Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Christian Experience

Psalms 71:19 KJV
Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

This whole Psalm could be looked at as the Christian experience.

The Psalmist begins by
Declaring his trust in the Lord and proclaiming his deliverance.
Vs 1-2

He then honestly describes the battle of the Christian in this world and, though the conflict is fierce, he knows God is near to help him.
Vs 3-14

The next section outlines his life's commission as a missionary and evangelist.
Vs 15-18

He ends the Psalm addressing the promises of eternity.
Vs 19-24

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

They Persecute Him

Psalms 69:26 KJVFor they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.

Though we cannot attach every verse in this Psalm to our Saviour (vs 5, for example) it is a Messianic Psalm, meaning it is prophetic of the Lord; being both referred to and quoted in the New Testament by and about Jesus. That being the case there are two verses that especially seemed significant today;
First is verse twenty and the brokenness of the heart of the Saviour over reproach.
How deeply the mocking and cursing of those before and at the cross cut into the heart of the Lord, much deeper than the spear that eventually pierced it.

Second is verse twenty six which has a doctrinal lesson and a personal application.
The doctrine is that, though men put Christ on the Cross it was God who had smitten Him. And though men mocked and reviled and spoke to His grief, it was God who had wounded Him. God ordained and commissioned the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. Wicked men carried out the deed but God offered the life that was taken for the washing away of sin.
The application would have to with the cruelty of and displeasure of God in man's feeding frenzy on the afflicted.
Man tends to hover around the wounded one like a culture waiting for the kill. When a soul is wounded and afflicted our response ought to be to minister to them and bind up their wounds. Too often instead we gnashing on them with our teeth and tear their wounds that much the more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fight This Before You Fight That

Revelation 20:7 KJV
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

When the thousand years are expired….

Those thousand years are speaking of the one thousand year reign of Christ. And we think of them (at least I always have) of happening in an instant. In my mind I go from the rapture and Tribulation to eternity with the kingdom only being a flash of thought. It has a purpose but I see Satan bound and then released as happening in only a moment's time.
And it is appropriate to think of it that way. It is the mind of the believer taking on the character of God who sees one day as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.

But I was struck today with just how long a time it really is.

What has happened in the last one thousand years is almost incomprehensible to most of us. Our education has provided us with some concept of those events of the last one thousand years, but they were so long ago and so much different than our lives that it is almost like a fiction than a reality. Our own nation has only existed a little less that 250 years and even in that brief period of time (our presidents still only number in the forties) we have squabbles about historical accuracy. There is as much fiction as fact written today about great historical figures such as Franklin and Washington.

I say all of that to ask you to imagine a one thousand year reign of Christ.
• One thousand years with Satan bound
• One thousand years with Christ's literal presence
• One thousand years of sin restrained by the rod of the Lord
• One thousand years of perfect world peace
• One thousand years of peace with the animal world
• No one is mauled by a dog or bitten by a serpent
• No one is taken to the hospital sick from a bug bite
We may presume the likes of swine and Asian flu will not be known

But sin still exists. It is restrained with the rod and restricted because Satan is not there to tempt. But it still harbors in the hearts of men. And when those thousand years are expired Satan is loosed and has no difficulty assembling an army of those who have begrudged the rod of the Lord, to fight against God.

Our sin is a terrible evil and it is focused directly at the Lord. Would to God we would be sensible enough to declare war on the sin that dwells in our flesh before it declares war on the God who dwelt among us to save us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Wealthy Place

Psalms 66:10-12 KJV
For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

It seems to me that Christians in America, might be headed for a time of proving.

Life in this church age is, in fact, a proving time for all believers. But there are undoubtedly times when that proving is more pronounced than at other times. Some Christians have experienced very little that could be called proving in the last 70-100 years. They would say we have been in the "Philadelphia era" of the church, (taken from the seven churches of Revelation using them to describe seven church periods in history) the time of the greatest revival in church history. Whether that is the case or whether churches just got really good at religion that felt unworldly to them but was passable to the culture, I am not sure. But this does appear to be sure, it is getting tougher today.

In the face of these tougher times this Psalm has some instructive word;
First, God's trying is as if we were silver
He counts those who are tried as precious and valuable. His proving is not proof of His displeasure with us, but of His treasuring us.

Second the proving might be intense. Verses 10 and 12 sound terrible to endure
While he treasures his people he spares them not in the crucible of trial. Don't mistake the heat of proving to mean he has no love for us. But neither mistake His love for us to mean He will spare us from hard proving.

Third, the work of proving ends in great reward
I take that wealthy place to be heaven and not earth.
• No spot or blemish arrives in heaven
• Sin is not fit for that wealthy place

It is true that we are forgiven because of the cross. But God is not finished with us at the Cross. We are risen in Christ to walk in newness if life and God has ordained the saved to good works. Filthiness, blasphemy, adultery even lying cannot enter into heaven. Grace has forgiven us. Mercifully and lovingly God has taken in hand to prove us as silver in the fire, til we are fit to dwell in that wealthy place.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thus Will I Bless Thee

Psalms 63:3-4 KJV

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

The word thus would mean "for this reason, upon this occasion or surely".

The Psalmist says before "my lips shall praise thee" and after "I will lift up my hands in thy name." And he says he will bless God while he lives.

The practice of lifting up of hands can become over done or at least improperly done. I will often stretch out my hands to the Lord in time of need or in time of rejoicing. But it is in my private times of devotion. To do it in public worship settings can have the effect of drawing too much attention on the individual (and we have a tendency to like attention too much anyway.) It also distracts from the message being preached and we need to remember the importance of the sermon.

Praising the Lord with our lips has a number of applications;
  • Singing
  • Praying
  • Witnessing
are all uses of the lips to praise God. Giving testimony of God's goodness is another means of praise. And then just purposefully praising God to God alone is an obvious means.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Called, Chosen and Faithful?

Revelation 17:14 KJVThese shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

It is hard to deny that this text has a lot of ambiguity. Even in many if those places where the Scripture interprets itself there is much we don't know.
• The seven heads are seven mountains upon which the woman sits
• The woman is that great city
Truly we see through a glass darkly. There are many cities in the world that are said to sit on seven mountains. My personal perspective is that it is speaking of Rome. But I will admit that I hold to that because my pastor taught to me. Whether that is set in inerrancy, I would not dare to say.

But there is something that does rise out of the haze in this passage. The Lamb is clearly visible and unmistakably Jesus Christ. He overcomes not only the kings of the chapter but the fog that settles in our heads.

And who is that we see with Him? The Bible says they are called and chosen and faithful. It is a reference to we who are the saved.
• We are the called
• We are the chosen but
Are we today also the faithful?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Help; or help

Psalms 60:11 KJVGive us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.

I see a few ways to apply this passage but I want to go back to the meaning of the word help as salvation. There are two different Greek Words translated help in the verse; both are equally Scripture.
• God surrounds us
• Man attempts to deliver us

The basic implication is that of salvation

Truly the only salvation worth seeking is that which comes from God.
• Vain
• Empty
• Useless
is the salvation that comes from man.

And talk about trouble; surely this world is filled with things that bring trouble to the Christian, but none are equal the trouble of hell awaiting the sinner. Help Lord, for there is no other help for our salvation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

God That Judgeth

Psalms 58:11 KJV
So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Surely we need such a day now. It seems that even the Christians question whether God judges in the earth.

Certainly we cannot pronounce what and who and where God judges. I cannot possibly know all that is in the mind of God, for instance, in the circumstances of the Japanese earthquake. But neither must I dismiss that such was a judgment from God.

What an error on the part of the saints to pronounce too strictly what God may have been judging. But what equal error for a child of God to assure others that God was not in any way involved or that it was in no way a judgment of God.

Oh that our world would see there is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Song of Moses in Revelation

Revelation 15:3 KJV
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

The song of Revelation 15 extols the ways, the works, the character and the judgments of God.

His ways
• Just
• True

His works
• Great
• Marvelous

His character
• Holy

His judgments
• Manifest

And therefore who shall not fear Him?

The God of heaven is such a God that it is inconceivable that any in this world would not seek to be reconciled to Him. And the good news is
• That there is a means of reconciliation provided by God Himself so perfectly capable of bringing about the reconciliation and
• That God is willing that all be saved so there is no one who could not be reconciled so long as he seeks it through God's own provided means in the Gospel of Christ.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Then....

Psalms 51:13 KJV
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

David has been caught in his sin. It is the sort of thing that brings men down.
• He has taken in his bed another man's wife
• She has conceived and to conceal the sin
• He has had the man killed.

But it was not concealed. Who would have ever thought the prophet could have known?
Perhaps Joab went to speak to him. Joab was like that or
Perhaps God told the prophet personally, God can do that

However it came to be known, David was caught. The question was, what would he do?

And he did the right thing.
He confessed it to the Lord. Not one of those "I'm sorry I got caught" confessions but earnest confession to God alone. He did not attempt to justify, excuse or run from his sin. He saw it as exactly what it was, sin against God. And he pled for cleansing.

It was at this point that David said, "Then".
What a great realization. His sin had not forever ruined his relationship with God or destroyed his opportunity to be used of the Lord. Nothing in his life would ever be the same because of this sin. And he paid a high price for the sin. But God had not abandoned him and he could still point sinners in the way.

The same is true for the repentant today

Monday, March 21, 2011

God isn't after our groceries

Psalms 50:12 KJV
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

Having to do with sacrifices, God instructs that He owns the goats and the cattle on a thousand hills. He says that the fowl of the air are His as are the wild beasts of the forest. God did not expect that sacrifice to feed Him. He was and is not hungry.

The sacrifice was for the benefit of the giver.
It reminded them of their sin and of the One provided by God to forgive that sin.

The same is true of our offerings today.
While the Lord does use them for the support and operation of His churches, He does not need them. Giving is for our benefit. It reminds us that we rely upon the Lord and that He is our care and giver. It makes us partakers in the great plan of the Lord in this world and opens God's windows of blessing upon us.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Walk, Mark and Talk

Psalms 48:12-14 KJV
Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

We are given three commandments in these verses:
• Walk about Zion
• Mark her bulwarks
• Tell it to the generation following

If we, for the purposes of our generation, consider Zion to be the faith once delivered, if we see it as a representation of our doctrine, our practice, and our hope, then this would speak of
• Walking in that faith then
• Studying that faith so we could finally
• Witness our faith to those coming after us

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Present Help

Psalms 46:1 KJV
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

King David was not only a psalmist and poet but a prophet as well.

Psalms 45-46 are unquestionably prophetic and dealing with the destruction of this earth and the heavens and the creation of the new heaven and earth. It sounds very much like the last two chapters of Revelation. The application for the Christian is that in that day God will be a very present help and we have no need then to fear it.

Religion has developed a present tense mentality which has overcome churches. People inside and out make the responsibility of both Christianity and God Himself to be relevant to present and personal needs.

The fact is we must not bow to this self centered religion but proclaim boldly what is
• The plan of God for the future
• The need of man in its view and therefore
• The purpose of and the good of God's churches

Our need is future. Our true concern relates to the end of this world. We will be glad when the earth melts and we are saved in the presence of the Lord.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shame, Shame

Psalms 44:7-9 KJV
But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.
In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.
But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.

• Verse seven speaks of the shame the enemies of the Lord experience while
• Verse nine speaks of the shame experienced by the people of the Lord.

There is in the Word of God this conflict and it is because we are a people not of this world and so not welcomed by the world but still too much conformed to the world and so needy of God's ministry of correction within us.

How we resist that correction!

Our problem is that we see ourselves as deserving His goodness or at the least, undeserving of His corrections. If we could come to see that corrections, especially for the saved, are always intended for the good thing, if we could come to trust in the Lord, if we could learn to wait upon Him we would find His judgments are always right.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thou Favourest Me

Psalms 41:11 KJV
By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.

We are often self centered in our study of the Bible and fail to see what that Bible really teaches because of it. This passage is an excellent example of that. The Psalm is Messianic. Of this there is no question because it treats the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.

Verse 11 should then be understood to be the words of the Lord.
• He knows God favors Him
• He knows His heavenly Father has approved his sacrifice
How? Because He arose victorious over death.

In a self centered approach to the passage we would say that God must not favor us because an enemy got his way and we did not.
• Maybe an unsaved guy got a promotion we wanted
• Maybe the county denied a building permit we sought
• Maybe a judge decided we deserved the ticket we went to court to protest
God must not favor us because we did not get our way.

Remember first that this passage is referring to Jesus and not us. Remember secondly the context:
• Jesus was betrayed by His friend
• Jesus was captured by an army
• Jesus was tried and condemned to death under false witnesses

• He was beaten
• He was mocked
• He was sentenced to death and the sentence was carried out and that despite that Jesus had prayed, "Father let this cup pass from me..."
(I cite that quotes as another example of improperly interpreted Scripture and not because I believe Jesus prayed to escape the cross. I do not believe that.)

The victory Jesus experienced over His enemies was on the other side of death. We who are saved know the very same favor of God because, no matter what happens today, on the other side we dwell with God eternally.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The power of prayer

Revelation 8:5 KJV
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.


I know the context of the Revelation is future but I am of the opinion that would enhance rather than detract from what I see this morning.

The Word of God twice references the prayers of the saints in association with the fire of the altar. And then we see this angel take of that fire and place it in his censor and cast it to the earth.

I do not believe we need to pray for God to avenge us on this earth. He has already promised to do that. What I see is our prayers rising before the Lord and collecting there together into hot embers before God. They do not rise and die, but, together with the prayers of others glow brighter and brighter until that day God pleases to answer; and then what answers do come!

• Do not give up on prayer
• Do not quit lifting those prayers before the Lord
There is more power in our prayer than we can fathom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tribulation and Salvation

Revelation 7:9 KJV
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

Revelation 7:14 KJV
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


Verse fourteen speaks of those who have come out of great tribulation. We see this as a moniker of that seven year period which shall be worse than this world has ever seen. The suffering of the great tribulation is nearly indescribable and even that description we have in the revelation involves types and metaphors that leave us only imagining the horror.

But the Bible also tells us that this great tribulation will be a time of immense salvation as multitudes of every kindred and nation and tongue come to know the Lamb of God.

We focus so much on temporal pleasures that we often miss the great work God may be doing through our troubles. The blessing of the Lord is seldom physical. But His blessing has eternal dividends.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Awe

Psalms 33:8 KJV
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

The world is reeling this week over the news of the earthquake in Japan. I have heard that it was an 8.9 on the scale and I understand it may be the most powerful one on record. The earthquake caused tsunami waves that were devastating in Japan and even resulted in three deaths on coast of California when a group of Tsunami watchers were swept to sea.

Japan, they say, has the strictest earthquake building codes in the world and still buildings there toppled and two nuclear reactor plants are in danger of meltdown.

I know our world is repulsed by the thought of God's involvement in this, and I know some Christians will point to this as a sign that Jesus is coming soon. I do not want to make more of this than we ought but it does remind me that God is more powerful than the greatest of man's inventions and, if the strictest building codes in the world could not withstand this earthquake, no multitude of men will prevent God's will.

Let all the world stand in awe of Him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rejoice. He Knows

Psalms 31:7 KJV
I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

God considers our trouble.

• Not that there was no trouble
• Not that God's considerations prevented his afflictions
These old saints didn't question why God didn't keep them from trouble but rejoiced knowing that God knows.

It returns to our lower views of God today. We somehow expect that God should care for us rather than being grateful that He does. We have the roles reversed. We see ourselves as the priority and not the Lord.

David, the great King of Israel, was content that God considered and knew. And knowing God knew made him glad.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

After This

Revelation 4:1 KJV
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Today's Bible reading had me also in Psalm 30 and verse 5. Weeping may last for the night but joy cometh in the morning.

John had just dealt with the seven churches and the outline of the Revelation gives evidence that after the "things which are" (the churches) comes the "things which shall be hereafter." John dealt with "today" and then moved on to those things that shall be in heaven.

• If today is the night, after this comes the morning
• If today is for us a time of weeping, after this comes joy
• If today is long and lonely, after this is the voice of the Lord
• If today is worldly and cheap, after this is heaven

So you have such hope? I appeal to my reader to trust Christ today; after this it is too late.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Never Too Late

Revelation 3:19-20 KJV
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

There are several understandings of how the letters to the seven churches apply.
They were letters to literal churches of the day
The message must first be seen in light of what they meant to those churches.

They may used describe a particular type of church in any era
There have always been churches like each of these churches.

The spirit of each of these churches might be found in any one church
Every church can take a lesson from each letter.

They are thought to represent seven eras of church history ending with an apostate church when Christ comes.
Although the fourth is the most speculative and least authoritative of the applications it has merit because the nature of the book of the Revelation is prophetic.

In my opinion each of the four applications has validity. However we apply them there is this word of encouragement: though Christ had nothing positive to say about the church in Laodicea, He did say He was at their door and He did say he would accept their repentance.

Praise the Lord, it is never too late to repent.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Angel of the Church

Revelation 2:1 KJV
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

As long as I have been studying the Bible I have been led to see the angels of the seven churches as the pastors of those churches.
• It is impossible that they would be spiritual angels or else they could not convey the message to the churches
• The word literally means messenger

We have built some doctrines around that teaching, for instance, that the pastor is in God's hand and no one should mess with him. Some churches in Quebec have taken it still further and developed their own peculiar interpretations of the seven letters built around the understanding that the letters are to the pastors specifically and not the churches. That is at least not the case with Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea because each of those letters ends with the Spirit addressing them to the churches.

But Scofield suggests that, rather than the pastors , these angels are messengers sent from the seven churches to see to the welfare of the exiled and aged John. Given the practice of communication we see in the letters of Paul this is certainly possible and probable. It does not negate that these messengers could have been the pastors; but it does call into question the teachings of those churches in Quebec. We need to make sure our doctrines are honestly Biblical and not merely preconceived ideas.

None of this changes the message of the seven letters, interpreted literally. Whether they were to the pastors of the churches or to those messengers sent to check on John, the function is the same; get these letters to the congregations.

And that is the urgency of our day. We do not need to get off on opinions and speculations of the Word. We need to get busy getting this Word of God to those who need to hear it.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Descriptors

Revelation 1:5 KJV
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Jesus is given many descriptors in the pages of the Bible. None of them show more connection to His relationship to mankind than these:

He is a faithful witness
Giving testimony to the image and likeness of God.

He is the first begotten of the dead
Identifying with those who were dead in trespasses and sins but are now alive through Him.

He is the prince of the kings of the earth
A prince would typically be an underling to the king but in this case it is obvious the term places Him as supervisor to the kings.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Assurance

Jude 1:1 KJV
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Scofield's notes on preserved are a blessing this morning.
"preserved"
"Assurance is the believer's full conviction that, through the work of Christ alone, received by faith, he is in possession of a salvation in which he will be eternally kept. And this assurance rests only upon the Scripture promises to him who believes. "

There is an assurance that belongs to the true child of the Lord. It is not based upon his circumstances or his own works but first
• Upon the promises of the Bible and then
• Upon the witness of the spirit of God in us

I recall a young man who came to our church years ago. He wrestled so much with assurance and we sought to help him in every way we could to no real avail. He finally got upset and quit when I said that a true believer knows he is saved. It occurs to me that even in his leaving he showed conviction of being preserved. He knew he was a true believer even though he said he didn't.

Too much time is spent these days trying to asure people of a faith they do not possess. If one is truly born again the Spirit of God gives them full conviction of the same. And if the Spirit of God is not giving them such conviction it is terrible and presumptuous for us to attempt to do it.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Truth

2 John 1:2 KJV
For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

Truth is the dominant theme through the first half of this little work, with the second half being taken up with the handling of deceivers.
• They walk in the truth
• They know the truth
• The truth dwells in them and so
• They love in the truth.

The truth is a reference to our faith in Christ. When we walk in that truth and that truth dwells within us we learn we have a whole family that belongs to us simply because we are in that truth.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Saved

Psalms 18:25-34 KJV
With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.
For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

I read this Psalm (beginning in verse one and down through these verses) the story of the saved.
• We are overwhelmed with enemies
• But we cried out to God and He heard
• He not only answered but did so in most powerful of ways
• He came down
• He became man
• He took on the enemies of Satan sin and death face to face and hand to hand and
• He won

What victory belongs to the Christian! What glorious celebration can be ours, if we take our eyes off of the world itself and see what God has accomplished for us beyond this world. This world was gone to Satan ever since the sin of Adam and Eve. God's plan for it to its destruction. Don't question what God is doing today. It is without doubt always good. But the rewards are all in eternity. Read your Bible looking for those heavenly rewards, not little earthly trinkets. Then you will find more than enough reason to rejoice!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Danger of Faith and How to Prevent it

1 John 5:4 KJV
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Faith is a powerful force. Even when it is not a spiritual faith, it can be very effective. A military unit that believes it can be victorious is often able to defeat even a much larger force, especially if the larger force doesn't have the same faith.
But faith can have a dangerous effect too. Faith trains a person to believe in that which is unseeable and maybe even illogical to the mind. Because of that those who are prone to faith may be led to believe things blindly.
• The evolutionist for instance, wants to believe that the earth was created without God to the extreme that they will believe any and all sorts of unscientific theories and label them true science though the theories bear no resemblance to the rules that even science has placed upon itself
• Those who lead in the cults and other heterodox religious organizations prey upon the faith of people, insisting that what they say is true despite the fact that there is no evidence to prove it is true and
• We who are believers base our conviction on faith. After all hope, if it is seen in not hoped for

So how are we to protect ourselves from the dangers of blindly following any and ever wind of doctrine? 1 John 5 gives us the key. Two words come up repeatedly in the chapter
First is "record"
We have a record. We have the Word of God. When we try the spirits whether they are of God we try them based upon the record of God's Word. If it is in the Bible we accept it by faith. If it is not in the Bible we not only question it, we reject it. The Book is our authority and our sole authority.

Second is "witness"
We have the witness of the Holy Spirit of God which I take in this context to speak of His illumination of that record which is the Word of God. We do more than study the Bible from the power of the flesh. We have the Spirit of God opening the Scriptures and making them plain to us. Here is the key to this, it is then not necessary that we accept what someone else says is the meaning and intent of God's Word. When we have the Holy Spirit we are not dependant upon someone else who claims to be more spiritual or more educated than we are. We depend upon our own study of God's Word as it is enabled by the Spirit of God we know lives within us.

So long as we personally study His Word, and so long as we are saved and living so that the Spirit is free to teach us, we may live and walk by faith without the danger of blindly following a faith that is not of God.

Friday, March 04, 2011

I Hear Ya'

1 John 4:6 KJV
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

The chapter begins telling us not to believe everything we hear spoken in the name of Christianity. Boy has that been neglected. These days just about anything is passed as acceptable Christianity if they put the word Christian in front of it.

One of the tests of truth is whether they say that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. False teachers today are aware of this verse and in many cases will say that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh but they mean it deceptively. They admit that a man named Jesus was called the Christ but they do not mean that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh. I do not think that false prophets are better liars now than then but I so fear that many professing Christians are more gullible now.

Ultimately the telling test is the one in verses five and six.
• If they listen to our message
• If it rings true to them
• If they agree with our doctrine
• If they unite with us in faith
Then we know they have faith in the same God we know.

• If they do not agree
• If they refuse to listen
• If they will not join with us around the message we preach
Then we know they are of a different Spirit.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Help Lord

Psalms 12:1 KJV
To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David. Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

The Psalmist cries out the word that ought to be on the lips of every believer, "Help Lord." David's phrase is "for the godly man ceaseth" but we could plug in any of a thousand reasons we need the Lord's help.

"Help Lord" ought to be the immediate cry of the parent who longs to see their children grow to be godly, responsible and decent members of society.
How could we ever expect to raise our children to enter this world of sin and do the godly thing unless the Lord helps?

"Help Lord" should be the first thought as we step out of our homes to enter the world that surrounds us.
We need His help to keep us from evil. We also need His help that we might be salt and light in the world.

"Help Lord" must be on our hearts as we undertake whatever ministry God has given us in His church.
That we could serve eternal things in the strength of a temporal life is out of the question. God must be our help or else our ministry is just so much busy work. Help Lord.

"Help Lord"

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Beware the Seductress

1 John 2:26 KJV
These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

Scofield's Notes says the word, seduce means to lead astray, but it implies much more than that. A seduction not only points you a different direction but draws and lures you that direction. There is a force, an unseen power attached to a seduction.

And it would be wise for us to recognize the power of the seduction.
• It is spiritual and other worldly
• It is supernatural and evil
• It is nothing that may be combated with flesh and blood

And the field of spiritual battle is littered with the casualties of seduction.
• Christians
• Pastors even
• Whole churches
are being seduced in directions other than the truth.

The seductress has successfully led entire congregations of Baptists down the path of modernism, progressivism and compromise. The lure of
• The best way to build big congregations or
• The new method to reach today's culture
has wrapped her tentacles around these churches or their pastors and they have been seduced.

But our Bible warns us of these seductresses. And being warned we may be armed. The Word of God is well able to keep us from being seduced. If we will view everything through the spectacles of the Word we will easily see the lie of seduction and stay on the old paths of righteousness and truth.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Walk In The Light

1 John 1:7-9 KJV
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What it means to walk in the light. To walk in the light is
To be aware of our sin nature.
We do not merely sin but we are phone to it. Our very nature is to do that which is contrary and opposed to the will of God.

To be conscious of our deeds of sin.
Walking in the light does not mean we
• Ignore that we have sinned or
• Sweep them under the carpet to hide our sin or
• Make light of the fact that we have sinned because it is forgiven.

To walk in the light is to completely expose those sins to the light that is God and to confess them
We should not ignore our sin; we do not need to forgive ourselves of our sin. But we may, under the authority of God's Word, rest in the fact that God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse the confessed sin. We should not forgive or in any way excuse our sin.

We should find perfect peace in knowing that, for Christ's sake, God has forgiven our sin.