Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Know ye not......?" I Corinthians 6:9-11

It is on one hand difficult to understand why such a question even be addressed. The question to which I refer is found in verse nine of I Corinthians 6. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" With a correct interpretation and understanding of Scripture the answer is obvious. We understand however, the question still needs addressing because of Paul's next short but alarming statement; "BE NOT DECEIVED". In short, deception is the belief of a lie. Paul's exhortation to not be deceived linked with the opening question of the text, leaves us to conclude that it is possible for one to live in unrighteousness and deceivingly expect to inherit the kingdom of God!
Let us briefly outline the text as follows; The unrighteous DENIED (vs. 9a), The unrighteous DESCRIBED (vs. 9b-10), The unrighteous DELIVERED (vs. 11).
The unrighteous DENIED: There are many who falsely suppose that because God is so loving, He could not be thought as One who would not accept everyone into His kingdom. The warning of our text is that "the unrighteous shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God". John's description of heaven in Revelation 21:27 is as follows: "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life". It is worthy to note here that the Scripture does not say those who commit unrighteous acts shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But "The unrighteous" shall not inherit the kingdom of God. An biblical understanding of man's depravity is vital. Men are not sinners because they sin, men sin because they ARE sinners. Romans 5:19 "For as by one man's disobedience many were MADE sinners....". All are "dead in trespasses and in sins" and have no hope, with regard to human ability, to inherit the kingdom of God.
The unrighteous DESCRIBED: Paul gives here in our text a bullet list of sinful acts which characterize the unrighteous, including fornication, idolatry, adultery, effeminate, sodomy, theft, covetousness, drunkenness, reviling, and extortion. We are met constantly, particularly here in the south with people who live such lifestyles and yet exclaim every confidence that they will inherit the kingdom of God. This is the deception which we with Scripture are to combat. Again, it is not the mere human effort of laying aside the outward acts of sin, for some may have the appearance of success in such efforts. What we do however reflects what we are, and it is what we are that prohibits us from inheriting the kingdom of God. Where then is hope?
The unrighteous DELIVERED: Hope is not in religion and human effort. Read the parable of the pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14 to better understand our argument. Paul said in verse 11 "And such WERE some of you". How does one become a "hasbeen" with regard to unrighteousness if not through human ability or achievement? Just like the aforementioned publican who cried "God be merciful to me a sinner". Through Adam all were made sinners, but thank God through Christ there is deliverance. II Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him". Philippians 3:9 "And be found in him (Christ), not having mine own righteousness which is of the law (human effort,religion), but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith". Romans 3:24-25 "Being justified (made righteous) freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God". Deliverance is by grace through faith in Christ!
In conclusion we recall the sobering words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:22-23 where it says: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity". Deception is a dreadful thing. We beseech you "Be not deceived"! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!! Call on Him while He may be found!! THAT MEN MAY KNOW
Monday, April 5, 2010

"Know That He Is God"

I have found considerable comfort in Psalm 46:10 in recent days. The Psalmist begins with a reminder that God is a "very present help in trouble". Trouble is not hard to come by!! Job knew something of trouble and declared in Job 14:1; "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." Since every man is born of woman, every man experiences trouble. Knowing we shall not escape trouble in this life, it becomes very important how we deal with it.

In the multitude of reactions one may have to the troubles of this life, may I suggest the exhortation of Psalm 46:10. The first part of the verse is the compass whereby we may navigate the troubled waters of life. Simply stated, the Psalmist encourages us as readers to BE STILL, BE SURE, and BE SETTLED.

BE STILL! The word endure in the New Testament means to abide under pressure. Often we find it hard to be still in the midst of trials because naturally we want to be relieved of the pressures that trials bring. Paul instructed Timothy to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ". (II Timothy 2:3) We also know from scripture that "tribulation worketh patience". (Romans 5:3) Someone has said that patience is idling your motor when you really want to strip the gears. If we are to hear the same "still small voice" that helped Elijah in his troubles, stillness is required.

BE SURE!! Next, the Psalmist said to "know". Desiring to know in the midst of trials and trouble is the natural course. The problem however is what we desire to know. What would you say is the most asked question when faced with troubles? (Three little letters) WHY? If I may be so bold, knowing why circumstances are the way they are is not the most important issue. Knowing that in spite of the circumstances He is God is the most important issue.

BE SETTLED!! The Psalmist exhortation to us is "know that He is God". I understand that the majorityof the time God gets the blame when winds are contrary. I am guilty of that myself. But rather than always being blamed, as God He is worthy to be worshipped and trusted. I guess Job said it as well as any could. "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." (Job 1:21-22) Listen to I Peter 4:19 as it summarizes our thoughts; "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." BE STILL, BE SURE, and BE SETTLED! That Men May Know
Saturday, March 13, 2010

"That I may know" (Psalm 39:4)

I dare say we scarcely consider how frail life truly is. We are more apt to be like the rich man in Luke 12 who vainly trusted that fulness of days are guaranteed. Jesus regarded him as a fool who knew not that the very night ahead he would be visited by death and then what would follow. W e live as though many days are promised! However, "Man that born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." (Job 14:1)

Likewise, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14) There is not one who by some resource of self may escape the reality of the frailty of life. Perhaps loss of one close to you in recent days has served as a reminder of this truth. In light of this "vapour" which is life, how sad to watch so much labor of men, and to what end? "For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36) Our days are numbered, our end is marked! What shall be in the hereafter? That Men May Know
Saturday, March 6, 2010

"Knowing This First" II Peter 1:20

First things first! In the construction of a new house, work does not begin first on the roof. It is of course necessary to first lay the foundation which will serve as the base and support of the structure. The foundation must be sure for it is indispensable to the stability and longevity of the structure. Likewise, indispensable to my theme, ("That Men May Know") is truth. As a structure is of no true value and unsafe apart from a solid foundation, so is knowledge apart from truth. Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". (John 8:32)

I would argue that identification of the origin or source of what is known or believed determines if it is truth or error. What is believed not only affects how one lives in this life but also the final result of that belief (or otherwise stated UNBELIEF) marks the soul for eternity. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

Truth or error is marked by its source!! Knowledge from God is always truth! You can rest assured in the "immutability of His counsel" (Hebrews 6:17). God cannot but be truthful because God is truth. "God is not a man, that should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19) "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" (Titus 1:1,2) On the other hand, knowledge from satan is always error! "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44) "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the devil, and satan, which deceiveth the whole world:" (Revelation 12:9)

Having then identified God as the source of all truth, it is important to realize that He has ordained three means by which truth may be known. First, the Lord Jesus Christ is the "well" from which men may drink to satisfy their thirst for truth. In Christ encounter with the woman at the well in John chapter four, He declared to her that, "whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life". (John 4:14) What is this water that He here refers to? Is it not truth? The woman desired the water evidenced by her request in verse 15; "The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not". In response to her request He gave her truth. The truth about her sinful condition (4:16-18) and the truth about His saving power (4:25-26)!!! When men come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, the thirst for truth is satisfied. Amen! Not religion mind you, for religion is no guarantee of truth. "Having a form of godliness (religious), but denying the power thereof (truth): from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, and led away with divers lusts, Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (II Timothy 3:5-7) According to the word of God, these are the times which will mark the last days leading up to the coming of Christ. Hear the words of II Peter 2:17 where false teachers are called "wells without water". By description they are void of truth and therefore an incapable source where thirsting souls can be satisfied. Christ however, satisfies! "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

The second means whereby truth can be known is the Holy Spirit. I do not take for granted nor presume that everyone is thirsting for truth. In fact the opposite is true. Truth is light which exposes sin. As dirt or dust is often not detected until exposed by the rays of the sun, so sin and evil in the life goes undisturbed until the light of truth causes it to surface. This will not create thirst apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:19-20) It is the Spirit that creates thirst in men for the truth and it is also the Spirit that leads to the "well" (Jesus Christ) where that thirst may be satisfied. The Holy Spirit is the promise of Christ which guarantees an understanding of the truth revealed in God's Son. "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth:" (John 14:16-17a) "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13) As truth has no other source than in Christ, so understanding of that truth has no other source than in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Given the state of man as being "dead in trespasses and in sins" (Ephesians 2:1), it is not possible that he should naturally understand nor receive truth. He cannot receive it; "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:"; nor can he understand it; "neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Thank God fort the ministry of the Holy Spirit Who "shews" us Christ (John 16:14), Who "enlightens the eyes of our understanding" (Ephesians 1:18), Who delivers us "from the power of darkness" and translates us "into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1:13), Who gives us repentance "to the acknowledging of the truth" (II Timothy 2:25), and Who seals us "until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14).

The third means whereby truth can be known is the Word of God. The Spirit of God has fulfilled His purpose of John 16:13! The written Word of God is the final ordained means of knowing truth. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (II Peter 1:20-21) " And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make the wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:15-17) Men are called, converted, and completed through the truth of God's word by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In conclusion, I ask if you are sure of the foundation upon which you rest today?Will you believe truth or reject it? "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables". (II Timothy 4:1-4) There is a foundation upon which you may rest firm today. The foundation of the scriptures; "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;" (Ephesians 2:20). The foundation of the Saviour; "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 3:11). The foundation of the Spirit; "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." (II Timothy 2:19). "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:9) Are you building your house upon a rock or upon the sand? (Matthew 7:24-27) Truth or error is the difference between it "falling not" (25) and "great was the fall of it" (27). "That Men May Know"
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Thou hast fully known my.... purpose" II Timothy 3:10

It is not just the duty, but the delight of true Christians to speak of the glories of their God. The Psalmist shared this belief evidenced by his declaration; "I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works."
By definition, a blog is "a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, description of events, or other material providing commentary or news on a particular subject." (Wikipedia) As I introduce this site into the countless mix of others, I am convinced that the subject of His majesty and wonder exceeds all others.
"That men may know" will serve as both theme and purpose for my writing. In preparation I knew my intended subject and Psalm 83:18 provided a most relative theme. "That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." I do not presume to be equal to the task of speaking about the majesty and wonder of this great God. However, if appetites are salted in others to know more of Him, then "my tongue is the pen of a ready writer". (Psalm 45:1) "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:3) I am confident that though line upon line and thought upon thought may compile, yet writer and reader alike shall always feel as the Queen of Sheba who after beholding the house of Solomon could but offer this statement, "behold, the half was not told me".
May God give the needed light so then "will I make known his deeds among the people" (Psalm 105:1). "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (II Cor. 4:6) Since He can be known, I write "That Men May Know".
"That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth." (Psalm 83:18)

"A Time To Speak"

"God's end in giving us any knowledge of Himself here is that we may glorify him as God; that is, love Him, serve Him, believe and obey Him, give Him all the honour and glory that is due from poor sinful creatures to a pardoning God and Creator." (John Owen)

"True salvation is not to be found through the mere reception of any creed, however true or scriptural. Mere 'head notion' is not the road to heaven. 'You must be born again', means a great deal more than that you must believe certain dogmas. The study of the Bible cannot save you! You must press beyond this; you must come to the living, personal Christ, or else your acceptance of the soundest creed cannot avail for the salvation of your soul. Salvation lies in Jesus only!" (C. H. Spurgeon)

"Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, I AM." (A.W. Tozer)

"If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish, in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event?" (John Owen)

"Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness, who walks not over the neck of his lusts." (John Owen)

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