Posts Tagged ‘love’

“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who had not too long before boldly stated before all the disciples “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was graciously administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three precious opportunities to confirm his love for Christ. Yet Jesus takes Peter further as He continues with His instruction to Peter as to how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What a blessing it is that the Lord instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter loved Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually love must be given to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other. (more…)

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another person a while back when he quoted parts of the  verses above in his prayer. That got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones which I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

We often witness another naive, though popular tactic to apply faith to prayer. This happens when people conclude their prayer request with that notable fluctuation in their tone as they say, “In Jesus name!” It kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and we would see another kid aspiring to be a magician wave his plastic wand and say “Abracadabra!” That’s because that was the magical word that was going to make the magic trick work.

However, scripture says faith comes by hearing and that hearing the word of God, so obviously many are hearing the word of God incorrectly and are failing to discern when they do. Faulty hearing leaves people trying to apply another kind of “faith” to their prayers, rather than permitting the word of God to be the vehicle whereby true faith is given unto them. That is why scripture states over and over, “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.”

Regarding verse 20, it is evident it is being misunderstood by someone when you can sense they feel the need to verbally remind the Lord that there are “two or three are gathered together” in the His name. When I hear such usages of the scriptures it saddens me; because these are not the context in which the scriptures are given. Therefore I am writing this post to go over these verses to show how they are misused and address an error that is too common among those professing to know and walk with the Lord of Glory.

First, let’s look at this belief that if “two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything” then they will get whatever they are praying for. This misunderstanding is one reason why a lot of Christians hold hands when praying corporately. That doesn’t mean holding hands is wrong, but rather believing there needs to be “touching” is wrong. Most believers have witnessed this on religious TV shows, and perhaps that is where they were taught this erroneous belief.

While I discourage viewing the whole video, this is an example of  what many preachers do when they call on the people and those out in the viewing audience to come into an agreement together. Sometimes they will use the added touch of encouraging the people to reach their hands forward towards the pulpit and those at home to lay hands on their TV sets, as they pray for everything from financial prosperity, a revival, the salvation of family members, physical healing, and once again, some more financial prosperity.

It seems the more people can “do” while they are praying the more likely they are to have the faith for what they are praying about. What these preachers are doing is literally asking the people to make a conscious decision to willfully consent to surrender their minds and use their bodies to accept whatever is being told to them to do.

However, Jesus’s reference to “agree . . . as touching anything” is actually to imply an indication that such faith is authentic; and was not issuing an instruction to make physical contact. “As touching” is the proof faith is already present in their hearts; the kind of faith spoken of in Hebrews-

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Substance is tangible; it can be held and thus touched. Such is the gravity of true faith, evidence that has undeniable weight with God. But this faith comes only by correctly hearing, or rightly dividing, the word of truth. A hearing that receives understanding into the heart whereby we firmly lay hold of the promises of God.

Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

When “two of you shall agree ” it is an indication that there exists a like-mindedness and unity of faith. Jesus wasn’t teaching us that we should solicit others to agree about issues of prayer so it will be more likely they will be answered, He was explaining when believers truly come together in a unity and faith regarding something (to be discussed later) then He will hear and their prayers will be answered by Him. Of course, the “agree as touching” or unity of faith will be dependent on each yielding to the Holy Spirit as He imparts to them a correct understanding of a matter through their”hearing” of His word.

Which brings us to verse 20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Perhaps what I would like to do first with this verse is address what it is not saying. It is not saying that there needs to be “two or three gathered together” to have Jesus in our midst. His promise to all His children is evident in the verses below–

Ge 28:15 And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places whither you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.

Mt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

There are many other passages that confirms the Lord is with each of His children. Remember, we are the temple of God, so to think Christ would not be with us when alone would be a rejection of the greatest promise of God to never leave or to forsake us. So then, if we are to be good “workman that needs not to be ashamed” and rightly walk in the light of this word, we must determine what Jesus was in fact speaking about.

To start, keep in mind the whole of Matthew 18 from verse 7 to the end is dealing with “offenses.” However, from verses 15 to 35 Jesus begins dealing specifically with one  “brother” or believer being offended by another. When that happens we are instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ here to go and “gain” our brother back. That is because sin separates men from God and each other, causing a breach in the unity of faith and the bond of peace to be broken. Jesus begins by telling us to first go privately and explain to our brother how he has “trespassed” against us.

Matthew 5:23 – Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has ought against you; 24 Leave there your gift before the altar, and go make your way to first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 18:15 – Moreover if your brother shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone:  for if he will hear you, you have gained your brother.

 

Sometimes people don’t even recognize that the thing they did offended someone, or perhaps know what they did or failed to do was actually a sin. This instruction of scripture requires us to be willing to humble ourselves and to go seeking to remedy the situation by lovingly reasoning with our brother regarding the nature of their offense. Should they fail to hear us individually we are further instructed to take another brother with us so that these truths which are given to guide our love and behavior towards each other “may be established” according to God’s word.

If the brother continues to be unwilling admit or unconvinced that they have truly sinned, then Jesus says we are to tell it unto the whole church so that the whole body can judge the matter and together attempt to persuade the transgressor of his sin. However, the success of this will only be achieved through unfeigned love together with fervent prayer and often times requires fasting; thus placing the whole focus on restoration of unity and the bond of peace so the body might remain fitly joined together in service and worship to the glory of God.

Again, this all comes down to the transgressor humbling himself to correctly hear the word of God regarding the nature of his actions (or lack thereof). If he hears you, or the multitude of witnesses, then we have gained back our brother. If not, then we are clearly told that a willful sinner who continues to reject God’s word is to be unto us as “an heathen man and a publican.”

This “retaining” of their sin isn’t placing the brother in a state of condemnation, for his own continuance in sin has done that. Rather it is the churches responsibility to not enable sin by allowing people to continue in a known sin by permitting them to continue with us in a false fellowship. Yet this is what churches do all the time under the banner of “Love the sinner, Hate the sin.” Light and darkness have no meeting place for godly fellowship. However, if he acknowledges the truth and repents of his sin, then we can “loose” him from his sin with prayer and forgiveness.

When the sinner acknowledges their offense, it is here that we see the agreement “as touching anything” that Jesus was speaking of. All the parties involved have come to an agreement and a unity of faith regarding both sin and righteousness; the issue having been rightly divided and the offender humbled thereby and now seeks forgiveness. It is here at this precious moment we truly see how “two or three” are gather in Jesus name for righteousness sake and the petition that would be foremost upon their lips and hearts is for the Lord of Glory to forgive and heal the body of believers by strengthening the bond of peace and increasing our passionate charity one for another. Jesus’ promise assures us that He is there in our midst to heal us and bind us together in His Spirit, for He loves when we acknowledge His word and repent of our sins.

To take these verses and reduce them to a willful consent to accept another’s notion or desire about anything else and to pray holding hands to accomplish such, does enormous damage to the true intent of Jesus’ words. He has instructed us to love one another as He loves us and to humble ourselves, even when we are in the right. We are to go seeking restoration of that one who has perhaps ignorantly slipped out of the path of righteousness. Brothers and Sisters, what incredible healing God could work in His church if only they would correctly hear His words that were sent to heal us.

Concerning our praying “in Jesus name,” we do so as the qualifier of the object and reason of our faith; for it is because of Him and what He has done that we can exercise faith and come boldly before His throne of grace in our times of need, such as a holy reconciliation. We know “as touching” that we have our petitions because what we ask is according to His will and not our own, for His glory and not our wants. And thus faith does work, for faith works by love. It comes from hearing and that hearing the truth of God’s heart, love and will for us.

Therefore, faith’s focus is always God and His steadfast faithfulness to His word. Faith exists solely because of what He has wrought for us and desires to complete in us through Christ Jesus our Lord. Faith finds rests only in His word and believing what He has done and what He has said He’ll do; never depending upon anything within or from ourselves. Faith is given to us simply because we believe what “He has said…”

Heb 13:5 – Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, “Be you holy; for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by Him do believe in God that raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently. 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever. 24  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: 25 But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Jesus is always with all His Children. But He is especially there in their midst as a healer to strengthen and bond us together again when in love we strive for the unity of the faith, confess our sins and pray for one another; for this is truly one of the greatest witness of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the LORD.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.

So, go and “gain” back your brother…

Luke 2:26 – And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Luke  2:11 – For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Ephesians 4:3 – Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

The revealing of God’s precious truths is often times progressive, as is witnessed to God’s names being revealed over time to humanity. Therefore we can see throughout history how so many others of God’s truths have been given one tidbit at a time is not rare. Holy men of old often prophesied of future events in fragments, “here a little” and then in another text, perhaps even another prophet, “there a little.” This method of enlightenment is in exact accordance with what the bible teaches us. I Corinthians 13:9 tells us straightforwardly that we all only “prophesy in part.” However, when we allow the Holy Spirit  to help us properly assemble these parts by His illuminating touch, these fragments give valuable insight into otherwise veiled truths of scripture. Such is true for a verse which would otherwise be a puzzling piece of scripture –

For without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, [God was] justified in the spirit, [God was] seen of angels, [God had] preached unto the Gentiles, [God was] believed on in the world, [God was] received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16).

The reason “justified in the spirit” is in bold print is because people often overlook it. Many people simply read over that part of the text as if it were just King James jargon, put there merely as some spiritual word filler. It’s not. It’s a very important confirmation of a little known and taught part of the Christian faith.

Despite Paul’s warning to Corinth church that some would come “preaching another Jesus . . . another gospel,” most people are positive they know WHO Jesus is, (II Cor. 11:14). Many have never even considered scripturally proving that their “Jesus” is the same one Paul preached. However, in light of Paul’s warning of “another Jesus” we would do well to examine our “Jesus” in the light of the “holy scriptures” with the help of the Holy Spirit given them “to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).

Jesus was, and is, called the “son of God.” However, the word “son” was not intended to infer He would be God’s descendant, or offspring, such as we have offspring. The word was more prophetic of THE CHILD’s gender which God promised would be born. From the beginning, when Adam fell into sin in the garden, the Gospel went forth in that God promised a deliverer would come. A “seed” that would bruise the head of the serpent (the devil), and the serpent would “bruise HIS heel” (Genesis 3.15). A “man child” would be born.

Jesus Christ is that “seed” and “man child.” A “son” that could only have been OF God, for as it was foretold, the child would be born of a virgin. While this child’s conception was accomplished entirely OF God, men would still call him “son of man,” (although no earthly man took part in His conception).

The phrase “Son of man” is merely a Jewish maxim which testifies of one’s humanity, as it is used by God toward Ezekiel so many times. In Christ’s case, it too testified of His humanity – that He in fact was “born” a man.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same . . . for verily He took not on Him the nature of angels: but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:14-17).

Just as Isaiah foretold, “a virgin” had conceived and brought forth a “son.” They would call this child, as both Isaiah prophesied and the angel Gabriel foretold, “Immanuel . . . which being interpreted is, God-with-us” (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:26-35).

Consider a few more scriptures;

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, (1)The Mighty God, (2) The Everlasting Father, (3) The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Ye are My witnesses,” saith the Lord, “and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He [the child to come]. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and besides Me there is no saviour. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King” (Isaiah 43:10,11,15).

Now compare the above verses with these –

 And He said unto them, “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”  Then said they unto him, “Who art Thou?” And Jesus saith unto them, “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.”  They understood not that He spake to them of the Father.  Then said Jesus unto them, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:23-28)

Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He. (John 13:19)

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus saith unto them, “I am He.” And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them.  As soon then as He had said unto them, “I am He,” they went backward, and fell to the ground.  Then asked He them again, “Whom seek ye?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way.”  That the saying might be fulfilled, which He spake, Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none. (John 18:4)

In Jesus alone we see the above verses fulfilled. As I Timothy 3:16 says, “God was manifested in the flesh.” Amazingly, in His finite, fleshly form as a “son of man,” God’s love and commitment would be revealed for all to see. His incarnation would enable both men and angels witnessed His unselfish character by manner of the life and death of the man Jesus. Oh what wondrous thing is this? “God in Christ” has reconciled “the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (I Cor. 5:19).

Through the wisdom of His incarnation God has revealed “unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together in one ALL things in Christ, both which are in heaven [angels], and which are on earth [man]; even in Him [Jesus]” (Ephesians 1:9, 10).

Now we who believe can see both “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” in Jesus Christ (I Cor. 1:18-24). Therefore, we give “thanks unto the Father . . . Who hath delivered us from the kingdom of darkness, and translated us unto the kingdom of His dear Son . . . Who is the image [manifestation] of the invisible God . . . He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is The Beginning, the Firstborn From The Dead; That in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him [the man child] should all fulness [of The Mighty God] dwell; and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (see Colossians 1:12-20).

In order for Jesus to qualify as the prophetic “Christ” and accomplish all this He had to be, by necessity, simultaneously both God and Man. Were Jesus not fully God, and fully man, He could not be what He claims to be in Revelation 22:16, both “the root and offspring of David.” As the “root of David” we see Jesus Christ as “The Everlasting Father” of Isaiah 9:6 . As the “offspring of David” we see Him as the “man child” or “son” promised at the fall of man. Jesus is not merely some subservient offspring of “Father God.” No, He is the Father. Jesus is The Mighty God. This is what Isaiah 9:6 plainly tells us.

Perhaps the most common stumbling block concerning Jesus’ deity is an apparent inability to answer the question, “How can Jesus be the Everlasting Father and still pray to the Father?”

Good question. Nevertheless, Isaiah said the “Prince of Peace” would be none other than “The Everlasting Father,” or as some would assert “the Father of Eternity.” Indeed it is a mystery, but just because something is a mystery does not make it impossible. A mystery is simply proof of ignorance, a lack of knowledge and understanding.

A good basic guideline for understanding Christ, the God/man, is to remember that God in His pure essence “is a spirit” (John 4:24). By Jesus’ own words we know that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:29). Therefore, God in His pure essence as a spirit is not limited to a finite visible form. Being omnipresent, He is everywhere all the time, throughout time, at the same time – past, present, future. Therefore Jesus, while locked in time and space by His human flesh, through prayer communed with His Omnipresent Spirit, “the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity” (Isaiah 57:15).

Now ponder this, if you could simply go back one minute in time you could both see and be with yourself. You could even talk to yourself. Would that make you two? Certainly it would seem as if there were two. Nevertheless, in truth you are still only one. One in heart, one in mind, but in two places. It is the escape from time’s hold that affords you the ability to be in two places simultaneously. You, from the future, could warn yourself of what is yet to come. This is what Jesus revealed to Nicodemus. “No man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven,” (John 3:13). Jesus was there talking to Nicodemus, yet referring to Himself as “is in heaven.” It is this unique aspect of God’s Omnipresence by which He knows those who would be saved from the foundations of the world.

“Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am He” (Isaiah 41:4).

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel will stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9,10).

“I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. I have even from the beginning declared it to thee: before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them” (Isaiah 48:3,5).

At Athens Paul encourage the men to “seek the Lord [Jesus], if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live and move and have our very being . . . ” (Acts 17:27,28). Again in Psalm 139 David reasons with God saying, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of morning, and dwell In the uttermost parts of the sea: even there shall Your hand lead me and Your right hand hold me” (Verses 7-10).

“Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24).

Thus we can see the omnipresence of the “eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.”

We see in Romans how great a relationship one can have “IN” Christ.“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus.” This “IN Christ Jesus” is different from the “in”we see spoken to the men of Athens, “IN Him we live and move and have our very being.” This “IN” is much more. It is more than just some hyper-spiritual concept concerning the “Christian position.” This “IN” is a state of intimate communion one may have with Christ. However, this is only possible after one has made a conscious resolve to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, see I John 1:3,7).

This “Spirit” we must walk after? Who is it? It is the “Spirit of Christ” of course. Is it not Him we want to be “IN” and be intimate with?

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the SPIRIT, if so be that the SPIRIT OF GOD dwell in you. Now if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of His. (Romans 8:9)

Furthermore this “Spirit of Christ” is none other than the Holy Spirit. Due to “the mystery of Christ” a common  mistake many make is they perceive the phrase “Holy Spirit” to be a proper name. But when you think about it you’ll see it’s actually a precise definition of God. He’s holy and in essence He’s a spirit. Therefore He alone deserves to be called the “Holy Spirit.”)

Consider all these times referred to this “mystery” –

Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. (Ro 16:25)

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. (1Co 2:7)

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ). (Eph 3:3,4)

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and [even] of the Father and of Christ. (Col 2:2)

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds. (Col 4:3)

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God [Who is a Spirit] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1Tim 3:16)

Let’s look at a few more scriptures concerning this mystery –

God, who at sundry times and in divers manner spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son . . . the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person” (Hebrew 1:1-3).

Note the words in bold type, “God, spake, by the prophets, by His Son.” Let’s continue.

“For the prophesy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:21).

Here we see “God” who “spake, by the prophets” in Hebrews 1:1&2 is here speaking by “holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Same God, same prophets, same Spirit.

Again, let’s continue;

“. . . Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify . . . which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (I Peter 1:11,12).

The “ prophets” through which “God . . . spake” as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost” spake what “the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.” Peter continues to say that the preaching of this good news continues to come by the unction of the “Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,”

“Now the Lord [Jesus] is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (II Corinthians 3:17).

In light of all this, I hope all could and would agree that when the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ that it is the same Spirit. If so, then when Paul states that God was “justified in the Spirit,” we should understand, it was the Holy Spirit of the “eternal, immortal, invisible, the ONLY wise God” Almighty that was “manifested in the flesh” of Jesus, (I Timothy 1:17; 3:16).

“Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gather the wind in his fist? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name? And what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4).

The above verse is a riddle that men have long sought to answer. In their search for the answer, neither men’s own imagination, nor their adversary has failed to provide a variety of explanations to select from. However, we cannot afford to be wrong in our selection. We must be certain we “know in whom” we believe (II Timothy 1:12). Fortunately, He who has placed the question is also willing to answer it.

Having been warned as Christians, we should “believe not every spirit [be it of man or angel],” but we are to “try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Here’s how we know those that are of God, “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (I John 4:1-4).

Now take a moment and consider the lasting effect of Jesus upon humanity. Now really, who but an ignorant fool would deny that a man named “Jesus” ever existed. Even historians who do not subscribe to the beliefs of Christianity readily acknowledge Jesus’ existence. Even many religions which oppose the Christian faith acknowledge the historical man named Jesus. A person with any intellect must, due to the over whelming evidence, must acknowledge that not only did such a man “come in the flesh,” but that He died in the flesh as well! Nevertheless, these two truths are not what the Apostle John was talking about.

The spirit of antichrist is not “anti-Jesus came in the flesh,” nor is it “anti-Jesus the subservient offspring of God come in the flesh.” Amazingly, neither is the spirit of antichrist “anti- god.” Quite the contrary, the Bible tells us this spirit of antichrist is really, to many people’s surprise, “pro-god.” It just is not “pro the true living God,” instead it is “pro the existence of a god.”

See the Bible says “that man of sin” will exalt himself “so that he AS GOD sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:2,4). Yet this he could not do IF people truly knew that Jesus Christ alone is God. Therefore, the spirit of antichrist is ANTI-TRUTH, or “Anti-Jesus/The Almighty God come in the flesh.”

Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many will come in My name, saying I am the Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4,5). These are men who will acknowledge both the life and death of Jesus, and openly admit that He was the foretold and promised deliverer that would come, the Christ. Yet their definition of the “Christ” is different from that of God’s.

Countless so-called Christian leaders nowadays deny the reality Jesus Christ was “The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father” come in the flesh (Isaiah 9:6). They readily admit He is the “Prince of Peace” of Isaiah 9:6, but declare that He cannot be the Everlasting Father.

“This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not god. He that abideth in the doctrine if Christ, He hath BOTH the [Everlasting] Father and the Son” (II John 7, 9).

Notice that the word “doctrine” in II John 9 is singular. John was not referring to the many doctrines or teachings given by Jesus. John was referring to that one singular doctrine which is the foundation of true Christianity. It is the teaching concerning “who Jesus is.” The Bible calls this teaching the “Doctrine of Christ.” God will not permit this doctrine to be changed. To do so will certainly have severe eternal consequences. Believe me. The Apostle warns us that “if any come unto you, and bring not THIS doctrine [but a different teaching of whom Christ is], receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 10, 11).

“Who is a liar but he that denieth Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son [are the selfsame]. Whosoever denieth the [Isaiah 9:6] Son, the same hath not the [Isaiah 9:6 Everlasting] Father: But He that acknowledgeth the Son hath the [Everlasting] Father also” (I John 2:22,23). WHY? Because “They” are the same person. Scriptures say if this truth be hid, it is hidden to them that are lost, those whom the god of this world HAS blinded their minds, “lest the glorious light of the gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3,4).

GOD WAS JUSTIFIED? — OF WHAT?

It is my prayer that  all would at least be seriously considering that these presented truths are part of the “Doctrine of Christ.” For it is the “rock” upon which the true church must be founded. To be ignorant of this truth, or disbelieving, is to be blinded to the true light of the glory of God (II Corinthians 4:36).

Perhaps now is a good time to consider just what the word “justified” means. In I Timothy 3:16 the Greek word translated “Justified” is “dikaioo,” which comes from the root word “dikaios.”

Let’s look at their definitions;

Dikaios – equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): just, meet, right (eous).
Dikaioo – to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent.

Webster tells us to be justified is to be shown just, right, and to have functioned in accord with good reason. To be freed from blame; declared guiltless; acquitted; absolved. By these definitions we could easily say, “to be justified is to be vindicated of false accusation by the revealed, proven and witnessed (seen) facts.”

So then, what was the accusation? By whom? The first recorded accusation in the Bible was against God. What happened? Well, there Eve was one day when the serpent asked her, “Has God said you should not eat of every tree in the garden?” Eve’s reply was, “We may eat the fruit of every tree in the garden; except the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.” And the serpent said unto Eve, “You shall not surely die: for God knows that in the day you eat it your eyes shall be open, ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-24).

Here we see the devil, via the serpent, claiming God to be a liar, saying, “You shall not surely die.” Satan then implies that selfishness is the reason God does not want Adam and Eve to eat of the tree. Satan concludes that God doesn’t want any other gods around, “God knows . . . ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5).

Satan basically accused God of being a lover of self, and if selfish, than God must be a sinner as well. It was this manner of sin that provoked God to not spare “the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgement” (II Peter 2:4). For this manner of sin there can be no forgiveness. “Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 10:25).

We know Satan’s accusations are false and by them we can see both his jealousy and hatred toward God. Interestingly, scriptures show that the incident in the garden was not the first time Satan accused God of greedily hoarding the throne. This we’ll see as we look at the devil’s beginning.

THE DEVIL’S BEGINNING

The Apostle John said, “The devil sinneth from the beginning” (I John 3:8). The beginning of what? From the beginning of his negative conversion. What does that mean? Well, let’s look at those texts of scripture the Bible offers us for insight into his former state.

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God: thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in all thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity wast found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise [covetousness] they have filled the midst if thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, 0 covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings that they may behold thee” (Ezekiel 28:13-17).

“How thou art fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, 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: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Now some have rejected the idea that these two passages have anything to do with the devil. They say Ezekiel was specifically speaking of, and to, the king of Tyrus, and only the king of Tyrus. However the king of Tyrus was never “in Eden the garden of God,” nor was he ever an “anointed cherub.” Certainly, the king of Tyrus was born and not “created.”

Some regard Isaiah’s prophesy as merely a prophesy against the king of Babylon. Yet Isaiah, as did Ezekiel, spoke by the same Holy Spirit for our benefit (I Corinthians 14:3-5). These two prophesies focused upon these two earthy kings upon because they, like Satan, exalted themselves beyond their realm. While these prophesies focused upon these kings personal sins, Satan’s sin was the true focal point of the word.

Yes, Ezekiel and Isaiah both, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recorded the fall of the anointed cherub that we might have insight into the beginning of all sin — SELF-esteem. This is why Paul told Timothy not to place a novice, one young in the faith, into a position of leadership, “Lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (I Timothy 3:6).

Not that the devil would not condemn the novice, God alone is the one who condemns sinners. Rather, just as Satan was condemned for his pride, so would be the novice. For from the beginning “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

Both the king of Tyrus and the king of Babylon had displayed attributes which originated in Satan, the ultimate chief of sinners. As it happened with Satan, their positions and wealth seduced them too. God had given them positions of honor and therefore they thought they were something special, when in reality they were nothing. The deceitfulness of sin caught them. Their positions and power came not of themselves. God gave it to them. Therefore their posture should have been one of humility and thankfulness, not pride.

Look at Ezekiel’s and Isaiah’s account of the devil’s heart. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thine beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will also sit upon the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the clouds: I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14).

Here we can see the progression of SELF-esteem. First, it caused Satan to separate himself from the rest of God’s angelic beings saying, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” The “stars” are symbolic of angels, see Revelation 12:4,7. Not being satisfied with being above his peers he says, “I will be like the Most High.” Mesmerized by his own beauty, Satan felt he was entitled to the same admiration and praise as God, the Creator of that beauty. God is worthy of more glory “inasmuch as he who has built the house hath more honor than the house” (Hebrews 3:3).

Self-esteem will always lead to the same end, humiliation and destruction. Sure, like many sins in their early stages, it can make one feel good, but only temporarily. Therefore, because of his SELF-esteem, Satan had corrupted his wisdom and forfeited both his position with God and his beauty. Any beauty he now has is only an illusion. Satan had sought to honor himself instead of his Creator and was therefore condemned, (Romans 1:25).

“I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire in the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be anymore” (Ezekiel 28:17-19).

“Yet shalt thou be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, is this the man [devil]that did shake kingdoms; that made all the world a wilderness, and destroyeth the cities thereof; that openeth not the house of his prisoners” (Isaiah 14:15-17).

DEVILS IN HEAVEN

In these verses God had obviously not only judged (made an accurate assessment of) Satan’s heart, but condemned (sentenced) him as well. Therefore, the questions arise –

  • Why then, if Satan was already condemned, was he there loose in the garden seducing Adam and Eve?
  • Why after being sentenced to hell was he permitted back into the heavenly throne room?

Perhaps you’ve never considered these questions before, but they are valid questions. The scriptures show us that Satan refused to be subject to God’s will for he would come and go wherever he wished. This liberty was really lawlessness. Satan’s “free spirit” was in truth nothing more than a proud, rebellious spirit, daring even to approach the throne of God!

“Now there came a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down it” (Job 1:6,7).

The scripture above continues with Satan accusing Job of serving God only for God’s blessings and protection. (Now of how many Christians today would that accusation be true?) Nevertheless, God’s response was not to ACCUSE Satan of lying. Rather, He allowed Satan to try Job, knowing Job WOULD PROVE Satan a liar. God allowed Satan to take literally everything Job had, except his wife. Yet, get this, Job WORSHIPED GOD and blessed His name!

Next Satan accused Job of serving God for his own health. Again, to disprove his lies, God permitted Satan to afflict Job nigh unto death. Yet again, “in all this, did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:4,5,10).

What do we see in all this? Two things, first we see the devil falsely accusing the righteous and, secondly, the righteous abstaining from verbal sins. To the contrary, even in adversity we see the righteous committed to trusting and serving God. Hear Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

Still, back to the question, “Why did Satan have liberty to come before God in light the judgment against him?” To make this mystery more enticing let’s also consider, “Why would part of the angelic host, again in light of God’s judgment, choose to side with the devil?” Answer, (at least the only one which seems to make any sense and fits the devil’s pattern), the devil cunningly argued his defense before God and His heavenly host, and the jury was divided.

Perhaps he argued his defense by comparing his beauty and brightness to that of God’s. “What visible difference is there between me and God that God should be over me? Why, if God says it is iniquity for me to sit upon the throne, is it not for Him? Is there a double standard? Does not God do whatever He wants? Does He ask or seek our approval? How then, if simply because of my beauty I too wish to sit on the throne, can He declare me a sinner worthy of hell’s torment? If this is true, than by His own judgment, God deserves the same! Is not God doing that which He Himself condemns? How then can it be justice for me to be condemned and not God as well?”

Oh what blasphemy! Nevertheless, this fits Satan’s wild accusations made earlier with Eve. “FOR GOD KNOWS . . . YOU SHALL BE GODS.” Satan insinuated that it was due to God being egotistical and self-centered that He refused Adam and Eve to eat of the tree. If they attempted to be “gods” then God would condemn them too.

“God’s not willing to share the mount. Who’s He kidding? All He wants is to sit up there, high and lofty, and require us to worship Him,” argues Satan. “A little too much self-esteem I’d say. Really, is it fair for God to send me to hell simply I because I wanted to be like Him? It’s not like I wanted His throne, just my own. I simply wanted to be LIKE the Most High, NOT TO BE THE MOST HIGH.”

Satan’s reasoning must have been pretty convincing, since part of the heavenly host accepted his lies as truth and sided with him. His desire to be a god to the other angels became a reality as one-third of the angels were swept away in his revolt against the Lord. As the heavenly vision in Revelation 12 illustrates, the dragon, who is Satan, “drew a third part of the stars of heaven” down to earth (verse 4). As verse seven says, Satan had got the allegiance of the fallen angels who became “his” BECAUSE THEY TOOK PART IN HIS SIN!

Those angels who sided with Satan did so simply because they loved his ideology more than God. Satan proposed a life equal to God’s in that it should be answerable to none. In his craftiness he managed to arouse a “pride of [one’s own] life,” a lust for SELF-esteem. From that point on the fallen angels became slaves to their envy, having hearts that coveted the very majesty of God!

These angels embraced Satan’s idiot-ology. By allowing themselves to be seduced by all his “deceivableness of unrighteousness,” they too were condemned. They rejected the “love of the truth” so God gave them over to Satan’s “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:19), Satan’s accusations had shaken all of God’s creation. No angel could escape the effect of Satan’s lie that God only does what He wanted to do, regardless of others and He condemns those who seek to exercise the same “freedom” or “right.” Still, most of the angels chose to put their trust in God and remained loyal, emotionally unsettled maybe, but loyal nonetheless.

So why didn’t God, the Almighty, simply wink His eye or close His hand and do away with all those rebellious angels? Certainly, just as easily as they were spoken into creation they could have been erased or destroyed. But God, even though He had declared His judgment against the fallen angels, delayed the executing of His judgment against them. This is because God is a God of love and truth. His priority was to insure, by a personal irrefutable demonstration of that love and truth, which no accusation of any kind would, or could, ever be thrust upon His holy person again.

Therefore God’s priority was not one of vengeance, retaliating against His accuser and those who believed his lies. Rather, God’s first priority was to prove beyond all doubt His character in the hearts and minds of the faithful angels, see Ephesians 3:8-11 and I Peter 1:12 below. God had a mysterious plan whereby He could forever eliminate any grounds for suspicion in the hearts of those that would believe in Him. What was God’s plan? He would first justify Himself — THEN avenge Himself THROUGH His heavenly host!

“Unto me, who is less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and make all men to see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:8-11).

“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the prophets of old], but unto us did they minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; Which things the angels desire to look into” (I Peter 1:12).

Instead of defending Himself, God remained silent before His accuser. He did not strive to clear His name in the heavens nor win the hearts of humanity with “enticing words.” He preferred a “demonstration of His Spirit and power,” (I Corinthians 2:4,5). Accused of being an egotist, unfair and domineering, God would forever discredit all these blasphemous lies through the work of the cross.

Dear reader, God delights in all His creatures, and He desires that they would delight in Him. He has given His love freely and longs for love to be freely returned. God knows that our love, if it is to be true love, MUST be freely given with absolute trust. Don’t be deceived, Satan lied. God knew it. Unfortunately, a third part of the angels didn’t. Seduced by Satan’s perverted and corrupt wisdom they chose his side. It was a fatal choice, but still a very popular one today.

There is no neutral ground one can take. God will not permit it. In His eyes, one’s failure to stand God and separate from sinners is a stand against Him. Consequently, Satan’s lies forced every angel to choose sides. Likewise, we too are forced to do the same. We must separate or partake of their sins (11 John 9-11, II Cor. 6:14-17, Rev. 18:4).

“Come out from among them, and be ye separate . . . and . . . I will receive you. Come out . . . that ye be not partakers of their sins. He that is not with Me is against Me” (II Cor. 6:17, Rev. 18:4, Matt. 12:30).

FALSE ACCUSATIONS

As it stands, we’ve seen the devil deceive Eve, call God a liar, and accuse righteous Job. Are you surprised by all this? You shouldn’t be. This has been Satan’s manner of sin “from the beginning” (I John 3:8). We were warned by Jesus that “If they have called the master of the house [God] Beelzebub [Chief of Sinners], how much more shall they call them of His household?” (Matthew 10:25).

Be not deceived, just as the righteous before us have been falsely accused by Satan and his children, so will be the righteous in our day. Let us therefore take our consolation in Christ alone, for He has promised, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. REJOICE, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11,12).

False accusations have always been the main ammunition used by Satan to attack those who would choose to live godly. As a swordsman is a master of his weapon, so is our enemy with his lies. It truly is as the psalmist says, “The proud have forged a lie against me” (Psalm 119:69), To “forge” something is to intentionally manufacture something false in order to pass it off as genuine or true.

Remember how at Jesus’ trial they “sought false witnesses . . . to put Him to death,” but they found none? “Yea, though many false witnesses came, yet they found none.” The problem wasn’t a shortage of accusations. The problem was the credibility of the witnesses. They were unable to “forge” a lie against our Lord and Savior. Then came two false witnesses which said, “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and build it again in three days,” (Matthew 26:60, 61). However, what Jesus really said was, “Destroy this temple [His body], and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Oh how skillful the adversary is in twisting the words of God.

The Bible holds numerous accounts of those faithful to God being falsely accused. In Acts 6:11 we see Stephen being accused of speaking “blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.” In Macedonia, Paul and Silas were accused of troubling the whole city! Because of it they were beaten and cast into prison. In Thessalonica their preaching caused such an uproar they were actually accused of “turning the world upside down!” See Acts 16:20,21 and Acts 17:5-7,

Paul, afterwards, was called “a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition among all the Jews of the world, a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: who hath gone about and profane the temple” (Acts 24:5). Even before Festus, the governor of Judea, the Jews “laid many grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove” (Acts 25:7,8). One can but speculate what profane lies the false prophet Barjesus forged to withstand Barnabas and Paul (Acts 13:6-12).

The devil and his “children” will never cease forging their lies against the church. For as “Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith. But they will progress no farther, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. But ye have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, afflictions . . . what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:8-12).

LOWER THAN THE ANGELS

In the book of Hebrews we read that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death . . . that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” For as much as we are “flesh and blood, He also likewise took part of the same: that through [His] death on the cross He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetimes subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:9,14,15).

Now many people perceive Satan’s “power of death” in Hebrews 2:14 the same as having the “keys of death” in Revelation 1:18. It’s not, Psalm 68:20 says, “our God is the God of salvation; and unto God belong the issues of death.” The devil has NEVER had the unilateral power to take life from us. God alone determines and permits the time of every man’s death, not the devil. We see this proven in the Old Testament where the dead were brought back to life by God’s servants (I Kings 17:17-23, II Kings 4:32-37, II Kings 13:21).

In the New Testament we see that Jesus raised Lazarus, Jarius’ daughter and the widow’s son from the dead. He also gave the “power to raise the dead” to His disciples prior to His death on the cross. Also we can see that the devil could never have killed Job’s family if God had not permitted it. Likewise, concerning the “beast” of Revelation “IT,” meaning permission, “WAS GIVEN him to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Revelation 13:7).

Certainly, we must all agree that there are certain things people can do to alter their appointed time of death, to lengthen it or shorten it. Some examples are eating right and exercising versus substance abuse and suicide. However, without God’s allowing, death can and will evade or conquer any man’s personal desires, see Rev. 9:6.

Proverbs 18:21 say, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and THIS is where the devil’s “power of death” rests. All he can do on his own is lie, undermine, distort, and pervert the truth of God. He mishandles it by over emphasizing some parts while minimizing or ignoring other indispensable parts. This is known as the “Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel” religion (Matthew 23:23-26). The result of this kind of religion is death. Satan’s strategy is to shipwreck every Christian’s faith through false accusations and false “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 1:19, 4:1).

To counter the devil’s crusade of deception, the Holy Spirit seeks to illuminate the yielded heart of the believer to His precious truths. Not just the written truth, but the Living Truth, Himself! God came in the flesh to discredit Satan’s lies and had long since returned via His Holy Spirit to establish true faith in the heart of every believer.

DISPROVING SATAN’S LIES

“For this purpose was the Son of God manifest, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8). How? “. . . Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but MADE HIMSELF of no reputation, and took on Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Yes, the Supreme Governor of the universe made Himself lower than the angels. In an earthen vessel of flesh and blood dwelt “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 1:9, 2:9). In frail, humble humanity the revelation of God’s eternal glory was unveiled and through it His divine character was clearly and undeniably revealed to all.

“The LORD made bare [revealed] His Holy Arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).

Yes, He who was once “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” descended and manifested Himself in the form of a man for all the nations to see. Yet as Isaiah said, “Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He [the human manifestation of God, Jesus] shall grow up before Him [His omnipresent eternal Spirit] as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground,” (Isaiah 6:1, 53:1,2, John 12:41).

Think about that for a minute, “a tender plant . . .a root out of dry ground?” What does that mean?

Let’s say you have two planter pots, in one you plant a tomato seedling and in the other you plant an identical seedling. The first you water every day as recommended, the other you only water every third day. The first grows as it should, strong and healthy and becomes a fine-looking tomato plant.

The other however, you only water every third day. It grows up to be a tender plant, having its roots in dry soil. When you compare the two you immediately favor the first healthy plant. The second one has no outward attributes that compel you to it. This is the incarnation of Christ.

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2)

He who once descended upon Mount Sinai in fire causing the whole mount to quake greatly came into the world as an infant, a male child, through the womb of a virgin. Upon entering into this world “this child” was “set for the rise and fall of many in Israel: and for a sign which shall be [falsely] spoken against” (Luke 2:34).

The Almighty chose not to come with an appearance like that of King Saul, who was obviously a “choice young man” and “goodly [handsome]; and there was not a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders upward he was higher than any of the people” (I Samuel 9:2). Surely this was the kind of Christ many were looking for, and still are. But no, God took for Himself a body with “no form nor comeliness” that “when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2). God did not attempt to win our love by impressing us with a majestic display of outward beauty. No, He laid all that aside and in a beaten, whipped, spat upon, crucified and pierced body, He silently, but openly, proved His love for us and forever settled any question of being worthy of our love.

God refuted the lies of the devil by condescending to life form that was even lower than the angels, man. He lived a life that proved to both the angels and humanity that He was worthy of both the love and service of all His creatures. As a man Jesus showed how we ought to live our lives for everything that Jesus said and did was in full accordance with the will of His Father (John 4:34, 5:19, 8:8, 9). Having Himself learned the benefit of obedience by the things He suffered; Jesus set the standard for all who would live godly (Hebrews 5:8, 9). “Christ . . . suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in His footsteps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again: when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously” (I Peter 2:21-23).

Almighty God “was brought as a lamb to the slaughter” as our “offering for sin.” He who is the giver of all life “poured out His soul unto death.” He who is “our Judge . . . our lawgiver . . . our King — was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 34:12 and the entire 53rd chapter).

Therefore “God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and of things in the earth, and of things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

By the cross it was proven that Satan had lied! Jesus “spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). God did not merely do what He wanted or deemed pleasant for Himself. Rather, as a loving Father, He did what was best for those He had created (Luke 22:41-44, Romans 15:3, Hebrews 5:7). He came not as an overbearing and selfish master. No, He came as a loving Shepherd to those who would follow Him. If this is not sufficing to clear His glorious name than consider Jesus words below:

“I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and I chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man will hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To Him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches,” (Revelation 3: 18-22).

What does all this prove? It proves God is not egotistical. It proves God is not self-centered! It proves God is both just and merciful! It proves God is WILLING to share His throne! So much for those blasphemous lies of the devil! In fact, in alight of both history and scripture, God has proven Himself to be the MEEKEST and most generous “Being” ever! PRAISE HIS GLORIOUS NAME -JESUS! Certainly this might all seem hard to embrace. It should. The devil has labored hard and long to discredit God and present humanity with “another Jesus” to believe in (11 Corinthians 11:4). The truth of God’s incarnation, as the man Jesus, helps us “to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length, and the depth, and height: and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” It also proves Satan’s true character, as well as his defeat.

LIGHTNING FALLING FROM HEAVEN

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:17,18).

The above verse is a very enlightening piece of scripture. While the disciples were away, Jesus (who was in prayer and fasting often), “beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Now some people feel Jesus literally saw Satan cast to the earth. Others believe Jesus saw this in a spiritual sense as a result of the seventy’s mission. However, neither of these views can be supported apart from this passage.

A third opinion is that Jesus did indeed have a vision, but it was prophetic — meaning the event He witnessed was yet to take place. It is this view which has the most support of the scriptures. Personally, I believe it was this vision which enabled Jesus to set His face like flint toward the cross (Isaiah 50:5-9).

According to scripture, “He beheld Satan . . . fall,” past tense. Now in prophetic visions it is normal to see events come to pass before the events literally happen. The books of Isaiah, Daniel, and Revelation should be adequate proof for any skeptic. However, the most significant proof that this was a “prophetic vision” and not just an “event” resulting from the disciple’s mission comes from statements made by Jesus later on.

“The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name. Then there came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. NOW is the judgement of this world: NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out [of heaven]. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said signifying what manner of death He should die” (John 12:23,24, 27-32).

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away and come again unto you. If you love Me, ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto My Father: for My Father [being omnipresent] is greater than I [as a man]. And now I told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, you might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me” (John 14:28-30).

“. . .I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I [as a man] go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: . . . Of judgement because the prince of this world is judged” ( John 16:7,8,11).

In these verses we hear Jesus refer to Satan’s fall (which He had already “beheld”) as something about to happen. We also see it referred to as the time in which he, “the prince of this world is judged.” It was prior to His crucifixion that Jesus said, “NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out” and “the prince of this world cometh.” Both phrases unquestionably announce an event about to occur, not one that already has.

The time of occurrence appears to be linked with the time of Christ’s death, or as John 12:23 refers to it, the time for Jesus to be “glorified.” Jesus knew the devil “hath nothing in Me” for while He was lock in time and space by His humanity, He remained in constant subjection to His Holy Infinite Spirit. Having successfully lived as a man not governed by His flesh, it was impossible for the devil to find any place to justly accuse Him. Jesus’ secret? He committed Himself to the Spirit and kept His eyes on the joy set before Him.

Four words are key to remember: “Justified, glorified, judged” and “condemned.” God was “justified” and therefore “glorified.” The devil was “judged” and therefore “condemned,” both at the same time. Both by the same event — the shedding of God’s blood on Calvary! See John 3:16 and Acts 20:28 King James Version.

WAR IN HEAVEN

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them,” (Rev. 12: 1-12a).

Here we are told of the awesome war which occurred in heaven at Christ’s ascension. The eternal, invisible, “Holy” Spirit of “the only wise God, our Savior,” having been manifested in human flesh and justified of Satan’s blasphemous lies was received up unto the glory which He not only deserved, but earned! (I Timothy 1:17, 3:16)

The faithful angels, having “seen” the life and death of Christ were convinced that God deserved their love and serviced. United, they fought against Satan and forever expelled him from heaven. Yes, not only did the angels fight for God, they fought for God’s people as well — and continue to minister to us according to God’s will. Satan could no longer come before the throne of God and hurl his blasphemous accusations. He and his lies were put to an open shame at the cross (Colossians 2:14, 15). God’s victory could not be hid or denied. By this one pinnacle event of eternity, God “made peace through the blood of His cross . . . to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven,” (Colossians 2:12-20).

But what does God’s word say now to us? “WOE to the inhabitants of the earth . . . for the devil is come unto you having great wrath for he knows that he has but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). Having been exposed and humiliated by his defeat, Satan knows that his days are numbered. Therefore he has sought to do as much damage through deceit as he can. Therefore he has “cast out of his mouth water as a flood [false teachings] after the woman [church], that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood,” (Rev. 12:16). This is evident in the Apostle Paul’s statement to the Galatians, “I marvel that you are so soon removed [carried away] from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed,” (1:6-8).

The devil has great wrath against all man, but especially the Church. Basically, because all men are created in the image of God and He proved His love for man via the work of the cross. Therefore the devil’s only avenue of vengeance toward God is to deceive and corrupt all men. His cunning pursuit of opportunities to turn man against man in hatred for each other and to persecute, and attempt to deceive and destroy the Body of Christ is his only retaliation against God. He knows he can’t defeat God, for he was cast out of heaven. His wrath since then has been repeatedly demonstrated against the church.

But never let us fear him, rather let us fear God and give Him glory. For just as there was no uncertainty among the heavenly angels, neither should there be among the people of God. Otherwise as they cast the devil out for their sins and unbelief we too should receive like condemnation. Rather, just as they fought whole heartedly for God, so let us. Since the fall of Lucifer, the anointed cherub, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent [or aggressive, must] take it by force” for the devil will oppose all who would strive to enter in (Matt. 11:12). Nevertheless, just as the angels and saints of old overcame, so can we!

It is to our shame that it is so hard for us to endure a little hardship and resist a little temptation. Especially when God has promised no temptation would be so great we could not overcome it or be given a way to escape it. WE should esteem the “reproaches of Christ greater riches” than all the riches of the world. We should rejoice and count it all joy when we are considered worthy to suffer for His name. But do we?

Come on. Let’s pick up our crosses and follow Him. Unlike Jesus, we deserve our cross. Without Him our cross would have only been to our shame, but now, today, it can be to His glory! Let’s do as He says we can and “overcome the wicked one by the blood of the Lamb” and the word of our testimony. Pick up your cross! “Worthy is the Lamb which was slain to receive glory and honor and power!”

If the following verse has trouble you, or come to mind while reading this article, please see this article where I address it.
1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Live for the King… it’ll make easier to die for Him.

As I am working on my follow-up post to my last, which will be on “How Jesus Loved the Seven Churches,” I felt it would be helpful to re-examine how “God is Love.”  Because everybody enjoys hearing about how “Jesus is a God of love,” and undeniably many sermons entitled “God is love” have brought much needed comfort to the heart of the truly repentant. Nonetheless, while these statements are certainly true, as believers we must remember that they are not complete statements of truth. An unwavering truth is that God is no respecter of persons and sometimes the holiness and righteousness of God requires a change in His posture with individuals, a concept some believers have a hard time believing. But consider the following two verses.

“And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it,” (Deuteronomy 28:63).

“After the number of the days in which ye searched the land . . . ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise,” (Numbers 14:34).

Certainly, God is a God of love, yet in Rev. 2:6 Jesus said “. . . this thou hast that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” Again in Proverbs it says, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among the brethren.” Now, I am not trying to present God as a God of hate, just establish the fact that God is capable of hate.

If God’s people are to have true intimacy with Jesus Christ, coupled with a righteous boldness (not a religious cockiness), then we need a basic understanding of God’s precepts. Jesus conditionally told His disciples, “IF ye continue in My word, THEN are ye My disciples indeed; (THEN) ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:31, 32). Jesus was not referring to the truth as certain “facts” which could liberate them. The truth He was referring to was Himself. Jesus said “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father except by Me” (John 14:6). Jesus Christ is the polestar of all truth. If we are going to be “set” free then it is Jesus Christ personally who we must seek to know, not just mere biblical and historical facts. For “if the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36).

While God is perfect in the administration of His love, the Bible does say He still “judgeth the righteous, and is angry with the wicked every day,” (Psalm 7:11). It is this foundational precept that gives us understanding as to why, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” (Proverbs 1:7, 9:11).

Proverbs 8:13 says “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: [therefore] pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth do I hate.” Proverbs 16:6 says “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” Therefore, if believers are to live harmoniously with God they must strive to live according to the scriptures, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” We must abhor sin and all unrighteousness, no matter how slight it’s deviation from the truth, for “ALL unrighteousness is SIN,” (I John 5:17). This at times is very hard to do since we are often so easily deceived by the pleasures of sin. Of course, this certainly does not mean we are to be hating “sinners,” but rather the sin that has found root in their lives and hearts as if it were hell’s own death grip on them.

To further clarify the attributes of “God’s love” a contrast needs to be made between our natural humanistic “love” and God’s “righteous love.” Humanistic love (due to man’s fallen nature) is both erratic and temperamental. It changes with circumstances or emotions and often ceases without any apparent reason other than loss of interest. Humanistic love rarely subscribes to logic and when found to be so; it is only aligned with the laws of God out of coincidence and not truly governed thereby. When shaken and unsettled, it usually can only be tranquilized by a self-favorable compromise.

Humanistic love usually has a high toleration of sin in another when something desirable for self might be obtained, or else their sins may not likewise be tolerated. If there is no personal profit to be had, then the response is usually judgment and criticism. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these not having a law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:14,15).

Contrary to fallen man’s own love, the love of God is not governed by His emotions, but is directed by His righteousness. This is clearly seen in Matthew 23:37, “0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” Had God’s love been controlled and subject to emotions, He would have forgiven everybody. He would have gathered them (with all their wickedness) unto Himself whether they repented or not. But God’s love transcends emotions and is founded in holiness and truth.

Likewise, our emotions are God given and can work for good when they’re used correctly as the expressions of our hearts and not the rulers of our lives. Paul instructed the Corinthians saying “the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they have none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possess not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” Certainly Paul wasn’t forbidding marriage any more than he forbidding us to weep or rejoice. Rather, he was warning us not to allow ourselves to be controlled by our marital statuses, emotions, possessions, or the world.

If we are to fully answer God’s call to be holy as He is holy, we must cease to be ruled by our emotions and seek, ask and knock in diligent pursuit of knowing God and His will in our lives. We are to be ruled by His righteousness and live to fulfill His will, not our own. If we foolishly continue to indulge ourselves in the luxury of self-government we jeopardize our relationship with God an run the risk of being unfruitful.

2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Righteous love” in one’s life is evidence of a contemplated surrender to God and His will. Since true love is governed by the authority of the Holy Scriptures, it is not easily swayed by human emotions, but still enjoys full emotional expression. This kind of holy love is conceived in our minds as a result of a personal conviction and revelation of God’s love for us, and birthed into being through the surrender of our hearts.

1Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Jesus reminds us that true love is undeniably evident by our obedience as we see in John and carries with it the promise of reward.

John 14:21 He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Mme shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.
24 He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings . . .

Just like faith and hope, righteous love is based upon and therefore governed by God’s word, for God has said, “Come now and let us reason [intellectually] together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye are willing and obedient [surrender in your hearts], ye will eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye will be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”

Absolutely, God commands us to love one another and for that love to be effective it must be within the confines of God’s will as revealed by His word. We must remember that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” and that faith “works by love,” (Ro. 10:17, Gal. 5:6). While we are to be longsuffering with immaturity, ignorance and other human frailties and limitations, we must not and cannot tolerate willful sin in ourselves or in each other. If one is overtaken by a fault, then those who are able to instruct must go and do so. If such a one defiantly rebels against God, he is to be rebuked. Should he repent of his wickedness, then let him be forgiven and embraced as a brother. If he doesn’t, he should be removed from the fellowship of believers for he has obstinately forfeited his fellowship with God, for what fellowship has light with darkness? None.

Nowadays, too many believers are being seduced into accepting a “feeling” as love. Because they found acceptance in a church social circle, they are deceived into believing a spirit of churchianity as true Christianity. Love is more than a feeling of warmth, such a feeling is often no more than emotional satisfaction. Since they “feel” good where they are, they are persuaded this is evidence of righteous love. Yet righteous love is maintains an uncompromising commitment to God, His precepts and His church. Remember it is not what we “feel” at a church that confirms truth, but what we hear, “For the word of God . . . is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Likewise, Mercy is too often presumed to be something it’s not. Mercy is a fruit of love, yet, like love for mercy to be effective and redemptive it too must be founded in the righteous judgments of God. People often mistake mercy to be a softness or tenderness exhibited toward someone, or they mistake longsuffering for mercy. These are actually compassion, kindness and gentleness. Mercy is not suffering the consequences of one’s sins which they truly deserve. It is the pardon for an offence which as been exposed, acknowledged, and repented of.

Before the mercy of a pardon can happen however, there needs to be a conviction of righteous judgment first. This too is where many mistake God’s judgment for His wrath, but these are two distinctly different events. God’s judgment is the accurate evaluation of one’s life in light of His righteousness. Should one be found contrary to God as revealed through His word and yet truly repent, pardon is then possible inasmuch as the law was satisfied by the shedding of Christ’s blood. But, when one is evaluated to be a transgressor and refuses to turn from his wicked deed, Jesus Christ re-dying again on ten thousand crosses would not save him, all he has to look forward to is wrath, or “judgment without mercy.”

One must acknowledge his transgressions for what they are with a true godly sorrow and by departing from his sin. The only time an immediate departure from sin may not be required is if it is due to ignorance as a direct result of natural (not willful) Christian immaturity. Therefore, the believer is instructed to diligently seek the will of God in their lives.

2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that [or why] he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

If we are to effectively love one another so as to minister to and build each other up, we must each devote ourselves to the knowing of both God and His word. We must never compromise our convictions of truth for the sake of church unity, yet we must never cease to labor in love for it. We must dig deep and seek the solid ground of truth, not common ground. While we are commanded to be both submitted and committed to each other in the fear of the Lord, we are not to be not loyal. Loyalty to a man will eventually result in a sinful compromise. We can not afford to “love” anyone, family or otherwise, so much that we unwittingly cast away our pearl of great price. Yes, we can and should suffer long with the frailties of each other and/or with the fallen condition of one seeking the truth, but not with a stubborn hypocrite. Effective and redemptive mercy always requires a surrender to the true evaluation of one’s condition by both the Spirit and Word of God.

Remember,

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6)

“He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23)

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.”
(1 John 5:1,2)

Peace

A timely re-share:

Hallowed Be Thy Name

This was a message God laid on my heart concerning the deity of Jesus the Christ, the Lord’s Prayer and its exhortation for us to petition that God’s name to be hallowed, revered and feared in this fallen world. God’s people need to recognize the necessity to daily seek first His kingdom and righteousness while the long-suffering of God’s waits as with one hand he holds His love and mercy while with the other hand holding back His coming wrath and judgment on a wicked world.



Whom shall God teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breast. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. (Isaiah 28:9, 10)

 

In order for anyone to understand anything, they must first be made aware of some basic principles. In math, for instance, one could not very well understand multiplication without first understanding addition.

True understanding can only come from knowledge founded upon God’s precepts. Therefore, this post is an effort to present those precepts that are necessary to know in order to understand the role of male and female, and “why” God created us such.

God created humanity to be both male and female so they could “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” In Titus chapter 2 there are many examples for this are given, husbands and wives, masters and servants, young to elders. We especially can even see it in children honoring/obeying their parents according to the commandment with the promise of a long life and how as God’s children if we honor/obey Him through our faith then we too have the promise of eternal life.

To begin, we must first acknowledge how it was the male who was first created in the image of God with a position on the earth similar to God in the heaven. Even nowadays, when in a right relationship with God, a man will faithfully represent God in all his dealings, both in his own household and with his neighbor.

Since true love and commitment must be of one’s free will, God designed humanity with the ability to choose to be either His glory or His shame in the earth. When a man (male) humbles himself and chooses to submit to the precepts of God, he becomes the glory of God in the earth. His life will then both affirm and reflect both the righteous judgments and attributes of God.

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A timely repost…

Sadly, what is mostly offered to the world as “The Church of Jesus Christ” is in truth nothing more than an apostate whoring religious system which, though naming the name of Jesus Christ, has succumbed to the worldly wisdom of marketing experts in order to increase their numbers. To avoid offending the attending ignorant, they eagerly embrace the latest fashionable watered down translations of Holy Writ reducing God’s word into a flimsy weapon useless against the adversary and too dull to pierce the heart of unrepentant sinners . . . many who already proudly boast in their illusion of “salvation.” Have they forgotten the warning “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life?” Or are they just so arrogant and lacking of fear?

(more…)

Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Luke  2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Due to the significance of this subject matter, I occasionally re-post this particular message (normally titled “Justified in the Spirit“) to refresh and expound on the glorious mystery God wrought in our Redeemer to help reveal (in my limited understanding and way) why God is so worthy of our love, adoration, worship and all glory.

Rewards for the Diligent

God has promised to reward us in Hebrews 11:6 with understanding if we would “diligently” seek Him. Answering His call to personal holiness, picking up our crosses and following Him is how we seek Him. To those who obey this mandate Jesus said He would give to them “to know the mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11). “To know” we are required to “diligently seek” if we are to have any hope to find, just as we must actively knock if the door of understanding is to be opened unto us. We must humbly acknowledge our ignorance and ask for understanding if we are to be enlightened by God’s Holy Spirit. That is because nothing is more blinding or hindering to our receiving truth than the “light” one proudly thinks himself to have, as such light most often prove to be strongholds that cause men to bunker down in defense of their own historic position or greed. But even one is willing to consider that the part they know may not be correct or complete, they must remember that all one’s seeking, knocking, and asking must be with an intention of true faithfulness if one is to receive anything from God. Even then, it is still only when “our hearts condemn us not” of sin that we can have true “confidence” toward God, for it is only in that place that “whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:21, 22).

The revealing of God’s precious truths is often times progressive, as is witnessed to God’s names being revealed over time to humanity. Therefore we can see throughout history how so many others of God’s truths have been given one tidbit at a time is not rare. Holy men of old often prophesied of future events in fragments, “here a little” and then in another text, perhaps even another prophet, “there a little.” This method of enlightenment is in exact accordance with what the bible teaches us. I Corinthians 13:9 tells us straightforwardly that we all only “prophesy in part.” However, when we allow the Holy Spirit  to help us properly assemble these parts by His illuminating touch, these fragments give valuable insight into otherwise veiled truths of scripture. Such is true for a verse which would otherwise be a puzzling piece of scripture –

For without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, [God was] justified in the spirit, [God was] seen of angels, [God had] preached unto the Gentiles, [God was] believed on in the world, [God was] received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16).

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“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who had not too long before boldly stated before all the disciples “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was graciously administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three precious opportunities to confirm his love for Christ. Yet Jesus takes Peter further as He continues with His instruction to Peter as to how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What a blessing it is that the Lord instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter loved Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually love must be given to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other. (more…)

Everybody enjoys hearing about how “Jesus is a God of love” and undeniably many sermons entitled “God is love” have brought much needed comfort to the heart of the truly repentant. Nonetheless, while these statements are certainly true, as believers we must remember that they are not complete statements of truth. An unwavering truth is that God is no respecter of persons and sometimes the holiness and righteousness of God requires a change in His posture with individuals, a concept some believers have a hard time believing. But consider the following two verses.

“And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it,” (Deuteronomy 28:63).

“After the number of the days in which ye searched the land . . . ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise,” (Numbers 14:34).

Certainly, God is a God of love, yet in Rev. 2:6 Jesus said “. . . this thou hast that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” Again in Proverbs it says, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among the brethren.” Now, I am not trying to present God as a God of hate, just establish the fact that God is capable of hate.

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Love and Honor

Posted: August 3, 2014 in Shared Thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

Which is more important, to feel you are honoring the Lord, or for Him to feel He is being honored? Likewise, which is more important, for us to feel that we love the Lord, or for Him to know He is truly loved? Let’s take this one step further, by adding to our considerations what Jesus also said about faithfulness.

Luke 16:10, He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

Now based upon Jesus’ words, if when we are being faithful in the least, that discipline will remain constant into our being faithful in greater things; it then seems obvious that the opposite would be true. No, I am not simply repeating what Jesus said, I am working this principle backwards, from the greater down to the least.  For if men are unfaithful in the greater things, then they are without a doubt being unfaithful in the least of things.

Therefore, if men are failing to honor God, they will surely be failing to respectfully honor men. Once again likewise, if they are failing to love God they will be miserably failing at loving other men. Now that doesn’t mean they are going to be aware of it, at least not be facing it head on in the mirror so to say. For we have a way of lying to ourselves, especially about love. (more…)

(Timely re-post) 

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

A brother and I were praying for another when he quoted parts of these verses in his prayer. It got me to thinking about how these two verses are possibly the ones I hear taken out of context most when praying with others. Each verse seems to have their own catch phrases that tend to be quoted by young or untrained believers. Even believers who appear mature and seasoned are still only repeating without evaluating what they’ve heard from some preacher, trying to “claim” the promises of God. However, I need to ask, is that really Jesus’ intent here? Was He merely trying to teach us the formula of what and how things need to be done so we can then successfully claim His promises and get our prayers answered?

So, wen I hear people misused verse 19, it is actually quite troublesome to me, because they really believe that by getting me or another to stand in agreement with them that they’re more likely to have their prayer answered. This flawed understanding literally keeps these believers in a position of trying to perfect the way they do things so they can have faith for their prayers… rather than simply praying because of faith.

Sadly, I am absolutely certain there are many Christians out there who cannot even understand what I just said. Because they been taught things incorrectly, they are left believing “faith” is something they must somehow muster up to compel God to move on their behalf, or even to hear their prayers.

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CaptureAnd you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. (Colossians 2:13,14)

Those who have been “churched” for a while are likely to have heard this verse interpreted as the whole of God’s law being nailed to the cross as being now null and void, or no longer relevant in the life of a believer. That once we “accept” Jesus’ death as a payment for our sins, we have no further obligation than to just accept His wondrous grace by faith . . . and accept that we are always going to be messing up and still sinning all the days of our lives. But because of “grace,” no worries.  I fear that believers of such have been duped into swallowing a grace that cannot effectually save one from their sins while at the same time casting away God’s provisional lamp for their feet.

I ask the reader to be prayerfully open minded and to consider, what if what was nailed to the cross as “handwriting of ordinances that was against us” was not the ceremonial law of Judaism, but something else? That is not to say the ceremonial law did not fulfill its function and therefore has completed its course in God’s plan for humanity, for in Roman’s 7 Paul labors to persuade his Jewish brethren to acknowledge that they were now free from ceremonial rites because that which they pointed to had come, the Lamb of God which not only bore the sins of the world, but ended the sin-offerings as well. For all those were merely shadows of Christ body as an offering to come.

Certainly it was not the moral aspect of God’s law which was nailed to the cross and taken out of the way, for consider how the scriptures bare witness that Law was “perfect, converting the soul . . . making wise the simple . . . rejoicing the heart . . . pure and enlightening the eyes.”  Furthermore the scripture also records in Psalms the prayerful request that God would “grant me thy law graciously,” which seems to be an interesting twist to much that is preached today against “The Law,” that the law could actually be given in grace. (more…)

(I am presently writing an article today on a passage the Lord has laid heavily on my heart. It is not a message that I have any desire or eagerness to give; saving it may stir some out of their lukewarmness into repentance and absolute surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. However, while praying over what God has placed upon my heart, I felt the need to repost this older one as a prelude for those who may have ears to hear…)

Sadly, what is mostly offered to the world as “The Church of Jesus Christ” is in truth nothing more than an apostate whoring religious system which, though naming the name of Jesus Christ, has succumbed to the worldly wisdom of marketing experts in order to increase their numbers. To avoid offending the attending ignorant, they eagerly embrace the latest fashionable watered down translations of Holy Writ reducing God’s word into a flimsy weapon useless against the adversary and too dull to pierce the heart of unrepentant sinners . . . many who already proudly boast in their illusion of “salvation.” Have they forgotten the warning “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life?” Or are they just so arrogant and lacking of fear?

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Hallowed Be Thy Name

This was a message God laid on my heart concerning the deity of Jesus the Christ, the Lord’s Prayer and its exhortation for us to petition that God’s name to be hallowed, revered and feared in this fallen world. God’s people need to recognize the necessity to daily seek first His kingdom and righteousness while the long-suffering of God’s waits as with one hand he holds His love and mercy while with the other hand holding back His coming wrath and judgment on a wicked world.