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Posts Tagged ‘Christian walk’

Judah Falls … And Then Gets Up!

Posted by Job on March 25, 2011

Though little information about him is recorded in the Bible, Judah is an interesting fellow. The messianic blessing was given to Abraham, and this blessing was fulfilled through the line of Judah. However, this was not due to any special righteousness on the part of Judah. Quite the contrary, the most righteous of Jacob’s son was Joseph. Instead, the blessing on Judah’s line seems to have come almost “by default.” Consider the prophetic blessings of Abraham on his sons in Genesis 49. Reuben, the firstborn, disqualified himself by committing fornication with Jacob’s wife Bilhah. (When you consider the circumstances, the fierce rivalry between Leah and Rachel provoked by Jacob’s severe, blatant sinful mistreatment of Reuben’s mother in favor of Rachel, Reuben likely did so in order to humiliate Rachel, and the act may not have even been consensual on Bilhah’s part … compare this with how Absalom forced himself on David’s concubines – and did so in public – in order to humiliate his father.)

Simeon and Levi, next in line, both disqualified themselves by murdering all the males from the tribe of the prince that forced himself on their sister Dinah. Although their actions ironically prevented Jacob’s faithless and horrible decision to intermarry his clan with this pagan tribe (and the result would have been Jacob’s line becoming pagans and not the other way around, see Genesis 34:20-24) they were judged by the Holy Spirit speaking through Jacob as “instruments of cruelty”, murderers, possessing “selfwill”, and cursed their “anger” and “wrath” because it was “cruel.” Apparently, though it was right of Simeon and Levi to seek justice for their sister’s rape (justice that their father, still acting fearfully and trying to exploit situations by cutting business deals at this time because of a lack of faith, pointedly refused to seek) and to scuttle Jacob’s intentions to disobey the wishes passed down to him by his father Isaac by joining his line with an evil pagan tribe, their taking vengeance on people who had nothing to do with the act – and doing so without consulting YHWH for permission or advice first – is what brought this curse upon them.

So, the blessings of Abraham passed to Judah. Again, it is not because Judah was the most virtuous of Abraham’s sons. Instead, though he was not firstborn, he was the first one born who did not disqualify himself with extremely serious abominations. Yes, Judah committed sexual immorality, but that is not the same as having sex with – and possibly raping – his father’s wife, and it is also not the same as mass murder. The acts of Reuben, Simeon and Levi were particularly offensive in the sight of God, and resulted in their being cursed (Jacob, empowered by the Holy Spirit, said of Reuben “you are unstable as water, and you will not excel”). This should be instructive to the homosexual lobby and their enablers among emergent and theologically liberal “Christians” who falsely claim that “all sins are equal.” That Reuben, Simeon and Levi were disqualified for their sins and Judah was not for his proves that Westminster’s Shorter Catechism is correct in their question and answer 83: “Are all transgression of the law equally heinous?” “Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations are more heinous in the sight of God than others.”

Now make no mistake, though it was not like the transgressions of Reuben, Simeon and Levi, Judah did fall! Yet, the grace of God and the evidence of God’s election, God’s calling of him and his line, were evident when he got up again. So by examining this, Christians can learn a few things about our own Christian living.

1. The Leah contrast.

Why did Judah fall? It honestly looks as if he couldn’t take the pressure. When the heat was on, Judah melted. When the going got rough and tough, Judah crumbled.  Understand this important fact of background context: Jacob obviously, sinfully favored Rachel and her children over Leah and her children. Example: when Jacob feared that Esau was going to kill him and his family, he sent Leah and her kids first so that if Esau killed them, Rachel and her kids would have a chance to escape! Jacob was obviously, indefensibly wrong, and it was horrible for Jacob to have his wives and children live in turmoil because of his own behavior, because of his placing his own interests and desires above that of his family, his duty to YHWH, and simply being just. However, as Christians, we must realize that our own situations, whether our family lives, finances, employment situations, churches, and political conditions are not always going to be “good” or “fair.” There are going to be problems in our families. There are going to be financial problems exacerbated by bad jobs and worse bosses and coworkers. There is going to be political oppression and repression, as well as social ostracism, because of our faith. And in our churches, there are going to be Christians who do not act like Christians, as well as actual non-Christians.

The way to respond is not the way that Reuben did, with a form of incest that might have been rape as well. It is not the way that Simeon and Levi did; mass murder. It is not the way that Rachel did, who rather than having compassion on her older sister and working to get Jacob to show love to her sister and ease her heartbreak, actually enjoyed possessing a favored status at her own sister’s expense, and tried to preserve it by giving Bilhah to Abraham in the first place. Instead, it is the way that Leah did, which is to seek God in submission and prayer, and do your best to persevere in a bad situation with grace and upright behavior.

Leah could have responded to Jacob’s grotesque, long-standing mistreatment of her in kind, by becoming a manipulative backstabbing schemer who sought to get back at him and undermine him any way that she could; by taking up the character of the two men in her life that despite being the closest to her and responsible for caring for, loving and protecting her (her father Laban and her husband Jacob), instead neglected, exploited and mistreated her. Laban married her off to increase his own wealth and then stole her dowry; Jacob only put up with her because he was stuck with her because of Laban’s machinations, yet was more than willing to use her as a baby machine to produce heirs for him.

Leah would have been more than justified in a worldly sense for giving Jacob exactly what he deserved, for treating him exactly as he treated her. Instead, Leah responded to the pressure by going to God, oft giving God the praise (Judah means “praise”, and Leah so named him saying “Now I will praise the YHWH” at his birth) and being the wife that God wanted her to be in spite of her low estate in the eyes of her husband and the turmoil that Jacob inflicted on his family; in spite of her circumstances. Leah sought YHWH often in petitions, prayer and praise, so she withstood the pressure. Judah did neither, so he fell. Twice.

2. Judah’s Two Falls

In this context enters Joseph. Now Joseph was not responsible for the evil situation that Jacob created, and was powerless to remedy it. Instead, virtuous Joseph was caught in the middle. He was the eldest son of Jacob’s favorite wife, and was treated as you might expect Jacob to: with a blatant, unjustifiable favoritism that was based solely on pleasing Jacob’s own emotions (Jacob treated Joseph so favorably not because it was in Joseph’s own interests or benefit, but because it gave Jacob pleasure and made him feel good) and not because it was in the best interests of anyone else, whether that someone else was YHWH, Jacob’s other sons and wives, or even Joseph himself.

Instead of going to God over the ill treatment from his earthly father and thereby gaining the strength to stand against the evil influences of his own mistreatment, his own emotions that resulted from this lifetime of mistreatment, and the negative influences of his brothers, Judah went along with the crowd. He allowed his anger, bitterness, envy and jealousy against Joseph (and also his father) to build into a hateful, murderous rage. Judah went along with the other 9 brothers with the initial plot to kill Joseph. This plot was foiled only by Reuben, the oldest and the wisest, who to preserve his brother’s life suggested that they throw him in a pit instead (so that he could later get him out and return him to the protection of Jacob). After the decision not to kill Joseph was already made, Judah then has the idea that profiting off the plot to get rid of Joseph by selling him into slavery was better than murdering him anyway!

So, this is how depraved Judah became. He was willing to murder his own brother and then sell his brother to some unknown fate as a slave. He did not stand up and speak up for righteousness; that was Reuben. It was Reuben who suppressed his own loss at being usurped of his firstborn status – Reuben at this point had lost more to Joseph than had Judah – who stood up and tried to do the right thing. Judah, meanwhile, not only went along with the crowd, went along with the sinful passions of his flesh, but in coming up with the plot to sell Joseph, he was one of the ringleaders! In his dealing with Joseph, he was one of the chief of sinners! And when Judah had a final chance to stand up and do the right thing, to be a just and honest man with regards to this incident, he went along with the cover-up to Jacob in order to escape the consequences of his actions. And that was the first fall.

The second fall was when Judah could no longer deal with his brothers’ conniving and malice – and his own guilt from the consequences over his own actions. Now Judah could have submitted to God, repented of his sins, and told his father the truth. Instead, Judah dealt with his problems by running away from them. How many Christians deal with marital problems that do not rise to the level of sexual immorality (or according to my own belief, domestic violence against spouse and/or children, which justifies at the very least separation for one’s own safety) by simply leaving despite knowing full well that God hates divorce? How many Christians abandon what they know are good churches and ministries simply because they face opposition (despite knowing full well that Satan will oppose such things precisely because he desires to destroy the good ministries, see the bad and un-Biblical ministries prosper, and drive Christians away from good fellowship)? Well, the Christians who pick up and run away from their adversity, from their troubles, lack the virtues of Leah. Instead, they are no better than Judah.

Now when Judah left his father’s house, he rather unsurprisingly fell into a common temptation for males: sexual immorality. Now in one sense, we have to put Judah’s sexual sin into context, because the law of Moses regulating sexual behavior (i.e. no adultery or fornication) was not yet given. Still, Paul told us in Romans that in the absence of the law, because of common grace at the very minimum, people have “a law unto themselves (Romans 2:14-15) that should instruct us concerning righteousness. Note how the pharaoh of Egypt and Abimelech of the Philistines respected the marriages of Abraham and Isaac to Sarah and Rebekah by returning those women to their husbands without touching them. A better comparison: how Joseph, raised in Judah’s own house as his brother, resisted the multiple temptations of sexual immorality by Potiphar’s wife. So, even without the law of Moses, Judah was without excuse.

Judah fell into the common practice of allowing the pressures of life – and the pressures that we face are real – to get him ensnared into sexual sin. (In this way, he was similar to Reuben’s responding to family pressures by resorting to sexual sin, save Reuben’s act exceeding that of Judah because of Reuben’s sinning with his father’s wife.) First, he had a child with a woman of Canaan, Shuah. Then his sons Er and Onan turned out wicked, reflecting the immorality of their father during this period. Next, Judah breaks his promise to the widow of Er, Tamar, by refusing to give her to his son Shelah as a wife. Even when a third child of Judah dies, his daughter, Judah did not consider his own wickedness and turn to YHWH in repentance. Instead, he blamed Tamar, as if she was some bad luck or cursed woman who had brought death to his 2 sons!

So what does Judah do when under the pressure of life? Despite being MARRIED, he goes and gets himself a prostitute (or so he thought, not knowing that it was his daughter-in-law Tamar)! Finally, when finding out that his daughter-in-law was pregnant by him does he (partially) acknowledge the depths of his depravity! Before she showed him his staff and signet ring, he was going to have her executed because of what he believed to be her sexual immorality! Judah was exposed: the sexual morality of a pagan Canaanite woman EXCEEDED that of the son of Jacob, the grandson of Isaac, the great-grandson of Abraham, the line chosen and set apart by YHWH!

And we Christians, who like Judah are also children of Abraham in a spiritual sense, often do the same: fall into sexual sin in response to the pressures of life, and there are an abundance of statistics concerning our involvement in un-Biblical divorce and remarriage, pornography, adultery, abortion, fornication etc. that proves it. And even those of us who do not respond to the pressures of life through sexual sin have other “outlets.” Maybe it is gossip. Maybe it is gambling. Maybe it is excess alcohol or gluttony. Maybe it is an excessive, unhealthy attachment to politics and sports. Maybe we dabble in astrology, yoga, or other “harmless” activities from other religions. Maybe we listen to foul-mouthed comedians or watch movies with all sorts of vile content, deriving pleasure in the sinful speech and acts of others (Romans 1:32). Just like Judah, so many Christians allow the pressures of live to drive them into sin! Now that is the bad news.

The good news: if we confess our sin, God can be counted on to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). All Christians sin. 1 John 1 makes that clear. The problem is our tendencies to wallow in our sins like Judah – who was in this state of affairs for a long time, long enough for him to have at least three children and raise them to adulthood – without repenting. Now I am certainly not apologist for Roman Catholicism, considering it to not be legitimate Christianity, but Catholics do have in their system regular confessions of sin. Of course, their problem (among many others) is that they confess their sins to priests because they reject the doctrine that Christ is the sole mediator between God and man, the truth that Jesus Christ stated Himself as recorded in the Gospel of John and was enlarged by the inspired writer of the epistle to the Hebrews.

But Christians need to confess our sins to God and ask God for forgiveness for our sins and turn away from those sins on a regular basis. For Christians who have a particularly persistent, troublesome area of sin or temptation, well the frequency, urgency and sincerity of the petitions to God in confession, forgiveness and repentance in the Name of Jesus Christ should match the seriousness of the problem! We should not harden our hearts, grieve the Holy Spirit, and let ourselves become so dull, distorted and cold of spirit that it will take something as dramatic and grotesque as Judah’s being confronted by the daughter-in-law that he impregnated to shake us out of our sin stupor! Instead, as Christians, when we fall, we should respond with confession and repentance in the manner described in 1 John as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts us to do so. We should not fall into the temptation of getting too prideful or fearful to do so, that God does not care and will overlook it, or that we need to perform some good works or deeds on our own in order to “make penance” and “get right with God first” before we repent. Instead, we are to turn to God in repentance at the first opportunity that the Holy Spirit gives us!

Please understand: God loves us. God hates sin. Add those two together and you come to this conclusion: God does not want His children, the redeemed bought by His own Son’s precious blood, to remain in sin. Not only does God not want it, He will not allow it. God will not allow you to keep lying in some gutter or alley drenched in urine and vomit. Instead, see Ezekiel 16:6 – “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live ; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” Because He so loves us, and also for the same of His own Name and His own zeal for justice and righteousness, God will bring His elect to righteousness!

What is simply amazing is that just as the pressures of life causes us to sin, God can, will and does use those same pressures of life to drive His children back to Him! Example: Jonah. Being in the belly of that whale three days drove a man filled with self-righteousness, pride, rebellion and vindictiveness to repent, didn’t it? The only surprise is that IT TOOK THREE DAYS! (We should never kid ourselves about the depths of our own sinfulness or the breadth of God’s grace in response.) So God did not allow the partially repentant Judah to stay where he was, which while was an improvement, still wasn’t good enough. Instead, Judah was restored. And it was not because of any virtue or good character within Judah. Quite the contrary: it has been demonstrated that Judah’s main “virtues” were not being as bad a sinner as was Reuben, Simeon and Levi (and even this was only because God prevented him from falling that far into sin!) and being born before the more righteous Joseph! But instead, Judah was restored only because He was God’s elect, and thus it was God’s will for him to be so. How did it happen? Well, God applied the pressure, and then God put righteousness in Judah’s heart.

3. Judah Gets Up

First: the famine. Judah left his father’s house because he could no longer deal with the guilt from his own actions, he could no longer put up with brothers that were just as bad as was he or even worse, and perhaps also because Jacob merely transferred his favoritism to Benjamin, the other child of Rachel. So, Judah went off, left his father’s house, and “became his own man”, and clearly not much of one. In doing this, Judah became the patriarch, and was responsible for providing for his own house: his wives, children, servants and flocks. Just as happened in the parable of the prodigal son as told by Jesus Christ, a famine came, which made Judah unable to care for himself and his house! So this Judah, this prodigal, ended the charade of being “his own man”, ended the mess that he was making of his life and of those around him, and returned home. The threat of starvation made Judah stop playing games. But yet, it wasn’t enough. Why? Because Judah’s father couldn’t feed him either. So, Judah had to go to Egypt to buy grain to save himself and his father.

Once in Egypt, the pressure increases. Joseph deals harshly with them, accusing them of being spies, keeping Simeon while sending the rest back with the demand that they bring Benjamin. Then, having returned from Egypt, the pressure increases still more. Already burdened with the guilt of losing one brother, they have to go back to their father without a second, and demanding that they bring a third, his father’s remaining favorite! Plus, what was the money that they paid for the grain doing in their sacks! And that is when Judah begins to step up. He, of all his brothers, including Reuben the firstborn, promises his own fate as a guarantor for the safety of Benjamin. He had to do this, because otherwise he, his father, his brothers, and his own family would have starved to death. Now this only happened because of God’s Spirit dealing with Judah, but make no mistake: it happened with the threat of death hanging over his head!

Back in Egypt, God turns up the pressure still more. This time, in contrast with the rough treatment that Joseph gave them before – and they were expecting again – he switches tactics. He welcomes them. He throws them a party! He tells them that it was he who put the money in their sacks! He loads them up with food and sends them on their way. Everything is merry! Or so they think. Then, Joseph’s silver cup is found … with Benjamin. The one that Judah pledged his own life and fate for. Now Judah had every right to say “this is a deal-breaker.” He would have been within his right to say “I do not have to go be executed by the king or become his slave because my foolish brother stole a cup! I have nothing to do with this! I am just going to explain what happened to my father, and if he doesn’t understand, then so be it!”

But no. Judah fulfills the promise that he made to his father! He goes back to Joseph, and offers to take the punishment in the place of Benjamin, whom he thought was guilty! And keep in mind: Jesus Christ is the lion of Judah, the descendant of Judah’s line. So just as Jesus Christ took the punishment in the place of God’s elect because it was the will of God the Father (and suffered many things, was tempted at all points just as are we, in the course of doing so in order to remain true to His Father), Judah offered to take the punishment in the place of Benjamin because in order to keep his promise to Jacob! Now it would be a theological stretch to call Judah a type of Jesus Christ, but his actions, stepping up to take the punishment for the (apparently) guilty Benjamin for the sake of his father, certainly strongly parallels and reminds us of what Jesus Christ did for the elect for the sake of His Father!

Now in doing this, Judah prefigured what his descendant, Jesus Christ, would do. But this happened only because God turned up the pressure on Judah. And it happened only because God’s grace was with Judah. God put Judah to the test, and Judah was able to pass it only because God was with Judah and would not let him fall! Why? Because it was God’s will. Judah was God’s chosen. Judah’s getting up from his depravity and stepping into righteousness was God’s doing. Make no mistake: it was the will of God to the glory of God. And just as it was with Judah, so is it with Christians. Salvation is of the Lord. Restoration of backsliders is of the Lord. And the perseverance of the saints until our time of perfection is of the Lord. Just as God keeps His elect angels from falling (1 Timothy 5:21) so He keeps us from staying down, from remaining in sin, when we fall!

So, it is not that just as Judah got up, we can get up. That thinking glorifies man, depicting our restoration as our own good works. Instead, it is that just as Judah got up, we will get up. We will get up because it is God who will get us up, and God will do this for us on our behalf because of His great love for us, and because by doing so He is glorified! Those people who do not get up, who do not endure until the end? They were never God’s elect to begin with. They are the goats that Jesus Christ spoke of in Matthew 25:32-40. They are the seeds that did not fall into good soil that Jesus Christ spoke of in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-23). Do not be deceived. We do not have the ability to save ourselves. We do not have the ability to keep ourselves in the faith. We do not have the ability to restore ourselves when we fall. It is only God who can do these things, and it is only by God’s grace according to His eternal purpose of election and predestination decreed from before the foundation of the world that these things do happen!

So Christian, when you fall like Judah, and when you get up like Judah, know that it is God who gives you the ability to do so, and in this you should rejoice in that same God! Glory be to God for His mercy, His grace and awesome power and love, for He is indeed worthy to be praised! So backslider, restoration is available to you! Soli Deo Gloria!

And to the non-Christian, allow me to ask of you: how long will you continue to despise such a great salvation given by a God who spared not even His own Son for the sake of His elect? Such a gracious loving God who is patient, loving, forgiving and is willing to restore even His Christians who fall into sin? God knows that we are but flesh and during this time of grace is not at war with us (Genesis 6:3) but instead is desiring that we come to repentance in (2 Peter 3:8-9) accordance with His plan and terms. In order to benefit from this great a salvation, one cannot “meet God halfway.” Instead, one can only come to God on God’s terms, and there is no way to God the Father except through God the Son, and there is no salvation other than that worked by God the Spirit. If this is not the case for you, I urge and entreat you to immediately:

Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan!

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Prayer: The Most Effective Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance Weapon And Tactic

Posted by Job on July 3, 2010

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a [certain] man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:14-21

Much has been written in the area of spiritual warfare and deliverance. Some of it is based on scripture, some on experience, some on things taught and handed down, some on what purports to be revelation, some on conjecture, and usually the final product is some combination of these things. I do not deny that these techniques cannot yield results, because that would be denying what I have seen with my own eyes and borne witness to with my own testimony. However, “whatever works” cannot be the basis of sound Christian belief and practice. A good reason for this is simple: “results may vary!” In the scientific community, one of the major tests used to establish and verify a theory using experiments or observation is repeatable results. Since the results of the various spiritual warfare techniques, strategies and methods do in fact vary – a fact that the teachers and proponents of these methods freely admit – we cannot rely on unreliable experientialism for our Christian doctrine and practice. Instead, we must rely on the Bible. The Bible is God’s unique, Holy Spirit inspired revelation that is inerrant, infallible and the final authority in all things. So, even though the varying results is enough to justify being suspect of a lot of the spiritual warfare and deliverance teachings, the truth is that the doctrine of scripture means that Christians should not rely on practices and beliefs not supported in scripture even if they did work every time. So even if it does work, then what profit is it if the “work” is not of God and does not glorify God? The purpose of Christian living is to serve and glorify God, not to do the things that we want to do and believe that should be done ourselves. As the Bible is the final authority and is 100% infallible, then the Bible gives us perfect instructions on how to live to serve and glorify God in all areas. The Bible is what teaches us, and the Bible is what we must use to teach others.

So, based on the revelation of Jesus Christ as given to us in the Bible – and the purpose of the entirety of scripture is to reveal Jesus Christ – the best, surest way and the starting point for all spiritual warfare and deliverance is prayer. Prayer is the first and best weapon against the evil one and his forces. Consider, for instance, the Lord’s prayer.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13 and also Luke 11:2-4

How many of you knew that this was a spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer? It is. For one thing, it deals with forgiveness of sin, as it asks that our own sins be forgiven by God AND that we forgive the sins of others. Failure to forgive the sins of others, especially against us, leads to anger and resentment that Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us “gives a place to the devil.” For another, it asks that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and it is certainly God’s will for evil spirits and their influence to be bound, hindered, cast out and defeated (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20). But there is also a more direct reference. “Deliver us from evil” in the Lord’s prayer not only means “keep us from sin” (with all the spiritual warfare things that go along with sinning) but many expert theologians and Bible scholars follow Martin Luther in asserting that “deliver us from evil” should read “deliver us from the evil one”, which is Satan.

Now Martin Luther was not one to deny that Christians in our time need to directly confront unclean spirits. Quite the contrary, Luther claimed to have seen Satan and thrown a bottle of ink at him! (Small wonder that a current popular trend – or evil spirit – of deception moving through modern Christianity is to attack Martin Luther and claim that the Reformation, the exodus from the darkness of Roman Catholicism, was a mistake!) So, the Lord’s Prayer is quite literally and unquestionably a direct, powerful spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer. It petitions that God would overcome the presence and effects of sin and evil spirits in our lives. It even addresses the area most often neglected by spiritual warfare teachers, which is the flesh or the old man which still exerts a negative influence on born again Christians as described in Romans 5-7 when asking God to help us to forgive others, and in particular not to view the transgressions of others against us personally more prominently than we view our own transgressions against God. What stronger impulses of the flesh are there than hypocrisy and self-centeredness? And this prayer also explicitly directly asks for protection from all evil spirits through a reference to their leader, Satan. And as Jesus Christ explained in Matthew 12:24-30, being protected from Satan means being protected from all evil spirits.

However, the importance and primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is often overlooked. Instead, the commonly advised and emulated strategy is to imitate the actions of Jesus Christ and His apostles during their spectacular encounters with evil spirits, and also to mix in things learned from other teachings and our own experiences. In doing so, we ignore that the most repeated and striking thing concerning the ministry of Jesus Christ was His prayer life. His ministry began with 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness, and the gospels make it clear that seeking the will of God the Father in prayer was far more prominent in the ministry of Jesus Christ than all the sermons, exorcisms and miracles put together. To put it better, Jesus Christ came not so much to preach and perform miracles and exorcisms as He did to do the will of God the Father, and so Jesus Christ only preached, performed miracles and did exorcisms when it was the will of God the Father that He do so. When it was not the will of God the Father for Him to do so, Jesus Christ did no sermons, miracles or exorcisms, because even being God in the flesh with power and being deserving of praise and glory Himself, had Jesus Christ done those things of His own accord or on His own initiative, God the Father would not have been glorified, and Jesus Christ would have thereby sinned. (Of course, we know that Jesus Christ, being God, cannot sin.) And this was how Satan tempted Jesus Christ during His time of fast … by attempting to get Jesus Christ to take an action apart from the will and direction of God. It was the same temptation that Satan gave to Adam. Where Adam failed, Jesus Christ succeeded. And Christians are to follow Jesus Christ’s success and not Adam’s failure. Follow Adam, and man is glorified. Follow Jesus Christ and God is glorified. To God alone be the glory!

That is why spiritual warfare and deliverance must begin with and be dominated by prayer. We cannot take initiative or authority upon ourselves. We cannot presume to know, for instance, if the issue that we are addressing is motivated by evil spirits in the first place. We also cannot presume the manner and time in which God desires the evil spirit to be cast out. Further, we cannot even presume that God wants the evil spirit to be driven off in the first place! A powerful example of this is the thorn in the flesh described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, 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. Therefore I 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.

Now there has been a lot of needless conjecture as to what exactly the “thorn in the flesh” was, but this is only because people have such difficulty believing what the text plainly says, often for doctrinal reasons. But it is clear: “the messenger of Satan” is clearly in the Greek “the angel of Satan”, and we all know that angels of Satan are evil, unclean spirits, or demons. Now for some people, the idea that a born again Christian, an apostle no less, would be tormented by a demon is doctrinally troublesome. For others, the wording of the passage makes it appear as “there was given to me” means that God gave the demon to Paul, which would seem to charge God with being responsible for temptation or evil where scripture tells us that God cannot be the author of evil. However, this stunning passage does recall how God allowed and used Satan in His dealings with Job in the Old Testament. Just as God allowed Satan to attack Job in the Old Testament for purposes that glorified God and ultimately were a blessing to Job, God allowed one of Satan’s demons to do the same regarding the apostle of Jesus Christ Paul. So then, it would not have been to the will of God or glory of God to drive this evil spirit from oppressing or tormenting Paul. Please recall: the evil spirit could not possess Paul because Christians are possessed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. So, the demon could only afflict Paul.

And please note that Paul first sought the Lord in prayer concerning the evil spirit. Scripture does not record failed attempts at spiritual warfare and deliverance by Paul concerning the demon, and we cannot presume that these failed attempts existed because the Bible does not record them. Instead, it records Paul’s asking God three times for permission to drive the demon away, and God denying this permission for His own sovereign, God-glorifying purposes which were in service to God’s plan to conform Paul into the image of Jesus Christ! So let us not be deceived. These are not matters to be trifled with. Christians in the spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries must not act according to presumption, self-will and self-initiative. Instead, we must be guided and directed by God’s Holy Spirit. Being Holy Spirit-led and Holy Spirit-filled requires much preparation in ways that include prayer, Bible study, fellowship and good works which are conducive to spiritual maturity in advance (Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting) and also seeking God’s will during the necessary time. Note that I did not say during the time of spiritual confrontation with the forces of evil, for God must permit and instruct us when and whether He wants us to participate in such spiritual confrontations to begin with. Again, it is God’s will that is being done, not ours. It is God that is being glorified, not us. And we are acting in accordance to God’s sovereign will and not our own desires or feelings. This is why we must rely on prayer. We must humble ourselves and submit ourselves to God’s design, God’s plan, and God’s actions through prayer. Otherwise, we take rash actions of self-interest and self-will as did King Saul, who failed to wait on the Lord and found his kingdom and life – and those of his sons – taken from him.

Returning to apostle Paul, spiritual warfare and deliverance ministers have centered on the Ephesians 6:10-17 as one of their favorites for study and practice.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 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]. 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. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Regrettably, one of the reasons for this is that this passage, when taken incautiously, can invite the flesh to imagine oneself in the manner of this strong, mighty righteous and powerful HUMAN warrior image against the forces of evil, an image that we have seen reinforced time and time again in secular Hollywood movies and TV shows. Incautious and out of contexts readings and applications of this passage may cause us to think that in the Name of Jesus Christ WE have the power, WE have the authority, WE have the dominion, WE can challenge and take over strongholds and defeat the enemy, and that in doing so God’s will shall be done and He shall be glorified. This is indeed the doctrines of many popular spiritual warfare and deliverance teachers. However, such self-seeking presumption is not coming in the Name of Jesus Christ at all, but instead coming in our own name. It is so tempting to reject the counsel of those who actually do come in the Name of Jesus Christ and instead come in their own names (see John 5:43), but reject it we must. For Jesus Christ said that all who call on His Name, even all who cast out devils and do great works using His Name are not truly His. People who use the Name of Jesus Christ in accordance with self-seeking are not Jesus Christ’s sheep, because though they call on the Name of God, like Adam they are following after their own hearts. Instead, Jesus Christ’s sheep will be people who are after God’s heart, so they will seek direction from God and patiently wait on God before they act. The identifying fruit of the spiritual warfare and deliverance minister who is God’s sheep is one who exhibits patience, humility and submission in seeking the will of God lest he sin and lead others into sin, and not one who rushes in according to his own human desires and limited knowledge and misuses and misappropriates the Name of Jesus Christ carelessly, recklessly, proudly and selfishly. Instead of seeking to take authority and power after the manner of human rulers, we should be seeking to submit ourselves to, rely upon and glorify God after the manner of God’s humble servants, including the one Jesus Christ who emptied Himself, came to earth as a man, suffered humiliation and rejection, and was slain for our sins in our place on the cross, and was raised for our justification. It is the manner of the humble Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead and is blessed forever that we should emulate and identify with, and not the manner of proud, presumptive, arrogant and self-willed humanity, or for that manner of the tempter and deceiver of humanity Satan, who in his presumption decided that he would be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). Make no mistake, but in doing anything, including spiritual warfare, without first making certain that we are doing God’s will and not man’s, we are emulating not Jesus Christ in His submission and sacrifice  to the glory of God, but Satan in his mad and failed attempt at being a usurper of God’s glory. From such, spiritual warfare and deliverance minister, turn away!

Instead, turn your attention to the oft-neglected end of the “put on the whole armor of God” passage, which is verse 18, which reads “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” It clearly shows that the primary and main ingredient to spiritual warfare, to putting on the whole armor of God for confrontations against the enemy, is “praying always in asking to the Holy Spirit.” We are to always pray so that we can ask of the Holy Spirit that indwells all Christians concerning the Will of God. Without receiving and submitting to the will of God in spiritual warfare (or anything else) we aren’t performing spiritual warfare at all, but instead proud, self-seeking and harmful bombast that resists the Holy Spirit, misuses the Name of Jesus Christ, dishonors His sacrifice on the cross and refuses to glorify God the Father.  Thus, so-called spiritual warfare that rejects prayer in supplication to the Holy Spirit before, during and after is nothing more than an abomination against the Holy Trinity in clear, explicit ways.

One should note that the primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is given at the end of both Matthew 17:14-21 and of Ephesians 6:10-18. One also notes that no explicit references to prayer seem to be made in many of the New Testament exorcism narrative accounts and references. That is indeed curious, as one would think that in Matthew 17:14-21 and Ephesians 6:10-18 that the most important thing would come first as a lead instead of coming last, and also that there would be a stronger correlation depicted between prayer and spiritual warfare. This is still more evidence of how spiritual things often do not conform to our human expectations. It is a test of our faith, of our faithfulness, of our humility and submission to see if we will study the whole counsel of God as revealed in scripture. To see if we will seek God in spirit and in truth as He commanded us to so. To answer the door of our hearts when He stands and knocks so that He will come in, sup with us, and teach us the truth. Those of us truly interested in knowing and serving God will search, notice and find these things so that we can go about performing spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry – and please recall that ministry means service, and that it is service to God first and then to man – God’s way. Those who are not will cut corners, interpret passages out of context and selectively, and do whatever we can in order to claim to be serving God in God’s way when they will really be serving themselves in their own way.

So I ask and challenge you spiritual deliverance and warfare minister. In what way have you been serving in your ministry before now? And in what way will you serve in your ministry in the future?

Posted in Bible, Christianity, discernment, Jesus Christ, prayer, spiritual deliverance, spiritual deliverance techniques, spiritual warfare | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments »

Christian Women With Weave, Was Your Hair Offered To Idols?

Posted by Job on October 14, 2009

Let us remember the verdict of the Jerusalem council of Acts 15 where the Jewish Christians decided the guidelines for sanctification and holy living for Gentile Christians. Consider this verse:

That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

Now consider this nugget from an article on the movie “Good Hair“:

… the movie, “Good Hair” … details the lengths to which some black women and men will go for straight hair … from a hair salon where a 6-year-old maintains a stiff upper lip as a chemical relaxer sits on her scalp, to the temples of India where the hair women sacrifice in a religious ceremony is swept up, sent to factories and exported as weave

Of course, I know the difference between eating something and putting it in your hair. I also know that Paul liberated this principle from being made into legalism in 1 Corinthians 8. However, allow me to propose this:  humans generally need to eat meat in order to be healthy. So, if there was a choice between damaging your health by doing all that one possibly can to obey Acts 15:29 and thus becoming malnourished or eating meat and being healthy, Paul said to eat meat. Also the context of 1 Corinthians 8 is that the meat that had been offered to idols was then mixed and sold with all the other meat, and it was impossible to tell which meat was which.

So while Acts 15:29 made it unlawful to KNOWINGLY eat meat offered to idols – which is practicing idolatry – UNKNOWINGLY eating meat offered to idols was not idolatry and thereby harmless. The reason is that the prohibition is not on the meat itself, which was fine, but rather the idolatry, which is sin. So this was not  a choice between being an idolater and not being an idolater. Instead, it was a choice between not APPEARING to be an idolater and being malnourished, or APPEARING to be an idolater and being healthy. Paul’s reasoning was that appearances don’t matter, only the heart does, so go ahead, buy your meat at the market with no worries as to whether it was offered to idols or not – because it was impossible to tell – and eat it.

However, where meat serves a vital human need, I would argue that hair weave does not. It is entirely cosmetic. So even though it may be lawful, is it nonetheless expedient (1 Corinthians 6:12) for a Christian woman to adorn herself with hair offered to idols? Is such a thing edifying (1 Corinthians 10:23)? Is hair offered to idols and then sold for a price an appropriate covering (1 Corinthians 11:15) for the body of a Christian woman, seeing that such a body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) as opposed to a pagan temple filled with idols? And is acquiring and wearing costly weave that has been offered to idols a way of keeping 1 Timothy 2:9-10?

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Now of course I am not going to claim that it is a sin for Christian women to use weave because it MIGHT contain hair offered to idols. Not only would I be guilty of violating 1 Corinthians in saying such a thing, but I would not even be able to rely on the literal interpretation of Acts 15 or Exodus 20:3-4 (the passages concerning idolatry specifically and practicing false religions – which includes participating in their rites and ceremonies – in general). Instead, I am just providing more information for Christian women (and men) to consider in our efforts to make better, more Christ-honoring decisions. After all, where does the idea to go out and put weave in your hair come from? Or the idea that we have to look a certain way come from? Generally the media, Hollywood, mass entertainment, Madison Avenue (commercials), and what have you. They sell you an image of beauty that is not real. I am not merely referring to this image because so much of it is literally fake, whether the product of airbrushing, lighting, cosmetic surgery, photo editing etc. but because it takes our minds and hearts away from the true beauty that is Jesus Christ that is revealed through us through the wonderful works of His creation (Romans 1) and causes us to exchange it for a lie, an image conceived not in God’s mind or made by God’s hands but rather created by man’s hands and conceived in his sinful, corrupt rebellious minds. And what are images conceived and made by man? Merely idols.

So the real issue is not that the hair MAY HAVE BEEN offered to some idol in some Hindu temple. The issue is that your DESIRE to use weave – wherever its origin – probably comes from looking at magazines, watching television, coming up with some false image of beauty that you desire. So, the false idol that is the problem is not in some temple in India, but rather is inside the temple of your own heart! And these false images and idols promoting a perverted, corrupted sense of beauty and attractiveness in the media have only two real purposes. The first is mammon, money. I fear continuing to sound like a leftist or socialist, but the fact is that these images are disseminated to cause you to buy the magazines that contain them, which contain still more images that cause you to want to buy the makeup, hair products, clothes etc. that make the magazine publishers a lot of money.

The second reason, make no mistake, is to challenge and attack Biblical notions of modesty, decency and sexuality. Most of the publications, TV shows, movies etc. that endlessly present these images also ceaselessly mock anything resembling notions of Biblical purity, including but not limited to marital fidelity. Even if they don’t directly attack it, they undermine it with the lie that a man and wife can sit and look at that junk 24/7 without either A) being tempted to stray (adultery) or B) fantasizing (which is also adultery Matthew 5:28), or similarly that our children can watch it without either being tempted to commit fornication or fantasizing about it. So similar to my challenge regarding tattoos, the issue is not whether weave is permissible according to scripture, but whether the motivation to get a weave is Christ-honoring in the first place.

That said, there may be many motivations for getting hair weaves that are completely legitimate, i.e. totally unrelated to wanting to look like the female vampires in these soft-core pornographic magazines and music videos. Some women may state that their husbands like the way that it looks. Others may profess that it is a look that they prefer for themselves. Others still assert that in their work environments (office or professional jobs, etc.) they must maintain a professional appearance. Again, I am in no sense asserting this to be some sort of law that has any bearing on anyone’s salvation, justification, sanctification or consecration. There are also many who may perceive me to be just totally off base, tilting at windmills and causing unnecessary division and confusion (stumblingblocks as it were) when I should focus only on Jesus Christ and Him crucified, risen, and will one day return. To such people, I apologize in advance, and please know that it is not my intent. Instead, my reason for dealing with this topic is this Biblical one: Christians, beware of and be separate from the world and things in it, whether it be its mindsets, its desires … or its idols. After all, we only have to look at the world of televangelism. Paula White, Medina Pullings, and many others are counted among those who market their own appearance, and tie it into their false health/wealth/family prosperity gospel doctrine. Jan Crouch, Juanita Bynum and Cathy DuPlantis are just among the many who proudly declare that they have had cosmetic surgery (or surgeries)! Extend it a little further and we have professed evangelical Christians Carrie Prejean’s lingerie modeling (and plastic surgery), Heidi Montag’s Playboy modeling, and Miley Cyrus pole dancing, all done for a little bit of fame and fortune that even were it to last 1000 years would be a mere flicker of an instant in the eternity that we will either spend with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem or in the outer darkness where the worm never dies, the fire is never quenched, and there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. Again, the issue is not the weave, but the heart and where it lies.

However, for people who are considering the issues raised in this post, allow me to refer you to an expert on the topic by following the link below:

I’m a natural systah

Also, for those who may be wondering what all of this is about to begin with, please play the video below.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Bible, christian worldliness, Christianity, church worldliness, Jesus Christ, media conspiracy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments »

My Thorn In The Flesh

Posted by Job on May 15, 2009

2 Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Much has been made of the mystery of the precise nature or identity of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Theories include bad eyesight, frequent illness, guilt over crimes against the church, and even (according to the depraved mind of one utterly wretched school of thought) repressed homosexual urges. Well, let me share my own.

I have a very vivid imagination, a mind that is prone to wandering, and difficulty concentrating or applying my thoughts to things for any length of time or at any depth, especially if they are good things. As a result, I frequently find my thinking assaulted with a great many vile thoughts including but not limited to images of sin, blasphemies against our Lord Jesus Christ, and attitudes of cynicism, disrespect and rebellion. Almost all of it is the direct result of my memory of all of the wretched abominations that I acquired through my voracious consumption of television, movies, music, magazines, talk radio and the Internet. It is almost as if I have some sort of powerful relational database where practically the instant that my mind conceives of a thought – whether it be neutral, innocent, or holy – it brings to my thinking some blasphemous thought or cynical emotion, and this issue is particularly intense and grievous when I am attempting to read my Bible or pray.

This morning, after enduring yet another episode of this sinful mind activity while driving, I despaired and cried out to God to remove this evil from me. I discerned while praying about the matter that these attacks on my mind would cease when I reached heaven, and until that blessed event occurs, it was actually good for my own sake that they remained because they

A) remind me of my need to rely totally upon the grace of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross for my salvation

B) remind me of the hideously grotesque nature of my sinful former life for the sake of bearing witness and testimony of others, and to prevent me from thinking that I was already a basically good, decent moral person living a productive useful existence that the grace of Jesus Christ only needed to add to

C) give me added incentive to avoid defiling myself with sin by consuming still more “entertainment” – especially that which appears to be merely harmless idle vanities but are actually a deception and a snare – that actually is chock full of rebellion, cynicism, and much careless swearings and casual breaking of the third of the ten commandments (do not take the Name of the Lord in vain) that serves no productive purpose in my life whatsoever but will in the future find itself corrupting my thoughts

D) keeps me from thinking that I am perfect or at least very nearly there, the result of which would be – owing to a most regrettable character flaw and temptation that lurks within – my becoming extremely vain, prideful, self – righteous, self – satisfied, and lazy

E) allows me to identify with, have compassion for, and motivates me with a strong desire to help those that are in bondage to sin and death as I was not so very long ago.

After that word of truth came into my heart and mind, I immediately remembered Paul’s writing about his thorn in the flesh – and as if for the first time in my life – understood, and my despair and guilt turned to joy and victory! So, my prayer went from begging God to deliver me from these thoughts and making them stop to one of asking God to work this within me 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 my behalf:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Even so, come Lord Jesus Christ! Praise Jesus Christ for everlasting life, life and life more abundantly, His grace and mercy towards the meek, the weak, and wretched sinners, and for the victory over sin and death that comes through His Name, available to us by the emptying Himself of life and glory on the cross and reclaiming them back when He rose from the dead! Praise be to God!

Posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Christian, Your Future Has Arrived

Posted by Job on December 22, 2008

Of course, being the father of two small children, we oft do the “Disney family movie” thing. (DreamWorks too. Can’t discriminate against them. Even if their fare is generally edgier than Disney’s. Then again the Disney movies do contain more occult and witchcraft elements … oh never mind.) One of their videos which we saw recently: “Meet The Robinsons.” 

“Meet The Robinsons” centers around an orphan boy whose primary conflict is, of course, being an orphan. He was abandoned by his mother, has been keeping track of all the potential adoptive parents that have declined to give him a home, and becomes convinced that he is fast becoming too old to be adopted and is facing the prospect of going through life without a family, alone, and with no future. The conflict is resolved when the orphan travels through time and meets his future family, which includes an adult version of himself, now a father, husband, and very successful entrepreneur. The adult version of himself warns him that the future that he is now seeing is only a possible one, and that to bring it about he had to make the right choices. Make the wrong choices, and it is ruined! So this orphan goes back in time, still without a family and in an orphanage, but comforted and motivated by his knowledge of the bright and happy future ahead of him to face the huge challenge that was his life, including for the first time to cease being concerned only with his own plight long enough to start helping others. And the movie ends to an optimistic modernistic anthem “The Future Has Arrived.”

You might be interested to know that there is a Christian message in this. That little orphan boy may be you, the Christian pilgrim, trying to progress through a difficult life, the narrow path through this evil and wicked world that leads to the strait gate. World events, national politics, church disputes, family tragedies, and personal challenges (i.e. with one’s physical, mental, or emotional health) may be battering you from all sides. You may feel lost, abandoned, rejected, and alone, especially during the times when you refuse to compromise your faith. You may start to identify with Psalm 22, which spoke of Jesus Christ on the cross, and begin to wonder if God has forsaken you. You may wonder if God is being unfair to you, harsh to you, that you should have to endure all of these things. You may even wonder if you are being punished for some real or imagined sin or shortcoming, and begin to think that if you “start living right” or “get back right with God” then you will obtain a less difficult existence. Or you may be someone who is not a middle or upper class person in a western nation, but rather someone who knows real poverty or true persecution, especially in a third world or developing nation with a tiny Christian minority, and as such knows that chances for a significant change for the better in your life are either small or are completely unrelated to such things as how much you tithe or how many days a week you attend church (attending church may well be illegal in your country!) .  

To such people whose state of distress is akin to that of the orphan boy in this film, first of all, please know that you are not an orphan. You have a family. First, you are adopted through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). God is your Father. The other members of the Body of Jesus Christ are your brothers and sisters in the spirit. They are your fellow servants, your fellow laborers who are toiling in tribulation just as you are. Also, God Himself, the Holy Spirit, is your constant companion to keep you and reassure you when you need Him the most. So, you are not alone. Your struggles are not in vain. Your cries are never ignored. You have not only other born again Christians, but also God, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, as your family. No matter what your earthly temporal situation, keep your heart and mind trained on the eternal spiritual reality. 

Second, like the orphan boy in the movie, you do indeed have a time machine at your disposal that you can use to take a peek at your bright, glorious future. Further, knowledge of your predestined future should fill you with peace, hope, happiness and joy. It should give you the strength to make the right choices in service to the One who chose you when He elected you to salvation and gave you the free gift of the gospel and the saving faith and special grace to believe it. This strength should enable you to also serve others both by sharing the gospel with them and also by meeting the human needs of those in distress, which include not a  few orphans. 

So what is this time machine? Your Bible. Most specificially, the prophetic and eschatological passages thereof. Consider Revelation, or more accurately

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

This book contains a promise that every born again Christian who reads it is blessed, and part of the blessing is that all born again Christians will know their future: New Jerusalem, a place where life is eternal, every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and our former troubles will be no more. No more hate, no more division, no more fear, no more poverty, no more wars. No more death, no more sin that brings death. We will be in the presence of God always, and we will worship Him always unhindered and unencumbered. And yes, the final judgment and destruction, the final purging of all that offends and displeases God will occur as well. Christians should rejoice that this will happen for we should long for God’s righteousness, and we should also rejoice that we will not be destroyed ourselves. For instance, consider that the primary purpose of the book of Revelation was not to inform us of the future of this world, for it contains events that the overwhelming majority of Christians will never see in their own lives. Instead, its primary purpose was to comfort Christians, no matter our time or circumstance, with the picture of the world to come and of our place in it.

That is our future. Not yet. However, this future has been realized, so though it is not yet, it is now. (“Now and not yet” eschatology.) For Jesus Christ came to give life, and life more abundantly. This life is eternal, which means that it will never end. However, it does not begin at the return of Jesus Christ, the day of the Lord, the last day, judgment day, etc. No, abundant life, eternal life began the day that you were born again by believing on Jesus Christ and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior. So, your ultimate fate is set in stone, predestined. You are God’s. None can steal you out of Jesus Christ’s hand, and none can steal anything out of God the Father’s Hand, and you have been given to Jesus Christ by God. So, the first choice, the one that truly matters, has been made for you by God, for you did not choose Jesus Christ but rather God chose you.

But with that taken care of, you still have to make the right choices. You have to choose to live in light of the future that is yours and the present that is yours. You have to choose not to get bogged down in the skulduggery of mundane temporal things. You have to choose to resist the temptation of questionable doctrines and practices which promise to opiate you, inoculate you from the challenges of everyday living, and mask the truth that Christian living is about sacrifice and struggle just as our Master Jesus Christ sacrificed and struggled. If Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, endured many things, how much more so should we, being so much lesser in status and value than our Eternal Sovereign Creator? 

You have to choose to submit yourself to the God that made you, the position that God placed you in, and the plan that God has for your life. It has to be His plan, not yours. It is His Will that has to be on earth as it is in heaven, not yours. Once this submission to the Will of your Sovereign takes place within in yourself, that is when the fruits of the Holy Spirit can begin to take over. Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control. Who cannot use these things without measure in our challenging but rewarding Christian life? If your life is not challenging, it is not Christian. But if it is not rewarding, it is not either. It is God’s will that your life be challenging, it is God’s will that your life be rewarding. If your life is lacking in one or the other, then it is not Godly, and the life that is not Godly is not in any sense Christian. It may be religious or “spiritual”, but it is not Christian.

But that is the purpose of the Bible. It teaches us how to navigate the challenging path, and tells us what is waiting for us at the destination. With God’s Word, by God’s Spirit, with God’s grace, and for God’s glory we have all that we need not only to run the Christian race, but to be encouraged and strengthened as we do so. The only question is whether we choose to do it.

So read, study, learn, and meditate upon the Word of God, Christians, and then be doers of the Word and not hearers only. If you do these things, then you will joyfully find the future in Christ Jesus that is already yours today!

Posted in Bible, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

How Many Abortions Has The Iraq War Caused?

Posted by Job on March 31, 2008

This is in response to the debate that pops up from time to time which is a greater evil: abortion or the Iraq War. Now I personally feel abortion to be a greater evil. Still though, I hope to demonstrate with this line of thought why Christians should generally not be in the business of trying to discern lesser and greater evils. Ultimately, where does it get us? Pick one, and evil still wins! Now I do say this: someone who feels that the Iraq War is wrong (as I do) might say that from a Christian perspective, the Iraq War is more evil because it has the greater potential to deceive people. I cannot fathom how a born again Christian can support abortion, so anyone that is familiar with the Bible that supports mass murder of the innocent is fully aware of what they are doing. But it honestly does appear that a lot of good, honest, loving, decent Christians have been deceived by the Bush propaganda machine concerning this war.

Well … onto meat of the matter. How many women, wives and girlfriends, have terminated their pregnancies upon hearing that the fathers of their unborn children were killed in Iraq? Or perhaps not even killed, but injured to the point where it would severely impair his ability to provide for the child and the family?

How many daughters of men deployed in Iraq – or killed in Iraq – will go on to become pregnant out of wedlock due to the lack of the fatherly influence in this very critical, stressful time in their lives and terminate those pregnancies? In a similar fashion, how many sons of males deployed in Iraq will become sexually irresponsible and predatory and as a result sire children that will be aborted? And yes, how many women married to men overseas will become overwhelmed with loneliness, fright, financial pressures, etc. and resort to extramarital affairs, become impregnated, and then terminate those pregnancies in an attempt to hide their unfaithfulness and preserve the marriage?

Of course, I am aware that any number of abortions that can directly or indirectly be attributed to this war is a very tiny fraction of the overall number. But since when are pro – life Christians, who are supposed to be governed by the principle of scripture, comfortable with writing off the lives of the innocent unborn because of small numbers? I suppose, then, that it would be more helpful to attribute the 5,000 or 500 or 50 or 5 unborn children that owed their cruel fate to the war as mere innocent casualties of it just like so many Iraqis.

And then, it is not just abortion. Lots of suicides and divorces – things that pro – life Christians are also known to care about – can be blamed on the pressure that this war has placed on servicemen and their families, a war that Donald Rumsfeld predicted would be over in six weeks and Dick Cheney claimed would last 6 months as an absolute worst case scenario. Both of these men made these statements publicly, and the lack of accountability is shocking. One does not have to be some anti – American leftist atheist to be outraged by that. One can even support the notion (which incidentally I once myself supported but now find specious) that it was in the interests of America and our allies and the Iraqi people to remove Saddam Hussein and remove the weapons of mass destruction threat before Hussein would use his weapons program to kill Americans or more Iraqis and be outraged and want answers. One such question: if fighting this war as well as possible so that we could win it as quickly as possible so that we could minimize the casualties suffered by the Iraqis as well as our own men was ever a priority, then wow, these folks have sure figured out a way to make a whole lot of money off this deal, haven’t they?

All I am saying is that Christians should not let their outrage at abortion drive them into the arms of pro – war John McCain, who not only will keep us in Iraq indefinitely, but I am convinced will attack Iran, or whoever else strikes his fancy. And besides, John McCain isn’t pro – life anyway.

So choosing between two evils is a bad deal Christians no matter which way you go. Instead, we should trust God and choose righteousness, even if it means doing nothing and sitting on the sidelines, watching and praying for God’s Will to be done. That principle applies not only to politics, but also pretty much to everything in our Christian walk. After all, if we had all the answers and were always able to bring about righteousness by our own actions, either individually or as part of an organized Christian movement, why would we need God in the first place? What purpose would faith serve? Again, whether we are talking about choosing or supporting a church or pastor, or choosing a job or college, or making a decision concerning your children or in your marriage, deciding that you are going to pick the least among evils because you have to do SOMETHING is the mark of faithlessness.

It is precisely what King Saul did when he offered a burnt sacrifice himself because he was too impatient to wait on Samuel. He couldn’t just do NOTHING, right? I mean, there was a war going on, and he had to do SOMETHING. Right? Well, his inability to just be still and trust God was one of the main things that separated him from David. It was that sort of impatience that caused Saul to seek the counsel of the witch of Endor. Saul went seeking knowledge, and the only thing that he learned was that the next day, he and his sons would die and the very kingship that he had committed so many grotesque sins to preserve would be forever removed from his line and given to another. Think about it, Christians, and do not let it happen to you.

And if you are reading this and are unsaved, I encourage you to choose eternity with Jesus Christ over an eternity in the lake of fire and follow The Three Step Salvation Plan today!

Posted in abortion, Christianity, divorce, family breakdown, Iraq, murder, politics, religion, societal decline | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

What Is Sanctification? By Vernon McGee

Posted by Job on March 2, 2008

Q & A With McGee
Selected from our Questions and Answers program

Q: What is sanctification?

A: Sanctification is in three different parts. There is what is known as positional sanctification.
When you and I trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Lord
Jesus has been “made unto us…righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). So
you and I have a standing before God that’s perfect, because we are in
Christ – that’s our position. In this matter of positional
sanctification, when the Lord Jesus Christ took away my sin, paid the
penalty for my sins, He not only subtracted sin but He gave an addition
of righteousness. Then there is practical righteousness. That’s when we “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). And then there is ultimate righteousness,
“it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he
shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). He is righteous, and
that is the ultimate goal for us. But none of us in this life can
attain that. But there is a practical righteousness that you and I can
grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ. And actually we ought to be
a better Christian today than we were yesterday. In other words, there
should be spiritual growth in the lives of all of us, and that growth
is the thing we’re concerned with today. That is, to live a life that
is worthy of God, and we cannot do that in our own strength. The thing
that we need today is not the gifts of the Spirit; what we really need
is the fruit of the Spirit. And “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,
temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23). How do you attain that? We’re told to
walk in the Spirit, and that’s a learning process. That’s the reason
that He keeps us down here, that we might grow. The business of the
church is to produce spiritual fruit and not religious nuts! That is
the righteousness that you and I need today. That’s sanctification –
that you and I grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you
get right down to the nuts and the bolts, our business as Christians is
to do what Jesus wants us to do. And when you and I are doing that,
then we are being sanctified.

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Praying With Hands Outspread

Posted by Job on March 2, 2008

When the first delegation of Jews returned to the [Promised Land],
they met discouragement. It is at times like this that you let down. It
has happened to many Christians. Someone has said that discouragement
is the devil’s greatest weapons. The Jews let down their guard and
intermarried with the surrounding heathen and enemies of God and
Israel. That in turn led to a practice of the abomination of the
heathen. The lack of separation plunged them into immorality and
idolatry. The returned remnant is in a sad, sordid, and squalid
condition.

Now there are several things Ezra could have done in this situation.
He could have broadcast a program on patriotism, run up the Israeli
flag, displayed the Star of David, and held great rallies on
patriotism. But he did not do that. He might have delivered a withering
blow against the intermarriage and immorality and idolatry by making
speeches, but Ezra did not do that either. Or he could have followed
another procedure: he could have formed an organization and become
involved in trying to recover these couples who had gone into this
immorality. That, my friend, is how we do it today. But I want you to
notice what he did. It is something that we don’t see much of in our
day.

And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my
mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat
down astonied.
(Ezra 9:3)

When all of this was brought to Ezra’s attention, and he found that it
was accurate, he was absolutely overwhelmed and chagrined that God’s
people would drop to such a low level.

Today we talk about the apostasy of the church – at least I do. But
I wonder if we are as exercised about it as we should be. Friends, it
is so easy for you and me to point an accusing finger at that which is
wrong, but notice what Ezra did. He was so overwhelmed by the sin of
his people that he tore his clothes and tore out his hair. Instead of
beginning a tirade against them (which would have been characteristic
of many people today), notice the next step Ezra took.

Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the
words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that
had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.
(Ezra 9:4)

There are many who profess to have a love for the Word of God, and they
have notebooks and marked-up Bibles to prove it. The interesting thing
is that their own lives are marked up and fouled up, and they are doing
nothing about it. They say that they believe the Word of God, but it
has no effect upon their lives whatsoever. They do not tremble at the
Bible. Like the man of the world, they say, “God is love.” And He is –
it is wonderful to know that God is love. But He is more than that. Our
God is a holy God. He will punish sin, and that is the thing that is
troubling Ezra.

Ezra sat astonished “until the evening sacrifice” because of the
transgression of those who had been carried away. Ezra was shocked by
this. Does this concern us? Really, today, how much are we involved?
How much do we believe the Word of God? My Christian friend, it would
pay you and me to go to a solitary place and ask ourselves these
questions: “Do I really believe God’s Word? Do I really obey it?”

And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness;
and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and
spread out my hands unto the Lord my God.
(Ezra 9:5)

What does it mean to spread out your hands to God? It means that you
are not concealing anything. It means when you go to God in prayer,
friend, that your mind and soul stand absolutely naked before Him. Ezra
went to God with his hands outspread. He was holding nothing at all
back from God. The apostle Paul put it this way, “I will therefore that
men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and
doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). We need to remember that in our prayer lives.

–From Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Edited Messages on Ezra

Select audio format:

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Do Something in Your Life That Doesn’t Make Sense to Pagans

Posted by Job on February 28, 2008

From Sharper Iron by Jason Janz at 1:00 am February 27, 2008. 344 views. Filed under: Uncategorized
Author’s Note: For the past nine months, I have been consumed with the vision of planting a church in downtown Denver. This vision has called me and my family to a life of travel, a part-time job, and constant change. As the owner of SI, I have felt detached from the site I started almost three years ago. I appreciate the crew that has pinch-hit for me. For the next week, I’d like to update you on what God has been showing me over the past nine months. I will do so by publishing some articles that I wrote for our prayer partners.In his 1931 book, The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams said, “If, as I have said, the things already listed were all we had to contribute, America would have made no distinctive and unique gift to mankind. But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.” The American Dream has permeated this nation, but it has also spilled across the oceans to all nations of the world. Everyone understands the American Dream, and he pursues it with all his might. While we are familiar with seeing images of desperate Cubans endeavoring to land makeshift rafts on the beaches of Florida in their pursuit of this dream, many Americans are no different. They just look better in the pursuit. But under the cover of well-clothed, well-educated, well-cared-for Americans is a relentless pursuit of the same idea—a better, richer, fuller life than what I am currently experiencing. The pursuit leaves every player exasperated for one simple reason—it’s not the way God intended us to live.

God gives us strong admonitions to live for another world, another country. Our mode of operation is to be that of a pilgrim, not a consumer. When pagans compare our lives to theirs, we should look like idiots in their eyes. But I’m afraid most of the time we look pretty normal. We should have different economic strategies (kingdom giving), different time schedules (acts of mercy; times of personal, family, and corporate worship), different family priorities (parenting God’s way, time together), and different pursuits (kingdom of God, glory of God, people of God). However, I’m afraid that when the lives of most Christians are examined, they make complete sense to the average pagan. Materially, we have houses, cars, retirement plans, and five kinds of insurance so that we can have “risk-free” living. When it comes to our time, we spend more time having fun than serving the poor. We spend more time playing with our toys than meeting as believers, provoking one another to love and good works. I’m afraid that our diversions have become our delight in America. When it comes to what we live for, I’m afraid we display Babylonian desires for the latest and greatest . . . just like the pagans.

This thought has rolled around a lot in my mind mainly because of the reaction that I get from many Christians when they hear about our vision to plant a church in perhaps the darkest area of our city. On one hand, I’ve had very good friends wrinkle their noses when they hear that we are moving to the Five Points Neighborhood, the second-highest crime neighborhood in the city. I’m not sure of all the reasoning behind the wrinkle. It could be their own distaste for the area. It could be that our burden just doesn’t make sense. Or could it be that my life never really echoed a life that was willing to risk for the sake of the gospel? Did this decision seem out of step with my self-preserving bent? I don’t know. I just know that it’s time to repent of my self-serving ways and do something in my life that doesn’t make sense to pagans or . . . the average Christian . . . or perhaps even me. Without knowing it, I have often drunk at the fountain of the American Dream.

Am I scared? Absolutely. I do not want my home broken into. I do not want my kids hurt. My wife and I were on a plane flying to Orlando when I read a story in Christianity Today about a wife who did just what we are hoping to do in the city. On night she was raped while her husband was at a church meeting. (You can get her book here.) That stuff scares me to death.

On the back cover of John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life, he says,

I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader’s Digest: A couple “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball, and collect shells …” Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.” That is a tragedy.

Sadly, this type of wasted life is seen all over the Scriptures. When the twelve spies went to look at Canaan, ten of them shrank in fear even though God had already promised victory. Thousands of people wasted their lives because they valued comfort over godly courage. The Scriptures tell us that when a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it yields fruit unto life eternal. We don’t need more life in America; we need more death.

I want to encourage you to take a risk for the cause of Christ. Start some things only God can finish. Go somewhere where you don’t have all the answers before you begin—not for the sake of danger or to be viewed as heroic, but for the sake of the gospel and the glory of God.

  • Teenager, can you think of pursuing something greater this year than academic honors or a starting position? What about starting a ministry from scratch to minister to those in your school or community who need help?
  • College student, what about changing your major and ministry direction to go and be a missionary to a Muslim country where you face the real danger of being killed for your faith? That choice doesn’t make sense to pagans.
  • Moms, can you think of ways to stretch your children to do something that pagans wouldn’t think a child could do?
  • Dads, what about taking a missions trip instead of a family vacation? What about quitting your job, taking a pay cut, and going to work for a nonprofit organization that is doing the work of God?
  • Pastors, would your congregation say that you are risking something for the sake of the gospel in your community?
  • Retirees, are you using the best years of your life for the glory and work of God?

Someone once said that five minutes after stepping into heaven, we will know exactly how we were supposed to live. I know this—if we simply pursue the American Dream, we will hang our heads in shame. However, if we “fall into the ground and die,” we can anticipate a joyful entrance.

Jason Janz, SharperIron site publisher, is planting Providence Bible Church in downtown Denver. Formerly, he served as an assistant pastor at Red Rocks Baptist Church (Morrison, CO). He has a bachelor’s degree in Bible and is currently finishing a master’s degree in theology. He has been married to Jennifer for 10 years, and they have four boys. His interests include pastoring, reading, and wrestling with his boys. He likes SI because of how it helps serve pastors and church leaders.
If you would like to receive the Providence Bible Church e-newsletter or would like to be a prayer partner, you can sign up at www.providencedenver.org.

Posted in christian worldliness, Christianity, church worldliness, devotional, occult, paganism, wicca, witchcraft | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The Necessity Of Prayer By E. M. Bounds

Posted by Job on February 2, 2008

healtheland.bravehost.com/Docs/TheNecessityofPrayer.htm

Posted in Christianity, prayer | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Less than 10% of Professed Christians have read the entire Bible!

Posted by Job on January 23, 2008

(C) Copyright 2007, Bill Keller Ministries. All rights reserved.

liveprayer.com/signup.cfm

(Matthew 24:35) Having preached to several hundred thousand people in evangelistic meetings in churches of all denominations throughout the country, having ministered
to millions via television and radio through the years, and having prayed
for and intimately counseled thousands and thousands of people over my 18
years of ministry…I would have to say the biggest problem I have
encountered with Believers is the vast majority have never read the
instruction manual!!!

Statistical research shows that less than 10% of professing Christians have
ever read the entire Bible. The church as a whole is Biblically illiterate!
From time to time in my Devotional I will give my opinion on an issue and I
am very careful to always let you know when it is Bill Keller’s opinion.
Most of the time I just let God’s words speak for themselves. There is not
one issue, one thing we deal with in everyday life that is not covered in
the Bible.

How many people are in terrible marriages where one spouse is a nonbeliever.
Do you think God admonished us to “not be unequally yoked” for nothing? How
about those dealing with horrible illnesses because they abused themselves
over the years with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and food. Does God not tell
us our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit? How many families are ripped
apart by bitterness and hatred when the Bible commands us to “have love one
for another,” to “forgive as Christ has forgiven you,” and to “love your
enemies.” I have to be honest. In many cases it is not as much rebellion
towards God as it is complete ignorance of God’s Word.

Like many men, I get a new electronic toy and the first thing I do is open
the box, toss the instructions to the side, and start “putting it together.”
Usually after a period of time when it is not working or I have broken
something, I grab the instructions and put it together correctly. How much
easier would it have been if I had done that first. It is the same in our
walk with God. Many people claim they can’t hear God. God may be talking to
you and you can’t hear Him because you don’t know what to be listening for.
The Bible is one way that God speaks to us. If you want to hear God, just
read the Book.

I know that those who get this Devotional each day are of above average
intelligence which is why I am very direct and to the point. I share things
knowing that you are smart enough to understand what God expects you to do,
I don’t have to paint a picture. So if you ever listened to me at all,
listen to what I am going to say to you now. This applies to everyone, even
those that may have read the Bible cover to cover 100 times.

***It takes an individual of average reading ability 90 hours to read the
entire Bible. That is one hour a day for 3 months, or one half hour a day
for 6 months, or 15 minutes a day for 12 months. Most people make New Year’s
resolutions. Here is one for you with eternal rewards and will be more
valuable than losing 10 pounds that you will just put back on. Carve out one
hour, 30 minutes, or 15 minutes every day starting January 1st and start
reading at Genesis 1:1. One hour, 30 minutes, or 15 minutes, you choose. I
suggest that for those 90 days, or 6 months, or the next 12 months, you get
up that amount of time earlier than normal and do it the very first thing.
Trust me, God will give you the strength you need during the day. Losing a
little sleep will not kill you. Quite the opposite. It will save you 100
times that in lost sleep over the years from problems caused because you
didn’t take time to read the instruction book.

( If you would like to listen to the “Walk thru the Bible in a year” via the
telephone, the phone number is: 1-727.342.5672 )

Now listen, I understand that some of the Old Testament can be dry. The
Jewish laws, the genealogy of kings, some of the prophetic books can be very
confusing and at times boring. Plug on. Don’t get discouraged because you
don’t understand everything you are reading. Having read the Bible cover to
cover many, many, many times, each time is a new experience for me. WARNING:
I am not the Bible answer man so don’t start flooding me with questions.
I’ll pray for you anytime, but I cannot handle thousands of Bible questions.
I do suggest though you keep a notepad of questions and talk them over with
your pastor.

Trust me when I tell you, reading the Bible cover to cover will change your
life. You will see things you never thought were in the Bible. You will see
God’s warnings and promises to help you through tough times. Most of all,
you will start to understand how God thinks. How can you please God if you
don’t understand how He thinks? He knows you are not a mind reader. That is
one reason He gave you the Bible so you could begin to understand what God
expects from your life.

I promise you the time you spend reading the Bible cover to cover will be
the most important time of your life. I cannot emphasize enough the
importance of what I am challenging you to do. Start at the very beginning.
That way you can see God from the creation of our world, to the very end. It
is better than any book or movie you have ever read or seen.

The Bible is our final authority for all matters concerning this life. In
this day of being politically correct, accepting everyone’s beliefs and
ideas, we are in the mess we are morally and spiritually because we have
gotten away from the black and white truth of God’s Word. We have no one to
blame but ourselves. In this day of instant gratification, drive thru food,
cell phones, fax machines, email, Federal Express, jet travel, we want what
we want now and refuse to wait.

We have become lazy which is why we don’t take the time to read the Bible. I
guarantee you that you will spend 90 hours plus in front of the television,
the computer, with the newspaper, or doing something else that you enjoy. I
am not saying quit living and enjoying your life. What I am saying is that
you have the time, it is only a matter of whether this is a big enough
priority for you to take the time.

I love you, care about you, and my heart breaks every day as I read the
thousands of prayer requests I receive. How much heartache and pain could
have been avoided if people would have only read the Book and followed the
instructions. You cannot believe how much sense this life makes when you are
living under the direction of God’s Word. As I say often, our way does not
work, God’s way does!

I will be praying that the Lord really opens your heart and conviction
floods you right now as you read these words. I can’t force you to do it,
you have to want to do it. I will be praying and trusting the Holy Spirit to
move on your heart to take this challenge, even now as you read these words.
This will be the best New Year’s resolution you will ever make.

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller bkeller@liveprayer.com

***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY? The fact is you will
die one day. At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or
be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator.
To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to:
http://www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.cfm

***I am excited to let you know that the Liveprayer Daily Devotional is now
available via AUDIO each day. Simply go to http://www.liveprayer.com/Audio.cfm
Also, you can now listen to the Daily Devotional by phone by calling 1-727-342-5673

Posted in Bible, Christianity, devotional, evangelical christian | Tagged: , , , | 40 Comments »

On Dying To Self Daily

Posted by Job on January 23, 2008

http://www.liveprayer.com/signup.cfm

(C) Copyright 2007, Bill Keller Ministries. All rights reserved.

(1 Corinthians 15:31; Romans 8:4-13; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 2:20)

Dying to self daily is what Paul spoke of so often. It is how we walk in the
“Spirit” and not in the “flesh” as we are instructed in Romans Chapter 8 and
Galatians Chapter 5. The whole issue of dying to self daily is the absolute
key to living a victorious life in Christ. It literally means that you have
to die to self DAILY! This is why so many people who are saved, love the
Lord, live beneath their blessings and in constant turmoil. This is how
people who know Christ as their Savior end up committing adultery, cheat
people, lie, get in bondage to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling,
shopping, greed, and anything else people become enslaved to. They don’t die
to self each day and end up walking in the “flesh” and NOT the “Spirit.”

People wonder all the time how a pastor, a deacon, an elder, someone in the
leadership of God’s church could leave their wife and run off with another
woman. People wonder all the time how a Sunday School teacher who loves the
Lord could neglect her children and family because of alcohol. Maybe you are
wondering how you could be raising your hands to Jesus, speaking in tongues,
and being used by God to touch lives one day, and sinning against God the
next. The answer is when you fail to die to self each day, you are walking
in the “flesh,” not the “Spirit.”

The question that needs to be addressed today is HOW does a person “die to
self?” The first step is an action, something that you must do. Dying to
self is a conscious choice that you must make, one nobody can make for you.
It is the act of surrendering your life completely to Christ. The reason
God’s Word talks about dying to self DAILY is because it is something that
we must do each and every day. Our life with Christ is not for an hour or
two on Sunday, but literally 24/7. It is critical to make the choice to die
to self each and every day.

Since this is something you must do each day, I do it and counsel others to
do it the moment you wake up in the morning. As I first open my eyes to a
new day, before I do anything I take a moment and thank God for a day that
was not promised to me and make the conscious choice to completely surrender
my life to Him that day. I literally tell God to take my life and use it for
His glory that day, to use me as an instrument of blessing. When we get
saved, we not only ask Christ into our heart and life by faith, but we give
our very lives to Him. In dying to self each day, we are reaffirming that
our life doesn’t belong to us any longer, it is His.

At the moment we are born again, we receive the promise of the “Comforter,”
or the Holy Spirit. Each Believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit to empower
them and guide them throughout their life. It is literally the power of
Almighty God living within each person who has given their heart and life to
Christ by faith. As you surrender your life afresh to Christ at the start of
each day, you are allowing your life to be controlled by the Holy Sprit and
not by your flesh. It is no longer you but God that is in complete control
of your life. You have traded in your thoughts and desires for God’s
thoughts and desires. It is not YOU that is living, it is Christ living in
you as Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20.

This whole process takes only a few minutes of time alone with the Lord, but
it is the most important few minutes of your day. When you don’t go through
this process each and every morning, you wake up, start going through your
day, and not only does it feel like the day is weighing you down, you don’t
have that confidence. The reality is, the day IS weighing you down because
you are operating in your strength and not the Lord’s, and the lack of
confidence comes from the fact you are in control of your life and not
Christ.

Sadly, some people go days, even weeks without really dying to self, and it
usually takes the consequences of their poor choices during that time to
bring them back to the Lord. Like I say often, your way doesn’t work, God’s
way works! Let me give you some advice out of my love for you. You can never
run your life better than God can. The sooner you realize that, the more
peace, joy, and abundance you will know during this journey through life.

There is probably no more critical a message I will ever share with you in
living a victorious life in Christ than the one today. All of the benefits
in God’s Word exist and are available to those who believe, but there is a
price to pay and that price is our very life surrendered, yielded to the
Lord. It is a choice, an act, that nobody can force you to commit. The
important thing for you to hear today is that it is not something you do
just once and forget about. It is something that you must do DAILY! EVERY
DAY! WITHOUT FAIL! Each morning when you wake up, you have to make the
conscious choice to die to self, to surrender your life to Christ, and walk
in the “Spirit” instead of the “flesh.”

I love you and care about you so much. The difference between a person who
knows the Lord as their Savior living a defeated life and a victorious life,
lies in what I am sharing with you today. Please, save your money. You don’t
need to waste it listening to Tony Robbins or the motivational speakers of
the world lie to you that you can do it on your own, and you don’t need to
spend it on books and tapes from preachers who preach a feel good Gospel but
forget to tell you about the sacrifice involved. The key to living a
victorious life in Christ lies in you waking up each morning and making the
conscious choice to die to self and allow Christ to control your life.

The fact is, the Bible says that if you have asked Christ into you heart and
life by faith, it is no longer your life, that it belongs to Him. The Word
says we have been “bought with a price.” So in essence, each day you are
only giving the Lord what already belongs to Him anyway. Remember my message
in the past on what really happens when we get saved? We are literally
giving our life to Christ. It is no longer ours, but is now His. The reality
is, each morning when we wake up, we have to make the choice to die to self
so that Christ can live within us during that day. If we don’t do this each
and every day when we wake up, we will soon find ourselves walking in the
“flesh” and not the “Spirit.”

I will be praying for you today. Praying that you will sit down and read
this message over and over. This is the meat and potatoes of the Word. This
is where the rubber meets the road in regard to our Christian walk. This is
the part that nobody really wants to talk about since we love the benefits
of being saved, but we really don’t want to think about the price that Jesus
paid or the sacrifice we have to make each day. You MUST think about it
since it is the difference between you living a defeated life and living a
victorious life. To live that victorious life in Christ, to walk in His
victory, you have to die to self each day so that you are walking in the
“Sprit” and not the “flesh” so that it is Christ, not you that lives.

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller bkeller@liveprayer.com

***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY?  The fact is you will  die one day.  At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator. To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to: http://www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.cfm

***I am excited to let you know that the Liveprayer Daily Devotional is now
available via AUDIO each day.  Simply go to http://www.liveprayer.com/Audio.cfm
Also, you can now listen to the Daily Devotional by phone by calling 1-727-342-5673

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E.L. Bynum: It Is Right To Judge, Expose Error, And Call Names

Posted by Job on January 22, 2008

Original link: IS IT RIGHT: To Judge, To Expose Error, & To Call Names? by E.L. Bynum

Many today believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name names. Liberals have always seemed to believe this, but in recent times it has been widely espoused by evangelicals and charismatics. Now we are seeing the same fatal error being declared by those who profess to be Bible believing fundamentalists. Those who are faithful in exposing error according to the Bible are now being widely denounced, and are accused of being unloving and unkind. In this tract we intend to present the teaching of the Bible on this vital subject.

I. It Is Right To Practice Biblical Judgment

One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7: 1). Every Scripture verse should be read in its context, if we are to properly understand the true meaning. In vs. 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that v. 1 is referring to hypocritical judgment. A brother who has a beam in his own eye should not be judging the brother who may have a mote in his eye. The lesson is plain, you cannot judge another for his sin if you are guilty of the same sin.

Those who cling to “Judge not, that ye be not judged, ” to condemn those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing… ” (v. 15). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? If we know the false prophets, how can we fail to exam the sheep of these “ravening wolves?” All through the Bible we find proof that they should be identified and exposed.

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (vs. 16,17). Did the Lord mean that we could not judge the tree (person), by the fruit of their life and doctrine? Certainly not, for you cannot know without judging. All judgment should be on the basis of Bible teaching, not according to whims or prejudices.

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment ” (John 7:24). Here our Lord commands that we are to “judge righteous judgment, ” which is judgment based upon the Word of God. If judgment is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of God, it is a violation of Matt. 7: 1. Webster’s Dictionary says that a judge is “one who declares the law. ” The faithful Christian must discern or judge on the basis of God’s inspired law, the Bible.

A fornicator is described in I Cor. 5:1-13. Paul “judged” (v.3) the man even though he was absent, and he told the Church at Corinth that they were to “judge” (v. 12) those that were within. The Greek word for “judge” is the same here as in Matt. 7: 1. Paul did not violate “judge not, that ye be not judged, ” in judging the man, nor in instructing the Church to judge also. All of this judgment was according to the Word of God.

A person who is able to discern between good and evil, has at least one of the major marks of spiritual maturity. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). W.E. Vine says of the meaning of discern, “a distinguishing, a clear discrimination, discerning, judging; is translated ‘discerning’ in I Cor. 12: 10 of discerning spirits, judging by evidence whether they are evil or of God. ” Strong also agrees that it means to judge.

Those who are unwilling or incapable of discerning or judging between good and evil are in this manner revealing either their disobedience or their immaturity.

II. It Is Right To Expose False Teachers

False teachers are free to spread their poisonous doctrines today because there is a conspiracy of silence among many Bible believers. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are thus enabled to ravage the flock, thereby destroying many.

John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees (the religious leaders of his day) “a generation of Vipers” (snakes) (Matt. 3:7). Today, he would be accused of being unloving, unkind, and unchristian.

Jesus said to the religious Pharisees, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). To many evangelicals and some fundamentalists, this would be unacceptable language today, but it is biblical language and it came from the mouth of the Son of God.

Standing face to face with these false teachers, Jesus Christ the Son of God, called them “hypocrites”, “blind guides, ” “blind, ” “whited sepulchres, ” “serpents, ” and “ye generation of vipers” (Matt. 23:23-34). Yet, we are told today that we are to fellowship with men whose doctrines are just as unscriptural as those of the Pharisees. Some who say they are Bible believing Christians insist on working with Roman Catholics and other assorted heretics. Yet, according to many, we are not supposed to rebuke them for their compromise.

Near the beginning of His ministry, “Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence, make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:13-16). Our Saviour is presented today as one who was meek, lowly, kind, and loving, even to false teachers, but this is entirely false. When dealing with false teachers and prophets, His words were sharp and His actions plain.

Near the end of His public ministry, Christ found it necessary to cleanse the temple once again. The exposure of false doctrines and practices is a never ending job. At that time He said, “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Mark I 1: 17). Is it any different today? The thieves come into the house of God, and rob God’s people of the Bible and peddle their perverted Bibles instead. At the same time this den of thieves rob the people off the doctrine of separation and the doctrine of sanctification. Then you can hardly tell God’s people from the people of the world. In all honesty, should not these thieves (false teachers) be exposed?

In our day these false teachers have come into the churches with their books, music, literature, movies, psychology, and seminars, and have turned the Father’s house into a den of thieves. It is time that men of God stand up and expose their errors for all to see.

The Bible Admonishes Us To Expose Error

We are to TRY them. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4: 1). All doctrine and teachers are to be tried according to the Word of God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Every message, messenger, and method is to be judged according to the Word of God. The church at Ephesus was commended because they had “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars ” (Rev. 2:2). The church at Pergamos was rebuked because they tolerated those that held “the doctrine of Balaam, ” and “the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate” (Rev. 2:14,15). It is never right to tolerate false teachers, but they are to be tried by the Word of God, and exposed. Of course those who want to disobey the Word of God will seek by every means to avoid this teaching.

We are to MARK them and AVOID them. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them ” (Rom. 16:17). Those whose conduct and teaching contradicts the Word of God are to be marked and to be avoided. This requires discernment and judgment in the light of the Bible. The ecumenicalists, new evangelicals, and compromising fundamentalists will resist any effort to obey this Scripture. They cannot be marked and avoided, unless they are judged according to the Word of God.

We are to REBUKE them. “Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith ” (Titus 1: 13). This was written to Titus, because there Were those going from house to house and subverting whole houses with false doctrine (v. 10-16). Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, and others are subverting whole houses with their false doctrine today. Are we to sit silently by, while they do this, without rebuking and admonishing people to avoid their teaching? No, the faithful servant of the Lord is to be “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers ” (Titus 1:9).

We are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them ” (Eph. 5:11). Reprove means to censure, condemn, find fault, rebuke, and to refute. How can we obey this Scripture unless we try them by the Word of God?

We are to WITHDRAW from them. “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of us ” (II Thess. 3:6). We are to withdraw from those whose doctrine and conduct does not conform to the Word of God. The context clearly shows that obedience to sound doctrine is what Paul has in mind, for he says, “if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet, count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (II Thess. 3:14-15). Paul admonished Timothy to “withdraw thyself ” from those who “consent not to wholesome words … and to the doctrine which is according to godliness ” (I Tim. 6:3-5).

We are to TURN AWAY from them. Concerning the last days, he says that some will have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. from such turn away” for such people are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (11 Tim. 3:5,7). How can we turn away from them if we do not identify them, and this requires that their message be compared to the Word of God. It is the business of the true preacher to: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine ” (II Tim. 4:2). This is usually an unpopular and thankless task but it is the duty of the God-called man.

We are NOT to RECEIVE them into our house. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds ” (11 John 10, I 1). There is no doubt about who John is speaking about, it is ” Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ… ” (v.9). By radio, TV, music and literature, false prophets are brought into the homes of many Christians today. Brethren, this ought not to be!

We are to REJECT HERETICS. “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject ” (Titus 3: 10). We should reject those who deny redemption by the blood of Christ. There are many who deny this or some other doctrine of the Word of God. If they will not respond to being admonished, then they are to be rejected.

We are to look out for those who preach another gospel. Paul warned about those who preached “another Jesus … another spirit … or another gospel” (II Cor. 11:4). How can we know them unless we judge their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God? Paul called such preachers “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (11 Cor. II: 13). He explains in v. 14-15 that these preachers are the ministers of Satan. The God-called man must be just as faithful today in exposing the ministers of Satan.

Paul warned the Galatians about those who “pervert the gospel of Christ.” He also said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (See Gal. 1:6-9). Multitudes today are preaching a perverted gospel. Those who teach salvation by baptism, or by works, are teaching a perverted gospel. Those who preach a salvation that you can lose, are preaching a perverted gospel. The charismatics, Catholics, many evangelicals, and many fundamentalists (?) are preaching a perverted gospel. Yet, we are supposed to cooperate with them in evangelism and Christian work, according to many today. If we fail to expose these false prophets, then we have betrayed Christ and His gospel.

We are to SEPARATE from them. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch no the unclean thing; and I will receive you ” (II Cor. 6:17). This makes it plain. God’s people are to come out of apostasy and religious error. How can any Bible believer remain in the National Council or World Council of Churches? How can they remain among compromising evangelicals and wishy-washy fundamentalists?

III. It Is Right To Name Names

Many mistakenly believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name the guilty teachers; but they are wrong according to the Bible.

Paul named Peter publicly. Peter was guilty of unscriptural practice. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed … But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Gal. 2:11-14). The whole issue revolved around salvation by the law or by grace. When the integrity and purity of the gospel is at stake, then we have no choice when it comes to the matter of exposing error and naming names.

Paul named Demas for loving the world. “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (II Tim. 4:10). Those who forsake the cause of Christ for worldly living and pleasures should be named and exposed. (Christian Rock!)

Paul named Hymenaeus and Alexander. Paul told Timothy to “war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme ” (I Tim. 1: 18-20). God’s true servants should war a good warfare, and name those who have departed from the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Paul is not here discussing the faith of salvation but the faith as a system of doctrine. These men had made shipwreck of it and Paul exposed them and called their names.

Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus. He told Timothy to “study” that he might be able to “rightly” divide “the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth as canker. of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some ” (11 Tim. 2:15-18). False doctrine overthrows the faith of some, so those who are proclaiming it must be exposed.

Paul named Alexander the coppersmith. “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil. the Lord reward him “cording to his works: Of whom be thou ware also, for he hath greatly withstood our words ” (II Tim. 4:14-15). It is clear that this is not a personality problem, but a doctrinal problem. Alexander had withstood the words and doctrine of Paul. He was an enemy to the truth. Godly pastors face the same problem every day. They stand and proclaim the truth, then their members go home and hear this truth disputed by radio and TV preachers. Often times these false prophets are sending their publications into the homes of members of true churches. Then the man of God is suppose to keep his mouth shut, according to many. Only a coward will be silent when the truth of the Bible is under attack.

John named Diotrephes. “I wrote unto the church; but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (III John 9). He related how this man had prated against him “with malicious words ” (v. 10). He further said, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God ” (v. I 1). It is not wrong to name those whose doctrine and practice is contrary to the Word of God.

In fact, the whole Bible abounds in examples of false prophets being named and exposed. All this modem day talk about love, used as an excuse for not exposing error, is not really biblical love but is really sloppy agape.

Moses called the name of Balaam. (See Num. 22-25). Peter exposed “the way of Balaam … who loved the wages of unrighteousness ” (II Pet. 2:15). Balaam was a prophet that was in the work for money, just like some of the TV false prophets today. They beg for money and live like kings, while multitudes of innocent people send them their hard earned money. They are always building colleges, hospitals, TV network satellites, and amusement parks that have a water slide for Jesus. And then we are suppose to keep our mouth shut about these religious charlatans. How can we be silent and be true to God?

Jude exposed “the error of Balaam ” (Jude I 1). John exposed “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 ” (Rev. 2:14). This gets right to the heart of the matter, concerning the doctrine of separation. Balaam never did curse Israel even though he wanted the wages that he was offered to do so. The men of Israel committed “whoredom with the daughters of Moab … and bowed down to their gods ” (Num. 25:1,2). Why did they do this? Because Balaam taught Balac how to break down the barrier of separation between the Moabites and the Israelites. We know this to be so because it is plainly stated in Rev. 2:14 and Num. 31:16. This sin resulted in 24,000 men of Israel dying under the judgment of God. (Another good example of Christian Rock)

False teachers are breaking down the barrier of separation between God’s people and false religion. There is too little preaching and teaching on the doctrine of separation. Balaam breached the doctrine of personal separation by causing the men of Israel to commit fornication with the Moabite women. He breached the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation by causing the men of Israel to bow down to Baal. This brought a curse upon Israel. Until we get back to teaching the truth about personal and ecclesiastical separation, we can expect the continued widespread havoc that we have today.

It seems to be believed by many that some people are too high and mighty to be named or exposed. Men in high places, pastors of large churches, and those with great radio or TV audiences, are supposedly above criticism. Whatever they may do or say, no matter how contrary to the Bible it may be, is supposedly all right. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Nathan identified the man. There was a man in a very high place who was a secret adulterer. Surely this man who held the highest office in the land could not be rebuked by a lowly unpopular prophet. Nathan went right into the presence of David, revealed the sin in a parable form, and then told the enraged David, “Thou art the man ” (II Sam. 12:7).

Hanani named king Jehoshaphat. In many ways Jehoshaphat was a good king, but he mistakenly forgot to practice religious separation. He caused his son to marry wicked king Ahab’s daughter. (See II Chron. 18: 1; 21:1-6). He made an alliance with Ahab and went to the battle of Ramoth-gilead with him (II Chron. 18). Hanani “said to King Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? ” (II Chron. 19:2). We have a question for those, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?”

Yes, it is right to expose error and to name those who are in error. It is right to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). It was once delivered and it has never been recalled for revision. We had better beware of “false teachers … who privily shall bring in damnable heresies ” (II Pet. 2: 1). Faithful messengers will warn the sheep of these heretics, and identify them by name. It is not enough to broadly hint of their identity, for the young lambs will not understand and will be destroyed by the wolves.

TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH Lubbock, Texas E. L. Bynum, Pastor

Posted in apostasy, blasphemy, Christianity, false doctrine, false teaching, heresy | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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