As our world, our nation, and our churches continue to celebrate sin, I am reminded again today of the fateful message that closes the book of Judges:
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).
A large portion of the blame lies at our liberal churches and their lying prophets with their false message of peace:
They have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace (Ezekiel 13:10).
They preach peace with God when there is none. Their lying lips are an abomination. Their judgment may be delayed, but it is assured.
A man must feel himself in misery, before he will go about to find a remedy; be sick before he will seek a physician; be in prison before he will seek a pardon. A sinner must be weary of his former wicked ways before he will recourse to Jesus Christ for refreshing. He must be sensible of his spiritual poverty, beggary and slavery under the devil, before he thirst kindly for heavenly righteousness, and willingly take up Christ’s sweet and easy yoke. He must be cast down, confounded, condemned, cast away, and lost in himself before he will look about for a Savior (Robert Bolton, Instructions for a Right Comforting Afflicted Consciences, 1640).
Filed under Salvation, Sin
I have not posted for a few days because I had the pleasure of enjoying a long weekend with my family camping up in the mountains of central Idaho. Every year 100+ of my closest family members get together for a long weekend of Bible study, worship, singing, fun, and food. The amazing thing is that every single one of us has been adopted into this family!
He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5).
You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).
While we tend to focus on our biological and earthly relatives as our family, Jesus made it clear that for Christians our true family is rooted in our standing in Christ Jesus and our relation to the Father.
And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:31-35).
I look forward to the day when I can get together with my other millions of family members and worship our Savior together, forever. And to all my family members who may read this blog but I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, I look forward to meeting you one day.
I certainly hope and pray that all of my earthly family will join me someday in that heavenly family. Yet, I can still rejoice today that I am part of a heavenly family that will always be together. Praise be to God for adopting me into such a wonderful family.
Rather than post something of my own today, I would suggest you go read a good little article from Dan Phillips over on the Pyromaniacs blog today addressing the topic of the clarity of language, including nuggets like this:
The real problem is seldom the clarity of God’s word. Or perhaps I should say, it is the clarity of God’s word… coupled with human unwillingness to bow the knee. But that isn’t a word-problem. It’s a heart-problem (Dan Phillips, Pyromaniacs blog).
So, go read his article instead of wasting your time here.
I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you (Psalm 5:7).
And only through the abundance of God’s steadfast love will I be able to enter his house. A love so great that he died on my behalf. Psalm 5 speaks about the evil, wickedness and deceit of men. Men like me. Psalm 5 also speaks about God’s hatred for the evil, the wicked, and the deceitful. All I can do is bow down before the holy God and pray, “God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.”
If your pastor is preaching about Superman this summer rather than about Jesus, then it is probably time to find a new church home. CNN has reported that Warner Bros. Studio has created a nine page document helping pastors prepare sermon series based upon the new movie. One pastor is quoted in the article as saying:
“When I sat and listened to the movie I actually saw it was the story of Christ, and the love of God was weaved into the story,” said the pastor.
Ummmm. No. Sorry, time to step down from the pulpit. Look, I have not seen the movie, but I am quite confident that Jesus is not a superman from another planet. He is God in flesh. The story of Superman is not the story of Jesus. Pastors are not called to preach about supermen, but about the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus:
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:7-10).
If you see the movie this summer, I hope it is in the theater and not in your church. If it is in your church service, I would recommend heading for the exits as soon as the first clip begins to roll.
The LORD is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word (Lamentations 1:18).
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah penned these words after the destruction of Jerusalem. The “I” in verse 18 refers to the city of Jerusalem as a representative of the people of Israel. The description of their wicked sins is definitely PG-13 at times. Yet, it really boils down to this one verse—they rebelled against God’s word. It always boils down to rejecting God’s word which, in turn, is rejecting God himself.
A few months ago, Dan Phillips wrote an interesting article called The most offensive verse in the Bible. In the article, he wisely identified Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”) as the most offensive verse in the Bible. For when we reject God’s word we are rejecting his claim to be who he says he is—the Creator. We can either accept Genesis 1:1 and bow the knee. Or, we can take offense at God and rebel against him.
Jerusalem rebelled against God and their wickedness was exposed (and compounded) over time. God was patient, but his justice and righteousness eventually prevailed. As it always will, because “the Lord is in the right.”
Lamentations should be a warning to us. The sins of the Hebrew people in the 6th century BC could never be as great as the sins of the world we live in today. Not just because of our debauchery, but because we have rejected the Son. We have been provided a more clear witness to God’s salvation than they had, yet we rebel. We are without excuse. One day, we will suffer a fate similar to Jerusalem when the Lord treads upon us as in a winepress (Lamentations 1:15). We have been warned.
In a discussion last Sunday with my dear friend, Howard, at church, we somehow hit upon the topic of discernment and how we all have our own personal blind-spots. He mentioned how we, the collective local congregation, are definitely stronger together than we are apart, and therefore less likely to be led astray. While this made me think about the imagery of the interconnected body of believers (such as from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27), it also made me think specifically about the office of elder within the church.
Numerous times over the past several months I have been reminded of the importance of having strong elders within a church body. The threats to the church come from both inside and outside, and these threats are non-stop.
When the apostle Paul directed Timothy to appoint elders, he gave a long list of qualifications for these men. One of the key qualifications was that they hold firm to the word of God:
…I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it (Titus 1:5, 9).
The wisdom of Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in directing the appointment of a plurality of elders comes through when we think of our personal blind-spots. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit protects the church as we await the return of Christ Jesus. However, one of the ways he does this is through the elders within the local congregation. A single elder (or pastor) working alone is more susceptible to attacks at his blind-spots, than a group of elders.
All of this was a reminder of the wisdom of God in how he established his church. It was also a reminder of the great blessings God has bestowed upon me and my family by providing us with the fine elders that shepherd us.
Are you tired of all the hyper-judgmental Christians and wish people would just return to the simple love and acceptance of the early Christian church? Do you ever wonder what version of the Bible these people are reading? As one example, I recently read a short article (only about 600 words) by a best-selling Christian author that included an extremely long list of inflammatory language and name calling. Some examples from the article include calling people:
- Perverters of grace
- Unreasoning animals
- Loud-mouthed boasters
- Followers of ungodly passions
If that was not bad enough, the judgment heaped upon these people was downright shocking:
- Designated for condemnation
- The gloom of utter darkness has been reserved for them
- Their coming judgment was compared to Sodom and Gomorrah where the Lord rained down sulfur and fire from heaven
- They are predicted to perish as in Korah’s rebellion where the earth swallowed up Korah and his family
It would be so much easier to be a Christian if there were not people like this author in the churches. And, if Christians would come out with a strong reprimand for judgmental people like this author, I think the pews would not be so empty on Sunday.
If you have reached this point of the article and have not realized that this is all sarcasm, you had better go read your Bible. Unless it is missing the book of Jude, your Bible contains all that strong language in that little 600-word letter written by Jude, the half-brother of Jesus. If your version of Christianity does not allow for the language of Jude in denouncing false doctrine, then perhaps you should look in the mirror and realize it is just “your version” and not Biblical Christianity. In fact, it is probably “your version” of Christianity that Jude is warning others about. And, it is perhaps your condemnation that he is predicting.