Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Discerning of Spirits

1 Corinthians 12:10 KJV
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

I want to give some attention today to the oft neglected spiritual gift of "discerning of spirits."
1 John 4:1-3 KJV
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.


It seems to me that there is little effort by Christians today to discern whether something is genuinely of God or not. If a man "say" he has faith, the bulk of Christendom tends to simply accept that as good enough and, from their, our only criterion of judgment is whether we perceive them to be "successful" or not.
If they seem like they are popular
If they seem like they have a good following
If they seem like they are making people happy

Those are the things that people think matter.

We have men like Joel Osteen, the pastor of the huge Lakewood Church in Texas. His message is far from that of the true man of God. He compromises subjects like hell and even heaven, claiming that men can have their "best life now."

There are doctrines and there are practices that hit much more close to home even than does Osteen's false ministry. We as Christians must learn to discern the spirits. We must learn to try the spirit of ministries and those men leading them based not upon what works and appears to be successful, but what is Scriptural. And if we do not have the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits, then we need to be humble enough to heed the warning of those who do.

Monday, June 29, 2009

When People Perish

Proverbs 29:18 KJV
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

I remember the first time I heard the idea that this verse may be improperly used by many pastors today. I was in Bible College and a fellow student and I were doing some work at the Exec Vice President's home. During a short time of conversation with that Bible teacher, he made mention of the fact that the verse should not be used to refer to a pastor's "vision" for the church.
The verse isn't speaking about goals
The verse isn't speaking about a five or ten year plan
The verse isn't speaking about a building campaign


John Gill says, "... here vision, or prophecy, signifies the public ministering of the word and ordinances, and want of persons to administer them ....."

Barnes Notes says of this vision, "The word commonly used of the revelation of God’s will made to prophets."

People perish when they are without the Word of God.
People perish when all they have as a substitute are the methods, programs and whims of men in so-called ministry.


People perish when the preachers of our day spend all of their time in pursuits (even good ones) besides prayer and ministry of the Word so that when they enter their pulpits, they just give some outline they got from a book or a sermon they adapted from a periodical.

People perish whenever their preacher has replaced anything with time in God's Word until God gives him a message from heaven.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jeremiah's Fruit

2 Kings 25:27-30 KJV
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;
And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;
And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.
And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.


Jehoiachin was not a good king but he did this one thing; rather than fighting Babylon, he submitted to her.
2 Kings 24:12 KJV
And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.

This king appears to have listened to the preaching of Jeremiah and surrendered to his message.

Years later when Evilmerodach released this same king, Daniel's influence over the Babylonian kingdom no doubt played a big part.

There are times when the reward for obedience to the will of God seems long in coming. But it does come. It is always best to obey the Word of God.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hell and Destruction

Proverbs 27:20 KJV
Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

May we never forget the lesson of the first half of this verse. Men never cease to die; and never will until the day God calls all things to an end. And hell never runs out of room for more souls who are lost and without Jesus Christ. Nearly every age and culture has recognized this. John Gill reminds us of the terms that have been used for the grave

The place where Gog is said to be buried is called Hamongog, the multitude of God.
The Greek name for burying place is Polyandrion because many men are buried there. and
The Latin term for a burial place is Plures for "the many or the more."


In some countries, where land is limited, I have heard that a person only "rents" a burial plot. After a certain number of years the bones of that person are replaced with a new body.

If life is only what little time we have on this earth, we are more pitiful than the animals because we are self aware. We know almost as soon as we are alive that we will die. And for this reason thoughts of eternity are that much more precious.
May we live each day with eternity in mind. and
May we serve the Lord so that others enjoy the hope of eternity as well!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Some Things Can't Be Changed

2 Kings 22:16-17 KJV
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:
Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.


Josiah was a good king and led the nation to follow the Lord. When he saw the Word of God he repented and sought the Lord. But the prophetess said that God's intent was still to "bring evil upon this place." Because Josiah had humbled himself, he would not see it in his day, but it would happen.

There are some things that just cannot be reversed. Years of sin and rebellion against the Lord had led to a people who would habitually turn from God. Josiah's father wrought wickedness and Josiah's son would do the same.

It is always wise and always well received when we humble ourselves before the Lord. But the consequences of sin often cannot be reversed. It is ridiculous for us to expect any different.

We must turn from our sins quickly. We must not provoke the Spirit of God. We must not presume upon His grace and mercy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Love

1 Corinthians 8:3 KJV
But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

In some recent reading on the doctrine of justification AW Pink said, "The first "fruit of the spirit," that is of the new nature in the regenerated soul, is "love" (Gal. 5:22). When faith has truly been wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, that faith is manifested in love—
Love toward God,
Love toward His commandments (John 14:23),
Love toward the brethren,
Love toward our fellow-creatures.

Therefore in testing the "faith" of the empty professor, the Apostle at once puts to the proof his love. In showing the pretense of his love, he proves the worthlessness of his faith." [1]

Often I will hear someone speak of a man who has done really bad things, or who is not faithful to the things of God and they will say, "But he does love God." We are too easy on one another.

Love is a true test of saving faith. When we examine whether a man has faith or not we ought to examine his loves. If he practices love for the world and apparently has no effective love for the Lord or the things of God, then it is not right to say he loves the Lord. Neither is it right to assign him the status of the saved.
[1] A.W. Pink, Doctrine of Justification, chapter 9

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

All Scripture Inspired

1 Corinthians 7:12 KJV
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

1 Corinthians 7:25 KJV
Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.

1 Corinthians 7:40 KJV
But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

Scofield's Notes on this verse interested me today; "So far from disclaiming inspiration, the apostle associates his teaching with the Lord's. Cases had arisen (for example) (1Co_7:12-16) as the Gospel overflowed Jewish limitations, not comprehended in the words of Jesus; (Mat_5:31-32); (Mat_19:5-9) which were an instruction, primarily, to Israel. These new conditions demanded authoritative settlement, and only the inspired words of an apostle could give that. (1Co_7:40)."

There have been those believers in the past, and there still exist today, Christians who hold the Words of Christ as being more inspired than the rest of the Word of God. Some have even suggested that a false gospel is preached when Christians lean too heavily on the writings of Apostle Paul rather than those words of Jesus Christ.

The error is in putting either above the other. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. We need it all to get the whole picture of God's Word.

Paul was not implying that what He was giving here was less than the Word of God. he was saying that the gospels had not addressed these matters and God had given him the continuation of His Word.

Indeed all Scripture is given by inspiration and it becomes us as believers to carefully study and obey all of it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Remember

1 Corinthians 6:11 KJV
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

It is always good to remember what we once were. It serves two purposes that I am aware of;

It gives me no reason to judge.
Truth is the only reason I may not be those things I once was is because of the grace of God and His work in my life. There has been a whole lot of discipline that has gone on. There has been even more mercy shown me from the Lord.
If I am not what I once was it is through no merit of my own but only the work of God's Holy Spirit. I have no right to think of myself more highly than any others.

It gives me much reason to praise.
What goodness God has demonstrated to me these many years since I was saved!
The changes HE has made in my life
The opportunities HE has provided me
The blessings HE has bestowed upon me
I have many reasons to be thankful to the Lord and I want to make sure I express that gratitude often.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Altar That Is Fit for the World

2 Kings 16:10-14 KJV
And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.
And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.
And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.
And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar.
And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the LORD, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar.


What an ungodly thing when the people who are supposed to love and follow the Lord choose instead to imitate the worship of the world. Ahaz is the king of Judah. He makes a trip to Assyria (a people who will in a short while decimate the Northern kingdom) in an attempt to form an alliance and friendship. Probably to secure his nation from the same fate that the Northern Kingdom was facing. While there he sees this altar. He has forgotten that the altar in Jerusalem was designed by God Himself and that those who crafted it were especially gifted of the Lord. He is amazed with the altar in Assyria and sends back instruction to have one like it made in his own land. When he returned home that altar took the spotlight and the altar that God had given them was set back in obscurity.

Friendships with this world too often lead us to compromise our worship of the Lord with worldly wisdom and then to hide those things we know God would have to less prominent places in our lives.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Never Want To Forget My Place

1 Corinthians 4:9-12 KJV
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

Paul certainly viewed the ministry differently than the majority of preachers in my day. Paul was not trying to be an example of success in this world but merely a faithful witness and steward of the mysteries of God. Paul went through many trials in his ministry, including being judged of those who claimed to be his followers. He worked when it was necessary. He suffered whatever was necessary and eventually, he went to his death for the cause of a pure gospel preached powerfully and without compromise or fear of the consequences men might place upon him.

Oh Heavenly Father, how I pray that You would help me get back to that ideal for the ministry!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Jewels Are In The Church

1 Corinthians 3:9 KJV
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

These are some of the most misused verses in the Bible I think. The tendency is to view them as being applicable to individual believers but they are meant to be viewed as applicable to believers as a part of the local church. Gill says of verse 9, "...believers in a church state are God's house, in which he dwells, and which he himself has built..." Again he says of verse 16, "..they being incorporated together in a Gospel church state, were the temple of God..." The Word of God is here speaking of the local body of Christ, which is a church. And in that context we find the carnality of the believer who is in involved in building.

The foundation of Jesus Christ is laid in a person's soul at the moment of salvation. From there the building process is a process involving the church. The gold silver precious stones all have to do with the believer's relationship with a local church. The wood hay and stubble too have to do with his involvement in that local church. A person's involvement in the local church is not mandatory for salvation. But it is mandatory for any degree of reward in eternity.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Power of God

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 KJV
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.


The great battle for both the preacher and the people is this; that the faith we possess is not in the wisdom of men but the power of God.

It is so easy for us to get faith and flesh mixed up.
The preacher wants so desperately to see converts, to rescue souls from the doom they will certainly know without Christ, that he is tempted to use any means at his disposal to win an audience and convince his hearers of the truth of his message. The problem is, if the people have been won by his devices, they have not been won to Christ.

Then we, as people, are so easily seduced by the wisdom of the flesh that it becomes us to be constantly at the awares for the enticements of the flesh. We can so easily be caught in the allures of worldly wisdom that we scarcely know that we have bought into something that is entirely not of the Lord.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Confirmed

1 Corinthians 1:6-8 KJV
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.


While the text only publishes two confirmations a third one is without doubt implied. The word “confirm” means to be established. So we find here a past confirmation and future confirmation and an implied present confirmation.

The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you.
This gospel has not merely been presented and preached to them, but it has become confirmed to be in them. Their testimony has become the evidence to confirm that this gospel has had saving effect in them.

Who shall confirm you unto the end
As the gospel testimony has worked effectively and been confirmed to be in them, so now God will not only confirm that gospel but will also confirm them personally. God will work effectively in them to the end so that they are presented blameless before the Lord.

This implies that God has also already confirmed them.
This is not merely something that will happen to them, it is something that has happened. They are currently confirmed blameless before the Lord.

And it could only be such. The work of the gospel so effectively ministers to the believer that, while they know they are not perfect in their flesh, they have the witness of the Spirit of God in their spirit that God has wrought in them a supernatural deliverance and transformation. It is confirmed in the believer. He knows it to be a truth in his soul. He not only believes it to be the case, he is assured of it in the spirit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Taste For Evil

Romans 16:19 KJV
For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

The Apostle's desire for the believer is exactly the opposite of Satan's offer in the garden. Satan offered Eve the ability to know both good and evil. Apostle Paul says he would that we know good, but that we are simple or innocent or unaware of that which is evil. It is a virtue, not a hindrance, to be naive toward that which is evil and wrong!

But Eve's taste for the evil runs through us all. A Christian parent might just as well say to their child that we would have them to be "simple concerning evil."
We try our best, while they are in our homes, to protect them from evil.
We hope to help them avoid a an experiential knowledge of sin
We desire that, even as they move away that they will remain simple concerning evil

Yet too many young people rebel against their parent's protection (and it is a rebellion) in experimenting with sin as soon as they are free to do so. Their rebellion is not only against their parents....

It is rebellion against the express wishes of God's Word and therefore
It is rebellion against God Himself

And there is no age limit in this passage. That means we never reach an age when it is safe to be wise concerning evil. The Christian who would be wise concerning that which is good maintains a lifelong simplicity concerning evil.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strive Together

Romans 15:30 KJV
Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

This has always been a favorite verse with me. At one time I had difficulty deciding whether this verse or Romans 4:20 would be the passage I wanted most associated with my name. Romans 4:20 is the passage I selected as my life verse, but this verse is so necessary for the success of any ministry. How I crave men and women who will strive together with me in prayer.

The ministry has never been a one man operation but has always been a team event. It requires an ever growing team of players who all see their own position as both unique and vital to the overall goal. A team of prayer warriors is key to the effectiveness of God's work with a man.

Gill says of this passage, "He represents prayer as an agony, an holy conflict, and striving with God, a wrestling with him, as Jacob did, who held him, and would not let him go without the blessing, and had power with him, and prevailed. The phrase denotes the fervency of prayer, the strength, labour, and energy of it..."

The effectiveness of any ministry is likely based upon how well the ministry is able to put together that team of warriors who strive together in this type of prayer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Merry Heart in the Day of Affliction

Proverbs 15:15 KJV
All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

I came to see this passage not as two contrasting thoughts but as a continuation one of the other. The verse is not saying that some people are afflicted and some are merry. The verse is saying those who are afflicted may have a continual feast if they have a merry heart.

John Gill said, "a heart that has "the kingdom of God" in it, which lies "not in meat and drink, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost", Rom_14:17, which has the love of God shed abroad in it by the Spirit, where Christ dwells by faith; and that lives by faith on him, and on the provisions of his grace; all this is a constant continual feast to a gracious soul, made joyful hereby."

I visited a family today who are going through a trial. But this is a family who have learned to smile. So while they were facing some pretty heavy challenges at the very moment I visited them, still they had their smile.

God blesses those who have learned to smile through trials.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Every One of Us

Romans 14:12 KJV
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

This is the great truth that must be ever before us.

Regardless of our backgrounds or personal believes, all mankind will one day give account of himself to God.

But this chapter is more specific than that. This chapter is written to Christians to remind us that we too will give account of ourselves to God.

We will give account of our doubtful disputations
Vs 1

We will give account of our judgmental spirits
Vs 3-10

We will give account of the stumblingblocks we have placed in our brother's way
Vs 13

We will give account of what we have done that is not of faith
Vs 23

I do not want to live in terror of God as if I were afraid to approach Him. But I do want to live in fear of God so that I am ready to stand before Him.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Power of Humility

1 Kings 21:27 KJV
And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

What power there is in humility!

Here is a man who is as evil a king as Israel ever had. Between he and his wife Jezebel (the name is infamous for evil) the list of his atrocities goes on and on. In this very incident Ahab lusted for a property that was not his. His wife, in a cold hearted action, had the owner of the property killed so Ahab could seize it for himself. When Ahab learned what his wife had done, with little or no remorse, he simply took what he had wanted, ignoring the evil that had been conspired in order for hm to have it.

God's indignation is obvious and understandable. The pronouncement of his judgment was immediate and harsh.

But when Ahab humbled himself, God softened the blow.

We could never overstate the power and importance of humility. God casts down pride and exalts humility every time. No matter what we have doen in our past; even if we will still be chastened for our sins, humility will always bring God's delight and best intentions upon us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Grace Undeserved But Grace Still

1 Kings 20:13 KJV
And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.

Ahab was one of the worst kings Israel had, and Israel itself was a rebellious people. Already we know that the people had turned to worshiping Baal and that Ahab and his wife had cut off many of the prophets. God had cursed Israel with a three year draught as a part of their judgment.

But still there is no little amount of grace that God is showing to these people. When Syria attacked, God stepped in. there is grace in that God would send a prophet to Ahab. But there is more grace that God would deliver Israel from Syria so completely that Benhadad, sought the mercy of Ahab.

God is far more gracious than we can ever imagine. There are those we could wish God would judge in some extreme way, just to prove us right and vindicate our stand before God. But even if we are right, God is still gracious. And I praise God for that. What trouble would we all be in if God showed no mercy!

If He did not show mercy to those we believe are wrong; neither would He show mercy to us in our offenses.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

National, not Individual

Romans 11:17 KJV
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

While my thoughts this morning are not so much devotional as educational still they are, for me, beneficial.

I realized this morning that this chapter has to be viewed as speaking to a people as a whole and not to individuals in particular. The context of the chapter is the setting aside of the nation of Israel and the grafting in of the Gentiles. It is obvious that the chapter does not teach that no Jew can be saved in this age. Even though God has set aside His work with the Jews as a whole people, still individual Jews do come to trust Christ, as Paul serves as an example. And though God has "grafted in" the Gentiles it is also obvious that this does not mean that every Gentile man and woman is born again.

The significance of this is that this chapter must not be misunderstood to mean that individuals who have been saved can be cut off from the grace they once experienced in salvation.

Verse 21 must not be misunderstood to mean that a born again Gentile must fear that God will not save him.
Verse 22 must not be misunderstood to mean that a born again Gentile would be cut off from salvation if he does not continue in goodness.

I am once again reminded of some of the early basics of Bible study. In order to rightly divide the Word of God we must know
Who the writer is
To whom he is writing and
The circumstances under which he is writing.

Otherwise serious errors might be preached. Seems so simple yet we disregard these rules all of the time. The result is terrible misinformation and sometimes some serious consequences to would be followers of the Lamb of God.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Never Ashamed of Christ

Romans 10:11 KJV
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Experience and history has taught us that, even in Christianity, there are those whose eventual testimonies are an embarrassment.

The charlatan preacher/snake oil salesman
The man who claims Christ led him to kill his own children
The pastor who runs off with the pianist


And on goes the list of so called Christians who have trodden the name of Christ with their testimonies.
A deacon in the church who is a secret drunk on the week nights
An abuser of his wife and children who is a soul winner Thursday nights

A preacher friend once told me of inviting a police officer in his town to church. The officer replied, "Oh, Pastor! You don't want me coming to your church. I know too much about your congregation!" The pastor did some more investigation and learned that his church song leader had been arrested a number of times for drunk driving.

But while men have fallen and in many cases have made false professions of faith, the one who believes on Christ will never be ashamed.

Never be ashamed of Jesus Christ because there is nothing in Him but what is holy and just and good.
Never be ashamed of the ultimate plan of God because it is perfect and
Never be ashamed in His presence because when we have believed upon Him our sins are covered in His blood and we are given His own righteousness

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Called From Among the Uncalled

Romans 9:25 KJV
As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

Sometimes, in order to simplify our doctrine we deny or ignore truths that add wonderful depth to what God has done in the work of salvation. Romans 9 clearly teaches that God has chosen some and has not chosen others. The chapter even brings up Bible cases that we sometimes like to skip over because of their difficulty to our theology.
Jacob and Esau; God chose Jacob and "hated" Esau before either one could have done good and evil (vs 11)
Pharaoh; whose heart the Bible clearly says God hardened (vs 17-18)


And who are we to reply against God. God is perfectly righteous if He should choose that all of us were destined to hell! He is perfectly just to show mercy upon those He pleases to show mercy.

And God has clearly chosen some upon whom to show His mercy and others upon whom He has chosen not to. He chose the nation of Israel not because they were worthy and deserved His love. He loved them because He wanted to love them. He loved them to the exclusion of the Gentiles.

But then comes this second, most gracious wonderful truth;
God also chooses those He has not chosen
God calls those He has not called
God elects those He has not elected and
God calls them His people that were not His people


It is reported that at the end of one of Spurgeon's sermons, as he prayed, he asked God to save the elect....and then elect some more. He was on solid Biblical ground because that is exactly what Romans 9 teaches. God chooses those He has not chosen.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Christ Delights In Men

Proverbs 8:31 KJV
Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

Scofield's Notes from Proverbs 8:22;
“That wisdom is more than the personification of an attribute of God, or of the will of God as best for man, but is a distinct adumbration of Christ, is sure to the devout mind. (Pro 8:22-36); (Joh 1:1-3); (Col 1:17) can refer to nothing less than the Eternal Son of God. “

The word adumbration means a shadow or figure. Christians recognize that the wisdom in Proverbs speaks of Jesus Christ and teaches us much concerning Him. With that in mind I come to verse 31 and the phrase, "....my delights were with the sons of men."

That Jesus delights in men is clearing seen in God's Word. John Gill states it thus, "expresses the exceeding great delight and pleasure which Christ took in his people from everlasting; his love was then a love of the utmost complacency and delight, and continued, notwithstanding their fall in Adam, though by nature children of wrath, and transgressors from the womb. This appears
by his early engagement as a surety for them;
by his espousing their persons and their cause;
by assuming their nature in time;
by suffering and dying in their room and stead, and working out salvation for them;
by bearing them on his heart in heaven, and there interceding for them;
by taking them out of a state of nature;
by visiting them with his grace and presence; and
by bringing them, through a variety of trials, safe to his kingdom and glory."


Thank God that He delights in us "notwithstanding our fall in Adam."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

It Is God

Romans 8:1 KJV
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

This is the progression of the lesson I saw in Romans eight:

A contrast between the flesh and the Spirit
vs 1-16
Climaxing in verse 16 when the Spirit bears witness with our own spirit that we are the children of God. If there is not that witness a man should be concerned for his soul. There is no salvation before God without this testimony of the Spirit in the inner man.

A calling that is the purpose of God
vs 17-30
Those who are saved are saved according to the calling and direct purpose of God. It is not man's choice, it is God's choice for them.

A confidence that can thus be ours
vs 31-39
With the main focus of that confidence being verse 33. Who is it that would accuse the one who is saved? The world, the flesh and the devil... But so what! God is the one who has pronounced us free! Let them accuse! Let the charge! Let them do whatever they will to the body! They cannot reverse what God has done in justifying and saving us!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Talking Feet

Proverbs 6:13 KJV
He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;

I wonder what our feet say?
The feet may speak either positive or negative things
Gill says of the feet, "the motions of the feet have a language; the stamping of the feet expresses rage."

This passage deals with the feet speaking wicked things. However Romans 10:15 KJV says,
....How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

The implication is that this is active position, not passive.
By use of the foot, the Bible is implying going somewhere. The feet will be busy. They will be going where others are. Whether they are being used to conduct naughtiness or to preach the gospel, they will not be idle.

The suggestion of the text is that this involves thought
The following verse in Pro 6 says, "he deviseth mischief continually." This is something he works at. His mind dwells on what sort of mischief he will get into.

The same can be said of the feet that preach the gospel of peace. This isn't something that will happen accidentally or without forethought. This will be planned. this will be intentional.

Let us see that our feet speak the gospel.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Verify Thy Word

1 Kings 8:25-26 KJV
Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.


I got to thinking about this passage today in view of what I know to be the history of the kings of Israel. God did indeed verify His word, but perhaps not exactly in the ways Solomon envisioned.
Even Solomon slipped from a life of close communion with God
His Son saw the nation split in two, and
God eventually pronounced that no seed of Solomon would ever again sit on the throne in Jerusalem (though He kept intact His promise that one of the seed of David would sit on that throne forever)

Solomon may have questioned whether God was really answering his prayer. In is certainly possible that those kings who followed him (at least among the ones that read the Scriptures and knew of Solomon's prayer) wondered if God would ever verify His Word.

And in similar fashion, we are given to wonder if God is keeping His word to us. Our trouble is, we pray with certain expectations of answers. God always answers, especially when it comes to a prayer to verify and keep His own Word. But those answers often come in forms we were not expecting.

Ours is to trust and obey the Lord. We will one day see that His Word was kept perfectly and to the glory of God.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Friend In The World

1 Kings 5:1 KJV
And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.

When I generally think of the Jews I think of a people who were, in many respects by God's design, an isolated people. When they entered into the Promised Land their objective was not to befriend the inhabitants, but to destroy them. They were at war among both the Canaanites and the neighboring countries all of their history. And in Jesus' day the Samaritan woman testified
John 4:9 KJV
........ How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

But this does not mean that every Jew was at odds with every Gentile. David, who was a man of war, never entered into conflict with Tyre. And if it is true that "Hiram was ever a lover of David" it is safe to assume that the relationship was reciprocal. David loved a neighboring Gentile king! It should not be surprising however, because David attempted to show kindness to a king whose nation had been many times at war with his own.[1]

As Christians we are to be a peculiar people, unique and different than those of the world. We are at odds with the world's system and its prince. But that does not mean we must always assume an aggressive posture or that we must never allow ourselves to have close relations to even people who are unsaved. We might win more people to Christ with honey than we do with our spiritual weaponry!
[1] 2 Samuel 10:1-2

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Faith and Works

Romans 4:2 KJV
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

James 2:24 KJV
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

From Scofield's Notes,
"These are two aspects of one truth. Paul speaks of that which justifies man before God, namely: faith alone, wholly apart from works; James of the proof before men, that he who professes to have justifying faith really has it. Paul speaks of what God sees -- faith; James of what men see -- works, as the visible evidence of faith. Paul draws his illustration from (Gen_15:6) James from (Gen_22:1-19). James' key phrase is "ye see" (Jam_2:24) for men cannot see faith except as manifested through works. "

To suggest that justification comes through any means more than faith is heresy for it makes the work of Christ on the Cross of little or no effect. But to deny that the justified are saved to work is equally an abomination. When God saves us He changes us. Those changes will be manifested in our works. The man who denies those works has denied the life changing power of the cross.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Then

Proverbs 2:5 KJV
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

The fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God do not come to a man who simply says a quick prayer. They are the result of much
Searching
Crying and
Applying our hearts toward them


Too little is made of real soul work these days. We tend to tell people that a simple "repeat after me" prayer brings them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. But the Bible teaches, and the old saints confirmed, that the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom must be striven for.

Luke 13:24 KJV
Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Charles Spurgeon labored a long time under the burden of his sin until one night, during a snow storm; he entered into a small Methodist church house. The pastor was not able to make it, due to the storm, so one of the deacons came to the pulpit and gave a simple message from Isaiah 45:22 KJV
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Under that preaching Spurgeon realized after all his laboring, all he really needed to do was to look and be saved. He looked to Christ and found the freedom from sin he longed for. But Spurgeon did not become a Methodist preacher. Rather, he was baptized a Baptist and preached a more Calvinistic doctrine.

This is what I think; I believe that while Spurgeon was saved by simply looking to Christ, that look was fashioned through the long period of bearing his burden. Had there been no burden of guilt there would likely have been no effective looking to Christ. I believe Spurgeon realized this and it influenced him to preach a gospel message that was more meaty than simply "Say a prayer and you're all right."

To fear the Lord and to know God involves much more than a moment's prayer.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Education

Proverbs 1:3 KJV
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

Wisdom
to be (causatively make or act) circumspect and hence intelligent: -

Justice
the right (natural, moral or legal);

Judgment
a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree

Equity
evenness, that is, (figuratively) prosperity or concord[1]

God's Word provides for us a well rounded education. We learn not only what is wise and prudent but we also learn from the Word of God skills in seeing what is right, pronouncing that which is right and doing so in a fashion that is fair and brings concord between men as well as prosperity toward mankind.
[1] Each from Strong’s Concordance