Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What God Can't Do

Titus 1:2 KJV
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

With God nothing is impossible. But that doesn’t not mean that there are things God cannot do. This verse tells us specifically that God cannot lie. I would like to suggest a short list of things God cannot do:
  • God cannot lie
  • God cannot sin
  • God cannot be wrong
  • God cannot fail
  • God cannot change

Speaking specifically about the promise of eternal life, the Bible says God cannot lie. The assurance of eternal life is rooted in this truth. What God has promised must come to pass because God cannot lie. He has promised "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Because He cannot lie, that promise is a sure thing. Of course, there are proviso's, conditions if you will:
One must confess that Jesus is who the Bible claims Him to be
One must believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead
One must humbly admit that he is a sinner and
One must repent of sin

Calling upon the name of the Lord is not a magic phrase which, if spoken, binds God to do what God would not personally choose to do. It is really the result or outgrowth of what is already happening in the heart and soul of the sinner: 
Realizing his condemnation
Recognizing Christ's gift, through the Gospel
Receiving by faith the efficacy of this Gospel
the sinner calls upon the name of the Lord and is saved. 

And that is a promise which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Glory For Ever

2 Timothy 4:18 KJV
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul ascribes glory and praise to the Lord for two things:
  • For delivering him from every evil work
  • For preserving him unto His heavenly kingdom

The two are closely related because he would come unto that heavenly kingdom through execution. Paul's deliverance from the evil work was through death by the hands of ungodly men whose attempt was to stifle the spread of the Gospel. His preservation unto God's heavenly kingdom was through grace to stand for Christ through such an evil day.

God is glorious in whatever His plan is for our lives. 
  • Sometimes it is to deliver us from trials
  • Sometimes it is to preserve us through them

But in every case it can and should be said, "to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Prophet vs Prophet

Jeremiah 25:15 KJV
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.

Jeremiah the prophet spent much of his ministry in conflict with other prophets, including this Hananiah. 
  • Jeremiah had heard from God. His message was meant to save the people. 
  • Hananiah and others like him had found the value of religion. His message was meant to procure the favor of leadership and the popular opinion for personal benefit.
Every preacher of God's Word finds himself in that same battle today. There are those, however sincere they may believe themselves to be, who have stepped away from serving God in preference to serving the popular movement. They are cogs in the machine of a Christian program and their first priority is the success of the program because that is what brings them the greatest personal success. The preacher must stand in opposition to that. His task is to bring people to the truth of God's Word. He seeks their salvation and not his comfort.

Hananiah lost the one thing he was after. So too it will be for those preachers who sell themselves to religious movements. Seeking success in this world, they will find they have lost true treasure in heaven.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lawful Work

2 Timothy 2:5 KJV
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

We must be careful to not read this passage too casually. The verse is a warning to Christians and preachers in particular, it is not that you strive and serve God or even that you do so with apparent success; the great question when we stand before the Lord will be, did we strive lawfully?

The Arminian influence has us many Christians to conclude that God is helpless without us. While it is true that He has purposely limited Himself in that He only works through human instrumentality (He doesn't post His messages in the clouds or write them in the patterns of animal hides) it is not true that the work God must be accomplished at any cost. God's work must be accomplished God's way or the reward is temporal at best. I remind you, preacher, that the reward of faith is not:
  • The approval of peers
  • The invitation to preach in large venues or even
  • The call to pastor a chance church that can afford a full time salary
The reward is a crown awaiting in heaven. Labor for that crown is predicated on lawful work. It's not: 
  • Numbers
  • Name
  • Recognition
  • Success
  • Comfort
  • Influence 

or a myriad of other prizes so sought for today that wins one the crown. That can only be obtained through (Biblically) lawful labor.

Friday, September 26, 2014

New Youtube channel

New Youtube channel for the preaching services of Bible Baptist Church of Puyallup

The Power of the Word

Jeremiah 23:21-22 KJV
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

God calls specific persons to specific ministries. Sometimes people take it upon themselves to take up rolls that God has not called them to. It was so with these who assumed the roll of prophet when god had not sent them. They were not here excused for running where God had not placed them. They were in the wrong. But the worse of it is that they not only presumed the roll, but they misused the function. 
  • They did not obey His counsel
  • They did not give the people God's words

If they had at least been truthful with the Word of God people could have profited from their work. As it was, they disobeyed and the people were the worse for it.

We have here an evidence of the power of the Word of God. 
  • The disobedient Christian
  • The backslidden believer even
  • The lost and carnal man

can be a spiritual profit to others if they give people the Word of God. It does not excuse their condition nor does it win them points with God. but it will profit those who hear.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Difference in Priorities

1 Timothy 6:9-11 KJV
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

The difference in priorities of the worldly versus the godly is clearly seen in these few verses.
The worldly would be rich
The priority and focus of their life is on possessions and material things. It is temporal, appeals to the flesh and has no value but for the moment. Paul says to set these things as the priority of one's life is a snare which leads men to destruction. Ultimately they err from the faith.

The godly would flee such things
Paul urges us instead to pursue:
  • Righteousness
  • Godliness
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Patience and
  • Meekness

These are much different goals than those of the worldings and, though thought foolish by the world, will lead to much more positive fruit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Worse than Alone

1 Timothy 5:5-6 KJV
Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

I understand that the passage is speaking specifically about widows, but there is a truth that I believe is may be applied across the board. I see it in the two terms:
  • Desolate
  • Dead
The term desolate means alone. It is one of the most terrible feelings a person can experience in this life. God said "It is not good that the man should be alone." We all do better in a community and better yet in a relationship, especially with a mate. To be without husband, children or even nieces and nephews is a desolate circumstance indeed. But there is something worse.

Verse six opens with the word "But". It immediately tells us that this passage is in contrast with the one previous. The widow indeed is desolate but she is in good stead so long as she trusts God. The one who lives in pleasure is not desolate but dead. This one has no life at all. While she may breath and eat, and have company, she is none the less without life and without God.

The truth is this; the person who trusts God, even if they are forced to do so alone, is in a much better place than the person who has all that this life can offer, including family and friends, if they have all of that but do not have a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Good Minister

1 Timothy 4:6 KJV
If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

Every preacher wants to be good at his job. The trouble is coming up with a definition of good that is biblical rather than worldly centered. 

All of us have different ideas concerning what makes a good minister:
  • Is he a great soul winner?
  • Is he a great public speaker?
  • Is he a great people person?
  • Is he compassionate in times of sorrow?
  • Is he thoughtful?
  • Is he hospitable?
Someone might think a good minister is one who is outstanding at caring during the times of the loss of a loved one. Another might think a good minister is one who is able to make a wedding service sparkle.

Paul says that the definition of a good minister is one who is able to "put the brethren in remembrance" of those things especially brought up in verses 1-5 concerning the latter times. The minister's first and foremost occupation then would be to keep the believers aware of the tendency to slip into false doctrines. This tendency will become increasingly powerful as we approach the return of Christ and thus Christians will need increased vigilance to prevent it. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's a Mystery

1 Timothy 3:9 KJV
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

The whole concept of faith is a mystery.
  • It is a mystery why God would love sinners enough to care to save us
  • It is mystery how God could become man
  • It is a mystery that this one man, God though He is, could carry our sins upon His own body
  • It is a mystery how professing Christ could lead to forgiven sins and
  • It is a mystery how such a profession changes a man to a new creature

But two millennia of Christian testimony confirms that this mystery is reality.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Fight No One Wants

Jeremiah 21:5 KJV
And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.

This s a battle I would not want to enter.
  • It is tough to do battle at all
  • It is heartbreaking to battle with someone you love
  • It is devastating to battle an enemy
  • It is terrifying to battle an opponent that is stronger than you
To have to fight God, this is the battle no man would want and no man can win. But here it is, God says to these Jews, He Himself would fight against them. The Bible says of the unsaved person that he is at enmity with God. He is literally in a battle in which God fights against him.

But it doesn't have to be so. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God's love compelled Him to provide a Saviour from this battle for anyone who would by faith come to Him.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Naming Names

1 Timothy 1:20 KJV
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

I notice three things:
Paul named names
He was not afraid to call a person out by name.  He did not do this every time, but he did it when it was appropriate.

Paul brought severe judgment
To devil unto Satan would be thought a deplorable and over the top sort of act today. Paul didn't think so. We may see less spiritual growth today that we ought because we are simply too kind.

Paul's goal was good
As severe as this might have seemed, Paul was not mean spirited. He longed to see these men 
  • Repent
  • To grow past their sin
  • To move on in a spiritual life
We hear nothing as to the results of this action but we do have the results of a similar action in 1 Corinthians 5. In that case there was repentance and restoration.

We can hope the same happened here. 

We can pray similar action would bring similar results today.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Pastor

Jeremiah 17:16 KJV
As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.

The word pastor or pastors is only found nine times in the Bible. Eight of those times is in the Old Testament and each of those eight is in the book of Jeremiah. He refers to the pastors almost always negatively. But this once we find it used in the most positive way; Jeremiah identifies himself as a pastor and claims that is means to follow the Lord. Jeremiah's point is that he had not taken this role too hastily, had only done it after the leading of the Lord and saw himself in this role as a follower of the Lord.

The term is only used one time in the New Testament (though the concept of the pastor as a shepherd is used many times in the Epistles) and that very positively. I suspect Baptists began using this term for the shepherd of their congregations because of it connection with Jeremiah.

  • It is a role taken only after God's obvious leadership
  • It is an office accepted with caution and humble dependence upon the Lord
  • It is a position under the Lord Jesus Christ; not so much a position of leadership but followship
  • It is a position of equipping in the local church
  • It is a not to be take lightly as is noted by the negative references throughout Jeremiah's book.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Obtain the Glory of God

2 Thessalonians 2:14 KJV
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I read in this God's answer to Romans 3:23 KJV
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

  • We enter this world short of the glory of God.
  • We are conformed into a worldly image that is short of the glory of God
  • We behave in a manner that proves we come short of the glory of God
  • We may attempt to reform ourselves but that always comes short of the glory of God
  • We might devote our lives to a worthy cause but that comes short of the glory of God
  • We might join a church or some other religious organization but that comes short of the glory of God
But when we receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ and call out to Him for salvation, we then obtain that beautiful prize; the glory of God.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This is Admirable

2 Thessalonians 1:10 KJV
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Concerning the phrase, "admired in all them that believe" Albert Barnes writes, “The general idea is, that Christ in that day will be manifested in a glorious manner, and that the source of his highest triumphs will be what is seen in the saints. His main honor when he returns to the world will not be the outward splendors which will attend his coming, nor the angels that will accompany him, nor the manifestation of his power over the elements, but the church which he has redeemed.”

We tend to view the glorious appearing of Christ for 
The huge army on white horses
The regal apparel upon Jesus Christ
The physical features of the Saviour
Paul here asserts that the thing that will be most striking at the appearing of the Saviour will be what He has done with the believers.

I can see this. It is not difficult to scan through history with an eye of shame for Christianity's part in it: 
The inquisition
The crusades
The persecutions of every sort
The sordid accounts of the Popes
The brutal killings in the name of one denomination over another
The abuses of Scripture to justify slavery
These and other crimes of faith have marred the name of Christ.

But let's not leave it there. It is easy to condemn those of the past. Let's come right home and admit that we look at modern Christianity and wonder how it could possibly be related to the holy Son of God. We can look within ourselves and see so little that looks like Christ.

But when Christ returns all of this will be reconciled. 
False doctrine will be done away
False teachers will be put in their place
The persecutors will be judged
Our own sins will be forgiven and cleansed

In awe we will look at what Christ has done with them that believe and admire how perfectly Christ has worked.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Parting from 1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 5:14 KJV
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

As Paul approaches the end of this letter he provides a series of pleas to the church of Thessalonica, the first one has four significant parts:
Warn them that are unruly
We should associate this with Hebrews 10:25 and our obligation to provoke one another to love and good works. There is nothing mean spirited here but of a loving concern for our brethren and to caution them when they are stepping out of the way. 

Comfort the feebleminded
This references those who are discouraged and down hearted. It is a Christian grace that we have the ability to come along side of our brethren and be a blessing to them when they are down.

Support the weak
The commentaries claim the weak are those who are tempted to sin. The word support literally means to cling to them, to hold on to them. Those who are given to sin or are in the grips of a besetting and addictive sin, need constant maintenance and supervision to get them through the crisis of freedom.

Be patient toward all men
All men include both the saved and the lost. 
Certainly there is call for patience in the close setting of the local church. Believers do not grow at the same pace. Those who have come to grasp spiritual truths have to be patient with those who have not. Those who have not grown to understand certain practices must also employ patience with those whose Christian walk seems extreme to them.

Patience is also the word of the day toward the lost. They are, after all, lost. They do not know the Lord. They are bound to the world, the flesh and the devil. Although they may be aggressive against Christians and seem hopelessly wicked to us, they are souls for whom Christ died and every possible measure must be made to see them won. 

Patience is required to put up with their violence
Patience is required to put up with the spiritual ignorance
Patience is required to put up a long term campaign for the eternal salvation

Monday, September 15, 2014

God Taught

1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJV
But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Gill cites three sources which teach us to care for our fellow man:
  • The law of nature, "which teaches us to be kind, courteous affable and beneficent"
  • The Law of Moses, "which obliges us to love their neighbors as themselves"
  • The ministry of the Gospel, "which frequently inculcates the exercise of grace" 
But Paul take us beyond each of these and tells us that these believes (as is indeed true of all believers) were taught of God to love one another.

They had reason, these Christians in Thessalonica, to love one another. They were severely persecuted together. Having come to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ they were immediately seized upon by the Jews of the area and treated in the harshest of manner. They loved one another because they needed one another. But there is still more than this implied in the passage. People who are not believers can learn to depend and love one another in this very same way and it is not because they were taught it by God. 
This is an impulse of the Spirit of God upon the Christian. 
  • We love one another because we are of the same blood
  • We love one another because we bear the same life within
  • We love one another because we have the same home awaiting

We love one another because we are family.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

An Iron Furnace

Jeremiah 11:4 KJV
Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:

The reference to Egypt as an iron furnace goes back to the book of Deuteronomy, which has been read publicly after it had been discovered in the Temple.

My only experience with iron smelting is through documentaries and a few conversations with employees, not of iron but aluminum smelters. It appears to me to be a miserable, though necessary work regardless of the conditions of the individual factory. That God would liken the Jews slavery in Egypt to an iron furnace speaks to 
  • The trial
  • The difficult conditions and 
  • The hardships 
they faced while there. It was a deliverance, though long in coming, of enormous proportion.

The point is that with such a deliverance, it should have been of little consequence those commands God gave to them. They were free men. To have a government to maintain their freedom should have been a matter of thanksgiving.

Yet they obeyed not. 

It is the mark of our sin nature that we wrestle against those very things that bring blessings upon us. It is a sure sign of Satan's influence that we would struggle to be free from the very things that give life so that we might pursue those things that destroy.

God set them free from the iron furnace but they created an iron furnace of their own making.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Getaway

Jeremiah 9:2
Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

Sometime we all would just like to get away from things.
Jeremiah had three reasons to long for a place away:
Because of the sin of the people
  • Which is the reason here stated. The people were so filled with sin that it was a burden to be among them. Who among us hasn't wished for a way to be free of careless and wicked people? Those we work with
  • Those we have as neighbors
  • Those we share the bond of country with
Truth is God places us among them that we may be a light for them.

Because of the grief they would bear
Jeremiah the prophet had foreseen the destruction that was coming. Their sins would not long be overlooked. Judgment was in its way. He could wish to be spared the sight of their heartache and suffering

But God places us in the midst of that too. We are where we are that we might bring hope, help and comfort.

Because of his weariness in the work
Jeremiah admits that he gave up the work at one point. It seemed fruitless and vain to keep preaching to such a stiffnecked people. But then he grew weary of fore bearing.

God's work is not always as productive looking as it in fact is. We labor for a fruit we know not of. The reward of the harvest is not earthly but eternal.

Jeremiah wished for a way to get away but alas, he did not do it. He continued on. And so must we.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Not God's Heart

Jeremiah 7:31 KJV
And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

The sacrifice of their sons in the valley of Hinnom was:
  • Not commanded
  • Expressly forbidden and
  • Contrary to the heart of God
Much of what men have done in the name of religion falls in one or more of these categories:
They are expressly forbidden
Satan,  being diametrically opposed to God, very often presents a frontal attack on the teachings and lessons of Scripture. Same sex marriage and abortion are examples of blatant violation of the Word of God. Just as Satan told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die" he has told men and women that the message of the Bible is not true and the commands of the Bible are not right or necessary.

They are not commanded
Religion is, essentially, man's replacement of the commands of God with commands of their own and not those of God.  Baptismal regeneration and communion as a sacrament serve as examples of doctrines not found in the Bible but forced upon people in different religions.

They do not originate in the heart of God

History is filled with examples of religious atrocities that are blamed on God but that in no way reflect the heart, the character or the message of God. These things are abominations not only to men, but to God. Though done, very often in the name of God, they are in fact the work of and the heart of the devil.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fool's Gold

Jeremiah 6:29-30 KJV
The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.
Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.

As I understand it, at the time of this writing a refiner would mix lead into his silver or gold as a purifying agent. Bringing the mixture to a molten state he would then turn his bellows, not upon the fire, but upon the molten metal. The lead would oxidize and carry away the impurities in the dross. In this case nothing was left but dross. There was very little silver in the mass or else what silver was there was so corrupted it was worthless.  The refiner could work his process as well as he might, he could bring forth no silver unless there was silver there originally.

Ancient students interpreted the bellows as being either the prophets and priests or else Jeremiah himself as having exhausted themselves attempting to get the people of God purified. Carrying on with that application, we can see the lead as a type for religion added into people's lives in an attempt to bring about:
  • Holiness
  • Righteousness
  • Godliness

The lesson is plain. It is not the preaching of the man of God, be it ever so passionate; nor is it the practice of religious rituals, be they ever so faithfully attended to that brings about true salvation and pure regeneration. Only one thing is able to do that, it is Christ.

  • When a man possesses Christ in His being,
  • when Christ has taken residence in him.
  • When the man is Christ's and Christ is the man's
Only then is
  • Sound preaching
  • Christian Discipline and
  • Church service
useful to bring about holiness and Christlikeness in a man.

Until Christ is in a man, all that preaching and Christianity can produce is "reprobate silver" and fool's gold.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Colossians 4:1-3 KJV
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Find in these verses three times the word also. Strong's Dictionary tells me it is a primary particle "having a copulative and sometimes cumulative force". It connects and compounds two things.

All of us are also subjects
…ye also have a Master in heaven.”
Those who are masters on earth must always remember that they are no different from those they master. The master and the servant are equally and ultimately subjects of Christ. No one is better than another just because circumstances have placed them in roles of leadership. No one is the lesser just because conditions have made him the follower. These are temporary placements. The permanent ones all happen in eternity.

All of us are dependents
…praying also for us
Each one of us can benefit from the prayers of another. Some of us feel like we are more needy and could use the prayers of others. But the one asking for prayer has to remember that the one being asked to pray also needs someone to pray for him.

All of us also are in bonds for the Gospel
…for which I also am in bonds.”
Paul was literally in prison for the sake of Jesus Christ. Few of us today have had such an experience. But all Christians must consider that our first obligations are to the Lord and to the gospel. Paul was in prison for Jesus sake. Could we not at least:

  • Be obedient for Jesus sake
  • Be faithful for Jesus' sake
  • Be busy for Jesus' sake
  • Be dependable for Jesus' sake
  • Be separated from the world for Jesus' sake

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Backsliding and Treachery

Jeremiah 3:8 KJV
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

The two parts of Jacob are here classified as "backsliding Israel" and "treacherous Judah".  It is Israel, the northern kingdom, that has backslidden. They have taken the lead in their sin and have utterly apostatized. We tend to think of backsliding as normal, typical and nearly acceptable. In fact the phrase, as found in the Bible, is a terrible sin. To turn our back upon the Lord, to give in to the leaning of the flesh, to follow instead the leadership of the prince of this world is a sin of the utmost consequence. Though God promised them mercy if they would repent their backslidden condition proved fatal for the northern kingdom as a whole.

Though the southern kingdom of Judah was in better shape than the northern, it was not by much. God's term for her was “treachery". It means "covered, deceitful, unfaithful." It speaks of betraying a trust or even worse, to violently take from another.

Neither kingdom was in a good place.

Too often we are in one place or the other; either we are in full backsliding, having turned from the truth that we know from God's word or else covering up our worldly and deceitful heart against God. Our great need is to humble ourselves and turn to the Lord. Whether we have gone fully and openly into rebellion or have merely taken to hiding from others the treachery of our hearts, we need to confess it to God, to return to Him and to allow Him to lead us into true love for Him.

Jeremiah 3:13 KJV

Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD..

Monday, September 08, 2014

Not After Christ

Colossians 2:8 KJV
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Though they have been sometimes added and mixed in to Christianity, the Bible plainly tells us that
  • The philosophies
  • The traditions of men and
  • The rudiments of the world
Are not after Christ.
Those kinds of worldly wisdoms have forever sought to be equal with (in their minds greater than) simple faith, but they do not succeed.
  • They will never be of Christ
  • They will never lead a person to Christ
  • They will never be an viable substitute for Christ

The man who follows them walks away from Christ.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Don't Blame God

Jeremiah 2:5 KJV
Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

Though God had never done anything to cause the Jews to turn away from Him yet they had. They treated God as if He had in some way offended them. They acted as if God had done some terrible deed that justified their forsaking Him.

We live in a time when men believe they have just cause for turning against God. They accuse him, through His followers, of heinous crimes:
  • Of oppressing people with over bearing rules
  • Of brutally attacking people who would not conform to His convictions
  • Of tormenting people with threats of eternal torments

Indeed many criminal acts have been committed in the name of Christianity. But none were sanctioned by Christ. To affix on God the blame for what false apostles and teachers have done; to blame God for the crimes of those whose true god is Satan makes no good sense.

No doubt the message of the Bible is a convicting one and offends those who are unwilling to submit to the God who created us. But what we see today goes beyond disagreement. This is hatred. This is 
  • Obvious
  • Open and 
  • Overt operations against the Holy One
This is an indiscriminate offensive against all who name Christ's name without the bother to be sure their target is a legitimate enemy.

God has done no iniquity worthy of such a massive rejection. O, that men would step back from their hatred and take an honest look at the truth God has given; that men would reject the corrupt substitutes for Christianity that Satan has planted but embrace the saving faith of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

God Has the Cure Prepared

Isaiah 66:7 KJV
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

Gill references a Rabbi as interpreting this passage meaning before General Titus, the man who finally sacked the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD, was born, the Messiah would be born. Most Jews, I presume, would reject that interpretation as it makes Jesus to be the Messiah, a thing still denied by the Jews. 

In broader terms, before the one who would make the final stand against the Jews could organize, God would have already worked out the deliverance of the Jews.

An application for the New Testament believer, and a comforting one at that, is that:
  • Before we know we have a need, God has already prepared the fulfillment of the need
  • Before we call out in prayer, God has already sent us the answer
  • Before the enemy of our soul has planned his opposition, God has already mounted His forces in our favor.

The Jews did travail in pain. Jerusalem was sacked and left in ruins. But God had in fact already delivered on the chief promise of the Old Testament. The plan for the Jews’ eventual salvation had already been set in motion. The Messiah, though they did not recognize him at the time, had already come.

We too can expect opposition and travail under the attacks of the world, the flesh and the devil. This world has never been a friendly place for God's people. But we may also take courage knowing that, for whatever pain Satan may cause us, God has already prepared the cure.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Walk On

Philippians 3:16 KJV
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

None of us have attained all that God has for us, though some of us have attained more of it than others. 
  • Circumstances may prevent the one from the same degree of study and work through the Scriptures than another. 
  • Poor health may keep one down while another is vigorous and possesses great energy for the things of the Spirit. 
  • No doubt the intellectual capabilities of one gives him an advantage to grasp things more quickly than another. 
The rule Paul gives to us, though we are all on our own levels of spiritual attainment, is simple and effectual; be faithful with what we have.

Just be faithful to walk with God according to the measure of truth you have attained.
  • Be fully persuaded of what it is you have attained and flesh out than faith in a consistent and godly walk.
  • Use what talents the Lord has given you for the glory of the Lord
  • Robertson's Word Pictures says simply, "having come this far… go in the same path…"

Walk on then. 
  • Don't change courses
  • Don't give up the journey
  • Keep the faith
  • Keep to the course you have been set upon
  • Do not grow weary in well doing

For in so doing, whatever it is you have attained will surely lead to greater attainments.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Mark This Man Too

Philippians 3:17 KJV
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

The Apostle was no friend to today's "feel good" sort of Christianity. Paul was quick to tell us,
Romans 16:17 KJV
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
And again, 
2 Thessalonians 3:14 KJV
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

He just would not have stomached this sort of Christianity that lets anything pass for true faith and practice. His was a distinct, determined and decided kind of faith. He had met the Saviour and the Saviour had changed his life. He knew from whence his message came and urged his audience to embrace it. So much was this true that he also urged his audience to reject anyone anywhere who preached or practiced something different. He wrote to the Galatians,
Galatians 1:8-9 KJV
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Strong words!

On the other hand, Paul wasn't a negative man. He was thankful that the gospel was preached by either his friends or his enemies (yes, the Apostle had preacher enemies). Here he creates a lesson from the other pole than Romans 16:17.
We ought to mark the man who cause divisions and note the man who does not obey the Word of God.
We ought to separate from them. We ought not to keep company with them. (to ignore this lesson is to be guilty ourselves of not walking according to the Word of God) But we ought to do more than that.
We ought also to mark the man who does follow the example of the Apostle, 
  • The man who does obey the Word of God
  • The man who does strive for the unity of the brethren in the church 
and we ought to purposely keep company with that man. This man will be a help and benefit in our own walk with God.

Paul said in Philippians 3:19 that the end of the those who do not walk as he has taught is destruction. On the other hand, the Psalmist said, Psalms 37:37 KJV
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.