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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Confusing Doctrine of Purgatory

Thomas Aquinas is called a "Doctor of the Church" and a "Saint" by the Catholic Church. Noted Calvinist, RC Sproul, said of him:

I, for one, am persuaded that the Protestant Church owes a profound debt to Saint Thomas and the benefit of a second glance at his contributions.... We need an Aquinas. We need a titanic thinker who will not abandon truth for safety. We need men and women who are willing to compete with secularists in defense of Christ and of his truth.
In this regard, the dumb ox of Aquino was heroic.

-R.C. Sproul on Thomas Aquinas – Was He The Most Brilliant of All the Theologians? (Excerpt)

This is an enormous topic for one blog post, but just let me note what this "doctor," "saint," and "most brilliant of all the theologians" had to say about the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory:

In Purgatory there will be a twofold pain; one will be the pain of loss, namely the delay of the divine vision, and the pain of sense, namely punishment by corporeal fire.... thus all sins, however grave they be, are expiated by the fire of Purgatory [Not by the sacrifice of Christ], as regards the debt of punishment. Therefore venial sins are cleansed by the fire of Purgatory as to their guilt... It is therefore clear that this opinion is utterly unreasonable: and consequently we must say with others that venial sin in one who dies in a state of grace, is remitted after this life by the fire of Purgatory: because this punishment so far as it is voluntary, will have the power, by virtue of grace, to expiate all such guilt as is compatible with grace... -Summa Theologica, by Thomas Aquinas (excerpt)

"This fire of Purgatory will be more severe than any pain that can be felt, seen or conceived in this world." -Augustine (xli De Sanctis, as quoted by Aquinas)

Just among Catholics you will find varying views on whether the fire is real or figurative. The confusion is great. Let me just point to the words of "Saint" Robert Bellarmine:

NOW on the time, in which Purgatory will remain, there are two extreme errors. The first error is that of Origen, who extended the times of Purgatory beyond the day of the resurrection...

We note that he says "Church Father" Origen* taught "error." Again, we will be here for days if we try to nail down some consistency, so I will turn to the Catholic site divinemercy dot org:

We are not certain about the nature of the punishment of purgatory. The Church does not teach dogmatically [that is, definitively] that it is a "physical fire," even though many preachers and some catechisms speak of "the fires of purgatory." The official declarations of the Councils speak only of purifying punishments, not purifying fire. Whatever it is, it is painful. -Volume three of Fundamentals of Catholicism (pp. 375-376)

So, it may be real fire, it may not be (can't even trust the Saints on this one, Aquinas teaches Purgatory is near the fires of "hell" itself)... but one thing we do know, it is "painful." .

So, when a Catholic relative passes and another Catholic says to you "he's in arms of Jesus now," or "she's no longer suffering," turn to that one and say, "according to your own church, he isn't in the arms of Jesus, he is suffering great pain for his sins."

Note I have not tried to debate the issue of Purgatory itself. The vast majority of what you will find online about this issue is a defense of the doctrine. Readers of this blog know I believe two things very strongly: (a) resurrection life is a free gift for which Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for all sin and (b) the dead, all the dead, are in the grave (apart from the risen Christ) until the resurrection of those who have life through his name (in their order).

My point is that arguing with a doctrine whose proponents cannot agree as to the details (even among their own doctors, church fathers, saints, and current adherents) is most likely a waste of your time. I imagine it would amount to mostly endless babbling.

The foundation scripture of this ministry is 2 Tim 2:15, but the verse that follows is of the utmost importance if the worker wants to focus on the work of rightly dividing the word of truth:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

The "profane and vain babbling" Paul uses as his example is the teaching that resurrection had passed. So, the most profane things are those which concern scriptural truth (resurrection in this case), but a perversion of that truth. Thus it is with Purgatory and the teaching of Paul in 1 Cor 3 and Peter in 1 Pet 1. There is a fire to test our works as Christians to come, but it is neither punishment nor physically painful. As we have been reviewing in our series on walking in the spirit, do not find yourself disapproved.


*Origen taught horrific error about the nature of God and Christ; his doctrines on the soul were called "monstrous" and some of his teachings were declared heretical by the Catholic Church itself (Fifth Ecumenical Council, Second Council of Constantinople). But Pope Benedict XVI said of him "a figure crucial to the whole development of Christian thought", "a true 'maestro'", and "not only a brilliant theologian but also an exemplary witness of the doctrine he passed on..." To be fair, there seems to be some confusion among Catholic authorities about what exactly took place at the Second and Third Councils of Constantinople in regard to Origen, but that confusion (and the contradictions between Pope and Council) only add to the unstable house of cards that is "Sacred Tradition."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Israel in the Present Age

We will get back to our series on Walking in the Spirit in due course, but I wanted to speak to the issue of Israel in the present age. I have addressed issues surrounding Israel in previous posts, but two remarks I heard today drive me to try to bring some clarity to the issue.

Here are just a few related posts (I recommend the entire series on the parables of Matthew):

The two remarks come from (a) Tom Hughes of End Times TV, and (b)  a post by a friend on Facebook in regard to AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) lobbying and US Aid to Israel. For the sake of this post, I am not going to address AIPAC's lobbying or US Aid to Israel, rather I want to focus on Israel itself.

(a) In regard to Tom Hughes' remark, it concerns the "rapture" doctrine. We looked at this in our 3-part study on 1 & 2 Thessalonians and the Rapture. After proclaiming his belief in the rapture, he quickly quoted 1 Thessalonians 4, as I expected. We always want to "rightly divide [cut straight] the word of truth." And as we do with all scriptures, we take care to note the context and audience of the verse, passage, and book. We have done that elsewhere, so I will not repeat here. Below I will bring in another verse claimed by the rapture faithful

To be sure, I have great sympathy for many of the views of those who hold to the eschatology held by Tom Hughes. But I think it is important to "mark the things which differ" in scripture and to draw clear lines when possible.

(b) In regard to the comment on AIPAC and support for Israel, my sense is that it comes from a knee-jerk, negative view of Israel and/or those noted as Jews. I say the latter as there are some in Christendom (even those who understand the plan of God as I do) who would charge the Jews in Israel as not being true "Jews."

This is what led me to want to say some quick words about the current State of Israel.

I'll start with some of my basic personal beliefs.

  • Israel has promises that are hers alone which cannot be claimed by any gentile apart from Israel
  • Israel will be restored to the [whole promised] land
  • Israel will face great tribulation
  • Christ will rescue Israel
  • Israel will fulfill her role as God's channel to bless the nations (a kingdom of priests)
  • Both the Old Covenant and New Covenant are Israel's

The verse referenced to show Israel will be born in a day is Isaiah 66:8

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
This is said have been fulfilled on May 14, 1948. This is very problematic for some very obvious reasons. Firstly, the context of Isaiah 66 is the full restoration of Israel and her Kingdom. Secondly, Israel will be in the land in belief. Currently, Israel is not in the land in belief. Even as a "Jewish State" she tolerates sins similar to the sins we tolerate in the Europe and the USA. 

The dry bones of Ezekiel are coming together, but they still do not have life in them. 

“Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.  I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.”
The passage goes on to speak of the Lord placing his Spirit in them. This is not the current condition in Israel. We are seeing only a partial fulfillment.

Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

When the day truly come when God miraculously calls all Israelites to the land, they will come in belief in the Messiah. It will obviously be the hand of God. They will be cleansed to be used as God intended for that nation.

Abraham had two sons, but only one was the son of promise. Isaac had two sons, but only one was the son of promise. Without faith it is impossible to please God and not all Israel is Israel. When Israel comes into the land, true Israel will be believing Israel. So, we have to mark two distinctions of true Israel: they are the children of Abraham by blood and by faith.

There is a parallel question today as to whether the Jews in Israel are "true Jews" (the seed of Abraham). There is a teaching that those there are mostly Europeans descended from the Ashkenazi nation which adopted Judaism (this is the "Khazar myth"). In terms of genetic testing, we are at the mercy of how validity is drawn from such tests. But we do know that Ashkenazi Jews share the same DNA traits as other peoples of middle eastern origin. I am inclined to believe that the vast majority of those calling themselves Jews are, indeed, descended from the disapora of all 12 tribes.

Bringing this full circle, how do I process modern-day Israel?

I believe she is the forerunner of the final fulfillment of prophecy. She is not "true Israel" as in this age, there are no nations. God is dealing with individuals in the present age. Nations only matter as they are in contact with Israel (for or against).

I do believe that the Genesis 12:3 doctrine is true for individuals and will one day be true of the world's nations. I believe we are to honor the children of Abraham, but the "nation" holds no place in the current, silent age.
I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The nation of Israel this hour is, again, a precursor. Our support of the nation should be two-fold:

  • Blessing the children of Abraham
  • Supporting her as an ally of the USA with similar strategic goals

This is not to say we must support 100% of Israel's policies. As noted, she is in the land in unbelief and God is currently not using her as a channel for his blessings (as he has in previous dispensations and will do again in coming dispensations). As we make allegiance with a nation like Poland or South Korea, we may similarly make allegiance with Israel. Antisemitism is a wicked curse on the earth (and one of the products of Replacement Theology in Christendom). Much of the rejection of our alliance with Israel has to do with hatred of Jews rather than with any strategic and cultural goal.

To sum, we cannot claim Isaiah 66 or Ezekiel 37 have been fulfilled. We must recognize that God is dealing with individuals, not nations directly, in this age. We cannot discount that the people of Israel are the descendants of Abraham. We should not be looking for promises to Israel (including the New Covenant or the "rapture") to be experienced by the church of this age.

That is a very brief overview of a much larger issue.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Danger of Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth

[NOTE: I linked the churches referenced in the text below so you can visit and get the full breadth of their respective ministries. These are grace-preaching, bible-believing local churches and I don't mean to disparage all the good they do. That does not, however, diminish the dangers in how they have handled the word of truth on their recent broadcasts.]

Part 1

As I was driving around yesterday, I decided it would be profitable to hear some teaching and preaching, so I put on 97.7 FM here in Greensboro. It's an affiliate of The Truth Network.

I found myself in the middle of a message from Jon White, pastor of Freedom Baptist Church. As he talked about trying to live a selfless life (something I believe in wholeheartedly), he took us to Matthew 25 and the Parable of the Sheep and Goats. In doing so, he has opened up his listeners to a false gospel and bondage to fear.

Mr. White quoted two sections from the passage, yet he left out some very important details. Below is what he quoted in black, and what he left out in red.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world... Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. -Matt 25:34, 37-40

But the more egregious omission came when he warned his congregation about the implications of their selfishness. By leaving out the red verse, he left himself open to a false gospel. He is teaching his congregation that Matthew 25 is given to them (wrong division). He also is teaching that ALL mankind is the Lord's "brethren." This is false on both accounts. It is grave error. As he is trying to expose their selfishness with this passage, and tells them they are failing to love the Lord by failing his "brethren," his is implying they may be cast into punishment. And what of the good works? Is that where they will find life eternal?  Failure to rightly divide is where cults and false religions are born.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels... Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. -Matt 25:41, 44-46

What happens when they read those verses, pastor? You have taught them the Lord was speaking directly to them. This could lead to a false gospel of gaining life via works. (We explain this in greater detail in our studies on this parable.) You might use this passage to help list some good works we could emulate, but we must be abundantly clear as to the context.

Part 2

I went into the grocery store and came out to find we were now hearing Jerry Falwell, Jr., from Thomas Road Baptist Church (if the schedule listed at the website is correct). He was telling us that Acts 2:41-47 is the model for the church of this age. Well, good luck with that. Is this how they live at Thomas Road Baptist Church?

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. -Acts 2:41-47

He added that if his church would follow this model, the Lord would then "add to the church." He noted the "addings" of the Acts Age (3000+ noted above and 5000+ in Acts 4). Well, I doubt that happens much in local churches. Some churches have gone decades without seeing a single soul receive life.

By his reasoning, the answer as to why we don't see this is because perhaps churches aren't obeying the outline in Acts 2. Let's pull out some highlights from our passage.

  • many wonders and signs were done by the apostles
  • sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all as every man had need
  • Daily: met in the temple, broke bread house to house

What apostles today? And even if we had apostles, are they performing the wonders and signs as recorded in the Acts? As for the temple, no, your "church sanctuary" is not the temple. And, no, the "temple of the Holy Spirit" is not meant here. This is the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, in which they met, because they were Jews still under the law. Do your members do these things "daily?"

Pulling the lens back, have they "sold their possessions?" Have they distributed all assets among the church as members have need? Nope. Over history, in the few places this has been tried, it has ended in failure. The reason? It is not a model for today.

If these pastors took just a few minutes to ponder the implications of what they are preaching, they would discover they are walking on dangerous ground. In both cases, they risk destroying the faith of their congregations. Why do they fail to do this? Why do they not think about the implications? Because they make the error of thinking everything from Matthew through the Revelation is spoken to the church of this age. Once you do that, you end up having to explain (or explain away) many many passages. 

This is why we must rightly divide (cut straight) the Word of Truth. If we don't we may end up building an ark God didn't tell us to build for a flood that isn't coming.

Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. -Gen 6:14

But it's a Bible command! Yes, a bible command we must rightly divide. If we can easily understand how important it is to read this "command" in context, why can't we see the need to read all of the Word of God in context? Again, the problem is assuming everything from Matthew through the Revelation (unfortunately called "The New Testament") is for today. But it doesn't end there. Churches readily grab from the prophets and the Law and apply those to Christians in this age as well.

We must remember the 6 things we need to consider in our scripture interpretation.

  • The PERSON who wrote it 
  • The PEOPLE to whom it is written 
  • The PLACE it involves 
  • The PERIOD (or age) in which it was written 
  • The PURPOSE for which it is written 
  • The PLAN around which it is written

In 2017, I posted THIS ENTRY on the context of Matthew and The Acts. It's a very brief overview, but it may help with the context of the passages quoted by Jon White and Jerry Falwell, Jr.

ALL scripture is FOR us and is profitable, but not all scripture is TO us.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Bible from 30,000 feet

The Bible from 30,000 feet:

Key verses for All Bible Study (from Paul’s Last Epistle - 2 Tim):

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.-2 Tim 3:16-17 

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.-2 Tim 2:15

The Problem and Its Final Resolution (Sin = Death; Death shall be no more; Life)

By the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, because out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”-Gen 3:19  
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.-Rom 6:23 
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-John 3:16
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death… when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality [in resurrection], then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory-1 Cor 15:26
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.-Rev 21:4

The Overriding Theme of Scripture:

How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
-Job 25:4
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.
–Rom 3:26


66 Books Total (Western)
39 “Old Testament” Books (as we arrange them) HEBREW
5 – Pentateuch (Genesis - Deuteronomy) Adam to death of Moses
                        12 – History (Joshua – 2 Chronicles/captivity of Judah/Jerusalem burned)
                        5 – Poetry Books (Job – Song of Solomon)
                        5 – Major Prophets (Isaiah – Daniel)
                        12 – Minor Prophets (Hosea – Malachi)

END of WESTERN OLD TESTAMENT (Hebrew Canon ends with Chronicles)

27 “New Testament” Books GREEK*
4 – Gospels (Matthew – John)**
            1 – Book of Acts
            7 – Epistles of the Apostles to Circumcision
                        1,2,3 John
                        1,2 Peter
            7 – Epistles of Paul (Apostle to the Uncircumcision) during the Acts
            7 – Epistles of Paul (Apostle to the Uncircumcision) after the Acts
            1 – The Revelation

ApocryphaApocrypha are works, usually written, of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. Biblical apocrypha is a set of texts included in the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible.

*Some manuscripts contain parts of Matthew in Aramaic

**The gospel accounts are split into the three “synoptic” accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and John’s gospel to the “world.”

Monday, February 4, 2019

Walk Worthy - Part 5 - Colossians 4

We end the powerful Book of Colossians with these instructions in Chapter 4. We see prayer as an integral part of the Christian walk. We are to "devote" ourselves to prayer. The word used is the Greek word "proskarter├ę┼Ź" which has the sense of being "to be earnest towards," "persevere," "constantly diligent." 

  • Masters, provide your servants with what is right and fair
  • Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful
  • pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains
  • Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should
  • Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders
  • make the most of every opportunity
  • Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
  • See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord

In the Book of Acts we see the same word used. The Apostles called on the church to appoint deacons that might attend to the things of God, "devote" themselves ("we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry." -Acts 6:4). They did no go about this task with sloth. In this age, we must be so focused in prayer. The Apostles gave their whole lives and attention to the spreading of the "hope of Israel" and the message assigned to them. These 12 had a special calling as part of that age.

In this present age, we are equal members, we have our own calling. We are all called to "proclaim the mystery of Christ" as we see in the next verse. The Mystery of the "One Body" revealed in the Book of Ephesians. The Mystery of the calling and hope in the "far above the heavens." This is a high calling indeed and an integral part of the daily of the Christian who seeks to walk in the new nature. We devote ourselves to prayer and to the declaration of truth

This is what we are to declare to the men of the world: the Great God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, the risen one, as revealed in the Book of John.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. -John 20:31

To those who have placed their trust in Christ alone, who have the new nature, who have "life," we are to declare the Mystery revealed to Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles in the Book of Ephesians. The Mystery of a Body who has its hope in the "far above the heavens." A church which was hidden by God from before the foundation of the ages (before Abraham, before Adam), revealed to Paul. The whole epistle (alongside Colossians) must be studied here, but I leave us with this excerpt from Ephesians 3.

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
-Eph 3:7-11

Friday, February 1, 2019

Walking in the Spirit - Part 6 (The Great Emptying of Self)

There are so many passages in our epistles with instructions for the Christians life. We are bullet-pointing some of these commands in our parallel series, Walk Worthy. It would be a very profitable endeavor to read the seven epistles given to us in the present age and dwell on the high calling of Christ. As we have noted, the 10 Commandments are holy and good, but the high calling is indeed high!

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 
-Phil 3:14

We now move into Philippians. Here we will come to some of the specific motivations for a Christ-honoring Christian walk. The high calling in Phil 3:14 quoted above is connected to a "prize." We will get there in due course, but first we must stop in Chapter 2 for another key.

As we've noted, all hinges on a love of Christ and an appreciation of the free gift of resurrection life. We also saw how peace, contentment and rewards flow from a holy walk.

Before we get these rewards, let us look at the great instruction which precedes them; the emptying of "self" as Christ did.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  
Who, being in very nature God,  did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  rather, he made himself nothing  by taking the very nature of a servant,  being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man,  he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death—  even death on a cross!  -Phil 2:3-8

That's a tall order, but a worthy goal. The idea of "self" is behind much sin (perhaps all). For Satan points us to "self" as does the world. Even in times of depression, we may fall into the trap of either "self" pity or a denial of the work of Christ on Calvary by condemning in "self" what Christ has forgiven (a tactic of the evil one). This last practice many not immediately appear selfish, but by self-flagellating we believe we can somehow atone for sin for which Christ has fully paid.

Modern Christendom has been plagued with the ideas of "self-worth" and "self-esteem." But what of the child who has been demeaned all her life, or made to feel worthless? Should we not teach her about "self-worth?" 

The problem there is that other people are inflicting the worthlessness upon her. She has value in that Christ died for her and he desires to give her resurrection life (and we all carry the image of God upon us as humans)! Our message is to find your value in Christ. We want her to find her place in the Beloved! God so loved her, he sent his Son to die for her and the Son took up his life again so she can hope in the ages to come!

Teaching someone about the evils of "self" in light of "valuing others above [ourselves]" is the solution! WE value those the world has misused! WE love those the world has hated! Why? Because God sent his Son to redeem them too! The love of God and his choice to "make himself nothing" is where we find hope and peace.

When we find our value in Christ, we are in the right mindset to walk in the new nature. As he did, we must stop considering "self" above others. We must subjugate the "self" will to the will of God. We must discard our "self" man-made traditions and embrace the truths of the Word of God.

So many today refuse to defend the Word of God or the finished work of the Savior to avoid being called "divisive" or "intolerant." In doing so, we put "self" above our calling in Christ. Emptying ourselves of "self" and placing others' needs above our own does not mean affirming them in their error. That only serves to bring accolades from the world. It is displeasing to God. 

Let's look at what Paul stated to the Gentiles in Galatia in the Acts Age:

As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. -Gal 1:9-10

If we seek to please men, we are no longer the servants of God. We cannot have a worthy walk and we are not walking in the new nature if what drives us is the approval of men or the desire to be approved of by man.

We never seek to offend, but we should be prepared to offend man and his traditions if these deny the truths of scripture. The world may pat us on the back for our "tolerance," we may find ourselves "disqualified' for service or reward.