Saturday, July 30, 2016

CAN YOU HEAR?

A Christian can not cause a sinner to understand spiritual issues. Only the Holy Spirit can cause a sinner to see the light of truth. The Holy Spirit can use a Christian as a tool and as an instrument to cause a sinner to see the light of truth. But only God, working through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, can cause a person to see or not see the truth. Only God can cause a person to hear or not hear the instruction in righteousness. Only God can awaken the sleepy or dead souls, that they may see and hear with their mind and their heart.

Deuteronomy 29:2-4
2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land;
3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles:
4 Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

God told Moses to tell the people that God had not given them a heart to perceive, eyes to see or ears to hear. The people were spiritually deaf and blind. Only God could heal their condition. It is still the same today. If God does not decide to heal your spiritual eyes and ears, you also will be deaf and blind.

Sinners may acquire an academic and intellectual knowledge of God, but they will never have the required broken and contrite heart without the mercy of God bringing conviction upon their heart and mind. Except God draw them through His Holy Spirit, they are doomed to eternal death and separation from God.

False prophets and false religious teachers will never see the error of their doctrine if God does not discern a humble and honest heart to know and seek after the truth. It is a terrible condition to be separated from God and know not the mercy and love of God to correct and chastise you so that you can amend your ways and your beliefs.

Ezekiel 12:1-2
1 The word of the Lord also came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.

The Jewish people were well educated in the Law of Moses. They were diligently taught by the scribes and Levites to know and understand the commandments of God. However, the people were rebellious and their rebellion brought on their blindness.

Matthew 11:15
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:9
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:41-43
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Who can hear? Who can see? Only those who will not rebel against the knowledge and light of truth. Only those who will listen to the Holy Spirit and prove all things with humility.

Mark 7:14-16
14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

Your physical ears do not make you able to hear with your heart. Your physical eyes do not make you able to see with your heart. What you receive into your heart must be certified by the inerrant word of God which comes to you by the voice of the Holy Spirit. The main problem is that when people hear the voice of the Holy Spirit they allow many things to cause them to not hear. The voice of the Holy Spirit is over-ridden by the voices of fleshly desires, pride, false doctrine, traditions, etc.

Luke 14:34-35
34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The frequency of this counsel, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” lets us know that there is a great challenge to succeeding in the fulfillment of this counsel. We have many adversaries which work hard to prevent us from hearing and seeing what the Lord wants to show to us.   Satan stands beside you to resist you and distract you away from God.

Isaiah 6:8-10
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

I pray that this which happened to Israel does not also happen to you. If God makes your ears heavy and shuts your eyes, you will be lost and damned.

Matthew 15:13-14
13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

If you ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow after blind leaders, you will be taken away in your own sins and the blind leaders will also be punished for their failure to warn you of the consequences of evil. No person will be able to blame another person, not even a false teacher, for the blindness which they have allowed to shut their eyes to the truth.

Matthew 23:15-19
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?

To be deaf and blind to the truth is a foolish thing. It should not happen. God is faithful and merciful. It is not His will that any should perish. If you are blind and deaf, it is your own fault because when the Holy Spirit spoke truth to your heart, you did not listen and obey. You allowed false doctrine, personalities, traditions, etc. to destroy the truth which God sent to you by the Word and the Holy Spirit. 
 
John 9:39-41
39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

If you are blind due to a lack of opportunity to know the truth, then there is no sin charge against you. However, if you are blind due to your own rebellion against the light of truth, then your sin remaineth.

Revelation 3:18-19
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

To anoint thy eyes with eye salve implies the use of the anointing oil which is symbolic of obtaining the counsel and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, you will not see or hear the spiritual truths necessary for salvation and victory over all the power and temptations of Satan.

Sanctification, as a second cleansing work of grace, is an instantaneous act of God upon the heart of the submissive and obedient child of God. However, seeking the help and guidance, the counsel and leadership of the Holy Spirit, is a continual necessity. It is as the scriptures teach us to “pray without ceasing.” We need the help of the Holy Spirit every minute of our day, in decisions, in discussions, in discernment and in doctrine.

I pray, may the Lord give you the light of truth and take away your blindness and your deafness.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

WATER BAPTISM

When reading a passage of scripture which makes reference to “baptism” the reader must discern from the context which baptism is being referenced, i.e. water baptism, Holy Spirit baptism or the concept of being wholly consecrated and immersed in the perfect will of God.

To understand a subject according to the illumination of divine scriptures, one must collect the relative passages of Holy Scriptures and understand their meaning. So, we will do just that with this subject of Water Baptism.

Matthew 3:13-17
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Jesus did not need to be baptized as a witness of His faith; but rather, to set an example for His disciples to follow. Jesus was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus taught us by example that as He is so are we in this present world. We must follow in His footsteps. Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan where there was much water to allow His immersion in water. He was not sprinkled. He was buried in the watery grave. Jesus came to bring peace and the Holy Spirit bore witness of this mission by coming and resting upon Him in the bodily shape of a dove. The dove has not only been a symbol of peace, the dove was also accepted as a sin sacrifice for the poor person. Surely Jesus came to pay a debt none of us could pay. Our heavenly Father was pleased with all that took place that day in the River Jordan.

Matthew 28:16-20
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

As Jesus gave the Divine Commission to send forth the disciples into all the world, they were commanded to baptize the new believers “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The Trinity, the three persons of the heavenly Godhead are all participants in the acts of salvation. Jesus specifically stated the invocation with which we are to baptize the new convert.

Mark 16:15-16
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Mark records the commission of the apostles to preach this gospel to all the world. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Some have interpreted this to mean that a person is not saved until they are baptized. Baptism is very important and should soon follow the experience of being born again. However, we will find in other scriptures that the water baptism has no cleansing power. It is a testimony of our faith in Jesus Christ and our death, burial and resurrection in Christ. “He that believeth not shall be damned.“ The scriptures do not say “He that believeth not and baptized not shall be damned.

John 4:1,2
1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

Jesus was baptized to set an example in all things to fulfill righteousness. He did not need to baptize others; but, they needed to be baptized in His name to honor Him as the Savior of the whole world. I am confident that if baptism was necessary to be “born again” Jesus would have also baptized those who believed in Him. He told many who came to Him in faith, “your prayers have been heard, go and sin no more, your faith hath made you whole.”

Acts 2:36-38
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

There are three very important parts of the plan of salvation mentioned in this passage. Repent which produces justification; be baptized which is obedience to the commandment of Jesus; and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which is sanctification. For these things are the perfect will of God for each child of God. We are taught and admonished in many ways to fulfill all righteousness.

Acts 8:12-17
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

In this passage we see the salvation experience of the people of Samaria was; 1) they believed the gospel and believed on the name of Jesus Christ, 2) they were baptized, we don't baptize sinners, and 3) they received the Holy Ghost. These three things happened in the sequential and consecutive order in which they are here mentioned.

Acts 8:27-39
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

The Ethiopian Eunuch believed the gospel and was baptized in a body of water sufficient for both him and Philip, “they went down both into the water.” There is no mention of the Ethiopian being filled with the Holy Spirit at this time.

Acts 10:1-6
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

We should note that the Holy Scriptures report that Cornelius was a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, gave much alms and prayed to God always. Here was a man who was a saved person with the favor of God upon his life. What happened next?

Acts 10:44-48
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Cornelius believed the message which Peter preached and he received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Subsequent to receiving the Holy Spirit, he was also baptized in water.

Acts 19:1-7
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7 And all the men were about twelve.

Paul found “certain disciples” and Paul wanted to know what they had been taught and what their experience of salvation included. He found out that they had not heard about the Holy Spirit which told Paul that they had not been baptized according to the formula which Jesus had given to the disciples. They had been taught the baptism of repentance according to John the Baptist. After they were properly instructed, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And then they were baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6:1-5
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Paul explains that baptism is a symbolic testimony of being dead to sin through Jesus Christ, being buried with Jesus by baptism.  We follow His example and we are also resurrected from this watery grave to live like Jesus lived.

Colossians 2:11-12
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

We have put off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of the heart according to Christ. We are then buried with him in baptism. Baptism does not put off the body of the sins of the flesh.

1 Peter 3:21
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Baptism is the “answer of a good conscience toward God.” We have a good conscience because we have been made justified and innocent by repentance and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Baptism doth now save us because we are saved by our obedience; but, it is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh. The filth of the flesh can only be washed away by the blood of Jesus.

ARE YOU SEEKING GOD?

Who seeks after God? Those who seek after God, are they sinners, saints or both?
Do sinners seek after God; or, does God, in His mercy and kindness, seek after them?
Can you truthfully say that you were seeking after God and by diligent search you found Him? Or, was it God that led you to think about the truth you thought you found?

Let us turn to the pages of the Holy Scriptures and see what they tell us:

Romans 3:9-12
9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Paul was speaking about sinners when he said “there is none that seeketh after God.”
Can we believe Paul's statement to be true and accurate?
Sinners are under the bondage of sin; there is no sinner that is righteous; there is no sinner that doeth good; there is none that seeketh after God.
If we understand the faithfulness and mercy of God properly, we will see that when the sinner finds God, it is not the result of his searching, but rather the goodness of God to reveal Himself and His Son to the sinner.

Matthew 7:7-8
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

When do men and women begin to seek after God? Is it not only after God has spoken to their heart and mind to draw them toward Himself? Matthew 7:7,8 give us a description of the actions of a child of God, not a sinner.

Matthew 12:39-41
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Were the men of Nineveh seeking after God? No. The scriptures tell us that they didn't know their left hand from their right hand. God sent Jonah to preach judgment upon the sins of the people of Nineveh. As a result of Jonah's preaching and the ministry of God to the hearts of the people, their conscience was brought under conviction and led them to repentance.

Matthew 18:12
How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

Was the lost sheep searching for the safety of the fold; or, was the shepherd searching for the lost sheep to bring him back to the safety of the fold.

John 4:23
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Who is doing the searching in this scripture? It is our Heavenly Father.

Romans 11:5-8
5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

There is a remnant of God's people in the world today as a result of the election of grace. The remnant does not exist as a result of their searching but rather God's election, God's decision to always have a faithful people who love Him and keep His commandments.

John 8:50
And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

Who is the “one that seeketh and judgeth?” It is the Father.


Isaiah 66:4-5
4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
5 Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.


Deuteronomy 4:28-31
28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

At what time do men “seek the Lord.”?
Who initiates this business of seeking the Lord?

John 6:44-45
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

What did Jesus mean when He spoke these words?
The sinner must first be “drawn” to Jesus Christ by the Father before the sinner begins to consider his relationship with God and his spiritual condition. Only after he believes God and repents of his evil ways and turns to God does he begin to seek and search for the truth.

Are you seeking after God?
Or, is He seeking after you?
He loves you and wants you to turn to Him and obey His commandments.
If you are saved, justified, pardoned from all your sins, then you should search for God each and every day. You need Him to guide you and direct your steps.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

SATAN'S NAMES

In the Bible, names have definite meanings. Things and people were called by certain names to identify who they were. It is good that you know the names of Satan, so that you can know more clearly his wicked character.  His names tell us who he is and how he works.   

Serpent
Genesis 3:1-4
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

The serpent, the Devil and Satan is described as being subtil, having wisdom and poisonous.  His objective is to deceive and destroy the souls of every man, woman and child.  He will lie to you just like he lied to Eve and all that followed after her.  

Matthew 10:16
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Satan is wise in the sense that he is cautious, skillful and intelligent. He has a specific plan to tempt you and cause you to lose faith, lose your salvation and lose your eternal life in heaven. Without God's grace and the continuous leadership of the Holy Spirit, Satan will overcome you. Your only hope to defeat the Devil is to be justified and sanctified.

2 Corinthians 11:2-4
2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Satan uses words to deceive. He will manipulate your mind by twisting the Word of God so that you think it means something contrary to God's intention. Religious sinners, hypocrites, will quote the scriptures as Satan did in the wilderness when he tempted Jesus for forty days and nights. But, their interpretation and application of the scriptures will be false and evil.

Revelation 12:9
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

If Satan can deceive the whole world, what is your hope of being free from his deception. You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. You must be willing to walk in truth, be thirsty for truth and willingly and humbly submit to the truth. Satan is wise to your weaknesses. He knew you when you were a sinner. He knew what were your habits and desires. He will try you and tempt you again along the same sins.

Revelation 20:1-2
1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

It is commonly believed among the church of God saints in our present day, that this 1,000 years when Satan was bound, was from 530 to 1530 A.D. During this time the world suffered through what historians call “The Dark Ages.” It was a time when the Catholic church ruled over the world. There were only two churches in the world, the true church of God with its headquarters in Heaven and the Holy Roman Catholic Church of God with it headquarters in Rome. In the sense that Satan was bound, means that he was not allowed to deceive the nations any more than what he could do through the Catholic church. In our day, Satan has been loosed and the world is full of every kind of religion and false Christian doctrine. False preachers will say, “Choose the church of your choice.” There is a religious group that will accommodate your sins and tell you that you are just as saved as any other person.  Satan will lie to you and tell you that you do not need to ever be concerned about being in church and in unity with a body of true believers in Jesus Christ.  

Destroyer
Revelation 9:11
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

In both the Hebrew and the Greek, Satan was called a name which meant “Destroyer.” That is what he does, because that is who he is. He never produces anything good because there is no good in him. If you want to try to get to heaven by some other way than the way of repentance and being born again by faith in Jesus Christ, then Satan will deceive you and destroy you.

Liar and Murderer
John 8:44
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.

Satan is both a murderer and a liar. He lied to Eve and he provoked Cain to be the first murderer. Satan still causes people to lie and to murder. He is the father of everything evil.

Thief
John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

We know that Jesus is referring to Satan who has come to steal your faith, kill your soul and destroy your hope of eternal life.


Lucifer
There is a name which is often given to Satan which is misapplied by many false preachers and religious people. This name is mentioned one time in the Bible and it is not talking about Satan. This name is “Lucifer.” The name means, “Son of the Morning” or “Morning Star.” It is a symbol for the King of Babylon in all his glory which God took away from him.  

Isaiah 14:4
That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say,

The prophet Isaiah was given this proverb to speak to King Nebuchadnezzar.

 
Isaiah 14:12
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Paraphrased: O Nebuchadnezzar, son of the morning, how have you fallen from your high and loft throne. I have cut you down to the ground because you did abuse other nations.

Isaiah 14:13-17
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, [false preachers say that he was already in heaven and was being removed from heaven because of his disobedience.] I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down [future tense, before Satan was brought down, he said he would ascend into heaven ] to hell, to the sides of the pit.
16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man [Is Satan a man or was Nebuchadnezzar a man?] that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

The name Lucifer was first given to Satan by Jerome The Presbyter who lived 347-420 A.D. According to historical records he was the student minister under Pope Damasus.

Satan will tempt you to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. God hates pride. Man has received every good thing he has from the hand of God. What does he have to boast about?

Can you recognize the difference between the voice of God and the voice of Satan?  It is very important that you know the desires and intents of your own heart.  There is a vast difference between a "temptation" to do evil and the "intentional attitude or action" to do evil.  Don't let Satan deceive you.  Remember, he is a liar and the father of lies. 


The Fruit of Carnality

Very few people in our present day realize the danger and evil of the carnal nature. It is the root of all evil. The carnal nature is what produces pride and contention. It is the influence behind every temptation and sinful thing. It is very important to every sincere child of God to know the evidence and fruit of carnality. How do we know if we or another person is yet carnal?

1 Corinthians 3:1-4
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

When Paul speaks of a spiritual man in this passage, he is referring to that person who is sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit. Prior to being filled with the Holy Spirit, a new convert is considered to be a babe in Christ. He is not yet ready to eat strong meat which are the doctrines and standards of the church of God. Carnal people are naturally pulled toward those things that please and exalt the flesh. They are likely to cause strife because they fall into the snare of pride and envy.

Proverbs 13:10
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

A justified person will be strongly tempted to become contentious and resist instructions in righteousness. But, if he wants to be holy, he can resist that temptation and not cause contention. If he allows pride and envy to take root in his heart, he will fall back into sin. Pride causes people to take authority over others which God has not given to them. Pride causes people to exalt themselves above others. They insist on doing things their way and can not tolerate disagreements.

Proverbs 22:10
Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

A scorner is defined as: To make fun of and to mock with your mouth.
A scorner stirs up contention and strife by mocking another person.
A scorner is disrespectful with their words towards others.
These are the things which bear witness of the fruit of carnality.

Habakkuk 1:1-4
1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.

Carnal people will not uphold the righteous laws of God. The Law is slacked because the people do not want to obey the law. With these disobedient people, judgment does not go forth in righteousness and mercy. Instead, wrong judgment goes forth.

Philippians 1:15-16
15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

There are religious people who preach, teach and go to church for the wrong reasons. They go, not to learn righteousness and please God; but rather, to be seen and heard for their own glory.

The fruit of envy can be seen in the works of pride; preeminence, excessive authority and dominion. Pride causes contention, strife and division over rules which are added by men to strengthen their defenses against anything or any person who would threaten to oppose their beliefs and rulership.

Satan delights in getting the people of God to strive with each other over non-essential requirements for salvation and fellowship. Some ministers need to be reminded that the Bible teaches against adding or subtracting from the Word of God. There have been many rules and traditions added under the belief that they are necessary for the good of the congregation. We could make a long list of examples, but we will, at this time, let the Holy Spirit speak to you and either accuse you or excuse you.

Galatians 5:14-21
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
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.

Instead of preaching against these sinful deeds, ministers and saints will argue and fuss about the color of clothing, the variant ideas about adornment, neckties, facial hair, eating pork and drinking coffee. Some set rules on the specific number of services you are allowed to miss in one year. Some set rules on where you can live in relationship to the geographical area where you repented and became a member of the family of God. There are so many rules which have been added by men that detract from the objective of living a holy life according to the word of God. I do not promote an independent, anti-fellowship message; however, I do believe that much strife and contention, over un-scriptural rules is a great hindrance to the unity of the believers.

After studying these verses and meditating on these explanations and comments, you should be able to honestly examine yourself and know whether or not you are yet carnal. If you are carnal, you must determine if you have willfully disobeyed God and need to repent. If you can discern that there is a carnal influence in your soul which tries to pull you away from your obedience, then you need to pray and ask God to purge your soul by filling your heart with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of fire will purge your nature and heal that depraved and corrupted condition.


Friday, July 8, 2016

The Mind of a Child

Do we have any scriptural instructions about how the mind of a child works?
What are the capabilities, limitations and imaginations of a child?
Is a child born both innocent and righteous, or just innocent during a brief childhood?
When does a child become responsible for the natural propensity to lie, steal and be selfish?
Can a person be born into this world and grow to adult maturity without having committed any sins which separate his soul from God?
Will you let the Holy Spirit speak wisdom and truth to your mind?

Genesis 8:20-21
20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

“...for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth,”
What does this expression of a man's condition teach us?
First, let us establish the definition of the word “youth” as it is used in this context. The Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and dictionary defines it as a young person in the state of juvenility. Which means that the child is in a state of childhood, immature and underdeveloped.

The Lord God has spoken and informed us that the thoughts and imaginations of a child who is immature and underdeveloped are evil. The child is a master at manipulation, an amusing and crafty liar, a convincing thief. Unwise parents will allow this carnal child to act evil and selfish and think it is cute and not needful of correction and punishment.

Proverbs 22:15
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

If a child's parents are unwise and allow the child to act foolishly and not be corrected, the child will increase in their foolishness. In America, we are destitute of godly wisdom in too many homes. Children have been raised by TV babysitters, violent and wicked video games, Satanic books and movies. Should anyone ask why the crime rate is so high? The answer is obvious. Families have forsaken God and God has left them to self-destruction with their drugs, violence, divorce, division, abuse and immodesty. It all begins with an unrestrained carnal nature which exists in the heart of a child.

Isaiah 7:16
For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

When does a child know to refuse the evil and choose the good? It is when they have been trained by godly parents to learn to submit to the wise counsel of the parents. This valuable training prepares the child to submit his will to the will and commandments of God. If the child is allowed to be disobedient to the parents, it is such a small step to also rebel against God and his commandments. Isaiah does point us to the specific time when the state of the child is such that they do not know or understand the beauty of holiness and its necessary grace in a happy, peaceful life.

Proverb 20:11
Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

The disposition, attitude and conduct of a child will plainly tell what kind of parents have been their example. A properly trained child will behave himself with respect for others. If a child is quickly angered, self-willed, pouty, selfish and generally possessing a unhappy relationship with others, it is because his parents have permitted him to continue in his childish foolishness.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

There is hope for a child. If he is properly trained and disciplined with love and correction, he will learn to live with others without strife and division. This training in righteousness must take place during childhood, before he has come into bondage to the sinful habits of worldly sinners. Although a child may rebel against his godly training, he is less likely to become enslaved to the wickedness of those who have been raised in ungodly and unrighteous homes.

Proverbs 29:15
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

A young child is immature and underdeveloped, he can not make wise choices for himself. He needs the help of a mature and wise person. If a child is left to himself without training and correction, he will bring shame to his parents because it is naturally in him to do evil. An undisciplined child does not have the self-control to humble himself and repent of his wickedness. It usually takes a catastrophic event in an undisciplined person's life to bring the needed pressure to bring them to repentance.

1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

The immature, underdeveloped childish condition continues to exist until experience is able to teach the young person that the way of sin is death and only through Jesus Christ can peace and happiness be found. Have you put away the evil imaginations of a childish heart? Have you learned enough wisdom to become a man?

Galatians 4:1
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

Too many parents fall into the snare of thinking that love is shown by giving gifts and toys and freedom. In reality, love is shown by setting boundaries for the young child to prevent their physical, emotional and spiritual harm. The first lessons of a child is to learn to submit to authority and serve others. This precious attribute has been lost for most of our society. Immature and underdeveloped children are being allowed to be disrespectful to their parents, teachers, policemen and all persons in authority.

2 Timothy 3:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Holy Scriptures are able to make a child wise unto salvation. How well do your children know and understand the Holy Scriptures? Can your children explain the meaning of repentance, restitution, justification, sanctification, holiness, the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Are your children being trained and disciplined in daily prayer and Bible reading? Are you reading Bible Stories to your young children to instill righteous principles in their young minds? Are you preparing your children to put away foolishness and become a man?

The Elements of Temptation

How does a temptation to disobey God appear to your mind?
What is a temptation and how can it be recognized?
When does a temptation become a sin?
What does the Word and the Spirit teach us about a temptation?

1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Satan wants you to think that your temptation is different from the temptations of other people. He wants you to think that you can not resist and overcome your temptations. Other people's temptations are either not as strong as yours; or, they are stronger spiritually than you. You and your temptation is different. God says that your temptation is a common temptation. Many Christians have overcome temptations just like your temptation.

James 1:12-16
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

If you resist and overcome your temptations then you will be stronger because of the spiritual exercise of saying “No” to temptation. Anything that makes you stronger spiritually so that you can defeat the Devil is a blessing. The reward for righteousness is far greater than the reward of the pleasure of sin. God does not tempt a person, but He allows the Devil to tempt people. The Devil tempts a person by appealing to their natural desires to enjoy and find pleasure in those things which satisfy the flesh and the human ego. Your ego is your conscious judgment of self-importance and your self-centered relationship with external things and other people. Your un-restrained ego will lead you to pride and conceit.

Luke 8:11-15
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

The evil objective of every temptation is to cause you to fall away from your holy relationship with God. If Satan can cause you to choose to do evil instead of choosing to do the will of God, then your disobedience will be sin and the wages of sin is spiritual death. Sin separates a person from God.

Genesis 3:1-6
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Satan is subtil! He is cunning and crafty! Satan knew that God had made the woman physically and emotionally different than the man. Satan knew that if he could tempt the woman and cause her to disobey the commandment of God; then he could use the woman to tempt and cause the man to also disobey the commandment of God.

The first thing Satan did was to cause the woman to question the authority of God. If you begin to doubt the authority over you, then you begin to think that perhaps you do not need to obey that authority. For this evil attitude, children don't obey the authority of their parents; wives do not obey the authority of their husband; and husbands do not obey the authority of their head, Jesus Christ.
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The woman had knowledge of the commandment. She was not ignorant of the rule of authority over her.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
The second thing Satan did was to cause the woman to doubt the punishment which was said to follow disobedience to the commandment. Satan will appeal to your self-centered nature which causes you to think that your opinion and your way is just as good and rewarding as God's way.
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The third thing which Satan did was to cause Eve to believe there was great value to eating the forbidden fruit of this tree. Satan told her that she would gain more knowledge and discernment. She would come to know things that God had not shared with her. She would be able to see things more completely.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Instead of resisting the temptation, Eve considered it, analyzed it, enjoyed the thoughts of the experience of eating this attractive, delicious fruit which could add valuable experience to her life. So she yielded to the temptation and ate the forbidden fruit. As Satan had expected, she then gave the fruit to her husband and he joined her in this rebellious disobedience.

1 Timothy 2:11-15
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
This passage is often used to teach that a woman can not be used to be a leader or a teacher in the church of God. Don't ignore the clear witness of the Holy Scriptures. God can use any vessel He wants to use to sound forth the message of the will of God. There are several passages of Scripture which tell of God's use of a woman in a leadership or teaching role for God's people.

Many male leaders have given place to the Devil and allowed pride and preeminence to cause them to become abusive of God's children. Many female Christians have become overly self-centered and usurped the godly authority which God had placed in their life. The temptations of Satan are common to mankind and have caused many to fall away from truth and holiness.

Romans 12:1-5
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
If you make yourself a sacrifice unto God, God will cleanse and purge you so that you need never fall back into the sins of your past. There is grace in the full experience of salvation to keep you from falling and to present you blameless before the throne of God. Say “No” to every temptation. You can do it with God's help.