Now it seems it is time to persevere.

foundry

Keep in mind, what I am going to be writing about is not a prophecy, nor did I get a, “word from God.”  This is just my own personal observations, and thoughts.  I have been thinking lately, that we have had an unusual time of learning, and growing for the last decade or so.  There have been good teachers, and plentiful resources.  Even though there has been persecution around the world, and oppression in other parts of the world, we have been pretty safe here in the USA.  We have had a lack of tribulation.  We have had plenty of time to mature in Christ.  We have been sitting in relative comfort.

I think this time is coming to a close.  I think many Pastors, and teachers are headed for a fall.  The world system, and the enemy are going to be putting Christians, their faith, and knowledge of Christ to the test.  Our sins will seem to come at us with a vengeance, and destructive force that we are not accustomed to.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Will we buckle under the temptation?  Will we resort to being greedy, selfish, unkind, mean, arrogant, prideful, lustful, adulterous, covetous, abusive, addicted, or fill in the black with whatever sin has been eating at your assurance over the past years, some besetting sin, that you’ve as of yet not had victory over?(1 Peter 1:7, Heb 10:32-36)

We’ve already seen some Pastors/Preaching Elders fall into heterodoxy, or outright apostasy.  We have seen marriages end, and abuses happen.  I think these are just the beginning of what is to come.  We’ve had time to prepare, grow, and learn to fight sin.  I think the time has come, and God is going to put us through trials, and tribulations.  I’m not talking eschatologically here.  It seems the season is here for our good, the Churches good, and sanctification.  Those who are left standing after the fire, will be the ones who have persevered.  We need workmen who have shown them selves approved. (2 Tim 2:15, 1 Cor 9:24-27, James 1:2-4)

Don’t fret or worry.  Rest assured in the God who saves, and sanctifies.  He will also glorify.  When you fall to sin, repent immediately.  Accept Church discipline.  It is for your good, and the Churches good.  Don’t resist out of pride.  Don’t go to another Church, or movement.  Don’t utilize a loophole like that to escape what will bring you back to spiritual health in Christ.  It is the means He has ordained. (Rom 5:3-4)

Let’s do our due diligence, and submit to our Savior fully, and with all the zeal due Him.  Study His word, apply it, discipline your mind and body, make war against sin!  Rest in His righteousness, and utilize the weapons, and protections He has given us. (Eph 6:10-18, Heb 12:1-3)

Biblical Church Growth

Spurgeonevangelism
Q. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

There are four means that God has ordained to grow His Church. They are, Evangelism (sharing the gospel), Discipleship (training and teaching the new believer) Service, (Helping the hurting and dying world) and persecution. People only become converted from hearing and responding to the gospel. They grow closer to God, and get to know Him by reading His word, and learning His truth. The new heart and nature of a convert is on display in the world humbly serving the lost and dying, displaying the glory of God. Persecution weeds out the false converts, and demonstrates another truth, the world hated Christ, and they will hate you also for His namesake. The exclusivity of the cross is offensive to the world. Remember persecution comes from outside the Church.

Who goes to Church, and why? This is important to figure out, if you are concerned that your congregation is dying. One category of people is false converts. Some of them know they are not Christian, some believe they are Christians. Lost people have a few reasons why they go to Church. Of those reasons, none of them are the right ones. They go to Church to get a pep talk, a self-help speech, they go for professional and social networking, they go to feel good about themselves, (self-righteousness) they go to be entertained by a slick, “praise/worship band. We can agree that these are not the right reasons to go to Church. So what are?

If you are a true convert, you know your purpose in life is to bring glory to the Lord of salvation. You’ve been brought to new life by grace, through faith. You were dead in your trespasses and sins. You know you were purchased at a price, and the Lord of Creation suffered humiliation and death on a cross, in your place because of your sins. Christ became sin for you. You come to Church because it is God’s will. From your new nature you want to do God’s will. After all, He is changing your desires and affections by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the reading of His word. Our minds are being renewed so we can prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. You come to be with brothers and sisters in Christ, to hear the word of God expositorily preached, to sing praises to God, to worship Him in prayer, and song, to be baptized, and have communion, and to be sanctified by God in learning to live in community with other sinners, and by granting them grace, to live out the gospel for the glory of the Lord.

Who is church for, the goats or the sheep? Church is ultimately for the glory of God, and that glory is for our good. God says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Church is for the sheep. They are the ones who really want to go for the right reasons. When God says in Matthew 16, “…I will build my Church…” we also see the means He has ordained for the growth. He is going to use us to preach the gospel to the lost and dying world, because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Salvation is of the Lord. It originates with Him. It is provided by Him. Jonathan Edwards once said, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” Even persecution is given for the growth of the Church. If there are false converts in the local body, when persecution comes, they will flee, and deny Christ. The truly converted will stay, and proclaim the gospel, and make disciples even during persecution.

What is the gospel? Simply put, “Repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We have to unpack that for sure. It shouldn’t be a daunting task for us. It should be something that overflows from the heart of a believer, as they have experienced the love and grace of Jesus. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Most people don’t share it, because they are woefully ignorant of what it is.

Here is a simple analogy. Imagine you are a telling a class full of students who want to become mechanics that you are a mechanic, but you leave out the fact that you don’t understand how an engine works. Then when the students ask you how the engine works you mumble and string together things you’ve heard mechanics say. You wouldn’t feel very comfortable or sure of yourself would you?

Believers should feel confident and comfortable sharing the gospel. It is imperative that they learn how to do so, and that they do it. People are entering eternity without Christ. They will rise to eternal torment and burning, having the very wrath of God poured out on them. How can we say we have love, if we refuse to give them the gospel?

Ask some of your congregation “imagine I just was stabbed, and only have moments to live. I am afraid of dying and going to Hell, and I say, “What must I do to be saved?” You can’t tell them to be a good person, they are dying. You can’t tell them it is by baptism, they only have moments to live. What can you tell them? You can preach the gospel to them. You can say, “You are afraid of hell, and rightfully so. You are a sinner. Just like me, you have broken God’s laws, and deserve His just wrath, but being rich in mercy, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect, sinless, life that we couldn’t live. Jesus was and is righteous. He humbly offered Himself up on the cross, He submitted to death on the cross according to the will of the Father, where the wrath of God was poured out on Him in our place, so that the justice of God could be satisfied. When He was finished atoning for our sin, He said, “It is finished.” He died, was buried and resurrected on the third day. If you’ll repent, or turn from your sins, forsake them, hate them, and ask God to forgive you based on the work of Jesus, He will save you from your sins, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Will you confess your sins to God and trust in Jesus?”

Friendship evangelism is impractical. The Christian should have a fervent urgency to share the gospel with the lost so they can be saved. Friendship evangelism is slow, and you can only befriend so many people at a time. The need is great, and the workers are few. The command is not to preach to a few, but to all, and we need to get busy.

Remember the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is offensive because they are confronted with the righteousness, and exclusivity of Christ. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”

Don’t compromise on the gospel. If we soften the gospel to make it more appealing to the lost, we rob it of its effectiveness. If it were readily acceptable to the reprobate sinner, it is because it doesn’t require rebirth for him to believe it. The only way to grow the true church is by the means that God has ordained evangelism, discipleship, service, and persecution.

What needs to happen so we can do this? Free up Elders who are gifted and able to preach and teach the gospel to the laymen, and to teach them how to evangelize. Organize them, to go out and evangelize. When people are converted they will look for a Church. It doesn’t matter if you put more people in the seats at your Church. We don’t do this to grow our kingdoms, but rather the kingdom of God. New converts will come in. When they do, be ready to teach them from God’s word. Don’t feed them cotton candy theology, sermonettes, or topical sermons that are more self-help than the word of God. Take your position in the pulpit seriously. Get them grounded in God’s word because when persecution comes they will need to know the hows and whys of it. Get them out there serving the lost and dying world out of the new love they have in their hearts.  Equip them to go out and share the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Addiction, Compulsion, and Sin.

pilgrim's progress burden

We, knowing our own sin, and the power of temptation to keep drawing us in. We should be the first to have mercy, and demonstrate grace to others who don’t even know the Savior. Just like us, they know in their hearts, they don’t deserve mercy or grace from us or God.

The Word of God says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) Romans 5:8”

Some of us know addiction. There is a compulsion to do something that goes against every intent of our minds, but is so overwhelming. With obese people it is the compulsion to overeat. With drug/alcohol addicts, they need the high/drunk. With adulterers they crave what they shouldn’t have. With the homosexual/porn addict/pervert, they want what is wrong. How can they know freedom from their sin, and the punishment of it? How can they fight against it? How can we preach the gospel if we are only condemning them?  How can they ever know forgiveness if we only act in as self-righteous hypocrites?  

” Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any  affection and compassion,  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from  selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but  emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB) Philippians 2:1-11

So be like Christ to the world.  People are suffering in hopelessness, resigned to the notion that they will forever be a slave to their addictions, compulsions, and sins.  Do the most loving thing, and preach the gospel of Jesus to them.  

If they hear the gospel and get saved, what do they do if the temptations are still there? What does it mean if they sin again, and their hearts are being broken each time they give in to what the compulsion to sin is driving them to?

The gospel can set them free from their sinful compulsions. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but through repentance and faith, God will sanctify them, and give them victory over their sinful compulsions. His grace is sufficient. How long are you willing to stay in the fight against your sin? How many times are you willing to allow the shame and guilt to drive you to the feet of Christ to ask Him to forgive you?  Don’t give up on coming to Him.  Don’t let your loss of a battle, or many battles shake your faith in Jesus.  He has won the victory for us.  Trust in His victory.  

“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. “(NASB) Philippians 1:6

God will forgive everyone who repents of their sin, and believes in the work of Jesus Christ alone. Don’t trust in your own righteousness, because it is filthy to God. Don’t trust in your good deeds, because they are tainted by your sin. Don’t trust in ceremony or rituals, they just tire you out. Trust in the God/Man Jesus Christ. He will demonstrate grace to you based on His love and goodness, not on any thing you might think deserves favor from Him.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (NASB) 1 John 1:9-10

May God grant you faith to believe in the work of the Savior, and repentance from sin. Put your faith in His finished work, and trust only in Jesus for your salvation. God will deal with you sins and justify you. He will keep dealing with your sins, and sanctify you. He will finally deal with your sins, and give you a glorified body to live with Him forever. In that eternal life you will never desire sin again. You will finally be free to only the will of God without temptation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified  by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved  by His life.  And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NASB) Romans 5:8-11

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB) Romans 1:16-17

So live by faith!  Believe that Jesus will do what He says.  Believe He is who the Bible says He is.  Believe the gospel, the good news preached in his name.  He will demonstrate His grace to you if you repent and put your faith in Him.

Snowed in, with a bad back, and an inauguration to watch.

If-we-ever-forget-that-we-are-one-nation
The last few days have been interesting. So much snow, that my gas furnace and on demand water heater both had their roof-top exhausts covered completely with snow. I didn’t want frozen pipes or a frozen house, so I had to get the exhausts cleared and call some professionals to get the over 3 ft. of accumulated snow off my roof. Thanks Arturo Martinez for all your hard work. If anyone needs some snow removed from their roof, message me and I’ll send you his number. The next morning of fun was realizing the pets could not go outside to do their business. I began to dig them a patch of ground out and wrenched my back. It gave me time to ponder deep topics like, “Will it get better or worse? Will I be able to get to work Monday? How many ibuprofen have I already taken?” One thing is for sure, is that the will of God will be done. This brings me to the inauguration. 4 and 8 years ago, I trusted in the will of God when the pro-abortion, (a.k.a. baby killing) perversion promoting, (LGBT nonsense) Barry Soetoro a.k.a. (Barack Obama) took office and kept it. Even while I wondered how people could condone the evils of perversion, (LGBT) perverse marriage, (Gay Marriage… no such thing) abortion, and socialist totalitarianism, I was comforted by the knowledge that God is sovereign and in control of all things, including the political leadership of this country. I honestly believe we were getting the leaders we deserved as an unrepentant people. We have been calling good evil and evil good for fat too long to keep on experiencing the blessings of God. Instead, for 8 long years or corrosive evil leadership, we were under the discipline of God. I hope that the people have repented, and we will be experiencing a reprieve. God willing, may America be blessed once more. I would ask all of you to repent of your sin, put your faith in the finished work of Christ, and seek God’s glory and will first and foremost in the years to come.

Struggling With Doubt, or Not a Care in the World?

FEAR%20OF%20THE%20LORD%20GIFT%20OF%20THE%20SPIRIT

None of us are sinlessly perfect.  Everyone of us is aware of a specific sin in our lives.  Some of us wonder if we are even saved because of that specific sin that is in our lives.  Some of us are at war with the sin, while others are complacently allowing for it.  Which group are you in?

We are endangered when we count on our own efforts to fight the sin, and then failing time and time again, only to have doubt come in and rob us of our assurance, or we justify our sin away as if it is only a trifle, no big deal, everyone does it, and we allow for it instead of fighting against it.  We count on grace to keep us safe.  Both ways of thinking are wrong.  We should be at war with our sins, knowing that Christ has won the war against sin once and for all.  It is our lot to stand in front of the enemy before us and engage in the fight with all we have, resting in the knowledge that the outcome of the war has already been secured even if we fail in our battle time and time again, but with practice and provision from the Holy Spirit, and God’s word, we should be strengthened.  God will sanctify us, and mature us out of that fight into another fight.  We will keep fighting sin until we die, and are resurrected into a glorified body, that will only do that which is pleasing to God.

If you find yourself in the other group, using grace as a license for sin, sitting back in defeat, without a hope of ever growing, don’t give in.  Now is the time to stand up and fight.  Don’t prove you were never saved at all.  Don’t harden your heart to the calling of the Holy Spirit to get in the fight.  Don’t have a false assurance of your conversion.  “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 [a]fail the test?” 2 Cor 13:5  You might experience a pleasant surprise.  If you get back in the fight, repent and ask Christ to forgive you, He will.  You can have assurance of your salvation.  You can know you are saved.  You can know through the fight, successes and failures, that drive you back to the cross again and again for grace.  Don’t focus on you and your fight.  Focus on Christ and His fight.  Focus on His victory over sin, death and the grave.  Focus on His victory imputed to you by faith and enjoy the peace between you and God in the midst of the violent war against sin in your life.

I Know Everyone is Preaching Unity, Love, and Acceptance, but…

lamb

When the Bible talks about unity, it is for unity among the believers.  When the Bible talks about loving your brother, it is talking about your brother in Christ.  When it talks about acceptance, it is not about accepting sin.

The enemies of the gospel, Christ, and the cross are our enemies as well.  They are the ones who are sold out to Satan.  They hate the gospel, they hate Jesus, they pervert scripture, and they hate His sheep.  These people are not the same as the lost who are living their lives in ignorance.  The lost, for the most part are just plain ignorant about God.  They don’t really care.  The enemies of the gospel are different.  They have made up their minds.  They hate God, His Word, and His gospel.  They also hate His followers and everything that He says is good.

They push every sinful agenda you can think of.  These agendas are part of a larger, “Death Culture” worldview.  They love every defilement of what God says is good.  Just to name a few things; atheism, gender perversion, gay marriage/defilement of marriage, fornication, adultery, liberalizing of the Church, drug use, and so on.  They love anyone who agrees with them and they hate anyone who disagrees.  They preach tolerance while being some of the most intolerant people in the world.

So in the wake of this election, I’d like to share a different perspective and line of advice.  I am not preaching love, tolerance, peace, unity, and acceptance solely for their own sake.  No, I’m preaching being in the world, but not of it.  I’m preaching, put on the full armor of God, pray for your enemies…  they are your enemies.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are simply your neighbors and coworkers.  These are the folks that the Bible says will turn you over to the authorities to be martyred, your sons and daughters.

Remember folks, this is a life of death war, eternal life is on the line.  We are to blame for turning our Church services into entertainment for goats.  Church is for the saved of God, to give glory to God!  We are to worship Him together with our brothers and sisters.  We are to go out and be the ones who deliver the uncomfortable truth!  You are sinners!  Repent and believe the gospel!  Hell is real!  Jesus is God!

I don’t care how many people are triggered.  I want to trigger them all!  They need to be shaken down to their cores!  I don’t care how many of them are scared!  They very well should be scared!  They are headed straight to Hell for all eternity!  We need to scare them!  How else can we love our enemies?  This is true love, to tell them the truth, to give them the gospel that can convert their hearts.  So, offend them, offend them all in the name of God!

NO OTHER GODS!!! REPENT OF YOUR HERESY!!!

trinity-1

There are no other true gods anywhere. There are none in other solar systems. There are none on any other planets. There is no true god except for the God of the Bible, and He is triune. If you deny these truths, you are not Christian, but an idolator! You have made up a god to believe in, and you are in a very very very bad sin. Believing in the wrong god will not save you. It will damn you to Hell! Please repent of your Mormon beliefs! I love my LDS friends, and desperately don’t want you to go to Hell. Some of you, who I maintain ties with, are exceedingly nice people. I’d love for you to become true brothers in Christ.

Mormonism teaches that there are potentially an infinite number of gods, and currently there are countless ones ruling countless solar systems/planets.  Mormonism teaches that the only eternal things are matter and intellect.  It claims that its people worship only the god of this world/solar system.

The Bible says the god of this world is Satan.  The Bible is clear that there is only one true God.  He created everything.  That includes all solar systems and worlds.  Logic dictates that there would have to be one original originator.  If there were many gods there would be no true god among them.  God cannot share His power with other gods, nor can He be known as many gods.  He is one God in trinity.

For the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Assemblies of Yahweh cult members, repent of your Aryanism! You and the Mormons share this in common.  You believe that Christ is not the second personage of the Trinity, but rather a created being. You believe in a lie. You must repent! Read the Old Testament, keeping an eye out for the Christophanies. If you do that, you will see Christ from the beginning. Read John 1:1-14. How can you study the Bible and believe such lies about Christ our God, Saviour, Lord/Master κῦρος, Prophet, Priest, Prince, and King?

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'”

Something from Habakkuk to Remember.

habakkuk

Here is Habakkuk’s cry to God,

“Habakkuk 1:1-4 NASB The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. (2) How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. (3) Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. (4) Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.”

Notice, his cry to God could be our cry today in the midst of a godless, secular, America.  Now look at God’s reply,

“Habakkuk 1:5-11 NASB “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days– You would not believe if you were told. (6) “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, That fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth To seize dwelling places which are not theirs. (7) “They are dreaded and feared; Their justice and authority originate with themselves. (8) “Their horses are swifter than leopards And keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, Their horsemen come from afar; They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. (9) “All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. (10) “They mock at kings And rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress And heap up rubble to capture it. (11) “Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god.”

Do you see what God was doing there?  He was giving the prophet Habakkuk His word that He is using the pagan Chaldeans for His purposes.  He was raising them up to use as judgment against His people.  Israel had rebelled and neglected God’s word as revealed through the prophets.  Make sure to read the last part of verse 11, “But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god.”  The Chaldeans were going to be held accountable by God in His justice.

Habakkuk’s reply to God,

“Habakkuk 1:12-17 NASB Are You not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct. (13) Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they? (14) Why have You made men like the fish of the sea, Like creeping things without a ruler over them? (15) The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, Drag them away with their net, And gather them together in their fishing net. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. (16) Therefore they offer a sacrifice to their net And burn incense to their fishing net; Because through these things their catch is large, And their food is plentiful. (17) Will they therefore empty their net And continually slay nations without sparing?”

At first it seems that Habakkuk understands why God is going to punish Israel, but then he goes on pleading with God.  His questions seem to call for God to not allow this to happen.  Sometimes we can be like that.  We live in a great land.  Many of us are like the Chaldeans.  We put our faith in the strength of our military, or our wealth.  We trust a nationalistic ideology called America.  We offer our sacrifices to it.  We neglect God and His word.  We rebel against Him.  We kill our young and call it a woman’s right to choose.  We make legal all types of perverse abominations and call it progress, and liberty.  Just because we legislate it and make it legal does not make it moral.  Just because a secular majority deems something to be good doesn’t make it so.

As Christians we have an external moral authority Who is immutable.  He never changes and is eternal.  His decrees of good and evil stand for ever, no matter what human government makes legal.  The political candidates we have to choose from, the debased minds that many of our fellow Americans have, the perversions that are abounding, are all punishments from God.  We are under judgement.  We need to be outside of our Churches, evangelizing so that people might be saved and come in.  We need to repent of our personal sins.  We need to repent of the attractional model of Church.  We need to stop begging goats to come in to our Churches.  We need to go out to them and preach the gospel of Jesus, which is repentance from sin and faith in Christ’s work on the cross.

When people are miraculously changed by God they will become sheep.  They  will come to Church without the need of the gimmicks of silly centers.  They will hunger for the preaching of God’s word, fellowship with brothers and sisters, praising God with hymns, prayer, and the glory of God will be their aim.  Don’t be bashful, now is not the time.  Be bold for Christ and His gospel to go forth!  Are you saddened by the damage and hurt you see being done by sin in the lives of your friends and neighbors?  Do you think that you love them?  If you do, then you must give to them the only cure for their brokenness.  You must give them the only thing that will heal them and make them whole!  Give them the gospel of Jesus!  It is truth and love!

So if you find yourself crying out to God much like Habakkuk did, ask yourself why God is doing what He is doing.  Ask yourself what the proper response is to what He is doing.  Then I think you will come to the same conclusion.

Adults Who Desire to Run Away.

Lately I’ve noticed on social media quite a few adults expressing the notion of running away.  I’m at a loss.  I have no understanding of what that feels like, or even how it would be desirable.  I’m just not getting it.  Is it a real desire to run away from life and responsibility?  Is it a desire to run away from the pain of relationships that don’t measure up to your expectations?  Is it the desire to run away from the mundane?  Is it some combination of the these things?  I just don’t know.  If you are one of the people who desires to, “run away” please clue me in to the reasons for this desire, where it comes from, what you think it would accomplish, how it would make your life better.

As a mature man (Old Fashioned Man) I have learned the value of dogged determination, tenacity, reliance on God, fighting the good fight, standing when others shrink back.  This is something that I am.  I see myself as a gatekeeper, or a sentry.  I protect my family, the weak, and defenseless.  I know other men like myself.  We value the same qualities.  We value the company of others like us.  We put personal problems behind us to accomplish the difficult tasks.  We don’t squabble over trifles.  We only feel entitled to what we have earned, be it good or bad.  We take both equally well, acknowledging our shortcomings.  Running away from our situation never crosses our minds as viable option.  It is completely foreign to us.  If you are one of the people who thinks of running away, imagine explaining what darkness is to a person who has lived in the light.

It seems as if people no longer value these qualities in a man.  It seems that the only people who care about these things are the men themselves.  We’re the last of a dying breed of American men.  The relativistic, secular, humanists have taken over.  They are redefining what it means to be a man, or to be strong, or moral.  If you are white then they scream, “white privilege!”  If you are an old fashioned man they call you a, “misogynist.”  If you are a Protestant Christian they call you, “homophobic, intolerant, hater, etc.”  So being one of the last straight, white, Protestant, men on the planet, I feel a bit lonely, but never think of running away.

I stand my ground and try to do what is right according to God and His word.  I can see the value in that.  The temporal cost is nothing compared to the eternal end of the saved man.  The challenges in the Christians life are God ordained.  He sanctifies and grows us through them.  They are the way in which we are matured.  Ask Jonah how running worked for him.  So when others sin against us, do us wrong, hurt us, take advantage of us, we can’t see them as the bully or the enemy.  We have to see them as the slave of sin that they are.  We need to see that what they have done to us is such a small thing in comparison to what we have done to Christ with out sins against Him.  For us He was crucified, to redeem us from slavery to sin.  What Christ sets out to do, He succeeds and finishes.  Trust in Him, and His goodness.  Don’t look at the situation you are in as a reason to flee.  Be bold, and stand in the face of adversity.  Stand for God and His truth.  Be a man for God.  Be a woman for God.  See others as better than yourself.  Serve others in the way that has been exampled for us in Christ.

Relationships are also to sanctify us.  You have the spouse you have for a reason.  God gave them to you for your growth.  God knew exactly what you needed, perhaps not what you want, but what you needed.  You have the exact children you are supposed to have, because as they grow so do you.  You have the co-workers, and friends you are ordained to have as well for the same reasons.  Trust God, do what is right according to His word.  Learn to love like He does.  Learn to offer grace to those who don’t deserve it, just like He gave you grace.

Are you suffering the mundane drudgery of life?  Well, stop it!  Realize how miraculous the gospel is.  Realize how dramatically God saved you.  Marvel at the power of God’s creation.  You are made in the image of God.  Be in awe of Him and His work.  If you can be in His word and see His works, then you’ll realize there is nothing mundane about living for Christ and the expansion of His Kingdom via the preaching of the gospel, and the saving of sinners.

I hope none of you are seriously thinking about running away from your lives.  I hope it is just an emotional statement of being tired or exhausted.  If this is the case, take comfort in knowing the rest of Christ.  He has fulfilled the law for us.  Every moment is the Sabbath for those who are resting in the righteousness of Christ and not relying on their own works to save them.  I hope that if any of you are having problems that seem overwhelming that you would seek help from brothers and sisters, or look for your answers in God’s word.  Find your purpose, identity, and comfort in Christ.

The Differences Between Sins, and Mistakes.


Recently, I had a conversation with a person on social media about sins, and mistakes. Their first assertion was that, sins are the willful transgression of the known will of God. The second assertion was that people are not culpable to God for mistakes that they make. Lastly, they failed to define what mistakes are, even when asked several times. I quickly identified this as a Nazarene Church member, because I had been a member for approximately 19 years give or take. I decided since they came to my page to discuss this issue that it was a proper opening to engage them. I typically don’t go to other people’s pages and comment on things I don’t agree with. I see it as bad etiquette, but if they come to me, so be it. Listed below is the section 5.3 Sin, Original and Personal from the Nazarene Church’s Preamble and Articles of Faith;

5.3. We believe that actual or personal sin is a voluntary violation of a known law of God by a morally responsible person. It is therefore not to be confused with involuntary and inescapable shortcomings, infirmities, faults, mistakes, failures, or other deviations from a standard of perfect conduct that are the residual effects of the Fall. However, such innocent effects do not include attitudes or responses contrary to the spirit of Christ, which may properly be called sins of the spirit. We believe that personal sin is primarily and essentially a violation of the law of love; and that in relation to Christ sin may be defined as unbelief.

(Original sin: Genesis 3; 6:5; Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:18-25; 5:12-14; 7:1-8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 John 1:7-8

Personal sin: Matthew 22:36-40 {with 1 John 3:4}; John 8:34-36; 16:8-9; Romans 3:23; 6:15-23; 8:18-24; 14:23; 1 John 1:9-2:4; 3:7-10)”

As you can see from their article, it is what has led some of them to their minimization of sin, thus diminishing the importance of the gospel, as well as creating a legalistic approach to righteousness. This last consequence is also a product of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification. Their doctrine of Entire Sanctification is also a product of their minimization of sin. This is what Article 10 says about Entire Sanctification;

X. Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification


10. We believe that sanctification is the work of God which transforms believers into the likeness of Christ. It is wrought by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit in initial sanctification, or regeneration (simultaneous with justification), entire sanctification, and the continued perfecting work of the Holy Spirit culminating in glorification. In glorification we are fully conformed to the image of the Son.

We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.

It is wrought by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by grace through faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.

This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as “Christian perfection,” “perfect love,” “heart purity,” “the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit,” “the fullness of the blessing,” and “Christian holiness.””

Not that long ago the Nazarene Church made some changes to their Articles of Faith. What I linked to is their current one. They have clarified it to some degree, but you can’t lay all the blame on the average Church goer for their personal affirmation of false doctrines. After reading the Articles of Faith, I can see what they are trying to express, but it can confuse the layman. I think this is mostly due to their Ordo Salutis, and Semi-Pelagianism that is all part of the traditions of a portion of the people in the denomination. From what I understand they are slowly trying to move away from the errors of Semi-Pelagianism that were made in the past.

If you are old enough you’d remember a different looking CotN. The girls mostly wore dresses, and dancing was not allowed. They looked and acted like Pentecostal versions of the Mennonites almost. Some believed that a person could be entirely sinless in their life. That is what their personal understanding of their doctrine of Entire Sanctification looked like. If you read it now, you can see it is a bit more nuanced, but you can also see how it could lead someone to believe the other way. When you look at Wesley’s writings on the topic, if you have a good theological foundation, you can see where he is heading. The problem lies in the fact that so many people are very simple in their education and ability to reason, that they take his work to mean what it appears to mean at a superficial reading. I’m not saying I agree with his conclusions. I actually think he was poorly repaving a road that had been well paved, and traveled long before him, by men more learned and brilliant.

I see Wesley as more of an evangelist and less of a theologian.  I understand him to be attempting to make room for people who don’t know, or believe, everything rightly all the time to still be saved. All of us are wrong all the time about something whether we know it or not. That doesn’t ruin our justification. I used to think the Trinity was best expressed as the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as all three parts of God. I had no idea that was the heresy of partialism. Once I was taught by more mature Christians from scripture that they are three persons, one God I was able to repent of my heresy. Was I not saved back then? I think I was, but I was a material heretic. I was not a formal heretic. If I’d persisted to death in a heresy, and rejected all correction, then I would have proven to be a false convert and formal heretic.

The person I was having the discussion with was of the old fashion persuasion. They didn’t read Wesley. They just took a superficial approach to their denomination’s doctrines and ran with it. So for them, sin was simply willfully transgressing a known law of God and it excludes mistakes, infirmities, failures, faults, emotions, (feelings) and thoughts. They also argued that a Christian will stop sinning completely, even though I showed them 1 John 1:8 and explained that John was addressing Christians. I was also told that if I sinned and then died immediately after, without repenting, that I would go to Hell. This is another one of their misguided beliefs. They believe that a genuine Christian can apostatize by willfully sinning. What I was dealing with was a Semi-Pelagian, not a Wesleyan. It is interesting because they make a categorical error by contrasting sins with mistakes. I don’t know if it ever occurred to them that a sin is always sinful, but a mistake can be sin or not sin. I mentioned this and got no answer. The same can be said for the other things listed that they say are not sin. We know that having a lustful thought pop into your head is a sin, and that we must take every thought captive so it doesn’t come to fruition in deed. We also know that to God we are guilty of that sin. It sure is a good thing that Christ justified me, and paid for all of my sin. I am exceedingly sinful, and exceedingly thankful for His righteousness that He imputed to me upon justification. I think this eludes the Semi-Pelagian. They are in a works righteousness faith where they must maintain their position of being righteous by works. This particular flavor of Semi-Pelagian makes this task less daunting by watering down sin and man’s responsibility. In so doing they rob God of the glory, as it were. So much the worse for them, as many of them are not truly saved, but still lost. Of course, I would not say that all of them are lost. Some may be material heretics, just waiting to be corrected and brought into repentance. Could you be the one to speak into their lives with the truth?