Monday, 31 March 2014

The Gospel: Why is it Good News?

Voddie explains the difficult concept of total depravity, and why it is vital to understand this in order to know fully well why it was necessary for Jesus to have to go through what He did for us. When we soft-pedal this we do not fully realize the awesomeness and the miraculousness of what Jesus did on our behalf. It is a difficult concept because we do not want to believe we are "that bad". Voddie goes into ways we try to wiggle out of the truth of the fact that we were totally depraved prior to Jesus redeeming us. He explains the difference between being restrained from completely falling into our totally depraved ways by the restraining power of God, but that this is not the same as being saved and released from the power of sin. He explains the difference. Very powerful and thought provoking and prayer provoking sermon. He also explains why it is vital that we tell the truth to others who are lost in false doctrines and sin, and why it is vital to pray for the the truth to be preached and the lost to be reached. Hope you  enjoy this message as much as I did.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Dr. Alan Cairns

Dr. Cairns gave this message in 2006 shortly before retiring from preaching. You can hear and feel with him the heaviness in his heart for America, for how far she has fallen from grace. You can hear and feel the heaviness in his heart that he bears for the individuals who boldly and brazenly reject the offer that God makes to fallen man through His beloved son Jesus. The prayer he prays at the end is so solemn and so penetrating, so humbling and yet so powerful. God help us, America is so filled up to the brim with her sins that like Dr. Cairns woefully admits, her sins today make the sins of yesterday look so innocent and so minor...although all sin is horrible. The sodomites and the abortioners (child murderers) can't get enough of their murderous and adulterous ways. They lust for more and more blood and filth and horror. God help us, we are on the brink of destruction (parts 1-5):

Neglecting So Great a Salvation

I've heard many objections to the reality of hell. Here are a few:

1. God cannot be a good God and send people to hell

2. It is only for the angels who sinned not for people

3. It is not a literal place, it is only symbolic, people will just disappear and the eternal aspect of it is they will be eternally nothing, their suffering and gnashing will be an eternal fact of the past, but will forever attest to their once having been, and forever having disappeared.

4. Hell only means "grave". It is from a word that translates to mean "the grave". If you believe Jesus, and truly take to heart what Jesus says about hell, you would know that it does mean that the person has died and their mortal body has gone to the grave...but it goes further, there is an immortal portion that goes deeper and further and lower than simply a hole in the ground.

Jesus said none of those things. The Bible reveals that it is a place, a real place, and that there will be angels who get sent there, but that there will also be people that will get sent there...and Jesus said MANY will go there, that few will go the narrow road that leads to eternal life and many will go the wide path to eternal destruction.....

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Questions and Answers

Continuing with my Voddie Baucham binge I came upon this sermon and I am in awe of how much the Lord has blessed me through this sermon...even though the message is the same one (God never changes) Voddie is so gifted in breaking open the Truth of God's word to the understanding afresh.

In this sermon he asks life's 4 basic questions, and then answers these questions with "the world view" and then answers them with what the Bible says. Amazing grace, ever more and more amazing.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Voddie Baucham

I've heard others say "You have got to hear Voddie Baucham...he's an excellent preacher", and filed that away with "things and people I need to check out"...and then one day, a few days ago, I listened to Voddie, and I'm going to find me a whole lot of his sermons and go on a Voddie binge. I hope you will take about an hour to have your socks blessed right off:

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Shaking the Dust Off...

What does that mean, exactly?

I seem to remember that I have posted on this topic once before...however it was a long time ago, and it bears thinking about again.

(interesting blog post as well)

When Jesus sent out the 12 to teach and preach and heal, He cautioned them to go only where they would be accepted, and to shake the dust off when their words were rejected. (Matthew ch 10; Mark ch 6; Luke chs 9 & 10; Acts 13:51)

However, does that mean to kick sand in their eyes? No. I believe that it just means to shake it off, don't carry the "stuff", the grunge, the hurts or angers or frustrations or what-have-you, from going through the dusty dirty interactions this world brings you, just shake it off, do not let it cling to you, and move on.

I have trouble with moving on.

I so can relate to the Israelites going over a small segment of land before the Jordan River, going over and over and over it, for forty years! Yes Lord! I can see that I do that! Why do I do that? Why can't I just shake the dust off and move on? Stubbornness, that's what it is, sheer stubbornness and stiffneckedness. Sigh.

Lord, AGAIN, I come before you (daily) with all the things I do which cause you to shake your head. I know I fall very short of your glory, and humbly come before you for the help to shake the dust off, not carry the memory of
murmurings and strife,
and let it go at the foot of the cross,

shake it out of my shoes,

like pebbles in my shoes
which only cause me to continually stumble
and cry out in agony
and frustration

instead of praise and thanksgiving.

Thank You for Your longsuffering on our (my) behalf, and for continually reminding me to look up, when I get cast down.

In Jesus Holy Name,

Are Enablers Nice?

First off, I want to admit right off the bat that left to myself, I am one, an enabler that is. I want people to like me, and want to agree with all sorts of error and sin if it gets their saying: "Susan is such a nice person"... and would be lying if I didn't confess that straight away.

However, the Holy Spirit just won't let me off the hook that easily, and when I do this candy coated evil, I feel very uncomfortable. He won't allow me this hypocrisy for long before I have to confess my error, my sin, my thin veneer of "nice" over a dark icky glob of ENABLER TO WICKEDNESS, ugh!

Rom 1:20  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Rom 1:22  Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Notice the regression:
1. they knew God
2. they did not honor Him as God
3. they became futile in their thinking
4. their foolish hearts were darkened
5. they claimed to be wise
6. they became fools
7. they exchanged the glory of immortal God for something that is more similar to mortal man; judging God by mortal and fleshy standards.

which then leads to a whole bunch of other errors, which in our crafty sinful flesh can be covered up with all kinds of "nice"...but the Lord is not fooled...and then not only do they harbor all kinds of covered up ugliness, but the Lord says:

Rom 1:32  Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. 

Wow, there it is. Enablers. Not very pretty at all, is it? If we encourage sin, we are complicit in sin. If we say there is no sin in homosexual behavior, we are complicit in homosexual behavior. If we say there is no sin in abortion, we are complicit in murder. And there is no sin that is not forgiveable...except one, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, in which the truth of sinfulness is revealed, and known, but they would rather cling to the flesh and love fallen sinfulness and decaying wretchedness more than the truth of what God says about it, and encourage those who likewise love sin more than truth. Forgiving: yes....Enabling (encouraging, saying wrongly that it isn't sin, therefore needs no forgiveness): no

Are you an enabler? Do you want to confess the horribleness of it and come clean about it before Christ? He is all-forgiving of the worst sins if we truly humble ourselves before Him with all of our wretched behaviors and mindsets, and confess that He alone is Holy, Gracious, and True, and able to make us partakers of His good qualities through His Holy Spirit,
only by the cross,
the crucifying of our flesh with Him,
by Him and through Him,
His power,
His glory,
His forgiveness,
His goodness,
forever, and forever,

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Agnostic/Atheist also a "Former Christian"? Is That Really Possible?

 1Jn 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
1Jn 2:18  Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1Jn 2:19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

I've had this conversation several times with persons who truly believe they were once saved and eventually have fallen from that "saving faith" into all sorts of error (atheism, agnosticism, Buddhism, Judaism, anything but the truth of God's word, just holding to the fragments that appeal to them) or persons who have "friends" who were "once saved" and now are not. 

I can honestly say that if you do not believe God now, you never did. How can I say that? I didn't know these people, and I don't really know them now, so how can I make such an assessment? By God's word, the Bible. The Bible says so. Is that so shocking? Is that a ridiculous reason to accept that as a fact? Then the Christians who say they believe these false ones over the Bible are also suspect for possibly being the same type of (non)Christians.

These are interesting times, and MANY are falling out with the Church. Some may eventually turn to Christ in truth, but I sadly believe that many will not. These had an "appearance of Godliness" but they rejected His power (the Bible tells us 2 Timothy 3:5) and they are "ever learning" but never actually coming to the full truth (2 Timothy 3:7). They put more faith into their own faulty belief system than understanding the fact that none of us can fully comprehend something (and Someone) that is completely out of our league, but by His power and strength is able to grow us to learn truly about Him, and grow us to be His brothers and sisters by maturing in His grace and His knowledge, which is far superior to anything we can come up with on our own. The fact that they don't want to give up on their own ability to come up with these things causes them to judge God as "unfair" and "unloving". Unfair? Yes. Because we all deserve hell, so the fact that those who truly grow in Him won't go to hell is very unfair. It's called grace because we do not deserve it. I don't want fair because of the fact that it would be completely fair to send me to hell.

I think I'm only observing the beginning of this trend, this falling away. I believe many will fall out, that there are many "pew warmers" who think they believe God, and do not. They go for the good times, to be proper American citizens, or at least go to see their friends, etc, but as far as having a relationship with Jesus? Truly? He will say to many: "I never knew you" (Matthew 7:23)

In the above (2 John 2:19) we find that it is actually a good thing that the falling away occurs, because the appearance of godliness is outed for what it really is. It isn't godliness at all, only something that has that appearance, on the surface. If it were true it would be throughout those individuals lives, permeating their very existence, and to the point they would never abandon the Lord who so mercifully and lovingly saved them from their wretched selfish lives. It just wouldn't happen, so the wheat is then being separated from the tares. The tares look similar to wheat, but when both mature, the tares reveal what they really are. Their fruit has a black fungus on it that is poisonous if ingested, causing sleepiness in small amounts, or if concentrated into a juice/oil solution it can even cause death. What appropriate symmetry and symbolism. The message such persons "preach" is that there is the possibility of a "true Christian" to fall away, and it is a lie, and is pure poison, evil from the pit, which can cause true believers unnecessary anguish.

Phil Johnson has an excellent sermon on this topic : The Vine and the Branches (Sermon Audio- approx 1 hr)

Previous posts on this topic:

Can a Truly Saved Person Fall Away

Can a Truly Saved Person Fall Away Part 2

Can a Truly Saved Person Fall Away Part 3

Can a Truly Saved Person Fall Away Part 4
There's a difference between having doubts which the Lord corrects and helps you with, and an all-out falling out and away from Him which is discussed a bit in comments section of this blog entry

Maturity in Christ: Fruit 

The Great Falling Away

 The Falling Away of the Church 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Problem of Atheists

It's Sunday night and we just got back from a long drive to visit relatives. One of the things we do on these long road trips is listen to sermons that my husband downloads onto an MP3 from Sermon Audio. One of today's selections (we listened to four today, I think) was a sermon given by (my favorite) Phil Johnson entitled "What You need to Know About Answering Atheists". There were so many things that came to mind as I was listening to this, things that I also have heard time and time again when I've dialogued with atheists, or read in the comments sections of various blog sites from people who seem to think they know a whole lot more than the Christian ignoramuses who blindly believe the unprovable and therefore (they think) unbelievable...and while I considered this I also thought about the fact that they are right, partially anyway. It would be stupid to trust and believe something that is unknowable and unbelievable, and in this fallen condition that is what the things of God are to those who do not (and cannot) believe. But there are enough hints to reveal that there really is a God that made the heavens and the earth, and if He is perfect (which He would have to be to masterfully have created this universe and everything in it) He also would provide the way to the redemption that is needed to be made whole (which we definitely are not, everyone who is honest will admit to the myriad of problems we encounter at present).

Phil explores these issues and more in a very pragmatic approach which defines these problems and how the scriptures really do answer these problems. These things can only be understood by having the Holy Spirit intervene on our behalf, these things truly are foolishness to those who do not believe. The paradox is that the Bible reveals the true fools to be the atheists:

"The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. " Psalm 14:1

Phil then brings up the fact that many atheists are "nice people" who do "good deeds". However, none of us do good unless the Lord gives us the ability to do good (without any ulterior motives that is, we all want some kind of pay off). Phil explains this and many other fallacies that atheists make here. I hope you will enjoy this sermon as much as I did.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

We Were All God's Enemies

Psalm Chapter 2

  Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  
The kings of the earth set themselves,
 and the rulers take counsel together, 
against the LORD and against his Anointed,
  "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." 

He who sits in the heavens laughs; 
the Lord holds them in derision. 
  Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
 and terrify them in his fury,
  "As for me, 
I have set my King on Zion, 
my holy hill." 
 I will tell of the decree: 
The LORD said to me, 
"You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, 
and the ends of the earth your possession. 
  You shall break them with a rod of iron
 and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." 

 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
 be warned, O rulers of the earth. 
  Serve the LORD with fear, 
and rejoice with trembling. 
  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, 
and you perish in the way, 
for his wrath is quickly kindled. 
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (KJV)

There are many in today's world who rage against God, and against His appointed rulers of this world and against all authority of any kind. The Lord's outright opponents, the haters, the blasphemers, seething with anger and hate, are not His only opponents. We find in the New Testament that we all (at one time or another) were His enemies, not just those who "put on a show" about it:

  .... while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  Romans 5:10

 Something I have yet to grow into (Lord help me) is when a person, or persons, gets hostile, and thereby do the things which reveals to me they are my enemy(ies).  I would hazard to say that most people today are God's enemies and therefore because I abide in Him they are by extension also my enemies. However, many are not openly hostile and ugly. Many of them are seemingly model citizens, but their words reveal their rebellion against the Son, and therefore also against the Father, and are "inwardly seething" (Psalm 62:4; Matthew 7:15). Sure they can put up a good front (can't we all?) and seem like they are "nice people", however eventually the truth will come out about who is truly against us and who is for us and with us, with our God (1 John 2:19), they can't hide out forever. 

And yet, not all of them will remain His enemies. I was every bit His enemy (although mostly I thought I was a "good person") and even though I was only "nice" on the outside and thoroughly sinful and deceitful on the inside, the Lord chose to reveal that fact to me and rescue me out of that horrible condition. Should that make me proud??? Of course not. My flesh would like me to be, and at times I do slip into such a Pharisaical condition.....and then the Lord corrects me and reminds me that I was no better, and that any virtue that I have today is only possible because He is virtuous, and His life has been infused with mine. That is humbling, and when I dwell upon my fleshy condition too long, it is down right mortifying. 

And that is why we are to meditate on Him, on His holiness and goodness and purity. When I dwell upon the flesh, this world's evil condition and my own weaknesses and shortcomings, it brings me down, I get depressed, and then I am to bring it up to the Father in prayer, and rejoice in the fact that it is all working together for good for those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28).

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Danger of Dialoguing with Devils

Remember Eve? What happened when she started joining in a conversation with "the serpent"? He influenced her thinking...he poisoned it, he polluted it with exactly enough misinformation to draw her away from what she once believed to be true. She doubted God, not because God is a liar, but because the devil who was speaking through the snake, muddled up her thinking with half-truths and outright lies.

Genesis 3:1
 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (KJV)

We see from this verse that:
1) the serpent is subtle...what does that mean? This link gives these synonyms for the word subtle: sly, tricky, foxy, slick. 

2) the serpent uses God's own words against Him with Eve by asking Eve a question, a simple question which seems so harmless, a question that carries alot of baggage, because it carries defiance and hatred against God. Satan through the serpent said "Hath God said 'ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden' ?" Pure poison.

Genesis 3:2-3
  And the woman said unto the serpent, 
"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:   But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. "

What happened there? Is that what God said to Adam? Was anything said about dying if they touched it? 

God told Adam:

Genesis 2:16-17
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:   But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.  

 We see that already Eve is a little defensive in answering the devil, causing her to feel the need to embellish God's words as given to Adam. Have you ever done that? Someone challenges you so you get a little nervous, and add to your argument to make it sound more dramatic...? I see that tactic used in dramatic presentations on television or in the cinema quite often, and I know that I've done it myself. 

So then what happens?

Genesis 3:4-5 
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:   For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 

The devil does two things here:

1) He lies outright: "Ye shall not surely die". This goes directly against what God said for God said "thou shalt surely die"

2) He says God is withholding knowledge from them: knowing good and evil. The devil says with this knowledge they will be as gods. Here it gets tricky, hence he is showing that subtle nature with this slight of hand. Why would she need to know about evil? She knew what was good because she and Adam were very close and well acquainted with God, who is the ultimate good. The devil must have known that Eve had a curiosity about the tree, and a desire to know more about it. He supplied her lust for wanting more. She had everything she needed, and she had eternal life, but she wanted more. By wanting more the devil tricked her into giving away her immortality. He encouraged some thoughts in her head that would lead her away from God's protection by calling God a selfish liar, qualities that actually apply to the devil and not to God.

So then what happens?

Genesis 3:6
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 

Three things: appetite, sight, and a prideful desire to be wise. Where have we seen this before? The Apostle John warns about these very weaknesses:

 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 

The same thing happened with the Israelites while they wandered in the wilderness. Read the book of Numbers to find how they had the perfect food, manna, but they lusted after more. The perfect food got boring. They wanted meat. So God gave it to them, and they gorged themselves on it, to the point that God sent a pestilence as a consequence to their vile and disgusting behavior. It is just as the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us: "there's nothing new under the sun".

The true wisdom that is from above is humble. God was never prideful. That is the devil. When pride rears it's ugly head in us, and we doubt God and then think we know more than He does (how utterly foolish!) that is the devil having a dialogue with us, calling God a liar, questioning us on the reliability of what God says to us.

Guard yourselves because the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.