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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

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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A thought from a broken saint

broken church building

Pastors, never forget the fragile state in which we live and serve. We are flesh, all of us, and must depend upon the mighty hand of God in all things. It is God who keeps us and holds us from the schemes of the enemy, the attacks of the world and the lust of the flesh. God in Christ Jesus seals us in holiness and steadfastness, gives us a heart to love the church of Christ with all the affection of Christ and allows us to find the greatest satisfaction amongst the deepest of suffering. We must never move our eyes from the glory of the one who can sit us upon the rock of righteousness and who has snatched us out of death, out of darkness and transferred us to the light of the Son and to the Kingdom therein. When this life is “able” we fail. When we look to our own holiness, we fail. When we feel content in our walk with Christ, we fail. When we subject our calling to the ways and ideals of this world, we fail. But even then oh brothers, Christ cannot fail and He will rescue us from the mundane, the philosophy of our minds, the brokenness of our discipline and the lacking of our zeal. Then our broken shards will cut through the dead flesh of men by the proclamation of Christ who sets the prisoners free by the blood poured from His own broken body. Remember that it is a gift of the miraculous grace of God when we suffer, when we mourn, when we are lowly so that our pride is put behind us and our very souls are endeavored to rest in His supreme hand.

May our boasting be in Christ and may our lives be a sacrifice to the praise of HIS glorious grace; not our own lest we labor for nothing.  It is far better to be no one in any historical sense and to have the mount of calvary as our epitaph in an unmarked grave than to be honored by men and praised through generations only to realize we left trash to be burned at the coming of the Lord.

Rise up pastor, bow down pastor… the Lord is true.

Pastor James

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Settling Your Salvation is the Work of Christ

Many people with whom I speak often use language referencing how they want to “settle” their salvation once and for all. Understanding this is difficult as it doesn’t really have a root in any biblical teaching. I think what people mean is that they want security, which is fine, but so often I see other well-meaning individuals responding to this type of language with leading people in certain words, magic prayers, special points or actions and all sorts of things.

Contrarily scripture teaches that salvation is settled in and through Christ alone. So, any attempts for an actions or will of man is no-gospel and is condemning. Faith or belief as some reference it, is believing and trusting that Christ indeed has settled salvation through His holy life as a man and His effectual sacrifice and resurrection. Scripture teaches that salvation is of the Lord and that grace (unmerited favor, love, and pursuit) is the effectual agent in election. Faith, the response of the call of God toward Jesus Christ (John 3 & 6), satisfies the soul because one believes that Christ is their only hope, their only treasure, their only love beyond all things!

So, the next time you think about settling your salvation remember it is DONE in Christ. He said it is finished, not “I hope you finish it for me…”

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 1:11-14 ESV)

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Just a Thought…

It appears that my flesh continually, under the guise of righteousness, takes to heart every offense; whereby I long for harmony and reconciliation, not because of the gospel but mainly because of my desire to be well met in thought and word. So, as the Lord Jesus is so gracious He supports His work with clear vision of my flesh and by seeing I am able to correct by His grace then putting off the ‘old man’ and putting on Christ’s new man which He has made me. What a Savior!

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Naked and Not Ashamed | Fellowship Without Shame

[10] For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. [11] More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11 ESV)

As long as humanity has been itself, the investment of togetherness has been a reality. For the first people, this unity embraced an inclusion without shame, concern, rejection or any type of insecurity. As Adam and Eve were naked, they knew not that they were thus their union in all things was purely the enjoyment, security and fellowship of each one with the other. At the fall this nakedness was revealed. Insecurity and timidity arose immediately and they were ashamed, not only before each other, but most importantly before God. They desired to hide their shame by covering themselves with their own provision to no effect bringing precarious want and emotion ringing into the garden and into the lives of all humanity after them.

Christ has taken away our shame by placing Himself at the center of guilt, though innocent, and thus endured the shame and thus the wrath of sin from the hand of God the Father. In doing this, while we still bare the marks of sin in our flesh, our fellowship with God is without shame and our nakedness before God as justified children reveals a purity that would not exist without imputation from Christ. Thus our common unity with God through Jesus Christ further protects our unity as the body of Jesus Christ and now as we are able to fellowship together in Christ, our living life together is not jarred or covered by a lack of transparency because we can be ‘naked’ and unashamed before God and before each other.

Before one takes the zip line to crazy town I want to make clear I am speaking metaphorically and most importantly, spiritually. Being naked before God and each other is expressed in the reality of our lives together in that we are not hiding behind facades of man-made philosophies or self-contracted ideals but rather we are exposed and visible with integrity as we really are. For some this exposure is seen as the work of God through solid faith and holy passions while in others, the pocks, scars and trials still abound. The sum of this is the reality that even though we are sinners who have past and present failings, we are forgiven in Christ and even “if” we sin in this present day, we are forgiven for Christ is our propitiation so that there is nothing more that is due God’s justice.

Fellowship among the saints then needs to come into the light of nakedness without shame. We need to realize that the true Church are those who live together, assemble together and worship together in an effort to grow into maturity and go into the darkness as light. We need to remember that we are all redeemed in Christ and that our tragedies belong to each other as well as our victories in Christ. The church ‘are’ the people of Christ who are called out to live and walk in light together and who are to carry the burdens of the weak, be patient with those who doubt, forgive as much as they are forgiven. Sadly though, many Christians live in fear of rejection and hide behind of charade of “idealism” that isn’t true. It is time for the people of Christ to be honest and open among their spiritual family and realize that just as God has forgiven them, just as they are facing doubt, just as they are going through trials; so the rest of the body follows.

We are indeed a people who should have no shame because Christ took it and nailed to His cross with His body!

Why do so many Christians live a lie?  Here are just a few thoughts:

  1. They feel as though they are the only ones with problems/sins/doubt/depression/issues.
  2. They feel as though others in the church would treat them differently if they were honest about their needs.
  3. They are right to feel that way because some would.
  4. They are not taught the gospel when assembled and are more pressured into fitting into a social mold than into the likeness of Christ.
  5. The culture of the church family insists on issues being a result of “faithlessness” or “apostasy”.
  6. They forget that the enemy of God is the accuser of the brethren and accusation begins within.
  7. They fail to remember the glory of God’s grace in Christ Jesus as their only hope.
  8. They don’t see that one of the purposes of Christ’s church is to grow into maturity.
  9. They fail to realize that suffering, pain, sin etc. can be and will be used by God to bring glory.
  10. The are too busy doing religious things instead of being enabled to minister to others, so they cannot perceive how anyone could minister to them.
  11. …….

When we fail to live truthfully, we fail to be God’s people in reality. Then we fail to worship, fail to learn, fail to really love and fail to really live.

Press into Christ, be in love with His people and live for His Glory!

Pastor James

 

 

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Cut My Tongue Out

Scriptural Authority

Scripture certainly has many references about the reality of false teachers and those who harm the church with lies and errors but lately it has become fashionable to be the defender of error leaving many Christians proclaiming “the not truth” rather than the truth. While error is certainly something that should always be discerned and corrected, there are clear biblical guidelines on what this looks like. Primarily, there is a GRAVE difference between the “evil” false teachers of Paul’s day and the ignorant, confused, or “still learning” Christians among the church. Scripture reveals that the false teachers are actually false converts who pervert the Gospel and blaspheme God while causing undue harm to the body of Christ and to the name of God. MOST others fall into the category where I have lived most of my life: incorrect understanding of doctrine.

The cause of this ignorance and error is vast but for the most part as a culture Christians no longer study the bible but rather read articles, watch videos, make assertions, and become ditto heads. I can say this because it was the majority of my early ministry days and by the Lord’s grace, He has spared me the grave and gross stupidity I once had because He opened my eyes to the authority of Scripture and has caused me to be careful as one who will give an account for EVERY word I speak on His behalf. It should be noted that of ALL the instruction given the church in the New Testament, most of the damage done, most of the rebuke, most of the correction given deals with the false “living” of professing Christians who neglect the power of the gospel of Grace by their continued sin and it is this that causes some of the greatest harm to the church. The damaging affairs are compounded when Christians begin to embark on a crusade of self-righteous expression and forsake the commands of Christ to make disciples by teaching them all Jesus has taught instead of the antithesis.  (Caveat: I am not saying that there is no room for calling out heresy, false teacher and the like, but it cannot be the mantra of one’s ministry and be biblical)

Back to the point that Christians among the church are brothers and sisters who have been purchased by Christ and all belong to the other in responsibility and affection. So, as family we are to be invested in the needs of others and often times those needs are to grow in our understanding of Grace, Doctrine and Scripture. So, as we live together for God’s glory when we see error we are to be patient, correct gently, give answers with respect as teachers and friends who care and not as task masters who “know better” and Lord over others with our superiority. After all, if it were not for God the Holy Spirit giving us wisdom we would be – and have been – just like them.

Sadly, much more damage is done to truth by those who act wickedly and have no real evidence of love for others. Patience is always called a virtue but in reality it is a revelation of the fruit of God in one’s life, so in matters like this it gives us the opportunity by God to invest in each other and show others the truth as we have seen it through the scripture. We are to have a unity of faith in Christ and have a unified understanding of all things related but because everyone is not immediately gifted with divine knowledge and wisdom we have to bear with each other as we all grow as others have to bear with us. Scripture teaches that we who are spiritual are to correct others in sin, lead others in service, out do others in love, overwhelm others in faith and generosity and express a concern that is explicitly supernatural in nature.

So, the next time I hear you all blabbing about something incorrectly I won’t cut out your tongues but rather take up the charge to walk as your brother with you and begin to guide you to the truth. In turn, please don’t cut mine out either… I just got it reattached… and sadly, they were wrong. 🙂 However, when I or others come bold against the truth… well, we have to rebuke it sharply and remove it from among us if repentance isn’t found and the truth isn’t sound. Seems like I have said these things before…

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:1-11)

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James

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God’s Glory IS the Point

pencil point

The struggle against the glory of God is as old as Adam. Well, it’s actually older. Lucifer had his eye on the beauty of God’s glory eternities prior to the creation and once man was made, he did his best to jump into the “see the glory” and “make it yours” game. While most all professing believers agree that God is most serious about His own glory, few actually understand what it means and how to define God’s glory in the first place. Taking on such a task would not suffice on an article post and the “point” here is to respond to a public “idea” that pits God’s glory against what is stated as “the gospel.”

The Old Testament is replete with example after example of God being most concerned with His glory and this textual expression is upheld by the New Testament. For example, Psalm 19:1 says that all the heavens declare the glory of God and Romans 1:20 advises that His invisible attributes are seen through creation, specifically His eternal POWER and DIVINE nature. Many more opportunities in the New Testament lecture the reader toward understanding that God’s glory is HIS visible power, nature, mind, actions, etc. In other words, God’s glory is GOD alone, it is the expression of Himself in all manners and means both generally and specifically.

The fall of man is measured against the “glory” of God. Therefore, it is a just condemnation when God’s glory is at stake. Man is compared to God and in doing so, God’s glory is revealed to be HIGH above the place of man. In Genesis, God said that it was GOOD to create man, as we began we saw that God says all that He has made is a display of His glory and now, the created man no longer displays such glory but falls far from it. (Romans 3:23) So, God’s glory is seen in creation and defamed in sin. Several places in the prophets we can see God acting for the sake of HIS NAME alone. His name, being coupled intrinsically with His being and essence reflect the whole sum of Himself in some respects, thus His glory.

The Glory of God is used often to describe the attributes and actions of God and seems to be the “END” purpose of all His being and doing. Paul says several times in the inclusive argument of Ephesians that the purpose of redemption was for God’s grace to be praised (His work, Himself) and this grace is described using the word “glorious”. Maybe God cares about His name and glory… maybe this is actually what scripture teaches.  Some would argue that the glory of God is just a simple attribute of His power or something else and is just a particle of the whole. This stands in arrogance as well as extreme ignorance of the nature of God in the first place. (We will cover this in later discussions)  So to the end of understanding a few things, God’s glory is the beginning and the end, for HE is the self sufficient, all powerful God who needs nothing, lacks nothing, exults in Himself, and is far above all things. In a real sense, to look at anything else but God and the fullness of His glory is just a boring journey of garbage and to apply any created purpose or person even at “equal” standing with the Glory of God is Satanic. (Just look at the words of Satan at his demise and his temptation of the first family and the Christ)

God’s glory should be seen as the point of LIFE and MISSIONS and EVANGELISM and PURPOSE.  We can prove it in any text at any time and we would do well to write such things. But let’s start and end with this: John 1 says that the GLORY OF GOD IS SEEN IN THE FULLNESS OF JESUS CHRIST. Please refrain from argument here, so many times I look forward to the day where ALL MOUTHS WILL BE SHUT, but I am thankful that God is gracious enough to enable us to know Him.  Salvation is KNOWING GOD (John 17:3, John 6:40) and the Son which is believing.  So, salvation comes only through SEEING the glory of God and KNOWING God through His revealed Glory. This is God’s work and it is FULLY effectual FOR HIS GLORY!

When it comes to the exercise of the so-called church as of late and so-called evangelism and missions much is waining in regards to the authority of God over the message and methods. Such is true when anyone argues that the point of missions is the “gospel” over the “glory of God” when the GLORY of God is the Gospel. Sadly, only the saints of Christ can see and understand this. Only those who behold the fullness of God’s glory in Jesus Christ can savor the majesty of God as their soul-satisfying portion. The Gospel is such because of God’s glory because it is God’s glory.  “GOSPEL” is a newly created word taken historically from “God speaks” revealed in the New Testament as the “The Good News.”

So, the “Good News” of Jesus Christ is the message of salvation which is a reflection of God’s good nature, love, mercy and grace. The Gospel is not a story, it is not a response, it is not a plan of salvation, it is the WORK OF GOD unto salvation by HIS POWER. The problem is that so many professional churchmen and executives with the title of Pastor do not like the humility required to behold and labor in the gospel of God’s glory. They prefer to be ashamed and thus have created a new gospel, which is damnation, not delight.  The Gospel of God is the absolute reality that God became man, born of a virgin who He created into a world that He created in order to perfectly save a people that He created who rebelled against Him and cared not to see His glory but gloried in what they could touch and see. (Rom 1)  The gospel is that this God-man lived a divinely holy and righteous life as a full human being and then willfully and gloriously suffered the cross and death to receive the penalty of sin and was raised to life. Faith in this work of God, this man of God, this God-man is the only way to salvation. Salvation only comes by the PREACHING of the words of Christ (Rom 10:17) who declared that IF YOU HAVE SEEN the Son, you have seen the Father and the Father made this GLORY manifest for salvation. (1 John 1)

The points:

  • The church exists to display the glory of God because she IS because of His working power.
  • Missions exist to reach out with the glory of God seen only in Jesus Christ
  • Worship is done by those who are saved to the “praise of His glorious Grace.”
  • All who believe reflect the GLORY of God and this pleases Him to see HIS work and POWER before Him.
  • Attempts to marginalize “evangelism” toward the purpose of methods and messages are missing the point.
  • Don’t take my word for any of this, read the scripture, be a Berean, know truth, not “tradition”.
  • The GOSPEL is ALL ABOUT GOD, not our response, not our message, but God alone sending Jesus the Son alone to save His sheep alone. Let’s stop missing the point.

For His Glory By His Grace,

Pastor James

 

For more reading, try here: (we do not necessarily endorse all views on links or resources but provide them for extra study and consideration – even opposing views. We desire that our readers would engage in scripture and be learned by God and among the local congregation instead of just regurgitating learned principles)

http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/3120.htm
http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Attributes/attrib_01.htm
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/owen/glory.pdf

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