps the register of all who are born there. Study Heb. 12:22-24 carefully, and you will find the same truth reiterated–

But you [believers] have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Where are the inhabitants of Zion registered? They are registered in heaven in the heavenly city of Jerusalem. And what else is this city of the living God called?–“the church of the firstborn.” Thus the absolute fulfillment of the “city of God” is the Church.

“That’s replacement theology,” someone will complain. Again I say: the Church is the fulfillment of the city of God. The earthly Jerusalem was a type, and the usefulness of that type is passing away in light of the present reality. If this is a replacement at all, it is a replacement of the shadow with the reality it foreshadowed. It is not a true replacement, but rather a fulfillment. Does the plant that grows from the seed replace the seed in such a way that the seed had no value? Or does the plant fulfill what the seed was designed for? The promises have finally and fully been fulfilled in Christ. All the promises are in HIM yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20), but outside of Him they remain unfulfilled regardless of where one lives. All are invited to enter the city which matters–God’s heavenly city, which is the reality. To those who accuse me of spiritualizing, I say again that the spiritual Jerusalem is the reality. To deny the spiritual Jerusalem is to deny reality. All who enter this city must enter by the door–Jesus. All who enter by the door are the Church. The Church=Zion.

What about Old Testament saints? They are part of the Church too–not by virtue of where they lived or who their parents were, but by virtue of their faith. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets are members of the “kingdom of God” according to Jesus (Lk. 13:28-29). This is the same Kingdom Jesus came preaching–the Kingdom of which He is Lord–and the kingdom which is not of this world (Jn. 18:36)!

We must be born again to even see this kingdom (Jn. 3:3). You may have been born once in Africa, the USA, China, Pakistan, or Israel. Being born there will not give you entrance into the kingdom of God. You must be born again in Zion–God’s heavenly city. Has God said of you, “This one was born in her”? Paul taught Gentile believers that the heavenly Jerusalem is the mother of those who have been born by the power of the Spirit (Gal. 4:22-31). Just as the new birth is spiritual, the Christian’s homeland is spiritual. Is the “Jerusalem Above” your mother? Have you been born in Zion?

And if so, how has being born and registered in Zion changed the way you perceive the world and your place in it? Where do your loyalties lie? To whom and to what will you swear your allegiance? Are you a patriot in an earthly kingdom, fighting for its goals, or are you an ambassador from the heavenly kingdom with a message of reconciliation for “everyone who thirsts”?

If indeed we have been raised with Christ, may God help us to seek those things which are above, and set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:1-2).

Posted in "Christian" Zionism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Real Good News

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 11, 2014

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.  The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.  I Pet. 22-25

The ESV renders that last sentence this way–

“And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

The Word is preached to people by the gospel.

That same Word is the incorruptible Seed–Jesus–through Whom we can be born again.

Obeying the Word (Jesus) is obeying the Truth, and by this our souls are purified.

The Truth = the Word of God = Jesus, and we obey and enter into these by obeying the gospel or good news. All of these are to be obeyed.  You cannot “receive the good news” without obeying Jesus. You cannot be benefited by the gospel (way of salvation) without submitting to Jesus (the Way of Salvation).

A false gospel (that promises blessing for a life of continued rebellion) is often called “the good news” by those who think it very good news indeed that they can sin with impunity now that God is turning a blind eye to their sin because they prayed a little half-hearted prayer. Such a person does not yet know Jesus or the Truth or the Good News. They are still in ignorance and darkness. Though they might list the “death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus” in their doctrines, those precious things will not profit them until they obey the Truth.

The true “good news from a far country” is only refreshing to a weary soul, burdened with carrying the weight of sin (Prov. 25:25; Matt. 11:28-29). The good news of Jesus–Redeemer and Lord–comes to the poor in spirit;  it is the poor who will be brought into that “far country” and inherit the kingdom of God. The poor are ready to be delivered from their slavery to sin and made the willing servants of a new Master.  The mourners (over their sin and spiritual poverty) are they who will be comforted by the good news (Matt. 5:3-4; Isa. 61:1-3).  Those who are proud and remain in obstinate rebellion to God should have no expectation of good news at all; instead the messenger of death will be sent against them (Prov. 17:11).  For the wages of sin is death.

The good news is news of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 4:23, 9:35; Lk. 4:43, 8:1, 16:16). It is the authority of the righteous King ruling over His subjects from their very hearts, while also providing for them all that they need.  The good news also reminds us that although the kingdoms of men often reward unrighteousness and take advantage of others, there is a higher Kingdom ruling over them, and a just King who will always make things right in the end. Although we ourselves have sinned against this King of kings, His will for us is that we repent of our sins and be reconciled to Him through the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and men. We can be translated from the perishing kingdoms of this world into the Kingdom of the Forever-Living Son of God; and in that Kingdom, we can possess an inheritance that our enemies cannot take from us.

The good news includes within it this wonderful proclamation, “Your God reigns!” (Isa. 52:7)  Yes, for those who live on Mount Zion under the authority of King Jesus (Heb. 12:22), they need fear nothing that can happen to them in this world. Their God reigns. He has not only redeemed them from all iniquity, He shepherds them every step of their pilgrimage.  He is King of all the earth, reigning over the nations, seated on His holy throne (Psa. 47:7-8).

The good news is a publishing of peace to those who through obedient faith are redeemed (Isa. 52:7-9; Nahum 1:15). The redeemed have peace with God because they are forgiven, and live at peace with others as much as they are able (Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14).  Their peace surpasses human understanding because it does not rely on comfortable circumstances, but is fueled by faith in the unseen God and His Word.  The wicked are excluded from this peace because there can never be peace unto the wicked (Isa. 48:22);  thus the prophet Nahum proclaims in the same breath that proclaims peace–“The wicked…is utterly cut off.” The wicked have no inheritance in the kingdom of peace.

The good news is a proclamation of righteousness.  David knew this, though he acknowledged that he had committed many sins, and needed a merciful Redeemer through Whom to enter in.  He testified that the law of God was abiding in his very heart, and he delighted to do the will of God (Psalm 40:7-9). Have you washed your robe and made it white in the Blood of the Lamb?  Are you following Him daily in the paths of righteousness?

The good news can be of no profit to the hearer, if the hearer does not add faith to the message (Heb. 4:2-11). Obedience is the only proof of faith.  By faith Abraham obeyed (Heb. 11:8).  Those who disobey the message will not enter the promised rest, even if they are thought to be “the people of God” by others and themselves.  Although the wedding feast is prepared, many who are invited will not be found worthy (Matt. 22:8). Many hear but reject the Word of God, judging themselves unworthy of everlasting life (Acts 13:46).

With the good news–news of peace with God through submission to Jesus–comes the possibility of offense and falling away. Jesus testified to John the Baptist as he was languishing in prison and beginning to doubt–

The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.  Matt. 11:5-6

Some only endure for a while, but when persecution or tribulation arises BECAUSE of the Word–Good News–Jesus–they are offended and fall away (Matt. 13:21). Jesus was warning John the Baptist not to be offended into unbelief due to the injustice he was experiencing. The good news is not news of worldly comfort or popularity with men, but eternal spiritual riches in Christ and peace with God. The wicked plot against the just, and gnash their teeth at them–indeed they even put them to death.  But the Lord makes sure the inheritance of the righteous is secure, completely out of reach of the wicked (Psa. 37). He has destroyed the ultimate enemy–death–by His own resurrection from the dead. He has promised to raise from the dead those who fall asleep (die) in Jesus.

Many want the good news of life after death and forgiveness of sins, but they don’t want the good news that there is a Lord & King Jesus to whom they must submit right now and forever. If they would only taste and see His goodness, they would see that by holding onto sin, they keep themselves from all truly good things!

I have served both God and the devil, and testify that God is a kind, loving, patient, helpful Father;  while the devil was like a cruel desert Pharaoh, demanding that I make brick with no straw and beating me for every failure. There is only one way to have eternal life, unsinkable hope, and unshakeable peace–one must have Jesus as Lord. I almost perished in my sins, and I was sinking fast in despair as I followed lie after lie.  And then I met Jesus. He wanted me to turn and He offered me forgiveness, and a new start with Him in control. For me, it was very good news indeed.

 

Posted in Christian Life, Repentance | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 3

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 23, 2011

In the previous post, I wrote out some Scriptures from the Old Testament that demonstrate that once being chosen and favored by God does not make one exempt from living a life pleasing to Him. After entering into covenant with God, one’s future sins are not invisible to God. Many members of “the chosen people” did not inherit the promise because they did not continue to obey the Lord; their carcasses fell in the wilderness, and these things were recorded to warn us that such can happen to us (I Cor. 10:1-12).  Now I would like to examine some New Testament texts that confirm our need for obedience to the Lord after being born into His family, and the consequences for disobedience.

A favorite doctrinal component of Calvinism is that if you have ever believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, or ever had a moment of true faith, His personal righteousness has been imputed to your account once-for-all, and is the only thing God will ever see when He looks at you in the future. In other words, even if you live a wicked life after that and die in sin, God can’t see it; all He sees is Jesus when He looks at you.  If such were true, then not only will He continue to see us as obedient when we disobey, He will be mocked.  He said we would reap what we sow, but we really won’t! He said the wages of sin was death, but we have found a loophole whereby we can sow to our flesh and not reap corruption! He is not only blind, He can’t chastise His children when they do wrong, since He can’t see their sin!

Complete hogwash!

One wonders how God could ever see the righteous acts of the saints, if He can’t see their sin! Do NOT be deceived by these teachings; God will not be mocked. If we sow to our flesh we WILL reap corruption, and God DOES chastise His children when they do wrong. (Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 12:7) The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3) The Lord is wearied when people falsely say that evildoers are good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them (Mal. 2:17). People who do what is wicked are wicked; only he that does righteousness is considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord (I John 2:29; 3:7).

Jesus taught the following:

The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves…shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (Jn. 5:28-29)

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus taught the importance of DOING the Father’s will (righteousness), not just acknowledging or SAYING “Lord, Lord.” So important is it to DO the teachings of Christ, that the man who DOES them is likened to a house that survives a storm, while the man who does not DO them is likened to a house that is destroyed in the storm for lack of a proper foundation.  Friend, you ARE that house, and you are determining the final destiny of your house by whether or not you are submitting to Christ and doing God’s will. This is FOUNDATIONAL to your spiritual life.  Remember, King Jesus will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (cause sin) and all persons who do iniquity, and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt.13:41-42). So serious it is to get the sin out of your life, Christian, that Jesus said it would be better to cut off an offending body-part than to have your whole body “cast into hell.” (Matt. 5: 29-30)

So what if you don’t do as Jesus said, and deal a death blow to the sin in your own life?  Is all automatically forgiven because of His blood shed on the cross?

If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:   of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29)

Friends, this Scripture destroys the license-to-sin doctrine.  If you willfully continue to sin after being sanctified, you are treating the precious blood of Jesus as an unholy thing!  God sees it and views you as worthy of much sorer punishment than the punishments inflicted on those who disobeyed Moses’ law!  When Ananias and Sapphira sinned in the church, was their sin hidden from God’s view? On the contrary, Peter, speaking by the Holy Ghost, rebuked them publicly. Their judgment was swift, and caused the fear of God to fall on the people who heard about it. Paul instructed Timothy to deal with sin in the church in like manner:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.   I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.   Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.  (I Tim. 5:20-22)

Instead of following the right ways of the Lord, many in the church instead excuse or overlook flagrant sin, letting it spread like leaven through the whole lump. After all, if a person is considered positionally righteous even when they are doing unrighteous things, then who are they to judge?  False teaching is so dangerous!! Paul instructed the Corinthian church to put the sinner out of the church until he repents!! (I Cor. 5)  To refuse to do so is to be a partaker in other men’s sins and to become defiled.  Remember, the pure religion that pleases God includes keeping oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27); this presupposes that God sees when we become “spotted.”

In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus–who is God–addresses the church. Does He only see His own righteousness when He looks at them, or does He assess them exactly according to their own works, and command repentance when necessary?  Indeed, Jesus makes some startling threats toward those who will not repent!

“Thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4-5)

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.   Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev. 2:14-16)

I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.   Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.   He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  (Rev. 3:1-5)

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  (Rev. 3:15-19)

Please study those two chapters in full, and you cannot fail to see that all the beautiful promises of God are specifically for overcomers. We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). There is no easy way; the easy way taken by most is the wide road that leads to destruction. We must die to ourselves, and strive [make every effort, agonize] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:24)

Peter wrote that because the judgment of God is coming, and because we look forward to a new heaven and earth where only righteousness dwells, we must be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless…and beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Pet. 3:14, 17)  The righteous can be led away with the error of the wicked and fall? Yes!

Paul wrote of those who swerved away from love, a clean conscience, and sincere faith, and so had left the path of life and had only “vain jangling” or “meaningless talk”–the emptiness of religion without God (I Tim. 1:5-6). He wrote that some who had not held onto faith and a “good conscience” (they defiled and hardened their conscience by disobedience), had shipwrecked their faith! (I Tim. 1:19) He wrote that any who refused to provide financially for their own widows had, by his wickedness, denied the faith, and was worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). He wrote that some younger widows, being idle and gossipers, had already turned aside after Satan. (I Tim. 5:15)  In fact, Paul recognized that he himself was not immune to falling away:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.   And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.   I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:   But I keep under my body [keep my flesh crucified], and bring it into subjection [to God’s will]: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Cor. 9:24-27, brackets mine)

Paul recognized he could be cast away even after all his dedicated service to God! Just as a man who wants to win a race must be disciplined, so must the Christian life be disciplined, for “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Tim. 2:5)  It is possible to begin the spiritual race and not finish the course, which is why we are urged to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and…run with patience [endurance].” (Heb. 12:1)  It is possible to engage in “the good fight” and not compete lawfully, being finally disqualified.

In 2 Peter 2, Peter wrote of false teachers who bring in damnable heresies [such as once-saved-always-saved or “God doesn’t see your sin”], even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  Peter describes these false teachers as having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices. Beware if your spiritual teacher shamelessly claims he cannot cease from sin, and that we must all sin every day in thought, word and deed! They teach such lies because they themselves are spiritually adulterous, loving the things of this world, especially the adoration and financial support of others who love sin and wish to have their ears tickled with sin-excusing lies.  Such teachers allure through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. And so these wolves pretending to be ministers teach the flock of God that they have “liberty in Christ” to sin all they want! But when a man serves sin, he becomes the slave of sin! His so-called liberty is false! Don’t be deceived. Peter called these who had at first escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and were again entangled therein and overcome worse off than they were before they knew the Lord!  They were like dogs returning to lick up the vomit they had expelled, or pigs washed from their filthiness returning to their filth.  Truly this is receiving the grace of God in vain!

Dear reader, it is possible to deny the Lord by your disobedient works (Titus 1:16). Consider this carefully:

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. 2:19)

This is the foundation of the Lord, and will not change despite the empty promises of false teachers.  How do you then depart from iniquity? David said a man could cleanse his way by taking heed to God’s Word (Psa. 119:9)  It is by abiding in Christ that His good fruit will be manifest in your life (John 15).   I John 3:6 teaches that whoever abides in Jesus does not sin! When you go astray, it is directly due to your not abiding in Christ.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  (John 15:7)

Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:2-3)  We must CHOOSE the things above or the things of this earth. We must CHOOSE to mortify our members which are on this earth, and to follow the things that please the Lord, because the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience (Col. 3:5-6).

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post!  I hope it is clear to you that in both Old and New Testaments, God’s covenants with men are conditional. If you have not already, please study both testaments on your own, asking God to open your understanding to the Truth. He has promised wisdom to those who ask, and He has promised to be found of those who seek Him with their whole heart.  He is the God of love, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works. His grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-14). I pray that you do not receive the grace of God in vain! I will leave you with this powerful statement by the Apostle Paul:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Rom. 8:13)

God bless you!

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God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 2

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 21, 2011

In this post, I would like to present you with Old Testament Scriptures which demonstrate that God deals with people on a day-to-day basis. He makes conditional covenants (agreements) with people, but if the people violate the conditions for blessing and refuse to repent, God is not bound to bless them still. The covenant has essentially been broken. Though God is merciful and loves to forgive, He does not blind Himself to the future sins of His people, allowing them to sin all they want and still remain under His protection and grace.

Some will argue that the Old Testament has no bearing on the lives of New Covenant believers, but this is error. We must remember that Jesus and all the New Testament teachers taught new believers from the Old Testament! It is applicable because God changes not. His character in the Old Testament is still the character He has today. There is a newer and better covenant in place, with a greater High Priest and more precious promises, but God remains the same covenant God, whose conditions must be met if one is to remain in His favor.

The Old Testament Judaic law was a shadow of things to come (Heb. 10:1)–meaning it was a type, from which we can draw truth and parallels relating directly to the present gospel time. Paul wrote exactly that in I Cor. 10:1-12, warning Christians that although the Old Testament Israelites had exited Egypt (symbolically: separated from the world), lived under the cloud (symbolically: enjoyed the protection of God), were baptized in the cloud and the sea (symbolically: old man crucified in baptism, resurrection to a new life as God’s child), ate spiritual meat (symbolically: partook of the True Bread, Jesus), and drank of the Rock who is Christ (received living waters), most were still overthrown in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. Why? They lusted, committed idolatry, fornicated, tempted Christ, and murmured in continual complaint, being unthankful. All these things happened to them, and were carefully recorded for examples to us, according to Paul!!

Therefore, we under the New Covenant can be sure that if we do the same things the Old Covenant people did, we will suffer the same fate. Though we have at one time separated from the world, enjoyed God’s protection, been baptized in Jesus, and feasted at the table of God, it is possible that because of our future sins, we will not receive the promise.  For this reason, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us,

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Heb. 10:36)

It is imperative for those of us who have faith in the promise of God to DO THE WILL OF GOD with PATIENCE–BEFORE we receive the promise!

Listen to the promise of God given to Israel in Deut. 31:8–

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Right after Moses delivered this wonderful promise to Israel, God gave him a snapshot of the future; Israel would “rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.” What would happen next? Would God overlook their future sin and “never forsake them”?–

Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deut. 31:16, 17)

When Joshua’s men suffered defeat at Ai, he sought answers of the Lord. Hadn’t the Lord promised to be with them? Why was He not keeping His promise? The Lord’s answer:

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.  Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (Josh. 7:11, 12)

Clearly, God’s promise to be with Israel was conditioned upon their remaining separate from “accursed things.”  God’s present favor is not a promise of unconditional future favor, no matter what you do.

If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. (Josh. 24:20)

The same warning was given to Solomon, a man gifted with wisdom from God:

Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.  (I Chron. 28:9)

Azariah, speaking by the Spirit of God, said the following to King Asa, and the people of Judah and Benjamin:

The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. (2 Chron. 15:2)

Let us not forget David, the man after God’s own heart, the shepherd king chosen to replace the backsliding King Saul. When he took another man’s wife and had her husband killed, “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Sam. 11:27)  The Lord did not overlook the sins of the man He had chosen. Many people believe that David remained in a perfectly safe, “saved” condition during the long period of time before he repented, but the Bible does not make this claim–contrarily, it claims that unrepentant adulterers and murders will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9; Rev. 21:8). Certainly, God’s mercy was extended to David in that he did not die in an unrepentant state, and His hand was heavy on David leading him to repentance. David could have hardened his heart at Nathan’s rebuke; thankfully, he did not.  We should not conclude from this story that David was an adulterer who was saved (unbiblical), but that God saw David’s sin and expected repentance.

In Ezekiel 8, the prophet was encouraged by God to look upon the wicked abominations–and greater abominations than these–being committed in the house of God. Was this not the house that once had the glory of the Lord resting upon it? (I Kings 8:11) But now God was angry at what the people were doing, so angry that He said,

Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ezek. 8:18)

Dear reader, God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day (Psa. 7:11).  He does not turn a blind eye to the future deeds of those who are presently considered “righteous.” In fact, He declared that if a righteous person turns from past righteousness  to future sin, none of his past righteousness will even be remembered! (Ezek. 3:20; 18:24-26; 33:12) A righteous person’s future sins are not invisible to God! Dare you say to the all-seeing God, “You can’t see what I’m doing”?

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isa. 29:15)

The Lord says to His chosen people that turn to sin, “I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins.” (Amos 5:12) Not only does He know them, but “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl. 12:14)  If you cover your sins (perhaps with unbiblical arguments like “God doesn’t see my sin”), you will NOT PROSPER, but if you confess AND FORSAKE them, you will have mercy (Prov. 28:13).

Although Israel had a covenant agreement with God whereby his sins could be covered and forgotten, his refusal to obey God’s voice, and his continuation in wickedness made his iniquity to be remembered (Ezek. 21:24). Because the people refused to restrain their wandering feet, the Lord no longer accepted them, but would now “remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.” (Jer. 4:10)

This doctrine that “God doesn’t see my sin” grieves the heart of God, who desires to heal backsliders of their ways if only they would “consider…in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.” (Hos. 7:1-2)

Apostasy was so rampant when the prophet Jeremiah was preaching, that the Lord directly said to the people, “I will utterly forget you…I will forsake you…and cast you out of my presence.” (Jer. 23:39)  Because the people transgressed the covenant and “cast off the thing that is good,” counting the “great things” of His law “a strange thing,” the Lord would no longer accept them, but would remember their iniquity and send them back to Egypt! (Hos. 8:3, 12, 13)  Because the people went whoring away from the God who loved them, and insisted upon corrupting themselves, He would “drive them out of His house,” “love them no more,” and “cast them away.” (Hos. 9)

The Israelites were taught by God, through the Levitical system, how costly sin was by seeing their innocent beasts die for their sins. Whatever sins were remitted by the shedding of blood would not be remembered against them. It was not a one-time deal, but a lifestyle of obeying God’s voice, examining themselves, and making appropriate offerings to God while seeking His forgiveness and favor. A man who became careless with the things of God was “cut off from his people.” Although the blood of animals cannot take away sins, these things were written for examples to us, and for our admonition (I Cor. 10:11).  Our offering for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ (shed once for all time), but this does not negate the fact that we must live lifestyles of obeying God’s voice, heeding His correction, examining ourselves sincerely, confessing and forsaking sin while seeking the Lord’s forgiveness, and looking to the crucified & risen Lamb of God with faith in His blood.  Carelessness and callousness can still result in being “cut off.” I will discuss this same theme in New Testament Scriptures in the next post.

God bless you!

Go to Part 3

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Speak, Christian! (Even if Your Voice Shakes)

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 17, 2011

Yesterday I saw a picture of an old house, with these words graffiti-painted on, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

I was reminded of one of the first tests the Lord laid on me as a new believer. I had been asked to testify in a child-custody case. To testify meant  saving a young boy’s chance to spend time with his Christian father. It also meant losing the love and respect of many relatives, who were intent on dividing this same father and son, no matter how unjust. As I entered this test, I knew that God wanted me to testify, and that come-what-may, all I had to do was tell the truth without malicious intent, and God would be pleased.  This I did with much fear and trembling. That child is now a man, and has since expressed gratefulness for what I did, now that he understands what was happening.

It was some time after testifying in that case that I came across this verse,

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies. Prov. 14:25

To speak truth at cost to yourself is not merely an exercise in self-abasement. It saves souls!

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.  If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;   if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? Prov. 24:10-12

Dear Christian, every day souls are being drawn away unto death and are ready to be slain. Even in the professing Church, there are many who think they know God, but need a true witness to show them who God really is and what He requires.  We who know the Holy One dare not pretend we do not see those who have been taken captive by the devil to do his will; we dare not continue on our way, silent in the face of their destruction, saving our own lives callously while others perish.

We are God’s witnesses. We don’t have to convince every man, but we do have to “warn every man” (Col. 1:28) and  in meekness instruct those who oppose themselves, in hope that God will yet grant them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. (2 Tim. 2:25)  God is the final Judge, but we are the kingdom of God’s ambassadors, pleading with the rebels while they yet have a chance, “Be ye reconciled to God!” (2 Cor. 5:20) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men! (2 Cor. 5:11) Knowing also the goodness of the Lord, we cry with the Spirit to all who thirst, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

There are many costs to the faithful witness even here in the United States–the loss of friends, finances, reputation, etc.  Unfortunately, not every person will turn at the Lord’s loving rebuke; some may even want to kill the messenger.  Most people in the darkness hate the approach of light; they prefer darkness because their deeds are evil, and they do not wish to give them up (John 3:19-21). You will be despised in this world the moment you are willing to lose everything in your life for Christ and His gospel, and yet this is exactly what you must be willing to do. Satan will begin to stir up hatred against you; perhaps you will be falsely accused by others. Remember the words of Jesus–

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.   Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matt. 5:11-12

Listen to what the Lord told Jeremiah, when he was afraid to speak for the Lord:

Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.   Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.  Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. Jer. 1:7-9

Has He put His words in your mouth, Christian?  Spring up, oh well!!  Speak truth faithfully, and with the loving intent to save lives–even if your voice shakes, so that the One who made you His witness may say at the end, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. 25:21)

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Put Away Your Whoredoms

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 16, 2011

Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. (Ezek. 43:9)

When you find yourself lacking the presence of God–and indeed, by your sins, you have erected a wall between you and Him (Ezek. 43:8), there is only one thing to do–put away your whoredoms and the carcasses of your kings. God is holy. Those wicked things you are embracing while professing to be the Bride of Christ testify against you. Do you think God doesn’t see your whoredoms?–He certainly does!

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3)

Those movies you watched that dishonored the Lord, those websites you visited that you KNOW are evil, those impure thoughts you entertained, those close friendships you are cultivating with people in the world that hate God, that God-less music you have developed affection for, the lust for material things that you have bowed down to, the refusal to give God first place in your heart, and the stubborn hardening of your heart at His gracious reproofs–these are your whoredoms.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.  (James 4:4)

Those evil things you have allowed to rule over you, those sins you have refused to crucify and insisted you had to serve, your own flesh which you have obeyed when you ought to have made it subject to the law of God–these are the “kings” you must slay by the power of the Spirit.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.   Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Rom. 6:12-13)

There is only one King who has the right and authority to rule over you, and that is King Jesus. Has He not proven that He is a good King, worthy of your single-hearted love and devotion? Has anyone else, so highly exalted, ever given so much to save you–you who, by your continuation in rebellion, would crucify Him again?!

Has He not proved to you that all other kings are harsh taskmasters, and that the “pleasures of sin for a season” are fleeting, and end only in death?

Have you not reaped what you sowed, just as He said you would?

When you wore His good yoke, was it not a much easier yoke than the yoke of sin?

Wasn’t a clean conscience much easier to bear than the guilt that weighs upon your soul now?

Wasn’t it better, dear Prodigal, back when you served your Father? What have you gained by insisting on your own way?

Wouldn’t it be better for you now to go back, humble yourself before Him, admit you are no longer worthy to be called a son, and ask for His mercy?

Aren’t His servants faring better than you are now, while you eat food fit for pigs and sit covered in shame?

Come to your senses and stop sinning! Return to your Father, and humble yourself. He will run to you, wash your sins away, and reinstate you as more than a servant–as His child.  All of heaven will rejoice with Him when you repent–when you put away your whoredoms!

Thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.  Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.  Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? (Jer. 3:2-4)

Hear the Father’s heart–even now He desires you to cry unto Him, to remember how He guided you in days gone by, to be ashamed of your idolatry and PUT IT AWAY FROM YOU. Do not have a “whore’s forehead”–brazenly refusing to be ashamed, citing some false doctrine like “once saved always saved” to excuse what cannot be excused. You cannot continue to fellowship with “pigs,” feasting on the same food (partaking of the same sins) they do, and also fellowship with God!  He will not be one of your many gods.  You must choose you this day whom you will serve.  You must come out of the pig pen and begin the journey home!

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?…  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor. 6:14-18)

Dear reader, if you are backslidden, I pray you will turn at God’s loving reproof. Today is the day of salvation.

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The Field is the World

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 15, 2011

When discussing the rampant sin in the professing church, how often have you heard, “The church is full of wheat and tares. We can’t tell the difference between the two, so we just have to wait until the end and let God remove the tares.”

I submit to you that this is a wrong interpretation of the passage in question, Matt. 13:24-30. Let us examine it.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:  but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.   But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.   So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?   He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.   Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Notice that when tares appeared, the servants of the householder immediately recognized them as tares rather than wheat.  Servants of God can recognize the children of the devil and the children of God. “For every tree is known by his own fruit.” (Lk. 6:44)

Later in the chapter, when the disciples asked Jesus to help them understand this parable, Jesus declared the following:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;  the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.   As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;   and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.   Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (vss. 37-43)

The field is not the church. I repeat, THE FIELD IS NOT THE CHURCH!  The place where wheat and tares must be allowed to co-mingle until the end is THE WORLD.  In the world, there will always be wicked people and righteous people. If the righteous were to go about “gathering up” the tares (killing them!) before the appointed time, it would bring hurt to the wheat. Instead, the righteous must wait patiently for the angels to gather “all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” and cast them into the furnace of fire.  Vengeance is the Lord’s, and He will repay. Untold harm has come to the testimony of the church when “holy wars” have been carried out in the name of Christ. These are the premature “gathering of tares” to which Christ was referring. While the door of salvation stands open, it is still possible for the children of the devil to repent and believe, and become children of God. In the meantime, the servants of God must be content to allow the wheat and tares to grow up together in THE WORLD (not the church!)

Now it is true that wicked men have crept into the church unawares, perverting the doctrines of God (Jude 4), but that is another subject.  The subject at hand is whether or not the righteous (wheat) and the wicked (tares) are permitted to grow up and produce fruit together in the church.

The belief that the the field of wheat and tares is the church, rather than the world as Christ taught, has caused leaven to spread unchecked in the church. This parable has been wrongfully used to ignore the Apostle Paul’s admonitions in I Cor. 5 to:

MOURN over sin in the church (vs 2),

JUDGE the deeds of wicked men in the church (vs 3, 12),

DELIVER sinners to satan for the destruction of the flesh (vs 5),

PURGE the leaven of sin out of the church (vs 7),

STOP having fellowship with wicked people who profess to be Christians (vss 9-11), and

PUT such people “away from among yourselves” (vs 13).

If we are to do all these things, is it not obvious that we must first judge the tree by its own fruit?–that we must discern whose works are inspired by the devil?

Paul asks in I Cor. 6:3-5,

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

Paul is reproving the church for failing to judge appropriately! Is there no one in the church who is wise enough to judge between what is good and evil? How can this be, among the very people who will judge angels?

Again, in Eph. 5:3-7, Paul writes:

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.

We, the saints, are not to allow wicked people to remain “among us” in the church, turning a blind eye to their wicked works, saying “God will deal with the tares in His own time.” We are to purposefully refuse to be partakers in other men’s sins, and to keep ourselves pure (I Tim. 5:22). This means there must be church discipline. The sinner must be confronted in love, and commanded to repent. If he does not repent, we must separate from his company. There is not to be a mixing of holy and profane in the house of God, but a distinct difference between the two. It is this very mixing of holy and profane that has caused untold reproaches to fall unjustly on the name of Christ!

When sin is rampant in the church, and you hear the tired excuse, “God will deal with the tares in His own time,” and “it isn’t for me to judge,” remember that Jesus said THE FIELD IS THE WORLD.  Stand against the false teaching that the field is the church. The Bride of Christ that Jesus will come for is a pure Bride that lives in daily communion with Him, hearing His voice and following Him, and having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness that the children of the devil continue to produce.  Obey the Holy Ghost-inspired words of Paul–“Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

God bless you!

 

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Legalism, Obedience, and the Apostle Paul

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 14, 2011

If you are a Bible-believing Christian who loves Jesus, keeps His commandments, and teaches others to keep His commandments, you’ve probably been called a “legalist.” According to those who bring this charge against you, the Apostle Paul would have called you a legalist too.

The argument goes something like this: If you think you have an obligation to obey God, you have a works-based salvation. You can’t earn your salvation, so you can’t lose it no matter how much you disobey God. Believing and teaching that you must obey God is legalism.

This is an astonishing charge, since part of the great commission is teaching others to obey Jesus’ commands! (Matt. 28:19-20)

It is assumed by many people that the Apostle Paul equated careful, love-motivated obedience to God’s moral law with legalism, but this is simply not true. Where Paul taught that “the law” has no bearing on salvation, he was not  referring to loving adherence to God’s moral commands, but to the keeping of the Judaic law.

Paul taught repentance and faith to every person (Acts 20:21). A person who repents (God’s first requirement) is a person who turns away from known lawbreaking (sin) and submits to the law of God, indeed has the law of God written on his heart. Without this heart change from rebellion to submissive obedience, there is no salvation possible. When Paul taught repentance, he was essentially teaching transgressors to return to obedience to God.

Where Paul asks, “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal. 3:2) he is reminding the Galatians that they were not saved by attending to Jewish ceremonial laws (such as circumcision), but by receiving the Word of God with real faith (the kind of faith that is not a hearer only, but a doer of the Word–James 1:22). Paul had to spend considerable time refuting the troublesome Judaizers, who confused new Gentile converts by teaching them that unless they became good Jews–celebrating the correct feasts, being circumcised, etc.–they could not be saved. While there is nothing wrong with attending to such Jewish practices, and there is some spiritual benefit for those who recognize their typological significance, they remain only shadows of the true spiritual heritage we have in Christ, and are not mandatory for salvation. Anyone who attempts to make these old covenant requirements, or some other man-made requirements, binding for salvation is a legalist in the true Biblical sense.

The truth is that Paul himself would be considered a legalist by many today, if only they would pay close attention to all that he wrote! Unfortunately, many teachers today wrest some of his teachings from their context, while ignoring others, in order to uphold their false, sin-excusing doctrines.  Apparently men were already wresting Paul’s teachings to their own destruction in Peter’s time, and Peter acknowledged that some of Paul’s writings could be hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16). However, there can be no doubt that Paul taught Christians to obey God’s moral law, which is the same law summed up by Jesus as love to God and love to neighbor, upon which all the law and prophets hang (Matt. 22:37-40).

Notice that Paul taught the Jewish rite of circumcision has no bearing on salvation, while obedience to God’s commands is extremely important.

Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. (I Cor. 7:19)

Please examine these important teachings by Paul:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise. (Eph. 6:1-2)

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (I Cor. 6:9-10)

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)

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience…But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. (Col. 3:5-9)

Noting the highlighted portions of the previous verses, it should be clear that Paul taught people they must obey their parents, must not have any gods before the Lord (idolatry), must not covet, must not lie, must not steal, must not murder, must not take the Lord’s name in vain (blasphemy), and must not commit adultery (among other things). Paul has here upheld 8 of the 10 moral commandments, and has clearly stated that some of these sins will exclude one from the kingdom of God! Here is the ninth:

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. (I Cor. 16:22)

Is Paul not teaching that we must LOVE the Lord our God (the first commandment) or be cursed?

Truly, the law of God was written on Paul’s heart, and he taught others to obey God. His problem with “legalists” was with those who wrongfully insisted that Gentiles convert to Jewish ways, not with those who obeyed God’s moral law from the heart!

 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Rom. 6:16

What? Obedience leads to righteousness? Indeed it does, and here Paul agrees with John, who wrote that only those who DO RIGHT are considered righteous! (I Jn. 3:7) Paul also wrote the following:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Rom. 8:13

That’s a big IF, friends. According to Paul, you have to mortify the deeds of your body by the power of the Spirit if you want to retain spiritual life. And Paul lived what he preached–he kept his own body under subjection lest after preaching to others he himself should be a castaway (I Cor. 9:27).

One last, very important passage by Paul:

God, who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:  but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:  for there is no respect of persons with God. (Rom. 2:6-11)

What did Paul say would happen to those who do not OBEY truth?–They will have indignation, wrath, tribulation and anguish! What did Paul say one must do to receive eternal life?–Patiently continue in well-doing (doing what is right or LAWFUL according to God’s standards!)

It truly is amazing that anyone would believe or teach that lawlessness is permissible in the Kingdom of God. To be part of this kingdom, one must faithfully serve its King!! Remember dear friends, Jesus Himself testified:

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, AND ALL THEM WHICH DO INIQUITY;and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:41-42)

God bless you!

Posted in Calvinism, Christian Life, Judgment of God, Legalism, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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