Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Can You Say "Yes" To the Lord?

"Lord, what will You have me to do?" Acts 9:6

Whatever command God gives--we should instantly and cheerfully answer, "Yes, Lord, I am ready to obey!"

It is not hard to say "Yes, Lord!" when God leads us in pleasant paths, where the flowers are plentiful, where the way is smooth and agreeable. But we know that sometimes the path is covered with thorns, and is rough and steep--or runs through fire or flood. We are still called always to say, "Yes, Lord!" If God calls us to some trial or cross-bearing or sacrifice, our answer should always be the same. We should be able to trust His loving heart--when our eyes cannot see blessing or goodness in the way He takes us. Every true path of God leads to rich joy!

"Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path!" Psalm 27:11

"He led them forth by the right way" Psalm 107:7

~J.R. Miller

It is well with my soul.....can we say that sincerely, in the midst of difficult or even small trials? When our rights are violated, our way is thwarted, our patience wears thin? In other words, do we submit to the Master's way for us?

Liberalism Breeds Immaturity

Displaying the immaturity of liberals....

Rep. Ellison (D) on Shaun Hannity's Fox News show:


At one point that became somewhat comedic, Ellison told Hannity, “You said I could rant, and I am.”

“I’ve given you plenty of time to rant,” said Hannity, as Ellison took a brief moment to let Hannity speak. “Oh, you’re so nice to give me a word on my own program.”

At which point Ellison said, “OK, I changed my mind,” talking over the Fox host once again.

“Why are you so angry?” asked Hannity.

“Why are YOU so angry?” Ellison shouted back.

“You’re a broken record,” said Hannity.

“YOU’RE a broken record,” responded Ellison.

Hannity also asked the Democrat whether America’s massive debt was “immoral.”

“You are immoral!” Ellison fired back.

“I’m immoral?” Hannity said. “I didn’t do anything that’s immoral.”

“You say things that aren’t true!” Ellison said.

“Congressman, you are a total waste of time,” Hannity concluded. “I’m moving on because our audience deserves better. Thank you for being with us. I tried to give you a fair shot.”

“No you didn’t,” Ellison said.

End quote.

There's brilliance from our liberal wannabe Muslim leader. Very adult-like.

Encouragement


Unethical Practice by Pepsi Using Aborted Baby Parts

A few months later, Pepsi' shareholders filed a resolution petitioning the company to "adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements." But the Obama Administration shut down this 36-page proposal, deciding instead that Pepsi's used of aborted babies to flavor its beverage products is just business as usual, and not a significant concern.

To be clear, the aborted fetal tissue used to make Pepsi's flavor chemicals does not end up in the final product sold to customers, according to reports -- it is used, instead, to evaluate how actual human taste receptors respond to these chemical flavorings. But the fact that Pepsi uses them at all when viable, non-human alternatives are available illustrates the company's blatant disregard for ethical and moral concerns in the matter.

~Excerpts from the report by Natural News

This is unnecessary and unbiblical. Its merely another "reason" to keep the murder cycle of abortion going. How sick is our society when they use precious baby parts merely to improve a drink???

Monday, February 25, 2013

Can You Be Saved and Still Be Roman Catholic?

Often many Christians are convinced they know a few Catholics who are saved. Such Catholic individuals seem like good people, they have some familiarity with scripture, and they appear fearful of God. This however is a very precarious position for one to be in because one that claims to be a Catholic should be aware, at least on a basic level, of what their religion teaches. Consider just a few examples of teachings which Catholics are required to submit to:

-They must merit the graces needed for salvation to attain eternal life (CCC 2010) (Consider Eph 2:8-9)
-They must believe that justification is continually earned and forfeited depending on whether one is in good standing by receiving the sacraments or whether they commit a mortal sin (CCC 1446, 1035) (Consider Rom 4:5, 8:30)
-They must believe that the Catholic "Church" is necessary for salvation (CCC 846) (Consider 2 Cor 5:20)
-They must believe that purgatory is necessary to cleanse one's sins that Jesus' blood couldn't (CCC 1030) (Consider 1 Jn 1:7)

It should also be noted that even if Catholics don't have clarity on such teachings, because Roman Catholicism has dogmatically declared a false gospel, no Catholic will ever hear the true biblical gospel from official Catholic sources.

One of the best questions we can ask ourselves, Christians who know such "saved Catholics," or the Catholics themselves is, "What is one trusting in to get to Heaven?" How one answers this question will give great clarity on what they really believe. A born again Christian who is saved by Christ will correctly reply that the only thing they had to contribute to their justification was their sin. It is through faith, granted by the grace of God (Eph 2:8), that one turns from what they were trusting in before and believes and is saved by what Christ has perfectly and fully accomplished for them on the cross (Rom 5:22-25).

The mark of a true believer who has been transformed by gospel truth is that they bear good fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt 3:8, 7:17-18; Gal 5:22-23). One can appear religiously moral and seem like spiritual fruit is present but if a basic gospel understanding is not present then one's good deeds are all done in vain (Ps 127:1; Is 64:6). 

For the hypothetical "saved Catholic" to exist, one must both believe the biblical gospel of grace and then to be Catholic they must deny that very same gospel of grace. So the reality is that "saved Catholics" are never both saved and Catholic but either saved and not truly Catholic or Catholic and not truly saved. Often times a Catholic will come to saving faith through reading their Bible, attending a Bible study, being witnessed to by a Christian and then linger in a Catholic "church" until they have clarity that they must leave. Such clarity comes from seeing that the Catholic teachings are opposed to biblical truths which have transformed their hearts, opened their eyes, and set them free from the bondage of sin. There should be great concern for the supposed salvation of a Catholic who appears to have embraced the gospel but never finds any reason to come out from Roman Catholic teaching.

Jesus said that no one can serve two masters. Every Catholic when confronted with the biblical gospel must decide if they are going to follow the authority of the Word of God or continue to trust in the traditions of men which have aligned themselves directly opposed to the Word of God.

~Proclaiming the Gospel

Integration of the World's Philosophies and Christ is Impossible


Col 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.


philosophy and empty deceit. “Philosophy” (lit. “love of wisdom”) appears only here in the NT. The word referred to more than merely the academic discipline, but described any theory about God, the world, or the meaning of life. Those embracing the Colossian heresy used it to describe the supposed higher knowledge they claimed to have attained. Paul, however, equates the false teachers’ philosophy with “empty deceit”; that is, with worthless deception. Cf. 1 Tim. 6:20; see note on 2 Cor. 10:5. the basic principles of the world. See note on v. 20; Gal. 4:3. Far from being advanced, profound knowledge, the false teachers’ beliefs were simplistic and immature like all the rest of the speculations, ideologies, philosophies, and psychologies the fallen satanic and human system invents.

~MacArthur Study Bible notes on Col. 2:8

This section of Scripture also demonstrates the impossibility of marrying together even basic principles of the world,much less the philosophies of the day and the traditions of men, with Christ and His doctrines ( 2 John 9-11). Instead there's a distinction, an antithesis between the world, its philosophies, its traditions and principles, and Christ. Simply put, the two cannot go hand in hand, cannot mingle, cannot be integrated. This is also seen in James:


Jas 3:12  Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
Jas 3:13  Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
Jas 3:14  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
Jas 3:15  This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 
Jas 3:16  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
Jas 3:17  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 
Jas 3:18  And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

James shows the foundation and fruit of worldly wisdom versus that of God's biblical wisdom. Again, the two can never be married together because they are at odds with each other from their very roots.

Psychology can never be integrated with Scripture.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Charles Stanley: a false teacher

Charles Stanley must be avoided as a false teacher. His soteirology, as explicitly and repeated expressed in his book "Eternal Security" is all wrong. He speaks against Scripture and twists the parts he quotes. He denies biblical Eternal Security in the Lordship of Christ; that is to say, Stanley repeatedly says that as long as you expressed "faith" at one moment in your life, you can reject Jesus, reject the faith, live ungodly, and still go to Heaven. This is utterly heretical.

Here is an article at airocross which is by far the best I've read so far.

Here are some excerpts:


Below is a list of quotes from Dr. Stanley’s book Eternal Security, each followed by a rebuttal from Scripture:
1.  ”Even if a believer for all practical purposes becomes an unbeliever, his salvation is not in jeopardy” (Chapter 10, p. 93).
Here is what God says in His Scripture:
Matthew 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Revelation 21:8 – But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”
2.  ”And last, believers who lose or abandon their faith will retain their salvation, for God remains faithful” (p. 94).
Here is what God says in His Scripture:
1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us....


Dr. Stanley’s teachings do not match up when compared to the Word of God. Dr. Stanley’s teachings are deceptive and can give an assurance of salvation to those who should not have it. Sadly, this type of teaching is very popular and typical in most evangelical churches today. However, this teaching is bad theology and denies the Lordship of Jesus Christ, it perverts the Gospel, and I believe is one of the many broad roads leading to destruction that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:13-14. Anyone teaching such heresy should tremble at Galatians 1:8-9.

End quote. 

2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness."

Joh 15:10  "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.....Joh 15:16  "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

2Co 13:5  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?

1Jo 2:4  Whoever says "I know Him" but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 

Jas 2:14  What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
Jas 2:17  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

1Jn 5:18  We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

True faith has its results of obedience as we grow in Christ. The one who is in Christ, will never lose faith nor stay in rebellion against Christ because He will not allow them to. The Holy Spirit who has sealed the believer will convict them of sin (Heb. 12). A dead faith is NO faith. 


Scripture teaches that Jesus is Lord of all, and the faith He demands involves unconditional surrender (Rom. 6:17-18; 10:9-10). In other words, Christ does not bestow eternal life on those whose hearts remain set against Him (James 4:6). Surrender to Jesus’ lordship is not an addendum to the biblical terms of salvation; the summons to submission is at the heart of the gospel invitation throughout Scripture. In contrast, easy-believism teaches that submission to Christ’s supreme authority is not germane to the saving transaction.

Scripture teaches that behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one’s faith is real (1 John 2:3). On the other hand, the person who remains utterly unwilling to obey Christ does not evidence true faith (1 John 2:4). In contrast, easy believism teaches that disobedience and prolonged sin are no reason to doubt the reality of one’s faith.

Scripture teaches that genuine believers may stumble and fall, but they will persevere in the faith (1 Cor. 1:8). Those who later turn completely away from the Lord show that they were never truly born again (1 John 2:19). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that a true believer may utterly forsake Christ and come to the point of not believing.



As John MacArthur points out:

Grace is not a liberal clemency or a passive indulgence that simply tolerates and coexists with sin. Divine grace doesn't guarantee heaven in the afterlife while merely overlooking the evils of this life. Authentic grace is the undeserved favor of God toward sinners, delivering them from the power as well as the penalty of sin (Romans 6:14). Grace is dynamic, "teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12).

That's why sanctification is another major doctrine whose biblical foundations are undermined by no-lordship doctrine. The whole gist of the no-lordship message is that while justification is a free gift of God's grace, sanctification is primarily the believer's own work--and therefore more or less optional.

Sanctification is as much a work of divine grace as justification. By portraying sanctification as an optional human work, advocates of no-lordship doctrine actually fall into the very error of works-salvation they profess to deplore. They have made at least this aspect of salvation into a human work.

The errors of no-lordship theology do not find their origin in the principle of sola fide; they stem from an incomplete, man-centered soteriology that refuses to see anything beyond justification. In defending the gospel from no-lordship doctrine, we must take care not to commit the opposite error by downplaying or abandoning the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

S. Lewis Johnson critiquing a book by Zane Hodges in which Dr. Johnson concluded that the central error underlying no-lordship doctrine is nothing but the ancient heresy of semi-pelagianism--the belief that saving grace cannot be efficacious without the prior cooperation of human free will.

End quote.

More problems with Stanley:

Mysticism    and more mysticism through "In Touch" magazine.








Friday, February 22, 2013

The Law of God: His Standard Is Inflexible

God's Law requires behavior that is the opposite of the desires of the heart. It goes completely against the grain of the unregenerate heart.The Law calls a sinner to do what he cannot do to do to love what you cannot love. It asks sinners who love sin,who love darkness who love the world the flesh, the lust , to stop loving all of that and to love God with all their heart,soul, mind, and strength, and to love his neighbor as self,to obey the Ten Commandments. The Law requires absolute perfection and accepts nothing less. The Law exacts on all sinners absolute perfect compliance,accepting nothing less so that if you break one Law you have shattered the whole Law. Sinners cannot satisfy the Law of God,who wrote the Law by keeping a portion of the Law. The Law accepts no limited payment for violators. Violations of the Law of God cannot be undone. People think in the end God will take them to heaven because they have done more good than bad. That is a delusion!If you have sinned once your"good deeds" have no effect upon the sin.Nothing you do can cancel out sin. Neither does trying offer a consolation.Trying does not help, it does not matter.You accumulate zero with whatever good you may have done. Nothing short of absolute perfection satisfies God, He will not accept effort or "sincerity" as any consolation. The Law promises to punish the law breaker in Hell for eternity.Sin will not be erased. The Law gives no help to the sinner. Sinners are powerless to obey the Law.Once you have offended the Law , it provides no restoration.Sinners cannot follow some legal path to God.But the Law is not the problem the criminal (sinner) is the problem. Until the sinner is crushed by the Law sees his constant violation of it and the depth of sin in his rebellious heart. Until he sees that he is under the curse ,the wrath of God he will not flee to Christ. Christ kept the Law perfectly ,he bore the wrath of God as payment for the sins of His people. The most deadly of all sins is to believe you can merit salvation from God. Christ alone is worthy. Christ alone is Lord and Savior. Christ alone saves from the curse, penalty and dominion of sin. Christ alone is the perfect righteousness of His people." Seek the Lord while He may be found." Confess your sins, repent, turn and be converted. Why will you die in your sin? " "Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away;behold the new has come." " God made Him(Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of Christ." 2 Cor. 5:17,21 "Unless one is born again they shall not see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 To Christ alone be the glory!

~Four Functions of the Law Part 2, John MacArthur

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Every word is practical

"I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your Word." Psalm 119:101

(J.R. Miller)

We must not merely read the Bible--but strive that we may obey it. If the Bible is not the guide of our life--it is nothing to us. Its truths are to be applied. If we read the Beatitudes, we are to compare ourselves with their Divine requirements--and seek to be conformed to them. If we come upon a Scripture which rebukes any sinful habit or attitude of ours--we are immediately to make the needed amendment. We are to accept its promises, believe them, and act upon them. We are to allow its comforts to enter our hearts, and support us in sorrow.

There is nothing written in the Bible, merely for ornament or beauty. Every word is practical. There is no truth in it which has not some bearing upon actual living. When we come to it eager to know how to live, and ready to obey its precepts--we shall find it opening its inmost meaning to us.

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15

Accept Transgender Children or Face Punishment

The bullying by the "anti-bullying" types; the intolerance of the "tolerant" types. The bossing around of everyone else, while telling Conservatives (or mommy or daddy), "You're not the boss of ME!".

http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/students-who-refuse-to-affirm-transgender-classmates-face-punishment.html

Homosexuality is wrong biologically and morally. It is not normal, its desires are not normal, and everyone knows this fact down deep inside. The only way they can get tolerance is by threats, regardless if they are opening up children to all manner of abuse and insecurity (really? A boy in the girls' dressing room? Young women (11 yrs on up) who start to menstruate should not have to deal with this kind of thing--I can't believe anyone even has to say this).

Yes, this is nothing more than submitting, cowering really, to the bullying of a few that are trying to justify a sinful life choice. Suppressing the truth by their ungodliness, crushing their conscience--the fight against the truth of heterosexuality and more importantly, God's creative order of males and females and marriage, they are fighting a loosing battle. They cannot win against a thrice holy and just God.


1Co 6:9  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 

Jude 1:7  just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Rom 1:23  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Rom 1:24  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
Rom 1:25  because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Rom 1:26  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
Rom 1:27  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Rom 1:28  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Rom 1:29  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
Rom 1:30  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Rom 1:32  Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. 

Roman Catholicism: recognize it for what it is and fight it, don't embrace it


The fact is, the most formidable, relentless, and deceptive enemy in Satan’s long war on the truth has been Roman Catholicism. It’s an apostate, corrupt, heretical, false Christianity—a thinly veiled fa├žade for the kingdom of Satan.
The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ has always understood that. Even in the Dark Ages prior to the Reformation, genuine believers set themselves apart from the Catholic system and were brutally persecuted and punished for rejecting the false, idolatrous teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
Discerning believers today need to be just as committed to standing firm against the Catholic system. We need to recognize its false priesthood, false revelation, and false tradition. We need to see through its system of twisted sacraments, idolatrous worship, and corrupt authority. Most important, we need to be aware of how the lies of Satan contradict God’s Word and be prepared to defend and explain the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
For further helpful resources go to Proclaiming The Gospel  and Berean Beacon 

2Co 6:14  Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?15  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 17  "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 


Common Ground With Charismatics or Pentecostals?

As a former charismatic, it must be said that our collective energy should not be expended to muse about what Charismatics have to offer. Rather, we must cast down her arguments and witness to those held captive by her aberrant theology.

~Doron Gladden

A brother asked in response to the above post:

Doron, I've been having this discussion with a Pentecostal friend this morning in Asia. He has a master of Div. and he says, although he is Pentecostal he doesn't believe in the prosperity preachers and their teaching. My question is, even though they preach faithful healing, but agree in the major doctrines of salvation from Scriptures, should we continue to disprove their teachings or just embrace them as brothers? For example I love the preaching of Leonard Ravenhill and know from his preaching is a true godly man but I don't agree with all of his doctrines. Thanks brother.


Doron's excellent response:


Great question dear brother. Pentecostals, although vulnerable to the Charismatics, are not always Charismatic. Charismatics latch themselves onto Pentecostalism. What I would propose to brothers and sisters, as we interact with Pentecostals, is to come alongside them biblically so that their evangelistic zeal is biblical, refined and informed by sound doctrine. The standard of any preacher is that life, practice and sound doctrine are above reproach. I would come alongside Pentecostals. If they are willing to receive instruction, they are his. If not, they are faithful to the errors of their belief system and thus proving to be insulting the spirit of grace. The faithful Charismatic and in some cases the faithful Pentecostal believes in triumphalism (or a higher life 'christianity'). So to them, you and I are either lower tier believers in the sin of 'missing out' on God's will. Or we do not have the Holy Spirit. The implication of not having the Holy Spirit is that we are unregenerate. The teachers, or some should know and adhere to this; with the sheep we must be more delicate to explain what their system really espouses. Pentecostalism is only a 107 year old belief system (born of course out of other systems). It rightly desired to react against cold-orthodoxy, but left itself vulnerable to Charismatic teaching because of its core doctrines (extra-biblical revelation, apostolic succession, 2nd work of grace, aberrant views of sanctification etc..).

I would also add that we must, with great longsuffering and a fervent heart compelled by love for the biblical Christ, address the 'secondary issues'. The secondary issues in pentecostalism/charismatic teaching are not systematized as such in their belief. They are core and salvific. To not adhere to what we would label as secondary issues, implies by their perception, that we are in unbelief. This is where we cannot 'agree to disagree'. If tongues were a small issue, it would be a stand alone issue. But to say if we do not speak in tongues, we do not have evidence of the Holy Spirit is a salvation issue and fallacy which must be rebuked. To say one must give or he dishonors God is one thing. To proof text passages and say, if we do not give we are cursed is another (especially since Paul's great declaration that there is now therefore no condemnation for those in Christ). So if we see the teachings of Charismatic and Pentecostal beliefs as core, foundational and essential it would affect our approach to them. A faithful Pentecostal and faithful Charismatic would dogmatically affirm doctrines which conflict with biblical truth. If a brother who is in the pentecostal belief system begins to question their doctrines and make the statement that their beliefs are secondary, he is either a bit misinformed as to their core beliefs or ready for the whole counsel of God, thus ready to come out of their teaching.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Holiness

God is in no way involved in our sinfulness. He cannot be mixed with evil. The problem is in man. In man the problem is bound up with his lust. The nature of God is such that He only gives good gifts. And when God touches your life, it is to produce life not death, to produce righteousness not sin, to make a new creation not exercise the old one...God doesn't lead people into sin, He leads them to be creations of a new kind like Him. He leads them out of sin into new life. And that would be inconsistent with any thought that He would lead us into sin. He is recreating us away from sin, not into sin. 

~John MacArthur 


Salvation of a person is first and foremost to be a display of God's power and work in His enemy's life; an eternal trophy of God's power, will, purpose, grace, mercy and glory.


Eph 1:11  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to
His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,12  to the end that
we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.


Eph 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the
gift of God; 9  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good workswhich God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them


1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not
prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with
me. 

Gal 5:16  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the
flesh. 17  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for
these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 

Col 1:4  since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for
all the saints; 5  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard
in the word of truth, the gospel :6  which has come to you, just as in all the world also it
is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since
the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 

Col 1:9  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you
and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and
understanding, 10  so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please
Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the
knowledge of God; 11  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious
might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12  giving thanks to the
Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.


2Tim 2:19  Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knowsthose who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness." 

     Titus 2:11  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 
















Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Is Your Absorbing Concern: temporary things of life or eternal things of Heaven?

The vast majority of professing Christians today are far, far more concerned about their bodies than their souls, about carnal pleasures than spiritual fiches, about earthly comforts than heavenly consolations, about the good opinion of their fellows rather than the approbation of God. But a few — and O how few — are made serious, become in deadly earnest to examine well their foundations and test every inch of the ground they stand on. With them religion is not something to be taken up and laid down according to their fitful moods. Where will they spend ETERNITY is their all-absorbing concern. Every other interest in life sinks into utter insignificance before the vital consideration of seeking to make sure that they have “the root of the matter” in them. O my reader, can you be satisfied with the cheap, easy-going religion of the day, which utterly ignores the clamant call of the Son of God “Agonize to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24)?


Can you rest content with the “smooth things” now being proclaimed from well nigh every pulpit, which assures those who are at emnity with God they can become Christians more easily than a youth can join the army, or a man become a ‘free mason’ or ‘odd fellow’? Can you follow the great crowd who claim to have “received Christ as their personal Savior” when no miracle of grace has been wrought in their hearts, while the Lord Himself declares


“Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14)?

Dare you rest upon some “decision” made when you were deeply stirred by some anecdotes addressed to your emotions? Have you nothing more than some change in your religious views or some reformation in your outward ways to show that you are “a new creature in Christ Jesus”? Slight not, we beseech you, this pressing word, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God”.” —A. W. Pink (1886–1952)

Taken from “An Exposition of Hebrews” by A. W. Pink (1886-1952)

Source: Real Men Love Pink

Dying to Self

“Suppose you have been neglected or unforgiven. You sting with the hurt of the insult from such an oversight, but your heart is happy because you have been counted worthy to suffer for Christ. That is what dying to self is all about. When your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, and your opinions ridiculed, and yet you refuse to let anger rise in your heart to try to defend yourself, you are practicing dying to self. When you lovingly and patiently stand face to face with folly and spiritual insensitivity, and endure it as Jesus did, you have died to self. When you are content with any food, money, clothing, climate, society, solitude, or interruption by the will of God, you have died to self. When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, record your own good works, or desire commendation from others, you are dying to self. When you can honestly rejoice with a brother who has prospered and had his needs met and never feel any envy though your needs are greater and still unmet, you have practicing dying to self. When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, and humbly admit he’s right with no resentment or rebellion in your heart, you have died to self. Are you dead yet?” 

Anonymous


Col 3:1  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 
Col 3:2  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 
Col 3:3  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
Col 3:4  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 
Col 3:5  Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 
Col 3:6  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 
Col 3:7  and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 
Col 3:8  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 
Col 3:9  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 
Col 3:10  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-- 
Col 3:11  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. 
Col 3:12  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 
Col 3:13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 
Col 3:14  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 
Col 3:15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 
Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Shepherding: Andy Stanley vs Scripture and James White

The difference between biblical teaching and anti-biblical teaching....


Psa 23:1  A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Psa 23:2  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
Psa 23:3  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Psa 23:4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 



Joh 10:1  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 
Joh 10:2  "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 
Joh 10:3  "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 
Joh 10:4  "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 
Joh 10:5  "A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." 

1Pe 2:25  For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 



Act 20:27  "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 
Act 20:28  "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 
Act 20:29  "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Act 20:30  and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Act 20:31  "Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.



Heb 13:20  Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
Heb 13:21  equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.




1Pe 5:1  Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
1Pe 5:2  shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 
1Pe 5:3  nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
1Pe 5:4  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.



Andy Stanley who denies "shepherd" is a right term for pastors in his interview with "Leadership Journal":

There's nothing distinctly spiritual. I think a big problem in the church has been the dichotomy between spirituality and leadership. One of the criticisms I get is "Your church is so corporate." I read blogs all the time. Bloggers complain, "The pastor's like a CEO." And I say, "OK, you're right. Now, why is that a bad model?"


So what's the principle behind the CEO model?
"Follow me." Follow we never works. Ever. It's "follow me." God gives a man or a woman the gift of leadership. And any organization that has a point leader with accountability and freedom to use their gift will do well. Unfortunately in the church world, we're afraid of that. Has it been abused? Of course. But to abandon the model is silly.
Should we stop talking about pastors as "shepherds"?
Absolutely. That word needs to go away. Jesus talked about shepherds because there was one over there in a pasture he could point to. But to bring in that imagery today and say, "Pastor, you're the shepherd of the flock," no. I've never seen a flock. I've never spent five minutes with a shepherd. It was culturally relevant in the time of Jesus, but it's not culturally relevant any more.
Nothing works in our culture with that model except this sense of the gentle, pastoral care. Obviously that is a face of church ministry, but that's not leadership.
Isn't shepherd the biblical word for pastor?
It's the first-century word. If Jesus were here today, would he talk about shepherds? No. He would point to something that we all know, and we'd say, "Oh yeah, I know what that is." Jesus told Peter, the fisherman, to "feed my sheep," but he didn't say to the rest of them, "Go ye therefore into all the world and be shepherds and feed my sheep." By the time of the Book of Acts, the shepherd model is gone. It's about establishing elders and deacons and their qualifications. Shepherding doesn't seem to be the emphasis. Even when it was, it was cultural, an illustration of something.
What we have to do is identify the principle, which is that the leader is responsible for the care of the people he's been given. That I am to care for and equip the people in the organization to follow Jesus. But when we take the literal illustration and bring it into our culture, then people can make it anything they want because nobody knows much about it.


End quote.

Wow. How utterly wrong could Stanley be? "Shepherding" first of all, was established in a different culture and different millenium before Acts, starting in Genesis. In Acts, it is the establishment of the elders AS shepherds that Paul refers to interchangeably in Acts 20:28--a charge that was to continue, not discontinue. Moreover, the term and duties of shepherding continues even in 1Peter 5 which was written later than Acts. Additionally, shepherding and the Lamb of God, are both taught in the very last book of Scripture, the last words from God:

Rev 7:17  for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."

James White on the hand, states the biblical role and duties of pastors and elders:


But the strongest argument I know regarding the biblical nature of church membership is probably the most obvious. What are the duties of elders? We can find their qualifications listed by Paul in writing to Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-11)and from these glean much about their duties. And we have the plain statement of Peter,

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).

   The argument is simple: shepherds must know their sheep to be able to fulfill their duties as shepherds. Its just that simple. You cannot shepherd the flock of God when you havent a clue who the flock of God is. Every good shepherd knows his sheep. Only the hireling does not know the identity of the members of the flock. And, of course, the relationship is mutual. The sheep know their shepherd. They will not listen to anothers voice because they have been with the one shepherd so long they know his voice over against any pretenders or strangers. Such involves a relationship over time, just as the Christian elder is not to be a hireling, some young gun brought in from outside, but should be one who ideally fulfills the commandment of Paul, The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). The gospel is something that is precious, and you entrust it to the next generation. But it is the elders who make this decision, as they have to decide just who is truly faithful and who has the ability to teach others. All of this requires community, exposure, contact, once again demonstrating that the shepherd must have direct knowledge of the identity, personally, of the sheep who have been entrusted to his care. 

   Further, Peter speaks of exercising oversight. While we may discuss the exact nature of what this means (and allow for differences given culture and geography and the like) one thing is for certain: it cannot be done without a relationship of some kind that involves real life. Obviously, this involved teaching and exhortation and discipline on the part of the elder. He is to be an example. You cannot be an example from a distance. You cannot be an example through a television screen or through the pages of a book. Modeling Christian maturity takes contact, exposure, and a reciprocal relationship that involves at least some kind of personal, communal, corporate context. All of this proves that despite the lack of the specific term membership rolls(something that would have been pretty dangerous at that point in time anyway), the activities of the elders and the form of the church itself requires one to see the necessity of commitment to a particular fellowship identifiable by a particular group of elders. And if these texts were not enough, surely this command to all obedient Christians should be:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).

   Here the Christian duty of obedience and submission, coupled with a need to make this work on the part of the elders of the congregation one of joy rather than grief, is enjoined upon all. This is not a command to servility, nor does it grant to Christian leaders despotic powers. But it does require believers to know who their leaders are. It is empty to say, "Jesus is my leader!" for the writer to the Hebrews did not say your "Leader" but your "leaders," plural, and he would distinguish between them and the Great Shepherd only a few lines later (13:20). Nor does it do to claim to be in obedience and submission to men who do not see your face but once or twice a year. How can they give an account when they have no meaningful knowledge of your life, your Christian experience, your growth in godliness? How can they do so when you never attend upon their teaching or encounter them in the congregation? 

End quote.

If we take out "shepherd" from the role and duties of elders, then we must also remove " savage wolves" from the description of false teachers and the death and pain they cause. One then,  must also do away with following Christ, listening to His voice, have full dependence on Him for everything pertaining to life, and not recognize Him as the Great Shepherd and Good Shepherd. Its ironic that "pastor" Andy Stanley is proving to be a wolf while dismissing biblical shepherding which relies on the Great Shepherd. I find that a CEO model is one founded on money and employer-employee relationship, not owning the very people who merely show up to work 5 days a week. Its limited to the world and very temporary, after all, no employer owns a person nor does an employee work 24/7. I wonder if Stanley would also reject the slave-Master terms and relationship, since that too, is not part of our culture; it is in fact, very offensive to Americans because of our history of slavery. Yet slave-Master is one of the most important relationships reiterated throughout the New Testament (and conversely a slave to money or sin is described as being anti-Christ, being unregenerate--no one can have two masters). Jesus is called "Master" (aka "Lord") several hundred times because of the distinction of HIM as well as us: HE is owner and Master, commanding us, His slaves to do as He commands without question and rebellion, but gladly.

God is deliberate in choosing every word, jot, tittle, illustration, and analogy in Scripture to tell us about Himself as well as mankind in relation to who He is. To have such arrogance as to rip out the Shepherd/sheep relationship terms is to destroy Scripture and reject God's authority.

Hath God said? Yes He has. Stanley should realize he echoes the words of the ancient Serpent when he despises shepherding and following as Scripture proclaims.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"Wild At Heart": the false god of John Eldredge and his intergrationism

An excellent critique by Jim Harmon not only on Eldredge's "Wild At Heart" but at the psychoheresy of today's professing Christians. He gives Scripture its proper place as our sole authority for life and godliness, whereas Eldredge does not.

Excerpts of note:

Simply put, the psychologizing of faith is destroying the Christian mind. It is destroying Christian habits of thought because it is destroying the capacity to think about life in a Christian fashion — David F. Wells, No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?

Popularity aside, Wild at Heart is a notable example of the integration of secular ideas, theories, and practices with Scripture. As a result, clear Biblical teaching regarding the nature of man, how he should live, and how he changes is compromised, undermined, and obscured. This is not a reliable way of "Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul." At best, it’s like weaving through a minefield. Fortunately, the mines are on the surface. Unfortunately, many readers will not recognize them for what they are. We give it no stars.

The basic problem with Christians accepting these secular ideas, though popular throughout society, is that these ideas fundamentally do not illuminate or harmonize with Scripture. Rather, they tend to intrude upon it and meddle with it, usurping that which belongs to God. The authors of such ideas were unbelievers, men who had no regard for God or the Bible. Their work has spawned a multitude of differing theories and techniques. Theirs is a man-centered perspective that typically is based on what man thinks and says about himself. In addition, psychological counseling theory, like evolutionary theory, remains in flux; new ideas and theories continually emerge. Biblical truth is God-centered and confronts man with specific, unchanging facts of life (Matt. 4:4; John 17:17).

And after years of hearing the heart-cry of women, I am convinced beyond a doubt of this: God wants to be loved. He wants to be a priority to someone….the cry of God’s heart is, "Why won’t you choose Me?" ~ Eldredge

End quote.

In my view, Eldredge's god is an Open Theist god, an effeminate impotent god,  unlike what Eldredge says men are supposed to be. At best Eldredge's god is a reflection of mere man, not the HOLY HOLY HOLY God of Scripture Who alone is all powerful. In fact Eldredge's god sounds more like a teenage drama queen who can't understand why nobody likes him and just wishes he could be A priority to someone out there. Forget about being THE priority, nor the absolute authority and power of the God of Scripture which states:

Eph 1:11  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12  to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 

Rejecting What is Lifeless: sometimes that includes books

I reject many authors who have not stood firm for Christ but rather compromise the Truth. What Pink says is very true:


To turn away from the lifeless preachers and publishers of the day—may involve a real cross. Your motives will be misconstrued, your words perverted, and your actions misinterpreted. The sharp arrows of false report will be directed against you. You will be called proud and self-righteous, because you refuse to fellowship empty professors. You will be termed censorious and bitter—if you condemn in plain speech—the subtle delusions of Satan. You will be dubbed narrow-minded and uncharitable, because you refuse to join in singing the praises of the "great" and "popular" men of the day. More and more, you will be made to painfully realize—that the path which leads unto eternal life is "narrow" and that FEW there are who find it. May the Lord be pleased to grant unto each of us—the hearing ear and obedient heart! "Take heed what you hear" and read!

~ A.W. Pink