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topics of interest


Popular Teachings about Righteousness

In North America one of the popular teachings about righteousness is that once you have declared Christ as your Saviour you can sin, and your punishment for this sin and other sins (past and future) has already been paid for by Jesus Christ through his atoning death on the cross.  This belief and teaching is contrary to all teachings about righteousness in the OT and the NT.  The books of the Bible teach repentance and a turning away or ceasing from our sins and a reception of what is good and right that we strive for each day and apply to our lives.  This rejection of sin in our lives and hearts is enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit and produces life in us and an inheritance in Christ Jesus.

We live in the present with God.  If we are doing what is wrong  in the present day and time, we are heading to an appointment with death.  If we are doing what is right in the present day and time, then we are entering into life and the rest of God.  This kind of teaching about righteousness is clear in the book of Ezekiel and in the teachings about righteousness taught in the apostles letters to believers in the NT.  There is no other way to interpret these teachings.  We must be striving toward righteousness.  It is while we are striving for what is good and right that the grace of God is given to us believers to provide us with an imputed righteousness until we come to the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ.

We need to separate ourselves as believers in Christ from the world so that we can attain victory over sin.  Ezekiel teaches in chapter eighteen that we cannot indulge in the common sins of man and our society and please God.   We cannot involve ourselves in sexual sins or sins of greed or in oppression of the poor and weak.  We have to continually choose what is right and good in our day to day lives.  The Holy Spirit enables this choice for believers.  If this is not working for you then you should pray and ask God to give you the Holy Spirit and be ready to change your mind and accept what is it that God presents to you as from himself.


Righteousness vs Wickedness

In scripture the apostle Paul says that we are in a fight and that we are to win this fight as followers of Jesus.  This fight is between righteousness and wickedness. Internally within ourselves, and externally in our world.  We have to be ready to give it our all in this fight. Paul says don’t beat the air ineffectually, but understand what you are doing and how to do it.  Follow the leading of the Spirit of God in your life.

This fight is the fight of faith.  Staying faithful to God, listening to him, and obeying him.

This fight might be costly.  The Bible says we are to count the cost, put our hands to the plow, and don’t look back.  We are either for righteousness or against it. These are the two positions in our world at the present time.

The Bible says that if we fight for righteousness God will be at our right hand.  He will  teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight.  He will be our shield all around.  If we stand he will be our helper to deliver us from our enemies.

Scripture is clear.  Believers have enemies.  Those who want to destroy righteousness, kill God, and live in the lusts of their flesh.  King David says that God’s enemies are his enemies and that he hates them with a pure hatred.

What we are seeing in the USA today is dizzying  The divide that has occurred between  people who want to throw off all restraint of righteousness and people who are trying to maintain some kind of righteousness in the land.  This is not a political divide. It is not a racial divide.  It is righteousness and wickedness fighting each other within both groups of people.

As Believers we need to declare ourselves on God’s side.  Take this stance in our lives and come what may stand in it.  God will help us and show himself faithful to us.  We have this well known quote from Joshua, ‘Choose you this day who you will serve.. but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.’

 

 


I Corinthians 15:1+2

The first and second verses say, “Now I would remind you brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word that I preached to you– unless you have believed in vain”.

1. ‘by which you are being saved’
2. ‘if you hold fast to the word that I preached to you’
3. ‘unless you have believed in vain’

This scripture and many others are examples given to us in the NT and the OT confirming this idea that we are in the process of being saved, even though we have been placed into the Body of Christ. There are conditions. We must hold fast to the word. The Bible says that the Jews in the time of Jesus and Paul were in error about what they believed. They believed that as long as they confessed that they were Abraham’s children they were fine. Jesus clarified to them that their father was the devil. Their deeds were disclosing their real situation and condition.

The Bible tells the parable of the wheat and the tares being together in the kingdom of God. Growing together until the harvest. The admonition in scripture that there are wolves among the sheep, that there are wicked men who feast on the people of God. In the OT we have the picture or type of God’s people not entering into the promised land. They were rebellious, disobedient, complaining, double minded people, people who looked back and wished they could return to slavery after they had been freed at great cost. They died in the desert. It was their children who entered the promised land.

How is it that religious leaders say that we only have to confess Christ and then our salvation is secure. Our sin doesn’t matter, our behaviors don’t matter.


The Sufferings of Christ

The Bible declares that the believer will partake of the sufferings of Christ.  That this is in their best interests. That the believer will partake of the glory when they have also suffered like their predecessor Jesus.  Jesus has gone before us, we are to follow him.  Job declares that he knew of God, he had heard of him previously, but when Job suffered he stated he then saw God, gained understanding, and abhorred himself for his complaint against God.

Job suffered when he stood alone in his faith.  His friends contradicted him, his wife encouraged him to curse God.  Job experienced the loss of his family, his children, his friends, his possessions, his standing and respect in the community.  He stayed faithful to God, and afterward was richly rewarded by God in this life, and I am confident, in the life to come.  In the kingdom of God.  How could Job be happy with what God gave him after he had experienced such devastating losses?  God makes it possible.  Our further understanding makes it possible.  God’s work in us makes it possible.  The Bible says that with God nothing is impossible.

The New Testament says that we need to arm ourselves with this knowledge of the believer suffering.  It is happening in the world today and believers in the western nations don’t understand it.  Arm yourselves with this mind, the Bible says.  Christ suffered, and so you can expect that you will suffer as well.  Are you greater than your teacher, the Bible says?

Do we suffer in a vacuum away from God?  No, God is with us.  He makes it possible.  He provides.  It is not easy, but the suffering will end.  Paul states that if it is God’s will that you suffer for a period of time endure it like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  These are teachings that are lost to the western church doctrines in our day.  It should open our eyes as to who is a true leader of God’s people in our day and times.

 

 


What God Requires

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

What must we do to work the works of God?  We need to implement justice, morality, and rightness, today in our own lives.  God is clear in his Word.  What we do in our lives, and how we do it, matters to us, and to God.  He has requirements of us. We need to do certain things in order to prosper spiritually and physically in our lives. We are told repeatedly throughout scripture that judgment from the Lord is coming.  That God will judge the just and the unjust according to their works. He will judge the nations and peoples of the world.  He will judge his own people.

Immorality and corruption are increasing in the environment where we live.  We need to be looking to God for the ability to refuse temptations.  Western governments and nations are rejecting God and his commandments today.   Lying and deceit are everyday occurrences with those we deal with in business and everyday activities.  We see this in the news about our financial organizations defrauding and deceiving their banking customers.

What are we to do?  It’s not going to be ok for us to participate and do business the same way as the world around us.  God has given us his commandments.  They are laid out extensively in his Word.  The ten commandments being the scaffold of what he requires of people.  His Word is what we must follow.  God has not left us defenseless as his people.  We do not have the old nature that powerless against sin.  We have choices as God’s people to do what is right.  How do we do this?

Through  the Holy Spirit. We need to be asking God for his Holy Spirit to be given to us in a measure that is responsive to what is happening today in our world and what is happening where we are living.  This is individual, and also corporate, for us as God’s people.  We are in a struggle and we need to overcome through God.  Western Christians are  experiencing opposition from their government leaders, education institutions, judicial legislation, and popular culture.  What to do?

Stand with God, and do his will.  Keep his commandments. Ask him to help you to do this.  He will.  Guard your heart, your mind, and do what is right.  Avoid and rebuke temptations in the power of Jesus Christ.  You will be richly rewarded in this life and in the eternal life that you will enter.  ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’.

 


Postmodern, Emerging Church?

My current understanding of the postmodern and emerging church is its desire to reject traditional Christianity and Christianity’s historic doctrines and teachings, even to the setting aside of biblical scripture, if necessary. The church services in the postmodern and Emerging Church are designed and intended for unbelievers. Places where people who don’t normally attend a church can come and be entertained and encouraged by self-help and self-esteem teachings and philosophies.

If Christianity was simply a belief system, where there is no true and living God, then it would have its place in our church systems. However, from my own experience of over thirty years of being a devout Christian, I can testify that Christianity is a transformation that comes about through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. One of the main avenues for this transformation is the Bible scriptures. Christianity is about following Jesus Christ into eternity. Christianity is about being reconciled to God the Father through the Son by the perfect sacrificial atonement on the cross provided by the Son. His sacrifice releases the believer from the Mosaic Law of death, so that we can then live to God in newness of life. Christianity is the power provided by God to remove sin from our lives. To achieve a new creation in us that has been purposed by God through our obedience to him. Christianity is slaying the old man and his wickedness, and putting on the new man who is created in the image of Christ. Christianity is the embracing of light and love and the rejection of darkness and wickedness in our own lives and in our world. These are just some of the things that are taught in the Bible concerning Christianity.

The postmodern and Emerging Church teaches none of these things to any extent. The leaders of these churches criticize believers who want more in-depth teachings about their faith and what God requires. Believers are told that the church is not for them but for the unbeliever. This is untrue. Believers are the church. There is no church without believers who have been reborn by the Spirit of God. The postmodern and Emerging church is not a true church, but rather an organization that is doing business in the name of Christ. Based on the knowledge that I have at this time, I would say that there is nothing to fear from these leaders, and to leave these organizations who are impersonating Christianity in our day.


Legalism

Legalism, in my view, is relying on the Mosaic Law for our righteousness. The Bible says that the law was good as it was originally given. The issue was that the hearts of men could not be changed by the law. If righteousness could have come through the law the scripture says it would have been done that way by God. Man needed to be reborn into righteousness after the fall of Adam and Eve. This was accomplished through Christ, a righteous man, dying on the cross and being raised again to new life. The Law was instituted as a tutor of righteousness until the appointed time of the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s requirements have not changed in Scripture. Beginning in the OT and then into the NT God teaches us about his requirements for right living, right thinking, and right hearts. What Jesus did was to make our transformation in these areas possible. We can now do through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit what we could not do under the Law. We can become a new creation in Christ. The scriptures teach us how we are to make these changes.

Today’s modern teaching on legalism has made it about overlooking God’s requirements for righteous living. That we have no choice but to continue to sin. This teaching denies the new birth in Christ. It puts believers in the camp of the unrighteous, with no real power, and at the control of sin. This is false teaching according to the Bible.


Fear and Grace

The Bible repeatedly exhorts God’s people about fear. We are not to fear. The scripture encourages believers to ‘Be strong, be courageous’, that God has ‘not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and love, and a sound mind’. We are facing fearful times in our day. Church leaders are fearful. They are conforming to the requirements and compromise the world is asking for in order to avoid persecution. They want to be friends and a blessing to the ungodly of our day. This is the result of the teaching about grace that has permeated every church in the USA and Canada. We are to turn our eyes away from sin and love everyone (especially the world) in order to show God’s unconditional grace. To get people saved. This is false teaching. This is not taught in the Bible. This teaching has not been balanced with other teachings in scripture about grace. Grace to obey God. Grace for gifts. Grace to conform to the will of Christ in our choice of lifestyle, in our mind, and in our heart. Grace to endure hardship. Grace to remain faithful to God despite the circumstances. Grace for our transformation into the image of Christ. Grace to die to ourselves, to our old nature. Etc. etc.

As believers we must overcome fear. Fear is the opposite of faith. Currently, fear is being used to manipulate believers and church systems by the world. Churches are falling one by one to these demands. A prominent church teacher is telling believers here in North America that they can side with the antichrist (to the point of taking his mark of ownership) and still be saved at the end. This is presumptuous and absurd. Once we are the devil’s he will not let us go, and we do not have the power to deliver ourselves. We will have turned our back on Christ and the power of the cross. The Bible teaches that at that point there will be no more sacrifice for our sin.


Two Covenants meaning Hagar and Sarah

Galatians 4:21 begins a teaching about the two sons of Abraham. The story in the OT of the two sons named Ishmael and Isaac tells of how Ishmael and his mother Hagar were sent away by Abraham. In Galatians the apostle Paul says that we can look figuratively at the mothers of Abraham’s sons as representing two covenants, one of the natural, and one of the promise through the power of the Spirit. Paul clearly teaches that the present Jerusalem is of Hagar. She will not share in the inheritance of God. Paul declares that there is a Jerusalem that is above and that she is the mother of those who are in Christ.
Today we have many teachers and preachers who make errors in dividing the word of truth. They teach one part of the Bible as full and complete truth, but when other parts of the Bible are read their teaching is contradicted by other Scriptures. This means there is error in what they are teaching.
The present church system that we know of in North America does not have checks and balances. There is alot of control implemented in the majority of churches. We can be certain that this type of control of people and of what we are being taught is not of God. We seem to have a mishmash of teachings related to both Hagar and Sarah. On the one hand we have freedom in Christ, on the other hand we are subjects and children to these church systems. The Hagars of our day.


Can a Believer’s Faith be ruined or lost?

We are living in challenging times as Christians. Our faith is being undermined by  wayward Christian teachers and prophets in our day. How does this happen? I Timothy and II Timothy give some explanation as to how this occurs. Teachers start to wander off the path of truth and are in a position to ruin the faith of others.  For some teachers it is their desire to be preeminent among others.  For  other teachers they have accepted and confessed  beliefs in a worldly knowledge.  These causes are based in inward personality faults that have not been overcome or resisted by someone who is  teaching God’s word.  Through their influence they can shipwreck the godly faith of other Christians.   God’s word says that those who teach will receive the greater condemnation in a judgment if they get it wrong.  We have some Christian teachers in our day that have really gone out on a limb teaching that godliness in conduct and behavior is not needed in the life of a believer.  Others teach that financial gain is what Christianity is all about.   Still others teach mystical, spiritualistic practices interspersed with the Word of God.

The names of some of these men are given in I and II Timothy. Hymanaeus, Philetus, and Alexander are specifically identified by Paul.  To have lived in that day teaching believers and then to find your name written in the Bible as a faith-wrecker would be devastating.  We need to be careful as teachers and as receivers of ‘christian’ teaching.  Many popular teachers of our day teach half-truths or even less godly content in their teaching about the Christian life.  We cannot be enamored with the ‘popular’ at the expense of our faith and eternal life. Paul exhorted Timothy to hold onto his faith and his good conscience.  Contrary to much of the Christian teaching today our conscience means something to us.  If we are feeling guilty, confused or uncomfortable then we need to pay attention to the Holy Spirit and examine ourselves by  the Word of God and what the Bible Scriptures teach.