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: April 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Why I No Longer Refer To Myself as a "Fundamentalist"

Why I No Longer Refer To Myself as a "Fundamentalist"

          I no longer refer to myself as a Fundamentalist. I will no longer even refer to myself as an independent, fundamental, Baptist. I now refer to myself as an independent, New Testament Baptist (following the lead of Dr. Phil Stringer of Ravenswood Baptist Church in Chicago, IL). The term Fundamentalist has no real objective meaning any longer. In most cases, those calling themselves by the term give it meaning to which I no longer want to associate. They can have the term. It has always been ambiguous anyway.

          There was a time in history when one was allowed to be an independent, fundamental Baptist and not be automatically associated with every aberration of theology imaginable. Today, that is no longer the case. One can still be an independent Baptist, but one cannot call oneself a Fundamentalist without being conjoined to numerous theological aberrations. This is why in January of 2011, twenty-five pastors and evangelists from around the upper Midwest met in the fellowship hall of Shepherd's Fold Baptist Church to formulate a doctrinal statement that would constitute the body of doctrine upon which would be built the Midwest Independent Baptist Pastor's Fellowship.  

Today we have Liberal Christians (an oxymoron) who do not believe in much of anything. We have New Evangelicals who will not separate from the Liberals, but separate from the Fundamentalists. We have Evangelicals who separate from the Liberals and Fundamentalists, but will not separate from the New Evangelicals. We have the soft separatists in the Conservative Evangelicals who really cannot decide what separation even is. Then we have the Fundamentalists practicing soft separatism towards the C.C.M. crowd, the Conservative Evangelicals, and Evangelicals while practicing militant separatism from the strict independent, fundamental, Baptists. This latter category seems to practice separatism very pragmatically rather than biblically. They are reaching out to the Conservative Evangelicals and the Evangelicals while, in most part, castigating independent, fundamental Baptist. This is supposed to be reclaiming authentic Fundamentalism.     
This does not look much like the Fundamentalism I have known and been part of the last forty years of my life. In fact, we are told we can no longer hold the old stalwarts of the faith in high regard because they had stinky feet and body odor. We all have stinky feet and body odor. Those old stalwarts of the faith were real spiritually empowered men who built great local churches that have stood everything thrown against them until those local churches were handed over to soft separatists. Then those local churches begin to slowing dwindle in numbers. The new leadership tries to prop them up with seeker sensitive methodologies and C.C.M. music. They do not realize that what built those local churches was not the men, but what those men believed, taught, and practiced. They think they can manufacture the kind of church growth that built those local churches by broadening the base through doctrinal inclusion. Then, they fill those churches with theological ambiguity that requires the pulpit to be silent on many doctrines. Slowly, but surely, the pulpit ministry of that local church becomes increasingly shallow and less definitive. Social issues and personal relationships now become the focus of that local church's ministry. We have all seen it happen. We all know that what I am saying is true.  

This reminds me of the question of the people of Israel at the second coming of Jesus stated in Zechariah 13:6 - "And one shall say unto him {Jesus}, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he {Jesus} shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." Yes, the answer to the question refers to Jesus' crucifixion by the leadership of national Israel, but there is a lot of wounding of Jesus going on today in the house of His friends. This is certainly true when people wound the Word of God by dividing it into consequentials and inconsequentials or essentials or nonessentials. Who in the world gave any one the right to decide which of God's truths are essential and which are not essential? This is nonsense. Granted, not every truth carries the same weight of dogmatism or has the same impact upon how people live their lives in holiness before the Lord, but we better be very careful about telling people what is important and unimportant. This silliness has evolved into radical forms of Positivism where almost any strict interpretation and application of the Word of God is marginalized as radical and identified as Legalism. This is what Charles Swindoll did in his book Grace Awakening. This appears to me to be the direction Fundamentalism is heading.

I still consider myself a militant separatist. I refuse to adopt the terms of  Centrism. I believe in right and wrong doctrine, not left and right doctrine. Left and right are political terms, not biblical terms. Yes one can to be the right of right doctrine - that is adding to the Word of God. And, one can be to the left of right doctrine - that is taking away from the Word of God. There are not numerous variations of right doctrine. There is just right doctrine and wrong doctrine.

"1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. 4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day" (Deuteronomy 4:1-4).

Yes, this text was given to national Israel as conditions of the "blessing and a curse" Mosaic Covenant. However, Deuteronomy 4:2 is a universal principle that transcends all dispensations and all covenants. We have no Pulpit Popes or Seminary professors who can abdicate a doctrine, marginalize a doctrine, or change a portion of the Word of God to accommodate diversity. We have no right to abdicate the dogmatism of the Word of God to be more inclusive. We can be kind when there are differences. We can love those with which we differ, but we have no right to make that which is white to be black or grey. We have no right to be satisfied with walking in the shadows when Jesus has commanded us to walk in the light and to stay out of the darkness. The shadows of theological ambiguity are part of the darkness.  

Orthodoxy will not be found in the myriads of numerous theological positions. Orthodoxy will be found in a right interpretation and application of the Word of God. Although there are many applications of right doctrine, there is only one correct interpretation of any given portion of Scripture. Our goal should not be to just get along with everyone. Our goal should be to arrive at that one correct interpretation. If there are variations that greatly impact how a person defines the Christian life and how a person enters into fellowship with God, then separation is demanded.  

The Fundamentalist Movement that grew out of the embattled struggle against Higher and Lower Criticism (Theological Modernism or Liberalism) was willing to formulate a handful of doctrines upon which they all agreed. Fundamentalism formulated these few doctrines in order to avoid fractionalizing itself in the opposition against the rapid advancements of Liberalism. Therefore, the Fundamentalist Movement was born out of a humanistic view that Christianity needed numbers to be victorious against the enemies of God. The Fundamentalist Movement formulated a pseudo-unity in order to be victorious against Liberalism. That is a matter of fact! They just keep on with new variations of their pseudo-unity.

Many within the Fundamentalist Movement were not comfortable with the obvious compromises. They knew it was compromise. They began to create different camps within the Fundamentalist Movement. Almost immediately Fundamentalism began to fractionalize into hundreds of camps. Camps within camps developed. Some were (in my view) completely nonsensical because they added to the Word of God personal preferences. However, according to their interpretation of various texts, they believed they were right and others were wrong. They thought they were doing what they believed was right before the eyes of God. Therefore, we would be wise to let them be judged before the eyes of God. I may need to warn about what they are doing if what they are saying or doing endangers the local church I pastor in a negative way. That does not mean I will condemn all that they do for the cause Christ.  

There are many independent, fundamental Baptists still trying to function within that dynamic of compromise within the Fundamentalist Movement. The reason I say they have a dynamic of compromise is because they have subjectively agreed to give themselves permission to fellowship with anyone that believes in a specified group of doctrines - the fundamentals. These fundamentals are defined generally and lack any real specificity.  

We have Baptists who were once willing to die because they refused to compromise the ordinance view of baptism by immersion who are now cooperating with those holding to the sacramental view in infant and adult baptisms whether by immersion, affusion, or sprinkling. We have those who believe that the sign gifts have ceased for the rest of the Church Age who are now cooperating with Pentecostals and Charismatics. If either the gift of tongues or the gift of prophecy have not ceased, the Cannon of Scripture is not closed and there is ongoing revelation from God.  

We have those who believe in the independence and autonomy of the local church and congregational polity who are now cooperating with those who hold a Theonomic view of the Church. These are MAJOR contradictions that greatly impact how a Christian is to live his life and do "the work of the ministry." There are the Dispensationalists who believe in maintaining a distinction between the Church and Israel now cooperating with Covenant Theologians who believe the Church replaces national Israel as a Theonomic entity. Dispensationalists believe God will end the Church Age with the rapture of the Church, the seven year catastrophic judgment of the nations, and the battle of Armageddon with the second coming of Christ to the earth to rule and reign bodily for one-thousand years. How can they cooperate with people who believe that the Church will finally be victorious over the world, defeat Satan, and usher in a utopian kingdom on earth (literally heaven on earth)? Those believing in a catastrophic view of the end of the Church Age understand the urgent mission of every local church is to evangelize. Those believing in the utopian view of the kingdom on earth are aggressively involved in political activism whereby the nation of Israel must be annihilated if there is to be peace on earth. These are radically different views that demand completely different efforts on behalf of those believing them.  

About twelve years ago, I was asked to preach at a state Baptist fellowship meeting. Almost every man there was an independent, fundamental Baptist. I warned those to whom I was preaching that Rick Warren was possibly the most dangerous man in Evangelical Christianity of that time. I was amazed at a number of young pastors who rebuked me after that session for making that statement. I kept track of a number of those young men over the years. Most of them destroyed the local churches they were in or left their churches because their congregation would not follow where they were trying to lead them - ASTRAY!  

I am saddened by what I see going on within the Fundamentalist Movement. I am saddened because many of those I once considered compatriots in the battle for truth have decided that certain truths are no longer truths for which they will fight. I am saddened that people I once respected have decided that it is more important to have many disagreeing friends than it is to be definitive about "the faith"for which we are to contend.  

This kind of thinking has taken biblical Christianity away from a battleground mentality into a playground mentality. On the playground everybody is supposed to  get along. Those on the battleground understand there are real enemies of the Cross and sometimes they dress in the same uniform as we do. The battleground is for battling. The playground is for playing. For those who are not willing to see the distinction, let me give you a simple message.  

Get off the battlefield and quit pretending you are a warrior!

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Dispensation of Grace

The Priesthood of the Believer
Expository Studies through the Epistle to the Ephesians
Chapter Twenty-two
The Dispensation of Grace

          As we read Ephesians 3:1, we must understand that Paul is most probably writing this epistle while in chains at Rome under Pretorian guard arrested by the Roman Empire (Acts 28:16 and 30).  He was arrested for preaching Jesus Christ as the only true God.  Such preaching was heresy and treason within the Roman Empire since they worship a pantheon of gods with the emperor himself declared as a god.  Paul was sent into the midst of this overwhelming religious and political tension to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Gentiles.  Part of his message to the Gentiles was complete repentance of their beliefs in other gods but Jehovah and a complete abandonment of all pagan worship practices.  Confessing Jesus to be the only Lord in this environment was in fact equal to a death sentence upon all Christians. 

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” (Ephesians 3:1-7).

All the emperors up to Constantine were extremely hostile to Christians imprisoning them and killing them without mercy.  The Jews too were also hostile to Christianity.  Have you ever asked yourself if you could be faithful to Jesus and preach the Gospel under such extreme conditions?  Yet, these conditions were considered normal to the Christians of Paul’s day and to many Christians around the world today.  There are so few Christians in the U.S.A. and Europe who are willing to even live for Jesus.  It is doubtful if most of American Christians would be willing to die for an opportunity to tell others how to be “born again.”  Preachers spend most of their preaching/teaching ministry just trying to persuade believers to abandon worldliness let alone trying to get them to engage a culture that is hostile to the things of God with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
          The common characteristic and attitude of most American local churches and individual Christians is apathy.  They do not see churches services and preaching as primarily existing to equip them for “the work of the ministry.”  Many local churches exist in the same state of apathy as did Israel prior to her chastisement through captivity.  These so called Christians have just enough Christianity to make them miserable, but not enough to make them effective.
God spoke of the judgments upon national Israel repeatedly through His prophets over many years and throughout numerous generations.  God continues a similar message to the apathetic Christians living in the last days (Revelation 3:14-22).  Paul quotes some of those prophecies in Romans chapter 11:7-11.  What Paul refers to in Romans 11:8 is what was revealed to national Israel through the prophet Isaiah as recorded in Isaiah 29:9-16.

9 Stay {the idea of the word is to hesitate or question} yourselves, and wonder {be amazed or astonished}; cry ye out {in confusion}, and cry {same phrase used twice for emphasis}: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep {of lethargy, apathy, indifference, spiritual unawareness or carelessness}, and hath closed your eyes {refers to taking away spiritual understanding or the illumination of revelation}: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered {to clothe in secrecy; referring to what God had revealed to them from these various people through which He brought His revelations}. 11 And the vision {the look; the idea is that which God allows us to see of Himself, His will, and His pending actions in time} of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed {closed up and forbidden to be opened}, which men deliver to one that is learned {knows how to read and can explain the meaning of the written words}, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. 15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? 16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding” (Isaiah 29:9-16)?

          Religion without relationship naturally produces a hardening of hearts towards God’s will.  At the very best, religion without relationship creates a mere ideological faith and not a living faith, because real faith always generates a real, vibrant relationship with God.  The very notion of such a false kind of faith is an abomination to God.  What is God referring too?  He is talking about prayer that does not consider the character and nature of the One to whom we pray.  He is referring to being preoccupied with talking about God and establishing His will for our lives as if God is a mere ideology of moral attributes or some impersonal force that is without a personality that includes His own emotions. 
To talk about God out of a mere intellectual knowledge of Him is a sham compared to those who can talk of Him from a knowledge that flows from an intimate relationship with Him.  Anything else is just self-delusion that borders upon the boundaries of complete reprobation.  What God speaks of in Isaiah 29:9-16 is the point in time when He gives these people up to their delusion of a real relationship with Him by shutting down any further enlightenment of Himself to them.  At this time, they will be given over to the darkness of their own blindness regarding their pretentious delusion of a real and living faith.
          This was status of national Israel during the four-hundred years between the prophecy of Malachi and the coming of John the Baptist.  The prophets and priests of Israel were the eyes and ears of God to Israel.  These were the men through whom God spoke and through whom God’s will was revealed and explained.  Although there were other forms of knowledge, all true knowledge came to Israel through the sieve of inspired revelation (prophecy) and enlightened explanation (the prophets and priests).  During these four-hundred years of silence, God would begin a dispensational and transitional change in the way He would reveal His will and give understanding of His previously given written revelation.  Instead of revealing Himself through the prophets and priests, God would begin to give spiritual understanding of His written, inspired Words directly to anyone who genuinely believed that God existed and who began to seek to know Him personally (II Peter 1:20).  Christ spoke of this in John chapter seven as He rebuked the arrogance of the false theological notions of the “learned” of Israel.

14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (John 7:14-18).

          This is a remarkable text when we understand it in the context of the history of Israel and the prophecies we have just read from Isaiah.  Simply stated, Jesus is saying in John 7:17 that a faith decision towards God to obey what God says must precede God’s illumination of His Word or His revealed will as given in His inspired Word.  The willingness or desire to do God’s will that comes from a faith relationship and a desire to glorify God in worship and service must exist before God will give someone knowledge of doctrine.  If a person’s desire is merely a desire for intellectual knowledge to give himself status before men, rather than rightness before God, God will not give that person spiritual enlightenment.  In other words, the truth presented will not be understood from the heart and that truth will not transform the hearer’s life the way God intends.  Even though Israel knew the truth, they lived their truth in dead externalism and not from the heart.
There is a big difference between being the Church and attending a church.  That is what Paul is speaking of in Ephesians 3:2 in the words “dispensation of grace.”  Grace is the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Spirit of God given to a believer when that believer is living in fellowship with God.  Paul understood that being a Christian came with overwhelming moral responsibilities in doing “the work of the ministry.”  He knew that what God had called him to do was an absolute impossibility apart from a partnership in doing with the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.  Because of Paul’s partnership in ministry with God, Paul saw miracle after miracle happen throughout his life. 

22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands” (II Corinthians 11:22-33).

We do not see it spelled out in words, but Paul is detailing the cost he paid to be involved in a partnership with God in the work of the ministry.  It was in the midst of trials that Paul saw the miracles of God.  Perhaps this is why so few Christians never experience the miracles that were common in Paul’s life.  They never experience the miracles that were common in Paul’s life because they are fearful and unwilling to take the risks that are involved with engaging a world that is hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  No one can expect to reap a harvest if you never get the seed out of the barn!  You will never walk on the water if you never get out of the boat!  You will never win a soul to Christ if you are unwilling to confront a sinner with God’s universal condemnation (Romans 3:23 and 6:23) and God’s solution in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.  The question of consecration enters into the equation of discipleship here.  That question is what price are you willing to pay and what sacrifices are you willing to make so as to be used of Jesus Christ to build His Church?  Building Christ’s Church is what all ministry is all about!
Christians think that the kind of life that the Apostle Paul had, and the fruit he bore for Christ, is reserved for a few spiritual elite of Christianity.  The truth they miss is that the reason for Paul’s successes was that Paul had committed himself to die for Christ before he faced any of the difficulties of ministry.  He expected to die for Christ because he was involved in the work of the ministry.  The willingness to die for Christ is where all ministry truly begins.  Christ said this on numerous occasions and in various ways.  Christians today spiritualize the reality of this expectation away into superficial allegories of death.  Jesus is talking about real sacrifices, real sufferings, and real death.  Perhaps one of the most definitive of Christ’s statements regarding the willingness to die in order to see souls saved and to work in partnership with Him to build His Church is found in Luke 9:20-26.  This text is definitive because it uses the suffering and death of Jesus as a comparison 

20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory {the shame of unfaithfulness for Church Age believers during the Kingdom Age}, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:20-26).

Very few people ever grasp the reality of Christ’s expectation of self-sacrifice for the cause of redemption.  Most Christians are willing to sacrifice a little.  Others are willing to sacrifice some.  Many are willing to sacrifice selectively.  However, few are willing to sacrifice it all.  The latter is what Christ expects of His redeemed.  Therefore, most Christians take momentary excursions in trying to enter into spiritual warfare with the minions of evil to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  As soon as they experience any kind of resistance, they retreat back into the safety of silence.  May God protect us from ever entering into the place of ministry failure called the safety of silence!
God has ordained the local church for what we might call the preaching moment.  The preaching moment involves the culmination of all of a week’s events and trials of life into one moment’s time where they will be confronted, encouraged, challenged, and strengthen by the preaching of the Word of God.  I have come to believe that God has prepared something special for every person in a local church at every preaching moment.  If the preacher lives a Spirit–filled life during the week, God will bring forth a special miracle that touches every life in a local church during the preaching moment.  However, Satan’s minions do not want that the miracle of that preaching moment to take place.  Some people will be kept away from the service.  Others will not hear because of distractions within the church service.  Many others will not hear because their attention is elsewhere.  May God help us to escape the apathy that results in the unheard sermon. 
All that has been mentioned thus far is what Paul addresses in Ephesians chapter three.  If it were not for the “dispensation of grace” (God’s supernatural enabling through the ministry of His Spirit) operating through the preacher’s life through the week, the preaching moment does not occur the way God intends.  If it were not for the “dispensation of grace” (God’s supernatural enabling through the ministry of His Spirit) operating through the lives of individual believers throughout the week, the preaching moment does not occur the way God intends.  It is through this supernatural spiritual dynamic that what God “made known” (Ephesians 3:3) to the preacher wherein the believer is brought to “understand . . . knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4).  If believers do not understand this supernatural spiritual dynamic in which they are to be involved, they will fail to take the gravity of the preaching moment serious.  They will fail to understand the warfare waged against them as Ephesians 6:10-18.  They will fail to understand the critical importance in praying for their preacher in the way he prays for them during the week (Ephesians 6:19-20). 
If what is defined in Ephesians chapter four does not happen, what is described in Ephesians 5:1-6:9 will not happen.  These few chapters of Scripture are intent upon taking us beyond attending a local church to actually being a local church.  Doing Church and being the Church are two completely different things.  Very few Christians ever get beyond doing Church and attending Church.  This is mainly due to the superficial way they read and understand what Paul says in Ephesians chapters three through six. 
Although the subject of Ephesians chapter three is the “mystery” of the Church, where Gentiles and Jews are joined together in one body, there is another mystery revealed in the spiritual dynamic of grace enabling in the “effectual working of His power” (Ephesians 3:7).  Yes, the text is referring to God’s working through the Apostle Paul, but the intent is that the same “working of His power” is available to EVERY Spirit-filled believer.  In other words, this “working of His power” is universally available to EVERY “born again” believer-priest “in Christ.”  This “working of His power” in the Old Testament was available only to specially anointed people.  In the New Covenant, EVERY “born again” believer-priest has the “working of His power.”  This truth means there are no excuses for failure.  There no excuses for not knowing the Word of God.  There are no excuses for disobedience or compromise.  There is no excuse for being unfruitful. 

1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through {the medium of} the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given {perfect, passive, participle} unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers {koy-no-nos', sharers or participators with} of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:1-4).

The “me to you-ward” Principle (Ephesians 3:2)

There is an important principle for us to see in these few words.  The principle is a practical issue of responsibility and moral culpability.  Every aspect of our personal knowledge of God’s Word and our personal spiritual growth is to be distributed on the widest scale of possibility in our influence of others.  In fact, we can go as far as to say that the distribution of all that we know of God’s Word and all that we are as a Spirit-filled Christian is more than a mere desire of the heart.  The distribution of all that we know of God’s Word and all that we are as a Spirit-filled Christian must become the consuming burden of our existence.  What we see in Paul’s life is intended to be God’s example to all believer-priests.  We have this example in the life of Christ first.

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:21-24).

Paul commanded believers to imitate the way he walked and talked.  He also told believers to single out others that lived like Paul lived so as to maintain a continuum of such examples. 

17 Brethren, be {imperative mood} followers together {co-imitators} of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample {tupos: a die or a stamp – the idea is replicating the same thing over and over again}. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Philippians 3:17-19).

The Obligation of Replication

We might call the “me to you-ward” principle the obligation of replication.  Every believer is obligated to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).  Then, we are obligated to replicate that growth in the lives of others.  A Christian that does not reproduce growth “in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” is failing at the most central obligations of the Christian life.  A failure to reproduce growth “in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” in the lives of others should drive us to our knees in prayer.  Such failure should motivate us to examine every aspect of our personal lives for worldliness or hidden sin that might cause the Holy Spirit grief (Ephesians 4:30).  Perhaps the greatest cause of our failure in this area is merely indifference towards the Word of God and a careless attitude for our own spiritual growth.

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Worldliness Warning

                       Worldliness Warning

Worldliness puts hooks into our very souls.  Once we give worldliness a room in which to live, it will soon dominate our existence.  Worldliness comes with numerous names upon it, but every form it takes brings its captive into addiction.  Worldliness is another name for idolatry.  Worldliness is idolatry without the visible idol of clay, stone, or silver.  Nonetheless, the person who heeds not the warnings of God about worldliness will find himself kissing that idol’s feet and sacrificing everything valuable in his life to his own formation of the idol of worldliness.  People think they use forms of worldliness for their own satisfactions in momentary pleasures.  That is not true.  Worldliness uses those that worship it.  Worldliness uses them up and spits out what is left leaving little more than an emaciated carcass as the semblance of a living being.  How often does this scenario need to be repeated in the lives of those around us before we awake to see the horrors of the destruction of lives that worldliness produces?  Perhaps this is the most unheeded warning in the Word of God.  Worldliness is the devil’s shiny toys offering something he never can and never will deliver.  Worldliness is an I.O.U promise from the devil that you will pay for with incremental installments of your life.

12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15 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. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:12-17).

          Clearly, John addresses these warnings about worldliness intending a warning to all ages.  “Little children,” “young men,” and “fathers” are all susceptible to the dangers of worldliness.  The intent of the warning is that worldliness is not a matter to be taken lightly.  Worldliness is an under the sun perspective of life.  Under the sun is a phrase used twenty-seven different times in the book of Ecclesiastes to describe a worldly way of thinking and existing.  Therefore, to understand what John warns about in the words “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” we can hear a cacophony of warning sounds in Solomon’s numerous life pursuits for personal fulfillment.  These twenty-seven uses of the phrase “under the sun” define worldliness.  Each use of the phrase gives us another area of worldliness that resulted in “vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

1. “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:3)? Life ends and we take nothing temporal into eternity.  Therefore, invest in eternal things by producing eternal fruit and profits.
2. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  You cannot discover some new way or new avenue of self-fulfillment.  Everything has already been tried and proven unfulfilling. 
3.13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecclesiastes 1:13-14).  Intellectualism and philosophical knowledge will not fulfill you as a person and these pursuits provide little in terms of any eternal merit. 
4.1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. 2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? 3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. 4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: 5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: 6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: 7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: 8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11).  We are given a monumental listing of accomplishments in this few verses.  Building monuments of remembrance to testify to one’s greatness to future generations is unfulfilling in that you are not there to experience the praise.  Such ventures are foolish and have no eternal benefits.  In these eleven verses of Scripture, Solomon uses forty-four personal pronouns revealing that all of these accomplishments were about HIM – his ego!  Whatever we seek in life to fulfill ourselves will prove to be “vanity and vexation of spirit.” 
5.17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. 20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. 24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? 26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 2:17-26).  The phrase “under the sun” is used five times in these ten verses.  Each use describes a different venue sought for self-fulfillment.  Each venue for self-fulfillment ends with the similar outcomes –“vanity” or emptiness.  The paradox is that man consumes his life pursuing fullness and satisfaction through worldly mediums and the results are always EMPTYNESS!  God wants us to now this before our lives are wasted.  Learn to give yourselves away in self-sacrificing ministry to others.  
6. And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there” (Ecclesiastes 3:16).  Injustice, graft, and greed are common failures within humanity.  Although we should seek justice, fairness, and generosity in our lives, these pursuits will not change the destiny of a soul.  Social reform is a pursuit of moral governance apart from faith and the change of heart.  Injustice, graft, and greed exist because of the innate evil that lays within the hearts of fallen beings. 
7.1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. 2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. 3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3).  Providing comfort to the oppressed without showing them the way to eternal life is a futile waste of time.  To fail to give a vision of existence beyond this “under the sun” existence is greater than all the oppressive evils the world has ever known.

          We can get the general idea of the inclusiveness of what falls into the temporal practices that defines worldliness and consumes lifetimes on wasted pursuits that generating no eternal benefits.  This latter factor is the ultimate criterion for what defines worldliness. 
          Addressing this warning to “little children,” “young men,” and “fathers” refers to three stages of both physical and spiritual life.  Each stage of life poses its own types of worldliness that need to be identified and dealt with in order to be successful at the next stage of life and the increased worldly temptations of that stage of life.  “Little children” refers to infants and toddlers.  “Young men” refers to preteen and teen age children.  “Fathers” refers to adults or those that should know better.  Parents often program their children in infancy for failures in worldliness.  Parents often teach their children worldliness because the parents are worldly.  All ages of people are susceptible to the temptations of worldliness. 
          The statements of I John 2:13 are different than the statements of I John 2:14.  In I John 2:13, the verb tenses are present tense.  I John 2:14, the verb tenses are aorist tense.  In other words, these warnings regarding worldliness are continuous from the past and into the present.  Every generation of all three stages of life is continually susceptible to worldliness.  We must constantly be aware of the inroads worldliness might be making in the influence of a person’s motivations in life at any age.  Colossians 3:1-3 gives us other admonitions to carefully guard against worldliness.

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-3).

          Worldliness is a perspective of life diabolically opposed to what God wants for us.  Worldliness focuses our attention and consumes our time on ventures that provide no lasting, eternal benefit other than fluffing our egos and puffing ourselves up.  Worldliness need not involve a person in issues of moral turpitude.  In most cases, worldliness involves appearances and practices readily acceptable by most cultures and societies while being completely unacceptable to God.  The worldly person is more concerned about what his peers think than what God thinks.  Although he may talk about his concerns about God’s thinking, such talk is really hypocrisy.  He will walk as close to the world as his peers allow and that will still give him a fa├žade of acceptability with God.

15 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. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:15-17).

          Worldliness is being defined subjectively and narrowly within Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism in present day Christianity.  When John says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” what exactly does he mean?  It is an important question to answer because to “love the world” reveals that God’s love “is not in” that person.  There is godly love and worldly love.  Worldly love is any emotion that is fed by the corruption of the “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16). 
“The world” that we are commanded not to love is a very broad and encompassing term.  The word “world” is translated from the Greek word kosmos (kos’-mos).  The context defines the meaning as all of the satanic influences within the corruptions of religion, politics, and economics.  These influences have varied through the millennia while maintaining certain consistencies within the variations.  Religions have evolved and thousands of false religions have developed over the millennia.  Within all of these false religions there is a commonality in varying degrees of paganism, syncretism, and idolatry. 

1. Paganism is the corruption of human sexuality in numerous ways and in varying degrees.  Modern day paganism has corrupted human sexuality in degrees equal to the worst that has ever been known in the world through the corruption of our children and the inculcation of a culture that is practically given over to the pornographic.  Inculcation is the constant barrage and instruction that corrupts children regarding human sexuality at the earliest ages possible. 
2. Syncretism is the merging, blending, and integrating of false beliefs about God into religious practices.  Syncretism is the corruption of Bible doctrine by degree through integrating false notions about God and what is acceptable and unacceptable to Him.  Syncretism begins with the corruption of the Gospel and what defines a biblical faith response to the Gospel to be saved.  The span of this corruption has extended to degrees one would have thought impossible.  Yet, the span of corruption continues to expand daily.  Syncretism results in Ecumenicism and Pluralism.  Toleration is the banner under which Syncretism thrives and growths like a field of weeds strangling truth with its very contact.
3. Idolatry is exalting anything above the one true God in worship or in worship practices.  Idolatry does not need the presence of a stone, wood, or metal god to exist in the hearts of humans.  Idolatry is actually any form of corruption of the sanctity of worship.  Idolatry steals worship from God to put it upon man.  Idolatry puts other things than God as the focus of ministry.  Idolatry accepts any form of worship and thereby extricates God from worship because God’s presence is always in the midst of holiness.  This world and all that is in it is corrupted by sin and cursed of God.  Therefore, God accepts only that which is purified of worldliness to be used in worshiping Him. 

What are some of the “things” that the world offers that promise us fulfillment in our lives?  These “things” are diverse and all encompassing.  We certainly find three main categories of “things” that the world offers to entice our pursuits in the temptation of our Lord Jesus.

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” (Matthew 4:1-11).

Satan is but one being.  He is neither omnipresent nor omniscient.  Although he is a being much more powerful than are human beings, he comes nowhere near to the power of God.  Satan rules and influences through millions of minions.  These minions are deceived people promoted to positions of power and influence in world politics, world religions, and world economics.  They are at every level of cultures and societies all over the world.  These minions are antichrist in all of their objectives while promoting their ideas and philosophies as the solutions to all the world’s problems.  However, Satan himself came to meet with Jesus to tempt Him.
“The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16 are the three central avenues through which we allow worldliness to enter into our lives.  These three avenues must be carefully and meticulously guarded. 
The world “tempted” in Matthew 4:1 is from the Greek word peirazo (pi-rad’-zo).  The word means to test, try, or prove through enticements.  Jesus, like all men, was tested or tried in three main arenas of life.  Every believer is susceptible to Paganism in the form of Hedonism.  These tempt us through the “lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes.”  Secondly, all people want to be lord of their own lives in varying degrees.  This temptation comes to us in the form of the “pride of life.”  This happens when we rebel against God’s divinely appointed chain-of-command (Ephesians 5:21-6:9). 

1. Satan tempts regarding what sustains us (Matthew 4:3-4).  The objective of the testing is to discover to where we first turn regarding the material needs of life.  The failure is being preoccupied with what sustains us rather than with Who sustains us.  At the point of starvation, Jesus turns the sinner’s attention to the Word of God and the God of the Word for his sustenance.  When we become preoccupied with what sustains us, this is “the lust of the flesh” (I John 2:15). 
2. Satan tempts regarding the contradiction of faith in testing or proving God (Matthew 5:5-6).  Faith does not seek to prove God’s faithfulness.  Faith trusts in and rests in God’s faithfulness.  Although God does on occasion tell the disobedient to prove Him (Malachi 3:10), and God tolerated Gideon’s putting out the fleece (Judges 6:37), true faith should not need to test God.  Testing God certainly should not be needed once God has proven Himself over many occasions.  We have many such occasions revealed through the Scripture.  To reject those proofs and ask for your own experiential proofs is in fact unbelief.  This is an act of the “lust of the eyes” for it walks by sight, not by faith. 
3. Satan tempts regarding what fulfills us (Matthew 5:7-10).  There is within every human being an innate desire to be both loved and appreciated.  These things fulfill us as human beings.  We can live through all types of difficulties if we understand we have a God Who loves us and appreciates our willingness to endure life as we serve Him.  A very large part of life is the curse and living our lives through the difficulties of the curse.  Sickness and death ought to be expected aspects of our lives.  It helps us endure life’s trials and difficulties when we know we have others willing to encourage us and walk with us through the fires.  However, there is also a temptation to seek our own gratification through wrong motivations.  To do well for the praise of others is to steal the glory that belongs only to God.  Dr. Harold B. Sightler once said, “Many a man has not given in to the lust of the flesh, and has passed up the lust of the eye with flying colors; only to give in to the pride of life.”  “The pride of life” is the worship of one’s self for one’s successes.  Self-righteousness is a major manifestation of “the pride of life.” 

One cannot even imagine the many facets of worldliness.  Most pastors recognize worldliness as easily as one might see a painted red face in the midst of a crowd.  Worldliness is apparent in one’s mannerisms.  Worldliness is apparent in conversations, occupations, and even one’s recreation.  Worldliness is apparent in the way we dress and even in our countenance.  Worldliness is apparent by what we love and what we do not love.  Worldliness is apparent by what we do and what we do not do.  In most cases, there is very little difference between professing Christians and the lost in all of these things.  A Christian cannot love the world and love God at the same time.  Yet many worldly Christians have deceived themselves about their worldliness and about their love of God. 
Over the years, it has been my responsibility to speak to many parents about the warning signs of worldliness apparent in the lives of their children.  In many cases, parents took offense when approached them about apparent signs of worldliness in their children.  In almost every case, when warnings went unheeded, those children later abandoned church attendance, went off into the world, married unbelievers, and evidenced a reality completely foreign to that of a “born again” individual.  What are some of the signs of worldliness in the lives of the children of believing parents? 

1. They constantly bicker with their siblings. 
2. They come to church, but do not listen or hear what is being said. 
3. They have no burden for holiness in their own lives and they have no burden for the lost with which they come in contact.  They have no real ministry in life that is motivated by their love for God. 
4. They love what the world loves and have secret, hidden lives known only by them.  Their friends know nothing of their professed Christianity.  They do not want their friends to know because they are ashamed of Christ. 
5. They have no real interest in spiritual things, in building a relationship with Christ, and no thoughts of ministering to anyone.  They have no fear of God (Romans 3:18).

The lack of parental concern about worldliness in children troubles me greatly as a pastor.  Worldly children grow to be worldly adults.  Sadly, many Christian homes are fertile greenhouses seemingly intent upon nurturing worldliness.  Our local churches and godly homes must focus attention upon the abrogation of worldliness.  Pagan and materialistic cultures cultivate worldliness.  We are bombarded with worldliness at every turn in life.  Our Hedonistic cultures inculcate (to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions) worldliness.  The answer is not isolation, but education.  We must warn of the subtle influences of worldliness.  We must teach that the only solution to worldliness is complete repentance that then seeks to live in fellowship with Jesus. 
It is important that we understand that worldliness must be replaced with the kind of spirituality that expresses itself through ministry.  Worldliness expresses itself through carnality and selfishness.  Spirituality always expresses itself through compassion, self-sacrifice, and ministering the truths of the Word of God to others.  Replacing worldliness with spirituality is difficult in that spirituality can come forth in an artificial form of worldliness known as self-righteousness.  This expresses itself through contempt towards those that do not measure up.  All these artificial means for self-fulfillment must be replaced with genuine, compassionate ministry.  This is the known as the Replacement Phenomena. 

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:17-32).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.