This is some ramblings about things I think about or portions of my study notes as part of my quiet time with God using "Study Notes" from e-Sword.
(Free Bible software)
Ray Comfort website
My home page
Lake Robinson Radio
My Low Power AM neighborhood radio station website
May 30, 2010
Luke 15:11-24 is a familiar parable about the man who had two sons. The eldest of whose duties was to care for this father in old age and who would also be given a double portion of the inheritence for the extra responsibility and his younger brother.
The younger brother wanted to cash out early thinking he had a better way to run his life than under the shawdow of his father and elder brother. He lived it up for a while until the money was gone and found himself destitute, feeding pigs and wishing he had as much to eat as they had.
I heard this parabable explained at least a dozen times, usually very well. I always put myself in the place of the elder brother, thinkin of myself as responsible and never going off on my own in wanton pleasure.
But this morning in church, though not covering this passage at all, it came to mind that really each one of us is that prodigal, even myself. God is gracious to all in what we call common grace. This usually refers to Matt 5:45 where He causes the rain to fall upon the evil and the good alike. But there is much more that He does for us in common grace. But each one of us is like the prodigal and we take the blessings bestowed upon us from God and go our own way in life with little thought to the sourcee of the blessings and what He desires.
The prodigal finally came to his senses and realized it was better to be a servant in the house of his father than to rule his own life as he had. He made up his mind to go back to his father and say "I have sinned against Heaven and before you and am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants. "
Did you catch that? He admitted his sin both against his father and heaven, that is God. He plead for mercy, if only to be treated as a servant.
As prodigals, we need to come to our senses ourselves and recognize the siitution we are in. We may not be as poor as the prodigal was, but we are slaves to sin, whether it be to our passions, pride, or whatever, we are in rebellion to God. But like the prodigal who realized his error, we can come to the father in repentance and see the gracious response from God as the prodigal saw from his father.
But until we do, we are still in a "far away land". If the prodigal had not come to his senses, the story would have had a very different ending. He would have been lost forever and died in misery. Have you "come to your senses" like the prodigal did?
May 23, 2010
God's "X" men:
I found this article interesting in brining a point in the history of Israel to life and a reflection of our times.
by Pastor Larry DeBruyn
Marked for life: discernment ministry in light of Ezekiel 9:1-11.
Someone once said that sin is as much breaking God’s heart as it is His Law. When God looked down on the perversity of the people on earth before the Deluge, it was recorded that He “was grieved in His heart” (Genesis 6:6b). When confronted by resident wickedness both without and within the professing church, Christians can manifest one of three reactions: approval (1 Corinthians 5:2), indifference (Zephaniah 1:12), or disapproval as indicated by the presence of either anger (Psalm 119:53) or grief (Psalm 119:136). So the question becomes, as we see the worldliness-wickedness invading the church, how do we feel about it? Are we agitated by, indifferent to, or accommodating of it?
Not unlike the society and church of our times, during Ezekiel’s ministry Judah found herself in a moral and spiritual “melt down.” Fraud, violence, adultery, and idolatry were running rampant amongst God’s chosen people. Idols had been set up in the Temple (Ezekiel 8:17; 9:9). From his location in Babylon, the Lord took Ezekiel on a virtual reality tour of the Temple, the place where on the Mercy Seat beneath the Cherubim, God’s Shekinah glory was to have been seated (Ezekiel 8:4). What he saw in that place of worship stunned the prophet. On his guided tour of the inner court, the Lord showed the prophet where first the people had substituted an idol image for Yahweh; where second, the elders worshiped animals; where third, the women sobbed over the death of Tammuz, a mythological fertility god who had married the Egyptian goddess Ishtar; and where fourth, the priests worshiped the sun (Ezekiel 8:5-18). Up-close and personal, the prophet saw how the nation had abominated into apostasy, how Israel had turned from worshiping the Creator to idolizing the creation and its creatures (See Romans 1:21-23.).
Yet in the midst of all those “alternative spiritualities,” and like the remnant of Elijah’s day who refused to bow their knee to Baal and kiss the idol god (1 Kings 19:18), some believers preserved themselves to be holy unto the Lord. So the Lord instructed the angel dressed in white to mark an “X” on the foreheads of the faithful, a mark that would spare them from the coming divine judgment (circa 600 BC). Most have heard about “the mark of the beast”, the mark the deceived will receive at the end of the age, an identity without which they will neither be able to buy or sell (Revelation 14:9-12). The prophet Ezekiel wrote about a different mark, an “X” that was to be written on the foreheads of those in Judah who had refused to go along with the popular spiritual trends of that day. The “X” would spare them from the coming divine wrath. So the Lord instructed the angel: “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst” (Ezekiel 9:4). Pause with me . . . for a moment let’s project back to that era and ask ourselves the following question: If we had been alive in Ezekiel’s day, would the angel have marked us to be spared from divine judgment?
It was a remnant who strongly disapproved of the apostasy of the majority. In the words of the Lord, they groaned and sighed over the “abominations” (Ezekiel 8:6, 9, 13, 15, 17; 9:4) they saw being committed in the name of religion in their midst. What they saw sickened them to the core of their spiritual and emotional being. Would the angel have marked us if we had lived in that day? We should check out our feelings. Charles Feinberg observed: “Grief is always the portion of those who know the Lord in an evil day. The marked ones were penitent and faithful at a time of widespread departure from the will of the Lord.” Another commentator adds that the criterion for receiving the mark was “an affair of the heart–a passionate concern for God and His people. Failing that, there was no mark . . .”
Some in the mainstream Christian media have called those involved in discernment ministry “Christian attack dogs.” Maybe a better metaphor-label would be “Christian guard dogs”! Discerners so love their Master (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) and His Bride (i.e., the church) that they agonize to protect His truth and her purity.
Allow me to propose a litmus test as to whether or not we might have been marked in Ezekiel’s day. But before asking some questions, we should note the Apostle Peter’s warning: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2:1; Compare Matthew 7:13-15; Jude 17-19.). Based upon Peter’s prediction, does the worldliness that is invading the church bother us? (James 4:4) Does it concern us when we see churches being manipulated by the mechanics of church growth, when the end of growth justifies any means to achieve it? (2 Corinthians 2:17) Does it bother our souls to see the goal of growth eclipsing the Gospel, to see methods employed usurping the Message preached? (Romans 1:16) Does it grieve us to observe the church believing God’s truth less while enjoying “worship celebrations” more? (Matthew 15:8-9) Does the rampant immorality amongst professing evangelicals cause us to sigh? (1 Corinthians 5:2) Were you bothered a few years ago when one evangelical leader, who led a movement in his state to preserve the institution of traditional marriage, was cornered into admitting that he solicited sex from a male prostitute? (Jeremiah 23:14) Do false teachers with their strange and unbiblical teachings annoy you? (Revelation 2:2) Given our media age, does the development of the personality cults around evangelical leaders and speakers, where appearance and a schmoozing style trump substance, concern us? (1 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Peter 2:3; Jude 16) Are some of us even unaware that there are such critters as false teachers who stupefy their followers with their heretical teachings? (Romans 16:17) Does it upset us to see the Christian faith being publicly maligned for reason of the immoral behavior and unbiblical teachings prevalent amongst professing evangelicals? (2 Peter 2:2) In short, are we discerners? (Hebrews 5:14) If we are not, then we should not expect to be marked.
Well, you might be asking, how can we know whether or not a person is a false teacher? Through Jeremiah the Lord provided this description of false prophets: “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14). Of such prophets Jeremiah said that, “They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16b). Again, I ask you, do you know of any false prophets today? You may protest the question saying, “Well, I know men who speak for God who are true.” But that’s not the question. Do you know any false teachers? I know this is a discomforting question–but do you? If you don’t, I would say that you have a very grave problem . . . a very grave problem indeed. And it is this: You may not value God’s truth enough to know what it is and thereby be incapable of discerning “the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:4-6).
From his study of human history, a famous historian once remarked how he observed that the majority was seldom right. Jesus agreed. He said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.” He continued to say, “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” Then the Lord concluded: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:13-15). Interesting, isn’t it . . . that the Lord warned the multitudes to watch out for false prophets in the very context in which He differentiated the way of the majority from the Way of the minority. Jesus knew that to their own destruction the majority will follow the way of the false prophets and teachers. They will not be marked out for salvation. They will not be “X-Men”. Like the compromisers of Ezekiel’s day, they went along to get along. So allow me to ask you again: Dear Reader, do you know of any false prophets around today, or are you living in denial, in “a spiritual never-never land”? Will you choose to remain unwarned by the very warning that Jesus and the rest of the prophets and apostles warned you about; mainly, that false prophets and teachers will arise who will lead multitudes to walk the broad way leading to destruction? Remember: Seldom is the majority right.
For any Christians concerned to discern, they may be comforted to know they’re taking the narrow Way. A spirit of discernment is symptomatic of true faith. The Lord’s sheep care, yes, even “sigh and groan” when they see fellow evangelicals lapsing into worldliness and ungodliness. Goats however, are unmoved (Matthew 25:31-46). Yet the caring can be comforted to know that their discernment evidences their solidarity with the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Being concerned to discern marks them out– “X” — as true believers (See 1 John 2:18-24.). Yet the overriding emotion of discernment ought to be that of grief. Yes, there may be a time for anger. God gets angry. He was with Ezekiel’s generation, so much so that after He had told the angel in white to mark the believing remnant, the Lord instructed the other six angels, “Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” (Ezekiel 9:5b-6). Yet we must remember that, “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).
So it’s truly a sad day when we see those professing to know God believing and behaving as if they do not. So it’s significant to note that the divine judgment was to begin in the sanctuary and then work its way out through Jerusalem and the rest of the entire nation (Compare 1 Peter 4:17.). This order of judgment compelled Paul to command the congregation at Rome: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18, KJV). But if we are to engage in such marking, we ought to be reminded that the accompanying emotion ought to be one of grief. Yet we ought also to be reminded that in the end those who refuse to mark false teachers may not be marked by the Lord to be spared divine judgment
May 9, 2010
Contending for the faith once delivered...
Jude 1:3-4 Having made all haste to write to you about the common salvation, beloved, I had need to write to you to exhort you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.:4 For certain men crept in secretly, those having been of old previously written into this condemnation, ungodly ones perverting the grace of our God for unbridled lust, and denying the only Master, God, even our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul writes to the Galatian church: " I marvel that you so soon are
being moved away from Him who called you into the grace of Christ, to
another gospel, 7 which is not another, but some are troubling you,
and desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ". Gal 1:6-7
Some of you may know that I keep up with some online discernment ministries. These are weary and persecuted soldiers of Christ willing to say what is needed to be said few are willing to do it. People in the "church" will accuse them of "causing division" when in reality those who pervert the gospel of Christ are causing division. Those is the church are fed a diet less than milk and are no longer discerning but believe everything writen in the latest book or preached from pastors trained in corrupt seminaries. Sola Scriptura (scriptures alone, as the source of of God's truth) that the reformers died for, is being dump for "doctrines of demons" which contradict scripture in the name of "Contemplative Spirituality". This itself warmed over from "Desert Fathers" who got if from Buddist in the east. Even Thomas Merton, a monk who helped revived this practice says he felt closer to Buddah than Christ.
It is wearysome to read this and more wearysome to see it taking over the church body like undected cancer. Those who would decern and speak out will soon, and already, are persecuted. Rightly Jesus said "Yet when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8
Over at the website "Apprising Ministries" an 3 part article by Gary Gilley is published on a new (latest) take on what the apostle Paul "really meant" in his epistles. Part of the opening here sums up my wearysome feelings:
The lovers of God’s truth can be excused if they seem to be a little “under the weather” lately, for everywhere we turn there are attacks on cardinal doctrines of the faith which most of us have considered secure and untouchable for years. Nathan Busenitz says it well,
Not even the gospel is safe from attacks by those who claim to be part of the church. As a matter of fact, the foremost battle being waged at this moment is over soteriological issues. Emergent church leaders are in the forefront of this battle as they slice, dice, rearrange, deny and undercut the gospel message as found in Scripture. Emergent church leaders fight this battle largely on the popular front, but underpinning their views is the theological framework of what has been termed “The New Perspective on Paul” (NPP).
I do believe this is part of the great apostasy the Bible speaks of before the rapture, the return of Christ for His church and the times of tribulation that will follow. If not for a few good men who spoke up over a century ago llike J. Gresham Machom and Charles Hadden Spurgeon, Christianity in America would have been as it is in Europe. But they are gone and few are willing to replace them today. Hats off to relatively unknows like Ken Siva, Phil Johnson, Gary Gilley, Ingrid Schlueter and more who join a more familiar name like John MacArthur.
April 4, 2010
He is Risen! Have a blesses Ressurection Day!
Jesus told His disciples:
January 24, 2010
"To Save a Life" Is a new movie our family watched today. It was excellent and I recommend this to everyone. I don't know that I ever did this before, but I will for this. It is very well written and even my kids thought is was extremely well done and they are tough critics. Kyle was waiting for some "ouch" moments that never happened, that often happens with movies that have a Christian theme.
The movie is about a popular kid in high school who was strongly affected by the suicide of a boyhood friend who had saved his life in 6th grade but cost that boy a limp and alienation. The popular boy Jake felt responsible as his friends shuned the other boy and pulled him away. They parted ways for 3 years. Now Jake searches for meaning of life beyond basketball and partying and the need to care for those on the fringes. He takes a serious look at Christianity but is put off by the superficality he sees. But in the end comes to Christ and changes his youth group into a truly loving comunity. He make a differnce in the life of another marginalized boy who would have committed suicide if not for Jake. Jake struggle with a home life falling apart in the midst of finding new life.
I can't recommend it more highly. If you are reading this after it is no longer in theatures, rent the DVD!
January 1, 2010
Happy New Year!!
How can 2009 be over yet! As a kid I couldn't imagine the world of 2000 yet alone what I would look like or be. Now it is ten years in the past! By the way where is my "George Jetson" flying car? (see Flying Car)
On November 28 Lake Robinson Radio AM 1610 officially went on the air rebroadcasting VCY America.org programming. WVCY started in the 70's? as "Voice of Christian Youth" by a Youth for Christ leader named Vic Elliason and has grown to a network of radio stations primarily in the midwest and a TV statioin in Milwaukee. They are committed to Biblical programming and reaching people for Christ. They have been a blessing to me and I miss them much. Now they are on the air in a tiny area in South Carolina (about 1 mile radius give or take a half mile) from the north shore of Lake Robinson between Hartsville and McBee SC.
I also add some spot announcements, putting in content from other ministries and will hopefully add my own program for young (in the Lord) christians in 2010.
This mornings devotions from Jer 37 gave a promise for the future of the people of Israel:
Jer 31:1 At that time, says Jehovah, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.
Romans 11:26 Paul talks about events after the "blindness in part" (vs
25) of the Jews is complete when the "fullness of the nations has come
in". Specifically that Israel will be saved and turn away
ungodliness from Jacob. This is also the time when they shall
"look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him..."
Zech 12:10 and referenced in Rev 1:7 as yet future.
Will 2010 be the year the Lord returns? Those who have Hope look forward to His coming. Do you look forward to it? If not are you trusting Him only for your salvation? Those who do have this hope. Please go to my home page and click on "How someone can be saved" link on the left side. Or go to the "Living Waters" link.
The Bible says " Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness... (Hebrews 3:7-8) It says the deceitfulness of sin hardens our heart to God and His wrath is building up for the day of Judgment. But He is a merciful God. Repent and call upon His name for fogiveness of sin and everlasting life.
God's blessings upon you in this new year!
October 11, 2009
I am back!
Postmodernism says, “You have your truth, I have my truth, everybody has his own truth. Truth is whatever you think it is, whatever you want it to be; it’s intuitive, it’s experiential. But it’s not universal, and it’s not knowable–universally knowable."
If we can't know the truth, what is to say he is wrong?
The Emergent church is rejecting "Sola Scriptura", Luther's cry starting the reformation that scripture alone is our source of faith and morals. It is knowable and that is why God gave us His Word.
Isaiah 8:19-20 And when they shall say to you, Seek to
the mediums and to
wizards who peep and mutter; should not a people seek to their God,
than for the living to the dead? 20 To the Law and to the
testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because
no light is in them.
The Lamb deserves the reward of His sufferings:
From my daily study in
scripture and the film "Revival Hymn"
We wish to make
everything about us; God made everything for Him.
May 13, 2007
For the Mom of my kids,
my beloved wife I also which a joyous Mother's day. We hope the
weather stays nice to enjoy family time together outdoors. Like
my Mom, Jannelle cherishes family time together and seems to be
the catalyst for our times together. She too is a special lady
and sees things from a different perspective that graciously
complements my own. While I seemed called to complete my task
list, she will seize the moment and make it special rather than letting
it be trumped by the daily challenges of life. I am so grateful
to have had so many years together (22 so far). I shed a tear
Friday night as a you man sang "I will be here" by Stephen Curtis
Chapman, the only song I ever sang solo at church (or for that matter
anywhere but the shower) and that to her. I am still here and
plan to be as long as the Lord gives us time together. May God
richly bless you Jannelle!
Take time today (even
if not Mother's day) to honor that special Mom you know or have.
More Doctrinc in Hymns of Old...
πρόσωπον prosōpon pros'-o-pon
The word visage
reminded my of the hymn "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" and
remembered the use of the word "visage" and did not know what that
meant. It was refering to the countenance or face of our Lord and
Savior Jesus. It languished* under the sorrow of our sin at the
cross: Read slowly the words that follow:
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown; How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn! How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!
What Thou, my Lord,
hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain; Mine, mine was the
transgression, but Thine the deadly pain. Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve Thy place; Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me
The second verse
contains the Gospel message NOT preached in "Positive, Upbeat" churches
today who are afraid or the bitter reality of true Gospel, they rather
tickle the ears of their flock to grow larger and more popular.
"Mine, mine was the
transgression" The repetition forces emphasis on the second
"mine" as to almost shout. Mine sin put Him their! My
sin put the nails in His hands and feet. My sin put the thorns
through His brow. My sin caused the Father to look away and leave
our savior to face the wrath. I SHOULD HAVE HAD THIS
What response should
that provoke in us? "Lo, here I fall, my
Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place; Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe
to me Thy grace".
It is godly sorrow that leads to repentance. 2 Cor 7:10 With this in mind I can't imagine a conversion of the heart in great sorrow and tears! Does this sound like the Gospel taught in your church? It is the Gospel of the Bible and Bernard of Clairvaux understood this in 1153. (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/s/osacredh.htm)
We can learn a lot from
those old hymns. Jesus has not changed the Gospel since He was
lifted up into the clouds, neither should we.
* Websters 1828
Dictionary "4. To pine or sink under sorrow or any continued passion;"
The Offensive Gospel take II
" The Gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the revelation which it brings is not palatable. There is a certain pride in man that will give and give, but to come and accept is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom, I will give myself in consecration, I will do anything, but do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God; we must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest blessing spiritually is the knowledge that we are destitute; until we get there Our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us if we think we are sufficient of ourselves, we have to enter into His Kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are rich, possessed of anything in the way of pride or independence, God cannot do anything for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is made effectual in us by the Holy Spirit, He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, which puts "the beyond" within, and immediately "the beyond" has come within, it rises up to "the above," and we are lifted into the domain where Jesus lives."
I remember back in 1977
when I questioned how could salvation be that simple? I worked
hard to be good and do all the stuff I thought would please God, and
none of that mattered?
Paul was talking about his religious life before his encounter with Jesus. He was quickly climbing the ranks of the religious clergy in his zeal. He was very sincere but dead wrong on the person of Jesus Christ. God mercifully humbled Paul and open his eyes to the truth. The truth of his own depravity before God. It did not matter what man thought of him, before God he was a wretched sinner as we all are. We all deserve the wrath of God, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved)... Eph 2:4, 5
Nov 26, 2006
The Offensive Gospel
Last night I was
reading in chapter 5 of Bob DeWaay's book "Redefining Christianity", a
book primarily debunking "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick
Warren. The contrast he made was between the biblical gospel
which is an offensive gospel
and a non-offensive gospel (which is not the gospel of Jesus) that is
popularly preached today and received by the masses. The first is
God-centered, the second is man-centered. The gospel of Rick
Warren is based on his market research into non-churched persons "felt
needs". His conclusion ranks "purpose in life" as one of the
chief needs and the lack thereof leads to many of the things that bring
dissatisfaction in life. According to this, finding
ones purpose is in a relationship with God and to serve Him. He
says that God is desperate for our love , so much so that He
died on the cross to prove it. (page 79 Purpose
Driven Live [PDL]) Everyone who
wants purpose in life needs only to "believe and receive" (page 58-59
PDL) to "enter the family of God, have the relation and the
purpose. Sounds noble enough, and most people accept this at face
value. But this is not what Jesus nor the Apostles taught and
this doesn't sound like a Rock-of-Offense.
Jesus did not say "I love you this
much! I'd rather die than live without you" (page 79 PDL).
When facing the prospect of the cross in great agony in the Garden
Jesus said "Take away this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what
You will. " Mark 14:36 Our sin debt needed to be paid on the
cross in order for God to truly be a just God. This is why the
Father sent Jesus. When facing the task Jesus did not do it
because he was desperation to prove His love for us, He did it to
obey the will of His Father. Bob DeWaay compares Warren's idea to
that of a man desperately trying to prove to an uninterested woman how
much he loves her by doing something dramatic. This is an
altogether wrong view of the cross, it is also a unbiblical teaching
about how people come to him. Jesus says that people can only
come to Him if the Father draws them to Himself. (John 6:335-37, 44,
65) Jesus wasn't interested in being popular in fact turned many
away that very day with His words. If He was trying so hard to
win them over, He failed miserably. But that is not what He was
doing, He was proclaiming the truth, and the truth was offensive and
the result was: "From this time many of His disciples went back
into the things behind, and walked no more with Him. " (John 6:66) There
are several more example of how he turned away crowds and individuals
away rather than catering to their felt needs. His message was
offensive, but it was the truth, it is part of the Gospel.
The exclusive nature of the
Gospel is offensive:
The popular view that "all roads lead to God" is held by people today in ignorance of scriptural teaching. "You mean God will send people to hell who are sincerely following there religion?" Yes, the Bible says so. Even some that seek Him shall not be able to enter as we saw in the previous paragraph. This is extremely offensive to many. I admit is is hard for me to accept, but I didn't make the rules. Many will dismiss God and the bible over this issue, and do so to their peril.
The Gospel is offensive because it
declares we are all under the wrath
of God because of our sin unless we repent (declare our guilt
before God and turn from our sins). Jesus himself said "He who
believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe
the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon
him." John 3:36 The apostle Paul adds:
God made the terms for how we are
to come to them and He revealed them in His word, the Bible.
Appealing to felt needs of unbelievers is not the gospel. How
then do we reach our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers for
Christ? The "Living Waters" link to the left is a useful resource
for how to present the gospel. But how do we take that
first step? Many people don't want to talk about it.
It is uncomfortable, is is offensive as we have seen, many are
disinterested or have their own beliefs. Some can be quite nasty
if you bring up the subject and others dismiss you out of hand as "one
of those ______ (fill in the blank)". I wish I had the answer for
this. One thing we can do is pray that God would work in their
hearts and draw them to Himself. We are commanded by Jesus to
pray that the Lord of the Harvest woudl send workers into thd harvest,
but these workers face the same question. Jesus said to "Let your
light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify
your Father who is in Heaven" Matt 5:16. We can be sensitive to
the Holy Spirit working in the lives of those who do not believe to
draw them and be available to share. I wish God put a big red tag
on the persons who wanted to hear the gospel, but He doesn't. It
is our job to preach it. We may be hated and despised like Paul
and the other disciples and countless Christians throughout the ages,
but that's what it may take to be obedient. "...but we preach
Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks
foolishness. But to them, the called-out ones, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God." I Cor 1:23-24
"Lord loose my tongue to proclaim the 'Good News' of the gospel."
Nov 20, 2006
Faithful to death
power is in God's method
(From Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
A man clothed in soft raiment? - A second excellency in John was, his sober and mortified life. A preacher of the Gospel should have nothing about him which savours of effeminacy and worldly pomp: he is awfully mistaken who thinks to prevail on the world to hear him and receive the truth, by conforming himself to its fashions and manners. Excepting the mere color of his clothes, we can scarcely now distinguish a preacher of the Gospel, whether in the establishment of the country, or out of it, from the merest worldly man. Ruffles, powder, and fribble seem universally to prevail. Thus the Church and the world begin to shake hands, the latter still retaining its enmity to God. How can those who profess to preach the doctrine of the cross act in this way? Is not a worldly-minded preacher, in the most peculiar sense, an abomination in the eyes of the Lord?
Are in kings’ houses - A
third excellency in John was, he did not affect high things. He was
to live in the desert, and to announce the solemn and severe truths of
doctrine to the simple inhabitants of the country. Let it be well
that the preacher who conforms to the world in his clothing, is never
element but when he is frequenting the houses and tables of the rich
“But to what shall I compare this generation?”
The Cooperative Rebel
Jim Berg’s book “Changed into His Image”,( the title of which is taken from Romans 8:29) talks in chapter 3 about rebellion that is at its root is caused from our sin nature we were born with. He mentions several kinds. We all think of what he terms the “Assertive Rebel” who is openly defiant, and has tended to become embraced by our culture as the independent spirit. But the same underlying sin nature causes another type of Rebel he calls the “Cooperative Rebel”. Jim writes:
Another type of cooperative rebel appears to be driven by a sense of duty: as a child he is often called a “really good kid,” seems to go out of his way to be helpful, never seems to be a problem, is sometimes perfectionistic and legalistic, and thinks, “I’;; do my best because I have learned that life works best this way” or “I’ll do my best because I like the image of being a great kid.” Perhaps he has often seen a brother or sister who is an assertive rebel resisted by authority and doesn’t want the hassle. He may even enjoy the limelight he gets when other compare him to his rebellious brother or sister.
Surprising as it may seem, there are many of us who really try to be good, not because we are allowing God to work in our lives to produce His fruit, but because it seems that life has fewer snags when we stay out of trouble. We often achieve the accolades and image we want. We can become smug around others who aren’t doing right and can become easily embittered during the times when we are being good and don’t get what we want.1
Jim goes on to quote C.S. Lewis
If you are a nice person-if virtue comes easily to you—beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you though nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, you bad example more disastrous. The Devil was an archangel once: his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee. 2
These words pierced me and described the heart of much of my motivation, to be nice because it works and “life has fewer snags”. This leads to pride and as Lewis put it “your fall more terrible”.
What is the answer to this? In Luke 18:9-14. Jesus tells a parable of two men, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector (really bad sinner in those days). The Pharisee rejoiced in his ability to keep the law in his prayer to God, the other realized his sinfulness and pleaded for mercy for the only one who could help him. For the one to whom living virtuously comes easy, we much remember the words of John Bradford: "But for the Grace of God, there go I." We must recognize the rebel within us, the pride that thinks we can live up to God’s standard by our own natural strength and will. Throw yourself on the mercy of God. Let him examine you (Psalm 139:23,24) and let His righteousness live through you. Let him break your heart to see things as He does. How can we do that? Get in God’s Word everyday, pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit would make it clear to you, and then obey what God tells you through His Word. Do not sit and judge God’s Word, let it be your judge.
21 Declare and bring near; yea, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this of old? Who has told it from then? Is it not I, Jehovah? And there is no other God besides Me; a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. 22 Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
May we wake up and come to God on His terms rather than acting as gods ourselves and allowing Him in to our lives if it suits our needs.
July 4, 2006
From my quiet time:
||Has your church been
Concerns about Church growth movements and the Emergent Church
January 24, 2010