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shhpicJust a quick thought:
 
I know it is well meaning for many of us to just post things about the Lord, the Scriptures, Jesus Christ, the Gospel and how God works, is, thinks, acts etc. One thing needs to run through our minds before we hit the “post” button.
  1. Is what I am saying true? If I think yes, then go to number 2.
  2. The proof of what I am saying is in the context of the bible and it is found in the book of _______ chapter ___ verses ___ through ___.
  3. If number two cannot be filled in, delete the post and move on.
 
Why should I delete it? Because God does not take his name lightly.
 
Isaiah 48:9-11 plus numerous other places and examples of His wrath and glory being upheld because people acted or spoke apart from His word.
 
For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
 
Why? Because God brings ruin to all those who defame Him and speak for him wrongly.
 
James 3:1; Eph 4:14-15;
 
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Rev 22:18-19
 
What if MY thoughts on God are different that the bible? Well, then you should surely be quiet. Because ANYTHING or ANYONE that speaks apart from Scripture, according to Scripture, are condemned and are NOT IN THE LIGHT.
 
Romans 16:17-20 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
 
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed
—1 Corinthians 16:22
 
So, be careful or be quiet. God has never promised any of the following in His word:
 
Prosperity in money or materialism.
Eternal Healing.
Power or prestige in this life.
Knowledge outside the written word.
Prophetic Authority apart from scripture.
Will power over circumstances.
A promise to avoid pain and suffering.
Bigger faith, bigger gifts.
Speaking ANYTHING into being.
A requirement to plant seeds of faith to receive anything.
 
What has God promised?
 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
 
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 1:3-14 ESV)
Have a problem with this?  I would humbly accept an audience with you, in front of anyone as long as we can bring our bibles.
For His Glory by His Grace,
Pastor James
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What is Conversion? Is Salvation Supernatural or Human?

In a recent conversation with a brother in Christ, the matter of the invitational system arose whereby he inquired about the biblical nature of such things. When he confronted the practice with the question of its biblical authority, the brother was led to history and tradition as the backbone of the practice.  This evening I read a post on Facebook related to the same subject and felt it would be good to share some of the points as taught by Dr. WR Downing on the true nature of salvation, which is the new birth, not a choice of man.  While I personally could tragically kill such practice with general elementary exposition of biblical text, especially John 3, Dr. Downing’s thoughts on the nature of conversion ring loud and clear.  More importantly, the scripture speaks to the nature of God’s work ALONE in salvation, thus the following:

True conversion is spiritual. It is much more than merely a question of man’s will or seeking to redirect it under preaching. Conversion is the result of the effectual work of the Spirit of God in regeneration. Conversion is the immediate and spontaneous outward manifestation of regeneration or the “new birth.” The very nature of the regeneration itself reveals its utter necessity before man can savingly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The necessity of regeneration or the new birth is found in the utter spiritual impotence of man (Jn. 3:3, 5; 1 Cor. 2:14), the blinding power of the devil (Matt. 13:4, 19; 2 Cor. 4:3–6), the eternal redemptive purpose, and the righteous character and omnipotence of God. If any human being is to be saved or delivered from the reigning power of sin, his own innate animosity toward God, the blinding power of Satan, and ultimately delivered from eternal hell, God must initiate the work of salvation (Isa. 64:6; Matt. 13:3–4, 18–19; Acts 16:14; Rom. 1:18–25; 3:11, 27–21; 8:5–8; 1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:3–6; Eph. 2:1–10; 4:17–19; Titus 3:5; 1 Jn. 5:19). To say all this is to declare that salvation is by grace; anything less would be a denial of the same.

There are six essential spiritual realities which comprise regeneration, or the “new birth.” If any one of these realities is not true or actual within the personality, the individual is yet unregenerate: first, the impartation of Divine life (Jn. 3:3, 5; Eph. 2:1, 4–5). Unless the individual receives such a principle of spiritual life, he cannot even “see” the kingdom of God, much less enter it. He may perceive, know or understand much, even so as to be without excuse, but his will is bent toward sin and evil and his inner being is darkened (Rom. 1:18–25; 1 Cor. 2:14).

Second, the breaking of the reigning power of sin (Rom. 6:3–14, 17–18, 20, 22). Every human being by nature is a willing bondslave of sin. This power is broken by God in a definitive act of grace, and a radical cleavage is made with the reigning power of sin in the life. This aspect of sanctification—definitive sanctification—is contemporaneous with regeneration.

Third, the removal of natural heart–enmity against God and his truth (Rom. 8:7–8; 1 Cor. 2:14). Man by nature has an innate aversion to God and his truth. This animosity is removed by a sovereign act of God, enabling the sinner to savingly turn to God in the context of his truth.

Fourth, the re–creation of the image of God in principle (Eph. 4:22–24; Col. 3:1–10). Both these passages refer to a past act, not to an entreaty. Man was created as the image–bearer of God. In the Fall, this image was devastated spiritually, morally and intellectually; the thought–process became fragmented and given to futility. The physical body, with its appetites and desires, assumed a controlling influence over the individual (Rom. 6:6, 11–14; Eph. 4:17–19). In regenerating grace, God re–creates the image of God anew in principle in righteousness, holiness of the truth and knowledge—a spiritual, moral and intellectual transformation. With the mind thus freed, and a holy disposition given to the personality, the sinner is enabled to freely turn to Christ in faith as presented in the gospel message.

Fifth, the removal of satanic blindness (2 Cor. 4:3–6). Above and beyond all matters of the will or heart, looms the awful, evil power of Satan, who specifically blinds sinners to the truth of the gospel. He further seeks to remove any influence of the gospel in any way he possibly can (Matt. 13:3–4, 18–19; Mk. 4:4, 15; Lk. 8:5, 12). This blinding influence is removed by an act of God’s grace.

Sixth, the gift of saving faith (Eph. 2:4–10). Conversion, or repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is inseparable from regeneration. Conversion is the infallible and immediate consequence of the work of the Holy Spirit upon and within the personality (Acts 16:14). The Scriptures usually consider regeneration and conversion inclusively as one. It is conversion, pointedly personal faith in the Lord Jesus and repentance from sin, which necessarily and infallibly expresses the work of God within the personality (Acts 13:12, 48; 14:1; 16:14, 27–34; 17:4, 11–12, 34; 18:8, 27; 19:18; Rom. 10:9–10, 13, 17; 1 Cor. 2:4–5; Eph. 2:4–10).

So beloved, let us hold dear to the person of Jesus Christ and His infallible word through which one can find salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Anything else is just demonic.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor James

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Is My Church Healthy?

Gaging health in the local church is one of the favorite chatters of our culture. Sadly, because the word of God has fallen to a guide or tool rather than the authority, anyone can search and find plenty of pundits giving measurable scales to health. The difference in my thoughts today is that I want so submit to scripture, not culture, not tradition (beware of people who use this word for anything), not history, but the immutable word that demands our time. (Sadly, I won’t exhaust the text either… for fear or perfection will tarry the completion of these thoughts and render them silent.)  This will not be exhaustive nor will it be inclusive of all areas and it should clearly be understood that a healthy church is wrought with problems, trials, complaints, pain and failure because people are the church. The gospel overcomes these things. So, any church that is so perfect is no church at all.

PEOPLE

Is your church comprised of people? Are you able to see that the very blood flow of your congregation is the people? Remember, any church that is not people is not a church. The term church means called out ones, not place people go. Your church should emphasize the family of God ALL THE TIME and when it appears that programs and property are the point, your church is not just unhealthy but dead.

Are people cared for, prayed for, lived with? Do you find that you are drawn to individuals who give up their time and passions for you? Are you doing the same?  Is the culture of your church able to continue doing all it does if everything stops but life? The point of the Cross was to purchase a people and sadly we have lost sight of that. Are you just a leader investing in some portion of something that you are told to “plug” people in?

Paul prays for the people, never what the church is doing. The point of being the church is for the church to grow up in Christ and in love with each other as the LEARN Christ so that they may be filled with all the fullness of God.  “[17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, [18] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, [19] and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV)

PREACHING

Is the preaching teaching you things? Are you learning scripture? Test your doctrine for a minute. What is the meaning of justification? How has Christ propitiated your sin? Describe the eternal nature of Jesus Christ and how all the New Testament letters reveal it. What attribute of God is most dear to you in worship?

Having problems? Then you have never been taught scripture because all scripture in its context reveals these things at its core. Does your pastor preach the text or does he use the text to provide answers to his outline? Are you in AWE of the God of Heaven and His glory? Are you more moved by the special music than the word of God? Is Scripture utilized to make the preacher’s point but cannot be found in the context of the passage? Are you equipped to LOVE CHRIST, LOVE HIS CHURCH and throw this world away after the sermon is done? Now don’t shoot me because I am appealing to “feeling” or outcome? A good biblical sermon could be given and the heart of the hearer could be cold. The point? Is the preaching pointing to Christ’s WORD or the preacher’s word?

Is your church centered on understanding scripture, being trained in righteousness, learning to APPLY the Gospel among the life of the church? Is the only time you hear any Good News is at the end of service followed by some human condition to salvation or a heart-tugged missionary story? Do visual aids, skits, object lessons or stories make the points that Scripture should? What do you remember about God and His infinite glory? Do you know the God of the bible? After all, knowing God and His Son IS ETERNAL LIFE! (John 17) Run from such so-called preaching that rings anything but Scriptural power and glory. Run.

PURPOSE

What does your church exist? Do you know? Is it the primary focus of all things that happen among you? Are programs done in the name of “reaching” the lost but no lost are reached? Are you busy busy busy with everything to the point of being tired and then told to not grow weary in the Lord’s work? Are you able to really see the Gospel foundation as the walls and trusses of all that is done in the name of Christ? Will the work done in the lives of people effectively result in ETERNAL FRUIT? Look at these two texts and see what you think:

[10] According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. [11] For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—[13] each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. [14] If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. [15] If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15 ESV)

[1] Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. [2] But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. [3] And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. [4] In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [5] For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6] For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6 ESV)

Is GOD’S GLORY the ultimate purpose of all things? Are you SHOWN God’s ineffable majesty and does the life of your church REVEAL Him? Some gathered people say that every engagement is for the sake of pointing people to Christ or creating a relationship with Christ. This purpose, while honorable on the exterior is usually void of any solid preaching of God’s word thus removing any possibility of salvation from any participant. People are saved ONLY by the word of God being given to their ears when the mercy of God gives them hearing. (Romans 10:17)

The church exists for the purpose of God’s glory. Period.

PLANNING

What is your church known for? Asking anyone in the community will reveal the planning of ministry that will birth from the purpose. So, is your congregation known for having cool events? A school? A wonderful children’s ministry? A great music program? How is it that the body of the Risen Christ are to be about HIS business but very few professing churches are actually in the business of Christ at all? For many, the calendar will prove whose they are. If a church takes more time to administrate events that in preparation for learning Christ together it may be a very clear sign that the church is dead.

POWER

In reality, is your church powerful?  Are those who are your family among you enable to live with power, joy, exultation, satisfaction and grace? The power of God is ALWAYS evident among His people who are healthy.  The power of God in JOY is visible.  The POWER of God is effectual and the church that is His will have AFFECTION for Him through His Spirit given through HIS WORD ALONE! If a church is powerless and is easily identified as successful by the work of men and human invention, then not only is the church you attend very very ill, it is not a church at all. May the Lord grant you power to know and see and understand the vastness of His merciful affection toward His people in Jesus Christ! May you run to the the Lord Jesus and escape all traditions that encapsulate the essence of humanism including those so-called Evangelical and Protestant gatherings who are nothing more than liberal Romans.

Mercy,

j

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Voice in the Wilderness is NOT a voice on Social Media

screaming child

The lazy Christian has his mouth full of complaints, when the active Christian has his heart full of comforts. – Thomas Brooks

I written many times on subjects like these mainly because I see grave damage, division and distance happening among the people of Christ due to opinions, correction and the like in the name of “truth” being purveyed on social streams. It is never incorrect to want to correct error, but it is not the call of the church to correspond with every fool and his foolishness. It would be a better practice to privately message folks that you feel the need to help and most of the time, to just stop continued theological error from showing up in your data feeds.

Polemics are necessary, but FEW are actually gifted in the wisdom of doing it. Paul was the master of polemics, and yet, he never chastised false teachers or responded to their continued errors. Rather, he spoke the truth in love for the sake of the church. He wrote letters concerning their listening to errors and condoning such. He politely questioned the Greeks in an effort to preach the gospel so that ‘some’ would be made alive in Christ. The point is that we are to be preaching truth NOT to correct all the world’s lies, but to afford the great grace of God its supreme power to transform lives.

This world is not about us and while we should be stirred in our spirit when lies are shared and stupid theology is “memed”, we should recognize our calling and be about the business of our Father and not the business of the devil. The world will never change, the lies will never stop, the heresy will never cease and our job is to make disciples, rebuke, teach, and correct… with all respect and all the affection of Christ.  After all, the reason the body teaches truth is for God to get the glory in its planting and sprouting.

Let’s look at 2 Timothy 2:23-26 for a minute.

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

Do you see this? Have nothing to do with means just that. Stop involving yourself with quarrelsome people. Scripture is clear that when you warn a brother of false teaching and he doesn’t heed, that you should have the church make noise and move him away from you. Just a reminder, you don’t divorce yourself from the fellowship of true saints but rather cut the bad ones out.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

Even when we are to engage, it should be done with KINDNESS. Even to the apostate and WICKED evil doers who desire to blaspheme. We can be kind while being firm and strong in Christ and His word. We are to TEACH with ability, not promoting commentary from others as “copies” of another’s insight, but through the word of God taking another to truth and showing them error. Too often we like to feel right because someone else has shown us the wrong in others.

PATIENCE is the key. It took YOU and ME a long time to see some errors… afford others the time for the Lord to work in them. After all, WE may be just the vehicle He has purposed to use for their joy in truth! So we patiently ENDURE evil. We put up with it for a season waiting for the Lord to do His gracious work as we GENTLY correct our opponents.

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

See the MOTIVE behind it all?  That God would save these evil ones. That He would graciously open their eyes to the truth. That they would be given the GIFT OF REPENTANCE so that they would find the knowledge of THE TRUTH.  This is salvation. This is the work of God. This is the reason we correct, not just to keep the flock safe and pure, God does that by the way, but that those who are lost among us will find Christ as their only hope and turn from their self sufficient non-gospel religion.

So the next time you feel the need to answer the internet, just don’t. In response, share the gospel, not the NotGospel… and watch your heart be at peace and the work of God continue through you. There is always a time and place for every debate, but the billboard approach of indirect self-righteous “rightness” doesn’t do it for us, a holy people.

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5 ESV)

Stay full of Joy beloved.

Pastor James

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What is Worthy?

Worship by definition is to acclaim and make much of one or thing that is worthy of praise, honor, glory, attention or focus. Worship sits deep within the heart and when given opportunity, explodes with expression, not just about that which is worthy, but in honor of and toward such worth. Think about this, do you worship Christ or something/someone else? Are you invested with every fiber of your being in the glory of Jesus Christ? When you gather with the Saints of Christ each week, do  you come to make much of and hear Christ?

Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart that one speaks from the mouth. So, when preachers preach, that which come from their mouths is what they worship. It is becoming more difficult to hear Christ and His truth and see His face in preaching. When Christ is absent from the text which reveals Him, the one proclaiming such fails to herald the One of true worth and instead places his own treasure at the heart of all things. Paul says in Romans 1 that people suppress the truth by unrighteousness and worship created things. I believe that many Christians love themselves and “church work” over Christ, thus, they keep sitting and maintaining worldliness as religion instead of true worship. So often one can hear sermons centered on man’s work, man’s worth and man’s well-being which are guilty of promoting idolatry. Beloved, learn to hear truth and lies and know the difference. Sinner, come to the One who alone is worthy of all praise.

An old hymn rings true to my ears each day I ponder the glory of Jesus Christ… “And the things of Earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and and grace.”  So how do you know? Well, when you stand in awe of God, nothing else is in focus. Not even you! Praise not the content, pastor, service, music, feeling, friends, or anything else. Praise the ONE who is HOLY and who is Worthy of Praise. Run from anything else, it is a terrible thing to worship idols.

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 ESV)

For His Glory by His Grace,

James

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Why Easter Holds No Love in My Heart

…………………… these are the thoughts of Easter as I ponder the history of my own life, mediate on the practices, consider the purpose…..  I am without any coherent thought on these things.

Easter, as it is, seems to confuse me. It doesn’t fall into any form of the biblical practice of the church and over the last twenty years, I have had a difficult time finding the place for it among the community of faith. While many congregations make much of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on this day, I am still unable to discern why it is tied to a date, day, season, festival, or tradition. A brother recently asked what we were doing on Easter Sunday to which I pondered puzzled. “We are in 1 Thessalonians, and whatever the Lord has for us there is what we’ll do.”  Thinking about breaking out of the glorious heart of voice of Christ (Rom 10:17; John 1) for the sake of the church troubles me and I find no prescription for it. In all reality, I think that if ONE day out of the many days that are the Lord’s is set apart and esteemed, it is probably out of the heart of idolatry, not worship.

Why do we take a worldly practice and turn it into opportunity for that one day to preach the truth? The better question is why do pastors and congregants subject boring and ill-effective half-truths as normative the rest of the year.  Oh yeah, there is the Mass of Christ… my point made.

The church should be about living and glorying in the risen Lord each day, each gathering, each moment and at every opportunity. Instead, she seems to be drawn in by social justice, politics, public service, philanthropy, humanistic self-help, fragmented doctrine and socialization in the name of peace. The reason that the church is so apt to adopt the human invention of Easter and make it as if it were a celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ, is due to the failing of the shepherds of Christ’s people to make much of Jesus in this way each day. We cater as previously listed, to the human nature instead of giving the power of God through Jesus Christ who IS the living word.

So, the reason Easter holds no love in my heart is that it seems to detract from the normal, passionate, continual celebration of Christ and His living reign that should be just as grand every other day of this life. Spurgeon remarks,

“There is no ordinance in Scripture of any one Lord’s-day in the year being set apart to commemorate the rising of Christ from the dead, for this reason, that every Lord’s-day is the memorial of our Lord’s resurrection. Wake up any Lord’s-day you please, whether in the depth of winter, or in the warmth of summer, and you may sing:
“To day he rose and left the dead, And Satan’s empire fell; To day the saints his triumph spread, And all his wonders tell.”
To set apart an Easter Sunday for special memory of the resurrection is a human device, for which there is no Scriptural command, but to make every Lord’s-day an Easter Sunday is due to him who rose early on the first day of the week.

And it so happens that our text this week in 1 Thessalonians, as the last three weeks, reminds us of the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord!

[8] For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. [9] For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, [10] and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 ESV)

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Is Your “Preacher” a Tool of Satan?

AW Pink reflects on this reality in a portion of his writing entitled “The Devil’s Delusion”. Here is an excerpt called “Another Gospel”.

SATAN IS NOT AN INITIATOR but an imitator. God has an only begotten Son – the Lord Jesus, and so has Satan – “the son of Perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3). There is a Holy Trinity, and there is likewise a Trinity of Evil (Rev. 20: 10). Do we read of the “children of God,” so also we read of “the children of the wicked one” (Matt. 13:38). Does Godwork in the former both to will and to do of His good pleasure, then we are told that Satan is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Is there a“mystery of godliness” (1 Tim. 3:16), so also is there a “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess. 2:7). Are we told that God by His angels “seals” His servants in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3), so also, we learn that Satan by his agents sets a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Rev. 13:16). Are we told that “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God”(1 Cor. 2:10), then Satan also provides his “deep things.” (See Greek of Rev. 2:24.) Did Christ perform miracles, so also can Satan (2 Thess. 2:9). Is Christ seated upon a throne, so is Satan (Rev. 2:13 – Gr.). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his “synagogue”(Rev. 2:9). Is Christ the Light of the world, then so is Satan himself “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). Did Christ appoint “apostles,” then Satan has his apostles, too (2 Cor. 11:13). And this leads us to consider “The Gospel of Satan.”

Satan is the arch-counterfeiter. The Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resembles the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Work of Christ. Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parodies. multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.

It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ:” (1:6, 7). This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, “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.”By the help of God we shall now endeavor to expound, or rather, expose, this false gospel.

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.

In contradistinction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God on the ground of human merits. Its sacramental phrase is “Be good and do good”; but it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwelleth no good thing. It announces salvation by character, which reverses the order of God’s Word – character by, as the fruit of, salvation. Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance, Reform Movements, “Christian Socialist Leagues.” Ethical Culture Societies, “Peace Congresses” are all employed (perhaps unconsciously) in proclaiming this gospel of Satan – salvation by works. The pledge-card is substituted for Christ; social purity for individual regeneration, and politics and philosophy, for doctrine and godliness. The cultivation of the old man is considered more “practical” than the creation of a new man in Christ Jesus: whilst universal peace is looked for apart from the interposition and return of the Prince of Peace.

The apostles of Satan are not saloon-keepers and white-slave traffickers, but are for the most part ordained ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer engaged in presenting the fundamentals of the Christian Faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to “flee from the wrath to come” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment. Instead of declaring that “without shedding of blood is no remission,” they merely hold up Christ as the great Exemplar and exhort their hearers to “follow in His steps.” Of them it must be said, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10.3). Their message may sound very plausible and their aim appear very praiseworthy, yet we read of them–“for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves (imitating) into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing (not to be wondered at) if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

In addition to the fact that today hundreds of churches are without a leader who faithfully declares the whole counsel of God and presents His way of salvation, we also have to face the additional fact that the majority of people in these churches are very unlikely to learn the Truth for themselves. The family altar, where a portion of God’s Word was wont to be read daily is now, even in the homes of nominal Christians, largely a thing of the past. The Bible is not expounded in the pulpit and it is not read in the pew. The demands of this rushing age are so numerous, that the multitudes have little time and still less inclination to make preparation for the meeting with God. Hence the majority who are too indolent to search for themselves, are left at the mercy of those whom they pay to search for them; many of whom betray their trust by studying and expounding economic and social problems rather than the Oracles of God.

In Prov. 14:12 we read. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This “way” which ends in “death” is the Devil’s Delusion – the gospel of Satan – a way of salvation by human attainment. It is a way which “seemeth right,” that is to say, it is presented in such plausible language that it appeals to the natural man: it is set forth in such a subtile and attractive manner, that it commends itself to the intelligence of its hearers. By virtue of the fact that it appropriates to itself religious terminology, sometimes appeals to the Bible for its support (whenever this suits its purpose), holds up before men lofty ideals, and is proclaimed by those who have graduated from our theological institutions, countless multitudes are decoyed and deceived by it.

The success of an illegitimate coiner depends largely upon how closely the counterfeit resembles the genuine article. Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth as a perversion of it. That is why half a lie is always more dangerous than a complete repudiation. Hence, when the Father of Lies enters the pulpit it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity, rather does he tacitly acknowledge them, and then proceed to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application. For example: he would not be so foolish as to boldly announce his disbelief in a personal God; he takes His existence for granted and then gives a false description of His character. He announces that God is the spiritual Father of all men, when the Scriptures plainly tell us that we are “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26), and that “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). Further, he declares that God is far too merciful to ever send any member of the human race to Hell, when God Himself has said, “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:15). Again; Satan would not be so foolish as to ignore the central figure of human history – the Lord Jesus Christ; on the contrary, his gospel acknowledges Him to be the best man that ever lived. Attention is drawn to His deeds of compassion and works of mercy, the beauty of His character and the sublimity of His teaching. His life is eulogized, but His vicarious Death is ignored; the all-important atoningwork of the cross is never mentioned, whilst His triumphant and bodily resurrection from the grave is regarded as one of the credulities of a superstitious age. It is a bloodless gospel, and presents a crossless Christ. who is received not as God manifest in the flesh, but merely as the Ideal Man. 

In 2 Cor. 4:3,4 we have a scripture which sheds much light upon our present theme. There we are told, “if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.” He blinds the minds of unbelievers through hiding the light of the Gospel of Christ, and he does this by substituting his own gospel. Appropriately is he designated “The Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). In merely appealing to “the best that is within man,” and in simply exhorting him to “lead a nobler life” there is afforded a general platform upon which those of every shade of opinion can unite and proclaim this common message.

Again we quote Prov. 14: 12 – “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” It has been said with considerable truth that the way to Hell is paved with good intentions. There will be many in the Lake of Fire who commenced life with good intentions, honest resolutions and exalted ideals – those who were just in their dealings, fair in their transactions and charitable in all their ways; men who prided themselves in their integrity, but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own righteousness; men who were moral, merciful and magnanimous, but who never saw themselves as guilty, lost, hell-deserving sinners needing a Saviour. Such is the way which “seemeth right.” Such is the way that commends itself to the carnal mind and recommends itself to multitudes of deluded ones today. The Devil’s Delusion is that we can be saved by our own works, and justified before God by our own deeds; whereas, God tells us in His Word – “By grace are ye saved through faith . . . , not of works lest any man should boast.” And again. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”

A few years ago the writer became acquainted with one who was a lay preacher and an enthusiastic “Christian worker.” For over seven years this friend had been engaged in public preaching and religious activities, but from certain expressions and phrases he used, the writer doubted whether his friend was a “born again” man. When we began to question him, it was found that he was very imperfectly acquainted with the Scriptures and had only the vaguest conception of Christ’s Work for sinners. For a time we sought to present the way of salvation in a simple and impersonal manner and to encourage our friend to study the Word for himself, in the hope that if he were still unsaved God would be pleased to reveal the Saviour he needed. One night to our joy, the one who had been preaching the Gospel(?) for seven years, confessed that he had found Christ only the previous night. He acknowledged (to use his own words) that he had been presenting “the Christ ideal” but not the Christ of the Cross. The writer believes there are thousands like this preacher who, perhaps, have been brought up in Sunday School, taught about the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ, who believe in the historicity of His person, who spasmodically endeavor to practice His precepts, and who think that that is all that is necessary for their salvation. Frequently, this class when they reach manhood go out into the world. encounter the attacks of atheists and infidels and are told that such a person as Jesus of Nazareth never lived. But the impressions of early days cannot be easily erased, and they remain steadfast in their declaration that they “believe in Jesus Christ.” Yet, when their faith is examined, only too often it is found that though they believe many things about Jesus Christ they do not really believe in Him. They believe with the head that such a person lived (and, because they believe this imagine that therefore they are saved), but they have never thrown down the weapons of their warfare against Him, yielded themselves to Him, nor truly believed with their heart in Him. The bare acceptance of an orthodox doctrine about the person of Christ without the heart being won by Him and the life devoted to Him, is another phase of that way “which seemeth right unto a man” but the end thereof are “the ways of death.” A mere intellectual assent to the reality of Christ’s person, and which goes no further, is another phase of the way which“seemeth right unto a man” but of which the end thereof “are the ways of death,” or, in other words, is another aspect of the gospel of Satan.

And now, where do you stand? Are you in the way which “seemeth right,” but which ends in death; or, are you in the Narrow Way which leadeth unto life? Have you trulyforsaken the Broad Road which leadeth to death? Has the love of Christ created in your heart a hatred and horror of all that is displeasing to Him? Are you desirous that He“reign over” you? (Luke 19:14). Are you relying wholly on Hisrighteousness and blood for your acceptance with God?

Those who are trusting to an outward form of godliness, such as baptism or “confirmation”; those who are religious because it is considered a mark of respectability; those who attend some Church or Chapel because it is the fashion to do so; and, those who unite with some Denomination because they suppose that such a step will enable them to becomeChristians, are in the way which “ends in death” – death spiritual and eternal. However pure our motives, however noble our intentions, however well-meaning our purposes, however sincere our endeavours, God will not accept us as His sons, until we accept His Son.

A yet more specious form of Satan’s gospel is to move preachers to present the atoning sacrifice of Christ and then tell their hearers that all God requires from them is to “believe” in His Son. Thereby thousands of impenitent souls are deluded into thinking they have been saved. But Christ said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”(Luke 13:3). To “repent” is to hate sin, to sorrow over, to turn from it. It is the result of the Spirit’s making the heart contrite before God. None except a brokenheart can savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Again; thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Saviour,” who have not first received Him as their LORD. The Son of God did not come here to save His people in their sin, but “from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). To be saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to “forsake our way” (Isa. 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority, to yield to His dominion, to give ourselves over to be ruled by Him. The one who has never taken Christ’s “yoke” upon him, who is not truly and diligently seeking to please Him in all the details of his life, and yet supposes that he is “resting on the Finished Work of Christ’ is deluded by the Devil.

In the seventh chapter of Matthew there are two scriptures which give us approximate results of Christ’s Gospel and Satan’s counterfeit. First. in verses 13 and 14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Second; in verses 22 and 23, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (preached) in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out demons, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Yes, my reader, it is possible to work in the name of Christ, and even to preach in His name, and though the world knows us, and the Church knows us, yet to beunknown to the Lord! How necessary it is then to find out where we really are; to examine ourselves and see whether we be in the faith; to measure ourselves by the Word of God and see if we are being deceived by our subtle Enemy; to find out whether we are building our house upon the sand, or whether it is erected on the Rock which is Christ Jesus. May the Holy Spirit search our hearts, break our wills, slay our enmity against God; work in us a deep and true repentance, and direct our gaze to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.

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What do you love about your faith? Your church? | The Point

To suppose universal agreement on anything is to rake one’s own eyes with sand and think avoidance of tears be possible. So, something dear to my soul presently is the nature of what so many so-called Christians seem to continually reflect as the Evangel, or Good News. No, I am not referring to the theology of God who saves through His Son, I am referring to the tenacity and affection held for such things engaged in the name of Christ that are so often temporal meals devoid of glory.

What props up the heart of you? What yields to your love and heart at all times? What thing, system, belief, activity, skill or service supplies your soul with joy? Is it Christ? Is it the people of God? If these two be far from the drawing of your mind and soul then it would be a good moment to arrest yourself and test your place before the Lord.

The Church, when she is known for things other than Christ, has made herself a whore, reaching out for lovers that will never quench the thirst. What is that you love about being saved? What is it that draws you to smile when you think of “church”? How is it that so often we can be engaged in so much, so often, for so long that is really a wasted life with nothing more to show as fruit except rosters?

Catch the point? Here it is: The church of Jesus Christ must not be known for substitute glory. She should be known for who she is, as the body of her savior. She should be known for affection around God’s word for the sake of His people.  She should be BUSY about the business of building lives around the power of the cross of Christ so that as the family sits at home in the evening, they are resting in the supremacy of God rather than the social joys of playing life.

When the church fails to put the Word of Christ at the center of purpose and principle, she places Christ as a secondary affection. When the church engages in the worldly pursuits of events and society she displays a false hope to the world and becomes a darkness within darkness thus blending fully with any other people. The church of Jesus Christ should be able to exist completely without real estate, without plans and staff to undergird programs. She should be able to richly exist in power without distraction. The bride of the King Jesus should never have to ask, “What shall we do?” for Jesus has answered that question with, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him and the Son who He has sent.”

Learning Christ is not a pursuit of special called individuals but is the real proof of true salvation at the bottom of the foundation. We live to learn that which we love most. And when all the worldliness existing in the s0-called church is gone, where will the power of God be? In those who are truly born of Him. Never forget that Jesus called all the special religious work of Nicodemus darkness and never forget that Jesus said Nicodemus loved it.  When we love events, programs, get-togethers, and places to plug people in, we are unable to see the great glorious picture of light.  Come out of darkness and put these things in their right place… the bottom.

May the Lord have mercy.

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Some Thoughts As My Oldest Daughter Graduates

Graduate Wisdom

Never has a child been more inept for life than the moment they graduate high school.

As a father of five, I am going to have many times to get the parenting thing right. Sadly, I never will and am OK with this reality, after all, I am pressing into a journey to “produce” children of a certain “type” and the truth is that the world (as it is) is not interested in my thoughts on how children are ready for life.  My oldest daughter is the first in succession, so I will point the remainder of my thoughts toward her and this season of her life:

Cady,

While there is a million points of wisdom that one could give, I choose to focus on those things which hold gravity and are eternal rather than anything else.

  1. Understand that you have not finished anything, but are beginning everything. While your academic endeavors and goals are completed, their completion hasn’t done anything to merit accolade, it is the fulfillment of that which is required. As Jesus taught, [9] Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? [10] So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:9-10 ESV)
  2. Your education, academy, home study and all the points within are not better than any other form of education. The point is to learn to learn, which you have done; but also to remember you have much more to learn and if Christ is not the center of your wisdom in ALL THINGS, you have failed.
  3. While honors and scholarships are certainly yours, these things are wasted in the chasm of eternity when all that we are given is not used for the purpose of giving Glory to Christ.
  4. There is NO separation of your future plans from your future glory. The point of your existence is that you are to be KNOWN by your faith in Christ, nothing else matters. I have said since you were born that I would rather you be homeless living in a box honoring Christ, than to be wealthy and worldly in a mansion without Him.
  5. See that the reality of academic success is wide, not narrow. When I entered the Ph.D. program while in California I felt a sense of honor and pride. I was glad and hopeful that I would learn, add to the conversation of theology and effect change in the lives of others. I was sadly mistaken. There are millions of us in the same field, the same focus and the same academic ability and I was just a small ant in the mound of my mission.
  6. The world is NOT yours to take and make. The world is God’s and he has handed a majority of her over to reprobation, for wide is the path that leads to destruction, but narrow is the gate of righteousness. Be a light in the world, not a faded part of it.
  7. Never blend in with the culture. The culture of every nation is pagan, no matter what “ethics” it may portray. Resist the enemy of God, the temptation of your flesh and love the Lord with all your heart.
  8. Be willing to endure suffering and worldly failure for the cause of Christ. God has NEVER promised his church success in the world but rather eternal life as they “joyfully accepted the plundering of their property”, “rejoiced in fiery trials”, “always being put to death”… The world will offer you what it will, just as the devil offered the world to Jesus. Don’t take the bait.
  9. In that line of thinking, remember the rich young ruler who had the world at his fingertips, the wisdom of the scriptures, the ethics of holiness, the ministry of truth and the wealth of nations.  In the end, this young ruler thought he was righteous because of all he had done. This rich young ruler is the picture of success for many, but in reality, he could not believe that Christ alone is where his hope lay and he trusted “success” in the eyes of God by his works.  Jesus rebuked him and exposed that this young man loved the world and could not love Christ. Never forget that Jesus says that those well-meaning people who press their children into worldliness are wasting their lives and ignoring the promises of God–Gaining the world, but losing their souls.  [I edited this portion due to vague and assumptive thoughts relating to the topic that favored some theological heresies after publishing.]
  10. Don’t fall prey to materialism.  1 John 2:15-17 teaches that one cannot love God and the world. They are incompatible.  We cannot amass wealth on one hand while enjoying the wealth of glory on the other. It is easy to feel as though security comes through substance, but we know that is a lie of Satan. Security is in the one we do not now see, but we love with a joy that is inexpressible.
  11. Run and fight the good fight, the good race, the right dream.  The American Dream is a fool’s errand. While fallaciously I write without argument, this is my remembrance of those things that are already securely planted in your soul. God has never established such garbage for his people and has promised the opposite, “All who desire to live a Godly life will be persecuted.”
  12. Rest in the sufficiency of Christ.  Whether you go to college, get a career, give your life for missions, began a family, start a business, write, teach, dream or fly, never forget that God has you and all that you are is well established in His power and might. Nothing else is needed. Rest in Christ when you have to quit a job because the company is unethical. Rest in Christ when your friends leave your side because Christ’s word is preeminent over politics, family and culture. Rest in Christ when everything you are is hated and you lose it all. Rest in Him when you keep it all and it appears no pain is in sight; it is then you must fight the temptation to not be content in Christ.  Remember Paul’s teaching in Philippians 4.
  13. Live for the glory of God. Now and forever and don’t ever let anyone put you down for that. Even if I fall prey to the stupidity of men’s wisdom, listen not to those words but remember the words of the Lord as I have taught and prayerfully lived before you.
  14. Learn that you will always be a learner. No one is a master of anything and no master of anything is without a master. You will need to glean all you can and grow in Christ as you sort out the chaff of life from truth. Hold fast to the word of life because when the day of the Lord draws near, your knowledge of modulus and Cicero will be useless. That is one of the points of learning, that we see the futility of it all in the face of Christ.
  15. Laugh. Live with joy and know that happiness comes from Christ alone. Period. Nothing more… Take yourself as you are, learn to enjoy laughing at your weaknesses and trials as though you know the reality of the future; because you do. Smile and let the world see the beauty of your soul and the resolve of your heart.

I am proud to have you as my child, my daughter, my friend and my sister in the Lord. I am thankful to the Lord of Heaven for all He has made you to be and how he has given you strength above your age and wisdom above your years. Keep those things that reveal His power, hone those things that are in need of change but in all things, know that your parents are glad you are who you are and most of all I am proud in the Lord that He has saved you and that you do have a love for His truth. Keep that, let the rest go as it will, and you will be truly successful in all things.

Your Dad.

p.s. I may add to this as the Lord strikes me… prepare. :)

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Knowing and Not Knowing What is Known

Ineffable.

Thinking on such seems foolish.

Considering the task surely a fool’s errand.

Subject this to the God of Heaven.  Unknown, Unknowable, Indescribable.

YET, He who is at His side makes Him known.

The SON perfectly knows the MIND of the FATHER.

The Spirit is GIVEN the Son without Measure.

The Spirit and the Son give life.

The Spirit Prays for us.

The Spirit reveals God to Us.

The Spirit rebirths us.

So, the worship of God is fully known in the face of the LOGOS come to Earth, Jesus, the Eternal Son who is GOD!

But even in knowing, ETERNAL LIFE GIVEN CERTAINLY, there is an inability to FULLY encapsulate the essence of the nature of the glory of God. Therefore, looking, seeing, knowing, believing, loving, hoping… they all are still yet a shadow.

Why? Because even when the fullest of our minds and souls see and savor, we are awestruck, unable to speak past the whispers of wonder locked behind our language and thought.

Now to HIM who is able to do far more than ANYTHING we could ever THINK or ASK…

We worship in SPIRIT and we worship in TRUTH. THe spirit alone allows a peek into the unknowable. Jesus reveals fully. He is truth. And when we are unable to see what we can see and unable to relay… we see and are satisfied knowing that our bold affection is that given to us by GOD. Through God the Spirit. God the Son.

I digress that I may rest in the unfathomable; knowing what I know of that which is not knowable yet known… :) I love this. No, I love Jesus.

 

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