Monthly Archives: June 2015

Rainbows and Promises

Amidst the onslaught of message traffic from the SCOTUS decision yesterday I pondered whether to post anything about the Homosexual marriage decision. The rainbow [symbol of the movement] was used by Jehovah God to promise that the world would not be destroyed by water again. The rainbow has been plastered everywhere since the decision, even on the White House in D.C.

I cannot help but think of the significance of God’s promise not to destroy the world again, and the use of the rainbow by proponents of homosexual marriage.

God could no longer “strive” [Genesis 6:3] with man and his sinful condition. One man – Noah was found to be righteous. Through Noah 8 people were saved/rescued by God from total destruction.  Genesis 6:5 – God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. It grieved God that He had made man, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land.”  A huge word every time it is used – “But”. In this case But Noah found favor with God.[Gen 6:8]

The word “But” gives hope to mankind. All it takes is one person to live righteously before God to extend His grace and mercy. This was the case with Abraham too, the Father of our faith.

All mankind is sinful – Romans 3:23

All deserve death – Romans 6:23

All Can receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal Life – Romans 10:17

Confessing the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and His work of redemption on the Cross of Calvary

All Can be made a New Creation – 2 Cor. 5:17

While mankind elects to live in rebellion to his Creator, the Creator stills offers love, forgiveness, pardon and everlasting Life.

Mankind/Satan [the liar and deceiver] has always distorted what was made “good” by the Father.

We cannot change mankind; we cannot legislate morality; we cannot expect “the World” to embrace Gods ways.

The Church [Bride of Christ] has not kept herself chaste for her Groom; Israel did not do it; nor has the 21st Century Church. We have chased after gods of comfort and convenience; pleasure and popularity. When we look at the world and the condition it is in; shall we not also look at ourselves , the Church and find what condition we are in as well?

I believe that the world is just living out who they are; the world has not found the “God mandate for marriage successful.” The marriage by the world has been found broken with its divorce rates and dysfunctional families; is it no wonder that they are looking for other “options to marriage.?”

I think that the Church has been so enamored by the need for “attendance levels” to continue their way of doing church, that we have sacrificed the scriptures to accommodate the sins of people who can fill out church buildings.

I believe that the ruling by SCOTUS is a reflection of society, Satan and the failures of Believers.

“But” – there’s that word again; just as God used Noah and Abraham along with others, He was able to Restore His cultural of holiness and righteousness. Will God find anyone willing to stand in the Gap and pray for the land so that God would not destroy it – Ezekiel 22:30-31

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc. commentary

New Age Religion

Our reading in the book of Colossians addresses many “modern-day religions” – Some 20 years ago, the major emphasis was on combating the so-called “New Age” religions. But as Ecclesiastes tells us “there is nothing new under the sun.” Paul is in a peculiar situation, having never been to Colossae.  It is evident that he does have some knowledge of the church and its people. [Philemon request for Onesimus]

The church at Colossae was fighting against these “knowledge based” religious leaders. Over and over again Paul uses the word “true knowledge” to indicate that those who thought they were more intelligent or wise actually were ignorant of the ways of God. Specifically, the teachings came from Epicureans and the Stoics. Their religious practice centered around “dualism” of the person. In other words they held that the spirit and flesh were separate, and what one did in one realm was separate and of no effect on the other part of the body. This gave license to do in the “flesh” whatever they wanted, since it didn’t have any consequences on the spirit. In chapter 3, Paul addressed that if a person is IN CHRIST, there will be the old life and its sinful practices that have to be “put off” and there must be some new practices “put on.”

Even within theses so-called “super saints” there was great conflict. On one hand there were the philosophers who advocated a superior knowledge that lifted them above the “human experience.” There were also the syncretistic thought where Greek thought was incorporated into the Christian faith. The belief that Christ wasn’t enough, but that people needed a higher “knowledge to be really spiritual.

Then again there was the faction that held to an opposite practice of asceticism/monasticism.  This man-made thought felt that if there was “suffering and depriving” of the flesh, this was spiritual. The monastic practices developed in to a rigorous flagellation. You may have seen the movie “The DaVinci Code” where self-inflicted pain was used by the villain as a means of “paying for his sins.”

Colossians is a very complicated book that addresses Greek philosopher influences of the day. At risk was the “True Knowledge of Christ.” At times, reading the epistle will lead to a Jewish influence, and at others it is a Greek influence. Either way, both wanted to change the

Paul addresses the “Mystery of the Gospel.” The superior knowledge minimized the superiority of Christ in sovereignty and creation. As was the case of new works of Paul he had to combat the “works salvation” thought and the return of believers back to a flesh dominated lifestyle. There was also the problem of incorporating many “traditions and customs” of man into the religious practices. The “defrauding” of believers by making them observe certain holy days, festivals, and food and drink. This is still found today in many churches. The traditions of men are not wrong in and of themselves, but if they contradict scripture or enslave believers then they are of no benefit.

The epistle is strong for Paul, especially since he had not been the founder of the church. His relationship with some of the members gave him the “right” to be stern towards their internal legalism.

As is many times the case, churches are subjected to a “more than Jesus” requirements from “works salvation” people. Paul tries to relay the foundation that it is Christ Alone for salvation and sanctification. I am not really sure why we fall for a “Jesus Plus” type of christian expectation, other than we feel we MUST DO something to be found worthy of salvation – which is completely contradictory to The Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Leave a comment

Filed under 15 in '15

Principled Practice

Focus of this post will be on the necessity of living out a practical, yet principled believers walk. The reading text for this blog is Ephesians 4-6.  I got behind on posting this week, we have been in Vacation Bible School.

Looking at Ephesians letter we have Paul reminding the readers that they use to have a FORMER life. They once were a people who were outside the “commonwealth of Israel.” [Eph. 2:12] Four times Apostle Paul brings up their past. But his focus isn’t to continually throw their past sinful life in front of them. But to remind them of the great strides that God has brought them. One of the greatest conflicts in the new Church was the admittance of people who weren’t Jews. Often Paul was physically persecuted because His ministry to the Gentiles.  Initially, Christianity was view as an off-shoot of Judaism, meant for no one else. Peter had difficulty including the Gentiles in the faith, that is until Acts 10. even then He would lapse back into a Jews only faith. [Gal. 2]

For Paul to remind the Gentiles that they were “children of disobedience and darkness, was to reveal to them how God had worked a great blessing on their behalf to be included in salvation’s plan of Jesus Christ by faith. They were formerly in darkness; they were formerly afar off; they were formerly children of wrath; formerly walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air; and formerly in the flesh called the uncircumcised. This was/is our lot today. Unless we are of Jewish descent, we are all Gentiles. We have the benefit of saving grace because of the rejection of the Jews to Jesus and His redemption plan. Currently, Christianity is by and large a Gentile faith today. A great shift has occurred with respect to the “Promised People of Israel.”  Their rejection , brought into the fold of God. As Abraham was considered righteous before the circumcision and the Law, even we are children of faith, being the sons of Abraham.

While we have a great position and status before God now, we cannot boast. It was infinite plan that “all nations” would be blessed through Abraham, the Father of our faith. Since we are no longer children of darkness, wrath and separated from God; how then shall we conduct ourselves in this new-found son-ship?

Seven times in the Ephesians 3-5 we find the word “Therefore,” as with any time we see this word, it should make us reflect backwards to what was said, for it gives us the understanding of why we should embrace the admonition that follows. Paul isn’t satisfied that the Gentiles are now included in the Faith, but expects them to now conduct themselves according to Children of the Light rather than their old lifestyle of darkness.

So many times I hear people say that the Christian life is boiled down to nothing but “do’s and don’ts.” there is some truth to that if you are trying to be righteous through works. If however, you have experienced salvation through Jesus, then it is expected that we would be “like Jesus” instead of the old liar Lucifer. The inward change that has occurred because we are “a new creation” should be evident to others visually. If there isn’t a visible change in one’s life, it is reasonable to say that nothing happened. Now on to the “Therefore”

1. Therefore do not lose heart in seeing tribulations in other believers

2. Therefore walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have. Conduct ourselves as people of God, not according to our old way of life.

3. Therefore as Christ has risen and given gifts to men; each of us has been given grace for the equipping of the saints. The list of leadership posts that Paul describes is for the Church to be healthy and mature.

4. Therefore since we are to no longer “walk according to this world” we need to “walk according to the Spirit of God that works within us.”

5. Therefore put some things out of our life. foul speech, anger, lies and falsehood. Put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice. These things are generated in our hearts as we are ridiculed by the world. Don’t let the world cause you to lose your witness!

6. Therefore imitate God, rather than Satan. Walk in love. Put away immorality, impurity, greed, silly talk that hurts others [I was only kidding]

7. Therefore do not be partakers with others in darkness, but walk as children of Light that we are.

8. Therefore walk carefully as wise not unwise. Redeem your time, make it worth while for each day must count. [Not necessarily Carpe Diem] .

Practical living, principled living logically makes sense. God who redeemed us, the Spirit at work within us, and Jesus making intercession for us; demands a New Way of Living. Our lives should not be lived as if we are in prison “having to behave” but wanting to be pleasing to God, and bring Him Great Glory as His Children. The practice of the principles should be a “want to” not a “have to” attitude.


Leave a comment

Filed under 15 in '15

The Kind Intention of God

Epistle to the Ephesians

Even though not a specific book to the Ephesians, being a circular letter, the contents is valuable to all churches. In preparation for the blog I re-read Acts 19 which tells the story of how the Gospel spread in the city of Ephesus. The pagan rituals and goddess Diana dominated the city. There were magicians and soothsayers in abundance. Paul’s ministry begins with giving a “fuller revelation of the Gospel.” Paul stayed and preached and healing even with a very unorthodox  means of handkerchiefs being used to heal diseases. The Ephesian letter is similar to another circular letter that was being spread through Asia, the Epistle to the Colossians. These two letters hold several like passages.

The first chapter is a remarkable filled passage of revelation of how God was working through Jesus to bring salvation to people. The high christology here is no where else as transparent in the New Testament. The focus is now that we are In Christ, what exactly does this mean? Terms such as lavished, predestined, adopted, and inheritance speak volumes to the believer. God has not only redeemed us from the impending wrath that was due us, but has elevated us to royalty. In Hebrews 1:1-4 passage is filled with the “last days” revelation of Jesus Christ. We can easily gravitate to a minimal opinion about exactly the work of God through Jesus; albeit to marginalization of how great was the Salvation work accomplished by Jesus through His death and resurrection. I find many people think the understand the significance of Christ death, yet fail to live out a faith that reflects the “Changed Person” they are to be. Another problem with marginalizing Christ, it the tenancy to believe that we have garnered something by our actions to please God and obtain for ourselves salvation.

The phrase “IN HIM” is repeated 5 times in the first chapter. The repetitive nature of the phrase should enlighten us to the fact that it is ONLY BECAUSE OF JESUS that we have the standing before God that we do. The Holy Spirit being Promised and the “active agent” in us enables us to know that we are sealed in Christ.

Paul after detailing all that Christ has done for us, he then begins to speak to our condition without Jesus. Being born dead in sin and living a life of sins, we were people with out hope. But is was God’s “good pleasure” and “kind intention” to us, that we have eternal life. If there was any doubt about the riches of God, they are dispelled by reading the first two chapters of this book. Our almost creed position of “saved by Grace” illustrates that there is nothing that we have done to earn salvation and restored relationship with the Godhead. [Eph. 2:8-10] Even the very idea of salvation as a gift and freely coming from the Father is God’s idea not ours. Now take into consideration the highly religious people who have only known the idolatrous worship practices of days gone by; and how this thought of God being personal and desiring fellowship with His creation. Quite a shock to their thought. The word “formerly” is used to draw the contrast from what was, to what is now true. Formerly walking in the flesh and sensuality of pagan worship, we are now redeemed by God to do good works through Jesus Christ. Once we [Gentiles] were excluded, but now we are included into the Salvation Plan of God.

Paul is careful to make sure that both Jews who have the Law and those without the Law have the same salvation and savior. This does counter the Jews who were trying to create a Jews salvation only – requiring all non-Jews to become like them. Paul calls this revelation “the mystery of Christ] that Gentiles are fellow heirs and partakers of the same salvation. Today this is debated from a different position – not salvation, but another salvation through other means, whether that is works or false teaching. Acts 4:12 – no other Name, but the Name of Jesus. John 14:6 – the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Living Out What Is Lived In

This week we find in Romans 10-14 that the nation of Israel [Jews] are not excluded from the “plan of Salvation” – just as the Gentiles were recipients of God’s mercy and Grace because of the disobedience of the Jews, likewise the Jews will be recipients so that all will be partakers of God mercy. Much has been made about the “Peace of Israel” but according to the scriptures, there really isn’t  any peace possible except that which will be reflective of the New Kingdom in the New Jerusalem. A lot of prophetic books have been written about the restoration of Israel, especially after they became a nation again in 1948. I know that may seem like a long time ago, but really it is recent history. Many were prophesying that Jesus would be coming back in 40 years [1988], that didn’t happen. Theologians and Preachers have been trying to put a specific time-table and timeline in place when Jesus is “for certain to return.” So far all have been wrong. I bring all this up to say this – Israel will be included in the Salvation Plan. They are still God’s chosen people. The wild branch will be cut-off [fulness of the times of the Gentiles – Romans 11:25] and the “True Branch” will be grafted back in – so the Father will have fruit from all people.

After Paul address his countrymen about how they will be included, we shift gears to the second step in salvation – first is Justification through the Blood of Christ; the second step is Sanctification through the “Holy Spirit” living through our members. [Body Parts] The Sanctification process is one where the redeemed become conformed to the image of Jesus [Romans 8:29]. We will not become fully like Jesus until we are transformed at our “Glorification” before the throne of God. The “transformation” occurs when that which is inside us gets outside of us. An illustration that I often use to show this is the difference between being born in the flesh and in the Spirit. When conception happens, we begin to form inside the womb, in a short amount of time, the child can be seen with hands, feet, head, arms and the rest of the outward form. However, while there may be a fully distinguishable baby after a few months, that child cannot live outside of the womb until the lungs are formed. We are formed physically from the Outside In. But when we are born spiritually we are formed from Inside Out. Phil 2:12-13 explain that it is God who is at work IN us to will and to do His good pleasure. So with Jesus inside of us, we are now His Temple of residence; He then begins to “work” His way out of us. Just as Jesus said, “if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father, I and the Father are One. John the Baptist also gives us understanding about our sanctification – John 3:30 “I must decrease and He must Increase. As we “give over the right to who we are” Christ then becomes known. The Holy Spirit is at work within us; the limiting factor of the Holy Spirit’s work is our unwillingness to submit, or allow the “presence of God” to be worked into all of our Humanity. This a most difficult thing to “give over ourselves to death, so that Christ might Live through us.

Chapter 12 & 14, are about the living out of that which is living in. Just Matthew talks about knowing a tree by its fruit, even so is the Life of Jesus visible as we allow Him to live out His life through us, as He lived out His life being fully submitted to the Father. It was not Jesus who did the works during His earthly ministry, but the Father living [having complete access to all that the Son was] through Jesus. Jesus spoke, the works that I do, are the works of my Father. He works, therefore I work. Phil 1:6 tells us that “He who began a work in you is able to complete it unto the day of Christ Jesus.” Another passage to reiterate the point – 1 Thess 5:24, “Faithful is He who called you, who will also do it.” Jesus allowed the Father to work in and through Him. This is the success that can be ours if we will “let the Life of Christ to reign in us, as He let the Father reign in Him.”

A tree is known by its fruit; I hear a lot of people saying that they know Jesus and that Heaven is their destiny. If there isn’t any fruit, then the tree is dead. A bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit, likewise a Good tree cannot bring for bad fruit. Here is the point; if someone professes that they know Jesus, and there isn’t any visible change; it is then reasonable to say “nothing has change, and salvation has not occurred. 2 Cor 5:17 – explicitly says that something New has been done and is visible to all. We struggle with this because we want people to go to Heaven. You don’t go to Heaven because you want too; you go to Heaven because something has happened to you to “conform/transform you for you Heavenly destination.”

Col 1:27 – the secret is this; Christ IN you the Hope of Glory!


Leave a comment

Filed under 15 in '15