The Weapons of our Warfare!

The “Smith” gun.

During the early days of World War two and the imminent of threat of invasion of Britain the greatest need of the defenders was for effective anti-tank weapons, especially for the Home Guard.

So desperate were they for an answer to the seemingly unstoppable German tanks, that someone suggested they place upside down dinner plates on the local roads to arouse the curiosity of the German tank crews to provoke them to leave their vehicles and investigate ,hoping to dispose of them in the process.

One weapon developed was the Smith Gun.220px-The_Smith_Three_Inch_Mobile_Gun_H18832

“The Smith Gun was an ad hoc anti-tank artillery piece used by the British Army and Home Guard during the Second World War. With a German invasion of Great Britain seeming likely after the defeat in the Battle of France, most available weaponry was diverted to the regular British Army, leaving the Home Guard short on supplies, particularly anti-tank weaponry. The Smith Gun was designed by a retired Army Major named William H. Smith as a makeshift anti-tank weapon, and was put into production in 1941 following a demonstration to the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill”. (Quoted from wiki)

Unfortunately by the time the”Smith Gun” arrived the threat of invasion had largely subsided.

To operate this weapon it had to be turned on its side, which was not always easy to do as it was heavy and awkward to handle especially on uneven ground.

It required a high firing trajectory and with the shortage of ammunition, target practice was not always possible.4088263_orig

It had a mixed operational history and was quickly withdrawn from service at the end of the war.

It is understandable in those desperate days that for all its faults this weapon was jumped upon.

There are many in the churches today who feel that we can no longer rely on the Bible as our primary weapon in the fight against sin and our endeavour to save people from its clutches.

They regard its claim to inerrancy and  faith in the utility Scriptures for God’s saving purposes in the world ,as being “Old hat” and not worthy of credence for twenty first century man.

These often well meaning people, seek to supplement and sometimes replace the preaching of the Word with worldly methods and devices that can only be regarded as gimmicks.

I fear that for many so called ministers of the Word that the last thing they want to do is preach it. Very often they will substitute anything else for the actual exposition and proclamation of the Scriptures.

God does not need us to “second guess” Him. He has warned us against using carnal weapons and must look to the Captain of our Salvation for our supply and ammunition.

Christ has not left His army without the weapons they need to fight their spiritual enemies. The Bible as the in-scripturated Word of God is an “arsenal of freedom” that we despise at our peril.

Supported by fervent prayer and trusting faith we are well equipped for whatever the world, Satan and ungodly men can throw against us.

Empowered by the Spirit, we have all the means we need to overcome the enemy’s seemingly impregnable defenses.

Through Christ and His grace, the Church and individual Christian is more than capable of withstanding any attack and assault if only we will avail ourselves of them.

It will endure and prevail when all our man made designs and devices will end on the scrap heap.

Strangers and Sojourners.

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“9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:9-11 E.S.V.

The Christian in his or her original state is no different from the non-Christian. We were to without God and without hope.

The Apostle Peter places the originating cause of our difference from the people of godless world at large solely in the reality of God’s choice of the believer.

It is only through His undeserved and indeed ill-deserved mercy that those who were once “not a people” became the people of God.

It is because of this high calling that Christians are to live differently and on a more exalted and heavenly plane than those around them.

This world is not our final dwelling place and because of this, our attitude towards it must be that of strangers and sojourners, with the expectancy of departing from it at any time.

Instead of involving ourselves with the  inordinate pursuit of world’s passions and desires we must place our ultimate desire in seeking to glorify our Lord and Saviour by living holy and God glorifying lives in serving our fellow men and women.

We are to show forth the Excellencies and saving mercies of the one who has saved us and has a wondrous eternal reward in store for His chosen, blood bought and redeemed people . This merciful God , continues to call others to Himself by the proclamation of the glorious gospel of Christ.

To Him alone be the Glory of our Salvation.

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Editorial Note:

The only feedback I get regarding this blog is from “followers ” and ” likes”.

The only comments I recieve are spam or treated as spam by WordPress.

Since most of my readers appear to be in the United States, I can only wonder what they make of most of my references to my favourite genres in films and history.

I can only hope that despite these seemingly obscure sources, the lessons and conclusions I have tried to draw and illustrate from them, will not be lost in translation.

 

 

The Weapons of our Warfare!

Balaam: If the Price is Right!

The story of Balaam is one you would rarely hear mentioned in a modern sermon.

Ironically there are many treading the same road and if they do not repent they will meet the same end.

This “prophet “or more probably what they used to call a “soothsayer” is somewhat of an enigma. He was a prophet for hire and such was his prophetic gift that Balak the king of Moab sought him to curse the children of Israel. This petty potentate felt threatened by the encroaching Israelites but need not have worried because they were commanded of God not to take any territory from either Moab or Edom. Yet such was the hostility this king had for them that he sought Israel’s destruction by magical rather than military means.

The passage infers that Balaam had delivered messages from God at previous times and a casual reading would suggest that the prophet was well acquainted with the Lord God. Yet even from the first Balaam seems to have been dazzled by the rich prize Balak dangled before him.

Balaam provided hospitality to the king’s emissaries while he sought the Lord.

The Lord clearly forbade him to either go with them or curse God’s chosen people. So the ambassadors departed.

King Balak was not so easily deterred and sent a larger entourage of more important people and this time offered the prophet not only riches but preferment and honour.

While in his speech he stood firm, he sought again to the Lord perhaps hoping God would change His mind and thus be able to oblige Balak and maybe gain the reward.

God allowed the prophet to accompany the men if they asked him to but with the proviso that he only spoke what God commanded him to. The following passage is unclear inasmuch as it seems that God changed his mind and was angry at Balaam for going with the emissaries of the king.

Rather it would seem that in his eagerness for the promised reward he preempted the emissary’s invitation and took off with two of his servants to meet them.

God expects our obedience to His commands to be obeyed to the letter. Balaam could see only the riches and honour Balak promised and this blinded him to anything else.

How many professing Christians today have their eyes on the wrong prize by seeking to serve and worship God yet are covetous for wealth and ease?

The story of Balaam and the donkey may cause some to stumble, yet God is well able to give voice to the dumb creation when he has something to say.indexbalaam

Light heartedly we can discover for ourselves who was the real donkey out of these two. The donkey could clearly see the danger ahead of them when this great “prophet” could not.

We have here the compassion of God illustrated in stopping Balaam in a sinful course.

The lesson and warning this incident taught Balaam about obedience to God’s commands brought him to a shallow repentance because although he obeyed God in prophesying the blessed future of God’s people and even the coming of the Messiah, it did not change the fundamental sinful bent of his desires.

15 And he took up his discourse and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
16 the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    and knows the knowledge of the Most High,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    falling down with his eyes uncovered:
17 I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near:
a star shall come out of Jacob,
    and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall crush the forehead of Moab
    and break down all the sons of Sheth.
18 Edom shall be dispossessed;
    Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed.
    Israel is doing valiantly.
19 And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion
    and destroy the survivors of cities!” Numbers 22:15-19

Balak, king of Moab’s persistence beggar’s belief, by every means conceivable he sought Balaam to curse the people yet time and again Balaam was prompted by God to bless the children of Israel and forth tell their future blessings. It made no difference where they stood or how many altars he built God’s will in the blessing of his people will always stand even in the face of their enemies.static1.squarespace.com

The purposes of God cannot be thwarted by man.

And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“From Aram Balak has brought me,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
    and come, denounce Israel!’
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags I see him,
    from the hills I behold him;
behold, a people dwelling alone,
    and not counting itself among the nations!
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!” Numbers 22: 7-10

This passage from scripture also is a salutary warning for us all inasmuch as it shows us that a person can be gifted and used of God and yet not truly one of His own and also how easily it is to be tempted from obedience and faith by the deceitful riches a, honours and pleasures of this world.

Later we see Balaam advising Balak to use the women of Moab to entice the men of Israel to sin and idolatry, thus bringing dire judgment upon the people. He chose to ignore God’s warnings and set himself against the will of God thus hastening headlong on the path of destruction.

Balaam did not live long to enjoy the rewards of wickedness because he was later killed by the children of Israel during their war with the kings of Midian.

We must all choose whose side we are on.

Balaam knew the true God and indeed served Him to some degree yet he did so with a divided and covetous heart and paid the price of disobedience and impenitence.

Let us be warned by his sorry end to be wholehearted in our faith and obedience to God.

Also may we see the bright future of God’s chosen people. Although they may now be “under a Cloud” and not much to look at ,in God’s sight they are chosen and precious among the people of the world. They are His possession and will be so for all eternity.

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Standing on the Word of God.

During the nineteenth century there was a strenuous effort on the part of many Evangelical leaders to reconcile Christianity with the new “Theory of Evolution” and the scientific discoveries of the age.

They found the idea of a six day creation and a “young “ earth did not jibe with modern thought and tried to explain them away as the product of primitive and unscientific thought. They also made the Bible stories to be something other than historical fact but still moral and objective lessons.

Others finding the doctrine of substitutional Atonement was found to be irreconcilable with the new thought permeating the intellectual circles and attempts were made to make it less than what scripture showed it to be.

While many of these people were no doubt well meaning the opening up of the scriptures and Christian Doctrine to this sort of adaptation and modification only served to weaken the power of the Christian Gospel.

While it is true that the Genesis creation story is not a scientific document it still demands for itself credence as to the fact of God’s immediate creation of man and indeed the whole creation as well as the subsequent fall of man into sin.

To the thoughtful observer the Fall is the only true and plausible explanation of the historic and continuing state of man in sin and rebellion against God.

As I continually point out in these scribblings any attempt to adapt and diminish the teaching of the scriptures in the hope of appealing to ungodly populace can only undermine the inherent , Spirit  imbued Power of the Word of God in the tearing down of sins strongholds and Satan’ kingdom.

While we invite scrutiny of the Word of God, we must let it stand as it is.

As has been found in the past and will be discovered in the future the Holy Scriptures needs no apology from us.

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Balaam: If the Price is Right!

A dose of Fire and Brimstone!

It can only be said that the trends in preaching and Christianity have gone to the other extreme from what they were in by-gone years.

Through the sixteenth, seventeenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, the “Hellfire and brimstone” preacher prevailed in the Bible believing, evangelical churches to varying degrees.

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There is no doubt that the reality of eternal damnation and  the torments of hell were vivid realities to the preachers and believers in those days and  because of this  they confronted the unsaved  and the lapsing Christian with the  eternal and solemn punishment  awaiting the unrepentant.

Many hammered this subject to such an extent that the good news of salvation and promises of mercy upon repentance by sinners was almost lost sight of.

We are now at the other extreme in that hell is effectively ignored and salvation is reduced to nothing more than accepting that God has a purpose for your life and cares about little more than your living a good and happy life with Heaven hereafter throw in.

Most Biblical Christians believed up till now, that God’s purpose in Christ’s dying on the Cross was to save and turn you from your sin and call you to holiness and obedience.

If many of today’s “Christians” were confronted more often with the sinfulness of sin and God’s abhorrence of it and the fact that those dying without Christ are lost eternally and without hope, they would no doubt complain heartily that they were deceived about the nature of the Gospel as it is most often preached and depart from the church in droves.

If the true gospel, with its tendency to humble man before God, were faithfully and truly preached everywhere today, no doubt many “mega “churches would be reduced to mere shadows.

In order to attract people to the Church, we see many reducing the Bible to a merely human and fallible book. Others use Biblical words in ways that the original writers and indeed the Holy Spirit never intended and no unbiased reader would so interpret it: all in order to widen the way of Salvation and take away the offense which has always attended the sound preaching of the Gospel of Christ , all to  grow church attendances.

People who daily read their Bibles devotionally and claim to be sincere followers of Christ, read His words and yet persist in pursuit of worldly pleasures and excuse their indulging in sin, in light of Christ’s mercy and God’s saving love for the sinner.

If this is not to make Christ a minister of sin I know not what does.

Today’s Christian may not be as great a sinner as they once were before their profession of faith, in that they turn away from the more heinous and obvious sins: yet it still persists that the attitude taken to sin today is to minimize it and regard it as of little account in God’s sight since after all, Christ paid the price for it so why do we need to concern ourselves with it.

Also as we are seen by God clothed in Christ’s righteousness surely our remaining sin and sinfulness is not of any real consequence.

Sadly there are those who go a step further and by a superficial reading and twisting of scripture and even a denial of its authority, say that those things, which in the past were regarded by the Church’s understanding of the Bible as abominable in God’s sight are now allowable and acceptable to Him.

The people enslaved to these particular sins instead of repenting of them and seeking deliverance are demanding acceptance for their practices and there are all too many  ministers , and churches willing to do so.

No doubt the people, who read my blog (few though they may be) grow weary of my decrying and denouncing these modern trends. To them I say that no one who seeks to understand scripture and knows anything of the gospel as it has always been proclaimed by its truest preachers and witnesses can but be appalled by the fundamental difference between the message of so-called Christianity as it is in many places being proclaimed and the true scriptural gospel “once delivered to the saint’s.

Nor is it merely a matter of interpreting obscure points of Scripture and coming to different conclusions. Rather it is a wholesale dispensing and denial of Scriptural teaching and a re-asking of Satan’s question to Eve “Hath God indeed said”?

God deliver us from a Christ-less Christianity and hold us to the good old paths.

Parkyakarkus!

Harry_Einstein

Harry Einstein (May 6, 1904 – November 23, 1958), known professionally by a multitude of pseudonyms, most commonly Parkyakarkus, was an American comedian, writer, and character actor. A specialist in Greek dialect comedy, he became famous as the Greek chef Nick Parkyakarkus on the Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson radio programs, and later on a program of his own. He appeared in eleven films (as Parkyakarkas, or a close variant) from 1936 to 1945. He was very popular during the thirties and forties.

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He had a heart attack during a celebrity roast for Dezi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in 1958.

When he been taken backstage, Ball came to the microphone and managed only, “I can say nothing”, through tears.  Arnaz , the closing speaker, said, “This is one of those moments (the celebrity occasion )  that Lucy and I have waited a lifetime for, but it’s meaningless now. They say the show must go on, but why must it? Let’s close the show now by praying for this wonderful man backstage who has made a world laugh.”

The fact is that all the world’s joys and pleasures are fading and passing away. If we make them the only pursuit of our lives we will be left devastated and eternally bankrupt when they leave us.

It is only with Christ that there are pleasures forever more, and only in and through him that we will find the joy and peace the endures to eternity.

Information Gathering.

We are confronted today by those who by fair means and foul seek to pry into the day to day habits, spending practices and opinions of the public at large.

Whether it is by means of survey, monitoring online usage or purchases or the periodic Census, we are ,whether we like it or not, feeding grist into the numbers crunchers and poll-sters mill.radio-telescope.jpg

The results stemming from all this commercial and political effort may be innocent and innocuous enough.

By it ,they may gain insight into what products are popular or saleable. They may dictate what government policies and measures are called for and therefore likely to attract votes and they may in some small way help our daily lives by providing services where they are most needed.

In a more sinister way the intelligence which is in many and varied ways being accumulated may show that a wary eye is being kept on us and is watching our every move.timthumb

In our consumption driven society, marketing is the primary concern of businesses and organizations, large and small. This naturally leads to the desire to find out the spending habits, incomes, lifestyle aspirations and desires of the population at large.

As I am continually pointing out this trend is making its way into the church in varying degrees.

Whether it was Robert Schuller, surveying Orange county California to see what sort of Church they would want to come to, if he built it or the “Churches” current obsession with relevance that  prompts it to imitate youth and pop culture to attract the “un-churched.

It has all come down to the desire to give the people what they want to get them to come to church.

God did not consult with anyone but Himself when He formulated the plan of man’s salvation. Even the angels who are far above all the rest of creation were not consulted by the Almighty and even with all their super human wisdom, they are still desire to look into and understand the wondrous way in which God wrought salvation through the death of His Son.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 1Peter 1:12

Surely this should deter anyone endeavoring to adapt the Gospel of Christ to the fads and whims of sinful men and encouraging all of us to gratefully accept the wondrous word of Salvation as declared to us by God in his holy Word and to His name alone be the glory.

true-salvation-occurs-when-you-in-desperation-turn-from-sin-16148945

 

 

 

A dose of Fire and Brimstone!

Fallen out of use

It would be interesting to tabulate the theological words, portions of Scripture and doctrines that have fallen out of the Christian vocabulary in recent times.

jefferson-bible

An acceptance of our own personal sinfulness, guilt with regards to our alienation from God  and our unworthiness of God’s grace is not seen in believers and regarded as superfluous and unecessary by today’s preaching and teaching.

The modern man stands on his hind legs and expects to deal with God on his own terms, indeed  he, in disregard to the teaching of the Bible, sees no barrier or hindrance to prevent his acceptance by his maker and in seeking to dictate terms to the “almighty”.

The modern professor of Christianity tends to take a similar stand when forgetting his original lost estate and inherent sinfulness , ignores the prominent petition of the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive us our trespasses”.

The “putting on “of the Lord Jesus Christ and his righteousness also requires us to “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”Romans 13:14

It also means to “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” Romans 6:12

The opinion today is that sin is a problem between God and the individual and the church has no business warning  of its dangers and subtle deceptions.

It sees no role for itself in holding forth God’s just demands before a sinful world and a prone to stray and error beset  congregation.

How desperately we need to go back to the scripture  and hear what it has to say  both to fallen man and to  believers still in spiritual infancy.

We must pray that God will raise up Christian ministers and leaders who proclaim biblical truth in a biblical way.

Your only Son!

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”Genesis 22:9-14

Were any of us required to make the same sacrifice as Abraham was called to do we would no doubt throw up our hands and say that God was asking too much.

Abraham’s obedience to God entailed an added dimension in that not only was he called to kill his only son but the fact that this child was the gift of God’s own promise.

As far as we are called to imitate the faith of Abraham in being obedient and willing to return to God what He has given us in the first place ,we should be ready for such calls.

We instead grasp everything God gives us and call it our own when it is in fact under our stewardship and care.

God often tests our love and obedience and calls for our entire commitment of all we have and all we are.

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This is inevitably the way of God’s working with His people, He calls for our obedience and sacrifice and imparts abundant blessings not in a quid pro quo manner but rather in a super abundant and gracious bestowal of grace.

In answer to the prosperity gospellors  who reduce all God’s blessing to interest on our money invested , God gives out of all proportion to our deeds, giving as he sees fit for our present good and has the true and eternal blessings in store for us in heaven.

God knows infinitely more about giving than we do because He gave His only son as a sacrifice for the atonement and putting away of sin, in this Christ was the willing sacrifice who in turn gave Himself for us.

Dealing with non-believers

Jesus’ dealing with the woman of Samaria gives the ideal pattern for our testimony to un-believers in both preaching and personal witnessing.

Jesus-with-the-Woman-at-well

Jesus is tactful and yet does not fail to put his finger on her particular sin. He does not shrink from showing her the deficiencies in her religious beliefs. Jesus method of working is faithful yet not condescending. He does not skirt around issues for the sake being “seeker sensitive”.

Yet this sort of approach is avoided today for the sake of being non-confrontational and politically correct.

Today when professing Christian take a stand on morality issues they are sure to be howled down and treated as bigots and not allowed a hearing in public discussions and forums.

In this atmosphere the Church generally and Christians individually are rolling over by avoiding comment on moral issues and avoiding anything that is likely to give anyone offense.

It is not enough to be scriptural in our beliefs we must also be scriptural in our way of working and witness.

The practice of the Jesuits was to keep back and hide a great deal of their dogma and theology from prospective converts so that they would not be scared away or revolted by it. Then after they had joined them they would wean them up to their peculiar doctrines.

True Christianity should not imitate them by dissembling about scriptural doctrines and Bible truth. Truth there is much in the Scriptures that the new believer will find difficult to understand  yet to present the gospel as other than it is , is a half truth which is as good as a lie.

As Dr James White says “What you win them with is what you win them to”. If you bring people to Christ with a “doctored” or minimalist gospel you have the risk of people who find that when they actually hear what the Bible says they will feel deceived or they will be far more offended and hostile to the truth than if they were if they were presented the truth in the first place.

The Bible is an open book; it is the basis of all Christian belief and practice and therefore should be received as authoritative by all Christians even if rejected by others.

The proclamation and sharing of Christianity has no doubt declined in this relativistic age and with the result in an emotion preoccupied and anti intellectual perception of Scripture and  a body of “believers” ignorant and disregarding great fundamentals of the faith. A sad result of partial proclamation of the gospel.

Distorting God’s Word

While the trend today among certain nominal Christian groups is to “Cherry pick” the Bible and neglect large tracts of it, there are those who have professed a great zeal for the study of the Bible and profess to hold it in great esteem.indextwist

Unfortunately even this can be used to lead the unwary astray.

In his book on”cults and isms”, J. Oswald Sanders recount the story of how his grandparents lost the light  of their salvation and fell into a legalistic joy-less morass of  false doctrine.

They became entangled with a group called the “Christadelphians”. These people appeared to be zealous to the point of fanatical students of the Bible. They sometimes pored over it till the early hours of the morning. Despite this they invariably drew false conclusions, Christ dishonouring doctrines and propagated error to whoever fell under their influence.

Sanders’ grandfather especially lost the joy and the light of salvation although never wholly convinced as to the truth of this cults teaching. His grandmother did come back to the truth of the gospel.

It prompts one to ask how someone with an open Bible before them can get things so wrong and how do you know those who despite seeming students and followers of Christ , they are in fact heretical and false believers.

The Roman Catholic Church has the Bible open before them yet they add to it the Traditions and commandments of the church. These are based on far- fetched interpretations of Scripture which they twist to their own ends, often plainly contradicting the actual teaching of Scripture.

Also it depends on how we approach the study of scripture. To treat it as you would any other book and think that unaided human reason is sufficient for its study very often leads to false and erroneous deductions and teachings.

As I have said elsewhere we can read out of scripture what is not there or read into scripture what we want to be in there.

The safest course in all bible study is to seek the aid of the Holy Spirit and his illumination and approach the word with humility and teachable-ness, remembering always it is the Word of the living God.

How do we know error from truth especially when it is supposedly the product of in depth bible Study?

Any teaching which has low or false views of God must be suspect. If it exalts one of His attributes at the expense of another say his love over his justice and holiness. If any teaching makes God otherwise than He is it should be shunned.

These false gospellers inevitably have a low view of sin and a different way of Salvation, thus belittling the finished work of Christ on the cross.

They very often make some other condition of salvation and add it to or exalt it above the atoning death of Jesus; most likely they make the death of Christ to mean something merely exemplary or accidental.

Despite their professed love of Scripture they in fact refuse to hear what it truly and actually says by glossing in and taking parts of it out of context, thus ignoring the whole teaching of the Bible, the analogy of Scripture and ignore the “whole counsel of God”.

They inevitably attribute to themselves sole possession of the Truth to themselves and consign all other Christian groups and believers to the way to hell.

These are just a few of the marks of the Cults that masquerade under the name Christian but who are in fact in Satan’s thrall.

True Christians may differ but though they may greatly disagree, they hold to the same orthodox doctrines and beliefs. They are united in holding the Name of Jesus and his wondrous sacrifice in worshipful esteem. They love the Bible as the Word of God and heartily seek to what it has to say for itself by the Spirit’s gracious aid.

Most of  all they worship the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and in glad obedience give him all the glory for their salvation.

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Will the real Christian please stand up!!

Fallen out of use

The God who reigns and rules!

Under the British constitution the king or queen reigns but does not rule.

buck-houseIt seems to me that there are many in the Church today who would be glad to be able to say the same of God. They would have the blessings and glory of his reign but not be under his rule and law as to obedience. They would be glad to be able to live as they list and indulge in sin and yet still be able to call on an indulgent and unexacting Heavenly Father.

They would be glad to welcome anyone and everyone into the Church and yet not have to tell them about their sin and the Holy God they have offended.

They would by all means avoid the necessity of teaching them that their lifestyle or vices are displeasing to God and must be cast aside and striven against.

They would gladly clothe them in the righteousness of Christ, but as to  telling them that they themselves must turn away from greed, lust and covetousness, this is to distasteful to  the modern “Easy believe-ism” teacher , they would rather let God handle that task,  instead of faithfully telling them the truth from God’s inspired Word.

Regardless of the wishes of these well meaning but sorely deluded people God does both reign and rule and He is not mocked “As a man sows so shall He reap” Galatians 6:7. Whether claiming to be a Christian or not “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord”Hebrews12:14.

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Edom: the peril of false brethren

If Babylon typifies the Christian hating world it is the nation of Edom that typifies the brother who ultimately proves false and is in many ways worse.

The people of Edom were the descendants of Isaac as well as Jacob. While Esau came to a certain amount of reconciliation with his brother Jacob , his later descendants although treated respectfully and kindly by Israel, proved at last to be hateful ,vindictive and cruel to Israel  in there extremity. This is shown by the Old Testament prophecy of Obadiah.edom_petra

Seemingly secure in its mountain strongholds Edom did not seek to help its kinsman, Israel when besieged and conquered nor did it merely content itself with non-interference and simply looking on. These people forgetting their common routes seized the opportunity of Israel’s weakness and peril and proceeded to plunder, killing and turning in the refugees of their fallen brother.

As Obadiah prophesied this would not be forgotten by Israel’s God. While fallen Israel would rise again and endure, Edom would receive upon themselves the wrath of God and fall to rise no more.

Again I am compelled to say that there are many so called Christians who are playing this part in the Church today. These people prove at last that they are false brethren in that they deny the Bible as the Word of God, reject the scriptural means of God’s salvation through Christ’s atoning and satisfaction for our sins and seek to call those things good which God in his Word calls evil.emerging church

If some do not go so far as these apostates they still seek the name of Christian and “evangelical” yet still attempt to proclaim the gospel yet shaved of anything offensive to sinful man or those things which are contradicted by modern science .They also make sinful concessions to worldly trends and “New Age” morality , thus in their attempt to re-package the gospel for the modern man they present instead a message which ignores God’s just demands and makes man’s sensibilities the end of all they do.

 

In the end these false brethren will find themselves worse off than the World which never owned God in the first place.

Feeding the Sheep or amusing the Goats?

There is no question in my mind but that any gospel ministry that abdicates parts of it responsibility for any reason is failing in its God appointed duty.

The minister who sees his own role as exclusively dealing with the new comers in the congregation may be just as derelict as the one who deals solely with the job of building up believers and then delegate’s evangelism to specialists or task groups. The Church is the body of Christ. While we call and invite all to come to Christ, it is as the body of Christ that they meet sunday by sunday, not as “seekers” merely but as heares of the Word of God.

Like a steward in a large household the minister of Christ is to portion out every person their due.

The Apostle Paul, while his ministry was not limited to a single church or area, laid down an example by teaching the doctrines to be preached and declaring the role and functions to be perform by the shepherd’s of the flock who he appointed to succeed him. This he did by virtue of apostolic authority. No minister today can truly lay claim to this sort of authority rather they have their “marching orders” and must obey them with all faithfulness and diligence.

It is by failing to obey and live up to this ideal of ministry of the Pauline stamp that explains the sorry state of many churches and church groups regardless of large attendances and worldwide notoriety.

The leaders of these groups may lay claim to apostolic authority to command and dictate to their followers: They may abrogate this or that and excommunicate the people who will not get with the program, Christians though they be: Yet when it comes down to reality it is more about the cult of personality than the Word of God.

These people are far from the New Testament ideal of the self effacing and sacrificing servant and minister of the body of Christ.

When Paul came among the people he was not regarded as a great speaker. He says of himself that his “presence” was base and timid among the Corinthians (2Cor 10:1). What a contrast this is to some of the bombastic and loud mouthed preachers of today.  How much arrogance of attitude is seen amidst the gaudy lights, loud music and night clubbish accoutrements of the modern place of “worship”?

It is all calculated to attract the interest of worldly and excitement seeking sinners looking to add a “spiritual” dimension to their shallow lives.

God forbid that we who name ourselves Christians should follow the undiscerning multitude in whoring after the Beast posing as a minster of the gospel which is in fact not the gospel at all.

The Diminishing Gospel!

We are often confronted with the reduction of product amount and size while continuing to increase the price. Sometimes this is done in a very clever way by the redesigning of packaging to make it look the same as previously yet containing incrementally less product.21M_PRODUCT_SIZE_GRAPHIC(Example from Britain)

Biscuits or cookies as the Americans call them that were as big as your hand 10 years ago are now only one or two bites.

Blocks of chocolate which were sold in great slabs are now one third the size. This trend is likely to be ongoing.

While this may not be as bad as adulterating good products with cheap substitutes it still savours of cynicism and leaves people feeling cheated.

I wonder whether we are seeing this type of design in the preaching of the Word. How little depth we see in Bible teaching and preaching? How little exhortation to practice Christian behavior and living?

The little weight and value of modern preaching is little regarded by moderns because they give very little thought to whole counsel of God given in Scripture. They are more interested in the lively worship and the excitement generated by loud music.

The modern makes a profession of faith so called in Christ but have no real understanding of sin, salvation and holy living and are allowed to remain in their ignorance because modern minister shun the need to expound scripture in any great depth for fear of offending the newcomer.

A low view of Scripture, preaching, and the role of the Church explains the short weight and low value of the fruit and decline in grace we see in a great deal of its activities despite the much vaunted growth in numbers.

The sad thing is that people who have gone to church in better days are content to receive short weight and deficient scriptural teaching and not question it at all.

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The God who reigns and rules!

Ersatz; Beware of Imitations!

 

Germany experienced dire food and material shortages caused by being blockaded during the two world wars. They therefore endeavored to replace these goods with other less satisfactory materials.

Examples being making tea out of raspberry and catnip leaves or substituting roasted acorns or normal beans for coffee.into-the-darkness-chap-07-0818

In World War II, Ersatzbrot (replacement bread) made of potato starch, frequently stretched with extenders such as sawdust, was furnished to prisoners of war. (Wiki)

The soldiers at the front used powdered ashes as a replacement for pepper.

All sorts of contrivances were used to try and meet the need for replacements and keep up appearances, from wooden shoes to sausage casings full of who knew what?

Satan to, has his substitutes and shams meant to fool people and lead them away from God’s reality.

  • He takes sexual promiscuity and perversion and calls it love.
  • He takes man’s search for affluence, pleasure and material possessions and calls it the way to happiness.
  •  He takes a person’s desire for freedom and liberty and turns it into licentiousness and lawlessness.
  • He takes a person’s admiration for others and turns it into idolatry.

Etc.

There is no doubt that the world in its credulity is fooled by these substitutions of falsehoods for realities but for the Christian to be fooled by them is lamentable.

We all need eyes opened by God to see things as they are and not be fobbed off by Satan’s imitations and sin’s “gilded potsherds” Proverbs 26:23

Higher Criticism

At the current time as in the past there have always been Bible scholars who have delighted in attempting to saw through the tree branch which they themselves have supposedly been sitting on. (This is in addition to the attacks by infidels and atheist on the authority and validity of Scripture.)1960s-businessman-in-shirt-and-tie-sitting-on-and-sawing-off-tree-cmt2a1

While Christianity and the Bible welcome all honest examination there have been many who studied the scriptures only to discredit them and consign them to oblivion.

For the last 2 or 300 hundred years the Bible has been dissected and scrutinized by so called scholars seeking to de-mythologize and subject it to the strictures of human reason.

Not daring to throw it out in its entirety they have tried to whittle it down to more credible and manageable proportions and attacked selected parts of it and indirectly discredit the whole.

They have questioned and discarded the avowed Pauline authorship of several New Testament letters. They claim that Paul could not have written these because a certain word the writer uses does not appear anywhere else  and is not  used  frequently in the epistles they regard as genuine or perhaps a passage in his writing does not seem to be typical of his writing style or sound like something Paul would say.

For other writings ,because  the Gnostic heresy was established and  flourished in the second century ,it  means that any mention of similar heretical theories in the New Testament writings must have come in answer to it and therefore must place them much later in time and makes them more remote from apostolic times and renders them  less genuine and authoritative.

They make a concerted effort to place  a great deal  of the New Testament as we now have it well into the second century A.D. and by doing this rob these writings of their claim to inspiration or Apostolic authority.

The gospels are not free from attack, the claim is made that the compilers of the original materials allowed traditions and legends to creep in and be incorporated into the narrative.

They therefore exert themselves to remove from the original document the supposed later, incredible and to their mind, unacceptable additions.

These “higher critics” have invariably denied the miraculous aspects of the gospels and so have attempted to de-bunk them at every turn.

 

The Old Testament has been violently hacked, dissected and assailed. We only have to look at the “higher” critic’s efforts to remove the predictions of the future from Isaiah and Daniel and the consigning of portions of these prophecies to other but unknown authors.

The critics invariably credit the portions of the Old Testament they do not like to some later redactor or editor and thus remove the perceived difficulty.

The end result of all this effort has been to shake some Christian’s confidence in the Bible and reduce it to fallible book, with good characters, stories and teaching but not anyway authoritative for the modern man who has outgrown the thinking of past ages.

The fact remains that low views of the Bible have always led to the Church’s decline and I think this is seen in the state of many, if not most of the churches of today.

What do you think of the Bible?

Some claim to have gone beyond the Bible and hear from God directly.

A theologian said in a sermon I heard, that Christ is the Word of God not the Bible. The fact is without the Bible we know nothing about Christ and cannot infallibly know His will and truth.

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We cannot have one spark of real humility till we are abased before God, as guilty, helpless, and undone creatures, who have no hope but in the tender mercy of God in Christ Jesus.-Charles SimeonCharlesSimeon

 

 

Ersatz; Beware of Imitations!

SPAM

For most people during the Second World War, one of the dietary staples was SPAM which was an acronym for “spiced ham”.

When Britain received a supply of it from the United States, some described the taste as being similar to eating “cloth material”.

When food was in short supply it had the advantage of being easy to transport and had a long shelf life.

The ingenious cook used it as a supplement to what other  meat they could get on or off the ration.

There were many jokes made about it,such as

  • SPAM is ham that didn’t pass its physical
  • or that SPAM was a meatball that did not pass basic training.

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A World War II-era can of Spam. Photo courtesy of Hormel Foods Corporation

In the end many people gained a taste for it and for some it remained a delicacy. Yet even then feelings were mixed about this controversial food.

“After the war, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower wrote a letter to a retired Hormel executive commenting on his company’s famous product. “During World War II, of course, I ate my share of Spam along with millions of other soldiers. I’ll even confess to a few unkind remarks about it—uttered during the strain of battle, you understand. But as former Commander-in-Chief, I believe I can still officially forgive you your only sin: sending us so much of it.( quoted from “a war won on spam”” by dwight zimmerman)

The gospel of Christ may not be regarded as “haute cuisine” or even palatable by the sinful world at large but for those whose taste buds are invigorated by the Holy Spirit find it sustaining and satisfying to their spiritual hunger and the divine means to save their souls.

Spam, the nuisance kind

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This “word press’ website comes with a built in “spam filter”; I go to it periodically to remove the ads and often nonsensical messages that some person or business sends me.

These messages are most often advertising something and the people who send them are foolish if they think I will actually respond to them, but I guess some people do or why would they keep doing it.

Maybe they just like to be an irritation.

For whatever reason people do this, they are a real nuisance for many of us on the receiving end.

Like all junk mail, however impressive the outside envelope may be the actual contents are usually valueless and unwanted.

They take up space that could be used for something worthwhile and useful.

I wonder how many of us today, treat parts of the Bible and some of the doctrines taught therein as Spam.

Are there portions of scripture that we would gladly put into the recycling bin and then empty it?

Modern man and some professing Christians find parts of the Bible very uncomfortable and disagreeable.

It is embarrassing to observe the lengths some people will go to water down, explain away, ignore or treat as outdated miraculous, unpopular and condemnatory portions of God’s Word.

Sadly for them, the Bible stands as a whole. However much they may chafe at God’s commandments and the truths found in its pages, the true Christian will gladly receive them, believe and thankfully live by them.

A four legged friend!

In the film “Son of Paleface” Roy Rogers sang about “A four legged friend “who will never let you down.

royandtrigger

However this may be, we are sometimes let down by our two legged friends and we let them down.

Human beings are often self centered and are sometimes fickle, faithless and unreliable.

We are often warned to by Scripture to beware of placing too much faith in people.

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save”.Psalm 146:3

We are not helped by the fact that our high and unreasonable expectations of others build us up for a fall.

In a romantic partner we initially see them through rose coloured glasses and when the glasses come off and we see them in normal light, with all their flaws and failings we very often, unfairly wonder what we saw in them in the first place.

Why do so many marriages and relationships fail but because people expect perfection and lifelong bliss and receive instead life with all its day to day difficulties and mundanities.

Our friend’s circumstances may change or they may move into a new circle and our relationship fades and may even cease.

As the hymn says “Change and decay in all around I see”.

God is one who will never fail us and who sticks with us through thick and thin. He will remain with us to the end. Knowing us as He does He cannot change in His understanding and love for us.

Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18:24

While we may have at times the wrong expectations from Him ,He will infinitely surpass all our hopes.

“Many complain more of the sorrows to which they are born, than of the sins with which they were born; they tremble more at the vengeance of sin, than at the venom of sin; one delights them, the other scares them.”

– William Secker
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SPAM