Common Words #7 Love

The evidence that one who professes to believe has made a true profession is manifest in their actions. If someone looks to past posts on this blog they will see that this point has been labored over and over again, and it will continue to be labored over in the future. The point is this, true belief cannot occur without a significant change in lifestyle. No one can go from darkness to light, death to life, lost to found without being different, and the difference is not minor. It is true that evidence of true conversion is ever growing, and that a babe in Christ will often exhibit some characteristics of an unconverted person, but that evidence is ever diminishing as the Lord sanctifies them.

The primary evidence of true conversion that manifests itself in the actions of a believer is love. The most important of all things is love. The Lord and all the apostles have made this so clear. Remember Paul speaking of all sorts of gifts and abilities and yet he said it was all meaningless without love. You can witness to people, have straight doctrine, pray all night, read the scriptures all day, rebuke, hear rebuke, fast, preach, give up a career, and so on, but if you do not love, all you have done is meaningless. It is interesting the way that Paul opens his epistles, he labors and labors to express his love for the brethren, and he closes them in the same way.

So what is love? There are so many twisted views on love, from the secular romantic views, to the liberal anything goes view, to the warped dead fundamentalist view, but what is the truly Christian view? The secular view is a feeling, the liberal view is a love that would never rebuke, the dead fundamental view is a love that focuses mainly on rebuke, and the Christian view is a biblical balance of all three.

The true meaning of love is ‘too seek to do someone good.’ If you say you love children, but you do nothing to promote their good and are in no way seeking their good then you have lied. You may like children, or enjoy children, but you do not love them until you are seeking their benefit. If you say you love your spouse, but you are not actively seeking ways to benefit them and do good for them, then you lie. Do you love yourself? I know few people who do not. The nonsense about needing all this ‘self love’ is bogus. The reasons youth in this country are cutting themselves is to get attention, or divert pain from other experience, or whatever, but the bottom line is that they are seeking in some twisted way to do themselves good. It is self love, not ‘self hate’ like the psychologist would have you believe. Loving ones self is easy, loving others is the most difficult thing on earth to do, and without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit it is impossible to truly love. However this incredibly difficult task is the natural calling of the believer, and the primary evidence of true conversion.

Examine yourself, when you see a person in sin what is your reaction? Is it to ‘love’ them as they are, not judge, and just fellowship with them? That is not love, it is liberalism. Is your reaction to speak to them the truth because you have a duty to speak the truth? That is not love either, it is duty bound dead fundamentalism (it is self love, merely fulfilling a duty you have). Is your desire to comfort them and make them feel better in their situation? That is not love either, it is secular romanticism. Those who love as a Christian see a person in sin, and the initial response is compassion, knowing full well that that they too were dead in trespass and sin. Not only that, they even break at the thought that Christ died for sin and was punished because of the sinner they see before them. The true Christian like liberal loves them and seeks to do them good just as they are, not because of some potential they have, and like the secular romanticist they long to see the person in a better place, a place of righteousness as opposed to sin, and like the dead fundamentalist the true Christian knows that rebuke is necessary and that the sinner needs to seek repentance. Ultimately the true Christian seeks to do the sinner good, biblical good, and the reason they love the sinner ultimately is their love for Christ. The Christian knows that the Lord deserves to have people follow him, because He paid a tremendous price for them.

I see the liberal nonsense a lot in the real world, I hear the dead fundamentalist nonsense mostly on the internet occasionally in the real world, the secular romantic view is all over the T.V. as well as in the empty words people seem to speak to each other, but Christian love is a rare gem, but you know when you have seen it, and every true Christian in some way exhibits it.


Common Words #6 Seperation

 am not sure that this post should fall into the common words series, however I will place it there, and it also was difficult to determine what the ‘common word’ was. I chose ‘separation’ because separation seems to be something this blog’s readers feel passionate about, and rightly so. However separation for separation’s sake is idolatry. Moreover much of what is fundamentalism today is merely a dead mental ascension and a ferocious attempt to root out heresy, merely for that sake of fundamentalism. What I mean is this; much of fundamentalism today is usually nothing more than some people who know their bible and want to tell everyone else that they are wrong in the way they think. Meanwhile they have their ducks in a row but their life is void any true evidence that they actually believe they faith that they know so well.

A church which I am well acquainted with is in currently reeling from the attack of dead fundamentalism. A staff member of this church was targeted by a person or persons anonymously in a letter. The letter showed evidence of this staff member being involved in unbiblical interfaith fellowship. This letter also included various scripture references condemning the practice of interfaith fellowship and so on. Of course the scripture quoted was applicable to the situation, and the evidence provided of heresy was worthy of concern and further inquiry. However the dead fundamentalist who sent the letter anonymously to the staff of this church and much of its congregation lacked the fortitude of a biblical man or woman in sending this letter, and the staff and congregation of this church are not, nor should they be bound to even address the issues at hand in this letter, due to the unbiblical way in which the issues were brought forth.

This is an important post and any person who ever desires to address a situation within their local congregation should read on, and be careful to adhere to the text that will be quoted. It is even possible that you have tried to address issues within your congregation and the way which you have done this was no different than the way pagans deal with their conflicts.

There is no room for secrecy in dealing with issues, and there is no skirting around the issues at hand in order to create a ‘biblical’ result. If the means of creating a ‘biblical’ outcome are not biblical, than the outcome is irrelevant, in other words you cannot create biblical ends without using biblical means.

Matthew 18:15-17
15"(A)If your brother sins[a], go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
16"But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that (N) ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.’
17"If he refuses to listen to them, (O)tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, (P)let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

If you ever address an issue you have with a certain person with someone other than the person you have issue with you are acting unbiblical and whatever your argument is, no matter how true it may be, it must be discarded and treated as though it were spoken by a pagan. If a person does not have the biblical fortitude to first address an issue directly with the person in question, they are clearly in violation of the teachings of Christ in Matthew 18 period, end of story. In the situation at the Church I have mentioned, to my knowledge no attempt was made to address the individual personally before the entire congregation and staff was brought into the mix. Remember, the means must be biblical for the ends to be valid. If a person attempts to remove a minister, discipline a staff or congregation member, or question anyone’s practice they must direct their initial inquiry directly to the person in question before anything else. If they do not do this, they are no different the Uzza reaching out to steady the Ark of God. Uzza was trying to help, but he violated the Lord’s prescribed method of handling the ark and his punishment was severe. I know it has been said a lot, but for the ends to be of God, the means must also be of God.

This is the downfall of fundamentalism as a whole today, I understand it is not the downfall of all fundamentalists, but it is the downfall of the majority. Dead fundamentalism hides behind massive amounts of biblical knowledge, and fails to exercise obedience to even a sliver of that knowledge. When the dead fundamentalist is brought into question, typically they know enough scripture to weasel their way out of obedience, or they just bury their questioner in scripture. Unfortunately they win the majority of arguments, but still will have to answer in the day judgment, where surely they will fail to be able to argue their way out of disobedience.

In the case of the issue I am directly addressing within the church I have mentioned, the anonymous fundamentalist is certainly a dead one. In their great desire to purge the church of heresy he or she actually became a heretic and contributed twofold to the problem they desired to solve.

I will leave it there. There are many other verses about church discipline, and separation, and humble obedience to those commands would solve a multitude of issues in many churches. Instead in America we have sissy liberals who allow anything in the congregation, and dead fundamentalists who do not have the fortitude to rebuke in a biblical manner. Instead they go straight to the pastor, or send an anonymous letter, or talk about their issues in their circles of friends. I do not care how genuine the concern is, the fact is anything other than a direct dealing with the person in question is gossip, spin it how you want, on that great day it will be shown for what it really is. Where are the men and women of God who will step up to biblical manhood and womanhood instead of fire shots in the dark? Where are the people who will call things how they are up front, instead of being to afraid to attach their name to truth, and live in conformity to the truth they know? I have been guilty of this nonsense in the past, and repentance and seeking forgiveness is the only course of action that is acceptable. There is no justifying of it, and there are no exceptions where Matthew 18 is not applicable.

Lots of run on sentences, and bad grammar, sorry.


Common Words #5 End Times

The ‘fundamentalist church’ as a whole has an unhealthy obsession with end times prophecy. With that said I know that a number of the readers of this blog are already on the defensive and ready to reject this post, but the bottom line is that it is true. Our Churches are in such a sad state right now with regards to Godliness, and yet everyone is concerned with prophecy, and not prophecy with regards to God’s word about Christ and His character, or instruction and right living. The prophetic obsession revolves around the end times, and abstract apocalyptic teachings, and seems to gloss over the very clear teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles.
Now a lot of conclusions can be made about why this happens, but there is one glaring conclusion that can be fairly made and that is that if the Church’s focus can be diverted to apocalyptic teachings, symbols and figures, and implicit teachings of the scriptures, then the focus can be diverted from the church’s obvious failures to adhere to the explicit and easily comprehendible teachings of the Word. In other words, if we can focus on clearing the foggy areas we do not have to worry about what already is clear teaching. The result is that the clear teachings have been neglected in favor end times obsession.
Now the exception that people will take with this is that we are commanded clearly in the word to ‘watch’, and the reason we are commanded to watch is that we are in the end times. They are right. It is biblical, and it is clear, that we are supposed to watch. We have been in the end times for 2000 years, and we are closer to the end than we have ever been. Not only that, but the Lord speaks very clearly about things that will be occurring as the age draws to a close, that is true, and it is not up for debate. It is even fairly obvious that many of the things that the Lord warns will occur as the age draws to a close appear to be happening before our eyes. Nonetheless these events are not what we are called to be watching!! We are not called to constantly be watching the situation around us in order to determine if we are heading for destruction and the Lord’s eminent return. What we are called to be watching is ourselves and our conduct so that when the Lord does return we are ready. The call to watch is a call to be constantly examining yourself, making sure you have oil in your lamp. The call is to be watching your brethren, and those around you and warning them to repent and receive salvation. There are some Christian’s whose life is more affected by Iran’s Weapons than the cross of Christ, the Temple Mount as opposed to the Sermon on the Mount, the illuminati as opposed to illumination from the Spirit. It really is sad, and to be honest it burns me a bit.
These people with the end time obsession are longing for this to happen, and almost excited about the destruction that will be wrought in the tribulation and they are just dying to see this all happen so that they can be relieved, their reputation restored, and finally be able to say ‘I told you so.’ They should be crying out that God would stay His hand and have mercy. More over end times obsessionists will view the rest of us non-obsessed as blinded, saying we are the type Peter referred to as ‘saying things continue as they always have…’ The end timers are blind to their own blindness. They visit World Net Daily and read about news items that are so important but for whatever reason rarely pan out, and lap it up like water, and trust the words of this site. Yet if you visit the sight you will see women modeling ‘conservative t-shirts’ with coarse sayings on them, and the marketing attempt is surely sensual. Yet in the end time feeding frenzy the gross immorality goes unnoticed.
Now with all of that said I encourage you to look to a few passages of scripture. Check Luke 12:35-48, Revelation 21:27, Jonah, and the entire account of Noah and the Flood.

Luke 12:35-48
This is the whole dialog about the thief in the night and readiness for the Lord’s return, the focus on this passage is obviously self preparation, the command is not to watch for signs or check the news to see if the time is near. In fact the scriptures go out of their way to let you know that it will come when you are unaware so that you will not fall into the trap of trying to determine where we are on the clock of prophecy. ‘Repent the Kingdom of God is at Hand’ carries a lot more weight than ‘look there is a wall around Jerusalem and China has a big army which might be what such and such passage refers to.’ The point is that His return is eminent and you must prepare yourself, not spend hours reading articles and minutes reading your bible.

Revelation 21:27
Self examination, is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? That is your concern more than the dome of the rock is, or what the latest action of the Skull and Bones masons was.

This one hit me yesterday as I listened to it read. Jonah did not desire for people to repent, He instead desired the swift destruction of them by God, and of course God rebukes him severely for it. Nonetheless, the majority of end times obsessionists desire to see God bring swift judgment to vindicate their positions on various news events. They would never admit this, but it is true, and it is sad. How many of the end times focused believers pray that God would stay His hand and be merciful according to His loving kindness? Few.

The Flood account and the life of Noah
For whatever reason people who emphasize current events and end of the world focus cling to Noah as their super hero of the faith. Can you imagine the ridicule He must have faced building that boat, preparing for the flood? He was a preacher of righteousness, and he certainly warned others of what was to come. We are to do that as well, no doubt. Nonetheless our preparation is that of a holy life lived in faith and devotion to Christ. Our ridicule is not to come from radical stances on current events, but ‘Blessed are they that are persecuted for Righteousness sake…’ and ‘Blessed are they are persecuted for My (Jesus’) sake…”

Pray that God would be merciful to this nation and this world, that He would in mercy bring forth revival and hold back the tribulation which He has promised. Prepare yourselves, urge others to prepare themselves, and never hinge the need for these preparations on speculations derived from current events.

That is all for now.


Common Words #4 Confession

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

This verse has been used over and over as a tool to comfort sinners who never enter sainthood. Many of us can recall times when we personally have used this verse to alleviate guilt, or to grant ourselves some sort of assurance. Our usage in modern day evangelicalism of this passage is asinine considering the context of 1 John. The whole 1st epistle of John is about laying out true salvation, and tests by which you can determine the true faith from the false. This 1st letter of John, if read just as it is should leave the reader in a state of self examination, no matter who the reader is. That is the point of the epistle. If we take this passage in the same manner as we take the rest of letter, then this passage can be used in a sense as a test of our confession.

The problem we have is that much of professing Christianity is a group of people who desire to avoid hell and feel that Jesus is the way to do that. When these people read 1 John 1:9 they are comforted because it seems like a simple fix to their sin problem. The thought is this, “I can tell God I have sinned, He will forgive me, and then I can go on my merry way, and hopefully sin less in the future.” To these people Jesus is only a means to their end, mainly avoidance of the punishment of sin. Moreover to these people worship is reduced to mere celebration of the idea that they get to go to heaven instead of hell, and their praise is not grounded whatsoever in whom God is, but instead in what they have received from Him. If you break it down, their entire ‘religious’ experience revolves around themselves, and their deliverance. In essence they are their own god, and Jesus exists for their deliverance, they in no way exist for Him, though they would never admit it.

Lets go back to 1 John 1:9, this majority of professed Christendom hears this, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins…” they never finish the verse. The end of this verse is equally as important as the beginning, and the end of this verse is what brings the true Christian great joy. “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.” Let’s be very clear, if you do not desire to be cleansed, and only desire to be forgiven you will be neither cleansed nor forgiven, because you are not born of God. If there is no evidence of cleansing from your sin, should you not be analyzing whether or not your confession is truly confession. The promise is that if you confess He will forgive and cleanse. Let’s also be very clear that this cleansing is a visible reality, not just some theoretical change that happens in your relationship with God. It has been put this way “If you have a new relationship with God, then you must also have new relationship with sin.”

Remember the words of Paul when he speaks of what a wretched man he is in Romans 7. That is the cry of a man who desires cleansing, not to avoid hell. In fact Paul is so preoccupied with Christ that he never even mentions hell, he did not need to. Does that mean hell was not a reality to Paul? Absolutely not, Paul was focused on pressing on toward victory and Christ-likeness, hell was an afterthought to him. The same should be true in the Christian’s life. If indeed we have been redeemed our mind is consumed with serving Christ, being like Christ, and glorifying Him. Our desire is to be clean before Him so that we can commune with Him, we are a victorious people who press on toward greater and greater victory. We do find comfort in 1st John 1:9, but it has nothing to do with heaven and hell, it has everything to do with the fact that by confession our relationship to Christ though broken by sin can be restored and even more than that we can be cleansed and made to live more pure and clean.

Leonard Ravenhill used to say “Christianity is not N-O-T a sinning religion.” He was not speaking on perfection, but affirming that Christianity is marked by victory and righteousness, and overcoming of this world. True Christianity is not a pathetic group of worldlings who happen to mentally ascend to the right truth, while everyone else goes to hell because they haven’t made that mental ascension.

Let’s go back to that verse once more 1st John 1:9 “If we confess…” what does confession mean? Confess means ‘to speak the same of’ in other words to confess our sins means to speak the same of our sins as God does. God hates sin so much that He poured His wrath out on His own son because of it. How much do you loathe your sin? Is your confession merely a shallow admission of a sin that in reality you have no desire to actually overcome? That is no confession, that really is nothing more than some private religious ritual that you are enacting in order to try to save yourself. Is your Christianity victorious, or just a cycle of failure? Maybe your problem is your confession, read and study Psalm 51, break it down word by word, labor over it and you will find the true way that confession occurs.

The following thought must be added so that the true Christian who struggling with sin does not question their real faith. Just to clarify it is true that Christians will struggle with sin. With the key word being struggle. There are times, even frequent times when we fail in this struggle, and there are even sins that we will struggle with repeatedly. Nonetheless we will experience increased victory over these sins, and our life will become less and less marked by sin and more and more marked by righteousness and holiness. Now if those last few sentences brought you a ton of comfort be careful, because to think that we still may struggle with sin, and even fall into sin should not be a comfortable thing. Instead it should a reality we seek with all of our might to escape.

This could go on for awhile, but I will end here. Consider your confession.