Advertisement

    The Law/Constitution on the Heart

    Saturday, July 4, 2015, 9:23 AM [General]

    Many take pride in saying that we were made in God’s likeness and image.  How many think much about how we lost that likeness in the Garden of Eden?  And even in the Salvation experience we have not gained that likeness back.  Don’t believe me?  Consider what John meant when he said, “… it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1st John 3: 2)  So we have not yet regained that likeness, because it doth not yet appear what we shall be.

    We stipulated (from God’s Word) that the law on stone is not capable of bringing Salvation from the law which results in death.  Salvation plants (as it were) the Law of LOVE (God is love; God’s law is built on love) in a believer’s heart.  We really needed to clarify ‘believing in man’s Salvation through Christ’s sacrifice as allowed by God’s LOVE, mercy and forgiveness.’  Believing is not simply a matter of, “Oh, I heard and read all about it in Sunday School, and I believe everything I was taught there.”  This is as it were learning taught by the ‘precept of man.’

    Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men; therefore behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work … (Isaiah 29: 13- 14)

    Knowing our Savior means more than, “Oh, I know all about Him, because I studied in Sunday School.”  Going to Sunday School and Church is wonderful, but people really need to understand that what is learned there needs to be absorbed into their hearts, not simply arm loads of head knowledge.

    The Pharisees believed early on in “God’s Word” as it appeared to them from their parchments (their scrolls).  They studied it diligently and elaborated (overly elaborated) on it greatly.  But they failed to understand that “marvelous work” noted in Isaiah’s passage above.

    I fear that many preachers and church lobbyists to Congress are falling back into the trap of that knowledge “taught by the precept of man.”  The law on stone was not sufficient for man.  The parchments were not sufficient.  The US Constitution will never be sufficient.  The law (on stone, parchment, or bound in books called the Bible, or in the US Constitution) may constrain man’s actions to a degree, but will never satisfy what God is demanding that His under-shepherds, the pastors and preachers, are supposed to be sharing with mankind.

    Pharisees and politicians may work on the law from now till Kingdom come but that will never take the place of God’s intentions for His church.  Believers are to reach mankind with God’s law of LOVE.  They have a Living Word (not just a Book called Bible) that is sharper than any two-edged sword that may be wielded by any constitution.  The Living Word is God’s Word, which became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1)  Believers are to be Christ-like dwellers among people of this world, recognizing that this world is not our home.  Our ‘Constitution’ is alive and preparing a place for us, because ‘Our Constitution’, the constitution of Christians, is Jesus Christ Himself written on our hearts.

    I’m not trying to suggest that God may not call certain people to enter the sphere of politics.  But I do believe that He would only call the most mature believers to such a position, because it is such a precariously circumspect position.  I realize too that such a position carries weighty matters that are put into ink and paper (or was that chisel and stone?).  But a believer in such a position must realize that his sphere of influence is so much more important and powerful than the ink and paper of the US Constitution.  He must realize that God’s law will always be God’s law, regardless of any constitution and that the law of LOVE on man’s heart will always supersede and accomplish so much more than any law on stone (or was that ink and paper?).  We are to reach people with LOVE, God’s law written on the heart, not a constitution written on human documents.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Do You Know Jesus?

    Friday, July 3, 2015, 8:08 AM [General]

    I believe that it would be superfluous for me to discuss more on being judged by the law that you judge by.  But I believe that more understanding on judging can be gleaned by considering the following passages.  Also, considering judging can add to understanding the following passages.

    For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if ye forgive not their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Matthew 6: 14 (Also refer to Matthew 18: 21- 35: How many times shall I forgive?  Parable of the Unmerciful Debtor.)

    The law on tablets of stone cannot allow salvation for any, because all are guilty.  “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, … “. (Acts 15: 11)  “… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, … “. (Acts 16: 31).  Simple?  Believe what and why?  Saved from what?  There is more to those verses than many modern readers readily see.

    Paul who was a Hebrew scholar originally wrote them in Hebrew or had a secretary who wrote them for him either in Hebrew or Greek.  In his times names were used to convey a valid meaning.  Many people today who may say, “Believe in Tom, Dick, or Harry,” may not associate real meaning to the terms ‘Tom,’ ‘Dick,’ or ‘Harry.’  Just believe in any or all of the people designated by those names.

    Lord is the master.  Jesus means, “Yahweh (or Jehovah, the One True Creator and God) is Salvation.”  Christ means anointed or specially designated (it is from the Greek translation of the Hebrew term transliterated as ‘Messiah.’).  To believe in (or ‘on’) the Lord Jesus Christ from its original perspective is to believe that He is to be the Master of your life and that He is God’s specially designated plan for your Salvation.  Why do we need salvation?  Because not one of us can be saved from the Law on Stone without an escape.  The law’s judgment would mean death for all who are judged by that law.  God sent His Son, Jesus, who did not break the law, and therefore was not subject to die by it.  But He chose death at the hands of our sins, to take our judgment on Himself and offer us the gift of eternal life by God’s gracious mercy.

    That study by ecclesiastical scholars is called soteriology.  Do they use these terms to make it difficult for us who are not scholars?  No, just when translating so many ancient languages as Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, it’s just only natural that they would talk that way amongst themselves and this provides them reference points in understanding one another.  But they really try to understand the ancient intentions in the wording of those languages to try to better explain it to those of us who are not schooled in those languages or customs or cultures of those times.  Their understanding of the customs and cultures helps them to better understand the terms in their languages so more meaning and understanding can be derived.  With so many changes in customs, cultures, and languages, we should all sincerely thank the Lord that there are people who are dedicated to these studies.  We should also pray that the Lord will send more people to explain these things to the world which is in so much need of understanding.

    Many may ask, “Do you know the Lord?”  Many may say, “I know the Lord.”  But do we consider what it means to “know” (K N O W) the Lord.  It could be said that Satan ‘knows’ the Lord.  Satan came before God in Job’s trials and came to Jesus in the wilderness.  The English language has a number of terms related to and meaning similar to know: understand, comprehend, recognize, see (as in, “I see.”), and others you may think of.  So it was in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  This is why sometimes there are issues in sorting out the full meaning.

    In Genesis Moses taught that “Adam ‘knew’ Eve … and she conceived …” (Gen. 4: 1)  The Hebrew (without inflections or accent marks) was ‘yada’.  This can accurately be translated “know,” but one must recognize that this does not mean simply, “have a certain knowledge of.”  It means to know in a full, encompassing sense of the word; to personally have a relational knowledge that can only be gained by having a personal experience or relationship with.

    Jesus said that on the judgment day many will be told to depart from Him because He never ‘knew’ them. (Matthew 7 22)  But could Jesus say that He never knew Satan since encountering him in the wilderness (and not only there)?  So this knowing Jesus is not simply a matter of having knowledge of Him through the Written Word, but is really more of knowing by experiencing a personal relationship with Him.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Sin Is Sin

    Thursday, July 2, 2015, 6:36 PM [General]

    Sin is sin, and calling sin, sin, is not judging.  Facts are facts.  But for anyone to try to hold themselves up as being better than someone else, because of that someone’s sin is judging that person to be less valuable than the one holding themselves up.

     

    Perhaps personalizing a bit may clarify some things.  My own righteousness is as filthy rags before the Lord.  So I am a low down, miserable sinner.  I have to bow down to God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness and confess my needs.  If I could not recognize the fact that I was in such need of His Salvation, then why would I ever feel a need to be saved?  So if I meet another person that I recognize to be a sinner and I fail to demonstrate to that person the love, mercy, and forgiveness that God showed me, then I am lacking in the law of LOVE that should be in my heart after discovering God’s love for me.  Having been saved, I still have to admit that I am not yet made perfect.  However, I should at least be able to demonstrate that I am trying to LOVE with God’s LOVE.

     

    People will invariably encounter a multitude of sinners guilty of a multitude of various sins.  How should I handle such encounters?  I could avoid them as being people that I’m just too good to be associated with (that would be the typical, prideful, arrogant, judgmental way).  I could preach at them (that could put on quite a show of my religiosity).  Or I could minister to them and help as best I could to meet their needs without judging them, and showing them LOVE that they may not be accustomed to encountering in this world.

     

    Christian means Christ-like.  Christ came and sinners (including me) spit on Him, beat Him, and nailed Him to a tree, yet He said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 34).  {Now if people call themselves Christian (Christ-like) and they recognize that Christ had such LOVE for them, being the filthy rags as they are (still ‘are’ present tense, because the most righteous of the righteous are still filthy rags compared to God) then how much LOVE should they have for others in this world who are still in their filthy rags?}

     

    Christ loved and died for me, long before I asked for His mercy.  So if I am to be like Him, then shouldn’t I also LOVE those who have not yet asked for mercy?  If we took all the church pew sitters and located them on one side of the railroad track, and all the non-church pew sitters, and placed them on the opposite side of the track, then I believe the Christian ones would be the ones crossing the tracks to LOVE those who still have not come to know Christ’s LOVE.

     

    I remember a pastor (I can’t remember his name and I refuse to name the church or the city) who said that his church quit giving baskets of food to families on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  He explained that the expense became too much of a strain on the church’s budget.  I can understand that you can only do what you can afford to do, but still do what you can.  His further deliberation dumbfounded me.  They took applications for families who expressed a need for assistance and sent deacons and Sunday School teachers to investigate the families’ homes to evaluate the need.  If they saw a beer can, a dirty magazine, or a cigarette butt, then they scratched that family’s name from the list of eligible recipients.  As their investigation progressed, they determined that no one was eligible to receive a Thanksgiving or Christmas basket.  He said their budget improved and the Lord blessed them greatly for their actions.

     

    I could just picture in my mind a dirty, hungry little boy playing barefoot in his yard and a Sunday School teacher coming from his house saying, “I’m sorry little boy, but you won’t get to enjoy any Thanksgiving dinner this year because your father is a sinner.”  Read the first three chapters of Revelation.  Beware!  Let the one who has an ear to hear listen up.  Candles are already being snuffed.  Lamp-stands are already being removed from their places.  The mighty hand of the almighty God is ready to strike with force so-called churches who are swiftly leading astray the ones who would come to Him.

     

    I have been in bars where fights could break out at the drop of a hat.  I have been in churches where rumors, gossip, disputes, and back-biting were common.  I have been in bars where there was brotherly love.  If almost anyone had a need, almost everyone would jump to help.  I have been in churches where there was a great deal of brotherly love.  Some people say that these “love” churches were filled with the Holy Spirit.  I cannot say that any of the people in either church were not saved.  Even saved people may have had major roadblocks in their spiritual maturity.  However, a church that was really vibrant with the power of the Holy Spirit could be seen not just because the church was filled with brotherly love.  The real test is to go outside the church, walk around the church looking into the community.  A church that is filled with God’s LOVE will not be holding that LOVE inside its own congregation.  That LOVE would be spilling out into the community around.  That is the nature of God’s LOVE.  It goes into a world that is not even willing to receive it, that it may find any who will.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Law & Mercy

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 9:01 AM [General]

    God gave the Law on stone tablets to Moses, who was to give them to the Jewish nation, who in turn was to demonstrate them and share them with mankind.  This part on the stone tablets is referred to as the Ten Commandments.  There was much more given that were recorded in the Torah, known to the Christians as the Pentateuch or first five books of the Bible.  Part of that law was to demonstrate how men were to approach God.  Another part was given as dietary safeguards to protect the health and well-being of those who chose to worship God.  The rest dealt with ways that men were to deal with each other and settle disputes.

    Only God’s Own Son fully lived to the satisfaction of God’s intended will through the given law.  As to the rest of mankind it is said that, “… all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags …” (Isaiah 64: 6)  The most righteous on earth are in need of bowing down to God’s righteousness and seeking his love, mercy, and forgiveness.  This means that no human has any right to boast or hold his head up in pride or arrogance.

    Today we can see a world that has plenty of drunks, prostitutes, drug addicts, and crimes of stealing, wounding, and murder.  I do not believe anyone can demonstrate from Biblical studies that Satan was known for his drunkenness, sexual proclivities, or being strung out on drugs.  Satan’s downfall was that he stood in his own pride and arrogance before his Creator.  I have heard people speak of the Pharisees that they were wrong to carry God’s law to extremes that weren’t expressly written out in the law that God gave.  The sins of the Pharisees were not that they tried to keep more law than what was given.  It’s okay to obey more laws than what’s expected.  Their sins were in the facts that they 1) did not fully and perfectly obey the law they were given; 2) exercised too much pride in their own righteousness, even though that righteousness was woefully lacking; 3) expected others to live to higher standards than they themselves were capable of and unjustly judged others by those standards; and 3) they failed to recognize the signs that were in their Scriptures regarding the Messiah Who was to come and in fact, was already making Himself manifest.

    God knew that man was not going to live up to His standards.  That is why Jesus is spoken of as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13: 8).  God knew what the world would become from its very foundation; and from that foundation made arrangements for man’s deliverance.  Jesus said that He had not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. (Matthew 5: 17).  Paul explained this by pointing out that what the law could not accomplish, was accomplished through Christ’s Passion (His death to offer sacrifice for man’s shortcomings).  God does not delight in death, but because man violated God’s law, and was therefore not eligible for God’s eternal life (the wages of sin is death- Romans 6: 23), God Himself, through His Son, paid the wages of death, so that the gift of eternal life could be offered to those who accepted (Romans 6:23, et. al.).

    Paul expressed that those who knew their Savior were free from the law, but that did not mean that they were lawless.  Those who know their Savior recognize the LOVE that their Savior had for them, and that LOVE is shared with them in their hearts.  This LOVE in their hearts is a new law that has higher standards.  Mankind still falls short of the law, but because of the love, mercy, and forgiveness offered through their Savior, they are expected to strive to live in that LOVE and be patient and forgiving of those who fail in that LOVE, recognizing that they themselves also often fail in that law of LOVE.

    The Pharisees in their pride and arrogance failed to recognize their own need for that love, mercy, and forgiveness.  Then they sought to judge their fellow citizens by the law that they could not perfectly live up to.  When Jesus said that the law one lived by would be the law one would be judged by, He meant that those who judge by the law on the tablets of stone would be judged by that law, and since no one has ever lived up to that law’s standards, no one could survive that law’s judgment.  However, the ones who judged by God’s law of LOVE, mercy, and forgiveness would be shown the LOVE, mercy, and forgiveness in their own judgment.  No one could truly possess the Master’s LOVE, mercy, and forgiveness unless our Creator through His Son’s sacrifice had given them it.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Do You Still Have Doubts?

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 9:58 AM [General]

    John 20:29, 31— Jesus saith unto him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."  ...But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.

    2nd Timothy 1:7, 12— For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  … I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.

    Most of us are familiar with the story of Doubting Thomas.  After Jesus rose from the grave, this disciple was slow to believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes.  Jesus said that the ones who believed without even having seen Him would be blessed.  This story is recorded near the end of John's gospel and John added that the things he had written were written "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."  Satan wants us to doubt so that in our doubts our fears are increased and our effectiveness decreased.  Satan knows that as long as Christians go around unsure of their own salvation, then non-Christians will certainly not be inspired to listen to them about seeking the Lord and His salvation for them.  Indeed Christians who are unsure of their own salvation are not so likely to be inspired to speak to non-Christians about the need for salvation.

    Since none of us is really deserving of our salvation, it is easy to think, "Lord, why me?"  Search the Scriptures and see the number of people called by God who made excuses.  To this day people make excuses.  "Lord, my speech is not eloquent."  "Lord, I am a man of unclean lips."  "Lord, I am not good enough."  "Lord, people will laugh at me, take advantage of me, or use me."  "Lord, those people you want me to talk to are a wicked people."

    Many times Christians become troubled about their salvation experience.  It is usually not difficult to distinguish when one is counseling a non-Christian or a Christian.  (I said "usually", but of course this is not always the case.)  Non-Christians do not usually see themselves as sinners in need of salvation.  Those who do see, often do not see God as their Savior.  More often than not, when Christians are counseled because they are troubled about their salvation experience, they do not question God's power, goodness, love, or grace; rather they question themselves alone.  Troubled Christians are seldom doubters of God or Christ, but often are self-doubters.

    This is when it is important to concentrate on the repeated Biblical teaching that God is faithful to His people, even when His people are not faithful to Him.  This does not mean that all people who call themselves God's people really are God's people.  But even those people who know their own short-comings, and believe that God is faithful and willing to forgive are still subject to being extremely troubled by Satan with very serious self-doubts.  "Lord, I know I am not good enough.  I can only thank You that it is not my goodness, but Your grace that saves me."

    Jesus told His disciples in John 14:1-3, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

    Let us remember with Paul that God hath not given us a spirit of fear.  If we experience a spirit of fear, then Satan is fighting us.  If we were children of Satan, then why would he fight against us?  But Satan wishes to attack the children of God with that spirit of fear and self doubts.  But before we take this too lightly, we need to examine ourselves.  Is there something in our lives that is contrary to what God wants?  We may not reach perfection in this fleshly body, but we do need to examine our deeds and motives.  Let us put aside this spirit of fear and say with Paul, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."

    How wonderful our God, to love me as unlovable as I am, to lift me up as much as I fall, and to prepare a place for me as undeserving as I am.  And since He prepares a place for me, I can know that He will come again and receive me unto Himself.

    Revelation 22:17— And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come."  And let him that heareth say, "Come."  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.

    I know whom I have believed; and you can too.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Page 2 of 257  •  Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 257 Next