Vodpod videos no longer available.
Posted by Job on April 27, 2011
Posted by Job on April 17, 2011
This won’t be very dramatic, but even the “small” incidents are useful to remember as evidence of God’s love, work and power!
On Friday, I had a very long meeting (hours!) that was somewhat important to my future. During this meeting, I became quite ill with symptoms including a splitting headache, nausea and fatigue, so much that I could not partake of the complimentary meal provided by my hosts. Needless to say, I was making quite a negative impression, and was strongly considering giving up on the whole deal, asking to be excused from the second half of the meeting (which still had hours to go) while I was still well enough to drive home (and my leaving would have been, well, rather bad).
While I was pondering the various ways to minimize the ill-mannered gracelessness of my exit, I began talking to another guest. It so happened that this guest was a pastor, of the Baptist persuasion, and a very sincere leader of a successful ministry. Seeing my distress – and not wanting to call attention to it to the larger group – this pastor did what pastors are wont to do, which is engage me in a conversation of spiritual things … things concerning God, the Bible and the church.
Initially, merely conversing with him was difficult. But I loved hearing him talk about his faith in and relationship with God, his experiences with his ministry, and how the former was very helpful to some very challenging, trying times with the latter. By and by, my symptoms disappeared. Headache? Gone. Fatigue? A memory. Nausea? Left (though I thought it best that I not provoke things by attempting to make a final pass at my meal; it was just as well as everyone else was through eating anyway).
It wasn’t dramatic, nothing that you see depicted on Christian television or anything like that. But it was obvious that this pastor was praying for me as we spoke – a time which I did not even have the mindset to pray for myself! – and his prayers as well as the Godly conversation that he engaged me in procured the grace and mercy of God that resulted in the miracle. And the miracle resulted in my being well enough to finish this meeting, which turned out rather well for me and my future prospects. It was even enough for me to make it home despite my getting lost and stuck in a dark, driving rainstorm for over an hour! (Absent this miracle, with my headache, nausea and fatigue, I would have had no choice but to check myself into a hotel until morning. No, I am not being overly dramatic or otherwise exaggerating.)
Of course, this miracle was done by God. It was God’s will that I be healed. And to God goes all the glory. Yet, one cannot ignore that God used a humble local pastor, one without a fancy car, big house, fancy jewels, a prominent name, or a famous TV ministry, in my healing. And this pastor did not engage in the showmanship theatrics commonly associated with faith healing … the flamboyant flailing words and actions that make the preacher the star, the center of attention, the object of glory, instead of God.
No, this pastor simply spoke of God and His acts made manifest through his pastoral ministry to me – and not in a loud bragging fashion as he and I were the only ones privy to our conversation – and prayed for me in a manner so discreet that I did not even realize that he was doing it! It happened in a way that was precisely the opposite of how one conditioned by the “signs and wonders” movement (as I myself am, because this is the movement that I myself was in until a few short years ago)! Yet, the humble, understated nature of the miracle and its process resulted in God receiving all the more glory!
So, what is the lesson, the application of this miracle? It is that God is real. It is that God has power. It is that God uses His power when His called and anointed servants pray to Him in the Name of His Son to accomplish His will. It is that God alone is due the glory when these things happen. In other words, it is the same lesson, or application, of all God’s miracles, which is the vindication of God and His Word. Soli Deo Gloria!
I shared this miracle in the hopes that it would encourage and strengthen those of you that are already in the faith, and also that God would use it to bring those not in faith to faith in Him. God is real, and God is willing and mighty to work miracles, including the great miracle of salvation that is made possible through the death and resurrection of His Son for sins. If you are already saved, be still more encouraged by this truth. If you are not saved, then make this truth effective in your life. Do it by:
Posted by Job on April 17, 2011
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Posted by Job on April 15, 2011
Go to Jesus Christ; tell him, how you are assaulted by the evil one, who lies in wait for your souls; tell him, you are not able to master him, in your own strength; beg his assistance, and you shall find him ready to help you; ready to assist you, and to be your Guide, your Comforter, your Savior, your All; He will give you strength to resist the fiery darts of the devil.”
Original audio at Sermon Audio.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Posted by Job on April 13, 2011
An old essay of mine on faith as it relates to salvation and Christian living used for an experiment of mine in using a text-to-voice translator for making videos for sharing sites. Any feedback is appreciated!
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, faith, false doctrine, false teaching, Jesus Christ, Reformed, salvation, soteriology | Tagged: Baptist, john bunyan, little faith, perseverance of the saints, Pilgrims Progress | 2 Comments »
Posted by Job on April 13, 2011
For those not predisposed to Christian rap, perhaps this will be more to your liking :-)!
Posted by Job on April 11, 2011
When He brought them out of Egypt, God freely offered salvation – even if only in a political sense – to the children of Israel, and nearly all rejected Him, attempting to stone Moses and return to Egypt upon hearing the evil report. According to universal atonement, God offers salvation to everyone only to have the overwhelming majority reject Him again! So if universal atonement is true, then to what effect was the cross?
Of course, I am aware that the old covenant did not save, and that the cross of Jesus Christ procured salvation for both Old Testament and New Testament saints. However, should not the work of Jesus Christ on the cross resulted in a better election than existed prior? Where election was not necessarily unto salvation before the cross – see Israel – if election is not also unto salvation after the cross – see the church – then what effect did the cross have on election? How does the cross make election more efficacious? Reformed theology asserts that the cross made election unconditional. Free will/Arminian/Wesleyan theology holds that election is the same before the cross as afterwards; that regards to efficacy of election, there is no difference before or afterwards. That is a curiosity that those who reject Reformed theology must explain … how it is acceptable and right that the power of the cross with respect to election is so diminished in their view. It is not sufficient merely to state that the cross made a free will decision to choose or reject salvation through Jesus Christ possible!
Posted by Job on April 10, 2011
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Posted in Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: anger, christian rap, fruits of the Holy Spirit, fruits of the spirit, gospel rap, holy hip hop, kindness, meekness, patience, rap, Tedashii, trip lee, video, wrath | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Job on April 8, 2011
Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Suffer me while I provide three examples of YHWH speaking those things that are not as though they were.
Genesis 1:1 reads “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In the beginning of what? Space, time, matter, all of creation, the entirety of the existence of all things apart from YHWH Himself, for YHWH alone is I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14). How did God accomplish creation? Well, by Jesus Christ were all things made (Hebrews 1:2 and John 1:3) and Jesus Christ is none other than the Word of God (John 1:1). So, when God said (among other things) “Let there be light”, YHWH accomplished creatio ex nihilo, which means that He made something out of nothing. Before God spoke, there was nothing. This means that with respect to creation, God spoke things that were not as though they were.
Let there be light: and there was light. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God called the firmament Heaven. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion … over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female!
After God spoke, these things were. Before God spoke, these things were not! God called these things before they were!
After God created Adam, He gave the commandment: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Note that God did not say “if you eat of it, you will surely die.” God said “in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” We cannot hedge concerning this meaning. It likely did not mean that Adam would drop dead on the very day that he ate it, for that did not happen. Adam lived to be 930 years old. Instead, it was a prediction. God knew that Adam would eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil! God knew that the fall would take place! Do not be deceived. When God spoke those words in Genesis 2:17, He foretold the fall of Adam – and through Adam mankind – into sin though it had not yet happened. Adam ate thereof, and because of this in Adam all die (1 Corinthians 15:22). And for all who die in Adam, their fate is the second death; eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). So, with regards to Adam and all those in him, God spoke things that were not as though they were when He said or in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die! For Adam and those in him are not yet cast into the lake of fire, but rest assured: they will be.
But do not despair! 1 Corinthians 15:22 also says that in Christ all live! Yes, that text was written after Jesus Christ came, endured His passion, resurrected and returned to God the Father in accordance with the scriptures. But immediately after the fall, in what is called the protoevangelium, God bore witness of this great salvation thousands of years before it occurred! Before the martyrdom of Abel, before the translation of Enoch, before the calling of Abraham, before Moses led Israel out of Egypt, before the star prophecy of Balaam, before the Davidic line was formed, before the children of Israel came out of exile and began longing for the Messianic hope, God spoke a thing that was not as though it were!
To Satan after the fall in Genesis 3:15, YHWH said “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God did not say “this woman”, referencing Eve, for Eve is the mother of all humanity, both elect and non-elect, both the Godly seed and Satan’s seed (those of Adam). He said “the woman.” Which woman? Revelation 12:1-2 reads “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” And who is this woman’s seed? It is given in Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” And who is the dragon of Revelation 12:17? Revelation 12:9 tells us. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” So, clearly in Genesis 3:15, God called the mystery of the salvation obtained for the elect by Jesus Christ – something that was not because Jesus Christ was not yet come into the world and lifted up on the cross as payment for sins – as though it was.
Revelation 21:1-7 gives us a picture of the fulfillment of what God spoke in Genesis 3:15, of what His only begotten Son obtained for His elect, those called out before the foundation of the world. Indeed, that is yet another thing that God spoke that was not as though it were, for God decreed the salvation of those that were elect before they were even born; before they even were!
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Why can only God call things that are not as though they were? It is because God is the only One that is capable of making those things that are not be! Only God has the power to transform that which is not into something that is! With this body of facts at your disposal, how can you resist so great a salvation … one that is so great precisely because of the greatness of the One who makes it a reality for all who believe?
Do not be deceived: this has been the plan of YHWH from before the foundation of the world. Evidence of this is God’s creating man in His image and His likeness, and this makes man unique among all creation, including even the angels for whom there is no remedy, no avoidance of eternal damnation, for those who fell. God made man in His own image precisely so that upon His Word’s coming to the world in human flesh as 100% God and 100% man when He was born of a virgin by the Name Jesus Christ, He would so perfectly reveal God the Father to the extent that to look upon Jesus Christ was as looking upon God the Father! So by making Adam in His image, God called the redemption of those who would believe before Adam even plunged creation into sin in the first place. Though salvation through Jesus Christ was not, God called – God planned – as though it were.
So, now that you are confronted with this overpowering evidence, I urge and implore you to resist this Truth no longer. Instead, be saved by the One who speaks things that are not as though they were, and by doing so makes those things reality! Lest you perish in an eternal lake of fire, repent of your sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ by:
Posted in Bible, Christianity, devotional, evangelism, Jesus Christ, prophecy, religion, salvation, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: creatio ex nihilo, ex nihilo, Genesis 1, genesis 3, gospel, protoevangelium, Revelation 12, speaking things into existence, Word of Faith | 4 Comments »
Posted by Job on April 7, 2011
According to the Bible, our words have power, even unto life and death. That is why we should not be idle, vain, careless or irreverent with our words, but instead always speak with caution and with purpose. What are some of the ways that we speak death?
Taking the Lord’s Name in vain (Exd 20:7), lying (Exd 20:16), cursing and swearing (Jam 5:12), gossip (Lev 19:16), ranting, promoting unlawful division and vain arguing (1Ti 6:4), subversive speech (Gal 5:19) vulgar/profane speech (Gal 5:20), jealous speech (Gal 5:21) and spreading heretical doctrines (Gal 5:21) are but some examples of sinful speech.
Speech such as this causes sinful and destructive thoughts and deeds in both the speaker and the hearer. Consider as an example the great damage done by the words of Jonadab, which planted into the heart of Amnon a plot by which he could rape his half-sister Tamar as recounted in 2 Samuel 13. Jonadab’s words helped conceive and bring forth gross sin by Amnon, which caused great pain to Tamar, a coup attempt against David by his son Absalom, and the deaths of many people, including Amnon and Absalom.
Another set of examples with even worse consequences was the evil speech of the children of Israel during their wanderings in the desert. Faithlessness, ingratitude, lustings, idolatry, coveting, lying, strifes and seditions were just some of their wicked talk, and of course wicked behavior followed. A particular occasion was the evil report brought by 10 of the 12 spies (Numbers 13:32). This caused a revolt against Moses, the result of which was that none of the adults in that generation were suffered by YHWH to enter the promised land.
A greater still example: the words of the serpent, the dragon, Satan to Eve. They were not many. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Yet they were cunning, filled with malicious intent, and had their malicious effect: the fall of man; original sin.
The greatest example of evil words? “Hail master.” Those were spoken by Judas Iscariot when he revealed the identity of Jesus Christ to those who came to arrest and ultimately murder Him (Mat 26:49)! It did not take many words, and their literal meaning – of honor and respect – belied their abhorrent intent. Despite our attempts to cleverly disguise our words and distance ourselves from their consequences, with words as with actions, God knows the heart (Acts 15:8)! Above all men who ever walked the face of the earth, the wicked speech of Judas Iscariot demonstrates that one can sin with his words, and that the consequences of said sin is death because the soul that sinneth shall die (Ezekiel 18:20)! For who else did Jesus Christ say of but Judas Iscariot that it would have been good for him had he never been born (Mark 14:21)? Proverb 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof! Do not be as Judas Iscariot and speak death! Instead, speak life!
But how can one speak life? By bearing witness of the truth (John 18:37). What is truth? The word of God, ‘specially the gospel of Jesus Christ. Psalm 119:130 says the entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of testimony, which is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). When we speak the gospel, we are not speaking mere words, but we are speaking Jesus Christ Himself (1Cr 1:23, Phl 1:15, Phl 1:16, Act 5:42, Act 17:3, chiefly 2Cr 4:5)! When we give a full, true and legitimate gospel, we are not speaking about Jesus Christ, we are speaking Jesus Christ! And what is Jesus Christ but life? Have you not read John 1:4? In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Go back to Psalm 119:130. God’s Words are Jesus Christ. The entrance of God’s Word into a human heart that is good soil brings light, which John 1:4 tells us is Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ enters that good soil, it brings understanding of spiritual things to babes (Luk 10:21)! The gospel is foolishness to those who do not believe (1Cr 1:18), but it takes a carnal man that is dead to spiritual things and resurrects him (1Cr 2:14)! We know that this is so because when the Word of God goes forth, He does not fail, but accomplishes what God the Father wishes, and prospers in the thing that God the Father sent it to (Isa 55:11)!
So then, why are not all who hear the gospel receive this life? Because though many are called, few are chosen (Mat 22:14). It is only God’s sheep that the Father called out from before the foundation of the world (1Pe 1:20). It is only those sheep who hear Jesus Christ and come to Him in repentance and obedience when He calls to them by way of gospel preaching and Holy Spirit drawing (John 10:27). Those who forbear are not the sheep that God the Father gave to God the Son (John 10:26). The gospel of Jesus Christ never fails. Instead, it prospers in bringing in God’s sheep. It brings life in the dead hearts of those called out by God the Father, which is precisely the thing that God sent His only begotten Son to do (John 3:16)!
Now granted, there are other words that contain a measure or form of virtue, goodness and positive content which can bring forth an edifying result. Against speaking such things there is no law. However, those things should not be spoken to replace the gospel. Those things should not be spoken of besides the gospel. Those things should not be spoken in competition with the gospel. And those things certainly must not be spoken because the gospel is being rejected or because its speaking causes persecution. Why? Because speaking the gospel is speaking Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God, and the first commandment is that God comes first and has no competitor and no equal or rival (Exodus 20:3). Uttering anything else in place of the gospel is sinful speech, and the soul that sinneth shall die! If you are ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then Jesus Christ will be ashamed of us on judgment day. While there is virtue in other words, virtue is not life. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16)!
A key text on why Christians have the mandate to speak life:
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Now after being confronted with Romans 10:8-17, gentlemen, where is there room or need for any more debate? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the Word of faith, and preaching that Word brings life. So gentle Christian reader, you have a choice. Death and life are in the power of your tongue! You can either speak death by giving utterance to lawless, sinful things. Or you can speak life by proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified. With all urgency and sincerity, I entreat and implore you to choose life today, and continue in that choice from this moment forth.
If you are not yet a Christian, please know this: only in Jesus Christ is there life. As a payment for sins, Jesus Christ was slain and then raised from the dead on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. This is a fact beyond dispute, because it was confirmed with the testimony of over 500 eyewitnesses, many of them well known, prominent and reliable people in their day and time. Thus, those who possess unbelief of this fact are without excuse, and they will receive an eternal, everlasting punishment for this belief: death in a lake of fire. Know that Jesus Christ did not come to bring death, but He came to bring life. You can receive the life that Jesus Christ came to bring by repenting of your sins and believing His gospel. You can – and should – do so immediately by:
Posted by Job on April 6, 2011
According to many popular spiritual warfare teachers, a major battlefield for spiritual warfare (binding and rebuking demons) and warfare prayer or directed prayer (praying against demons, their areas of influence and their activities) relates to evangelism and missions. These doctrines teach that there are powerful demons opposing the spread of the gospel by acting not just against comprehension and acceptance of this gospel of Jesus Christ in the minds of individuals, but that they keep entire regions, population groups, nations etc. in spiritual bondage. Sometimes it is through false religions and sinful practices, other times it may be government officials working to intimidate Christians, stop the building of churches, limit the distribution of Bibles, etc. There is a huge body of evangelism and missionary literature available that deals with this subject, and many large, respected Christian seminaries and Bible colleges deal with this issue in some fashion or another, including offering entire courses related to it, including how to stage and support successful evangelistic revivals. So it begs the question: how Biblical are the doctrines involved?
To answer, there does not seem to be a wealth of Bible texts that depicts the assumption of this scenario: that there is this huge swath of people that would receive the gospel and be converted if only demonic opposition were removed from the way. This is not to say, mind you, that these references are wholly nonexistent.
Revelation 2 and 3
Revelation 2 and 3 speaks of opposition to the churches in the way of false religious doctrines and persecution that may be influenced by demons. See the reference to the blasphemy of the “synagogue of Satan” as well as the “tribulation ten days” attacking Smyrna. Pergamos being located “even where Satan’s seat is” (a reference to the church’s proximity to a center of pagan emperor worship) and the martyrdom of Antipas, and accepted the false doctrines of Balaam and Balac (idolatry/sexual immorality) and the Nicolataines.
Thyatira adhered to the Jezebel doctrines (idolatry/sexual immorality) which is referred to as “the depths of Satan”. Philadelphia is being persecuted and withstood by another reference to “the synagogue of Satan.” However, no demonic persecution is apparent regarding Laodicea, Sardis or Ephesus. Instead, those churches – and presumably their evangelistic activities – were being hindered by love of the flesh and its works thereof, and this was particularly the case with Laodicea, who fell in love with money, prestige and power.
Also, even the churches that did have problems with demonic influences, it appears that in some cases those problems existed because what the evil influences offered appealed to the flesh – the fallen natures – of the church members, and the churches yielded to the temptation not so much of the evil spirits as of the flesh. This appears to particularly be a problem with Thyatira and Pergamos. By inviting demonic problems with their own carnality, those two churches were really no different from Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus, in that the root cause of their problems was the carnality, not the evil spirits.
That is why Jesus Christ gives Thyatira and Pergamos the same remedy that He gives Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus: repentance and return to true worship of Jesus Christ in holiness, sound doctrine and Godly fear. One should also note that regarding the two churches that did not provoke demonic persecution with their carnality or spiritual immaturity – Philadelphia and Smyrna – Jesus Christ does not tell them to respond to the demonic tormentors with spiritual warfare, but instead tells them to be faithful in the midst of trials by relying on Him and on His work, His promises and His faithfulness (see Revelation 3:8-10 and 2:10)!
So, regarding the demonic opposition that rises up against missionary work (and everything else), from what Jesus Christ told the churches concerning this opposition, we can take the position that His position is the same as that of the Holy Spirit speaking to and through Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh (a demon that tormented him) in 2 Corinthians 12:9’s “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Rather than going into spiritual warfare/deliverance over their oppression, the church was to heed the next verse’s admonition: “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.” So, rather than attempting to overcome this opposition with our own warfare tactics, we are to put our trust in the sovereignty and power of God to overcome them on our behalf for His glory. Our duty, then, is to be faithful to God by keeping His commandments.
Another reference is that of Simon Magus in Acts 8-9. Using false religion akin to witchcraft and the occult, Simon Magus opposed the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Samaria. How was this demonic stronghold defeated? Not by spiritual warfare to bind it, or by directed prayer against it. Instead, Philip the evangelist simply kept preaching, and the Holy Spirit used his preaching to break down that stronghold Himself, and the Samaritans were converted. Demon spirits cannot withstand the power of God! Indeed, even Simon Magus believed the gospel! Though this Magus was not regenerated and went on to become a notorious opponent of the gospel and advocate of a gnostic syncretist system, even his form of belief – that lacked the power of Godliness – was evidence of the triumph of the sovereignty of God over against the works of both man and evil spirits.
The Whole Armour of God
Ephesians 6:10-18 is probably the most vital text to spiritual warfare/deliverance/directed prayer teachings. It reads:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle 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. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
This passage may well seem to contain a treasure trove of spiritual warfare teachings, exhortations and methodology, especially if it is interpreted more spiritually than literally. Verse 11-12’s meaning, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for we wrestle 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“, is impossible to dispute. However, the problem is that this passage is not quoted in its entirety when spiritual warfare teaches use it. So, consider verses 19 and 20, which complete the section and the thought.
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Recall that Paul is in a Roman prison for preaching the gospel at the time that he wrote this epistle. Rather than being some text on spiritual warfare that fails to reveal any warfare methods or practices and is of a sort that exists nowhere else in the canon of scripture, Paul was merely exhorting the church to preach the gospel, to pray for the spread of the gospel, and to pray for him specifically that he would not succumb to his flesh by allowing the persecution that he was experiencing (in jail) to cause him to either stop preaching the gospel, or even worse, to start preaching it in a way or manner that would minimize offense and better his situation.
Paul did reveal the truth that evil spirits were ultimately behind the spread of the gospel and his imprisonment, and that these spirits were the ones motivating the religious and political leadership to oppose Christianity in general and him specifically. But Paul’s purpose of doing this was to prevent his followers from using secular or temporal methods (i.e. political maneuverings or intrigue) to get him out of jail (recall that from Acts that Festus would have released Paul to the Christians had he been bribed) or overcome opposition to the gospel, but to instead rely on God. And, through the use of a military metaphor to make his words memorable (just as Paul used athletic metaphors for the same reason), Paul stated that this reliance on God and His will, being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might in order to stand against this Babylon system, meant possessing or exhibiting truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, salvation, and the gospel of peace (or of Jesus Christ).
Now had Paul simply written “go and be truthful, righteous, faithful, exhibit evidence of your salvation, preach the gospel boldly, and pray for yourselves and me also”, it would not been nearly as memorable, or as effective in the ears of the original hearers. However, it also would not have been the subject of such curious interpretations and applications as it has been through the years. One problem is that so many spiritual warfare teachers take this text as justification for their binding/rebuking/casting out doctrines and practices while ignoring what the text actually commands, which is truth, righteousness, faith, exhibiting fruits of possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A particularly great irony: Paul wrote this text specifically so that the church would not have temporal aspirations or use secular (or spiritual) means to get them, but instead to keep their eyes fixed on God and eternity. However, spiritual warfare teachers, particularly those in dominion theology, use this verse to mean that Christians should use spiritual warfare against demons that control government and religions for the purposes of asserting political, social and economic control over nations and ultimately the globe. So where the Holy Spirit spoke that text through Paul commanding Christians to be patient, faithful and reliant on God, this verse is being misapplied by men who misuse Christ’s Name while pursuing their own thirst for power.
The spiritual wickedness in high places will be overcome by Jesus Christ, and not by man, and yes man does include Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will overthrow Babylon, not the church taking authority, recovering the dominion that was given to Adam (for the dominion given to Adam transferred not to the church but to Jesus Christ!), overthrowing Babylon, and setting up its own rule in its place. Revelation does not depict the church defeating and overthrowing Babylon, but Jesus Christ returning to defeat Babylon! Recall that it will be given to the beast to make war against the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:7) and that Babylon will be filled with the blood of Christian martyrs. Only the return of Jesus Christ will save us from this. Evidence of this is how Paul did not apply this very same text used by spiritual warriors in their quest to take towns and nations for Christ in asking for his fellow Christians to so much as pray to get him out of jail! Instead, Paul ultimately humbly glorified Jesus Christ by dying the death of a martyr.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4
This text is explicit. “But if our gospel be hid , it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” This reminds us of Revelation 12:9, which says that Satan deceives the whole world concerning the truth of Jesus Christ. But what does 2 Corinthians 4 tell us to do about this sad fact? Not spiritual warfare to take on dominions, powers and principalities. Instead, there is merely a brief exhortation to confront this fact by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is curious that in the prior chapter, there is an apparent reference to the blindness of the Jews reminiscent of Romans 11. Both Romans 11 and 2 Corinthians 3 state that the ending of this blindness, the “lifting of the vail upon their hearts” as it is called in 2 Corinthians 3:11-18, will happen when God commands it. The King James Version text states that this will happen when Israel turns to the Lord, and Zechariah 12 supports this. Israel’s turning to God will not occur as a result of Christians binding and rebuking dominions and directing prayer towards them, but after the times of the Gentiles – as mentioned in Romans 11 – ceases. Just as the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity happened when the prophesied 70 years were completed, the coming of Israel to Jesus Christ will occur when the times of the Gentiles end, and this is a predetermined time known only by God the Father. Warfare prayers cannot open the eyes of the blind. Only the Holy Spirit can. The Holy Spirit does this in concert with the preaching of the gospel by drawing sinners, convicting them and opening the eyes of those Satan has blinded.
Parable of the Sower
This brings us to the parable of the sower of Mark 4:3-20, Matthew 13:3-23, and Luke 8:5-15. This parable is probably the best theological treatment of evangelism and missions in the Bible, and all of the apostolic teachings in the epistles, including Paul’s, merely expands on it, or enhances the Christology of it. Jesus Christ is the seed, for His gospel is the seed, and the legitimate gospel presents Jesus Christ Himself: it is Jesus Christ Himself through the reality of His existence, His teachings, His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that is being sowed into hearts. Also, Jesus Christ is the sower, for it is the church, Jesus Christ’s own body, that preaches the gospel. For brevity, Luke’s presentation will be given.
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed , some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down , and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up , it withered away , because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it , and choked it. 8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up , and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried , He that hath ears to hear , let him hear . 9 And his disciples asked him, saying , What might this parable be ? 10 And he said , Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see , and hearing they might not understand . 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear ; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved . 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear , receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe , and in time of temptation fall away . 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard , go forth , and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection . 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Please note first of all that the gospel is not only or merely to be preached where the way has first been paved by spiritual warfare and directed prayer. Instead, the seed is sowed everywhere. The gospel must be taken wherever the Christian goes, and it should be preached for and to the glory of God in addition to the goal of converting sinners. It is not to be preached in some strategic, planned manner desired to produce the most or best results after the manner of some corporate marketing scheme or government program.
Quite the contrary, the sowing of the seed seems almost heedless or arbitrary. The sower is only concerned about sowing the seeds, and the sower then leaves the seeds to their own fate. The reason is that the job of the sower begins and ends with sowing the seeds. (Please note that we are speaking of evangelism only, not discipleship or fellowship.) Just as a human farmer planting corn or watermelon, he simply puts the seed into the ground and allows “nature” (not really!) to take over.
Sure, he may water it, fertilize it, and take actions to remove weeds, but none of those will make the seed grow. Only God (not “nature”) can make the seed grow! And the same as it is with evangelism. Directed warfare prayer does not convert people, only the Holy Spirit does. The only caveat is that for the seed to grow, it must first be planted, so for converts to be made, the gospel should be preached. So, efforts in binding, rebuking demons and praying against them should be redirected towards evangelism, whether personal or public.
Another consideration: of the four groups listed by Jesus Christ, which were the seeds that landed 1. on the wayside, 2. on stony ground, 3. among thorns and 4. in good soil, the works of Satan were only explicitly mentioned in one of those, the ones that landed on the wayside! Now Luke 8:13 does say that Satan does this in order to prevent people from being saved. But Matthew 13:19 states that this is made possible only because of the failure of the person to understand or comprehend the gospel! While this certainly reminds one of Hosea 4:6’s “many people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”, the truth is that only the Holy Spirit gives one knowledge or comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states that the natural man cannot perceive or understand spiritual things, and that includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, binding and rebuking the enemy and directed warfare prayer will not result in the effectual opening of the hearts of the gospel, because this will not happen in a heart where the Holy Spirit is not active to provide comprehension of that gospel!
Now what of the other two groups who are not saved, meaning those among the thorns and those on the stony ground? The failure of these groups are not attributable to evil spirits, but of human nature: the flesh. Those among the thorns do not persevere because they prefer the riches and cares of this world. They are akin to Demas and the aforementioned Simon Magus. While it is true that Satan is behind the Babylon system that tempts men with its illicit pleasures, but going into spiritual battle against that system is to no avail when the issue is not the Satanic availability of the system, but the failure of man to resist it. Again, without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not so much that Satan that man cannot overcome, but rather his own flesh that Satan appeals to with his temptations: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It was these things that Satan appealed to in order to cause the fall of Adam, and it was also these things that Jesus Christ resisted during His time of temptation in the desert. So, it is not the presence of Satan but the absence of the Holy Spirit that is the key here, and that is something that warring against devils will not fix.
The same is true with the other group, the one that falls among thorns. Though Revelation and other areas of the Bible make it abundantly clear that Satan provokes and controls the persecution of those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, the issue is those who yield to this persecution because of the weakness of the flesh. The parents of the man born blind refused to testify to the miracle of Jesus Christ worked on their own son because they feared being put out of the synagogues. The gospels refer to many others who believed in Jesus Christ but refused to testify of it because they feared the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Of those like unto them, Jesus Christ said that those who are ashamed of Him in this life will not be saved on judgment day!) The epistle to the Hebrews was written to warn Jewish Christians that they could not be saved if they abandoned the faith due to persecution, and Revelation 2-3 (indeed the entire epistle!) was written for the purposes of encouraging Christians to endure persecution to the very end.
Falling away due to the cares of the world and falling away due to persecution are two sides of the same coin. One is more concerned with pleasing the flesh than pleasing God, and the other is more concerned with preserving the flesh than preserving the relationship with God, and both are of Esau in that they mortgage their future inheritance for much lesser benefits in the present. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives Christians comprehension of the gospel so that Satan cannot deceive them with a lie (i.e. false Babylon religions including atheism), and the Holy Spirit is also the One who seals Christians so that they do not yield to the pressure on their flesh that the Babylon system exerts either through persecution or enticement. So, in all three cases, spiritual warfare and directed prayer will not overcome the lack of Holy Spirit involvement concerning an unbeliever. Doctrines otherwise are those which place the erstwhile spiritual warrior in the place of God.
More Workers In The Vineyard
Now Jesus Christ did tell us to pray on matters concerning evangelism and missions. However, just as Paul exhorted Christians to pray for the protection and the success of the missionaries and evangelists, Jesus Christ instructed us to pray for more missionaries. Matthew 9:36-28 reads “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted , and were scattered abroad , as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
Similarly Luke 10:2 reads “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Now the prayer was not that the works and workers of Satan would be thwarted and overthrown so that people could be saved. Instead, the prayers were for more workers for the harvest! Why? The key term is “the Lord of the harvest.” YHWH is the Lord of the harvest, meaning that He is utterly sovereign over salvation of men.
The term translated “Lord” in this passage, kyrios, means (in the context that is most relevant here) “about which he has power of deciding.” Do not be deceived: the number of those who will be saved and the identity of those who will be saved is known by God, decreed by God, and is set forth by God from before the foundation of the world (Mat 25:34, Eph 1:4). Otherwise, in what sense could YHWH be the Lord of the harvest? In that case, YHWH could be manager of the harvest. Or CEO of the harvest. But YHWH could not truly be the Lord, the complete and total ruler, of it!
Consider an illustration. If you are selling a product, the manager or CEO can run the operation of manufacturing and marketing the product, but he does not have the power to choose who buys. Even if he breaks down and destroys opposition to the sale of his product by driving all competitors out of business and overcoming tariffs and regulations (the business equivalent of spiritual warfare evangelism) the consumer decides whether to buy or sell or not. Because the manager or CEO, despite all of his efforts and talents, still does not ultimately determine whether his product is bought or not (or by whom it is not) he is not the lord of the marketplace, only a manager or CEO in it. But God, in His sovereignty, is Lord of the harvest. He is Lord of evangelism. He is Lord of missions.
Thus, the number of those who will be saved, set forth from before the foundation of the world, will not be reduced by the plans of Satan, for God’s purposes shall come to pass. His Word shall not return null and void, but instead go forth and accomplish its purposes! Also, this number will not be enlarged by the prayers and warfare of the saints. We are but God’s servants, not little gods with dominion over salvation and those who hold the eternal fates of men in our limited, flawed sinful hands. So, our role is to pray that more Christians would obey God by taking on the duty of active evangelism and missions so that God will be glorified by more people, and so that there will be a further division of labor.
So, the Bible clearly teaches that spiritual warfare missions/evangelism is to no avail. Instead, we should do what the Bible actually tells us, which is to pray for the salvation of sinners, pray for more evangelists and to be evangelists ourselves. In this way we properly apply the Biblical evidence, obey God and glorify YHWH who is the Lord of His harvest.
If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, how does this relate to you? It is simple: you must repent of your sins and believe in the deity, virgin birth, atoning death on the cross for sins, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you will be one of the seeds that did not land on good soil, and therefore lost to an eternal punishment in the lake of fire. But be encouraged: Jesus Christ promised that none of those given to Him by God the Father would be lost. So, one must take on their responsibility of believing in and confessing the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved in order to make their calling and election in Jesus Christ sure. Do this now! In order to do so, please click on the link below and:
Posted in Bible, Calvinism, Christianity, evangelism, false doctrine, false religion, gnosticism, Jesus Christ, limited atonement, missionary, Reformed, religion, spiritual deliverance, spiritual warfare, syncretism | Tagged: directed prayer, Dominion theology, dominionism, Ephesus, kyrios, Laodicea, parable of the sower, Pergamos, philadelphia, Philip, revival, Sardis, Simon Magus, Smyrna, Thyatira | 3 Comments »
Posted by Job on April 5, 2011
Exodus 1:8 – Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
Oftentimes, the Bible is notable for its subtlety, for its ability to understate. In Exodus 1:8, it says that the new pharaoh didn’t know Joseph. What this means is that the entire nation forgot what YHWH did for their nation! Joseph was a type of Jesus Christ. He was, as the pharaoh of Joseph’s time testified of, one in whom the Holy Spirit lived. And the very name Joseph means “YHWH has added”, which means that YHWH had providentially given Joseph to that people and nation.
YHWH used Joseph to benefit Egypt in many ways. He wisely ruled the nation for decades, and though the Bible does not record Joseph causing the Egyptians to worship YHWH during the time of his stewardship, nonetheless during this time was a source of wisdom and order who greatly restrained wickedness and evil, which is what Romans 13:1-3 says is the role of civil government and those who serve therein.
Further, Joseph with both his power of prophecy and his gift of administration saved Egypt during the famine. The crops failed, the currency failed, yet Joseph saved them alive. And Joseph in particular worked to benefit the pharaoh and his line during this time, because he caused the transfer of all the money and land in Egypt to the pharaoh’s possession, and furthermore allowed the Egyptians to sell themselves as slaves to the pharaoh – giving him absolute power – in exchange for their lives. Also, Joseph redistributed the population of Egypt – making them easier to govern – and established a law where 20% of the wealth generated in Egypt had to go to pharaoh. This resulted in the Egyptian kings’ having an incomprehensible amount of wealth and economic and political power. Also, Egypt’s surviving a widespread famine that devastated the surrounding nations made them the unparalleled power in the region. These things and more did Joseph do for Egypt and its pharaohs, and they forgot them. And in forgetting Joseph, they forgot about the YHWH that sent Joseph, was with Joseph, used Joseph, and blessed all of Joseph’s actions on behalf of Egypt and the pharaoh.
In a very real sense, rejecting the man of God is akin to rejecting God. This was illustrated when the people rejected Moses in the wilderness, when the people rejected Samuel and asked for a human king, when the people rejected Jeremiah during the time of their subjugation to Babylon, and when the people rejected the ultimate Man of God, Jesus Christ. Egypt forgot about the man of YHWH, and in the course of doing so they forgot about the YHWH in whose Name this man came and labored.
So what happened when Egypt forgot about God? They sinned. They sinned by persecuting the people of God even unto a genocidal slaughter of all the males. As a result of this crime, Egypt was severely judged. It was bankrupted of currency, its mighty army was destroyed, its crops and livestock slain, its firstborn killed, and this proud nation was made into a public laughingstock before the very same world where it was the chief superpower by the God of its own former slaves. Egypt went from being the head (if only in a temporal or secular sense, for Israel by virtue of its election was the true head) to being the tail. All because they forgot about God and as a result were ungrateful for His works. This is highly reminiscent of the pitiful estate of the town of Mansoul when it forgot about and ceased to be thankful to Prince Emmanuel in the very underappreciated John Bunyan allegory “Holy War.”
That forgetting God and being ungrateful to Him is a cause of grotesque sin is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:21. The Holy Spirit speaking through this Paul says “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” The result of this forgetting of YHWH? “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Now when we forget YHWH, we have to thank SOMETHING … we have to put our faith and trust in SOMETHING. In the Holy War allegory, Mansoul put its trust in carnal security, their own physical accomplishments and defenses that could be seen with their eyes. Jesus Christ said of the rich young ruler that the wealthy put their trust in riches. In contemporary times, it is common to put your trust in some political ideology (i.e. democracy, liberalism or conservatism) or economic theory (capitalism or socialism) or on a more personal level one’s education/skills and earning capacity derived thereof. This means that when we forget YHWH and replace Him, we become IDOLATERS. And of course, wherever idolatry appears, pervasive sin of the most depraved and grotesque order follows after, and Romans 1 takes 7 whole verses (26-32) in giving a mere executive summary of it!
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
So, when Egypt forgot and thereby rejected YHWH through their rejection of His representative Joseph, it was a symbol of both how mankind forgot God when it knew God through Adam and thereby fell into original sin, and how mankind forgot and rejected YHWH through their rejection of the God-Man Jesus Christ. The very same people who witnessed His great miracles, who marveled at His teachings, who heard the sermon on the mount, who saw Him expose and confound the scribes and Pharisees, who ate their fill when Christ feed the 5,000 and the 4,000, and who cheered “Hosanna!” when He entered Jerusalem yelled “Crucify Him!” when Pilate sought to release Him, and mocked Him while He lay dying on the cross. His own disciples left Him in Gethsemane, and Peter denied Him thrice!
How quickly we forget, and how great is the extent of our forgetfulness! Just as Israel forgot about their deliverance from Egypt as soon as they got a little hungry and thirsty and began to grumble, we so often forget about YHWH and succumb to the temptation to rely on the arm of flesh, our own human talents and ideas, when adversity happens!When the going gets tough, how rarely do we get on our knees, remember YHWH and thank Him for trying us by fire? How quickly do we forget that the Bible says that we are to count it all for joy? That God allows such things to happen to us in order to rebuke, reprove, chasten and refine us because we are His sons and not His servants? Not only do we fail to remember God and God’s servant (the Bible and its teachings) during these times, but we accuse God of forgetting and being unfaithful to us just as did Elijah when he prayed to God to raise the boy from the dead! That God continues to endure us despite our forgetting Him over and over again is a testimony to precisely how patient, loving and merciful our God is!
Moses was on Mount Sinai less than 40 days when Israel said “We don’t know what happened to this guy, so let us build a golden calf and worship IT as the god who led us out of Egypt!” Now please note: they didn’t forget coming out of Egypt. No, they forgot Who led them out of Egypt! So, since they needed to give the glory to someone, they chose a dead, dumb idol that was the work of their own hands! And Aaron, the priest of YHWH went along with this idolatry just as so many pastors and preachers do the same when confronted with adversity and temptation!
How many pastors and preachers lead their congregations into their vain ideas and wild schemes instead of teaching them with their own example to trust God? How many pastors and preachers when confronted with hardships are known to say “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away (for all things are God’s to give and take away in the first place) and blessed be the Name of the Lord!” How many pastors and preachers succumb to the notions of personal failings and the need to get up to do something to rectify it by adopting some program or strategy, instead of just accepting the moving of God’s sovereignty? How many pastors and preachers are conforming to some internal or external expectation rather than being conformed to God through His Word no matter the result?
Again … remember Jeremiah: he didn’t win any converts. No, it was the false prophets who spoke lies in their own name, who passed on revelations from devils bent on causing the people to stumble and be destroyed, who gained the huge followings. Yet the contemporary message today is how we need to be more like the false prophets to get the crowds coming and churches growing again, more like Zedekiah who assaulted and mocked Micaiah – and by extension YHWH by saying “Which way went the Spirit of YHWH from me to speak unto thee?” Instead of being like the prophet of God, we choose to be like the blasphemers of God. The reason for this is that we have forgotten YHWH, and as a result we are judging by external (carnal) standards rather than by righteous judgment (John 7:24).
So how fortunate are the elect that in the time of judgment, those saved by Jesus Christ will have Him, the righteous Judge, to speak on the elect’s behalf? Jesus Christ will not speak for the elect on the basis of the elect’s righteousness, because it has been proven time and time again that the elect is unrighteousness if for no other reason that we frequently forget YHWH and fall into idolatry and sin. Instead, Jesus Christ will speak for His bride on the basis of His own righteousness that He imputes to His bride by way of the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross!
So, even though we forget YHWH, Jesus Christ has not forgotten about us, as He was slain for us! In a similar manner, the Holy Spirit has not forgotten about us, as He regenerates us and keeps us in the faith, and God the Father has not forgotten about us, as He chose us from before the foundation of the world. Because of this, though we sin, our sins are forgiven. God is just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness! Because of this we must rejoice in YHWH with worship and praise, but we also must do so with reverence, fear, trembling and the utmost humility! In all things, we must remember that if YHWH forgot about us the way that we so often forget about Him, we would be doomed to an eternity in the lake of fire! How amazing, how wonderful, how awesome it is to have such a great and loving God who forgives us; One who never forgets us as we forget Him! How great a God, and how great a salvation … who can despise or trivialize it and stand before this God?
Yet, we are saved by grace. We are justified by faith. We are sanctified not by the works of our own, sinful idolatrous hands, but instead by the workings of the sinless Holy Spirit upon us. These facts are true as clearly set forth by the Bible. Yet it is equally true – a fact of the same Bible – that we are not to use that truth as an excuse to wallow in error! Jude 1:4 calls this denying – or forgetting – YHWH. So though we are not saved or sanctified by our works, by our striving, work and strive we must do. It is what God commands us, and the man who loves God is the man who keeps YHWH’s commandments (John 14:15). The man who calls upon YHWH but fails to keep His commandments is a goat, and Jesus Christ says that the goats will be forgotten, left outside the camp and cast into outer darkness, on judgment day (Matthew 25:31-46). So though we are saved by Christ’s obedience and not ours, woe is the man who forgets YHWH and rejects obedience!
In closing, I urge you: do not forget what YHWH has done for you. Do not dare forget that YHWH sent His only begotten Son to die on a cross for sins that were not His Son’s, because being equal with God and being God by nature of His Sonship and pre-existence, the Son was and is sinless just as is the Father and the Spirit. Do not forget that YHWH verified His Son’s identity – including His sinlessness – and validated His work and mission by raising Him from the dead and accepting Him back into heaven where He sits on God the Father’s right hand, interceding for His bride, His church. Do not forget that YHWH did these things so that men might have their sins forgiven and inherit eternal life in His service. Do not forget that as a result of this, eternal torment in the lake of fire is not the future of those who believe. Instead, have faith, remember these things, repent of your sins so that they will be forgotten, and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Go, and do it quickly by:
Posted by Job on April 4, 2011
Please study and meditate on these passages from the book of Revelation, and allow them to influence and inform your private praise and worship time.
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
If you wish to participate in this worship and praise truly and effectively, and also continue in this praise for eternity (as opposed to being banished to the lake of fire, where for all eternity there will be no worship or praise, but only great anguish, torment and sorrow) then repent of your sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your salvation! To do so, follow the instructions below.
Scriptures taken from: “Interpreting Revelation: A Reasonable Guide to Understanding the Last Book in the Bible“