Saturday, February 22, 2014

THE DANGERS OF HERESY

Heresy is false doctrine which is believed to be true and causes division in a body of people.  Heresy is that belief which causes division and disunity.

Heresy is not merely a misunderstanding of some religious tenet, nor even the teaching of such a misunderstanding.  Heresy is that false doctrine which is coupled with a stubborn refusal to be corrected by the Word and the Holy Spirit.  Heresy is the end result of a choice to believe and hold fast to false teaching.  Such a person, who refuses to be corrected by the truth, makes himself a heretic. 

Strongs Exhaustive Concordance:  NT:139  GREEK hairesis (hah'-ee-res-is); from NT:138; properly, a choice, i.e. (specially) a party or (abstractly) disunion:  KJV - heresy [which is the Greek word itself], sect.

A heretic is a person who is schismatic.  A heretic is a person who causes schisms by believing and teaching false doctrine in spite of the Holy Ghost counsel which God has been faithful to send his way.

Titus 3:8-11
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

An effort should be made, at least twice, to help a heretic understand that he has been deceived by Satan’s lies and that what he has come to believe is false and causing discord among the members of the church.  To cut a heretic off from the fellowship of the church without any effort to recover him from his snare, is unjust and unmerciful.  To excommunicate a person for some perceived error without a scriptural effort to reconcile that person is arrogance and pride. 

Acts 24:14
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

The religious Jews, who were themselves caught up in heresies, called the Christians a sect and accused them of teaching heresy.  The Christians were not submitting to the Jewish leaders because the Jewish leaders were guilty of sin and did not teach the way of truth properly.  Each person is individually responsible for knowing whether or not he has accepted some false doctrine or heresy.  There are many heretics in the religious world.  This is the reason for so much division among the many sects claiming to be Christian. 

Acts 5:17
Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

The Sadducees were a religious sect of the Jews.  They did not believe in the resurrection of the body to an eternal reward.  The Sadducees taught people that there was no resurrection of the body unto eternal life.  There were many other beliefs which were the customs and traditions of their elders and which were contrary to righteousness and the law and the prophets. 

There are many people in our world today, some of which claim to be Christians, who do not believe in an eternal place of punishment called Hell.  It is heresy to teach that God is love and our spirits are part of His loving Spirit and someday we will be gathered back to His Spirit because no part of Himself can ever be really lost.  God is love.  And, we will all come before Him at the great judgment; however, if we have sinned and rebelled against His commandments, we will be punishment with an everlasting fiery punishment.   

How could any person be in danger of damnation if their spirit and soul could not possible be separated from God the Father?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:22, “whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”  Again, Jesus said in Mark 3:29, “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:”

Unless a heretic see the error of his beliefs and submit to the correction which comes from the Holy Spirit, he is in danger of eternal damnation.

Acts 15:5
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

The Pharisees were a religious sect of the Jews.  They were a very morally strict sect and many of them were truly children of God.  However, there were many Pharisees who were self-righteous and proud knowing not that they were guilty of heresy.  The Pharisees taught the importance of keeping the Law of Moses.  This was fine until the “Lawgiver, Jesus Christ” came and brought in a new and better covenant. 

The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead; but, they also believed that their customs and traditions were just as important as the commandments of God.  These religious Jews abused their authority over the people and made rules to ensure their control of the people.  They were full of envy when Jesus came teaching forgiveness, mercy and righteousness.  They taught some things and left other more important matters undone. 

Acts 24:5
For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

These religious Jews rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They refused to be corrected.  They refused to walk in the light which Jesus brought.  They were full of envy against Jesus and rejected the true doctrines which He taught to all the people. 

Acts 26:4-6
4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:

Paul was part of a religious sect until his conversion on the road to Damascus.  When Paul accepted the truth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Way of Truth, he was charged with being a part of some new sect.  Those Pharisees who were in a sect accused Paul of being in a sect.  This is common for people to do the same thing today. 

Acts 28:22-31
22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.
23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.
30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

Some people, in Paul’s day, called the Way of Truth a sect.  Some people today will accuse those who hold to the truth of teaching heresy.  You must be sure that what you call truth is truth and what you call heresy is truly heresy.  If you call truth heresy, you will be in trouble.  If you call heresy truth, you will be in trouble. 

1 Corinthians 11:18-22
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

Heresies always cause division.  Whatever causes division is heresy.  Truth will not cause division.  People who reject the truth cause division. 

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Heresies produce sin because it is a sinful condition of pride or arrogance or covetousness which cause a person to hold to something which is unrighteous and untruthful. 

2 Peter 2:1-3
2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways [morally lawless and sexually unrestrained]; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

This is the judgment of God against heresies and heretics.  They are damnable and they will bring certain destruction. 

Satan is not opposed to someone being religious.  Satan does not want you to be walking in the light of truth which Jesus brings.  Some people are bound by the false doctrines which they have believed because they are afraid to examine their beliefs.  They are afraid to think or hear anything which is different from what they have been taught.  We must not be careless in our examination; however, we must not be afraid to examine and prove what we believe by the evidence and witness of the Word and the Spirit. 

Is there any heresy in the things you believe?
Are you willing to prove all things?
The truth will withstand close examination.
Don’t be on the side of heresy when Jesus comes.
We will be judged by the book of life, not some man’s doctrine or custom.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

HELL IS A REALITY

Hell is a reality and the belief that it does not exist does not change that reality.

True Christianity is the belief that there is One True God who is God the Father in the Triune Godhead of The Father, The Son Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, we believe that God calls us to faith, obedience, holiness and spiritual perfection which is living in harmony with God and His people.  This harmonious relationship is made possible by humble submission to God and to each another.  It is made possible by consistent and continual obedience to the light of truth as it enlightens our minds and hearts with God’s will and His commandments. 

True Christianity holds certain beliefs that are vital to our relationship with God.  There is a false Christianity which professes to believe in Jesus Christ but does not keep His righteous principles and does not accept all of His teachings.  True Christianity holds that there is an eternal reward for faithful obedience to God.  It also holds that there is an eternal punishment for disobedience.  Many religions of the world and many professing Christians do not believe that there is an eternal place of fiery punishment for those who choose to live wickedly.  Many of them like to believe in heaven but they don’t want to believe in hell. 

2 Corinthians 5:10-11
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;

To prevent lukewarmness and careless thoughts, we persuade men that there are serious consequences for disobedience and unbelief.   Hell is a reality and if you die in your sins, you will not escape the eternal punishment which will come upon all those who choose to believe Satan’s lies.  Satan is a crafty, deceitful spirit and he will speak half-truths to trick your mind to accept his lies. 

From the beginning Satan has lied to Adam and Eve and all others, “You will not surely die!” You will not surely be separated from God and be eternally lost in a place of torment.

But what does the Holy Scriptures teach us about Hell?  Study with me and believe the truth according to the Word of God.

If we understand the great penalty for disobedience and the reality of spending an eternity in the torments of hell, we ought to fear God and have a great burden for the lost sinner.

Heaven and Hell are very real places which have been prepared by God and our Lord Jesus Christ to reward the righteous and the wicked.

I would like to invite you to try to imagine in your mind what a great horror it will be to you, if when you stand before God at the great judgment and there are those who are doomed to an eternal hell standing there to accuse you of not being faithful to warn them about the eternal punishment and for not believing and obeying God.

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A Gallop poll in 1995 found that only 24% of British people believe in hell as an objective reality whereas around 50% believe in heaven. Note: that must mean that 76% don’t believe that hell is real.

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A survey by the Barna Group unveiled American’s beliefs about hell.

• 39% percent believe that hell is a state of eternal separation from God's presence. Note: According to this survey 61% do not believe that hell is real.

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Some of the larger religious organizations which do not believe in hell as a place of eternal torment for the wicked are:  Seventh Day Adventists; Jehovah’s Witnesses; Universalists; Christian Scientists; and the members of the Unity Church.

The key factor in whether or not you believe in Hell as a real place of eternal torment for the wicked is whether or not you believe the Word of God. It is, like all other spiritual truths, dependent upon your faith in God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith, you will not listen to the Holy Spirit by whom all truth is revealed.

Jesus said in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

If you don’t believe in God, then you will not believe in Hell. If you do not believe in Hell, then you do not believe God or His Word.  Some people say they believe God but they do not believe the Bible which is the Word of God.  These people believe in a false god, not the God of the Bible.  

John 5:46-47
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 17:14-21
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 

The Word of God and Jesus Christ are equal.  You cannot hold to one and refuse the other.  Jesus is the Word of God and the Word of God is manifested to us through the life of Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 25:45-46
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Jesus said that there is a punishment that is everlasting; and, there is life which is eternal. 

Luke 12:4-5
4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

The word “hell” found in Luke 12:5 is translated from the Greek word Gehenna which was figuratively used by the Jews to refer to a burning place of everlasting punishment. 

                                            GEHENNA

HELL   -  Gehenna Occurs in GREEK NEW TESTAMENT 12x; SEC 1067 valley of Hinnom, a name for the place or state of everlasting punishment.  The valley of Hinnom, which is also called Gehenna, was a narrow valley near Jerusalem where the people of heathen religions sacrificed their children to their false gods.  This valley afterwards became the common receptacle for all the refuse of the city of Jerusalem. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always burning. It thus, in process of time, became the image of the place of everlasting destruction.

The following verses use the English word Hell translated from the Greek word Gehenna.
Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Question:  Does an earthen grave destroy the soul?  No, it does not.  The spirit is eternal and will exist forever somewhere.  The term destroyed is sometimes used to refer to a loss other than a non-existence.  We may say that a person’s life is destroyed when in fact they are still living.  It means that the opportunity or hope is lost forever. 

Matthew 23:33
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Question:  Is there any damnation in an earthen grave?  No, there is not.  This damnation is the separation from God with no hope of reconciliation. 

Luke 12:5
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Question:  After a person has been killed, what more can be done to that person?  After death, men can do you no further harm.  But, after death, God has the power over your eternal spirit to reward or punish. 

                                              HADES

The word Hades Occurs in GR. NT 10x; SEC 86 meaning:  unseen, the place or state of departed souls

The following verses use the English word Hell translated from the Greek word Hades.  The context of these verses indicate that the word Hades was used to include death and the grave. 

Acts 2:25-27
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

God did not leave the body of Jesus Christ in the grave to see the corruption of the fleshly body.  Jesus was raised from the dead with His glorified body to ever be in the eternal heavens with God His Father. 

Revelation 1:17-18
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

We know that Jesus has the keys to death and the grave.  He raised Lazarus and many others.  He was also raised from death and the grave to reign forever in the Kingdom which was given to Him of His Father.  Many persons have died and then escaped the bonds of death and the grave.  But, no man has ever escaped the boundary of hell once they have entered in at hell’s door to eternal punishment.  God does not bring sinners back to live in this world once they have entered the doorway to Tartaros the abyss of hell. 

Revelation 20:12-15
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

At the end of time when the whole world will be judged and time is swallowed up in eternity, death and the grave will give up the dead which have been held until that Great Judgment Day.  All those who have been held by death and the grave, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, will be cast into the Lake of Fire which is the Second Death. 

                                       TARTAROS

Hell - Tartaros Occurs in GR. NT 1x SEC 5020 (a verb which states the casting down to the deepest abyss of Hades, to incarcerate in eternal torment).  The Apostle Peter is the only New Testament writer to use the Greek word. “tartaros” to refer to the deepest abyss of Hades. 

2 Peter 2:4-5
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished:

There is no escape from the region of hell where souls are reserved unto the Day of Judgment.  Peter’s reference to the “angels that sinned” speaks of the ministers of righteousness prior to the Great Flood.  There is no respect of person’s with God.  Before the Flood, after the Flood, before Christ, after Christ, all sinners will be judged by the righteous laws of God. 

                                         SHEOL

Hell - Sheol Occurs in Hebrew OT 54x; SEC 7585 hades, the world of the dead, including its accessories and inmates.

In the Old Testament there is only one Hebrew word which is translated into the English word hell.  The context will dictate whether the messenger is making reference to the grave or to that eternal abode of evil souls. 

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Woe to that person or nation which does not retain God in their mind and heart.   
The following notes are general references to this subject of hell.
Matthew 10:28 …destroy (see SEC 622: Apollumi – to destroy fully…die, lose, mar, perish) both soul and body in hell. Separation from God is eternal death. Union with God is eternal life. To be separated from God is destruction, to be destroyed spiritually but not essentially. We use the expression: “His life was full of destruction”, but he was not destroyed. We often use the word “destroyed” to mean “ruined”. There is no scriptural evidence that the spiritual creations of God will ever cease to exist. All angels and spirits will continue their essential existence in either heaven or hell.

The word “eternal” SEC 5769 means perpetual without end
The word “forever” SEC 166 means perpetual, forever without end
In many Holy Scriptures God has spoken that certain things were eternal and meant to be forever.  However, because of men’s disobedience the covenants which God made with Israel and certain individuals have been broken and that which was meant to be eternal has lost the force of God’s commitment because men did not keep their vows to God. 

Matthew 18:8,9
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire (Gehenna).

Matthew 25:41 everlasting fire, prepared for the devil
Matthew 25:46 into everlasting punishment
Mark 3:29 in danger of eternal damnation
Mark 9:43-48 the fire that never shall be quenched
Luke 16:19-31 in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments
John 5:24-29 the resurrection of damnation [wherein is justice, divine law, condemnation]
2 Corinthians 4:18 things which are not seen are eternal
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 punished with everlasting destruction
Hebrews 6:2 resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment
2 Peter 3:7-14 heavens…earth…reserved unto fire
2 Peter 2:17 mist of darkness is reserved forever
Jude v.6 in everlasting chains under darkness
Jude v.7 suffering the vengeance of eternal fire
Jude v.13 reserved the blackness of darkness for ever
Revelation 20:10 lake of fire…for ever and ever

Do you believe God’s Word? Do you believe what the Bible teaches?
According to Matthew 25:41, Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

Will you spend eternity with the Devil and his angels who will be cursed into everlasting fire? Have you talked to your family and friends about this? 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

THE LAW OF THE CONSCIENCE

There has been a religious expression used by some ministers who desire to refer to a person’s accountability to obey the understanding of the spiritual inner man as it is illuminated with knowledge and understanding. I speak concerning the Law of the Conscience.

The Conscience being the spiritual inner man, by whom we communicate with God.  The Law being the revealed principles of righteousness which come to a person by means of the Holy Spirit witnessing to the mind concerning the do’s and do not’s of righteousness. 

1 John 1:5-7
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

God has revealed Himself to every man.  God has revealed Himself to you and me.  The revelation of God and His Son Jesus Christ is experienced in degrees of perfection or completeness.  In whatever degree of illumination which God has given to you, you are accountable to God to conform to that measure of light. 

If you refuse a measure of light, knowing that you are resisting God, you will be damned.  Your soul will be lost.  When God illuminates your spiritual inner man and attracts you to Himself, you must not resist that attraction.  You must allow yourself and submit yourself to be drawn by God’s holiness, His righteousness and His love.  You must desire to know God and be like Him in holiness. 

John 12:34-37
34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

When Jesus walked upon this earth, He revealed Himself to the Jews.  Some of them believed and some did not believe.  To those who believed, He increased their light and they received greater revelations.  Those who did not believe, they were turned into darkness to walk in their own way which leads to spiritual death.   

Those who did not believe resisted and refused the light of truth which came to them by the faithful and undeniable witness of God.  The Light of Truth, which is the Light of Jesus Christ and His gospel, is so certain that there is no excuse for its rejection.  You cannot argue with God and refuse to obey and remain blameless.  When you know Him, you must obey Him.  To do otherwise is to be lost and separated from God. 

Romans 2:11-16
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

If you resist the light of truth, your conscience will condemn you.  If you resist and refuse to walk in the light of truth, you will harden and deaden your conscience.  Many have done this and then forgotten that they have done it.  Forgetting your refusal to walk in the light of truth will not be grounds for justification at the Great Judgment. 
If you do not have the peace of God in your soul and you do not remember why or when you lost that peace, you must humble yourself before God and ask Him to have mercy on your soul and give you that light once again. 

A person’s own conscience will either accuse or excuse according to the knowledge and understanding he possesses.  If a person’s conscience excuses him, should another person’s conscience condemn him?  You will stand or fall based on what God has shown to you, not what God has shown to another person. 

Now remember, the light of truth is progressive in degrees of completeness.  God may reveal truth to one person and then use that person to reveal that light to you.  When God uses another person to help you see the light of truth, it is a revelation from God.  If your spirit is right, being in a state of desiring to know God, then you will know that what you have received from that person is the light of truth.  Even though you may not fully understand at first, there will be that attraction to truth and that witness of the Holy Spirit that truth is being offered to your mind. 

1 John 3:18-21
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

The conscience is of a very sensitive nature.  It can be conditioned by the exercise of obedience to truth; or, it can be hardened by the exercise of disobedience and walking contrary to the holy revelations of God. 

2 Corinthians 8:12
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

God does not require of a person more than they have to give.  They are judged according to their means, abilities, talents and understanding.  God knows the very thoughts and intents of your heart.  You must protect this conscious relationship of your spiritual inner man with the Holy Spirit who has been given to you to teach you all things.  Carelessness and neglect of spiritual matters will put your soul at risk of being separated from God. 
  
James 4:17
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Why do we not hold a child accountable for the sins which he commits even though he does not have the mature knowledge of the will of God? 

A child is innocent of sin during that part of their childhood when they are not mentally and spiritually mature enough to discern their relationship with God and His laws.  In their innocence they do not know God.  Through training, the child may know when they have disobeyed the will of his parents; however, they do not understand that is equal to disobedience to God because God has not yet revealed Himself to the child.  Training a child to obey his parents is essential in bringing that child to the understanding of his responsibility and ability to obey God. 

If the Law of the Conscience is believed to be a preset and pre-ordained base line, then what would be sin for one person would be sin for all because all have the same Law of the Conscience.  The preceding statement can not be scripturally sound.  At what age does the Law of the Conscience take effect?  If it is predetermined and equal for every person, surely it would also begin at the same age for every person.  We know that this is not true.  The age of accountability, when the child is conscious of their relationship with God, varies with each child and is dependent upon their emotional, mental and spiritual maturity. 

1 Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

SEARED:  NT:2743   GREEK  kausteriazo (kows-tay-ree-ad'-zo) or kauteriazo (kow-tay-ree-ad'-zo); from a derivative of NT:2545; to brand ("cauterize"), i.e. (by implication) to render unsensitive

Through disobedience and neglect, some people have rendered their conscience insensitive. They have cauterized their conscience so that they cannot hear the voice of God.  These people are in danger of being eternally lost. 

When God bring conviction of sin upon the sinner’s conscience, the sinner will clearly know that his soul has been charged with the sin of evil intent. 
The sinner knows when God has illuminated his sinful condition.  If the sinner denies his sin and refuses to confess and forsake his sins, he risks the possibility that God may allow him to die in that sinful condition. 

John 8:7-9
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

These religious Jews knew that they were trying to trap Jesus and find some fault in Him so that could justify their rejection of Jesus as the Son of God.  They were envious of the popularity which Jesus had because of His miracles and the divine authority which was manifested in His teachings.  Envy and pride are at the top of the list of the most common sins of men. 

Romans 2:14-15
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

A conscience which has not been hardened or seared is a good witness of what it right or wrong.  The Holy Spirit speaks to you through your conscience.  You must listen to your conscience and compare spiritual things with spiritual truths. 

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

By God’s grace, we have a good testimony of a clear conscience in our relationship with one another and with God.  There is great strength and joy in the possession of a clear conscience.  A clear conscience is absolutely necessary for the effectual exercise of faith. 

Do you have a clear conscience before God and men?
If you do not, you should turn from your disobedience.  You must be born again.  Then you must take heed to submit and obey the Holy Spirit as He leads you from truth to truth and from grace to grace. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

HOW DO WE KNOW GOD

We know God by the means He has ordained to be the avenues through which He makes Himself know to us.  If we do not operate within the framework of these ordained avenues, we will not retain the knowledge of God in our mind.  Our knowledge of God begins with an intuitive knowledge to which is added divine revelation and confirmed in our mind and heart by personal reasoning of those things which we have seen and heard and known. 

Intuitive
An intuition is a belief that is based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning.  Every man has an intuitive belief that God is a reality to be submitted to and obeyed.  God is not introduced in the Holy Scriptures.  His existence and presence is intuitively known as a given fact, a primary truth not to be questioned or doubted. 

Romans 1:19-21
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
 
We are intuitively aware of the real existence by His omnipresence in nature and in spirit.  He does not need to introduce Himself because we are fully aware of His presence. 

Revelation
A revelation is the divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence or the world.  A revelation is not the product of reasoning.  It is an act of God for the benefit of man so that man can know God and also know His will. 

Matthew 16:15-17
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Divine revelations come from God and give us spiritual understanding of heavenly matters.  These revelations do not come from within us or by our own intellectual reasoning.  Without the divine intervention of God through revelations, we would all be hopeless lost and unable to know the power and nature of God. 
Ephesians 3:16-19
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Reasoning
Reasoning is the action of thinking about something in a logical, sensible way.  It includes the mental process of analysis, deduction and discernment.  God has given us the ability to perform analytical examinations of various subjects which are brought to our attention. Our efforts to reason can vary in intensity and interest.  God has given to us His Word to study and His Spirit to receive instruction. 

The faith of Job was put to the test when his so-called friends came to him to reason with him that he must have sinned against God for all these evil things to come upon him.  But Job was able to reason with them and also reason with the God whom he served and he knew that God was just and keep his soul.
Job 13:1-7
1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.
2 What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.
3 Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.
4 But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.
5 O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.
6 Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.
7 Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?
 
After long debate, Job told his friends, “I have heard and understood.”  I have seen and heard your reasoning, now you need to listen to my reasoning.  My God would not speak the words which you speak. 

We must be able to study the word of God and listen to the Holy Spirit and then be prepared to resist the arguments and accusations of our family, friends and foes.  Satan will bring railing accusations against you and you must be able to reason with what you know to be true and what Satan says when he comes to you with his lies.  You must analyze the thoughts which come into your mind.  You must reason and determine the true identity of the voice you hear in your mind. 

Isaiah 1:18-20
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

God invites you to reason with Him.  He wants you to be strengthened in your mind by knowing that you have evaluated the facts and determined what is true and you will stand on that truth which comes from. 

God has put within every person a knowledge of His existence.  The Apostle Paul stated it thusly: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”  When God created man, He manifested His existence to man intuitively and experimentally.  From this foundation of intuitive knowledge proceeds both revelation and reasoning.  God reveals Himself and confirms the intuitive knowledge of His existence.  Progressively, the understanding from reasoning is added to revelation and intuition.   It is in this last stage of reasoning that Satan takes advantage of external information coming into the mind to pervert both the intuitive and revealed knowledge of God.  Our own reason as well as the reasoning of our ancestors, mentors, teachers and religious affiliations bear strong influence upon our belief. 

Some people have tried to live holy and have experienced failure.  They have concluded that living holy in this world is not possible.  Therefore they conclude we are saved only by God’s mercy regardless of our conduct.  These people have allowed their personal experience and failures to influence their reasoning of the doctrines of God.  They have reasoned that they sincerely tried and failed, so consequently, it is not possible to live consistently holy all the days of their life. To know truth, we must have a divine revelation which elevates our reasoning to confirm the intuitive understanding that God is and that He is a holy God who empowers His children to be holy and blameless.
Do you know God?
Are you sure you know God? 
You need an un-moveable, un-shakable faith that you know God and that you are holy as He is holy.  Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.