Let’s be civil.

Let’s be civil, and act as mature people in Christ while dealing with the lost. Remember, the people who have modern leftists ideals are not your enemy. It is the power behind them, pulling their strings. That is why our Lord, and His apostles, when they were killed, could ask God to forgive their murderers, due to their ignorance. We are dealing with a group of people who are unable to recognize truth, reason, love, and who are enslaved to sin, their master. They are children of their father, satan. According to Romans 1, their minds are debased, and unable to reason. Pray for the miracle of regeneration to happen to them, that they would be born again, and that they would repent of their sins, and trust solely in Jesus’ work on the cross for their justification.

Hurt Puppy and Angry Jihadist.

Ok, picture this, a cute cuddly puppy with an injured paw.  Not his dad, but his foot.  

Your first emotion wouldn’t be to go over and stomp its brains out.  You would feel compassion for it.  You would want to help it if you could.  We’ve all seen the commercials that use emotional manipulation to make you feel guilty and send money.  Now picture a person you hate, look down on, or disgusts you.

 



If you are a Christian, you should feel the same feelings for these people that you feel for the puppy.  It is easy to hate people.  It is easy to feel superior to others.  It is hard to be humble and serve people who would kill you.  All of the lost people are slaves to their sin and are headed for hell.  They are under the condemnation of sin.  We have Christ as our Savior, not because of something about us, but because of Him.  We know what it is to be at peace with God, yet we somehow think it alright to hate these people.  Imagine that you are holding the nails in one hand and a hammer in the other.  Imagine that you have just nailed Jesus to the cross of His crucifixion.  Imagine that you killed Jesus with your sins.  Now stop imagining it and realize the truth of it.  How much more disgusting are we when we see ourselves as better than the lost in the world?  We need to repent and ask God to humble us.  We need to give grace to those who don’t even know they need it.

Our lives will end.

Our lives will end. The time we have, we are spending. It is up to us how we spend it, but once it is gone we cannot get it back. We can spend it being angry, sad, or hurt by our loved ones, or we can love them more than being angry, sad, or hurt. Nonetheless, the time will be gone and we will be remembered. If God is our master, wash the feet, endure the suffering. Jesus left the majesty of Heaven, to seek and save the lost. He washed the feet of sinful men whose sins He would suffer for on the cross. Our sins, on the cross of His suffering. Surely our loved ones have sinned and hurt us. We have sinned and hurt Jesus. What is our suffering compared to His? Forgive the broken sinful people in our lives, and love them more than we love our own anger, sadness, hurt, pain, and being victims. We are more than that, through Christ we are conquerors. He has won the victory in the war. Dear Christians, just keep fighting the battles. When we fall to the enemy’s tactics, remember Jesus. Repent, and get back in the fight against sin. We must give grace and mercy to our loved ones and all people who hurt us or make us feel like victims. Our time will be well spent, loving well.

1 Peter 4 (NASB) 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Share the Sufferings of Christ
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

 

An Offer You Should Not Refuse.

mafia
Hello, my name is inconsequential. My Boss has sent me to you with a message. You belong to Him. You are His property. He owns you. You are His person, and he is very angry with you. You have broken His laws. For that, He is going to kill, and punish you. It is not a matter of if, but when. It is a certainty. You will not escape it. My Boss will kill you. You will meet Him. You will bow to Him, and be judged for breaking His laws. He will punish you. You will bow to Him in this life, or the next. Because He is good, and loving, while you still breath my Boss makes you this offer, apologize, ask Him to forgive you, search yourself, see the truth, that you are not innocent, but you are guilty. Humbly bow down, and submit yourself to His rule. Serve Him. Believe in the work that His Son did on the cross to pay your debt to Him. If you become His servant, as I have, He will change you into a new creature. You will hate what He hates, and love what He loves. You will still die, but you will not be punished for eternity. Instead you will enter into rest. Because His Son endured the eternal punishment, He offers you grace, and mercy instead of giving you what would be just for Him to do. You will be in His glorious presence, and enjoy Him forever. This offer is only good for a short time. You have moments, days, years, or perhaps He will kill you right now…

Is 1 Peter 1:16 Instructive or Informative? “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


I have been thinking about sanctification as of late and its implications in regards to assurance and security.  This verse came to  mind and I wanted to see if it was an instruction to strive for personal holiness or if it was informing us that we are holy in Christ.  I always thought it was the first, because of many years in the Nazarene denomination.  It turns out the answer is, “Yes.”

(NASB) 1 Peter 1:1,2 1  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Let’s examine verse 2 a bit more closely.  (NASB) 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

What is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father?  God’s election of the saved people living scattered among the cities listed in verse 1.  What work are we doing to be sanctified according to verse 2?  I’ll wait here while you look…  Back?  It was a trick question.  We aren’t doing the work.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies us.  The Greek word is, “ἁγιασμός”  (hagiasmos) g0038; from 37; properly, purification, i.e. (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier: — holiness, sanctification.

To what end are we elected by the Father, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit according to this verse?  “…to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood…”  Spending most of my life in the Nazarene Church, I understood that sanctification was something I did.  I might be wrong here.  This might not be their official doctrine.  I’m just saying that this is what I thought.  The emphasis on the monergistic origination of sanctification never came across.  Still to this day, people insist that sanctification is synergistic.  I would only agree with that in a broad practical sense, because at the end of the day God isn’t sanctifying a dog or a cat.  He is sanctifying us, and part of that is our condition during the process.  So we are involved in sanctification, because it is happening to us.  We are actively participating in it, but it is not from us.  We were incapable of sanctification let alone desiring it, before the work of the Holy Spirit.

I know many of you are out there right now screaming, “What about all the verses that instruct you to behave!?!”  Well of course we should do what God wills, and refrain from what He has forbid.  That is a no brainer.  I am not saying we shouldn’t, but the fact that someone wants to and has the ability to, is proof that sanctification is supernaturally originated by God and not from within us.

So you’ve been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, in accord with the Father’s sovereign will in election, granted saving faith and repentance from God, and you have repented of your sins, and placed that faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross, so that your sins were expiated, and His righteousness was imputed to you.  Now we would say that you have been saved, or justified.

Follow along here on the ordo salutis (order of salvation)  train. (concise version)  🙂  election, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification.  So as you can see all of those things find their origination in God and they are worked on/in us by Him.  If we think we are responsible for any of them, we are robbing God of His glory, being self-righteous, legalistic, and relying on our works in our man centered thinking.

This can lead to serious doubt.  It can wreck our assurance and cause us to question our security, because when we sin, we ask, “Why do I keep doing this?  Am I really saved?  If I’m saved how can I fall to this sin over and over? I must be a false convert.  I must be fooling myself.  I’ve taken the 2 Cor 13:5 test and failed!”  “…(NASB) 5  Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you  fail the test?..”  Notice that last part, “Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you  fail the test?”  Have you noticed that Jesus Christ is in you!? It is as if Paul is yelling, “Come on people! Don’t you see what has been done to you, for you, and for the glory of God?  Can’t you see the difference?  unless you truly can’t.”  When a Christian is doubting, and takes a look at his condition, it will be obvious that God has been at work renovating the sin wrecked ramshackle of a mess that they were.  Unless of course you can’t see His work anywhere in your life.

So we can rest in secure in the knowledge that if God has saved us, we are secure in Him.  When we fall because of our lack of strength, He keeps us with His infinite strength.  What He has done to us, nobody and nothing, can undo.

Romans 8:26-39 (NASB) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
31  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was  raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now that we understand what God has done to us in election, regeneration, and justification, we can see that He will sanctify us as well.  Philippians 1:6 (NASB) “6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Think about a newborn baby in a crib, looking up at his parents.  He doesn’t have to focus his attention on growing.  He doesn’t have to even try to grow.  Sure he grows, and is involved in the process, but his growth doesn’t come from him.  It is God’s plan, and design, that the child grows according to.  Imagine that baby saying to himself, “I need more milk to make me big and strong.  Grow legs! Grow grow grow!!!”  It is ridiculous, but that is the way many of us are as Christians.

We are focused too much on our own efforts and failures.  When we do see growth we might even attribute it to our efforts.  This robs God of His glory, and God will not be robbed.  So in our self-righteousness, we sin against God and don’t even realize it.  Then when we fail, we punish ourselves, as if that whipping we gave to ourselves could add to the perfect, gory, violent, painful, terrifying, work of our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…  …  Think about that.  Let it soak in…  How dare we?  How dare we!  You should be crying right now.  I know it makes me want to cry, to think of how I would defile the work of Jesus with my self-righteousness.

Just like that baby, we will grow according to God’s plan, in His time, exactly by the trials He has for us, and in precisely the areas He has determined.  Rest assured, if you are saved, you will be sanctified, because God wills it, and what He wills, He accomplishes, unless of course you think you can stop him…

1 Peter 1:12-21 (NASB) 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
13 Therefore,  prepare your minds for action,  keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As  obedient children, do not  be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but  like the Holy One who called you,  be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not  redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NASB) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own  vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in  lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

So we will be holy, because God is holy.  He is actively sanctifying us and we are living out that sanctifying work, in Christ, by the power of the Spirit, in the will of the Father.  The answer to the question, “Is 1 Peter 1:16 Instructive or Informative?” is, yes.  Go with God and peace be with you.

 

Are Your Feelings Determining How You View God, Or Is God Determining How You Feel?


Are Your Feelings Determining How You View God, Or Is God Determining How You Feel?Are you acting like a child?  Are you following people who act like unreasoning beasts, and encourage others to do the same?  A child allows his emotions to rule him.  He is without discipline and only knows want.  A false teacher promotes what is against God.  He acts like an unreasoning beast, “But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,” (2 Peter 2:12 NASB)

Do you let your feelings determine how you view God, and treat others?  Love is a big deal.  People go on and on about feeling like they are in love, wanting to feel love.  People also feel other emotions like, hate, impatience, greed, jealousy, envy, apathy, and pride.  People desperately want others to validate their feelings, by agreeing with them.  When we allow feelings to determine how we treat others, and how we view God, we are behaving like children.  All they know is what they want.  Their wants are not informed by anything else, just their will alone.  As they get older, hopefully their parents discipline them, and train them.  If you are an adult, and your feelings rule you, then spiritually speaking, you are a sinful little child.  If you believe all of the self-help gurus out there, teaching you how to get in touch with your feelings, and how to be happy.  God tells us how we should feel about others, about situations, and He also tells us how we should feel about Him.  When we obey our feelings that are against what God commands in His word we are definitely in sin.  

Viewing God through any other lense than His word is creating an idol in your mind.  When you just go by your fallen, sinful, emotions, to build a picture of God, it will most certainly be a false god, not the one true God of the Bible.  If you find yourself disagreeing with long-held orthodox doctrines, in favor of your own personal interpretation, chances are you are worshipping a god of your own making.  Repent, and worship the God of the Bible.  Let your mind be informed by the word of God, so that the God you worship is the true one.

As Christians, we are not to behave, think, or feel like the world.  We are to obey God in all things.  So when God tells us to love our enemies, that is what we must do.  Love needs to be thought of as an action as well as a feeling.  All of the emotions must be thought of as actions as well as a feelings, because they move us to action.  Unless God changes your heart and mind, in regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to think or feel rightly.  When you are truly born again, and you resist feeling the way your know you should or you indulge a feeling you know you shouldn’t, you are sinning.  Sinning this way is accepted by the world and encouraged.  We are not to be like the world.  

There are benefits to obeying God.  Yes, God gave us emotions, but they are under the effect of sin.  They are affected by the fall.  Knowing this, hopefully you can see how they need to be conformed to God’s will as expressed in His word?  Don’t reject the will of God, for your own childish feelings.  Bring your feelings into obedience to God.  You can do it with His help.  It will be a blessing to you and to all of the people you come in contact with.  God’s will is always better.  So next time you are feeling your way through life ask yourself if those feelings are sinful or are they in obedience to God?

Is there a heart so broken, soul so wounded, two hearts in a marriage so hurt, or scars so thick that God, the Creator of all things, cannot heal them?

Yesterday I posted a piece about toxic relationships being a new age cop out.  It came to my attention that perhaps I didn’t stress the power of God enough.  People can feel extremely hurt and justified in maintaining their anger and resentment.  They can harden their hearts and sear their conscience, so that they no longer feel conviction when the Holy Spirit brings to mind all of their complicity.  We know from God’s word that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We also know that none are righteous.  

For the person who is deeply hurt, this information doesn’t seem to help them, but it is the only information that will help them.  They have to see their own sin and see how much in need they are of God’s grace, mercy, and love.  When they can see their need, and it moves them to repent and believe in the work of Christ, then they can see the other person, and how weak and needy they are.  When you can look at someone who has wronged you, hurt you, scarred you, and then see how you have done the same thing to Christ, and yet know that He has forgiven you, given you grace, mercy, and love, in light of what you know you justly deserve, you can then love the other person in like fashion.

God, who created everything, things known and unknown by us, the seed from which a redwood grows, the highest majestic mountains, to the lowest, deep cut valleys, to the blue sky where winged birds fly, and beyond to the vast reaches of space where we lose ourselves in contemplation of our smallness, this very God who knows everything about us, He is all powerful, and to think that He cannot change your heart?  What hope is there if a sinner’s heart cannot be changed?  Therefore, there is no wound so great that the saving balm of the gospel cannot use it for the glory of God.