Category Archives: Holy Spirit

These posts deal with the topic of the Holy Spirit.

False Prophet Blasphemy

ISAIAH 66:2 “But to this man I will look, even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.”

False prophets abound everywhere; but who is it that trembles at God’s word?

Those who tremble at and revere God’s word with the highest of esteem are usually scoffed at and reviled.  Taking a firm stand against false prophets is seen as divisive, demonic, and carnally minded; the contemporary generation views prophecy as something that is subject to their will and vain imaginations.   We hear things like “you should be so critical of prophetic words” or “this author may have made a few mistakes that could have been worded better, but….”

People don’t seem to understand that when it comes to prophetic words, error is far more than simply a matter of a “few mistakes that could have been worded differently”.   When someone presumes to speak the living and infallible word of God, they must be held to that standard!  A prophetic word is not something crafted by the mind of mortal men.  Despite modern trends, a prophetic word is delivered to the prophet by God in the exact form God wants it to be delivered to people.  If a prophet is “wording” his prophecy, he did not receive it from God, he has derived it from his own empty imagination!

It’s necessary to be clear here: if someone is honest and humble, and says upfront that what they are presenting is their own opinion or interpretation, then mistakes can be understood and addressed constructively and any errors can be easily mitigated by God’s word and by a committed Church body that is intent upon unity in truth and love.

But if someone prophesies and delivers errors in God’s name, then they are a false prophet and will be held under the eternal judgment awaiting false prophets (Jude 3).

Tremble at His word! 

To speak lightly, saying, “the Lord said” (or to indicate in another way direct divine revelation) is no small matter.  Guesswork is not acceptable when speaking the word of the Lord, neither is mystic-divination.  The only thing that can be presented in God’s name is direct and divine revelation received from God. 

I am not a cessationist, but neither will I be swept into this abominable flood of perversion being passed off as Charismatic (i.e. “of the Holy Spirit”)!

If someone speaks a word in God’s name, it must carry the full weight and glory of God’s word.  What is being passed off today in God’s name is nothing more than a flood of “arrogant words of vanity” (2 Peter 2:18 Modern English Version).

A generation of Christians are being instructed in the ways of blasphemy! 

2 Timothy 3:1-2, 5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; for men will be… blasphemers… And from such people turn away!”

The word Paul used here for blasphemers, translated in the NASB as “revilers”, is the Greek word βλάσφημος (blasphemos, #989), which means “abusive, speaking evil,” (see Acts 6:11, 13; 1st Tim. 1:13;  2nd Tim. 3:2; and 2nd Pet. 2:11 (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).  HELP’S Word-Studies states that it “reverses spiritual and moral realities”.

The Lexham Bible Dictionary offers this remarkably poignant insight on what constitutes blasphemy:

“Blasphemy can include flagrant actions and disdain for God’s Word, His promises, and His people. Scripture bears consistent witness to the severity of the offense.

When God first appears to Moses in the burning bush, He emphasizes the sacredness of His name (שֵׁם, shem), Yahweh (made up of four Hebrew consonants, יהוה, yhwh), which reveals His person and character as the covenant-keeping, redeeming God (Exod 3:13–16; 6:3). In the exodus story, God performs mighty deeds for the sake of His name (Exod 9:16), a concept reiterated in numerous Old Testament passages (e.g., Psa 25:11; Isa 43:25; 48:11). The “name of Yahweh” (שֵׁם־יְהוָה֙, shem-yehwah) carries profound significance, referring “to His full being and power” (HALOT, 1550). To assail God’s name is to attack Him personally and directly.

Speaking both to Moses and the people of Israel, God strictly prohibits the misuse of His name: “You shall not take the name of the Lord (יהוה, yhwh) your God in vain, for the Lord (יהוה, yhwh) will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exod 20:7 ESV). The Hebrew term “vain” (שָׁוְא, shaw’) refers to what is empty or purposeless; it can also mean something false or deceptive, in such contexts as prophecy (Ezek 13:3–7), worship (Isa 1:13), and speech (Deut 5:20). A breach of the first two commandments naturally leads to a violation of the third (Exod 20:7).”

Citation: Mills, D. W. (2016). Blasphemy. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Blasphemy refers to using God’s name for empty, purposeless, false, or deceptive reasons!

Anyone who presents the constructs of their own imaginations as the divine revelation of God – in other words they present these things in God’s name – has presented that which is empty and false in God’s name!  To do this is to blaspheme the name of God.  According to God’s 3rd commandment in Exodus 20:7, God will not hold the person who does this guiltless!

Thank God for His unfailing mercy, because Jesus said “all kinds of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven.  But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).  If you have been guilty of blasphemy by speaking empty or false things as if they came from God, then turn away from this sin and repent.  God will abundantly forgive you and provide the grace that you may stop this practice and be counted among those upon whom God looks, who “tremble at His word”!

We must note for the purpose of clarity so that Satan cannot take advantage of this teaching that there are different kinds of blasphemy; the unforgivable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is specified in Matthew 12:22-30, Mark 3:20-30, and Luke 11:13-23, 12:10.  It is specifically attributing to Satan the divine work of the Holy Spirit.

The end times will be filled with blasphemers; let us not join in the emptiness of those who would presume to speak vain and false things in God’s name so that they can promote their own way, their own agenda, their own fame, and their own prosperity.  Let us humble ourselves before God and revere His word!

Let us seek the full weight and glory of God’s inerrant word!

Sermon Series: Love and Holiness

1 Corinthians 13:1-4

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. If I give all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.

If I do not have love, I am nothing.

This lesson series on Love and Holiness is the most critical series I have ever preached. It is because love has fallen from the center of the Church’s preaching that Satan has claimed the word and we have fallen into disunity, chaos, and sin.

View and Download my PDF copy here:

love-holiness

Be Viscerally Compassionate

Luke 6:35-36 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Be therefore merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

Before I can get into the meat of this text I have to look at some definitions real quick:

MERCIFUL: Greek Cognate: #3629 οἰκτίρμων (oiktírmōn – an adjective, “express visceral-compassions”) – compassionate, experiencing deep pity and lamentation as God has for people who look to Him for help in their difficult situations.

VISCERAL: (adjective) coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason

Therefore, we are told to be viscerally compassionate from the heart, just as God is viscerally compassionate from the heart!

Nothing except the call to the cross demands greater faith and necessitates greater love for God than Jesus’ call to this unfailing, unmerited, and merciful love. Certainly no other commandment confronts us with our own human inability more than Jesus’ commandment to supernatural-love.

HOW CAN I express visceral compassions towards even my enemies when I find in my heart only apathy, distrust, ill-will, or even hate? God’s word tells you that you can’t; only the Holy Spirit working in you can take your cold heart and make it burn with compassion for even your enemies (Galatians 5:22)! Whoever tries to produce this kind of love in their heart by the strength and will of their own flesh will meet failure time and time again (Romans 8:4-9; cf. 13:8, 10).

Am I then acquitted from any and all responsibility to be merciful as God is merciful? Let me quote Paul by saying “By no means!”

Because of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you – if you are born of the Spirit – you are doubly responsible!

Let me encourage you not to embrace the lie that says “love is only action and does not include emotions at all”. Love is to be unhypocritical (Romans 12:9) – which means “unfeigned and sincere”. Love must not be only an intellectual exercise that leaves the heart behind, wallowing in bitterness against those you are trying to love!

A believer may ask “what do I do if my heart does not feel love like this towards my enemies?” Do not be content to continue in heartless love! Cry out to God; weep and mourn for your heartless condition! But “love in action” all the while. Yes – if your heart does not “feel” love, then you must lead your heart by the truth of God’s word and repent before God that your heart remains so unregenerate. God will renew your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit and create in you the fruit of love.

CLOSING EXHORTATION

I cannot make my heart express visceral compassions for others when all my heart possesses is selfishness, apathy, and enmity! If you despair of your inability to love due to the coldness of your heart, then you need the renewal of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit! Turn away from the temptation to accomplish this by your own strength and look to Christ to create in you a pure heart!

You must fight the desire to become content with your lovelessness; love your enemies and your brethren in action, and cry out to God to renew your heart so that you can also love in truth!

Once you begin seeking God to renew your heart in love He will begin to send opportunities to love your enemies, neighbors, and brethren to you; I call these “opportunities” because God has shown me that they are truly opportunities, but they may look like trials and tribulations at first. Arm yourself with the mind of Christ (please read Philippians 2:5-10), and prepare to walk by faith through these trials and exercise love in action while you cry out to God to renew your heart so that you can likewise love in truth.

“Speak Smooth Words”

Isaiah 30:9-10 “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children who refuse to listen to the law of the LORD; they say to the seers, ‘you must not see visions’, and to the prophets, ‘you must not prophesy to us right things; speak pleasant things, prophesy illusions.'”

The deceptive and rebellious heart demands that God’s servants speak “smooth words” (KJV); I lament that in our day we see such a heart as this!

2 Timothy 4:2-4 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.”

Preaching righteousness incurs wrath from those who cannot tolerate reproof, rebukes, and exhortations; the call to preach God’s word is not a call to popularity, nor is it a call to brutality, it is a call to preach the truth with resolute steadfastness of heart.

Never loose sight of this one compelling reason that makes the cost of preaching righteousness worth it:

John 8:32 “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

Never forget that the truth has power to set sin’s captives free through Jesus Christ!

In an age where darkness rules through deceit and rebellion, the Church must not lose the voice of truth!

Declare to Jacob his Transgression

Micah 3:8 “I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

The last thing I want to do is inspire someone who is not called of God to start rebuking the Church. God calls the humble, not the prideful, and empowers them by His grace and the Holy Spirit to preach His living word to the stubborn, obstinate, and self-righteous. But rather, I want to expose a deception that claims God does not send His servants to expose transgression.

Ezekiel 3:18-19 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’, and you do not warn him, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul.'”

God does raise up servants, whom He charges with His word to preach against the wicked. He gives them an anointing and a responsibility to carry the message that He gives them. These preachers are not to speak where God has not spoken, nor are they to be silent when God has spoken!

I believe cowardice on the one hand, and presumption on the other, are the primary reasons the Western Church is in such decline – cowardice on the part of those who were entrusted with God’s message to rebuke and warn but didn’t, and presumption on the part of those who were not call to preach but did!

Isaiah 66:2 “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

God does not look upon the proud, the contentious, the arrogant and boastful; He will not call them to be His preachers. God looks upon the humble and contrite of spirit, and upon the one who trembles at His word! He does not call those who are ready to “call fire down from heaven” (Luke 9:55) to preach for Him without first reforming them, rather, He calls those who say “we are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10); neither does God call those who use His word for their own purposes, but He calls those who quake within at the sound of His Word!

The Church is not purifying herself through the blood of Christ and the washing of the water of the Word like she is called to; so many continue practicing sin and are not mournful for it, but instead, many even boast in this! The Church must open her ears and begin listening to the truth being preached by God’s true servants.

Ephesians 4:17-18 “From now on you must not walk as the Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds, having their understanding darkened, excluded from the life of God through the ignorance that is within them due to the hardness of their hearts.”

In closing I wish to encourage those who are called by God to preach His word: if you preach God’s word, you will be surrounded by enemies and those closest to you will turn on you, but do not fear!  For “the LORD is your light and your salvation; whom shall you fear?  The LORD is the strength of your life; of whom should you be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)  You will not be without trials and tribulation, but Christ is your portion and the hope of your soul; delight yourself in Him and you will not be disappointed!

The New Man: The Miracle of Regeneration

I have recently seen the necessity to think and speak rightly about the miracle of regeneration; for the slightest derivation in our thinking and speaking about this subject can lead to traumatizing spiritual maladies in our personal relationship with Christ.

Because of this I felt compelled to begin a series in our church on the topic of being “born again”.

I can’t ignore the reality that so many Christians today are perilously besieged by Satan’s lies on this subject; many in the Church today believe that it is normal for divorce rates, fornication, adultery, racism, and abortion to be as prevalent within the Church as it is in the world- nothing could be farther from the truth! But Satan’s attack is not one dimensional. Unfortunately, many Christians, seeing this deception for what it is, have been besieged by another one of Satan’s lies about regeneration; namely, that it is impossible to sin once you become born again.

What I have recognized during this series is just how much discipline is required to think and speak rightly on this subject. It is remarkable just how easily influenced our belief’s on this subject are by the various trends and currents of today’s events: but we must not be so easily tossed to and fro by every wind and wave of doubt. We must believe what God has promised with all our heart and mind!

THE MIRACLE OF REGENERATION

There’s a trend today to divorce the moral teachings of Jesus from our desperate need for atonement. As Oswald Chambers put it, “people talk pleasant, patronizing things about Jesus’ teachings while they ignore His cross. But the teaching of Jesus apart from His atonement simply adds an ideal that leads to our despair. What is the good of telling me that only “the pure in heart shall see God” when I am impure? Or of telling me to love my enemies when I hate them? I may keep these thoughts down, but the spirit is still there. Does jesus Christ make it easier? He makes it a hundredfold more difficult! The purity God demands is impossible unless we can be remade from within, and that is what Jesus Christ undertakes to do through the Atonement.” (Biblical Ethics/ The Moral Foundations/ The Philosophy of Sin: Principles for Christian Living, chapter 1: Moral Imperatives 1).

We must understand something about the moral imperative of God’s law that has been placed on the heart of all mankind: God’s moral requirement of humanity does not make itself weak to those who are weak, nor does it palliative our shortcomings; it does not take into account our heredity, infirmities, or cultural disadvantages. God’s moral requirement upon humanity requires that we be absolutely moral because God created us as moral beings. This is what separates us from animals; we feel moral indignation over transgressions and injustices that they simply cannot entertain in their animal senses.

But, through sin, death has separated us from our Creator and thus fractured in us what it means to be fully human. And as soon as we realize our human brokenness and inability to attain to God’s standard, we begin to equivocate: “of course God won’t demand it; of course God will make allowances”. But, as Oswald Chambers wrote, “God’s laws are not watered down to suit anyone; if God did that He would cease to be God. The moral law never alters for the noblest or the weakest; it remains abidingly and eternally the same.” (Biblical Ethics/ The Moral Foundations/ The Philosophy of Sin: Principles for Christian Living, chapter 1: Moral Imperatives 1).

ROMANS 2:11-12, 15 (MEV) “for there is no partiality with God. As many as have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and as many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, while their conflicting thoughts either accuse or excuse them.” (see also Romans 3:23).

There is no human being that does not have some remnant of a moral imperative within them that makes them say “I ought to do this”, or “I should not do this”. This remnant of the human moral fiber exists in every person, even in the most degraded human specimen, and the Bible tells us exactly how it got there- it comes from God (Genesis 1:27).

Oswald Chambers wrote, “the modern tendency is to leave God out and make the moral standard whatever is most useful to people” (Biblical Ethics/ The Moral Foundations/ The Philosophy of Sin: Principles for Christian Living, chapter 1: Moral Imperatives 1). Nothing has changed since his time in the late 1800’s.

The prevailing moral thinking today says that morality has evolved by human beings for the benefit of humanity- the greatest good to the greatest number- but nothing could be farther from the moral reality each of us experiences on a day to day basis. A thing is not “moral” simply because it benefits the greatest number of people, a thing is moral because God is behind it! This is why philosophies of eugenics are so abominable to the human conscience; only a human conscience that has been seared beyond human recognition finds the rational practice of eugenics to be “moral”.

However, our problem is that we find in our brokenness this disposition: “I ought to do this, but I won’t; I shouldn’t do this, but I will.” This universal human problem removes from the realm of possibility all moral philosophies that teach us that we can simply “teach people what is right and they will do it”- they simply will not. The Scripture tells us our problem, that “we are carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. What I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:14-15). Fittingly this discourse in Scripture ends with the despairing cry “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24) But the human spirit revives at the revelation “I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 7:25- 8:1).

Again, Oswald Chambers nails it; “what we need is a power that will enable us to do what we know is right! We at say, ‘Oh, I won’t count this time’, but every bit of moral wrong is counted by God. The moral law exerts neither coercion nor tolerates compromise. ‘For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all’ (James 2:10). Once we realize this we see why it was necessary for Jesus Christ to come. The redemption is the reality that alters our inability into ability!” (Biblical Ethics/ The Moral Foundations/ The Philosophy of Sin: Principles for Christian Living, chapter 1: Moral Imperatives 1).

The law of God is “the great equalizer”; everyone comes to it clothed and beautified by their wonderful accomplishments of pride, and everyone flees from it naked, bruised, and bloodied! Some flee from God’s law and quickly redress themselves in their vain accomplishments and pride; others, hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ, humbly kneel before their creator with a broken and contrite heart. The former flee into eternal damnation, the latter kneel into everlasting life and are raised into newness of life and clothed in the white garments of Jesus Christ!

Jesus did not come to make things easier, as some preachers erroneously claim, He came to supernaturally lift us onto another plane! Remember Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will in no way enter the kingdom of heaven!” (Matthew 5:20). Jesus goes behind the law to the heart of our very disposition. As it is written, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets, for I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

As Oswald Chambers wrote, “The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount penetrates our very heart and soul! Jesus didn’t simply say, ‘you shall not do certain things’, rather He demands that we have such a condition of heart that we do not even desire them! Every thought and imagination of heart and mind is to be utterly pure!”

We must make absolutely certain that we do not err in our thinking and be led to believe that “salvation” is at all separate from “atonement”: the purity God demands is impossible unless we can be remade from within, and that is exactly what Jesus Christ undertakes to do through the atonement!

Jesus didn’t come to tell people that they “ought to be holy”- everyone of us has already been born of a moral fiber and intuitively knows that there is an “ought” to which we are accountable- He came to put us in the place where we can be holy. This is the miracle of regeneration, and it is where humanity stumbles the most because it is out of our control. I can intellectually acknowledge various truths and realities; I can perform various sacred sacraments like baptism and the Lord’s Supper; but I cannot lift myself out of the fractured state of separation from God and place myself onto the high plane of justified fellowship with my Creator in true and unending holiness! That is the one thing I simply cannot do on my own.

Read Hebrews 9:14 (MEV), “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

What is fractured in our carnal condition is restored in the regeneration of Christ. Though every human being has a moral conscience, only those who are “born of water and spirit” have clean consciences. The carnal man’s conscience is fractured; it is not complete because he has been separated from God through sin. But the new man’s conscience is restored because he is in Christ Jesus and walking according to the Holy Spirit who now miraculously abides within him.

Therefore it is not a question of first applying Jesus’ teachings to your actual life and then trying to live them out, but rather, it is a question of applying them to your relationship with Him; then as you keep your soul open towards Him, He works in you to bear then fruits of your new life!

When we read “blessed are the poor in spirit”, this is not to say that we then attempt to become paupers towards the world! There are enough mortally poor in spirit souls in the world as it is. Rather, it is to say that we must become utterly poor in spirit before our God; then will we the “kingdom of heaven be ours”. Likewise with out mourning, meekness, hunger for righteousness, mercy, and purity. Such teachings of Christ must first be applied to our relationship with God before they can be realized in our walk upon this earth.

Therefore the best expression for us is found in Psalm 139:23: ‘Search me, O God’; I cannot make my own heart pure, I cannot alter my heredity, I cannot alter the dress of my mind; ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart.’ That is the poverty of spirit Jesus has blessed; if you are in that condition, He says the kingdom of heaven is yours! Why? Because God gives teh almighty gift of salvation from sin to paupers; He gives the Holy Spirit to them who ask as those who are destitute (Luke 11:13).

Unity: Wisdom is Justified by her Children

Unity in the body burns in Christ’s heart so much so that it consumed His last prayer before His crucifixion (John 17:20-23) and by the Holy Spirit who speaks only what He receives from Christ instructed the Church to reject a divisive man (Titus 3:10). For my part, through the communion of the Holy Spirit, my heart has been broken over the disunity that plagues the Church today. The Scripture certainly hit the nail on the head, saying, “know that the divisive man is warped and sinning” (Titus 3:10).

But I am not without hope! The very nature of “love” always hopes, and I believe that those who love Jesus will be broken over the state of disrepair the Church’s love for one another has fallen into, and we will all be compelled together again someday; even that one day tears will run over the time and fellowship that we needlessly lost!

Does this make me ecumenical? By no means! I believe the Church will unite in sanctification and honor. I believe that in humility and meekness we will one day endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Perhaps it will be through trial and tribulation that we will have our pride and arrogance purged from us and learn to walk in the grace of God, rather than just being content to talk about the grace of God. But I am certain that through the work of God love with be revived in the Church again and unity restored to our Body!

The difference between the move of God towards unity and the apostate ecumenical movement is that the latter is made on man’s terms, on man’s timetable, but the former is according to the infinite wisdom of God who works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose; one is made in the peace of Christ, and the other is made in the peace of the world.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (MEV) He gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of service, and for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so we may no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men, by craftiness with deceitful scheming. But, speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all things into Him, who is the head, Christ Himself, from whom the whole body is joined together and connected by every joint and ligament, as every part effectively does its work and grows, building itself up in love.

“Teachers” were given, in part, for the purpose of building up the body until we all come into the unity of “faith” and “knowledge of the Son of God”. Though teachers today are more known for accomplishing division rather than unity, it is my hope here to offer something by which the body may be strengthened according to the timely work of God for the “unity of the faith and the knowledge of His Son”.

WISDOM IS JUSTIFIED BY HER CHILDREN

Matthew 11:18-19 “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a wine bobber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

Luke 6:43-45 “A good tree does not bear corrupt fruit, nor does a corrupt tree bear good fruit. Each tree is known by its own fruit. Men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a wild bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bears what is good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bears what is evil. For of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ”

Perhaps one of the greatest stumbling blocks to Christian unity has been in knowing how to exercise unity in light of faithfulness to God. There can be no doubt that many of the “divisions” that have occurred in Church history have followed great moves of the Holy Spirit to separate His children from various apostasies (1 Cor. 11:19 & 1 John 2:19). But the vast majority of divisions within the brotherhood throughout our history have come from contentions over the appearance of godliness, but which in substance had nothing to do with godliness.

If we will humble ourselves and wait to observe the fruits of a matter, perhaps we will not be so easily divided against one another. In waiting- and praying- for the fruits of a matter to be revealed we will more clearly see the hand of God at work in our midst, and we will be slow to form harmful and unrighteous judgments against one another. But one thing may be said of this that I can see no way for the boastful, the proud, or the mighty who are puffed up with knowledge to practice this kind of patience; I believe this practice will only bear fruit worthy of the Holy Spirit when it is received with the meekness of wisdom, then we will see the fruits of righteousness that are sown in peace by peacemakers in the church of Christ again.

Perhaps the Lord will create the platform and provide the environment for the Church to be strengthened by what every joint and ligament supplies for the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God; perhaps we will again see the love of God awakened and rekindled to a fervent pitch in the heart of the Church until we can no longer stand to walk in the darkness and be divided against one another like we were enemies (1 John 2:11).

The Glory of Christ

I am yet again arrested in my study by the splendid contemplation of the glory of Christ!  And surely it is by the Spirit of Christ who dwells within me that I can sense Christ’s own zeal to reveal His glory to me! 

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with me where I am”, Jesus prayed, “that they may behold My glory…” (John 17:24)

I must wonder, do I know how strongly Christ desires to reveal His glory to me?  For surely if I knew, if I was really convinced and convicted that Christ longs for me to see His glory, I would be renewed in my faith daily and my love would not grow weary! 

But there is a terrifying thought that plagues my mind; it is more frightening than any other nightmare I have ever had: it is the thought that the human mind and human spirit might become altogether inhospitable to the glory of Christ!  What I mean by that is that the mind might become so inhospitable to the glory of Christ that it simply cannot endure the contemplation of His glory by faith anymore; that the human spirit might become altogether adverse towards the glory of Christ and could no longer abide before the face of Jesus Christ!  Oh God what a frightful thought! 

A second frightful thought to me is this; that some poor soul could hear what I’ve just said and be so unmoved as to say within themselves, “well I never think on the glory of Christ and I’m ok, so what’s the deal?”  That someone could come to the point of realization where they perceive that they do not think much on the glory of Christ and have such darkness in their mind so as to reassure themselves in this condition that they are still ok is a truly terrifying thought to me! 

What’s the big deal?”!  I’m not embellishing my speech right now; I really do have to ask myself how “carnal” and how “dark” have our minds become today that we are not struck by how little Jesus Christ is glorified in the Church. 

What’s the big deal?” is that God has divinely and extraordinarily shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6); to glorify Jesus Christ is the great work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:14)!  And sometimes it seems like we don’t at all seem disturbed that Jesus is not being exalted and glorified among us!

I am not talking about the emotional experiences, exuberant demonstrations, or the magnificent performances that have become the cheap external substitutes for the glory of Christ in our day.  I am talking about the heart-bending, faith-building, strength-giving, hope-rising, love-purifying glory of Christ that captivates the soul with the beauty of His holiness!

John Owen wrote the following:

Let us live in the constant contemplation of the glory of Christ, and virtue will proceed from him to repair all our decays, to renew a right spirit within us, and to cause us to abound in all duties of obedience.

It will fix the soul unto that object which is suited to give it delight, complacency, and satisfaction… when the mind is filled with thoughts of Christ and his glory, when the soul thereon cleaves unto him with intense affections, they will cast out, or not give admittance unto, those causes of spiritual weakness and indisposition.

And nothing will so much excite and encourage our souls hereunto as a constant view of Christ and his glory. 1

1. The Glory of Christ, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, 1850-53, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), I, 460-461

I came across this quote from something John Piper wrote on the glory of Christ, and I cannot raise any more apt response from my heart than  “amen!”

The soul that is fixated on the glory of Christ is not so easily rattled!  Such a bond with Christ will, as Owen wrote, cast away or give no place to our spiritual weaknesses and indispositions.  But such a bond with Christ will also draw in and give sanctuary to those divine attributes of God that give us great spiritual strength and inclination that we find utterly lacking in our flesh!

Why, when such a delight awaits us in Christ, might we feel so burdened by deep contemplation of the glory of Christ? 

It may be that we are driving the Holy Spirit from His sanctuary in our heart.  Consider carefully Ezekiel 8:6 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11,19 & 20.  If we drive the Spirit from the sanctuary of our heart by sin, we drive away Him who is appointed to glorify Christ from the very place in this fallen world where Christ’s glory is revealed! 

It may also be that we have not exalted God to glory in our own lives, nor have regarded Him as holy.  Consider carefully Leviticus 10:3.

Whatever we find that drives the glory of God from our minds so that His glory cannot abide long in our hearts and in our minds, my heart is stirred today to call on the Lord and ask for the grace of the Spirit to reveal Christ in glory to me!

“Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…” (1 Peter 3:15)

The Inescapable Conclusion

For those who have talked trash about Donald Trump, I believe it is time to ask a question: why is a message of fury, outrage, indignation, covetousness, and pride so effective?

Though I do not support Donald Trump, and regardless of my high regard for Dr. Carson and belief that he and others who do support him have pure intentions, I’m trying to get at something that goes much deeper than our politics.

If our answer to this question does not lead us to the inescapable conclusion that this nation is in desperate need of the gospel, and subsequently to the conclusion that you bear the undeniable commission of the Lord to preach His gospel, then you have reached the wrong conclusion.

It’s not liberalism or one political party or another that is to blame for the deep chasms of division and resentment we see in this nation; it is generation after generation that has forsaken the pursuit of God in favor of money, power, and pleasure! Generations brought up under the very shelter of the Church!

No, I believe the inescapable conclusion of today’s time is a very clear demand for the Church to rend its heart and weep with repentance! Not for show, nor for revival, but for godly sorrow! For the Church to continue to live in luxury in the face of such wickedness today is an atrocity that I cannot even fathom. To neatly lay blindfolds over our eyes and content ourselves with squeezing every last bit of comfort out of life while we can before the whole land goes to hell is a sin not unlike that of offering our children up on the altars of Molech.

I believe the only acceptable conclusion for a Church that stands face to face with today’s world is to perfect our repentance, forgive those we bear grievances against, be relentless with mercy, and be fierce with the gospel. You cannot repent with a sincere heart if you do not forgive those you have grievances against; your political leaders, your neighbors, your family, your friends, and your church- you must forgive all who have injured you and extend relentless mercy to those who have fallen and are trying to get back up.  And we must preach the gospel with the fierceness of the martyr!

Genesis 6-8: Noah and the Flood

Critical Apologetics Issues:

The account of Noah and the flood is foundational.  From baptism to the end times, the account of Noah and the flood is necessary to understanding God’s revelation in scripture to mankind.  It is no surprise, therefore, that it has received such an array of critical attacks that need to be answered.

Apologetics is quite literally means “to speak in defense of” something; from the Greek “ἀπολογία” (apologia).

  • See Philippians 1:7 “Defense and confirmation of the gospel”
  • See 1 Peter 3:15 “Always being ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you”

Far from apologizing for the gospel, the defense of those things that are written in God’s word is the front lines in which the gospel is preached and the strongholds of the enemy are torn down.

Included in the correlating handout are articles which deal with critical apologetics issues regarding Noah and the flood.

  • How could Noah build something So Large?
  • What is known about Noah and the Ark?
  • Kinds: How many animals were on the Ark?
  • How could the animals fit on the Ark?
  • How could Noah care for all the animals?
  • How could the animals breathe?

These and many other issues are dealt with in the included printout taken entirely from Answers in Genesis.

Critical Apologetic Questions on Noah from AIG

 

 

Genesis 6: The Ark Prepared Whilst Wickedness Abounds

Point 1 (Genesis 6:1-7, 11-13)

As man began to fulfill God’s commandment to

Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish, birds, and every living thing on the earth”, (Genesis 1:28)

The LORD saw that man had subjected all creation to wickedness and filled the earth with violence.

The LORD saw that every intent of the heart was only evil continually…” (Genesis 6:5)

God had given man a dominion as His stewards over all creation- to fill the earth and subdue it- and man used his stewardship to fill the earth with violence and subject it to wickedness; and God was deeply grieved and began withdrawing His Spirit from man (Genesis 6:3-4)!

God even saw that “all creatures” on earth had become corrupt (Genesis 6:12):

God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on earth.

Note From Our Times: ANIMALS have recently been observed NOW committing homosexual acts.

 

Here, the Sovereign looked down upon man and pronounced his condition; that every intent of his heart is evil.  It’s self-seeking and vain glory!  The nakedness of mankind’s shame was again exposed by God- only this time there would be no covering’s provided by God, but instead, the LORD would cleanse the face of the earth with His wrath.

Noah stands preaching to us today: “the patience of God DOES come to an end; His wrath WILL come!”

 

—IMPORTANT NOTE:

God does not abandon His purpose in creating man, not even when the world is covered in darkness and man’s wickedness saturates every thought and imagination that comes into his heart; God knew “the end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10)- Remember, it is mortal man that tries to make sense of the past in the darkness of time, but the long journey of the past only makes sense in the Light of the future!

Therefore, with such evil in the world, God’s word focuses on the deliverance of Noah from wrath in the Ark.  In other words, God is telling you- O end times Church- to focus on your deliverer, not your calamity!

“Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth!  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God!  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory!” (Colossians 3:2-4)

READ: Romans 8:18-26 “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…”

 

Point 2 (Genesis 6:8-10)

God tells us of the “generations” (NASB) of Noah; and we are not told first off of his progeny, but rather, of righteousness.  Preceding God’s recitation of Noah’s “generations” we find that Noah found grace from the LORD- before anyone can be brought into the line of righteousness as an heir they must first find GRACE!

It is here that we see Jesus foreshadowed again: Christ is “grace upon grace”- Noah found grace.

Let us consider Noah’s generation of righteousness (which is revealed at greater length in the entire chapter 11 of Hebrews):

(PREACH) By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

“Noah condemned the world”, just as we die to the world:  the floodwaters, which represent our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ by the Holy Spirit, were the means by which the whole world was condemned to Noah, and by which Noah died to the whole world- when he emerged from the Ark he emerged into a new world.

 

 

Of Noah’s generations it is said:

  1. He was righteous and blameless in his generation.
  2. He walked with God.
  3. His progeny: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

 

Point 3 (Genesis 6:13-22)

“Elohim” spoke to Noah (God’s Genesis 1:1 name), and told him that the Creator of Heaven and Earth is coming to destroy creation.  “Elohim” declares the end from the beginning with what will ultimately be fulfilled at the return of Christ:

And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth.’

  • See Isaiah 34:1-4 “Let the earth hear, and all that is in it; for the indignation of the Lord is against the nations…”
  • See 2 Peter 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise…”

 

From this point on God speaks exclusively regarding Noah’s salvation:

  • The Ark of God’s covenant by which Noah would be delivered from God’s wrath.
  • The floodwaters of God’s wrath by which Noah would be delivered from the wickedness of the world.

Now the details regarding the Ark of God’s covenant begin to be revealed:

 

  1. The Ark is God’s covenant with Noah provided by grace and entered through faith.
  2. The Ark’s design is revealed in advance.
  3. The Ark had one window.
  4. The Ark had many rooms.
  5. The Ark had one door.
  6. The Ark was God’s deliverance during the outpouring of His wrath

 

  • See Psalm 32:6-7For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”
  • See Luke 11:13How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

Noah and his sons labor to build the ark for anywhere between 55 to 75 years (high estimates are 100+ years).

(v22) “Thus Noah did”

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear (Heb 11:7)

 

Genesis 7: The Great Flood

Point 1 (Genesis 7:1-6)

The LORD watched Noah, who was moved with godly fear as he received God’s warning by faith; God saw Noah’s faithfulness all these long years of thankless, sweat-stained, blood-stained, ridiculed labor, and declared;

“Come into the Ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

By the labor of faith Noah entered the Ark.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.  Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:9-11)

Jesus Christ is the Sabbath-rest of God. Enter His rest at the invitation of His word (Matthew 11:28) whereby every sincere heart of faith is filled with the grace of God. Let us be diligent to set our hope on the firm foundation of Christ’s return; to take up every promise of God whereby we may become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); and to abound in the joy of our salvation through blessing and trial by offering to God our sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).

Hear this: today we must be moved by the same godly fear that moved Noah by faith!

1 Peter 4:17For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

See Matthew 24:27-41

 

Point 2 (Genesis 7:7-24)

This is when everything ceased being faith for Noah and everything he had believed in became reality; for years Noah was moved with God fear by faith to labor for things that seemed so far off.  The world continued as it had always been- life, merriment, death, and new life- but Noah and his family forsook the passing pleasures to pursue something that was utterly veiled to their understanding.

  • The floodwaters began to rage as the fountains of the deep were broken
  • The widows of heaven were opened.

 

Then God commanded Noah to enter the Ark:

So those that entered went in as God had commanded Noah; and the LORD shut him in.”
(Genesis 7:16)

Noah is sealed into the Ark by the LORD:

  • See Ephesians 4:30
  • See Romans 8:35-39

 

 

Genesis 8: Noah Delivered and God’s Covenant with Creation

Point 1 (Genesis 8:1-14)

The floodwaters of God’s wrath that cleansed the face of the earth from the exceedingly great wickedness of man brought deep sorrow to God:

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. (Ezekiel 33:11)

Every creature of God’s “very good” creation was destroyed; the fierceness of God’s wrath- the wrath that can only be fully satisfied by Christ- broke loose upon the face of the earth with great noise, terror, and power.  And in this moment God was utterly robbed of any pleasure in His creation.  No song of nature.  No beauty of the fields.  Nothing on earth but the Ark carrying the line by which the greatly anticipated Seed that would crush the Serpent’s head was left on the face of the earth.

Then Elohim remembered Noah in the Ark and brought a wind to dry up the earth.

After the Ark came to rest on Mt. Ararat Noah began sending out birds to see if the earth was ready to receive him again;

 

  1. First the Raven
  2. Then a Dove (returned).
  3. Again a Dove (returned with an Olive Branch).
  4. And again a Dove (Did not return).

 

Olive Branch Meaning: Romans 11:17-21. Olive Branch representative of Israel into which the Gentiles are grafted!

 

Point 2 (Genesis 8:15-22)

Now that the earth is dried up God spoke to Noah again;

“Go out of the Ark, you and your household, bring out with you every living thing that is with you so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 8:17)

 

Noah is now breathing the hope of new life and builds an altar to the LORD to sacrifice a burnt offering of every clean animal and of every clean bird.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.  For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.  And who is sufficient for these things?  2 Corinthians 2:!4-16

Noah’s sacrifice foreshadowed the complete redemption of all creation that would be made by Jesus Christ in the end; by this sacrifice Noah diffused the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ.

 

In the past God has cursed man’s dominion at the fall of Adam and Eve; even so again God struck man’s dominion again at the flood.  Now God makes a covenant;

I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:21-22)

 

 

Prophetic Signs of Noah’s Time:

  • Mankind gave and took in marriage and bore sons and daughters (Ch. 5)
  • Mankind multiplied on the face of the earth (6:1).
  • Mankind’s wickedness was widespread on the face of the Earth (6:5).
  • Every intent of their heart was evil (6:5).
  • Noah found Grace from God (6:8)
  • Noah’s generation was righteousness (6:9)
  • The Earth itself was also corrupt before God (6:11).
  • The Earth was filled with violence (6:11).
  • Every creature (people and animals) on earth had corrupted its ways (6:12 see v7).
  • God judged Noah’s faithfulness during the years of construction (7:1)
  • The Ark is God’s covenant with Noah
  • The Ark’s design is revealed in advance, as Christ was foretold by the prophets.
  • The Ark has one window.
  • The Ark has many rooms.
  • The Ark had one door.
  • The ark was God’s deliverance during His outpouring of wrath.