Low Views of the Spirit Lead to Low Views of These Doctrines

Our belief on the need for the Holy Spirit impacts other things we believe. In my experience, those who downplay (which means–never talk about) the Holy Spirit, also downplay the following biblical doctrines:

1) Prayer–the Holy Spirit is linked with prayer continually. If prayer is viewed as optional, doesn’t really do anything, or is merely saying the same words, then what need is there for the Holy Spirit?

2) Gifts–spiritual gifts are not natural talents but rather spiritually created desires and abilities, not seen until after spiritual rebirth. If there is no talk of spiritual gifts–all of them, not just tongues and healing–you’re probably in a church that minimizes the Spirit.

3) Fruit–If life is sort of just a thing that is in the way before heaven and there’s no real point for Christian living, if salvation is just the same life as before just with more church, then fruit is not big on your list and the Spirit is not big either.

4) Resurrection Life–living the new life in Christ means a cessation of your old life, you are dead and crucified. Therefore all you have left is the Spirit and His spiritual life. No emphasis on resurrection life? Then more than likely little talk of the need for the Spirit.

5) Scriptural Knowledge–sure, you may know your proof texts and you may have down all the verses your guys gave you, but you know little about the rest of the Bible and little concern to figure it out, then the Spirit does not rank highly. What’s the point of having The Teacher if we know it all already?

How do You Know If You Have the Holy Spirit?

Here’s how the Bible says you can know you have the Holy Spirit:

–The Bible increasingly makes sense to you
–You have an insatiable desire for more of God and His Word
–There is an inner witness with your spirit and God’s Spirit that you are a child of God
–You have a relationship with God as Him being your Abba, Father
–You are led in ways of righteousness and God, which means
–You are increasingly seeing victory over sin even to the point of saying you’ve killed it off.
–You have spiritual gifts and you use them
–Your life is producing fruit of the Spirit

Here’s how most people say you can know you have the Holy Spirit

–You get tingly sensations during certain worship songs
–Your body has convulsions, maybe even hysterical laughter for no reason
–Because you think you have Him
–Because you did a momentary manifestation of Holy Spirit Power
–You had a knee problem healed once
–Your car/home/appliance/TV sold right away on Craig’s List
–Doors miraculously open when you want to do that thing you like doing
–You hang out with people who also claim to have the Holy Spirit and you all act and look the same

Remember who the Judge is in the end–not people but God Himself. Be sure you know you’ve been born again.

Why You Must Be Born Again

John 3 is a fascinating and deep chapter. It contains many familiar verses, that are so familiar I think we assume we know what it’s all about.

In fact, it’s not hard to tell what John 3 is about–you must be born again. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, only spiritual creations can. Furthermore, only spiritual creations can discern spiritual teaching and do spiritual things.

The trap of legalism says “you can do everything God says through human will and strength.” Legalism, when not bucking you up with self-righteousness, is tearing you down with guilt. And self-righteousness is never free from guilt, nor vice-versa. Amazing how we operate, no?

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a huge event. It is the Gospel and it is what saves. But often left ignored is the truth, expounded on by Paul, that believers were crucified there and we were raised up there.

While Christianity downplays the commands of the NT, it also downplays the Holy Spirit, because if there’s nothing for us to do, what’s the point of having Spiritual power? “I can do everything through me because there aint nothin to do!” Seems to be the default position of “believers.”

You must be born again. You must see the utter dependency we have on the Holy Spirit for Christian living. Without Him we are just breathing piles of dirt; with Him we are partakers of the divine nature.

Pharaoh and God

Many approach commands of God as things God would like us to do, but He understands we can’t actually do it. Thus, we make commands optional.

But when we consider the commands–forgive as Christ has forgiven you, be perfect as your Father is perfect, be holy as God is holy–we run into trouble. If we can’t do these things is God unreasonable or just goofy?

Israel ran into this problem with Pharaoh. As Israelites abounded, Pharaoh tried to keep them down with work–make bricks; make more bricks; gather straw for the bricks and still make the same amount.

It got unreasonable, unbearable. Is this what God is? Is he a maniacal dictator commanding us to do the impossible?

Or, perhaps He is commanding us to do the impossible and yet smiling, letting us know He really doesn’t expect us to do these things. An old grampa telling the grandkids to clean the house for gramma full-well knowing it won’t really be clean but it’s the thought that counts.

Perhaps our real trouble is in not seeing the power of new life in Christ. We’re so inundated with teachings about the weakness of the flesh, we never get to the strength of the Spirit.

We ascribe more power to our first birth than to our re-birth. We see the power of me and doubt the power of Christ. Instead, we see Christ as a great Messiah who saves people from their sin, just not really.

You must be born again. Old things have passed away, behold all things are new. We are new creations in Christ Jesus. We’ve been given not a spirit of fear but of power.

Perhaps these words mean something.

Truth and Funny

John Piper did a blog post about why he doesn’t speak badly of Fundamentalists. His first reason why is “They are humble and respectful and courteous and even funny.”

Funny is a good reason to respect someone. There’s something about funny that smacks of truth. I’ve heard many people after hearing a joke say, “It’s funny because it’s so true!”

Truth has humor in it. Where there is no humor there is probably little truth. Those who are hyper-serious, to the point of depressive, about their faith make me nervous. Something isn’t right. What is your seriousness making up for?

Pharisees are not funny. They are studiously serious. Religion is too important for them to be funny.

There is a flip side, funny can be taken too far. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “If I had to choose one or the other, I would prefer the man who may even be a little morbid, but who does know the plague of his own heart, to the glib, superficial, light-hearted kind of Christian who has never yet known and realized the foulness and the vileness of his own nature and the depth of sin within him.”

In the end, humor is no gauge of spirituality. But I’m still highly bothered by the man who cannot laugh. I’ve met few funny people who are not in tune with reality. Much humor has a root in humility; much seriousness has a root in pride.

Just some thoughts, no real point.

Deserving Heaven

It is proper Christian thinking to talk about our unworthiness and general horribleness. Our heads puff as we utter, “I am not worthy of heaven.”

Certainly there is truth in these utterances and it may indeed be possible I’m being cynical a tad. But I do think we often go overboard in our voluntary humility to the extent we miss biblical teaching.

You can indeed be worthy of heaven. And, for our NIV readers, “worthy” means “to deem entirely deserving.” Yup, it is possible to claim that you deserve heaven.

Now, don’t go saying that because I said so, listen to Jesus talk about a group of people who “shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead.” “Accounted worthy” means deserving.

Or perhaps you’re a Paul guy. Well here’s Paul talking about the suffering Thessalonian believers that they “may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God.” “Counted worthy” is the same Greek word and it means to deserve.

It is possible to deserve heaven, now I suggest you figure out how to go about deserving it!

Libyans in the Bible

Got this from Joel Rosenberg:

  • In Matthew 27, for example, we learn that it was a Libyan man — Simon of Cyrene (a part of ancient Libya) – who carried the cross for our Lord Jesus.
  • In Acts chapter 2, we learn that God-fearing men from Libya were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and heard the Apostle Peter preach the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some 3,000 people that days repented of their sins and became fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It is likely that Libyans were among them since they are mentioned in the text.
  • In Acts 11, we learn that Libyan (Cyrene) followers of Jesus Christ helped bring the gospel to Antioch, Syria, and made disciples for Jesus there.
  • In Acts 13 we learn that a Libyan man — Lucius of Cyrene — becomes one of the leaders of the church at Antioch, helping send out Barnabus and Paul to take the gospel to Asia and Europe.

God and Temptation

James 1:13-17 says that God does not tempt man with evil. In fact, James’ main point is that good things come from God, not bad things, so don’t be stupid and confuse that point.

So, God doesn’t tempt people. Except, of course, in Genesis 22 where God tempted Abraham concerning the sacrifice of his son.

But that’s different. Here’s another one that popped into my head from the Lord’s Prayer we are told to say “lead us not into temptation.”

Well that’s a pretty stupid request if God doesn’t tempt people. Or is it?

Towers Falling on Sinners

Frequently after tsunamis, hurricanes, Democrat presidents, people will ask if these occurrences are a judgment on someone’s sin. Was there something they did to deserve this tragic outcome?

Pat Robertson made a career out of this speculation, in fact.

More often than not you will hear Luke 13:4 quoted:

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

The implied answer is “No, the tower falling was an accident, it was not God’s judgment.” This is always the application of this verse and I’ve yet to hear otherwise. Until I read the next verse.

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.


Jesus’ application, which is frequently not our application, is that if you remain unrepentant a tower might fall on you!

That’s amazing. Go ahead, prove to me the Bible is not saying what it’s saying here.

God’s Judgment = End of Deceit

Deceit is everywhere. The guy selling you that thing you need is lying about how much you really need it. The chic on tv selling you razors isn’t attracted to you at all, like totally not.

We’re lied to on a daily basis and, unfortunately, we lie on a daily basis. We’re surrounded by it. If everyone immediately started telling the truth right NOW, boy howdy, what a different world it would be.

If it happened, the world would look a lot like heaven, a place where Truth reigns. Instead we have infomercials. We’re surrounded by deceit.

“Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.”

Deceit will follow us as long as Satan has power. A day is coming and oh, I can’t wait, when Satan, the Deceiver, will be tossed into the lake of fire to be tormented forever and ever.

Oh what a day! Do you long for the end of deceit? Then do your part to end Satan’s influence in you today. Wake up to righteousness, live in the Light of Truth and cast off the works of darkness.

Set yourself free from bondage to fear and man and sin and let the truth set you free! It’s the only way to know the Lord. Do you want to know Him? Then come to Him through the Truth.

Why is there Deceit in the Church?

There are several reasons why:

1) The Church is made up  of humans and humans have deceitful hearts. Where there are humans there will be deceit. Therefore, the purest church is the one nobody attends.

2) There are wolves among the sheep. Sneaky evil people prey upon young believers and they will use cunningly devised fables to fool, if it were possible, even the very elect.

3) The Bible has little place in most churches. We have to work in our singing and our choir and our offering with offertory and announcements and communion and the report from the youth group recently back from the Bahamas and that one guy who prays, for like, forever and the pastor’s cute stories and the interpretive dance and the Powerpoint projector to get fixed and so on.

4) The Church is filled with idiots. Nuff said.

5) God puts deceivers in the midst to test the hearts of His people. It’s true, God tests people to see what is in their heart. Oh yeah, I know, God already knows, but the Bible says He tests to see what is in people’s hearts. Take a look at Ezekiel 14:9. Try on Job 12:16. Maybe try 1 Corinthians 11:19.

6) Satan hates the Church and Satan is a deceiver. This is his battleground, may not be yours, but it’s his. He will do all he can to distract you from truth there, which is why it’s best to stay home on Sunday mornings and read the paper and drink coffee and say a prayer because of trees.

Unless of course you’re a man and aren’t afraid to be a soldier of Jesus Christ. Metaphorically speaking: Lock and load, boys; the truth needs defending.

Peter, Paul and Deceit

Peter was a good Jew. He got freaked out in Acts when God gave him a vision telling him to eat unclean food. The point of the vision was to see that Gentiles could be acceptable to God, too.

Peter sort of picked up on it. But Peter had some issues, one of which was worrying about his reputation. He denied Christ to a girl. In Galatians 2 he is afraid when powerful Jews come to town.

Peter had no problem eating with Gentiles until certain Jews came for a visit, then Peter acted like Gentiles were unknown to him. “Gentile. What’s a Gentile?”

Paul confronts him over his deceit that was leading all sorts of Jews, including Barnabas, down a wrong, two-faced path. Why act one way with one crowd then another way with another crowd? This is not a proper display of the Gospel.

Paul’s problem with Peter was explained thusly, “I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel.” Rather than walking uprightly according to truth, Peter was walking deceitfully.

The Gospel demands a certain way of life. It’s a life of truth. Believers in the Gospel don’t have to lie about why they laughed, why they cried, why they got mad, why they were late, etc. They just tell the truth.

They don’t have to justify what they eat, who they eat with, what they drink, when they got home, etc. They just tell the truth.

Believers in the Truth live by truth and demonstrate truth. They don’t have to excuse themselves with elaborate justifications and rationalizations and slick methods of scheduling and excusing. They just live the truth.

Truth brings freedom and peace. You don’t have to keep up with your lies. You don’t have to worry about who saw you do what, when, with whom. You just do the truth. You live for God, not for man.

The hard part is doing the truth. The rest is life and peace.

Deceit and Pride

The main reason we are susceptible to deceit is because we are proud. Pride resists reality because reality is not very flattering.

God gives grace to the humble. This is true even though we believe the deceptive doctrine that there is nothing we do to get God’s grace. Humility is required to be saved because God’s message is humbling to humanity.

Humble people don’t need to lie to cover up inadequacies. Humble people are honest about what they don’t know and what they can’t do. Humble people ask for help when they need it.

Humble people are the only ones who truly see their need for grace. Humble people are the only ones who exercise faith and listen to God.

Proud people are stuck on reputation and what people think of them. They are susceptible to man’s teaching and resistant to God’s. If you listen to God, people think you are foolish and proud people don’t want to look the fool.

Proud people use their intellect to circumvent plainly spoken truth. The fact they expended mental energy is another reason for them to be proud and know they’ve found the secret key to unlocking God’s favor.

Pride puffs up, makes you feel invincible and yet is unbelievably tiring. You have to work so hard to keep up appearances, to keep your own mind from knowing the truth about you.

Pride leads to destruction every time. Humility leads to life. Humility has no need for deception, there’s nothing you can tell the humble they don’t already know anyway. The proud are the ones who need deceit.

They need a cover. They always need more white paint for their dead men’s bones.

The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.

The Main Point of Satan’s Deceit

The Bible warns us about doctrines that we can be deceived on. In every single one the warning is in the midst of a discussion about sin.

–Deceit about the second coming is covered with warnings about iniquity, lawlessness and the mystery of iniquity already at work.

–Deceit about consequences is all about sin and being with sinful people.

–Deceit about reaping is a warning about doing sin or doing what is good.

–Deceit about righteousness is about sin and how truly righteous people are those who do actual righteousness.

Satan’s main point with all this is to convince you that sin isn’t bad. Why? Because people who sin go to hell. He doesn’t want you to view it so simply.

“Did God really say?” was the substance of Satan’s first deception on this earth, and he just keeps using the same line. What is sin? Sin is anything that violates God’s revealed will, what goes against His Word.

And Satan doesn’t want you to listen to God’s word. Why? Because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Many charge me with legalism and works righteousness when I point out these verses, “We’re saved by faith, not works!” Agreed, and faith hears and does what God says. Faith is first, action follows. If the action never follows there is no basis to claim faith.

This is simple, straightforward Bible teaching. Yet we live in an age where the traditions of men and deceptive visions rule our teaching rather than the eternally solid rock of God’s Word. No one knows the Bible. No one reads it.

If we did, we’d see how clear it was. Be not deceived, those who don’t hear God’s Word do not have faith. Oh, read the word, read the word, read the word.

Deceitful Doctrines: Righteousness

We all know that only righteous people go to heaven. Heaven is a righteous place and God, who is righteous, pours out wrath on all unrighteousness.

However, we all know how fun unrighteousness is! Therefore, we’re stuck. How can I still enjoy being unrighteous and yet still console myself with the assurance of heaven?

Our answer has been to devise a notion of righteousness that has no bearing in reality. We claim to be righteous in Christ, spiritually speaking, but practically still living in unrighteousness.

Then we devise theologies that say God only sees the righteousness of Christ when He looks at me, not my sin. Back to the senile grandpa god. “I know you’re a horrible, unrepentant sinner but in my book you’re just super-duper.”

So, our notion of being righteous is not based on what we do but rather based on who we think we are. But unfortunately for our sinful habits we enjoy, thinking your righteous is not the same as being righteous.

God knew we would be willingly deceived on this issue, which is why He had John write some books. Here’s what John says:

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”

If you are truly righteous in Christ you become righteous, you do what is righteous. If you claim to be righteous in Christ and yet don’t do righteousness you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you.

Understand that those who are righteous are those who do righteousness. Again, this is so basic and simple, and yet we’ve used our intellect to distort the clarity so we can keep sinning. Beware of deceit.

Deceitful Doctrines: Who Goes to Heaven

Since most Christians believe God is a senile grandfather, just happy to hear from us on his birthday, we think getting to heaven is pretty simple. They gate aint that strait and the way aint that narrow.

As long as a person said they believed at one point we pronounce them saved. Life and what we do in it matters nothing in comparison to what we said one time.

Many believe this to be true and those same many don’t read the Bible. Seriously, I don’t meet people who fastidiously read the Scriptures who believe in what is termed “easy-believism.” Never seen it.

Because the Bible blows easy-believism out of the water in eery one of its books. We should not be deceived on the issue of who goes to heaven–good people go to heaven, not sinners.

Whoa! That’s legalism! That’s works righteousness!

Nope, that’s Paul.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

In order to get around this we either 1) play with the definition of “the kingdom of God,” or 2) play around with what Paul means by these sins–how many times can one covet and not be eligible for heaven? Isn’t this old nature, new nature talk?

If you’re worried about loopholes then you’re not on the right footing to begin with. Take Paul for what he means, it’s pretty simple. But as with most simple statements like, “Don’t eat from that tree,” we really want to disobey!

In order to disobey, and yet still feel like we’re good, we invent clever ways to justify sin and cleverly devise ways to get around clear statements of Scripture.

My suggestion: Deal with what Paul says, not with some guy’s loophole.

Deceitful Doctrines: Reaping

I was once told that “reaping and sowing is a law concept, it does not apply to this age of grace.” This is an extreme standpoint, but one I’ve heard. Many more who would never say it, still act like they believe it.

Knowing God is vital to the life of faith and yet few have any concept of who God is. We have a notion of God, largely based on how we want Him to be rather than on who He says He is.

We want God to give us a pass on our sin. We want Him to truly only see Christ and not us. We want to believe that God looks the other way when we sin.

Really, we want God to be a senile grandpa who smiles, pats us on the head and gives us quarters when we come visit.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

But God does not have His head buried in the sand, He is very aware of what you’re doing and every single judgment in the Bible, with absolutely no exceptions, is based on what we do. Not on what we say, not on what we think, but on what we do. No exceptions.

While God is paying attention, He rewards us based on what we do. Again, one who says this is charged with legalism and “not knowing grace.” This merely shows the level to which we are deceived.

After Paul says we reap what we sow, notice what he says we should sow: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Since we reap what we sow, then sow goodness! This is not legalism; this is common sense. God is not mocked. Don’t mess with the character of God so you can keep your favorite sins. This is dangerous ground.

Deceitful Doctrines: Sin Has Consequences

Sin is bad. That truth is so simple, so straightforward you’d think it would be impossible to think otherwise. You’d be wrong. People are easily deceived and Satan’s job description begins with “Deceive the world.”

Sin has come to be “you know it’s not good, you shouldn’t sin, but really, who doesn’t? It’s no big deal.”

By distorting grace and love out of measure, Christians now believe sin is inevitable, not even worth resisting. So when we read passages like 1 Corinthians 15:32-34 we’re confused.

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Many use 1 Corinthians 15 to talk about the doctrine of the resurrection, few follow it to its logical end–Sin is bad and if you hang around bad people you will become bad. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, awake to righteousness and stop sinning–Live a resurrection life.

This sort of language is so out-of-place in Christianity that anyone who bothers to point out this verse will soon be accused of being yoked to legalism.

It’s not true. It may sound real happy and nice to claim that Christ’s blood makes your sin fine, but it’s deception. It may feel nice to say Christians should never feel shame, but that’s deception.

Paul says there are consequences to what we do and who we hang out with. We should be ashamed of our testimony, unless our testimony is marked by righteousness rather than sin.

If you believe otherwise you’ve been deceived.

Deceitful Doctrines: Second Coming of Jesus

Satan is a deceiver and people fall for deceit. The Church’s doctrines are full of deceit. There are several main areas of doctrinal deceit that the Bible warns us about.

Matthew 24:4-11 contains a warning from Jesus Himself that many will come to deceive you that they are Messiah. Many have claimed to be the second coming of Jesus and false prophets will deceive many into false notions of Christ’s coming.

2 Thessalonians says there will be deceit in convincing people that the second coming has already happened and that you missed it. There is deceit in people saying there will be religious revival before the end, even though Paul says there will be a falling away.

Satan wants to mess with doctrines of the second coming because if we don’t live with the imminent expectation of Christ’s return our spiritual energy will decline. If he can remove hope, he removes expectation, which removes motivation.

Furthermore, if he can get people to follow some guy rather than Christ, Satan wins that way too. So when Harold Camping sets a date for Christ’s return some are deceived into believing him, others are deceived into thinking the second coming is a joke.

Either way Satan wins. The last several hundred years of Church History are marked by predictions of the end, none of which have happened leading more people to live as if there is no eternity, no hope and no expectation.

But if there will be a second coming and our Judge will stand on this earth, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?

What is Deceit?

Satan is a deceiver, he plays tricks on people. He began this in the Garden of Eden and carries it on to this day.

Most Christian-types would acknowledge this fact and yet continue to fall for deceit. Perhaps one of the reasons why is because we don’t know what deceit truly is.

There are four stories in the OT that use the word deceit that illustrate what the Bible means by the word deceit.

–Genesis 12—Rebekah’s deceitful use of her son to snooker her man from giving the inheritance to the son she did not like—uses goat hair to trick

–Genesis 31:7—Jacob complains about Laban’s changing of his wages, substituting one daughter for another.

–1 Samuel 19—Michal helps David escape and puts an idol in his bed with fake hair to make it look like he’s still there. 19:17—Saul asks why Michal has deceived him

–1 Samuel 28:12—Saul goes to woman at Endor, dresses up so he’s not recognized, she wonders why he has deceived her to call up the dead

In each instance we have what is false yet looks like truth being substituted for what is true. The lie is disguised to appear as the real thing. This is deceit.

We are susceptible to deceit because even our own hearts are deceitful. Most of us want to be deceived since reality has the unfortunate quality of being unpleasant. Our willingness to believe a lie does not help when our enemy is the chief of all liars.

Deceit is a spiritual killer. Wake up to the truth and be set free.

Delight Yourself in the Lord

John Piper made Christian Hedonism popular, the notion that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The essential teaching is that we are to delight in God.

This is a fine notion, but who knows how people hear this phrase. What does it mean to delight in the Lord?

Is it to ignore reality to be happy in Jesus? How does one ignore reality when reality may keep breaking in with more disaster? How can you delight in someone you can’t see or hear?

Delighting in the Lord is not a Piper invention, it has been around for some time. Isaiah talks about delighting in the Lord and gives us a key beginning to what delighting in God means:

“not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD.”

Delighting in the Lord can only happen when we cease delighting in ourselves! Once we give up on our ideas, thoughts and words and instead come after God’s ideas, thoughts and words, we will delight in God.

Selfish, ego-centric, pride is our biggest hindrance to knowing God. We’re so consumed with knowing ourselves and finding ourselves that we never get around to diligently seeking God, thus we find no lasting reward.

To delight in God means to let God consume all, to remove you, to die to self, to rise up to newness of life, to be hid in Christ, to no longer live but let Christ live in you.

I could go on with many more references seeing as how this is central Bible doctrine. Stop being you. You aint that great.

Difference Between Jesus and Me: Jesus Always Does God’s Will

Jesus is God in the flesh. He made quite an impression on earth. People couldn’t figure out what made Him tick. Why was He so different?

The difference lay in the fact that, unlike every other person who ever lived, Jesus always did the will of His Father. Doing His Father’s will is the main reason why He came.

“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

Many of the things that Jesus did were written down, all He had to do was look up Scripture to find out what to do next (probably wasn’t necessary but you get my point).

My life is not written out for me. I have verses that help me determine what to do in situations in life, yet there are often verses proposing both sides of an act and I don’t know which is right.

I’m sure I often pick the wrong verse! I stand when I should run, fight when I should turn the other cheek, etc.

The alternative to doing God’s will is to do sin, which deserves death. God has provided sacrifices ultimately pointing to the One Sacrifice. But God has no pleasure in sacrifice, but rather in doing His will.

I am grateful that God’s will for His Son is that His Son would take the wrath I deserve. But I am also grateful He has freed me from the flesh so I can now do the will of God.

Only those who do God’s will abide forever and you can’t do His will unless you know His will, and you can’t know His will unless the Spirit teaches you His will and you are abiding in it.

Doing God’s will is only possible through regeneration, being born again, indwelt with the Spirit of God, given by the Son, who fully does the will of His Father.

Adam, Dominion and the Sovereignty of God

Job got picked on by Satan, but only to the degree that God let Satan pick on Him. God gave Satan the right to pick on Job but not to take his life.

One might call this freedom with limits. Perhaps this is similar to the freedom God has given man.

It is my contention that we have freedom and that this freedom does not always include doing God’s will. The Lord’s Prayer says we are to ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, which implies that God’s will isn’t done on earth.

This flips some people out but shouldn’t. God is in control but has also granted freedom within limits.

When God created man he was given dominion over created things. He was given the power to rule over creation. Man soon showed his incompetence by sinning, which was not a proper exercise of dominion, but rather led to the demise of creation.

Does God have all power? Didn’t God grant Adam power over creation? Does Adam have more power than God? Was Adam’s sin outside of God’s will?

These are questions people fight over. I have no interest in the fight, just an interest in getting some thinking on the issue based on Scripture rather than hot-button rhetoric.

Kids Rebel, Even God’s

Rebellion is part of growing up. Each kid makes their stand and some make it more destructively than others, but it’s all part of figuring out life. The most loyal kid has rebellion somewhere.

Parents who parent to eliminate rebellion, who desire to have their kids be their BFF rather than an authority figure, or who eliminate all chance of rebellion thru over-protection, are fighting the inevitable.

I do not want my kids to go off the deep-end, however, I know that many people need a deep-end to go off in order to get real with God. How do I know that my kids might need to be an alcoholic in order to be saved?

I know, horrible thought for a parent to think, but honestly, what do I know?

Kids rebel. Faith can carry a parent through this. There are many who say they want to grow into the perfect man Christ Jesus. They want to know God. Guess what happened to God?

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”

Well, I want to be like Jesus in all the good ways, I meant.

Do you want to know Him, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings and be conformed to His death? It’ll hurt.

Your kids might hurt you. Do you trust God?

Pressuring Parents to Get Their Kids Saved

We’re told that anywhere from 65-90% of all believers were saved by the time they were 18. After 21 hardly anyone gets saved, so get them kids saved right quick.

This puts unbelievable pressure on parents to “get their kids saved.” Parents, as soon as they possibly can, get their kids to say the prayer. Shwew, now we’re done.

Hitting a softball is an easy thing to do, until there’s pressure, until you start thinking about how to hit while hitting, then you hit pop ups to second. Putting pressure on people makes them unnatural, impatient and weird.

Kids are experts at picking up on weirdness and impatience. Many of these 90% who receive Christ as kids end up walking away from the church, perhaps because their parents were so overbearing on “getting them saved.”

Pressure makes you unnatural, being unnatural is hard to differentiate from Pharisaism and hypocrisy. Kids are fleeing like crazy from this.

Yet we keep telling parents, especially fathers, that it’s their job to get their kids saved. Several problems with this, besides the undo pressure thing:

1) Show me a verse that says parents can save their kids
2) Show me a verse that says parents should try to save their kids
3) Do we need the Holy Spirit or just parents?
4) Many godly men in Scripture had messed up kids
5) Many godly men in Scripture had messed up parents
6) Many godly men were saved not as kids

Parents are to teach, admonish and instruct their kids. They are not only to teach with words but by example. Every soul must deal with their salvation between them and God. Parents are not the one mediator between God and men.

There is a cult of parenting in our day that is flat-out dangerous. At no point do I ever see Luke 14:26 factor into anyone’s teaching to parents about getting kids saved. Yet the Bible says it and we go on ignoring it and pressuring the exact opposite point.

Gettin Kids Saved!

For years we were told that 90% of Christians “got saved” before they were 18. Barna now says the number is closer to 65%. But there is still much ado about getting people saved as kids “before it’s too late.”

This has bothered me for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that kids are more gullible, so when we pressure our churches to get kids saved we do all manner of goofy things to try to facilitate the Spirit’s work.

It also bothers me because while we are told that the majority of Christians are saved by the time they are 18, we are now being told that 90% of church kids leave the faith by the time they are in college. So, line that up:

80% of believers were saved before age 18
90% of church kids leave the faith by age 21

Anyone see anything odd? I do. If these numbers are true, and when have statistics ever been wrong, we must consider some options:

1) We must begin to faithfully teach that people lose their salvation, or

2) We must teach a Gospel that has no attachment to sanctification, or

3) We must admit our Gospel we’ve been teaching is wrong.

I’d go for number 3. Number 2 has been the default. We know how much work we put into children’s ministry, we know how many kids we prayed the prayer for and had them nod their head afterwards, we know we got em saved, therefore we must conclude, contrary to Scripture, that there is no necessary sanctification and all our precious kids who are now crack whores are still going to heaven.

That response disgusts me. It is so blatantly contrary to Scripture that the only way one could hold it is if one did not read Scripture, which incidentally is exactly what is going on.

It’s time we start teaching the Gospel and the whole council of Scripture and stop playing games with our kids.

Physical Abundance Leads to Spiritual Scarcity

The distorted and deceptive doctrines of Modern Evangelicalism have led to odd outcomes. There are two main elements of historical faith that have come under attack:

1) Do we really have to serve God and do good works?
2) What’s the point of prayer?

Both of these questions are asked by people who have bought into the lies of modern American Christianity that overemphasizes certain doctrines so far out of whack that Scripture is ignored.

However, there is nothing new under the sun. People have long had these two questions in their minds. Look at Job’s observations of people’s questions around him in Job 21:15

“What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?”

These questions come out of a wrong view of God. If you ask these questions, or even worse, if you don’t even bother to ask because you already know prayer is pointless along with good works, examine how Job describes people who ask these questions:

21:9–their houses are safe
21:9–God does not correct them
21:10–they have stuff abounding
21:11–their kids are happy in their abundance
21:12–they love music and dance
21:13–they spend their days in wealth

Sounds like American Christians to me! Again we see that abundance leads to blasphemy. Why serve God when serving me has worked out so well? Why ask God for things when I already have everything and know how to get the rest?

People who ask these questions are evil and will get judgment in the end (21:18).

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