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: Faulty Faith and Foolish Decisions

Monday, September 25, 2017

Faulty Faith and Foolish Decisions

Faulty Faith and Foolish Decisions
   God is constantly working to grow our faith in Him, test the reality of our faith in Him, and prove the strength of our faith in Him.  This process of spiritual growth is very similar to what physically happens in muscle growth.  When a person exercises or lifts weights, muscles are actually damaged, torn, and stressed.  This is why your muscles hurt after strenuous exercise or work.  Muscle growth happens when these damage muscles begin to repair themselves through a cellular process where the human body fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrilsHowever, this muscle growth happens after exercise and during muscle rest.  Muscle growth is actually part of the body’s healing mechanism.  It is foolish to think we can grow muscle without some pain and without work and exercise.  God did not create our bodies to work that way.

          The process of growing faith is very similar to the process of growing muscle.  People grow spiritually through knowing the Word of God and putting the Word of God into the practical applications of everyday life while living in the midst of the curse.  Living in the midst of the curse is living in the midst of the constant resistance and opposition to practically living the Word of God in everyday situations of life.  The testing of the strength of our faith is when God allows Satan to tempt us with sin and various situations that will require decisions to be faithful to our professed beliefs.  Such testings, or trials, are usually personally painful and difficult.  These trials can be health issues, financial issues, or the drama of life through personal relationships.  Most of the time these trials come to us by personal delivery with someone’s name and personality plainly labeled on the package.
This whole process of spiritual growth and the trying of our faith is what is communicated between two phrases in Job 1:6 and Job 1:13.  In Job 1:6, the phrase is “now there was a day.”  This phrase refers to the angels of God giving account to God about humanity’s behavior.  The second phrase in Job 1:13, “And there was a day,” refers to God’s allowing the testing of the faith of people against the accusations of Satan against all of humanity.  The satanic accusation is that without God’s blessings, humanity would not worship God but instead would curse Him.  God had particularly singled Job out of all of humanity because God believed in Job.  God believed that Job was a man of very strong faith and that Job’s faith would stand against Satan’s accusation and slander against humanity.  This testing is a historical practicum existing in every person’s life by the degree that begins with the words “And there was a day” in Job 1:13.  It is in-between these two statements where life happens!  This is the reality of our under the sun existence within the curse.
Not everyone will be tested to the same degree.  God is still in control of the minutia of the testings of our faith.  God promises us; “There hath no temptation {putting to test to prove} taken you but such as is common to man {this is happening to everyone to some degree}: but God is faithful {Romans 8:28}, who will not suffer you to be tempted {tested} above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it {God believes you capable of succeeding in the testing}” (I Corinthians 10:13).  It is one thing for us to profess belief in God, however it is another thing altogether to understand that God believes in us.  Every trial of our faith is a testimony to God’s faith in us!

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. 13 And there was a day . . .” (Job 1:6-13 a).

          Every person will make hundreds, if not thousands of decisions each day.  These decisions will be faith decisions if those decisions are based upon solid knowledge of the principles and precepts of the Word of God.  However, for most people those decisions will be made from ignorance of the principles and precepts of the Word of God.  For many others, those decisions will be made by purposefully ignoring the principles and precepts of the Word of God. 

          The purpose of preaching/teaching and personal Bible study is to prepare people to make decisions that will bring glory to God.  Bringing glory to God means living in a manner that is a manifestation of the righteous desires of God and doing so out of a genuine love for God with “all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

          “Those that entice you to buy into sin won’t be around to help you pay for it.”[1]  However, other faithful believers in your local church will be aware and try to help you recover yourself from the “snare of the devil” (II Timothy 2:26). 

1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted {tested}. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove {test} his own work {the intent is to insure that his ministry is in alignment with the revealed will of God according to the inspired Words of God}, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone {not in what God did through someone else’s work}, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden {every individual will be held accountable for his own ministry work}. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate {share with or contribute to; I Corinthians 9:7-15} unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 {Paul then gives this general governing law that applies to all issues of life} Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh {selfish, carnal, sensual, and worldly desires} shall of the flesh reap corruption {This is decadence resulting in ruin and waste of life; the natural fruit of a natural life is destruction. This is a universal and natural principle and does not require God to act in forms of judgments or chastisements.}; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting {the supernatural fruit of a Spirit-filled life is supernaturally Spirit produced life in this world}. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due {your own individual season or time} season we shall reap {fruit is not produced the moment the Seed is sown}, if we faint not {remain faithful; the intent is that we can corrupt spiritual seed that has been sown through unfaithful living}. 10 As we have therefore opportunity {every moment of every day is an opportunity to sow to the Spirit}, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith {summary statement about what was said in Galatians 6:1 about doing what is necessary to maintain a sanctified existence and helping others believers within your realm of influence to remain faithful}” (Galatians 6:1-10).

          The word “fault” in Galatians 6:1 is from the Greek word paraptoma (par-ap’-to-mah).  The word means to make a side-slip or a lapse in judgment.  The idea is a deviation from the right pathway in life.  This deviation can be an unintentional error or a willful transgression.  The admonition is about protecting the spiritual seed that has been sown from the corrupting influences of selfishness, carnality, and worldliness by restoring other believers to live Spirit-filled and sanctified lives.

One of the great difficulties of ministry is watching saved people freeze spiritually when the fire of God’s revival is but a prayer of repentance away from them!  Hungering and thirsting after righteousness (sanctification and the Spirit-filled life; Matthew 5:6) should be the normal and all-consuming desire of truly fully surrendered Christian. 

There is little wonder why there is no real harvest of spiritual fruit in the lives of most professing believers because worldliness has been redefined and selfishness is condoned under the disguise of pursuing self-esteem.  This corruption corrupts sanctification, which in turn corrupts the testimony of local churches to the world.  God cannot, and will not, bless ministry with worldly and selfish foundations.  The emphasis of Galatians 6:7-10 is built upon the foundation and expanding upon what was already said in Galatians 5:22-26.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:22-26).

          These few verses of Scripture define what is said in Galatians 6:8, “he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  The point is that none of us, born of the cursed seed of Adam, can ever produce spiritual seed apart from the supernatural operation that takes place through the Spirit-filled life of faithfulness. 

Four Principles of Sowing

1. We reap what we sow!
2. We reap more than what we sow.
3. What we sow must be protected against corruption.
4. We reap later then when we sow.

We have a puppy in our home.  Everyone who has ever had a puppy understands that there will be a rather lengthy time of daily dealing with rather unpleasant things that I call puddles and piles.  The puppy is just doing what comes naturally to him.  He is not even aware of the unpleasantness and inconveniences he creates with his puddles and piles.

However, if the puppy’s owner is not willing to make the necessary time and effort to train him to make his puddles and piles outside the house, the puddles and piles just get bigger and more unpleasant.  This training is often called house breaking a dog.  There is a close similarity to Biblical discipleship.  Without discipleship, believers will continue to leave puddles and piles in the lives of everyone with whom they come in contact.  Bible history is redundant with puddles and piles believers who just never seem to get house broken

We have many negative examples given in the Bible of reaping what we sow.  The historical account of the life of Lot is certainly one of these negative examples of a lifetime of reaping the outcome of a very selfish decision.  The whole point of God’s very extensive narrative (Genesis chapter eleven through chapter nineteen) regarding Lot is that the corrupted seed of one selfish decision just kept producing corrupted fruit generation after generation even until today.  Lot lived with his uncle Abraham and was saved under Abraham’s influence.  Lot shared real estate with Abraham until the acreage they occupied together was unable to sustain the wealth of their herds of animals.  Lot’s servants began to strive with the servants of Abraham over the grazing areas allotted to each of their herds. 

Lot was given the first choice of the place he would resettle with his herdsmen and animals.  This reveals that Abraham trusted God while Lot choose to profit himself.  Lot foolishly chose the fertile plain of Jordan where Lot “dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12).  This verse tells us of the inclination of Lot’s choice.  Lot had a propensity to be selfish and worldly.  People will always fall in the direction they lean.  The big city and all it offers can be quite tempting to a farm boy.  This is the same scenario of the parable of the prodigal son. 

6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just {justified by grace through faith} Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous {imputed} man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed {tortured or tormented; he was under constant conviction about the things he saw and with which he lived everyday} his righteous {imputed} soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (II Peter 2:6-9).

Although selfish and sinful decisions can mess up and mix up life to the point it seems it can never be straightened out, God’s grace still intervened in Lot’s life and got him out of the mess he chose for his existence.  However, Lot still had a freewill.  Although God got Lot out of the mess Lot created for himself, the real mess was still inside Lot and he continued to make bad, selfish, and sinful decisions. 

There are many question that come to mind as we read of Lot continuing to live a lifetime in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  If Lot was under constant conviction, why didn’t he just repent and get out of there?  What happened to all of Lot’s herdsmen?  What happened to the wealth of his herds?  Who did his other daughters marry?  Did Lot in fact choose his daughters’ future husbands when he made the choice to dwell “in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12)?  Why was he willing to sacrifice his two remaining virgin daughters to the mob of licentious sodomites?  Lot’s desire for wealth and fame was Satan’s hook in his flesh.  It was not the hook that held onto Lot’s flesh.  It was Lot’s flesh that held onto the hook.  Lot was willing to sacrifice ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to his idol – HIS OWN CARNAL DESIRES!

Never underestimate the ability of one bad decision to snowball down the hill to an ever-increasing problem.  Lot’s faith was tested just like Job’s faith was tested, but with devastatingly different results.  Lot would end upon committing incest with his two surviving virgin daughters producing two sons that would become the tribes of the Moabites and Ammonites.  These two tribes would be a constant thorn in the flesh of the nation of Israel for millennia.  The descendants from these tribes would intermarry with the descendants of the Ishmaelites, Abraham’s failure, and later become the nation of Islam.  Thousands of years later, the whole world is still paying for the failures of Abraham and Lot – two “born again” men who made foolish decisions. 

However, the problem of living within the temptations and testings of the curse did not begin with Abraham and Lot and it did not end with them.  The same problem is continued and increased by the carnal choices of believers every day.  Every single one of us add to the puddles and piles of corruption deposited into this cursed world every day.  This is always the outcome when the “just” do not “live by faith.”  Each of us add to the continuum of corruption by the carnal, selfish, and worldly decisions we make each day.  We infect other people with our corrupt decisions.  When we sow corruption, we reap corruption in the lives of people for generations after us.  There comes a time when the only solution to the extreme breadth of corruption in the world is for God to intervene and end it lest true faith is completely destroyed upon the earth. 

Christ spoke to this issue of ongoing corruption that infects and destroys each generation more and more in a parable in Luke chapter eighteen.  The point of the parable is the about the faithful prayers of the righteous when being overrun with the evils of corruption in the world (Luke 18:1). 

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint {not give into evil influences}; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge {corrupted in that he saw himself in his position above all, even God}, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me {even a self-serving, corrupted, indifferent judge will intervene if you are persistent in petitioning him for justice}. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God {Who is perfectly just} avenge his own elect {those that are dear to Him}, which cry day and night unto him {for righteousness sake}, though he bear long with them {waiting for the fruit of righteousness to be borne through their faithfulness; James 5:7} ? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:1-8)?

Living by faith is the knowledge of, and the obedience to, the revealed will of God in the Word of God.  The issue of the question of Luke 18:8, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth,” is will He find the kind of persistent faith exhibited by the petitions of the woman in the parable or will every believer just give up on hope for the salvation and sanctification of the worldly.  The faithful must remember that our desires should be reflected in our prayer life and actions to see BOTH the salvation of lost souls and the sanctification of believers.  Evangelical focus has become dominated by the salvation of lost souls while almost completely abandoning the sanctification of the redeemed.  The implication is that there will be a very small remnant of faithful believers at the time of the second coming of Jesus. 

These types of foolish people are described in II Peter 2:10-22 extending from what God has said already about Lot.  Corrupted faith corrupts everything it touches.  Perhaps the greatest descriptor of this thoughtless, carnal selfishness in the Bible is the word “selfwilled” (II Peter 2:10). 

10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled {self-pleasing and pleasure focused}, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you {in the midst of the churches}; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor {a believing prophet}, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment {sanctification} delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (II Peter 2:10-22).

The reason a spiritual leader fights the fight of faith and struggles in his life for personal holiness and spiritual maturity is simple. The spiritual leader understands that the imperfections in his life will usually be reproduced in the lives of others.  This corrupting influence is the greatest fear of his life!

President Donald Trump, in his speech to the United Nations on September 19th, 2017 said, “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.  When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.”  

Why is it that Christians cannot understand this simple principle when it is repeatedly stated throughout Scripture?

1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? 2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? 4 {Now the answer is given.} The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. 6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright” (Psalm 11:1-7).

[1] Pastor John McDonald, Calvary Baptist Church, Utah, Facebook post.

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 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.

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