February 19, 2017
It seems that almost every time I evangelize at the train and bus stops I get, amid the many who either say nothing or say something positive, a person who comes up to me to try to straighten out my theology. This last Friday there was another one of these types and he approached me to inform me that my sign which says, “Holy conduct is necessary for salvation” is not Biblical. On my sign I have several verse references to support the statement, but he could not be persuaded, even when a sinner (a man who later told me he believes but is gambling with his eternity because he wants to keep sinning) came up and tried to reason with the first man, saying that my sign IS actually Biblically correct. (I’ll call this man “Odie” here.)
The first man, Joseph (also not his real name), tried to explain to me that nothing is needed on our part, except faith, in order to come to Christ and be saved. I told Joseph that I realize this is true if we also consider that faith involves the genuine renunciation of sin, but, I also told him, salvation is not just a moment in time but a road (Mt. 7:13,14) –or even like a train we get on that continues along a track– and is a submission to the process of training over a lifetime, as well as a destination. I told him we are saved (Rom. 10:10), we are being saved (Ja. 2:22,24 // 1 Pe. 1:9), and we will be finally saved (Mt. 10:22 // 2 Pe. 1:10,11 // Rev. 12:10-12), if we remain in Christ and on His salvation road… if we remain holding on to the Lifeline, and continue holding on all the way to the shore. Joseph would not accept what I was saying as he let it be known that he believed in the Once Saved, Always Saved doctrine, even though I quoted many verses for him.
Odie, who was listening in, moved closer to us and began his attempt to persuade Joseph, saying, “You are missing it, Man.” However, though Joseph listened for a few minutes to Odie, Joseph just kept shaking his head, repeatedly interrupting, and then abruptly walking away. Odie and I continued talking, and Odie became obviously filled with conviction and fear over his own eternal destiny. He and I talked for another fifteen minutes or so, and his last words to me were, “I realize that I, because I know better, will be judged even more strictly than those who don’t understand.” I agreed with him and added a reference to myself, reminding him of James 3:1 concerning God’s strict judgement for teachers of His Word.
So, those of us who presume to know the Scriptures (including Joseph) –we better get it right. We better be reading and studying –no, not men’s doctrines, but the Word of God itself. We better pray for God to wipe away all our biases so that we can comprehend what we are reading. For what blindness there is these days! What a strong delusion many have bought into! Holy conduct is not necessary for salvation??! Really? Is that what Joseph wants us to believe? Why does he think my theology is askew when it is his that is false?
Jesus has told us, “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mt. 10:22) He has told us that those who belong to Him (His family and His Kingdom) are only those who do God’s will, which comes by putting His teachings into practice so that good fruit is produced. (7:15-27 & 12:50 // John 15:1-10) Jesus tells us, “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.” (John 16:1)
Going astray is a possibility or Jesus would not warn us of it, nor would He warn us of persecution, lack of fruit-production, and sin which can cause us to turn to waywardness and be cut off from Christ and God’s love. (Luke 8:11-15 // John ch. 15) He would not warn church-goers of deeds that are not complete in His sight (Rev. 3:2) or warn them to repent and to obey His teachings. (v. 3) He would not warn us that becoming soiled, and being found unworthy and unable to overcome, can result in having our names erased from the Book of Life. (v. 4-6) “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Does this statement from Jesus in Luke 9:24 sound like He is teaching that all we need for salvation is a one-time moment of belief and confession of sin? Hardly! Instead Jesus makes it clear that losing our life for Him means denying Self, picking up our cross daily, and following Him. (v. 23)
Many other verses of Scripture say essentially the same thing. Rom. 6:6 tells us that “our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless…” while Gal. 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Col. 2:11 says that those who are in Christ have had their sinful nature circumcised off by Christ, while Titus 2:11-14 says that God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to sin (v. 11) so that Jesus “who gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness may have a purified people for Himself who are eager to do what is good.” (See v. 14) And I could go on and on.
One passage I quoted for Joseph was Heb. 10:26,27 about sinning deliberately and that it causes one to forfeit salvation. I wanted to continue on down to verse 31, but I kept getting interrupted. Even so, may the rest of us comprehend that this passage, unlike Joseph declared it to be, is speaking of those who have once been saved. Verse 29 shows us explicitly that it is about the person who has once been sanctified (washed clean and made holy) by Christ’s blood. It says, “How much more severely do you think a man ought to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” This passage is warning those once saved! Verse 30 warns, “The Lord will judge His people” while verse 31 says, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Let’s understand that “a dreadful thing” does not equate to having the words said to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your Master!” (Mt. 25:21) No, it equates to this: “You wicked, lazy servant!” (v. 26) and a banishment to “the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (v. 30)
Truly, regardless of what Joseph and his ilk believe, the Word of God warns, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” (Heb. 10:36) Verses 35-39 make it clear that we “Christians” have the choice to continue living by faith or to make the choice to throw away our faith and shrink back under God’s wrath that destroys (see also Luke 12:4,5) and that sends us to eternal punishment. (Mt. 18:32-35 & 25:46 // 2 Thes. 1:7-9)
1 Cor. 16:22a says, “If anyone does not love the Lord –a curse be on him.” Oh, but those of Joseph’s theology would say, “But I do love the Lord.” Do they? –When they say it is not necessary to have holy conduct in order to be saved? –When they refuse to teach that completed salvation is not a reality until we actually step from this earth and stand before God’s Judgement (2 Cor. 5:10 // Heb. 9:27) and hear Him call us “Faithful”? Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) He says, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching” (v. 23) and so will be indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and the Father. (Same verse // Rom. 8:9) Indeed, love for God is to obey His commands (1 John 5:3) and, through the power of the Spirit, to walk in victory over sin. (v. 4 // Rom. 8:1-14)
Let us not be deceived: Jesus will not grant entrance into Heaven to those who refuse to abandon their sin and their disobedience to God. (Luke 13:3 & 23-27 // Eph. 5:5,6) Jesus will not grant Eternal Life to those who refuse to obey Him. (John 15:10 // Heb. 5:9) Yes, everyone is offered the gift of salvation (John 3:16 // 1 John 2:2), but not everyone is chosen. (Mt. 22:1-14) Only the fervently obedient, faithful, and worthy fruit-producers who have walked in God’s will are the ones chosen to enter the eternal joy and love of their Master. (Mt. 25:21 // John 15:10 // Col. 1:10 // 1 Pe. 1:7-9,13-17,22 // 1 John 2:15-17 // Rev. 3:14-16 & 17:14) I’ll say that again: Only the fervently obedient, faithful, and worthy fruit-producers who have walked in God’s will are the ones chosen to enter the eternal joy and love of their Master.
Let’s realize that Jesus has informed us that those who are eternally secure are those who follow Him. (John 10:27,28) Let’s understand that Jesus says that if we hold to His teaching, we belong to Him (8:31-36) but, if we do not, we have no Life in us. (6:53-57) John 6:66 shows us that “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” Why? Because much of Jesus’ teaching offended and annoyed them and they did not want to accept it. (v. 60,61)
Again, let us not be deceived. For turning to false doctrines can, absolutely, make any Christian fall, or be cut off, from their secure position in Christ. (John 15:2,6 // Heb. 3:12-19 // 2 Pe. 3:17) So can the lack of fruit production or the remainder of sin in one’s life. (John 15:2 // Heb. 6:4-12 // 1 John 2:3-6 & 3:6-10) Thus we are warned, “See that what you have heard from the beginning [that is, the Truth first taught by Christ and the apostles] remains in you. IF it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what He promised us –even eternal life.” (1 John 2:24,25)
May Joseph, and all others who hold to his type of theology, come to see their dangerous error.
February 11, 2017
Jari (at my comment page today),
You ask, “Do you believe that great men of God such as John Piper, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon, and other Calvinists are not really saved because they are following John Calvin’s heretic teachings?”
You call these men “great men of God” so I’m wondering what, to you, makes a person such. But even if God could possibly call them that, we can see in Gal. 1:6-9 the warning that we not follow anyone, including an angel from heaven, who might preach a gospel other than the true one. The Word of God informs us in this passage that anyone who does such a thing is to be eternally condemned.
1 Tim. 4:16 is a warning to teachers to watch both their life and their doctrine closely so that by doing so they and their listeners will abide in the Truth and be saved. What is God’s Word telling us here about those who teach false doctrines?
Ja. 3:1 warns teachers that they will be judged more strictly. 2 Cor. 5:10 lets us know that everyone, including those who are trying to please the Lord (v. 9), will be judged for the things we’ve done, whether good or bad, while Jesus lets us know that this judgement results in either eternal life or eternal punishment. (Mt. 25:31-46 // John 5:29) Moreover, He lets us know that our thoughts can condemn us to Hell (Mt. 5:27-30) as can our careless words. (v. 22 & 12:36,37)
1 Cor. 3:10-17 is a warning to us about how we build upon the Foundation (Christ), informing us that constructing foolishly or defiling the dwelling of God’s Spirit will result in loss and/or destruction.
So, if a teacher of Scripture does NOT teach:
~~that God’s grace is offered to all mankind (which it is –John 3:16 & 12:32 // 2 Cor. 5:15 // 1 Tim. 2:6 // Titus 2:11 // 1 John 2:2 // Rev. 22:17),
~~or that God’s grace teaches us to renounce wickedness and to walk habitually in Christ-like holiness (which the Truth teaches and requires –2 Cor. 7:1 // 1 Thes. 4:1-8 // Titus 2:11-14 // Heb. 12:14-17 // 1 Pe. 1:13-17 // 1 John 2:3-6),
~~or that God’s grace enables us and empowers us to meet these requirements of holy living (which it does –Rom. 8:1-4 // 1 Cor. 4:20 // Gal. 5:16,24 // 2 Pe. 1:3,4),
–then how are such teachers different from those spoken about who promise others freedom while they themselves, by remaining slaves to sin, are candidates for eternal darkness? (2 Pe. 2:17-19) And if they remain slaves to sin, and teach that everyone, including all Christ-followers, remain in slavery to sin, then how are they not within the category of those sin-slaves Jesus refers to who have no permanent place in His family? (John 8:31-36) How are such teachers different from those mentioned in 2 Tim. 3:5-9 and Jude 1:4 who, by changing the grace of God into a license to keep sinning, reject Christ’s authority and power in us? How are Calvinists (those who teach that the elect will inherit Heaven no matter what sins they continue to commit) unlike those whom Jesus condemns in Mt. 18:6 because they caused believers in Him to sin?
Are such men teaching the Truth –the true Gospel? If not, will they receive “the grace [of God] that is to be given us when Jesus Christ is revealed”? (1 Pe. 1:13) Well, that is not our judgement call. It belongs to God. However, after we have considered the things I’ve written here, including Gal. 1:6-9 (again), let’s also remember James 2:13 which says, “Mercy triumphs over judgement!” That is a relief for us all! Yet what does the first part of the verse say? It says that “judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.” Shouldn’t this give all of us pause so that we all examine our own selves soberly? (2 Cor. 13:5) As James 5:9 warns, “The Judge is standing at the door!” Yet the first part of that verse says, “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged.” Is this particular warning of God’s judgement not directed at believers? It is!
What I am getting at is this: We all need God’s mercy as we walk through life. All of us. But can teaching false doctrine jeopardize our Eternal Life? Yes, it absolutely can. However, so can any sin, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (Ja. 2:10)
Teaching false doctrine and thus rejecting the Truth is to be of the devil. (1 Tim. 4:1 // Ja. 3:15) But so is the person “who does what is sinful”. (1 John 3:8)
P.S. To read how Calvinism presents a false gospel, see here:
February 3, 2017
We are to believe the Truth, for adhering to false doctrine won’t save any of us. (1 Tim. 4:16) Yet many seem unconcerned about diligently studying the Truth and what God expects of us. In fact, many who claim to follow Christ also claim that God expects nothing of us because Jesus has done it all for us –has made us perfect in God’s sight, forever and sealed. To do the works God prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10) is apparently, to them, an option, not a requirement for remaining in Christ (though Jesus informs us that it is required –John 15:2,10). They do not believe they must walk obediently in God’s will in order to be in right standing with Him and thus be allowed eternal life. By this unbelief they are unbelievers in the Word of God –that Word which repeatedly tells us of this necessity, such as in Mt. 5:27-30 & 7:21-27 & 12:50 and John 8:31-38 and 1 John 2:15-17 and Rev. 2:4,5 & 3:14-16.
We need to realize that we are to “fear God who… has the authority to throw into Hell” (Luke 12:5) for “God does not show favoritism but accepts people from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34,35) Ja. 2:24 is crystal clear: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Verse 22 is clear also as it tells us that faith is made complete by what we do, because, as verse 17 already informed us, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is useless.” We must face such verses and not ignore them.
Titus 1:16 should serve as a warning to all who think they are in right standing with Christ: “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” 1 John 2:3,4 says similar: “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The person who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the Truth is not in him.” If the Truth is not in someone, then Jesus who is the Truth (John 14:6) is not in that person. Only unification with Christ’s Spirit, which comes by obeying His commands (1 John 3:24) saves eternally. (John 15:1-10)
Should we become over-worked and over-anxious? No, for we do have our “Sabbath rest” (Heb. 4:9) who is Jesus, through Whom we do works. (v. 10) Even so, we are to “make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” (v. 11) Disobedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and leadings will, let’s make no mistake about it, jeopardize our inheritance of Eternal Life. (Rom. 8:9,13,14 // Heb. 10:26-31) As Jesus says, “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love.” (John 15:10) And in verse 9, He already made the command, “Now remain in My love.” Jesus is informing us that the responsibility is ours to remain, though yes, that the power is Him and that through Him we will bear fruit. (v. 4,5) However, Jesus also warns us that the Father “cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit.” (v. 2) In verse 6 He warns, “If anyone does not remain in Me, he… [will be] thrown into the fire and burned.” We remain through obedience to Christ’s commands and Spirit. (v. 10 // Rom. 8:9 // Heb. 10:35-39) But, the person who has mistreated “the blood of the covenant that sanctified him” (Heb. 10:29) –that is a once saved person– should expect only Hell. (v. 27) For the cross does not cover that once sanctified person who continues to sin. (v. 26,29 // John 8:34,35 // 2 Pe. 2:20-22 & 3:14-17)
God’s Word is not only for our comfort and our guidance, but also for warning us of Hell. It’s not meant to be a feel-good message for those who wish to remain in disobedience to God’s Spirit. Heb. 5:9 says that Jesus “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”
Truth does not fit into our belief. Instead we must align our belief to the Truth.
January 30, 2017
It can easily be seen at my blog that a few years ago I was pointing in favor to Israeliteindeed’s blog. But when in 2014 she began to aggressively and repeatedly write against the nation of Israel, I had to let it be known that I no longer endorsed her views and her writings.
Last year, though I had not communicated with her personally for two years, I felt the Lord strongly urging me to send her a note of warning. I did so, and the first email below (I use her real name) is what I wrote. She responded with a short email that let me know she was not at all concerned and that others were quite happy with what she was writing.
Less than a month later, still feeling heavily burdened concerning her continued rebellion against the Lord and His Word, I wrote a short comment at her blog asking her why she did not go overseas to minister to Muslims since she seemed so distressed for them. She did not post my comment. However, she did respond with a very lengthy personal email and some photos of her family. I thanked her for sharing and said I would write more later that day, to which she responded with another long email.
The second email below is what I wrote later that evening, and I did so after intense prayer about what to write. Sadly, she responded to this one by letting me know that she had chosen to believe that I spoke, in that email as well as in some exhortations to her years ago, by a spirit not from the Lord. With such a rebuff from her, I did not respond to her again, though needless to say, being that I knew my warnings to her were indeed from the Lord, I felt even greater alarm and sadness for her and her family.
I am certainly not happy to write this post, but it is crucial that it be recognized that God does watch to see that His Word is fulfilled (Jer. 1:12) and to recognize that God is to be feared. (Luke 12:4,5) If a Bible teacher continues to blatantly dismiss the Lord’s clear statements in Scripture even while He brings His servants to warn that teacher, there is only suffering and punishment ahead for that rebellious one. Israeliteindeed has sinned appallingly against God, against His Word, against those she was responsible to be Christ-like toward, and against other teachers who walk in the Truth and work hard to spread the Truth.
When we walk in falsehood and self-righteousness and refuse to listen to the exhortations of those who are walking in the Holy Spirit, we open ourselves up to God’s discipline. If we continue the folly, we slide ourselves backwards under God’s wrath, for in order to remain in Christ and His love we must remain in His Word / in His Truth. (John 15:1-10) Israeliteindeed has turned from this, and has relentlessly tried to get others to deny multitudes of God’s clear statements, particularly regarding the nation of Israel and the End Times.
I do grieve deeply for Israeliteindeed and her family and I have been praying for two years that God spare her (and her family members) from sliding into Hell. Unfortunately, she has so far refused the warnings and discipline God has sent her time and again through others and through circumstances. While pounding away at other people, she has refused to quit her own sins of immense self-righteousness and of blasphemy against God’s Word.
We do, and we will, pray for her husband to be healed from cancer. But Hell is infinitely worse, and Israeliteindeed, a Bible teacher who has twisted the Truth to make falsehoods, has put herself and her hearers in danger of that. (1 Tim. 4:16 // Ja. 3:1) I exhort her to remove all the posts she wrote beginning in the early summer of 2014 through August of 2016. I exhort her to remove all of them so that no more can they influence others to disbelieve Scripture. I strongly believe that only if she will do this, will God bring blessing to her instead of punishment.
Here are the two emails:
[7/9/16 at 11:24 a.m.]
I have read all your posts and am continually grieved. This morning I was very surprised to feel a strong impression from the Lord to write to you a personal note exhorting you to reevaluate your own heart and spirit. After praying, I asked the Lord to confirm in His Word if this was from Him. He did, for when I got my Bible, I opened right to Ezek. 18:24 which says, “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.” Then immediately I saw 20:4 where God commands, “Then confront them…” Truly, your writings are not Life. They are full of anger and self-righteousness and blindness; they are, with the exception of a small bit, not of the Spirit but are instead coming from your own energy, heart, and spirit. You are falling from the Lord and His Truth. Accusing America and others of it, you are continuing your own slide toward apostasy.
I urge you to take this warning very seriously as from the Lord, which it is. We will all, before the Judge on that Final Day, be giving an account of ourselves, including the attitudes of our heart, and the words we have said and written.
[Written: 8/4/16 at 10:46 p.m.]
I woke up this last Sunday morning with you heavy on my mind –a burden from the Lord. While reading my Bible, first thing as I always do, God had me turn also to Isa. 44:21-23. Verse 22 especially jumped out at me. So I started my latest post with it, and after working on it off and on every day since Sunday, I finally finished it last night. Being you and I had corresponded, I’d also been praying throughout the day about how to respond to your long email. As I got into bed and prayed one last time about it, I heard, “Tell her, ‘Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.'” It was very, very clear.
This morning I prayed again and kept feeling it was the same answer, though it seemed the Lord was going to give me more to say to you as well. However, being He also suddenly compelled me to go witnessing downtown, I had to put off writing you back. Hence the short note this morning.
I appreciate you sharing with me the things you’ve shared in your emails this week and I am very grieved for you. After reading your email below after getting home from witnessing today, and then spending time in the Word, I went back and read some of the email you wrote to me in Dec. of ’09 where you shared about yourself, your childhood, and your turn to the Lord.
I need to tell you that during that couple of hours this afternoon in the Word, and asking the Lord for what to say to you, I heard way, way more than I expected. I asked for confirmation concerning things I’d heard from Him about you earlier this week, last week, and over the last two years, and the Lord responded today by booming them at me loudly through His Word. I was almost shaking, was having trouble breathing I was so upset, I had tears rolling down profusely, and I had to finally get up and walk around for a bit before I could continue.
I will tell you what I heard, but I do think it best if you not share our discussion with the friend who advised you to block me. I have never blocked anyone in my life, either at my blog, phone, or email, as I believe that is cowardly and immature. There are other ways to tell someone we don’t wish to correspond with them anymore. “Those who oppose us we are to gently instruct” (see 2 Tim. 2:25), not block them because they rebuke us using the Word of God.
It is God’s deep and faithful love that compels us to keep trying to woo people to Him and His Truth. Again when I say it to you from Him I get tears: “Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Here is Israeliteindeed’s post yesterday:
January 22, 2017
This last Thursday afternoon, I handed out, at the bus and train stops downtown, the rest of the stack of pocket calendars two different people had given my mom and I. (My mom is putting some in with the Valentine treat bags we’re working on.) So, with the calendars, my tracts, and my signs, mixed with the prayers of several of my praying partners, it turned out to be an extra wonderful time of witnessing.
During my third hour there I noticed a homeless-looking guy standing a ways from me, reading aloud some writing in the cement. After watching him for a few minutes and wondering if he was too nutty to approach, I remembered Christ considered everyone worth the try, so I moved closer to him and asked him if he wanted a calendar. He took one and then he did talk with me about the Lord (though I had a lot of trouble understanding his speech). At one point, I asked him if he had asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and save him. He responded by hanging his head and saying, “I’ve told Him I’m very sorry for all the bad things I’ve done.” When I offered him a good-size New Testament, he grabbed it eagerly and immediately began reading it, and quite loudly. He read Matthew chapters 5-7, then First Peter, and then he began in Revelation. I kept “Amen-ing” his reading and sometimes when he’d pause, I’d say, “You have such a great reading and preaching voice!”
It truly was a big blessing to me as we stood together, and I relished the time with him, thinking, “This is really great. What a way to shine the Light on this corner as people see me with my signs and holding up my Bible, and see and hear this guy reading the Word of God loud and clear. One guy in a wheelchair seemed to appreciate it as he wheeled himself up to us, took out his pocket Bible, sat there listening, and then wanted me to show him all my signs and explain them. My reading friend just kept right on reading –nice and loud. I thought it was fantastic.
Earlier, on another corner, a guy I recognized from last year came up real joyful and happy and said that my prayer a year ago had really helped him and delivered him from the demons that had been harassing him. He told me that when he had walked to another bus stop that hour, a woman had said, “I see the anointing on you,” and he had told her, “Well, a lady just prayed for me!” I, of course, was very happy and encouraged to hear this testimony and to watch him bubbling with joy as we talked more about the Lord and the victory we have as we walk in His Spirit while applying the Word.
There were other precious affirmations besides these last Thursday. Another was a woman who I had seen a couple of months ago, and this time again she came up very glad to see me, to tell me what is going on in her life, and to talk about the Lord. Her faith and determination in the face of persecution was inspirational.
There was also a young man who, though he seemed to be slightly handicapped mentally and who was with those who appeared to be his parents, was also noticeably excited to tell me that he loves Jesus and lives his life by Gal. 2:20, which we then proceeded to quote together.
Of course not all of my conversations were this positive. Like one of the first guys I talked to –shaking his dreadlocks, he repeated over and over, emphatically, that he had lost his faith because he could no longer believe that God exists. This, he said, is what must be the case being that there is so much evil and suffering in the world. I tried to encourage him and exhort him and explain how DNA proves there is a Creator, and I also reminded him that this life is a testing ground where God looks for truly committed hearts. I spent considerable time with this 36 year old man and, though he did seem to keep wanting to listen and have me try to convince him, he also seemed bent on sticking to his complaints and doubts.
Well, there were a lot more encounters, but suffice it to say, it was another wonderful time evangelizing for the Lord and for the furtherance of His Kingdom. I pray the privilege never ends.
January 17, 2017
It has been quite the year already. Today though, thankfully, we have good news that the Paris Peace Conference, which, though it seemed posed to sign Resolution 2334 against Israel, has been shown to be a dud. Read here:
A few days ago someone sent me a link to a prophecy teacher who describes the significance of a resolution such as the UN Resolution 2334, being passed. See this:
For more Biblical background explaining these current events as they line up with Bible prophecy, see this:
Truly, one day Satan will get the whole world to turn again Israel and the nations will gather in war against her. Yes, even now we see the obsession that so many have against that tiny nation and the eternal city, Jerusalem. As the LORD “declares: ‘I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling.” (Zech. 12:2) Indeed, the reeling, the staggering, the anger, the obsession, has spread across the globe and many have been infected. But, the Lord promises that those who come against His chosen city will only injure themselves. (v. 3) In fact, the Lord promises that He Himself will strike all the attacking nations with madness, blindness, and injury, but to deliver and cleanse His people, His land, and His city. (12:4-13:2)
It is about that tiny nation. Because God, long ago, claimed it as His own.
January 7, 2017
It astounds me that there seem to be so many people that teach and believe a certain doctrine that ruins families and harms individuals to a greater extent than they’ve already been harmed. It is the doctrine that teaches that remarriage to another spouse is continuous adultery and thus, in order to inherit eternal life, such married people must divorce, must try to remarry their first spouse (even if he or she is remarried), and if that is not possible, then to remain unmarried (to anyone) till death. Or, if they do want to remain married to their present spouse, they must live in separate bedrooms and both be completely celibate. One of the promoters of this devastating and false doctrine comes out of the Church of Christ.
It seems remarkable that such a doctrine can be taken seriously, especially when one considers all the other sins Christians have committed in the past and yet believe they have been forgiven of by God without having made amends for them all. But, if sexual sin is, as the legalists seem to think, the worst sin, then what about those who were promiscuous before marriage and became “one flesh” with someone before he or she married that person, or even before he or she married someone else?! Marriage, in God’s eyes, is not merely a vow, but a consummation of two becoming one flesh. Shouldn’t, then, the Church of Christ also say that any formerly promiscuous person must divorce their present spouse, go back and find and marry that first person they had sex with, or otherwise remain celibate? Would that not be the correct teaching if they want to be consistent in their doctrine?
The reality is, is that people usually do not divorce on a whim. They have reasons. Often good reasons. And usually they have tried and tried to work it out. Generally the majority of the fault does lie with one partner –the one who is sinning and refuses to repent. –The one who refuses to love and behave as Christ would, but instead assassinates his spouse’s character, peace, and well-being. And why? Because just like murderous Cain, who belonged to the evil one, the sinning person is wicked and the other person is righteous. (1 John 3:12) In other words, it is because evil people, while really hating themselves, rather prefer to cast their hate at easy prey who are more righteous than them.
In such situations should it not be realized that the vows of marriage have already been broken and that the persecuted man or woman is therefore not bound in such circumstances? (1 Cor. 7:15) Indeed, “God has called us to live in peace.” (Same verse)
So, if there is continued, unrepentant abuse or addiction, then there has been a breaking of the marriage covenant, just as adultery or any unfaithfulness breaks it. Certainly abuse is to break the “caring, cherishing, honoring” vow, and addiction, too, would fracture that vow, as well as there being lying involved, which would have already ruptured the “one flesh” covenant.
Without a doubt, unless there is repentance (full change) from illegal, unlawful, and/or dishonoring behavior, there can no longer be true fellowship / marriage / oneness. When God has to keep watching any continued cruelty, deceit, or poison, is that fair for either spouse to allow something to continue that is so displeasing to Him? Of course not. This does not mean divorce must happen, but certainly no one should enable that which is displeasing to God. Some sort of measures must be taken to make the wickedness stop.
Some Church of Christ type people may agree that a toxic marriage must end but they will also stick with their belief that the divorcees cannot marry anyone else, lifelong. Truly, even after divorce, the rest of us believe it is probably best to wait a few years to see if there is repentance. But regardless, everyone must permit the divorcee to listen to the Lord herself; for God, who is merciful and who does speak to His children, will guide the divorcees in what He plans or allows for them personally. God knows some people are weaker (financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc.) than others, and He is compassionate in this. Only the Lord knows, not others, all the facts surrounding why a couple divorced, and why they remarried other spouses; so whatever sin God has forgiven the truly repentant, the rest of us must forgive also.
Even so, many people seem to be listening to the legalists and are thus going through great distress as they try to decide whether or not they must divorce their present spouse, even though their second marriage is otherwise fine or even wonderful. Honestly, it is heart-breaking to listen to the turmoil these Church of Christ types have brought upon already hurting, but conscientious, individuals as they insist on further family break-ups.
In my opinion, it does seem that many people are harder on themselves (or on others) than the Lord is. I think of 1 John 3:15 that says that “no murderer has eternal life in him.” But Moses murdered. (Ex. 2:12) And yet God called him to lead a nation out of bondage, did many mighty miracles through him, knew him face to face like no other prophet (Dt. 34:10-12), and had him appear with Elijah to talk with Jesus on the mountain. (Mt. 17:3) God mightily used and honored this former murderer and gave him His presence, all indicating that God pardoned Moses for his sin.
The same could be noted about Paul. Paul was party to the death of Stephen and rounded up Christians to imprison them. (Acts 8:1-3) Yet Paul became a mighty servant of Christ. We do not see him making physical amends to each family he harmed, but instead saying, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13,14) This, I believe, should be everyone’s attitude wherever they are at (spiritually), every day. And it should be the way we view everyone else who is genuinely straining to follow Christ daily.
Legalists should remember Ja. 2:10,11: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” The verses before this are reminding us about the law of love and that if we do not love correctly, we are lawbreakers. Then verse 13 goes on to say that “judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.” And that verse ends with, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” This last phrase is a huge reason for all who have sinned (everyone) to rejoice! The whole passage is speaking about love, and judgment, and law, and if we are unsure of how to interpret it, we can use other Scripture verses to help us. Such as Gal. 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law”, and 1 John 4:12, “but if we love each other, God lives in us.”
Indeed, anyone who is truly repentant about anything, including divorcees who have remarried other spouses, should be viewed by the rest of us as the Lord views that person: Forgiven, and people He wants to use, both as couples and as individuals.
Church of Christ types, though they have some excellent leads about opposing OSAS, are nonetheless, legalists. And legalism is not Christ’s way at all. Let us, therefore, help silence their doctrine by which they, in the name of Christ, “are disrupting whole households.” (Titus 1:11)
To read what I wrote several years ago about this issue, click here: https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/sermons/divorce-remarriage-new-post/