Friday, January 30, 2009

Are we committed and trusting in the Lord?

Psalm 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass

What is in a commitment? Is it just an intellectual assent or some emotional moment that brings about this commitment? If the commitment is real won't our lives be changed in that moment and changed thereafter?

When Jackie and I were married everything changed. From that moment of committal in front of family, friends and God we were changed and have been changed thereafter. Our lives have never returned back to where they were before that commitment nor could they at this point...two have become one. It is that same picture with the Lord...we are the Bride of Christ. Once that commitment is made your life will nor can it ever be the same. Why do so many struggle with this commitment...maybe because they have only approached the altar of the Lord but have never actually went through with the marriage. I like what James McConkey has to say about this verse.

Not only are we to commit our life to God, but also to let Him have His way with it. With the committal of all things should go submission in all things. When we yield our lives we yield our plans concerning those lives, and accept God's dealings with them. Not only "commit your way unto the Lord," but "trust also in Him." Not only take your hands off but let Him put His hands on just as He may see fit. Many of us err here. We commit the clay into the potter's hand, but we will not stay under that hand. We commit the marble to the divine sculptor, but we do not relish His use of the chisel. We commit our ship to the broad ocean of His will and purpose, but we do not like His grasp upon the helm. Wherefore when the potter begins to mold with pressure that is painful to us, the sculptor to smite and chisel until it hurts, or the helmsman to steer into the teeth of storm, gloom, and tempest that chill our hearts with fear, we would fain shrink from the pressure, the blow, the unknown path which we had not included in our plan for life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Faith and unbelief

Important lessons are given by this alternation of the two ideas of faith and unbelief, obedience and disobedience. Disobedience is the root of unbelief. Unbelief is the mother of further disobedience. Faith is voluntary submission within a person’s own power. If faith is not exercised, the true cause lies deeper than all intellectual reasons. It lies in the moral aversion of human will and in the pride of independence, which says, “who is Lord over us? Why should we have to depend on Jesus Christ?” As faith is obedience and submission, so faith breeds obedience, but unbelief leads on to higher-handed rebellion. With dreadful reciprocity of influence, the less one trusts, the more he disobeys; the more he disobeys, the less he trusts.
Alexander Maclaren

In biblical counseling it is called the "downward spiral" or the "upward path". When we neglect or refuse God's perfect Word and ways we find that our lives will follow this downward spiral, all the time God is pleading with us to repent and to come to Him for life. The act of neglecting or refusing is found in our rebellious souls, more directly in our wills. The ironic thing is that God's will is always good, perfect and pleasing (Rom 12:2), yet we desire to live our lives in such a way as to reject that so we can be the god of our own little depraved world, as Paul says:

Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever...

The answer is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow...submit yourself unto Jesus Christ and He will give you life. For in you is nothing good, that is in your flesh (Rom 7:18) but in Christ the fullness of God dwells (Col 1:19) and abiding in Him there is an abundant life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An illustration of being set free!

I got this illustration of being set free from a sermon by Paris Reidhead called "So Great Salvation"...if you want to read the whole sermon here is the link.

Years ago an Englishman, had gone out to California. Made his fortune in the gold fields and he wanted to go back and live with his own people. So, he sent his money by check around; back to England and he came overland to Kansas City and down in Missouri and then in Mississippi and ended up in New Orleans where he was going to take a ship to New York and from there to England. Now, as a tourist in New Orleans he did as most tourists do; he went down to the slave market. Only then, in the early 1850's, there were still slaves being sold and as he went into the market he saw a lot of men gathered there and one young Negro woman who was very beautiful was up for bid.

He heard the men as they were speaking about her. He saw two evil looking men bidding for her, quite heatedly, and then he heard them say what they would do with her and his heart just revolted against the whole swinish thing. Finally, when they were bidding and the prices were getting very high and he just couldn't stand it. So, he beckoned to the auctioneer and he said a figure which was exactly twice the last bid, utterly beyond anything that had ever been paid for a slave in that market before.

The auctioneer said, "have you got the money?" Then he came up and said, "yes, I've got the money." So, the bill of sale was made out, he went over to the block to take the woman that he purchased, and as she came down one step and stood just about level with his eyes, she had made a mouthful of spittle, and she spat right full in his face, and hissed through her clenched teeth "I hate you." He said nothing, with the back of his hand he whipped the spittle away.

Then, he took her by the hand, walked down the street, across this intersection, through the mud and down that street. Until, he came to a little office building. She couldn't read and didn't know what it was. He went to the desk, began to speak, the man behind the desk began to protest. He said I insist it's the law, I insist. Finally, he came back paid some money and got a paper. He walked over to the woman, that was like a beast ready to spring on him, and he handed the paper out and he said: here, here are your manumission papers. You're free. She still hissed, I hate you. He said, didn't you understand? Here are your manumission papers "you're free." She said, "no, you paid twice as much for me as they've ever paid for anybody on that block. Now, you are giving me my freedom"? I don't believe you." He said, "yes, these are your manumission papers, and he put them in her hand."

She said, "stop, Mister, do you mean to say that you bought me to set me free?" He said, "yes, that's why I bought you. To set you free." Tears came up into her eyes, they hadn't known tears for a long time. They just spilled over, her face softened, and then she slipped down on her hands and knees, and she reached down and put her hands on those rough minors boots and then laid her cheek down on the toe of one of them and through her tears she sobbed; "oh you bought me to set me free, you bought me to set me free. You paid more for me than has ever been paid before, just to set me free." Then, she through her tears she looked and said, "oh sir, all I want in life, is to be your slave. You bought me, to set me free."

Listen, the Lord Jesus Christ bought you. To set you free, and when you understand that, than it's the joy of your life. To come, and stand against the door of grace and let him bore through the ear of your heart that you can be his bond slave forever. He bought you. He bought you! To set you free. Not only from hell, but from the world and the flesh and the devil. Oh come to him, kiss his nail pierced feet, and through all humble tears surrender yourself to he that is most holy, and serve him. Amen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Death to self

Daily we are to be dying to self and living unto God. Jesus made it clear what it means to follow Him

Luk 9:23 And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

I think the question we must ask ourselves is two-fold.
  1. Is Jesus worthy of following?
  2. Am I willing to follow?

Christianity is never an intellectual ascent to a few points of doctrine because if that were so the demons would be saved (Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder). Christianity is not following rules and regulations so that our good will out way our bad. Christianity is humbly coming to Jesus, receiving His Spirit into your life and following daily the God that created each of us for fellowship with Him. I think it can be summed up in one of Jesus's most profound statements.

Mat 18:3 "I assure you," He said, "unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Too many of us still live in the mire of the worlds system yet want the blessings of God. So many of us are getting aggravated because we are not hearing the voice of God and walking in the Spirit, but that great preacher Leonard Ravenhill summed it up best when he said

  • Keep this in mind from an old man, there is no finality to the Christian life this side of eternity. We pray that some of us may go to our own funeral tonight and die to self and end all the failure and all the weakness...We just come from an altar in church and come back the next week and we are as fascinated (with the world) and we haven't spent a half hour with Jesus but will stay two stinking hours in a movie house. Are we compromised?

And Paul in his letters to the Philippian church had this to say:

Php 3:18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.

The times are troubled and our security, significance and happiness from this world are all being shattered...Come to Jesus to have life and have it abundantly and present your bodies wholly to our Lord for He alone is good.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A very good question

Can a person live off of world after salvation instead of Christ?

Answer: I think Paul deals with that specific subject

1Co 3:1 Brothers, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were not yet able to receive it. In fact, you are still not able,
1Co 3:3 because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like ordinary people?

Paul was addressing it to immature Christians IN the Church. So it would seem that once a person has actually made a commitment to Christ they then can run back to the world and live in the flesh. Now if they are a child of God and have the marks of a believer (Hunger for God, Hatred of sin, Heart for the lost, Growing in Holiness) then God will deal with them as dear children and discipline them (Heb 12:6-7).

The other thing we must do to understand the Word is to take all scripture into account when rendering a theological position.

1Jn 2:4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," without keeping His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

It is clearly understood in scripture that there will be a lot of false converts (Mar 4 - The Parable of the Sower) but as a man we can only look onto the flesh and not the heart (1Sam 16:7). So it is never up to me or any pastor to tell someone they are saved...that is between them and God (2Cor 13:5)

Monday, January 12, 2009

How are you searching for security, significance and happiness?

As we take the time in prayer this week, ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal to you how you are relying on the world for security, significance and happiness. To prime the pump here are a few thoughts on it.

  1. If I have a good enough job or enough money in the bank then I will be secure during this recession
  2. If I lose some weight then I will feel better about myself
  3. If I get a compliment today on something I did or the way I look I will feel a sense of importance
  4. If others recognize the spiritual gifts that I have then I know that I am doing the right things for God
  5. If I can just get a new car/clothes/house etc. then I will be happy

We have been sucking off the worlds system for so long many of the things that we do become so subtle that it is not even noticeable. It is crucial that we get with God, in prayer and allow Him to guide our conscience into Spiritual truths. The "Christian" that does not get alone with God and allow the Life of God to go through them is only bluffing or playing at Christianity.

2Co 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Cleave to Christ knowing that satan, the god of this world, is out to destroy you and your faith. The deception and lies that satan wants you to believe are endless and usually fit right into your selfish way of life. Can you like Paul say:

Gal 6:14 But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Is the world crucified to you? Or are you still dependent on others for significance, security and happiness.

  • There is a move of God in America today but not amongst the unsaved...It's amongst the redeemed who are determined by the grace of God to be part of the Bride and to be part of the Bride you have to be divorced from everything in the world. (Leonard Ravenhill)

Monday, January 5, 2009

The timeline of the Bible

We are off and going this new year and I am so thankful for the people that God has brought into my life. As for our Bible Institute class on the foundations of the faith, I want to assure each and every student that this class can change your life. Anytime that God is involved in granting us wisdom and we react in trust and obedience lives will change.

One thing I want to stress is to understand that the Bible is not just another holy book or a book of great wisdom but the Bible is Jesus Christ as stated in the gospel of John.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

This must be settled in your mind and spirit or you will never treat God as your Lord but just as another advisor. You will never grow in His grace until this is settled...if you want the CD on apologetics I am making it available to you...just request it. You can also go to sites like:

One thing I thought might be helpful as we are rightly dividing the word is a chronology or timeline of the Bible. I remember one zealous student in a past class saying that Abraham should have know better with Hagar because of the 10 commandments (Moses was born 430 years after Abraham). The books of the Bible are not in chronological order so the timeline is helpful when studying your Bible. Click the link below to get a free pdf of a relatively good timeline.

Also, it is good to have an overall understanding of a book and its context as you are reading it. Hermeneutics, which is the art and science of biblical interpretation, helps us to rightly divide the word and not get into doctrinal problems. Here is another source that breaks up the bible into what types of books there are and a brief overview of the book. Print these and have them handy when you are going through you bible.

Please email me with any question or insights and remember to pray continually.

"No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack." E.M. Bounds