Sunday, January 18, 2015

Remember the Bereans

I do not consider myself a Bible teacher, but a reporter that watches the signs of the times and quotes Scripture. Everyone of us must test all things we see and hear by Scripture regardless of whether we're seminary trained or not. Each of us is a workman that needs to study to show ourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. We do not let others do our thinking for us.

So when I heard a Bible teacher quote this verse and rightly interpret that the Restrainer is indeed the Holy Spirit, I was surprised when he followed that up with saying that the Holy Spirit will be removed from His dwelling within us believers and would return to how He operated before Pentecost, by merely being upon and not in the saint. He said that when the Restrainer is 'removed' the Church stays behind to face the antichrist.

"And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed..." - 2Th 2:6-8a

That is a frightening and unbiblical thought. There are so many NT passages that show that the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our redemption and that without the Holy Spirit, we are none of His.

"Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (down-payment) - 2 Cor 1:21-22

"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." - Eph 4:30

"In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory." - Eph 1:13-14

We've been sealed and God is not going to unseal us and leave us helpless to face the antichrist (a judgment upon a Christ-rejecting world) without the protection of His indwelling Spirit. I love how Chuck Smith used to put it -- No Groom is going to beat up the Bride before the wedding.

The point I am making is that no matter how impressive your favorite teacher might be -- don't let your guard down - test everything s/he teaches - hold fast to that which is good and scriptural. In this dark hour of the Great Apostasy, no man's teaching is to be accepted unless it passes muster with "thus saith the LORD." Remember the Bereans.

Keep on the alert!!

"But as it is written:

'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." - 1 Cor. 2:9-12

Sunday, January 11, 2015

In Defense of the Faith

Don't ever tire of defending the Truth of God's Word. It's a thankless job but one all of us are assigned to do. (Jude 3) It's not some specialized ministry; but defending the Gospel is equally as important as proclaiming it.

This week in cyberspace, I was kept busy doing just that. In retrospect, a lot of opposition to the doctrine of solo-Scriptura (by Scripture alone) came at the hands of those who lay claim to the Reformers, ( particularly Martin Luther) who termed all the 'solas' in the first place. Now these Reformers are defending Tradition and putting it on equal par with God's Word. (See this week's discussions with Chris Rosebrough.)

On a blog I monitor, there was a post about all the suffering of believers and the need for intercession for our brothers and sisters who are hurting. I affirmed that, agreeing wholeheartedly that we need to pray for one another. Then I added my own lament, "This world needs the Lord to come and set up His Kingdom in Zion!"
An emergent blogger responded to me, "For years I've rejected the notion that The Kingdom is anything other than present because The King is inescapably present and we’re His subjects."

I chimed in, "...When Jesus rules from the Throne of David in Jerusalem – they’ll be no terrorists, no unsolved murders, no street crime, and even the animal kingdom will live in harmony,. Let’s see you do that! Until you can, you better keep on praying “'THY Kingdom Come.'"

Then a blogger who uses the moniker MLD (Martin Luther's Disciple) got in on the action, saying: "If you read St Peter in Acts 2 you will see that he clearly states that Jesus is already sitting on and ruling from David’s throne. How did you miss that?"

My response: "MLD – Keep reading – the next chapter Acts 3:19-21 — He sits on the throne in heaven until the time of restoration when He will then sit on His throne in Jerusalem. He rules in our hearts – not in the unbeliever’s heart – He will come back with His saints who will rule and reign together with Christ on the restored earth, ie “the time of restoration'"...

The emergent guy, still trying to straighten me out responded, "Apocalyptic language is metaphorical and not definitive. The figure is of Jesus continuing His present reign, one He clearly established during his pre ascension presence. If Jesus is not present King and we His present ambassadors and agents of redemption then you’re missing out on the glory of His Kingdom."

As you can see, I did not even refer to any Apocalyptic book, but to the book of Acts. Jesus certainly does rule in the hearts of the believer, His ambassadors, but the idea that that fulfills all the promises of Him setting up His earthly Millennial Kingdom, and we saints returning with Him to rule and reign with Him, is irrational. 

This morning as I was reading the Bible (currently in the books of Psalms and Romans), this verse struck me as a confirmation that I used the right term when I said that Jesus would return and set up "His Kingdom in Zion."

"The Mighty One, God the LORD,
Has spoken and called the earth
From the rising of the sun to its going down.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God will shine forth.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent;
A fire shall devour before Him,
And it shall be very tempestuous all around Him.
He shall call to the heavens from above,
And to the earth, that He may judge His people:"
-Ps. 50:1-4

This is not merely speaking of Christ's first coming since nothing very tempestuous was in the manger in Bethlehem. God confirmed His Word that it would indeed be "Out of Zion" that all the rest would be fulfilled. A-Mills, Preterists, and Kingdom-Now people cannot sway those of us who hear the Master's voice away from the promises in the Bible. We await the fulfillment of every jot and tittle.

Until then, keep your Ephesians armor on tight.

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Eph 6:11-12

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-21

"Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
But to the wicked God says:
'What right have you to declare My statutes,
Or take My covenant in your mouth,
Seeing you hate instruction
And cast My words behind you?'"
- Ps. 50:15-17

Sunday, January 4, 2015

"There is No Remedy"

This morning while I was going before the LORD in prayer, my son's voice interrupted me. "Come here quick mom," he said. I groaned, not wanting to break my focus on what the LORD was laying on my heart. He pointed out the dining room window to a deer laying in the bushes between our house and the neighbor's. "She's hurt. She has a gash in her leg. She limped there and laid down and could not put any weight on that back leg; it has a gash in it."

I called the police to see if they could help her. The dispatcher said to me, "I'll send an officer there to put her down." The officer came within a minute and said, "I've been looking for her since yesterday. She was hit by a car as she was slipping on the icy road. I can't get a good shot at her at this angle." Just then my cat got out of the house and wanted to see what we were looking at. We couldn't stop her and she scared the deer to her three hooves. The deer had nowhere to go - a shut gate on one side and a police officer on the other. On his instructions I went out my back door and opened the gate and she hobbled through it and through the yard into the woods. He said she has a chance to mend since there doesn't seem to be any internal injuries - she'll just either die or live with a bad leg.

So how does this illustrate what I was about to share this morning? you may ask. I may be stretching the analogy, but what was on my heart this morning was my fellow sheep who have been wounded by abusive leaders and are now hurt and on their own. I know the pain of isolation from a church fellowship. Being cut off from fellow sheep due to an injury sustained by an under-shepherd at the instigation of a goat in the flock happens way too often. I might compare the lies of the goat to the icy condition and the careless leader to the car that hit the deer. Now that poor deer is more vulnerable to the elements and the wounded Christian in this comparison will be scarred for life or possibly even lose the faith, which would be comparable to dying, spiritually-speaking.

I don't know if you've noticed, but the condition of the church, now that the goats are in control and the sheep are scattered, is close to self-annihilation. The sad story I shared yesterday about the empty church buildings all over Europe give testimony to the failure of institutional churchianity. But Jesus had His own people in those places - as He said to the seven churches in Revelation - there are some who have not defiled their garments. He follows that with the command to "Come out from among her, My people." 

I believe we're almost there, if not there already. The watchmen have done their duty to reveal hidden dangers, expose evil, and confront abusive leaders. And yet the people still flock to the hirelings and fill up the pews in the buildings where they eat up all the wood, hay and stubble. And the sheep are not welcome among them.

What more can be done? God will soon stop all His warnings and the judgment that will fall upon the church before He takes it to the world will be great. The ax will fall. At this point 'there is no remedy.'

Let's stay connected in cyberspace. Especially for those who are no longer welcome in the circle of merry-makers.

Even so, LORD come!

"And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy." - 2 Chr 36:15-16

"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;...But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted...Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." 1 Cor 10:1,5-6,11-12