Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘sovereignty’

When You Put God To The Test You Get More Than You Bargained For!

Posted by Job on January 27, 2010

Sometimes, we try to put conditions on God. Or sometimes, we try to get God to prove Himself to us. We try to establish parameters or ground rules concerning our relationship with God. Or, we simply try to bargain with Him. We say to ourselves (or others) things like “God, give me a sign.” “God, if this happens then I know that it means that you want me to do that.” “God, if you do this for me, I will follow you.” Attempts to bribe God, manipulate God, make God our debtor or servant, even attempts to figure God out are common for many Christians. This behavior is very understandable. Often it is the result of confusion, frustration, fear or uncertainty, for instance. But in many cases, it is simply an attempt to deal with God in the same less than ideal way – i.e. manipulative, controlling, fearful – way that we deal with people, including ourselves. We are accustomed to using people. We are accustomed to being used by people. We do things this way to get what we want and to protect ourselves, and we may even tell ourselves that having interactions of this sort is a check on our own behavior, a way to keep US from exploiting others! Conducting relationships as business transactions is common to human behavior, and it is to the detriment of many husband-wife, child-parent, employer-employee, friendship and even church relationships.

Now not only are we generally not supposed to treat people that way, but we absolutely should not attempt this behavior with God. God is not human like us. Instead, God is sovereign. Attempting to either lower God or elevate ourselves to the point where we can deal with Him as if we and He are equals is sin. It ignores the fact that God is all-powerful, unique and Creator. It denies the fact that, as the Psalms say, we are the mere sheep of His pasture. It rejects the truth that God owns us, has complete and unchallenged control over our destinies, and pretends as if we are God’s business partners.

By treating God as a business partner, we give ourselves the delusion that we have a fallback option, or a safe way out. This way, we do not have to come to complete trusting faith and total reliance on God to meet our every need, or for God to be the One to determine what our needs are, the One who defines the difference between a need and a want for instance. We think that so long as we can ask for signs or set conditions, that if the sign does not come or the condition is not met, then we have the ability to walk away from the whole deal. In this way, instead of completely surrendering to God through faith and submission, we retain some control. We retain some influence. We retain some PRIDE. Or at least wo we think.

This is not to say that if we don’t like the conditions or if we think that the conditions change, we turn aside from Christianity. Oh no! Instead, if we don’t receive the sign or if the condition is not met, then we tell ourselves “it wasn’t God’s will.” If God does not respond in the way that we want Him to, we then take it upon ourselves to decide for ourselves what God’s will is. By this, we stop practicing Christianity, which is a faith of revelation  (God’s gracious self disclosure of His existence, will and nature to us) and start practicing divination. Now with revelation, we get a picture of God that is accurate, the one that He wants us to have. But with divination, a false religious practice, we get a picture that is false, the picture that WE want to have or see, and not surrisingly it looks a lot like us! By setting a bunch of conditions and believing in and serving God, the result is serving ourselves.

Now a lot of us may use some Bible examples to justify the practices of setting conditions or asking for signs, such as Gideon and the fleece, Jepthath’s vow to make a sacrifice if he received victory in battle, or Jacob’s promise to serve God after he had his “Jacob’s ladder” dream. Well, just because a Bible character, even a Godly one, does something doesn’t make it OK. Witness Peter denying Jesus Christ or David’s incident with Uriah and Bathsheba. First, note that Gideon, Jacob and Jepthath acted before the giving of the law of Moses. More on that later. Next, note that all three had a tenuous, uncertain knowledge of or relationship with God at that  point in their lives. Gideon and Jepthath were acting in the dark period of Israel during the time of the Judges, and Jacob was still a wheeling dealing conniver who was out only for himself. So, their actions reflected a lack of a knowledge of God’s requirements and character on their part, not the appropriate way for dealing with God, and God in His mercy and grace forgave them. However, the negative consequences of this type of behavior and of not knowing God’s nature or having a relationship with Him were still in view in the lives of these men, with the primary example being Jepthath’s offering his daughter as a human sacrifice.

The thing to remember is that when we try to set our own little rules or conditions for how we deal with God, we violate a direct commandment of scripture, which is Deuteronomy 6:16’s “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.” Massah was a reference to how the children of Israel made continual demands of God in the wilderness to prove His power, faithfulness and goodness to them. By continually demanding through Moses that God provide them with food, meat, water and other things when they wanted them, it was not so much that they were challenging God’s power, God’s ability to lead and deliver them, even though they certainly were doing so. Instead, they were challenging God’s sovereignty. They were putting their own collective self-will up against the will of God, and insisting that God had no right to behave towards them as they pleased. Instead of submitting to the reality that they were God’s people and that they were to serve Him, Israel insisted that God serve them instead. This is a classic mindset of the false pagan and animistic religions of the time and place that Israel was living in. God was calling Israel out of that false religious mindset, out of the world (the term “ekklesia” which implies a group that is called out or set apart from the rest and was in the New Testament translated to be “church” was also applied to Israel), and commanding them to respond to the true and living God, but Israel’s uncircumcised, unredeemed and faithless hearts refused to do so. It got to the point where the Israelites actually complained about the lack of variety in their diet, as if the wilderness was some all you can eat buffet and God was their busboy and short order cook! As a result of their refusal to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and their status before God, that entire generation save Joshua and Caleb perished, sometimes in the most horrible of manners, without ever setting foot in the Promised Land.

We probably know Deuteronomy 6:16 better from the lips of Jesus Christ, as He quoted it to rebuke Satan in response to Satan’s temptations of Christ in the wilderness. Another way of rendering this passage can be (and I am borrowing this from the movie “The Miracle Maker”) is “you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Yet that is precisely what was done to Jesus Christ over and over again by the Pharisees, Saduccees, scribes, those who saw Jesus Christ, saw or heard of His mighty deeds but refused to acknowledge who He was. They kept trying to trick Him with questions, such as when the Sadducees’ questions about the resurrection. They tried to entrap Him with devices, such as the woman caught in adultery and whether to pay taxes to Caesar (attempts to place Him in no-win situations). And they asked Him to perform signs and miracles. It was not because they doubted His righteousness, because no one had observed or heard of His sinning. It was not because they doubted His wisdom and knowledge, for they had heard His teachings. And it was not because they doubted His ability to perform signs and miracles, because they had seen Him do so.

But the issue was that Jesus Christ did all those things on his own volition. He did it in His own Name for the Will of God the Father. In doing so, Jesus Christ was giving a revelation of Himself and of God the Father. However, these people were not interested in a revelation of Jesus Christ. They were not interested in a revelation of Jesus Christ. Instead, they wanted Jesus Christ to do THEIR bidding, NOT God’s Will. They wanted Jesus Christ to perform FOR THEM, and if He met THEIR CONDITIONS, then they would believe. If Jesus Christ met THEIR expectations, satisfied THEIR demands, fulfilled THEIR curiosities, catered to THEIR PRIDE AND EGO, THEN they would believe. Why? Because they were interested in serving themselves and their own ideas and lusts and not God. They did not want a revelation of God. They wanted Jesus Christ to reveal THEMSELVES, or a false god that believed like themselves and had their same desires, aspirations, prides, unclean thoughts and sins. In other words, they wanted an idol, an image of themselves to worship in the place of God. Why? Because the true God gives you want God wants you to have according to His sovereign will. A false god, an idol, gives you what you want.

So the people tempting Jesus Christ in this fashion were literally an example of Paul was describing in Romans 1:21-25. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

These people literally knew God. They saw Jesus Christ, the Word of God in the Trinity, face to face. Further, to see Jesus Christ was to see God the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ (and of the Father)! So those who heard, saw and touched Jesus Christ KNEW GOD! But they did not believe. They did not trust. They did not obey. They KNEW GOD but like the children of Israel in the desert, they did not have saving faith in Him. So they rejected Him because He would not bow to them, worship them, and give them the desires of their idolatrous hearts. Please recall that Satan asked Jesus Christ to bow and worship Him in the wilderness. Realize that the tempters of Jesus Christ were asking the very same thing. Give US a sign. Show US a miracle. Get down off the cross. Do what WE want you to do, THEN we will believe you and follow you. In doing so, they reject the truth, which is that we are but the sheep of God’s pasture (Psalm 100:3), and concoct this insane delusion that to serve God is to do God a FAVOR! These people felt that they would be doing Jesus Christ A FAVOR by believing in Him and following them! The One holy sovereign God, creator, ruler, master and sustainer of the universe! They believed that it would have been a privilege FOR JESUS CHRIST for them to believe and follow HIM!

Why? Well, because they were so special. They were the sons of Abraham, the people of the kings and prophets to whom the oracles of God were given. Well, when we act the same way as they did by believing that merely because we are Christians, God is obligated to lead us, guide us, or treat us in a certain way and if He doesn’t, well then we will just take our toys and go home, or go wherever we think that some “sign” is telling us to go! But do not be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever we sow, we will reap (Galatians 6:7). If we keep playing with God as if He is a toy or some other thing of amusement to be trifled with, we will get more than what we bargained for.

Consider Matthew 22:41-45. “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, [The Son] of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?” They were asking Jesus Christ to tell them, to prove to them who He was. Well Jesus Christ did it. “If David called the Christ Lord, then how is Christ David’s son!” That was all the information that they needed to be saved right there. But because they received this information by way of mocking, tempting and testing Jesus Christ, they weren’t ready for it! Instead of falling down and worshiping Jesus Christ and becoming His disciples, what was their response? “And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any [man] from that day forth ask him any more [questions].” Silence. God is not mocked. By provoking Jesus Christ, they received more than what they bargained for, and because they were faithless and not ready to receive the response, they only wound up reaping still more condemnation on their heads.

So please, do not build your Christian life on tests, conditions, vows, oaths, pledges, “earning points”, works or signs with God. That is treating God as if He is a merchant, a business partner that you can conduct mutually beneficial transactions with. If the transaction is mutually beneficial, then what is the role of unearned loving grace? More to the point, when Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay the debt for sins that He never committed, was that a transaction that conferrred mutual benefits on Jesus Christ and the sinner? God forbid! Instead the cross was entirely of grace done entirely and only for the sinner’s benefit. If the relationship with Jesus Christ began with grace on the cross, it cannot go to being a religious or business transaction, whether of works or of conditions. Instead, it begins with grace and remains of grace forevermore!

For we are not God’s equals. God is not lucky or fortunate to have our belief and service. Further, basing things on conditions is not faith. Instead of following God by faith, it is taking one step, testing it out AND IF YOU FIND IT AGREEABLE TO YOU taking another. That is like Peter when he attempted to walk on water. He took a few steps, got a little scared, got a little wet, and began to sink. Peter’s ability to walk on water was not based on his total belief, trust and obedience to Jesus Christ, but instead based on doing so under conditions where he felt safe and secure, that he wouldn’t be hurt. Jesus Christ said walk to me, and were Peter walking by actual faith, which is belief and trust that leads to obedience, he would have just kept walking no matter what happened. But since he was only willing to walk so long as he felt good about it, what happened? Simple: HE SANK. He was in the presence of God Himself and still sank!

Our relationship with God is to be one of trust, submission and obedience. Anything less is not truly a relationship with God, but rather an idolatrous affair with our own wicked hearts.

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Putting God In A Box By Placing Him Under Man’s Obligation

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

Is free will salvation, or Arminianism (truthfully Coornhertism for Jacobus Arminius rejected the soteriology of the reformers in favor of the viewpoint of a Roman Catholic, and the doctrine is associated with Arminius rather than its true originator and exponent for it is not convenient for Protestant free will Christians to broadcast and advertise that the one who came up with this doctrine also defended praying to the host of heaven and bowing to dumb idols) a works theology? 

On its face, it is not. However, we must consider what was ironically a debate that took place not between adherents to the Reformation and those who like Coornhert remained in semi – Pelagian Roman Catholicism, but rather within the Reformation (to use a broad term) itself, such as between Lutherans and Anabaptists. The former reached “salvation by faith alone” and, being satisfied, pretty much stopped. Please recall, for instance, Martin Luther’s claim that the book of James “was made of pure straw” (but accepted its canonicity nonetheless) because of its statement “faith without works is dead.” Anabaptists and others who came out of Roman Babylon went on to appropriately apply James’ doctrines to justification and the need to produce an external witness (please recall that James was only repeating what he heard from His teacher Jesus Christ on this matter, please remember for example Jesus Christ’s statements on the sheep versus goats, and the difference between those who called Him “Lord Lord” that would be accepted versus those that would be rejected?). 

What this argument centered on, truthfully, was the sovereignty of God. Is God completely sovereign, free to act entirely according to His own will, desire, and volition in every aspect concerning His creation that He produced out of nothing merely by speaking? Or is God in some way beholden to and in a sense in arrears, in bondage, imprisoned to His creation in any matter? Both groups held the belief that works doctrines were to be rejected because they denied God’s sovereignty. The idea that if man does something then God is obligated to respond is troubling enough. What is more troubling still is the idea that if man does something then God is obligated to do something that He does not want to do, making it possible for man to not only defy God but actually overpower and overcome God by doing works. This is precisely what the Roman Catholic Pelagian system taught, and what the Reformers appropriately rejected. The dispute between the Lutherans and Anabaptists (and also the Reformed i.e. Calvinists and Zwinglians I might add) were simply over the details. 

Now those who justify works based doctrines claim that they are due to God’s willingly ceding His sovereignty to man in certain areas to accomplish whatever purposes He willed. An example of this: God’s giving up dominion of the earth to Adam, and the Word of Faith purports to seek to reclaim it. Leaving aside the fact that the Bible clearly states that Adam’s dominion will be restored to Jesus Christ upon His return and not the church that awaits Him (claiming that dominion belongs to the church in this time is Origen amillennialism adopted by Roman Catholics), God gave Adam dominion over creation alone, not Himself. Prosperity doctrine advocates claim that the old covenant obligates God to bless those who keep the portions of it pertaining to blessings, some going as far as saying that even the unsaved will receive health, wealth, family, etc. benefits from tithing. Not only did Paula White explicitly say so to Larry King, but new age witch and occult spiritist Oprah Winfrey, who reportedly tithes, is often listed as an example. While this is based on a rather corrupted understanding of the true purpose and nature of a covenant that only applied to national Israel and moreover doesn’t even exist anymore, even if true it has no bearing on salvation. After all, the old covenant was never given for salvation, for even in old covenant times salvation was by grace (but Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord) and furthermore the book of Hebrews makes it clear that even Old Testament saints were redeemed by Christ’s blood, and without the cross there would have been no salvation for those such as Enoch, Elijah, Samuel, Deborah, Huldah, Moses, etc.

But going back to the “works promises” that allegedly existed in the old covenant, please recall that all of those were irrevocably tied to the land of Israel itself, the land flowing with milk and honey. No land meant no blessings, works or not, and the land was freely given to the children of Abraham as part of the promise given to Abraham by grace. So no Israelite ever received a new thing by doing works of the law, but rather was benefitting from what was given to him by grace already. The old covenant was a conditional covenant, true, but the condition was entirely based on forfeiting what one had already been given by refusing to do the works rather than doing works and receiving what had not been given. An analogy can be tied to a wealthy man (or woman) who has a son (or daughter) and composes a will leaving the heir a portion of the estate. If the heir basically behaves, he or she will receive the inheritance that he or she never worked for or merited in any sense. If the heir grievously offends the benefactor with disloyal or immoral behavior, the wealthy person has the sole prerogative to “write him or her out of his will.” Even if the benefactor writes some conditional clause such as “in order to receive the inheritance he must get married” (the plot of not a few bad movies) if the fellow acquires a wife for the purposes of receiving the wealth he would not have earned the money in any sense but instead would have received something that he never worked for and his benefactor had the sole right to give or deny, including the right to alter the will shortly before expiring based on a dislike of who his heir chose as a spouse! So please explain this to any prosperity Word of Faith teacher or adherent you come across. 
 

So then, there is not a shred of Biblical evidence that speaks of God having an obligation to His creation in any area, including salvation. While God certainly gives dominion of some portions of creation over others, there is no evidence that God surrenders His own sovereignty or prerogative to creation in any sense. After all, how could an eternal spiritual God be limited by what is natural and temporal? Even though Jesus Christ was lowered and thus limited while existing in the natural plane upon His incarnation, He was still fully God in the spiritual realm, a fact which evil spirits were forced to recognize when they asked Him if He had come to destroy them!

So instead, the entirety of Biblical revelation consists of creation having an obligation to God. Creation cannot compel God one way or another, and in spiritual matters involving eternity it is all the more important that this truth be recognized and operated within. So then, as free will salvation doctrine places God in a box by compelling Him to honor human decision, it must be rejected.

But wait, you say, it is not forcing God’s Hand when a person accepts eternal salvation because it is God’s Will that all men be saved, you reply. Even were I to concede that part for argument’s sake, what about the other way around? Does not exercising this free will to reject Jesus Christ compel God to send a person to the lake of fire that He does not wish to? Under this doctrine, no matter how God may desire it, no matter how God may strive and work for it, no matter how God may beg, plead, or even try, His best efforts, His very will and volition, can all be undone by a mere creature’s standing athwart grace and saying NO. Anathema that such a thing should be allowed to happen, because even in this one very limited sphere, man is God and God is man. Let it be stated that for any man to have the right to damn himself removes the right of God to damn anyone at all, making Him no God at all, and that is true even when one does not factor in God’s sending His Son to the cross. Please know that a man’s ability to make a decision to reject God the Father sending Jesus Christ to become human, die on a cross, and be resurrected from the dead is no trivial cosmic matter! Believing that it is a matter of such triviality makes God a mere triviality. Again, anathema!

So then, the doctrine that does not place God in a box of being under obligation to creation is one that recognizes that God alone decides who will be saved by His personal decision and command – the same decision and command that brought man into existence along with the rest of creation in the first place – and places man under obligation to obey God. That is something that none other than the tale of Jonah and the whale should teach us. It is more than a fantastic Bible story perfect for aweing children and proving the truth of the Bible to skeptics using apologetics (as in the fact that men have been swallowed whole by sperm whales and later rescued). Instead, this event illustrates God’s sovereignty. God told Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, and Jonah had no choice in the matter but submit to the will of the sovereign God and respond. 

There is an interesting cross reference here. Remember the Pharisees. They came to Jesus Christ demanding that He show them a sign upon which they would believe that He is the Messiah and then they would follow Him. Again, creation trying to place the Creator in a box by making His actions dependent on human desires. (Later, this same bunch tried to compromise and bargain with God by lifting the miracle requirement and saying “Just tell us whether you are the Christ!) Jesus Christ never placed Himself under their obligation. Instead, He stated that the only sign that they would receive … was that of Noah.

God is not obligated to even give man a decision – why should He regarding His solely entirely owned property that He created and whose destiny He controls! – let alone honor said decision. The Bible declares this to be true, and we are obliged to acknowledge it and to consider its implications.

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New Southern Baptist President Johnny Hunt Claims Everyone Is Elect

Posted by Job on June 11, 2008

New SBC President…sigh

Johnny Hunt is the pastor of Republican Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, who held a universalist prayer for rain last year: MEMBERS OF ALL RELIGIONS WERE INVITED. In the post below, I wondered why Perdue’s pastor – whom I had no idea was so prominent in the Southern Baptist Convention; apparently he could have been a president in the past but withdrew from consideration at the last minute – did not discipline him for publicly participating in a prayer with the heathen (and not praying in the Name of Jesus Christ) a clear violation of “thou shalt have no other gods besides me” principle of scripture.

Sonny Perdue: More Republican Universalism

Hey, I am going to be fair. I am not going to claim that Perdue’s actions – and Johnny Hunt’s failure to so much as speak against them – are the result of his pastor Johnny Hunt’s Arminianism. Still, it just strikes me as, well, a curious coincidence is all. In any event, here is what brother John Sorrell has on the post that I linked to about the new SBC president’s doctrines.

Hunt on Election

Hunt and the Doctrines of Grace

Johnny Hunt on the Sovereignty of God

Posted in Calvinism, Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Can We Do Anything To Speed The Return Of Jesus Christ? Why I Say NO!

Posted by Job on November 20, 2007

Up until very recently I sincerely felt that Christians could speed the return of Jesus Christ by doing works, such as spreading the gospel. But now I find out by reading “Messiah In The Old Testament” by the (rather liberal but still orthodox) Walter Kaiser out that the Pharisees had that same error. They were correct in presuming that their failure to keep the law resulted in their nation being sent into captivity and subjected to brutal subjugation. They were correct that the prophets who foretold their current fate also spoke of a coming Messiah. So then, what was their error? A perfectly understandable mistake: that if disobeying the law caused them to lose their nation, monarchy, and sovereignty, then keeping the law would cause these things to be restored by the Messiah that their prophets spoke of. Of course, the natural progression was that the Jews could speed the return of the Messiah by being VERY ZEALOUS, but that being “less than zealous” would hinder his coming. That is why their actions against Jesus Christ, who like John Hagee His being Messiah they rejected, were very understandable … they thought that His using His influence with the people to disobey their interpretation of the law was hindering the restoration of Israel and the Messianic age.

This belief did not die, incidentally. The reason why Jews went from tolerating Jesus Christ’s Jewish followers as a sect within Judaism (if an errant bothersome one … though they far from the only ones considered errant and bothersome) to expelling them from their synagogues as apostates and heretics was because they were ultimately scapegoated for the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and Jerusalem in 117 AD. Why? Because they were following the Man who taught them to disobey the law, causing God to punish us as He did in 586 BC. (Of course, this is not said directly, instead they say that the reason why the second temple was destroyed was “the lack of unity.”) And though this is similarly rarely spoken of, some Jewish leaders blamed the Holocaust on a number of Jews going after secularism and liberalism (Conservative and Reform Judaism) and a general failure to keep the Sabbath. And to this day, the goal of rabbinic Judaism is to cause God to grant the Jewish nation their Messiah.

Is it an oversimplification to say that the Pharisees were too preoccupied and self – assured in their doctrines that they could bring cause the Messiah to come through works that they did not recognize the Messiah when He came to them not by their works to do their Will but by God’s grace to do God’s Will? For it must be said: the Word of God says that if a man labors, he must reap the benefits thereof. If even the ox that treads the corn should not be muzzled, how much more so should a man that labors be? So the inevitable conclusion is that with anything that man produces with works, man can take some credit for it. Man can take some ownership of it. Man can have some control over it. As such, the Messiah produced by works would have been THEIR Messiah to do THEIR Will, even if only least in part. So when Jesus Christ came to do not their Will in any sense but God’s, and was so not owned by or beholden to man that He did no so much as have a human father, they rejected Him because He was not the creation of their own hands. Nay, He was not the creation of ANY, but rather the uncreated God, the Word of the Trinity.

That is why our own salvation cannot be the result of works. If we labored in any least sense, in any jot or tittle, then that would give us that much ownership rights and control over our souls. That would deprive God not only of His due glory, but His ownership rights as our sole creator and sole managers of our destiny. And since works produce works, it would give preachers and evangelists ownership rights over those converted by their efforts! Now imagine the effect of this … the great masses of the redeemed dwelling with God in heaven, not only with each having a claim on himself and many having claims on others, but the combined net worth effect of their collective claims! For eternity! (Believe in interest perhaps?) So I say “God forbid!” Such a thing cannot not be and will not be. What say you?

And that brings us to the Imminent return of our Lord and Savior Y’shua HaMashiach, better known as Jesus Christ. If it were possible to facilitate or speed His return by the gospel or any other works, we would have a claim on His Return and Him with it! Since all things were created by the Word (John 1:3) through Him we would have a claim on the entire creation. And since He is one with the Holy Spirit, we would through Him have a claim on the Holy Spirit. And since He is one with the Father, we would through Him have a claim on the Father. And because sinful man would have a valid legal claim on the Father, the Father would no longer be holy and no longer sovereign. The result? He would be a false god, no god at all! God forbid that such a thing should happen. So now, Christian, do you see the error of works based theology?

Yet works based theology is alive and well in Christendom, and it is not limited to the Roman Catholic Church. It is alive and well in the Protestant movement too. Let me give you three ways.

1. Tithing. The practice was for the Old Testament only and for a specific purpose: to support the priests who stood before God’s presence as man’s mediator. The Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ is our priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. From that, if you continue to tithe to your pastor or church, two things can reasonably be inferred. A. It is your pastor and your church and not Jesus Christ that is the mediator between you and the Father. Please realize that such is the position of the Roman Catholic Church. I cannot help but – after a somewhat whimsical fashion – wonder if Matthew 23:9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” is a prophetic polemic against the Roman Catholic practice to come. B. That Jesus Christ either never came, never died, or never resurrected. Those who continue this practice in ignorance of the truth do so in ignorance of the truth. But to those that have come into the knowledge of the truth, new covenant giving is to be directed by 2 Corinthians 9:7 which reads: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

2. The prosperity/Word of Faith movement, where we are taught that we receive things from God not according to grace, but by works. The prosperity doctrine the works are actually somewhat indirect through obedience (to quote Jesse DuPlantis, “the prosperity doctrine is an obedience doctrine”) and compulsory giving (John Hagee teaches that those who do not tithe will have their wages cursed by God, and that you will receive a greater blessing for giving to Jews and Israel than elsewhere). But the Word of Faith movement is more direct in telling people that you can bit a bridle and harness in the mouth of God, hop upon His back, and drive and command Him to use His Power to control nature and history as you see fit! It was from Albert Pendarvis of http://www.radiomissions.org – who ironically is located a few miles away from Jesse DuPlantis – whom I first heard warn Christians against those preachers that were “commanding God, not respecting Him, and misusing His Name” in the charismatic movement, especially the faith healers. Of course I was a full gospel Kenneth Hagin Word of Faith/prosperity adherent at the time so I rejected him at the time, but now I must acknowledge the truth in his preaching in this matter. These doctrines deny grace and try to co – opt, manipulate, and control God.

3. Christian Zionism. If you are a dispensational pre – tribulation rapture doctrine adherent, I shall not speak against you for believing in that doctrine. What I do speak against is how so many pastors who hold this view teach that we can speed or facilitate the return of Jesus Christ based on it! For instance, some Christians are helping finance the return of Jews to Israel. But the Bible says that it is the Messiah’s job to do this in Jeremiah 23:3-6. Some Christians are helping Jews breed red heifers so that the Jews can restart their sacrifices in the temple. Why are we facilitating that which we no there is no profit but instead is a snare, an act of rebellion against everything that Hebrews says? Are we helping the Muslims practice their religion? Why not? Are they not the children of Abraham too? Are we aiding the Hindus, Mormons, and Scientologists in their abominations? Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh, die on the cross for our sins, and rise again on the third day or not? Did He do such a thing for the Jew first and then the Gentile or did He not? Are we ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Jews’ presence? For the Jews’ sake? Well what John Hagee is now preaching is merely the fruition, the logical conclusion of that mindset!

And speaking of John Hagee, it is not enough to speak of his dual covenant theology, though it is bad. Hagee, Robertson, and their fellow travelers use “defending Israel” as an license to justify whatever level of atrocity and militarization of the Middle East they desire. With Hagee, his running a “Christian AIPAC” gives a third tier televangelist from San Antonio great wealth and power. And as for Robertson, who does own oil interests, how much is his personal wealth increased by oil being over $100 a barrel? And how much higher will the price of oil go if our government assassinates Hugo Chavez as Pat Robertson suggested? How much higher will it go if we invade Iran as Hagee demands? Now Hagee prophesied (back when I was a fan of his show) that we would be at war with Iran by now and that Jesus Christ would come back a few months later. Put all the details in his best – selling books. A false prophet that no one has held accountable? Of course!

But consider what would happen if Hagee was RIGHT. That would mean that it would be possible for even crooks, liars, thieves, and false prophets to have a claim on God if works doctrines be true. Though they are false preachers, the gospel is preached through these fellows, and people are saved by it. But you can see the effects of people perceiving works doctrines to be true? These pastors have tens, possibly hundreds, of millions of people at their command, onward Christian soldiers marching to war! Blood, violence, disease, starvation, death, and poverty for the many. All for the profit of a few. Is that the gospel of Jesus Christ? Maybe a false Jesus Christ that you can own through works, but not the true Jesus Christ obtained only by grace. We are to show love to God’s people and His holy city, certainly, but the way that the Bible tells us to. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Support the legitimate needs of Jews out of love and obedience to God, not expecting blessings in return or in support of a political agenda. And to also give aid to the Palestinians so as to not show partiality.

So in the final analysis we must come to the conclusion that man can do nothing to speed the return of Jesus Christ. No one knows the day or the hour. Jesus Christ is returning when the Father sees fit. The sovereign God will determine when Christ will return. God is not hindered by man, He is not frustrated by man, He is not dependent upon man. God is sovereign. 2 Peter 3:9 declares that it is by the grace of God and not the works of man that has hindered the coming of Jesus Christ to this day, and it will be by that same grace that Jesus Christ comes to rescue the church from this life and punish all else for its uncleanness. Yes, it is said that Christ will not return until the gospel is preached throughout the world, and that does mean that evangelism and missionary work should be done in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth from the least to the greatest, the youngest to the oldest. But even that will not be our doing lest any man should boast, but rather God’s doing. I am going to co – opt the words that so offended the renowned missionary William Carey and say that when it pleases God to evangelize the world He will do it without your help or mine. He will do it without the ecumenical movements. He will do it without the TBN satellites that Paul Crouch asserted in one of his mass mailings was the angel flying around the world proclaiming the gospel in Revelation 14:6.

The sovereign God will do this by His grace! And when history comes to a close, all creation will see that God does not need us. Instead, it is we that need Him. The only question is whether people realize this in due time or in past time. Those who do so in due time will receive eternal life as a reward. Those who fail? Eternal wrath and destruction. Will you do so know? Will you bow before the Great King of creation, acknowledge that you need Him, and submit yourself to Him? I urge you to do so now, for tomorrow is not promised. There are many people that were here yesterday that presumed that they would be here today that are not. Are you better than they are? If so, how? I say this not to frighten or manipulate you but rather because I am concerned about you, and also because it is undeniably true. If you have not acknowledged the sovereignty of God, please do so. Follow The Three Step Salvation Plan right now.

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