Dreaming in Jude

“Yet in the same manner these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh,…” Jude 8

Welcome back as we continue our study of the false teachers in Jude:

3. Our opening scripture means they indulged in what we would call pornography.   “Dreaming” means metaphorically “to be beguiled with sensual images and carried away to an impious course of conduct” (Thayer). As a result they were defiling their physical bodies with acts of immorality.

The term “in the same manner” refers to verse 6 – 7 where Jude compares them to the fallen angels who left heaven and committed fornication with the wicked women of the earth (Genesis 6) and to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah who committed “gross immorality” (NASB) or “fornication” (KJV). God has the fallen angels in prison for their sin TODAY awaiting the final judgment and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are still “undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” TODAY. Both are held up as an “example” which means “something held up to view as a warning” (Wuest). Jude holds both of these exhibits up to the brethren as a warning that God will not be mocked, He will not be “outwitted or evaded”. They are still a warning to us today.

These false teachers, while claiming to be God’s spokesman, were participating in fornication and adultery.  Not only them, but, as we will see,  the Lord’s bond servants they deceived.  Thank you for your precious time.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;…” (I Thess 4:3-5)

Carl

Jude’s False Teachers

“…ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4b)

Today we begin the first of several posts describing the false teachers in Jude:

1. They are “…ungodly persons…”  (asebes) – means they are “destitute of reverential awe toward God, impious”. In other words, there is no fear of God in them; therefore, they have no real knowledge (Proverb 1:7) and they do not keep away from evil (Proverb 16:6) but instead spread pernicious opinions and immorality.

As ungodly persons they are “following after their own ungodly lusts”, in other words their evil passionate cravings dominated them mentally and physically. They follow these impulses instead of being led by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  They are also “worldly minded”, in other words they consider the world and the things of the world precious instead of forsaking them and having a renewed mind. (v 18-19)

2. They have apostatized – they do not follow the commands of God the Father or Lord Jesus. Jude compares them in verse 5 to those who God saved out of Egypt but had to be destroyed in the wilderness because they refused to obey Him and possess the promise land. The refusal to obey is apostasy.

See you next post when we will continue this subject. Thank you for your precious time.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21

Carl

Jude’s Coming Judgement

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“And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgement upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”” Jude 14-15

(Today we begin the posting of shorter posts for the convenience of our readers. Please let us know if this works better for you. Thank you.)

In our opening scripture Jude is quoting a prophecy from the apocryphal Book of Enoch to show that these false teachers will be punished by God. This book  was known to the second century Church Fathers but was lost for centuries except for fragments until a full copy was found in an Ethiopic Bible in 1773. It consists of revelations purporting to have been given to Enoch and Noah.  Yes, the Noah that was on the Ark.

In the next post we will look at Jude’s description of the false teachers. Remember these people were in the midst of some early church fellowships and were able to lead some of God’s bond servants (aka Christians) into immorality and apostasy. If they could do that then, what does that say about today?

Thank you for your time. God bless you and yours!     Carl

 

Jude: A Serious Warning From Jesus’ Half Brother

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“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed…ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude v4 NASB)

The Book of Jude in the Bible was written by the Lord Jesus’ half-brother Jude (Judas in the Greek), who is named among the Lord’s brethren in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. He is also the full brother of James, the head of the early Church in Jerusalem. Jude warns that certain people in the early church were perverting the grace of God. His message is needed today because the grace of God has been and continues to be perverted.

In verse 3, Jude says he set out to write about our common salvation, when the Holy Spirit burdened him to exhort true believers to earnestly contend for The Faith, once delivered to the saints. The term “faith” does not refer to individual faith, but to The Faith, Christianity itself, in its historic doctrines and life-giving salvation. There is only one Faith and another will not be given. Understanding this, highlights the serious danger these people presented.

In Part One, we will look at the two things the false teachers were deceitfully propagating.

In verse 4 he writes:

“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed….ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

  1. They turned the grace of God into licentiousness (NASB).

We first need to look at what the “grace of God” is to understand what the false teachers corrupted.

God called us in the sphere of grace. That is when He effectually summoned us to a participation in the salvation procured by His Son on the Cross. It was on a basis, not of works, but of a salvation unmerited by us and freely bestowed with no strings tied to it, offered as a free gift to be accepted by the outstretched hand of faith. God’s ultimate purpose in offering this grace is to conform a group of people to the derived image of His Dear Son, Jesus. God said this through Paul in Romans:

“And we know with absolute knowledge that those who are loving God, all things are working together resulting in good, for those who are divinely-summoned ones according to HIS PURPOSE. Because, those whom He foreordained He also marked out beforehand as those who were to be CONFORMED TO THE DERIVED IMAGE OF HIS SON, with the result that He is firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8: 28-30 Wuest ET Emphasis mine)

Wuest explains this beautifully:

“…in the process of sanctification, the saint is transformed in his inner heart life to resemble the Lord Jesus, which inner change results in a change of outward expression that reflects the beauty of the Lord Jesus. The word “image” is eikon, a derived likeness. The image of the Lord Jesus in the saint is not accidental but derived, as the likeness of a child is derived from its parents. Through the new birth we become children of Jesus Christ (Hebrew 2:13) and thus inherit his image. This image, indistinct in the new convert, becomes progressively clearer and distinct as that believer grows in the Christian life.”

By exercising our faith to receive this “grace of God” we become partakers of the promises of God (II Peter 1: 3-4); whereby, we can walk in agape love for our Father,  Christ Jesus and our neighbor (kingdom duties) which will mature us in agape love (I John 4) making the image of Jesus more distinct in us. Paul’s instructions to the Philippians talks about our “duties”:

“Only [since my only reason for remaining on earth is for your pioneer advance in the Christian life], see to it that you recognize YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS CITIZENS [OF HEAVEN] and put yourselves to the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF PERFORMING THE DUTIES DEVOLVING UPON YOU IN THAT POSITION, doing this in a manner which weighs as much as the good news concerning the Christ… ” (Phil.1: 27 Wuest Emphasis Mine)

Therefore, I believe, the term “grace of God”, as used by Jude, is another way of saying The Faith or Christian system of belief (which is what Jude wants us to earnestly contend for) and all that it entails, including the change in our character/behavior, that results in this image of Jesus being developed.

In the place of His holy grace, these false teachers, through their deception, convinced some of the Lord’s bond servants that they could be their own lord and do what they wished including being immoral. Wuest says that the best English word to translate aselgeia (licentiousness) is wantonness” which is “being without check or limitation” and “the meaning of the word partakes of the spirit of anarchy….which refuses to acknowledge the authority of God’s Word, and itself sits in judgement upon it.” This brings us to the second point.

2. They denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

In the original language of the NT, “deny” was “used of those who deny God and Christ, who by cherishing and disseminating pernicious opinions and immorality, are judged to have apostatized from The Father God and Christ (Thayer).” When someone is apostatized they have chosen to refuse to continue to follow or obey God’s commands. As redeemed people in God’s kingdom, we have to obey the authority of the Kingdom. The false teachers did just the opposite by leading those that they seduced in the visible church to do things directly opposite to what God The Father and the Lord Jesus commanded by His apostles. To them there was no need to seperate from the things of the world and sin, but instead they encouraged a “if it feels good, do it” attitude. Some scholars believe this may have been the forerunner of the Gnostics that believed that the spiritual was good and matter evil; therefore, what you did with the human body was not important; hence, immorality was rampant.

Therefore, in conclusion, God saved us for a purpose and it is our responsibility to be conformed to the image of Jesus in our inner being. The false teachers taught no restraints, no Father or Lord, no commandments, you could do what you wanted including immorality; thereby, changing the grace of God into wantonness or licentiousness. As we shall see, our Lord did not tolerate this. If this is not clear to you now, it will be abundantly clear as our study progresses.

Did they come into the early church and preach this openly? No, they did not because the leadership would have put them out immediately. As we look at the false teacher’s character in the next post, we will see how they manipulated Jesus’ bond servants.

Please join us as we continue our study. Thank you and let us thank Him for all the blessings He has blessed us with! Comments and questions welcome.

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lust which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY.”” (I Peter 1: 15-16 NASB)

Carl

Need A Little Motivation In Your Christian Walk?

“But my heart stands in awe of Thy words. I rejoice at Thy word, as one who finds great spoil.” (Psalm 119: 161b-162)

We all need motivation sometimes. One of my son-in-laws and I have recently been discussing scripture memorization. Something I used to do a lot of but over the years had gotten away from.

I recently found the above scripture while studying I John 2:14 and thought it was the perfect motivation to restart scripture memorization.  If the psalmist could say this of the Old Testament, how should we, born again believers, feel about the New Testament’s

“…precious and exceedingly great promises…” that are given us “…in order that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped by flight the corruption which is in the world in the sphere of passionate carvings.” (II Peter 1: 4 Wuest)

If need be, may these scriptures motivate you like it did me  to restart hiding the Word of Life in your heart. It is eternal and unchanging because He is eternal and unchanging. And you and I as born again believers are eternal! Think on that today.

Have a blessed day.

Carl

The Grace of God

“Where sin increased, grace superabounded, and then some on top of that.” (Romans 5:20b Wuest)

Today we want to look at the Greek word charis translated grace in our Bibles. This is one of the most important words in the New Testament.

Since the New Testament was written in the common Greek language of the first century AD, we will first look at the Greek meaning.

In the ethical terminology of the Greek schools, charis or grace implied a favor freely done, without claim or expectation of return.

“Aristotle [ancient Greek philosopher] lays the whole stress of the word on this very point, that it is conferred freely, with no expectation of return, and finding its only motive in the bounty and free-heartedness of the givers” (Trench).

In the New Testament the Holy Spirit took the meaning infinitely further. I quote Kenneth Wuest on the use of the word:

“But how this purely classical meaning of the word describes what took place at Calvary. All the human race could expect in view of its sin, was the righteous wrath of a holy God, that and eternal banishment from His glorious presence. But instead, the holy God stepped down from His judgment seat and took upon Himself at Calvary’s Cross, the guilt and penalty of human sin, thus satisfying His justice and making possible the bestowal of His mercy. And this He did, not for those who were His friends, but His bitter enemies, unlovely creatures saturated with sin. Charis in classical Greek referred to a favor conferred freely, with no expectation of return, and finding its only motive in the bounty and free-heartedness of the giver. This favor was always done to a friend, never to an enemy. RIGHT HERE CHARIS LEAPS FORWARD AN INFINITE DISTANCE, FOR THE LORD JESUS DIED FOR HIS ENEMIES (Romans 5: 8-10), A THING UNHEARD OF IN THE HUMAN RACE. Surely this was beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected and is therefore commendable. This is what John is speaking of in his first epistle (3.1) when he says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God.” The words “what manner of” are from a Greek word which means “what foreign kind of.” That is, the love shown by God at the Cross is foreign to the human race. Man simply does not act that way (Rom. 5:7,8,10). That is why God’s action on the Cross in dying for lost humanity is an action beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected and is therefore commendable. HERE IS ONE OF THE STRONGEST PROOFS OF THE DIVINE SOURCE OF THE BIBLE. The substitutionary atonement never came from the philosophies of man but from the heart of God.”

“Thus, the word charis comes to its highest and most exalted content of meaning in the New Testament. It refers to God’s offer of salvation with all that implies, which salvation was procured at Calvary’s Cross with all the personal sacrifice which that included, offered to one who is His bitter enemy, and who is not only underserving of that salvation but deserves condign [appropriate] punishment for his sins, offered without any expectation of return, but given out of the bounty and free heartedness of the giver. This means that there is no room for good works on the part of the sinner as a means whereby he could earn his salvation, or after salvation, whereby he might retain that salvation. Paul sets grace over against works as things directly in opposition to one another as fas as the means of salvation is concerned (Rom 4:4, 5, 11:6). But Paul is very careful to make plain that good works naturally issue from and are required by grace (Titus 2:11-12). (Ephesians – Kenneth Wuest emphasis mine)

I hope you are blessed by this explanation. I’m still marveling at what God has done for us, totally undeserving humans. God bless you and thank you for your time,

Father God, we praise you for your underserved mercy and grace!!!! Amen.

Carl

King David And Blamelessness

“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.

Also keep back your servant from presumptuous sins;

Let them not rule over me;

THEN I shall be blameless;

And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.”

King David. Psalm 19:12-13 (Emphasis mine)

Here King David speaks about hidden faults, presumptuous sins and their relationship to being blameless.

In our last post we mentioned KNOWN and UNKNOWN sins (hidden faults) in our lives. We are responsible to purify ourselves from our known sins. We are responsible for the light we have. The Holy Spirit will reveal the hidden faults or sins in our lives as we grow in our Christian experience and, then, we can repent.

The apostle John referred to these two types of sins when he wrote:

“If we continue to confess our sins, faithful is He and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9 Wuest)

John is referring to known sins when he writes “to confess our sins” and to unknown sins when he says “every unrighteousness”. The precious blood of Jesus cleanses our hidden faults or sins also when we confess our known sins. Praise His Name.

In our scripture King David is asking the Lord to “keep back your servant from presumptuous sins”. The Hebrew word zed means presumptuous,insolent and is translated in OT scripture arrogant, proud, arrogant men, presumptuous. The root word means to boil up, seethe, act proudly or presumptuously or rebelliously.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines presumptuous as follows:

1. (Of a person or their behavior) failing to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.

2. Overstepping due bounds; taking liberties

3. Comes from a Latin word that means “to take for granted”.

4. Synonyms: brazen, overconfident, arrogant, bold, forward, familiar, insolent, cocky.

Therefore, a presumptuous sin is one committed with our eyes wide open. We know it is a sin against God but, due to the rebellion in our proud heart, we do it anyway.

Why do we do this? The answer lies within each one of us but we will discuss some reasons.

1. In James 1, James gives us the mechanics of falling into sin: first we are carried away from our steadfastness in Christ and then are enticed by our own passionate cravings for the temptation, thirdly our passionate cravings (lusts) are conceived by our saying YES to the enticement, fourthly we act on our lust and sin is given birth, then death is manifested in our life. Death to walking in fellowship with Christ until we repent and death to spiritual growth in our life until we repent.

2. Or maybe the sin now “rules over us”. We are it’s slave until our cries for deliverance and repentance to the Lord are heard and He frees us.

3.We take His forgiveness of sin for granted. Remember that presumptuous comes from a Latin word that means “to take for granted”.

When John wrote I John 1:9:

“If we continue to confess our sins, faithful is He and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every unrighteousness.”

he followed it with this:

“My little children, these things I am writing to you in order that you may not commit an act of sin.” (I John 2:1 Wuest)

It is my understanding that John was saying, ” I did not write I John 1:9 to give you a license to sin with assurance of forgiveness, but my purpose was so that you would not commit an act of sin.” The goal is not to sin! In Romans chapters 6 Paul is explaining why true believers can not continue in sin. The whole chapter is built around addressing two questions (verses 1 and 15) he received from people who heard of God’s amazing grace (forgiveness of sin). One was, “shall we habitually sustain an attitude of dependence upon, yieldedness to, and cordiality with the sinful nature in order that grace may abound?” And the other was : “Shall we sin occasionally, because we are not under law but under grace?” To both questions, Paul answers “God forbid” or “May it never be!” Then Paul goes on to explain why it is impossible for a born again believer to maintain the same relationship with his sinful nature that he had prior to salvation. The goal is to be holy and blameless before Him, not to justify our wrong behavior by saying “that is how I have always been” or God doesn’t care.

4. We have received a teaching that perverts the grace of God. The teaching may say something like “It’s all under grace so it does not matter what I do, but only what I believe”. We are preparing a teaching on the book of Jude and will discuss this then. You will not want to miss it.

We could spend days discussing why we as believers commit presumptuous sins but each one of us has to examine ourselves and commit, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to overcome these sins. The Lord will come up along side us to help.

I hope you see the need to take sin seriously in your life and to purpose to be found holy and blameless before Him NOW and at His Coming. As Paul told Timothy, “Pay close attention to yourself”. Thank you for your time and may God richly bless you and yours.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

Carl

“Found Holy and Blameless” Part 5

(Parts one thru four can be found at the bottom of this post.)

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:4)

In the past four installments on this subject, we have looked at what “before Him”means, how the Holy Spirit desires all of us, and what the word “holy” means in this context.  This post will look at the word “blameless”.

It is important to remember that we are NOT discussing salvation by works. Justification from sins is not in view here, but rather, the progressive sanctification process which develops Christ’s character in us AFTER being born again.

In Ephesians 1:4 the word “blameless” is the Greek word amoroso which means “without blemish” (Vines) or also “free from faultiness, as a sacrificial animal without spot or blemish (Lev 22:21) or as the Lamb of God (I Peter 1:19) (Wuest). In the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint), it is used in reference to “of blamelessness in character and conduct” (Vines).

This word appears in the following scriptures:

  • Eph. 5:27 – Paul was speaking of the type of people that will be Jesus’ bride when he wrote: “He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.”  Here the term “having no spot or wrinkle” refers to “the bride without moral blemish” (Wuest). These people are not practicing sin, which includes immorality; therefore, they are blameless or without blemish. The Bride is holy” because the people have separated themselves from what God considers evil.  These two descriptive terms explain why the bride is “in all her glory”.
      • Colossians 1: 22 – “…yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshy body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —” Through salvation Jesus has reconciled us to God so that He can present you and me as holy, separate from evil, and free from the defilement of the world, without moral blemish and beyond reproach, i.e. “not only without blemish but from the charge of it” (Wuest). We are to be conformed to the image of His Beloved Son.
        • Jude 24 – in closing his letter concerning false teachers, he writes: “Now to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…”.  If we will cooperate with the indwelling Holy Spirit in the sancifying process, God the Father is able to make us stand in the presence of His glory “without blemish, free from fault “with great joy”. This cooperation should be our spiritual response to the exalted position God has placed us in, in-Christ.
          • I Thessalonians 3: 12-13 – “…and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father….” The word “unblamable” is another Greek adjective also translated “faultless”.  Notice that living your life in love “for one another, and for all men,” is what causes your heart to be established in holiness. All the commandments of God are fulfilled by loving the Lord Thy God with your total being and your neighbor as your self (Mark 12:28 – 34). This is the key to understanding what God wishes to do in the saint through the sanctification process.  More on this later.

          In conclusion, we are to be found holy and blameless before His Holy Spirit NOW on Earth and at His future coming for His bride, the Church. Properly instructed born again believers are serious about getting the KNOWN sin out of their lives so we are pleasing the Lord. There are sins we are NOT AWARE OF in our lives, but the Holy Spirit will convict us of them as we grow in our Christian experience and then we should forsake them, purifying ourselves. See I John 3:3.

          II Peter 2:13 speaks of false teachers in the church who are “stains and blemishes”.  Here the word for “blemish” is monos and signifies a shame, a moral disgrace, used metaphorically of the licentious” (Vines), those lacking moral restraint especially disregarding sexual restraints (Webster). The false teachers’ character was blemished because of practicing sin which included an immoral lifestyle. We see the same false teachers in the book of Jude. They are among us today. How many Christ confessing people do you know today, who are living an immoral lifestyle?

          The Church has been fed a lie that the grace of God allows us to practice sin. Next post we will see what King David had to say about sin and how it relates to being found blameless.

          Let us pray: Father God, we ask that you cause your love to increase in us for all Christians and for all mankind, so that we may conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord Jesus, pleasing You in all respects. In His Name. Amen.

          “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him PURIFIES himself, just as He is pure.” (I John 3:3 emphasis mine)

          Carl

          In Honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

          It has been 500 years since the German priest Luther nailed his 95 theses or propositions on the Castle Church door (above) at Wittenberg, Germany. Little did he realize then the far reaching impact of what he had done. The Reformation was born and Christianity and all of Western civilization was changed. The other night we watched online as one of our daughters participated in a very large Reformation anniversary celebration in one of the European capital cities. It was a glorious event. They even sang my grandmothers favorite hymn in their mother tongue. It was quite moving.

          To celebrate this august occasion, I offer this quote from Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley:

          “Luther’s greatest contribution to history, however, was not political. It was religious. He took four basic Catholic concerns and offered invigorating new answers. To the question how is a person saved, Luther replied: not by works but by faith alone. To the question where does religious authority lie, he answered: not in the visible institution called the Roman church but in the Word of God found in the Bible. To the question – what is the church? —- he responded: the whole community of Christian believers, since all are priest before God. To the question — what is the essence of Christian living? —- he replied: serving God in any useful calling, whether ordained or lay. To this day any classical description of Protestantism must echo those central truths.”

          And you know what? The Bible today still says the same things. Thank you Lord Jesus for the Bibles we have. It is really a miracle. Let us remember the men, such as John Wyclif and William Tyndall, who translated the Greek NT manuscripts into our mother tongue, so we, the common man, could understand what God had said.

          Thank you for your time. God Bless you.

          Carl

          The New Testament

          “The New Testament is of full authority, and open to the understanding of simple men, as to the points that be most needful to salvation…He that keepeth meekness and charity [love] hath the true understanding and perfection of all Holy Writ,” for “Christ did not write his laws on tables, or on skins of animals, but in the hearts of men.”

          John Wyclif (1320 -1384), the English reformer, headed a group that translated the Latin Bible into the English common language. (Addition mine)

          From Church History in Plain Language — Bruce L. Shelley 

          When Shall We Pray?

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          Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.”

          — Corrie Ten Boom (15 April 1892 – 15 April 1983, Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II).

          Berean Call

          Do You Have Rats In Your Cellar?

          “C.S. Lewis takes a lesson from the same observation: “If  there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

          “In other words, my behavior, when caught off guard, is the best evidence of the sort of person I am.  That being the case, I should never excuse my bad behavior simply because I’m suddenly prodded or provoked. What I am under unexpected pressure is what I am. There’s no way around it.”

          Teach Us To Number Our Days —-David Roper

          Holy and Blameless: Part 4

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          (Note: For parts one through three, please scroll to bottom of this post or use search bar.)

          “…yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —” (Col. 1:22 emphasis mine)

          In this scripture the Apostle Paul is telling us that the Lord Jesus has reconciled us SO THAT He may present us before Himself in a state of being holy and  blameless and beyond reproach.  Notice it is “before Himself” at this point but I Thess. 3:13 tells us: “…so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”  Ultimately you will be presented to God the Father as one who is holy, blameless and beyond reproach.

          Let’s break this scripture down and discuss what these descriptive characteristics mean.

          “Holy” comes from a Greek word used to designate a building, person or something else that was dedicated to the service and worship of one of their pagan gods.  It is the same Greek word translated “saint” that Paul calls the born again believers.  The word speaks of separation. In our case it is separation from evil and separation to the service and worship of the Lord Jesus and God the Father.  Colossians 1: 13 says the Holy Spirit

          “… delivered us out of the tyrannical rule of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love, in whom we have our liberation, procured by the payment of ransom, the putting away of our sins; ” (Wuest)

          In Galatians 1:4 Paul said:

          “…the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself in behalf of our sins so that He might rescue us out from the present pernicious age…” (Wuest)

          These two scriptures witness to the fact that our faith in the Lord Jesus has brought about a separation from evil and separation to good in our new life.   So positionally we are holy or separated unto Christ.

          It is the believers responsibility, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to make this positional truth experientially true in his new life in-Christ.  We need to make it a reality in our character. Paul put it this way after telling us  what Almighty God said about dwelling in us in II Corinthians 6: 16-18:

          “Having therefore these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves from all contamination which may defile the flesh [the human body] and the [human] spirit,  progressively accomplishing holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (II Cor. 7:1 Wuest)

          Notice that Paul is saying “let us cleanse ourselves“. This is the responsibility of the believer with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are to be “perfecting holiness” in the reverential awe of the Lord. Perfecting that separation from evil in our lives.

          In Romans 12: 1-2 Paul says the same thing in more detail.  Notice Paul’s urgency in what he writes:

          “I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-pleasing, your rational, sacred service, [rational, in that this service is performed by the exercise of the mind]. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it.” (Wuest)

          The inner being is the positional you, the real you, who you are by the new birth and the “change your outward expression” is an exhortation to make the positional a reality in your experience.  He is saying don’t cover up the new person you are in Christ with the evil characteristics of this pernicious age or world.

          Therefore, in conclusion, we are exhorted to be experientially holy, separated from evil.  Sin is evil. Remember “evil” is what God says is “evil”, not what we may think “evil” is.  That is why we need to read our Bibles to learn what He says is evil.  It is that simple.

          Also Peter says “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him, in peace, spotless, and blameless.” (II Peter 3: 14). “Spotless” refers to being undefiled by sin or being holy, being free from censure, irreproachable. Notice Peter says we need to “be diligent” about this. This speaks of intense effort.  This characteristic of holiness will not just happen in our lives, we must supply serious effort in our working with the Holy Spirit in sanctification.  And He will bring it to pass!!

          Due to travel, we will look at the words “blameless” and “reproach” next weekend. Thank you for your time.  I pray the eyes of your heart were illuminated. Now:

          “…carry to its ultimate conclusion [likeness to the Lord Jesus] your own salvation with a wholesome, serious caution and trembling, for God is the One who is constantly putting forth His energy in you, both in the form of your being desirous of and of your doing His good pleasure.”  (Phil 2: 12-13 Wuest)

          May you be carrying your salvation to its ultimate conclusion!  God bless you.

          Carl

           

           

          Found Holy and Blameless – Part 3

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          (Note: For Part one and two, please scroll down to the bottom of this post or use the search bar. Thank you.)

          In our last post we spoke about being “before Him” (Ephesians 1:4) and what that meant, how the Holy Spirit was gazing NOW, into our innermost being to see the reflection of Jesus in our character.  After finishing that post, I felt compelled to share the following.

          In James 4: 4 Brother James tells the recipients of his letter “…do you not know that your friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore would desire after mature consideration to be a friend of the world is [thereby] constituted an enemy of God.” (Wuest).

          God The Father sent Jesus to the Cross to rescue us from this present evil age (Gal. 1:4) and since the world is Satan’s kingdom (John 14: 30), He, God The Father, is VERY SERIOUS about us not loving the world and the things of the world.  (See Rev. 2:20 – 23)

          Through I John 2: 15 (Wuest) He tells us to “Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it…” The people James is writing to evidently still considered the world precious and their indwelling evil nature was fulfilling its passionate carvings through the things of the world. The Holy Spirit was not in control of their life but their evil nature was.

          This why James tells them in verse 5:

          “Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: The Spirit which He has made to dwell in us jealously desires us.” (NASB margin note)

          Wuest’s Expanded Translation sheds light on what the second half of that verse means:

          “The Spirit [Holy Spirit] who has been caused to make His permanent home in us has a passionate desire [to control us] to the point of envy [of any control indwelling sin may have over us]?

          Now take a moment and let that sink in. Read it again.

          Now, listen to the Holy Spirit through Paul in II Cor. 11: 2-3

          “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin…”

          And why was he jealous?

          “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

          He, the Holy Spirit, has a passionate desire to sit on the throne of our hearts, giving us the desire and power to say NO to enticements to sin.  As we say NO to temptation, He provides the power to follow through and manifest Jesus in us in the process.  He wants us to stay faithful to our bridegroom Christ Jesus and not be an adulteress by loving Satan’s world. “Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? (I Cor. 10: 22) says Paul to the Corinthians.

          Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek summons up how He feels about us very nicely:

          “The Holy Spirit is not a passive Partner. He aggressively and actively pursues you.  He fiercely wants more of you. When you give part of yourself to something or someone else’s control, the Holy Spirit wants to seize that part of your life and bring it back under His divine control….So make your relationship with the Holy Spirit your top priority. Don’t give Him a reason to feel betrayed by or envious of other things in your life that have taken His place.  Get to know the Holy Spirit’s voice in your spirit so He can help you set your life in order. Make sure every area of your life is under His loving control!”

          The crowning purpose of salvation is for us “to become conformed to the image of His Son,..”.  That, I believe, is the main purpose the Holy Spirit indwells us. Is that not what this sick and wicked society needs to see? JESUS IN ALL OF HIS LIFE-CHANGING GLORY!

          II Corinthians 6: 16 -18 tells us that the Holy Spirit is none other than the Lord Almighty. Oh, how we need to let Him OUT for the lost masses to see! Let that be our purpose in life every day we arise.

          “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless  with GREAT JOY, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24 – 25 NASB emphasis mine)

          Carl

          Holy & Blameless – Part 2

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          (Note: For Part One of this series, please go to the bottom of this post. Thank you.)

          As we discussed in Part One, our brothers Paul, Peter, Jude and other New Testament writers are exhorting us to be diligent to be found holy and blameless “before Him”.

          The Greek words translated “exhort” and “exhortation” in the English language denote “to call on, entreat”, “to admonish, to urge, someone to pursue some course of conduct”, to advise, warn” and “to impel morally, to urge forward, encourage”.  I share this to make it clear that the motive in writing on this subject is not to bring condemnation but to encourage us to go forward in being conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).  We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.

          I also wanted to share what Kenneth Wuest, former Greek professor at Moody Bible Institute (1950s), said about the meaning of the phrase “before Him”.  He says the word “before” in the Greek means “to see down in” and:

          “The word speaks of a penetrating gaze that sees right down into a thing. It refers here to the penetrating gaze of the Holy Spirit as He sees right down into our innermost being, through all of the superficialities, hypocrisies, and shams of human existence. This refers to a PRESENT searching gaze of God into the inner character of the saint, not to a FUTURE judgement at the Judgement Seat of Christ.  And it is not a searching gaze conducted in a critical attitude which looks for faults, but a satisfied, delighted contemplation of the reflection of the holiness and spotlessness of the Lord Jesus in the character of the saint, for Alford says; “implying an especial nearness and dearness to Him—-and bearing a foretaste of the time when the elect shall shall be before the throne of God (Rev. 7:15).”” (Emphasis mine)

          Notice that he says that “before Him” in this text refers to NOW and not the FUTURE Judgement Seat of Christ. In Jude 24, I Thess 5:23, I Thess 3: 13, Phil 1:10, and Eph 5: 27 it is referring to the future event.  In the first post of this series, I said the context of this exhortation was the Judgement Seat of Christ, but I evidently missed this explanation. I apologize for any confusion this may have created.

          In Galatians, Paul speaks about the Isralites being typed as little children unable to attend to themselves; therefore, they needed a guardian to guide and protect them. This was the Old Testament Law.  Now, we as adopted children of God, do not need a guardian because the Holy Spirit indwells us.  And He is far more powerful than the Law.  In Wuest’s explanation we see Him gazing into our innermost person, contemplating the reflection of the Lord Jesus!

          May He be seeing a beautiful reflection of Jesus in your inner most being today.

          He Has Blessed You In Christ,

          Carl

          Found Holy & Blameless – Part One

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          “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  (Ephesians 1: 4 Emphasis mine)

          Scripture exhorts us to be holy and blameless.  It has nothing to do with our justification in Christ, our salvation, but is descriptive of the character that is produced as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process that begins once we are born again.  He produces the character of Jesus in us.  We stop loving sin and the world, satan’s kingdom,  and start loving the Lord Jesus. We stop practicing sin and start practicing righteousness.  We are gradually conformed to His image.

          Our scripture locates where this character is desired: “we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  Nearly all the scriptures associated with this phrase, or phrases similar to it, mention this context: “before Him“, when we “stand in the presence of His glory“, or “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” or “until the day of Christ” or “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory”.  This all refers to us standing in His Presence after He raptures the church and the Judgement Seat of Christ occurs.  The next BIG EVENT on the biblical calendar.

          When He comes to rapture His people out of the earth, we will see Him in all His Glory and each believer will stand before Him to receive our reward or loss of rewards depending on what we have done for Him.  It is here in His Personal Glorious Presence that the New Testament writers exhort us to be found “holy and blameless”.

          The Apostle John saw Him in His Glory in Revelation 1: 12-16 and “fell at His feet as a dead man.”  Following is a description of how Lord Jesus looked:

          “…one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters….and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”  (Rev.1: 13 -16)

          It is in His Presence that we are exhorted to “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless”, (II Peter 3:14). Take a moment to reflect on this awesome meeting that you will experience as a born again child of God.  To see your Savior face to face.  The word of God says we will either be filled with exceedingly great joy and be able to speak or we will turn away in shame.  Which do you want?

          Father God, help us by your Holy Spirit to be found separated from evil and faultless in the Presence of Your Beloved Son.  Help us to be found  in love with Him and behaving in this age in a manner worthy of Him. In His Name we pray. Amen.

          In our next post we will explore further the meaning of this exhortation to be “holy and blameless before Him“. I hope you will join us.  Thank you for your valuable time.

          Do all things without grumbling and disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,..”  (Philippians 2: 14-15 emphasis mine)

          Pay Close Attention To Yourself..” and “…Prove yourselves…”

          God Bless You and Yours,

          Carl

           

           

           

          The Occult: A Trap For Those Who Turn Away From The True Living God

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          “Today, a terrible spiritual vacuum exists in which people are forced to live because they turned from the living God and tried to fill the resulting emptiness with physical pleasure. Man crowds into this vacuum all the moral and ethical values attached to the material world. Again and again people protest, “There’s got to be something more than this, because we’re not satisfied.”  Satisfaction has not come through the dollar sign. Satisfaction has not come through the pill. Satisfaction has not come through economic aggrandizement or political conquests or military supremacy. Lost in a spiritual void, the human heart searches for some kind of reality apart from God and His Word, and discovers the occult reality from another dimension.”

          “For the first time in history, the doorway to the occult has been left permanently ajar on a global scale, luring the unsuspecting — twenty-four hours a day — to the dimension of darkness. The kids who play with Ouija boards and think it is fun; the teenagers who try to levitate tables and read tarot cards, tea leaves, and their palms; and the parents who identify themselves as Virgo or Scorpio and believe what today’s paper says about tomorrow are people flirting with the kingdom of the occult, and it is perilous, because it reaches out to another dimension and endangers the soul.”

          “God recognized what men had failed to recognize: knowledge of the future is in His hand, and any attempt to obtain from the hand of demons what has been denied by the will of the Divine is an experiment fraught with peril and dangers undreamed of by the human soul.”  (emphasis mine)

          The Kingdom of the Occult   —Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt Van Gorden

          God makes Himself very clear in Deuteronomy 18: 9-14 how He feels about occult practices and the people who do them:

          “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.”

          God considered the Canaanite occult practices “abominations” worthy of capital punishment. We do not want to be an abomination to God by consulting the powers of darkness, demons, for knowledge that He never intended us to have, opening our souls up to demonic powers.  We want to be holy and blameless before Him.  As Christian parents, it is vitally important that we protect our children  from any involvement or exposure to these abominations. Teach them that they are wrong.

          If you are a born-again believer and have been involved in any of these abominations in the past or are now, repent (change your mind about them), ask God to forgive you and let the blood of the Lamb wash away this sin.  Then destroy any occult materials or objects you have in your possession.  Forsake any involvement in the future.  Then walk in peace with your Father God.

          More on this later.

          Walk in discernment. May God richly bless you!

          Carl

           

          Love in Action

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          Appian Way south of Rome – one location of Christian catacomb burials

          “Atheism (i.e. Christian faith) has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead.  It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.”

          Roman Emperor Julian (332-63) – Church History in Plain Language – Bruce L. Shelley

          Emperor Julian, after Roman Emperor Constantine, was attempting to bring revival of the traditional Roman pagan religion when he made this observation.  He wanted to set aside Christianity and bring back the ancient faith, but he saw clearly the drawing power of Christian love.  Christians were called “atheist” by the Romans because they did not believe in Emperor worship.

          Mr. Shelley says the following in reference to early Christians providing burials for the dead.

          “One expression of Christian love had a particularly far-reaching effect. The church often  provided burial service for poor brethren. Christians felt that to deprive a person of honorable burial was a terrible thing. Lactantius, the North African scholar (C.240-320) wrote, “We will not allow the image and creation of God [the human body] to be thrown out to the wild beasts and the birds as their prey; it must be given back to the earth from which it was taken.””

          This self-sacrificial love for people is said to be one of the reasons that the Gospel spread so fast in the beginning.  The testimony of this pagan Emperor bears witness to the words of the Lord Jesus:

          “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  (John 13: 34-35 emphasis mine)

          May we manifest His love for others as we go about our days.

          God Bless You!

          Carl

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