Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: December 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

When Creation was Made Pregnant with God’s Promise

1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:1-7).

God is immutable. Immutability means that God never changes in character or attributes. God is the ultimate constant in the universe in Who He is.


“For I am the LORD, I change not. . .” (Malachi 3:6a).


“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).


The fact that God is immutable also means His promises are sure. God’s promises cannot fail because they are part of God’s eternal plan. Before the foundations of the earth were ever laid, God had planned the redemption of mankind. In God’s foreknowledge, He knew mankind would fall into sin. Before mankind was created, God’s love planned for His incarnation to pay the penalty of sin. The Creator Himself would become “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8b).


How easily these words roll from our tongues. How quickly they pass by our intellect with little more then a passing thought or consideration of the depth of sacrifice they communicate. The infinite and eternal God becoming one of His finite creation in order for man to share in God’s eternal life and become a “born again” child of God.


The words “when the fulness of time was come” (Galatians 4:4) is an expression that communicates the idea of the completion of a pregnancy and the time of birth. In I Samuel 1:20, it was the expression used of Hannah’s time to give birth to Samuel.


“Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD” (I Samuel 1:20).


In Genesis 1:26, God gave dominion of all His Creation to Adam (mankind) as a gift. When Adam chose to disobey God’s command, when he put his own selfish wants above the will of God, he relinquished God’s gift of the Creation into the control of Satan and Satan became the “god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4) and the “prince and power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). From that point in time, Creation needed a Redeemer to restore its dominion back to mankind. After the fall of mankind in sin, God spoke to Satan in the curse. In that curse, God made a statement that made Creation pregnant with His promise of redemption.


14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).


The word “enmity” in Genesis 3:15 is from the Hebrew word 'eybah (ay-baw') meaning hatred. Satan’s “seed” was the sin and death that entered into mankind through the freewill choice of Adam and is the corruption that passes seminally to all mankind.


“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).


What is important to know is that the “enmity” God referred to in Genesis 3:15 was the Lord Jesus Christ Who would be born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, thereby bypassing the corrupted seed of Adam. The word “enmity” means Jesus Christ would bring spiritual warfare against Satan and his headship over the fallen Creation, which was stolen from mankind through deceit and fraud.


The word “bruise” in Genesis 3:15 is from the Hebrew word shuwph (shoof) meaning to crush. The promise of the birth of the Redeemer carried with it the promise that He would crush Satan’s headship and remove Satan’s strangle hold of death on mankind. We all need to be reminded that the reason why life is often hard and full of misery is because we are all under a curse due to sin.


16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:16-19).


We live in an existence that is cursed of God. God’s promise of a Redeemer was not a promise of the removal of the curse, but deliverance from it. God would remove the redeemed from the curse. He would take them out of this cursed existence and give them a place in a New Creation where He would dwell with His “born again” children for all eternity.


1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).


Whenever we read the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus our minds should be filled will the idea of the prophetic promise of God that comes from the Garden of Eden and goes far beyond saving us from an eternal Hell. God will one day remove all “born again” people from this cursed world to share His eternity with Him. That is every believer’s sure hope in Christ. Every believer can say with Job, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25). The idea is one of victory.


As we read Galatians 4:4, we need to remind ourselves that although it was a particular virgin named Mary who was pregnant, she was only the chosen part of God’s creation to fulfill His promise made in Genesis 3:15. Creation was made pregnant with the immutable prophetic promise of God shortly after the fall, but Creation was pregnant with God’s plan of redemption even before the Fall (Rev. 13:8). I believe the very second Mary consented (Luke 1:38) to be Creation’s womb for the birth of the Savior, she was immediately pregnant.


“The fulness of time was come.” The Creator was joined with His Creation in the womb of Mary. All of those thousands of years were now reduced to nine months. God had “sent forth His Son made of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). The words “sent forth” are from the Greek word exapostello (ex-ap-os-tel'-lo), meaning that the eternal Son of God, Creator of Heaven and earth, was sent into the realm of the dead from God’s eternal presence with a mission of redemption. He did not come to kill and destroy (this time). He came to save sinners. When “God sent forth His Son,” He was “sent forth” to fulfill the immutable prophetic promise of God given at least 4,000 years earlier.


“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).


The words “made of a woman” fulfill the second aspect of the promise of Genesis 3:15. In order to redeem mankind and restore the dominion of Creation, the Son of God needed to become the Son of man. He would become part of humanity for all of eternity. What overwhelming, incomprehensible love.


Galatians 4:4 also tells us Jesus was “made under the Law.” When Christ came into humanity, He shared in the communion of that humanity. He came under the curse of the Law (not by sin, but by choice). When Galatians 4:4 says “made under the Law,” it means that Jesus was born under the obligation of absolute responsibility to absolute obedience to God’s commands. However, where the first Adam failed, the last Adam (Jesus) succeeded perfectly.


“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).


When Adam was created, he was given one Law, “Don’t eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). How many sins did it take Adam to break the Law and cast the whole human race into the curse of death? If Jesus committed even one sin, He could not save us.


“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21).


Jesus was not born into this world to become part of humanity and to die a cruel, tortuous death just to provide us a reason to give each other gifts as we celebrate His birthday. He came to fulfill the promise of God. He came to take away Satan’s stranglehold of death on mankind. He came to be our Saviour.


10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).


If you have never repented of your “dead works” and your trust in religious ritualism to personally put your trust in Jesus’ finished work of redemption, you do not have anything to celebrate this Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Saviour. Before you have anything to celebrate, you need to turn from a life of sin and selfishness and turn to Jesus. Until you have received His free gift of salvation by grace through faith, you have not opened God’s Christmas gift to you.


Joy to the world! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King

Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, And heav’n and nature sing,

And heav’n and nature sing, And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.


Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ;

While fields and flood, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.


No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as the curse is found.


He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love, And wonders, and wonders of His love.

Joy To The World! by Isaac Watts


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Monday, December 15, 2008

The Unsearchable Riches of God’s Gift of Grace to Sinners

The American culture is almost completely consumed with Materialism. Materialism has so encapsulated our society that even the worship involved in the days of Christian celebrations has been stolen away to the extent that little or no worship is offered to God for the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 5:8). In fact, Christians can celebrate the birth of Christ and the resurrection of Christ without much consideration at all to the Person of Jesus Christ and God’s “unspeakable gift” (II Cor. 9:5). Do you realize that the Greek word translated “unspeakable” in II Corinthians 9:5 (anekdiegetos; an-ek-dee-ay'-gay-tos) literally means indescribable.

In other words, there are no words in any language, or all languages combined, that are sufficient to describe, communicate, articulate, illustrate, explain, detail, annotate, or elucidate the “gift” God has provided in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Since that is true, don’t you think we ought to expend considerably more effort as believers in at least trying to communicate the wonders of the gift of grace that comes to us through the Person and work of Jesus Christ? Since that is true, don’t you think we ought to put aside most of all this nonsense we preoccupy ourselves with during these appointed seasons of celebration to really reflect upon the Person of Jesus Christ and truly worship Him in “Spirit and in Truth”? We may never in a lifetime be able to accurately communicate our appreciation to God for His “unspeakable gift,” which only means our effort in doing so much increase exponentially with each passing moment. We must be consumed with preaching Christ crucified, risen, and coming again. This is the pattern of life that we find in the Scriptures of every truly “born again” disciple of Jesus Christ.

“1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; . . .” (Ephesians 3:1-8).

In 2006, the average U.S. household spent about $1,700 on Christmas and holiday spending. With about 130 million households, this amounts to about 221 billion dollars each year. Each child in a household receives on the average 10 gifts of which the vast majority are broken or destroyed by March of the following year.

In a materialistic society people measure love by the amounts of money we expend on one another. In doing so, we have allowed for a complete distortion of love and greatly perverted way of measuring someone’s love. Biblically, love is a verb measured by the sacrificial giving of one’s self to another that always benefits them in lasting and tangible ways. However, “the unsearchable riches of Christ” in His incarnation, substitutionary death, and resurrection raises the definition of the love of God towards us to an immeasurable and “unspeakable” degree.

In light of all of this, how do you suppose God measures our love and appreciate for Who He is and for what He has done for us in “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” The Greek word translated “unsearchable” (anexichniastos; an-ex-ikh-nee'-as-tos) in Ephesians 3:8 means
beyond finding out, outside of the scope of understanding or comprehension, or something that is so wonderful or difficult/deep that it is unfathomable. It amazes me just how little consideration the average Christian gives to the overwhelming and unimaginable gift of grace that God gives us in salvation and in allowing us to be His Ambassadors of reconciliation.

I am ashamed that there have been whole days in my life since I have been saved by the grace of God that I have not expressed the depth of my gratitude to God for His “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” I am sure there have been days where I gave no thought to God’s “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” God does not ask for much in return for what He gives us. The least we can do in gratitude to God for His “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ” is obey Him and worship Him with all our hearts, bodies, and soul. The least we can do is live each day to His glory in a spirit of thanksgiving, adoration, and worship. Is that too much to ask?

What a sad state the Church that bears the Name of Jesus is in during these last days before the second coming of the Lord Jesus. We sing Christmas carols without consideration of “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ” that these carols sing about. We wish people we see along our way each day a Merry Christmas without questioning, or even wondering, if they truly know of the “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Although the gift of God to us is “unspeakable” and the “riches of Christ” to us are “unsearchable,” that does not mean God has not attempted to communicate to us through the dense fog of satanic obfuscation regarding the Person and work of Jesus Christ. God does so through Paul’s words in Romans chapter 5.

“12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him {
Messiah as the firstborn and Federal Head of the New Genesis} that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one {sin} many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one {sin} to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one {Adam’s fall}; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness {imparted to the believing sinner in the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit} shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).

If we truly love and appreciate God’s “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ” we will become preoccupied with the message of Romans chapter 5. We have two great gifts that come to believers through the incarnation, sinless life, substitutionary death, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus Christ. These two gifts are available to “whosoever,” but can only be received by believing sinners.

1. We have the “gift” of salvation that is available to “whosoever shall call upon the Name of Jehovah (His human Name is Jesus) through the substitutionary death of Jesus and His propitiation of God’s wrath upon all sin and His resurrection from the dead
2. We have the “gift” of the impartation of God-kind righteousness in the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit, which is the cause of the instantaneous event of the believing sinner’s salvation and regeneration

Beyond the gifts of salvation and regeneration, we have another gift that truly expresses “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” The “gift of grace” is the indwelling of the Person of the Holy Spirit. Do not rush by this wondrous Truth. Hesitate and meditate upon this mountain top proclamation. Prior to the propitiatory death of Christ and the impartation of the righteousness of Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit, no one even dared approach the presence of God in the body of sinful flesh. Even the High Priest of God dared come before the Shekinah but once a year and even then he did so in fear and trembling. After Pentecost, every believer has the Shekinah dwelling within our bodies and our bodies become the living Temples of the Creator of the heavens and earth. In this joining there is an eternal union created by a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit of God that can never, ever be broken because He promises He will “never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).

“17
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:17-20).

Get a hold of this “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” You are literally and eternally “joined unto the Lord” and you and God are now “one spirit.” Therefore, the whole duty of our new lives “in Christ” is to “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Should God expect anything less than this considering His “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ”? The depth of our worship, praise, and gratefulness will only be as deep as our understanding of the unfathomable riches that are ours in Christ. When we grasp the depth of this “unspeakable gift” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” “joy unspeakable and full of glory” to God (I Peter 1:8) will burst forth from every aspect of our existence. Only then will we stand before our God in awe and wonder of His amazing grace as the Spirit of God cries out with our tongue from our souls “Abba Father” (Gal. 4:6). Until we grasp the depth of the Truths of God’s “unspeakable gift” and our “unsearchable riches of Christ,” we are destined to a shallow Christianity, mediocre worship at best, and lives of mediocre accomplishments for which we will stand before our wondrous God in shame one day.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chapter Twenty-two Posted

Dispensationalism and the Doctrine of Election
Refutation of Calvinism, Arminianism, and Covenant Theology

Chapter Twenty-two
The Synergism with The Lord of Hosts and the Soteriological Responsibilities of His Redeemed
(5,896 words)

http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Pages/Dispensationalism/Synergism.htm

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Patterns of Commonality or Patterns of Peculiarity

1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” (Titus 2:1-15).


We live in the age of feel good Christianity. It is the day of the feel good Christians who want a feel good Church with a feel good preacher. The feel good Christian wants to hear “for God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son” and that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” but they do not want to hear “he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” They want to hear “for the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” but they do not want to hear that this comes with the responsibility that is “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”


The feel good preacher is the preacher that preaches what people want to hear while withholding from them the things they need to hear. We can easily distinguish the feel good preacher from faithful men of God, not by what he does preach about, but by what he does not preach about; not by what he says, but by what he does not say. This was the same phenomena of corruption that took place at the end of the Dispensation of the Law. God’s prophets and preachers/priests began to talk in language that did not offend or never spoke of God’s judgment. Although they were God’s appointed watchdogs over God’s sheep, God viewed them as “dumb dogs” and “greedy dogs” because they failed to preach the “whole counsel of God.”


9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. 10 His watchmen {the prophets and priests of God} are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant” (Isaiah 56:9-12).


Every practice and aspect of the Christian’s life ought to flow from “sound doctrine.” The construction of our translation of Titus 2:1 is somewhat ambiguous. It does not say we are to “speak . . . sound doctrine.” The phrase is “speak . . . things that become sound doctrine.” The confusion comes from our failure to understand the meaning of the Greek word prepo (prep'-o), which is translated “become” in Titus 2:1. The idea of this word is about making something to fit. Our speech/communication is to fit or illustrate “sound doctrine.” Then, Paul goes on to characterize how that is to be done by giving examples of how this speech is communicated. Notice, he is not merely talking about our speech as it comes forth in verbal communication. He is talking about our communication of “sound doctrine” by the way we live our lives. Paul puts before us three models of this communication of the communicable attributes of God, which then are to teach immature believers these same life styles that manifest “sound doctrine:


1. Aged men; vs. 2; “sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience”

2. Aged women; vs. 3-5; “in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed”

3. The incarnation of the eternal Son of God; vs. 12-14; “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works


These Biblical models of the Christian maturity are to live, dress, walk, talk, and exemplify the communicable attributes of God in such a radical way that they “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (vs. 10). Notice, it does not say in some things. Notice, it does not say in the things you think are important. What does this little Greek word pas (pas), translated “all things,” mean. “All things” means all, any, every, whatsoever, whosoever, thoroughly, completely, wholly, or without any exclusions. There should not be one single aspect of our lives and/or our mannerisms that we do not carefully consider regarding the message we are communicating about Christ.


Someone has rightly said, “We never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Although one of the most misunderstood and frequently quoted verses of Scripture might be “judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1), this statement by Christ is also the most frequently disobeyed. If we understand our own human natures, we will understand why it is such a difficult commandment. We live in a world filled with dangerous people. It is normal for us to evaluate them before we entrust to them the intimacy of a personal relationship. Until we can make an accurate and careful evaluation of a person’s character, we will naturally keep that person at a safe distance in any area of trust.


When we first meet people, or when see them for the first time, we naturally begin to formulate impressions and ideas about who they are and what kind of persons they are. We make our judgments based upon the way people dress, the way they comb their hair, the language they use in communication, the mannerisms they portray, and hundreds of other nuances that our psyche uses to evaluate a person’s character before we give that person the gift of trust. The vast majority of what a person says to us in our initial contact is nonverbal. We make a lot of evaluations of a person simply by their appearance. Many times the way a person dresses, wears his hair, or the way he portrays cultural nuances like tattoos, body piercings, or many other nuances tells us what this person thinks is important in life.


The mannerisms and cultural nuances we accept and portray reveal our social construct. A social construct is the cultural influences that we allow to shape our character and the influences that really lead us into making the vast majority of the decisions we make in life. For Bible believing Christians, our social construct should be purely Biblical and radically different than the world. True Christians should be truly peculiar people. We should look radically different than the rest of the world. We should talk radically different than the rest of the world. We should live radically different than the rest of the world. We should be radically preoccupied with different things than the rest of the world. The very first moment someone looks at us and our lives, they should be able to know that there is something radically different about us. When someone walks through the doors of our local church for the first time, that person ought to know he with people who love the Lord Jesus more than their own lives before anyone even utters a word to them.


Do not be confused here. Your communication begins long before you ever open your mouth to speak a word. The degree that we fail to portray a genuine, heartfelt peculiarity of Christ likeness in this communication is the degree it might be said that a Christian is worldly. The degree that we fail in this communication is the degree we pervert a Biblical social construct. Worldly cultures or worldly social constructs establish worldly standards. As Christians, we must be extremely careful to avoid the pressures of social sophistication (another phrase for adulteration of Biblical norms or for worldliness) by adopting cultural mores (customs, styles, fads that become cultural Laws). A cultural mores is what we must do to be accepted by the culture we live in. It is the opposite of being peculiar.


The things that make us peculiar are the things that keep Christians from becoming common. The word common as used in the Bible means the opposite of that which is holy. The word common is used to describe a person that is like everyone else, or has practices that are common to everyone. The word common is often used to communicate the idea of being profane or defiled before God. That is why Christians are commanded to be peculiar. There ought to be nothing common about us, except that which should be common to all Christians, i.e. PECULIARITY. Being peculiar will always require inconveniences and extended efforts to avoid commonality. Being with it should be viewed as a vulgarity in the peculiar Christian’s life.


The way we act and live in this world should be obviously peculiar. The music we listen to should be peculiar from the music the rest of the world listens to. The things that we preoccupy ourselves with and of which we find enjoyable should be normally and naturally peculiar from the things commonly practiced in society. The way we dress should be markedly peculiar from the way the world dresses. We should purposefully avoid following the fads that identify us with the social construct of a worldly culture.


Worldliness is not just defined by sinful practices. There are many ways to be worldly while not be involved in practices of moral turpitude. Worldliness begins with a desire to be accepted, followed by a willingness to conform to cultural mores in order to receive that acceptance. Worldliness is simply about identifying with the world in anyway that makes you common, rather than peculiar.


What does the woman who wants the world to desire her (she wants to be sexy or hot) really want according to God’s view? She wants to be common or worldly.


What does the teenager who wants to be cool really want according to God’s view? He wants to be common or worldly. This is all just another form of prostitution. This is a prostitution of your peculiarity in order to achieve cultural acceptance. The tragedy is that in getting cultural acceptance, you lose your peculiarity and become common in the eyes of God. This is the sin of Esau.


11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:11-17).


What was this horrible sin of Esau that resulted in God rejecting him? He prostituted his peculiarity for that which is common. He hungered for the things of this world and gave that desire a place above his desire for the things of God. What did Esau's prostitution of his peculiarity make him in the eyes of God? According to Hebrews 12:16, Esau became a “profane person” in the eyes of God. Do you think that following the fads and looking and living like the world are innocent things in the eyes of God? Do you think that the way you dress, the priorities you give to recreation and pleasure, or the priorities of your life on planet earth are inconsequential to God? Think again! These things defile your peculiarity and make you common/profane in the eyes of God.



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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

There Is No Genuine Conversion Without Genuine Conviction of Sin

“5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:5-16).

There is a deep, unsettling shallowness within much of professing Christianity. The depth of this shallowness goes much farther than the mere ignorance of the Word of God and apathy towards the things of God. This ignorance of the Word of God and apathy towards the things of God manifested in this shallowness are merely symptoms of a much more serious spiritual problem. That problem is the problem of self-deception regarding pseudo conversions and false professions of faith in Christ. The primary reason for this shallowness is the reality that many people have prayed a prayer, walked an isle, and been dunked in some water when in reality they are still lost in trespasses and sin. The problem is a false sense of conversion because there was no real heartfelt spiritual conviction of sin.

This problem of pseudo faith and false professions is not new to the Church Age. It has been the problem that is the distinguishing characteristic of failure at the end of every dispensation of God. Each Dispensation ending with the transitioning of God’s people from low expectations to no expectations. This is what ultimately defines apostasy resulting in the reprobation of succeeding generations of people who call themselves children of God without any real conviction of sin, no connection to His expectations of how they live, or having owned the responsibilities that belong to those who have been redeemed.

We fine this to be true at both the endings of the Dispensation of the Law and the Dispensation of Church Age. We find this to be a spiritual constant throughout Scriptures of the dynamic of apostasy as Christ answers the question why He spoke in parables. We also find it is this same dynamic of apostasy that will exist at the end of the Church Age with the “lukewarm” apostate church of Laodicea. In both cases, we see some readily recognizable characteristics of apostasy.

“10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them (those who had rejected the gospel in the Law and apostated themselves} it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” (Matthew 13:10-17).

“14 And unto the angel {messenger or pastor} of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:14-22).

There is an obvious pattern that we can see in Matthew 13:10-17 and Revelation 3:14-22 regarding the primary condition of professing believers who are false believers at the end of these two Dispensations. The reason this shallowness, that manifests a false profession, continues to go unchecked is primarily the fault of well meaning preachers who tend to prop up people living obviously shallow lives by giving them a false assurance of salvation by teaching them the doctrine of eternal security when they should be teaching them to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates (II Corinthians 13:5)? Every dispensation of God seems to end with the leaders of God’s people progressively lowering God’s standards of separation and holiness allowing for ever decreasing expectations of those who call themselves children of God.

This is clearly what the Apostle John does in his first epistle. He, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives a number of ultimatums regarding the reality of a person’s profession of faith and the resulting regeneration. These statements of the Apostle John are not intended to add Moralism or Ritualism to the requirements for salvation. They are intended to provide us with spiritual evidences of the manifestation of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8).

“3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:3-4).

“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now” (I John 2:9).

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15).

“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (I John 2:23).

“4 Whosoever {habitually} committeth sin {habitually} transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him {habitually} sinneth {linear present active indicative} not: whosoever {habitually} sinneth {linear present active articular participle} hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man {habitually} deceive {present active imperative} you: he that {habitually} doeth {present active participle} righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that {habitually} committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth {linear progressive present active indicative, “he has been sinning from the beginning”} from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not {habitually} commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever {habitually} doeth {linear present participle} not righteousness is not of God, neither he that {habitually} loveth {present active participle} not his brother” (I John 3:4-10).

The Scriptures are permeated with warnings regarding false faith, hypocritical professions, false teachers, and false believers. The purpose for these hundreds of warnings regarding these issues is the warning about self-deception and about being deceived by others. If Satan can accomplish a false sense of security in someone’s live through deception, he has accomplished more than he ever could through causing doubt. When someone doubts, they continue to look for security. When someone is deceived into a false security, that person rests in that false security. He wrongly thinks he is safe from God’s judgment. The Apostle Jude warns of these false teachers and three patterns of apostasy.

“11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:11-23).

In Jude 1:11, we find three revealing characteristics of those who live in the pretense of a false profession of faith. These three characteristics reveal in detail what defines spiritual apostasy.

1. “gone in the way of Cain”: murderous hatred for all those that stand for Truth and who are true to the Word of God (this is manifested by attitude more than actions; these people to not like believers whose beliefs are anchored to the literal interpretation of the Scriptures intent upon living those Truths in a jot and tittle manner before the Lord)
2. “ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward”: Balaam covetously used his position and calling as a prophet of God to advance his own agenda and gain wealth for himself (these are the Mega Church gurus of fluff & stuff Cotton Candy Theology; these jokers see people as merchandise and Church services as their personal harvest field)
3. “perished in the gainsaying of Core”: Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their company, in Numbers 22 is the rebellion against the way God wants things done and putting one’s own way of doing things in place of what God commands (this is the pragmatism that measures God’s approval by the results/numbers produced rather than by unity in doctrine, purpose, and practice)

What can this kind of pseudo-Christianity expect from the Lord? It can expect the same response to apostasy that God had patterned for thousands of years. It can expect judgment. We are standing upon the horizon of a repeat of history. We can expect that God will soon separate the wheat from the tares and begin with a new remnant of faithful believers.

“1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:1-9).

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Chapter Twenty is Posted

Dispensationalism and the Doctrine of Election
Refutation of Calvinism, Arminianism, and Covenant Theology

Chapter Twenty
The Debilitating Fa├žade of Hope in Legalism
(Romans 10:1-11 - 4,372 words)
http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Pages/Dispensationalism/Facade.htm

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