Showing posts from January, 2019

The Sad State of Modern Christianity

I'm pausing briefly in our parallel series on Walking in the Spirit and Walking Worthy of our calling to comment on a sad interchange I had online. What's going on in Christendom in these last days is chronicled well by other ministries (such as HisChannel and J.D Farag), so I'll just provide a representative example of the lack of discernment prevalent in the church and what I sense (I admit this is subjective) is a desire to signal one's virtue above defending the faith (or even defending Christ).

Contemporary Christianity is rife with this sort of thing, and it is particularly prevalent in contemporary music. Readers of this blog will note that I have no problem with the music itself, but doctrine and practice are always subject to scrutiny.

In this case, we see the typical progression:

Declare something beautiful and comforting which denies Christ... BUT it's beautiful and comforting! Declare you don't understand it, you only know it feels good.Be shown that…

Walk Worthy - Part 4 - Colossians 2 & 3

Colossians 2[Let] no one deceive you by fine-sounding argumentsSo then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3 Set your minds on things above, not…

Walking in the Spirit - Part 5 (Condemnation)

Motivated to Service
We have noted that the greatest motivator for walking in the the new nature (the spirit) is the love of Christ our Savior. We also noted that the result of walking in and feeding the new nature is a clear conscience which leads to a vibrant prayer life and meaningful worship.

But we must not neglect other negative results of walking in the flesh. There are, of course, temporal consequences of walking in the old nature. These range from an empty life of slavery to the flesh to lack of peace to strife in our personal relationships and even to death. Beyond the temporal there are consequences in the age to come as well.

As we have laid out in previous studies, no one, no action, no sin can separate us from either the love of God or His promise of resurrection life through faith alone by grace alone through Christ alone. Nothing can rob us of the "life through his name" promised to all who place their faith in him. But we can certainly suffer loss. The Chri…

Walk Worthy - Part 3 - Ephesians 6

The "Walk Worthy" posts are given to complement the series on Walking in the Spirit. The epistles for this age from Paul give us tremendous instruction into walking in the light. As we have noted, those who accuse us who rightly divide the word (stating that we are not now, nor have we ever been, "under the law") of teaching lawlessness have not read the high calling of Paul's Post-Acts epistles.

On their own, the instructions in these epistles are far more convicting than the Ten Commandments. Paul's epistles are a wonderful balance of doctrine and practice. Doctrine must lead to practice and practice has no basis if not for doctrine.

We now continue with Part three of this parallel study, Ephesians 6:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but brin…

Walking in the Spirit - Part 4 (From Hate to Peace)

We Hate What He Hates, Now What?
We learned two core truths in our last study: (1) learning to hate what God hates, and (2) that just hating sin will not make the desires go away.
At this point, it is often stated by various teachers (and rightly so) that we are to "feed the new nature" and "starve the old nature." That is, of course, a wise path. But I would add that we should look to the end of the path: peace and prize.
To get to that peace, we must allow the Lord to convict and discipline us in those areas of weakness in our lives and flesh. This is why constantly being in the Word of God and praying without ceasing is essential. We have a conscience, but it cannot always be trusted. We leave judgment to Christ. Let the scriptures inform our conscience. 
God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those …

Walk Worthy - Part 2 - Ephesians 5

Be Imitators of God
Ephesians 5 continues our higher calling and directly tells us how to "walk" in the new nature:

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aromaBut fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saintsneither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanksFor this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedienceTherefore do not be partakers with them.Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lordhave no fellowshi…

Walking in the Spirit - Part 3 (Spirit and the Flesh)

Our Old Nature Lives On
An enormous mistake Christians make in trying to live the Christian Life is a failure to understand that when we accept scripture's invitation to faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we still carry around our old nature; the nature that  was "conceived in sin" (Ps 51:5). Paul likens it to being shackled to a corpse.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death.
-Romans 7:24

This body, this old nature, craves the things of the world and its system. Some of these things are deemed good in the eyes of men (and too often even in the eyes of Christians). We can see the works of the flesh in things like murder or thievery or hatred or lust. But we sometimes fail to see the wickedness is things such as pride, envy, and religious fervor. Remember, Satan is in the religion business. Paul warns us in 2 Cor 11 that he presents himself as "an angel of Light" and his messengers are "

Walk Worthy - Part 1 - Ephesians 4

Walk worthy of the calling to which you were calledI, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling to which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. - Ephesian 4:1-6 As part of our series on Walking in the Spirit, I thought I'd lay out the instructions and teachings of this age. There has been a recent dust-up in Christendom over a popular teacher stating we are no longer under the Ten Commandments. I disagree. I was NEVER under the Ten Commandments.

As we have covered many times before, the Law and the Ten Commandments, as profitable as they are, were not given to anyone but to Israel as part of her covenant (Ex 19-20). B…

Walking in the Spirit - Part 2 (Evil Is With Me)

We stared this journey by noting in Part 1 the misuse of the passage in Ezekiel 36 in regard to God replacing a heart of stone with a new heart of flesh. Not only is the passage (and the entire book) clearly given to Israel in its specifics (dealing with here as a nation with a promised land and kingdom), we know from experience in the Christian life that, as Paul groaned, "evil is with me."

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. -Romans 7:21-25

Paul speaks of the "war" within. This war is …

Deconstructing Don Perkins' Introduction to "Hell" - Part 3

Unfortunately, HisChannel doesn't have an archive (that I can find) of previously aired messages and they are currently offering a more recent series from Don Perkins. So, let's take a quick look at the statement of faith at Don Perkins' ministry site and use it to practice rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15) and remember why we need to be careful with God's word and God's words.

We could use any of countless ministries here, Don Perkins is not unique, but since we started with his previous messages, I believe there are some parallels with those studies.

The full statement from his site (What We Believe) can be found HERE

We believe in the immortality of our souls and the resurrection of our bodies.
As we have seen in our studies on "immortality," the scripture is very clear. We only become immortal in resurrection. We must "put on immortality" (1 Cor 15). Before that, all men are mortal. As God stated to Adam (our representative) &q…

Walking in the Spirit - Part 1 (No More Heart of Stone?)

Ezekiel 36:26 Is Not For This Age
We've discussed the New Covenant in several previous posts. To cut to the end, it is not the gospel of grace. It is not the story of our gift of life. Here are links to two related studies if you are interested in a review (for more just search the blog for New Covenant): 
The New Covenant in Bullet Form (click on title)

The Law, the Conscience, Sin and Salvation (click on title)

But there is another passage in the Prophets which is often claimed as being part of the current age's good news, Ezekiel 36, the replacing the "heart of stone" with a "heart of flesh" (v.26). But just as with the New Covenant, and as we saw in our comments on Jeremiah 29, this verse and passage are specific to Israel. Yes, we can learn "principles" from the passage (all scripture is profitable), but if we want to rightly divide it, we must look at the specifics.

As with many prophecies, we may have a short term and a long term application…

Don't Find Yourself Disapproved

I, therefore, thus run, not as uncertainly, thus I fight, as not beating air; but I chastise my body, and bring [it] into servitude, lest by any means, having preached to others -- I myself may become disapproved. -1 Cor 9:26-27 (Young's Literal) I am working on a short study of walking in the new nature (spirit). I wanted to give a little context to help us see the importance of the warnings and  encouragements surrounding such an endeavor.

The greatest motivators should be love of the Lord and a peaceful heart and mind. The carnal Christian will experience misery in this life and loss in the next. We want to avoid both of these, and thankfully, there is a remedy. But more details about the remedy in another study.

Today, I just want to quickly look at Paul's warning and guidance in 1 Corinthians (quoted above).

The Christian life is a race.
have ye not known that those running in a race -- all indeed run, but one doth receive the prize? so run ye, that ye may obtain; and ever…

The Christian Journey - Don't Find Yourself Stuck

Having come into Christianity from a Roman Catholic background including formal Catholic education and immersion in a very conservative diocese and parish, I've learned that the learning never stops. I spent my first year as a new creature in Christ unlearning much of my former theology. I was a Religious Education teacher at the time and suddenly I found myself in disagreement with the curriculum I was using.

After confessing my faith to my Director, I was asked not to return. From there I continued my journey of learning and unlearning. Unfortunately, my mindset was a mix of trying to prove things for myself while also looking for a "system" I could join.

My first experiences as part of a Christian community was through Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at the university where I worked. I then went through the Charismatic movement to A form of Calvinistic legalism, and on from there. At no point did I fully claim or embrace any denomination. As noted, I was in the in-…

A Most Liberating Understanding of the Completed Work

In my spiritual journey from structured, organized, denominational, system-oriented Christendom to the freedom and joy found in a personal Christianity anchored in a study of scripture as a singularly personal responsibility, there have been a number of discoveries which have liberated my mind and have opened greater understanding of the eternal plan of God.

There are a number of verses in the Bible which I assigned convenient interpretations based on conventional, traditional thinking. This dangerous and convenient way of looking at The Word of Truth has led many to either discard the faith or settle for a simplistic, pagan version of it.

I have covered a number of these doctrines in these pages. Here are just a few examples:

The pagan idea of a monstrous god torturing with eternal fire those who reject his loveThe doctrine of the current age starting at PentecostThe claim that the Lord Jesus' earthly ministry is for all men of all agesThe simplistic, pagan idea that the plan of G…