"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" Fatherly Counsel For Godly Living (3:1-35) INTRODUCTION 1. Proverbs chapter two presents Solomon as a father encouraging his son... a. To diligently seek after wisdom - Pr 2:1-4 b. To appreciate the benefits of diligently seeking wisdom - Pr 2: 5-22 2. In chapter three, we find Solomon imparting wisdom to his son... a. With six keys for a good life - Pr 3:1-12 b. With praise and illustrations of the value of wisdom - Pr 3:13-24 c. With six negatives for a wise life - Pr 3:25-35 [I like to think of this chapter as containing "Fatherly Counsel For Godly Living," and imagine sitting at the feet of Solomon as he imparts wisdom by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We first hear him speak of...] I. SIX KEYS FOR A GOOD LIFE A. THE KEY TO A LONG AND PEACEFUL LIFE... 1. Heed the guidance of your father (parents) - Pr 3:1-2 2. The same thought as expressed by Paul - Ep 6:1-3 3. Place more stock in this secret to longevity, than those given by the world a. Diet, exercise, etc., are important b. But here is a commandment of God with promise! -- Do we honor our parents by giving them careful heed? B. THE KEY TO POPULARITY... 1. Some think the way to popularity is good looks, intelligence, or athletic ability 2. The qualities of truth and mercy are key to lasting popularity - Pr 3:3-4 3. Truth and mercy are more enduring, because they are more endearing! a. They find great favor in the sight of God - cf. Mt 5:7,37 b. Likewise in the eyes of men 1) No one likes a liar 2) Mercy (compassion, forgiveness) is admired by many -- Are we developing the qualities of truth and mercy in our lives? C. THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL VENTURES... 1. Have the Lord "direct" your paths - Pr 3:5-6 a. The word "direct" means to make smooth or straight b. The Lord can help our journey in life go smoother with His blessing 2. To ensure that the Lord directs your paths... a. Trust in Him with all your heart - cf. Ps 37:3-6,23-24, 34-36 b. Acknowledge Him in all your ways - cf. Jm 4:13-16 c. Don't lean on your own understanding - cf. Pr 28:26 -- Do we involve the Lord in our decision making? D. THE KEY TO GOOD HEALTH... 1. Do not be arrogant, fear the Lord, and depart from evil - Pro 3:7-8 2. Do not underestimate the harmful effects of anxiety and stress a. Some authorities suggest that 50% of all illnesses may be psychosomatic b. Our body's immune system is certainly weakened by anxiety and stress c. Guilt is a major cause of anxiety, and can weigh heavily on our body - Ps 32:1-4 3. There is also the physical cost of sin a. E.g., the effects of drunkenness (cirrhosis of the liver) b. E.g., the effects of fornication (STDs) 4. Yet if we truly fear the Lord... a. We will depart from evil - Pr 16:6 b. We will be freed from much anxiety, stress, and many diseases c. And that will be good for our bodies! - cf. Pr 14:27 -- Is developing the fear of the Lord part of our "wellness program"? E. THE KEY TO PROSPERITY... 1. Give of your best to the Lord - Pr 3:9-10 2. In the OT, that involved paying tithes and putting God first a. When tithes were not given, it resulted in hardship - Mal 3: 8-12 b. When God was not first, likewise - cf. Hag 1:6-11 3. In the NT, it is not that much different a. Put God and His kingdom first, and we enjoy His providential care - Mt 6:31-33 b. Give cheerfully and liberally, and God will empower us to give more - 2Co 9:6-9 -- Do we give to the Lord the "first fruits" of our time, energy, and money? F. THE KEY TO ACCEPTING THE LORD'S DISCIPLINE... 1. Value divine chastening as the actions of a loving father - Pro 3:11-12 a. Even the righteous may be allow to suffer - cf. Job 1:8-22 b. And God may deem fit to compensate for it even in this life - cf. Job 42:10-13 2. Whatever persecution or hardship God allows, it is for our good a. We should expect discipline, if we are His children - He 12:7-9 b. But it will produce the fruit of holiness and righteousness, if we let it - He 12:10-11 -- Do we appreciate the positive role of discipline in our lives? [How blessed many lives would be if people implemented these "Six Keys For A Good Life." Perhaps to encourage us to heed such wisdom, Solomon proceeds to describe...] II. THE VALUE OF WISDOM A. SEEN IN SOLOMON'S PRAISE OF WISDOM... 1. Provides true happiness for those with wisdom and understanding - Pr 3:13 2. Profits one more than silver and fine gold - Pr 3:14 3. More precious than rubies, nothing we desire can compare with her - Pr 3:15 4. Offers length of days, riches, and honor - Pr 3:16 5. Her paths are ways of pleasantness and peace - Pr 3:17 6. A tree of life to those who take hold of her, happiness for those who retain her - Pr 3:18 -- Do we share Solomon's high estimation of the value of wisdom? B. SEEN IN GOD'S USE OF WISDOM... 1. God used wisdom in His acts of creation - Pr 3:19-20 a. To create the earth and heavens - Gen 1:1 b. To break up the depths of sea, and create the clouds above - Gen 1:6-9 c. Its beauty and harmony were made possible by the use of wisdom - Pr 8:22-31 2. Consider the implication for us a. The same wisdom is being offered to us! - cf. Jm 1:5-8 b. To provide our lives with harmony and peace - cf. Jm 3:17-18 -- Don't we want to have the same divine wisdom guiding our lives? C. SEEN IN WHAT WISDOM CAN DO FOR US... 1. To make our lives "a thing of beauty and joy forever" - Pr 3: 21-22 a. By offering wisdom and discretion b. Which give "life to your soul and grace (adornment, beauty) to your neck" c. Just as Jesus desired to give to His disciples - Jn 10:10; 15:11 2. To make our lives safe and secure - Pr 3:23-24 a. To help us walk safely 1) Our steps will be directed by wisdom 2) We thus avoid many of the pitfalls experienced by others - cf. Pr 2:8; 4:12 b. To help us sleep securely 1) For we will not be anxious about what may come 2) For the Lord will guard His saints - cf. Ps 3:5; 4:8 -- Don't we want to have lives filled with grace and security? [With such praise of the value of wisdom, perhaps we will be more open to what Solomon has to offer. Sometimes wisdom comes in the form of various "thou shalt not" directives. Thus we now have...] III. SIX NEGATIVES FOR A WISE LIFE A. DO NOT BE AFRAID... 1. Of sudden terror or trouble from the wicked - Pr 3:25 2. For the Lord will be your confidence and keep you from harm - Pr 3:26; cf. 14:26 3. Besides, fear is indicative of weak faith - cf. Mt 8:26 -- Let faith replace fear in your life B. DO NOT DENY GOOD... 1. Especially when we owe it and have it - Pr 3:27 2. As Christians we owe everyone love - cf. Ro 13:8 3. We should not deny those we can help - cf. 1Jn 3:17 4. Remember, to know to do good and not do it is sin - Jm 4:17 -- Do good unto all men as you have opportunity (Ga 6:10) C. DO NOT DELAY GOOD... 1. When it is in your power to do it today - Pr 3:28 2. Too often, delay is a cover for selfishness, a secret hope the matter will be forgotten 3. We may not have another opportunity - cf. Pr 27:1 -- Procrastination in doing good is a great evil D. DO NOT DEVISE EVIL... 1. Especially against your neighbor, who lives nearby for safety's sake - Pr 3:29 2. A neighbor expects you to be neighborly, and rightly so 3. A heart that devises evil is an abomination to the Lord - cf. Pr 6:16-18 -- Think well of your neighbor, that he and God might think well of you E. DO NOT STRIVE WITOUT CAUSE... 1. Especially if he has done no harm - Pr 3:30 2. Left unchecked, strife can easily escalate - cf. Pr 17:14; 18:6 3. Strife can easily ruin one's reputation - cf. Pr 25:8-10 -- Leave vengeance to God, and seek to overcome evil with good (Ro 12:18-21) F. DO NOT ENVY OPPRESSORS... 1. Do not envy an oppressor (lit., a man of violence) , nor choose his ways - Pr 3:31 a. As seen earlier, the oppressor is eventually caught in his own snare - cf. Pr 1:15-18 b. The Lord is the avenger of those who oppress the poor - cf. Pr 22:22-23 2. The Lord will bless the upright and just, the humble and wise - Pr 3:32-35 a. But He will curse wicked and perverse - cf. Pr 21:12 b. He will scorn the scornful, and shame will be the legacy of fools -- Don't be jealous of the prosperity of the wicked, they will never be as rich as the righteous! CONCLUSION 1. So we find that "Father Counsel For Godly Living" includes... a. Six keys for a good life b. A high estimation of the value of wisdom b. Six negatives for a wise life 2. This chapter does not begin to exhaust the wisdom God offers... a. More will be shared in the discourses to come in chapters 4-9 b. Much is to be found in the proverbs of chapters 10-31 Of course, Christ is the ultimate repository of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3), and many commentators suggest passages like Pr 3:13-20 to be veiled references to Jesus. Are we willing to let the wisdom of God in all its manifestations guide us in this life...?
Inspired Prediction is Proof of Bible Inspiration
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Why would anyone believe that the Bible is the Word of God, having been transmitted through men who were supernaturally guided by God? Because the evidence so indicates. One of the proofs of Bible inspiration is predictive prophecy. Men committed to writing detailed predictions that pertained to events several hundred years into the future. One such example is the prophecy recalled by the writer of the book of Hebrews in which he quotes from Psalm 40. He places the words in the mouth of Jesus, applying the prediction to Jesus’ incarnation and sacrifice on the cross. His citation is taken from the Septuagint version rather than the original Hebrew:
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me—to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5-7, emp. added).
The Bible teaches that Deity came to the Earth in human flesh in order to offer Himself as an atonement for the sins of the human race (Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14; et al.). The book of Hebrews was written in the first century A.D. But the Psalms were written several hundred years before that, with Psalm 40, written presumably by David, a thousand years earlier. That means that a thousand years separates the prediction from the fulfillment. Even the most liberal treatment of the Psalms places their composition prior to the first century A.D. The Greek Bible is generally believed to have been completed in the third century B.C., which means the Psalms had to have been completed prior to that time.
But how detailed was this prediction? Did it contain vague generalities and ambiguous phrases that can be bent to refer to just about anything? By no means. Among the details of the prediction, observe that the passage represents God (the Father) as being responsible for preparing/providing a body for Jesus (the Son) to inhabit. This body would replace the animal sacrifices and offerings contained in the Old Testament economy for dealing with sin. Such predictions are hardly vague or ambiguous. In fact, they are extremely specific and complex.
One of the great marvels of the Christian religion is the virgin conception in which Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit, enabling her to conceive a child (Matthew 1:18-25). That child was Jesus Christ who vacated the heavenly realm temporarily to fulfill the magnificent, incomprehensible purpose of sacrificing Himself for lost humanity (Philippians 2:6-8). A physical, fleshly body was necessary to accomplish this purpose. Hence, the need to be “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4; cf. Genesis 3:15) by which Deity could inhabit a human body. Observe that the physical body was genetically derived from David via his descendent Mary (Luke 3:23,31; Romans 1:3)—in fulfillment of another predictive prophecy (1 Samuel 7:12). But Jesus Himself is not to be confused with His physical body. Jesus Himself preceded the preparation and formation of the physical body that He inhabited in first century Palestine. Jesus Himself has always existed since He is Deity and eternal (Colossians 1:16; 2:9). Jesus Himself participated in the creation of the Universe (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:17).
How in the world could any mere human have predicted, hundreds of years in advance, that a person would be born who, unlike all other humans ever born, was in fact God inhabiting a physical body? No mere human could have predicted such an event. Hence, the Bible bears the attributes of a supernatural origin.
In the News: "James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus"
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
From most of the pictures that you have seen of “the box,” you might think that it was the size of a large coffin. Yet, at approximately 10 inches wide, 20 inches long, and 12 inches high, this box doesn’t fit our modern idea of a coffin. In fact, it’s more like a limestone Rubbermaid® crate than a coffin. At first glance, this “box” is not so unusual at all. During the first-century B.C., and continuing until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Jews used these containers to “rebury” their relatives. Generally, the bodies of the deceased were placed on a shelf or floor of a tomb; then, about one year after the original burial, friends or relatives would open the tomb, remove the bones, and place them in an ossuary. Occasionally, ossuaries contained the bones of multiple individuals. The outer decorations varied widely from one to the next. Some were bland, with no inscriptions, while others had carved designs or the names of the individuals buried therein.
The particular ossuary that has captured the world’s attention boasts of no great decoration. In fact, a small, 7.5-inch Aramaic inscription is the only thing that sets it apart from the most boring of ossuaries. Yet, that tiny inscription not only has set it apart from other ossuaries, but also has set it apart from all other archaeological finds to date. That inscription reads: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”
The first question that arises is whether this is the James of the Bible. While there are at least two Jameses mentioned in the Bible to which this inscription likely does not apply, one James is mentioned who seems to fit the description quite well. Matthew noted in his gospel regarding Christ:
...He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?” (13:53-56).
According to Matthew, then, the Jews recognized Jesus as the brother of James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and they also attributed at least two sisters to these brothers. Furthermore, Paul mentioned “James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19). Apparently, this same James became a prominent leader of the Jerusalem church (see Acts 15:13; 21:18-19; Galatians 2:9,12). Additionally, James the brother of Jesus very likely was the writer of the New Testament book by the same name. Secular sources also verify the idea that Jesus had a brother named James. Josephus wrote that the Jewish high priest “assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus...whose name was James” (20:9:1). The historian then proceeded to document that James was stoned.
Naturally, it first must be established that the ossuary is an authentic artifact from a time that would correspond to Jesus Christ and His brother James. In the premiere article about the inscription appearing in the November/December 2002 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] André Lemaire detailed several facts that make a strong case for the inscription’s authenticity. As an expert in ancient inscriptions, he stated: “This type of bone box is generally to be dated between about 20 B.C.E. [Before Common Era—KB] and 70 C.E [Common Era—KB].... Moreover, the cursive shape of three of the letters (dalet, yod and aleph) indicates an even narrower span of time: the last decades before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.—the exact period when James, the brother of Jesus, would have died” (2002, 28:28). Hershel Shanks, the editor of BAR, had the ossuary’s composition tested by the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, which concluded that the limestone was used extensively “during the Second Temple period,” and that no modern elements or chemicals had been used to “doctor” the box to make it appear old. In addition, the patina (dirt and other build-up on the box) passed the authenticity test (p. 29).
As far as can be proven to date, the box has all the signs of authenticity. But can we conclude that the Jesus and James of the inscription are the identical characters of the New Testament writings? While the names of James, Jesus, and Joseph were common during the first century, they would not often have been found in the exact same sequence of relationship as on the ossuary and in the biblical text. Lemaire concluded that “there were therefore probably about 20 people” who would have fit the inscription (p. 33). Yet the odds narrow even more, since only rarely would a brother’s name be included on an ossuary. In the November 4, 2002 issue of Time, David Van Biema reported that Lemaire believes “there is a 90% chance that the James on the ossuary was the biblical brother of Jesus” (2002, 160:72). In the original BAR article, Lemaire stated that the ossuary “very probably” documents Jesus the Christ.
There are voices of opposition to the suggestion that this inscription refers to Christ. Since the artifact was not retrieved from its original environment, it cannot be attributed to a specific location. In the November 4, 2002 issue of Newsweek, reporter Kenneth Woodward quoted Bruce Chilton of Bard College: “If you cannot say where an artifact was found and where it has been for nearly 2,000 years, you cannot pretend to draw lines of connection between the object and the people it might mention” (2002, 140:48).
At present, we cannot be dogmatic about the ossuarial evidence, but we can state dogmatically that the name of Jesus Christ refuses to vanish into obscurity, and that His life, teachings, and personality continue to be the most influential of any human ever to walk the Earth.
Lemaire, André (2002), “Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus: Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Jesus Found in Jerusalem,” Biblical Archaeology Review, 28:24-33, November/December.
Van Biema, David (2002), “The Brother of Jesus,” Time, 160:70-73, November 4.
Woodward, Kenneth (2002), “A Clue to Jesus?,” Newsweek, 140:48-49, November 4.
If It's Just a Good Book, Then It's Not God's Book
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Some time ago, I read an article by a college professor who stated that “the best thing that could happen to the New Testament has happened to it.... Within the University, at least, the Bible has become simply another ‘great book.’” Many in the world today consider the Bible to be a “good book” containing moral teachings written by noble men, yet reject the idea that the Bible was “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Many college professors today teach that the Bible simply is a “good book” that is no more inspired than Homer’s Odyssey or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It is the mere result of natural genius characteristic of men of unusual ability.
Common sense, however, compels the honest person to reject such illogical notions. If the Bible is a “great book,” but not inspired of God, it makes either liars or lunatics of the biblical writers, who claimed the Holy Spirit as the ultimate source of their writings. The honest person surely will admit that the Bible—a book that has been studied and examined more than any other book in human history—definitely is not a product of insane men. Its unity, fulfilled prophecy, historical accuracy, and scientific foreknowledge testify to an intelligent source. Thus, the Bible was written either by the honest or the dishonest. Logically, no other choices exist.
Moses either lied or was truthful when he recorded: “And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me’” (Exodus 20:1-3, emp. added). Moses claimed such inspiration literally hundreds of times. Was he a liar, or did he tell the truth? In the New Testament, Peter wrote that “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, emp. added). Did Peter tell the truth, or was he lying? This same question can be asked of all the writers of the Bible who claimed inspiration. To say that the Bible is simply a “great book” written by “good men” makes liars of the biblical writers who repeatedly claimed that God was the ultimate source of their documents (cf. 2 Samuel 23:2; Acts 1:16).
The Bible is either a product of God or a product of liars. There are no other options. If these men were liars, then they “insanely” pronounced their own destruction, for they claimed that lying was wrong and that all impenitent liars would burn in hell (cf. Exodus 20:16; Colossians 3:9; Revelation 21:8). If these men were liars, it leaves as inexplicable the mystery of why modern man, with all his accumulated learning, has not been able to produce a comparable book to make the Bible obsolete. Finally, if these men were compulsive liars who filled an alleged historical work with thousands of lies, pray tell, why do so many unbelievers still call it a “great book”? Non-Christians who profess an admiration for the Bible should consider the foolishness of their position.
The Pentecostals Were Right All Along! GEORGE L. FAULL
Today when one looks at a so-called church service in the Independent Christian Church or Instrumental Churches of Christ, one must admit that these churches have decided that the Pentecostals were right all along. Those old “Holy Roller” churches that used to be hidden on back streets on the other side of the tracks have evolved to be the finest biggest buildings on the growing side of the edge of town.
Today they are called by myriad of names other than Pentecostals. Pentecostals have evolved into Charismatics.
The heirs of the Restoration Movement have copied the old Pentecostal style of public worship. Their sound, actions, music and speech are indistinguishable from the charismatic. By their assemblies you can see they have decided the Pentecostals were right all along. Let me list some ways that the Pentecostals were right all along:
1. THEY PRAY TO JESUS INSTEAD OF THE FATHER THROUGH JESUS’ NAME.
Their prayers are sprinkled and often begin with, “Dear Jesus, do this or that” instead of giving thanks to the Father. Through Him it is “Thank you Jesus.” Never mind Jesus told us in the model prayer to say, “Our Father, which art in Heaven,” we hear, “Dear Jesus.”
Never mind that Jesus told us, “In that day you shall ask
in my name” and again, “in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you whatsoever you shall ask my Father in my name, He will give it you.” This praying to Jesus has been copied subconsciously from listening to the prayers and music of the Pentecostals and Charismatics.
2. THEY PRAY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT.
One occasionally hears, “Oh Holy Spirit, help me or forgive me” rather than praying through the One Mediator, Himself man, Jesus Christ.
3. CLAPPING HANDS HAS BEEN COPIED IN MANY CHURCHES.
Give the Lord a clap offering. This is strange to our ears and is copied from Charismatic worship leaders.
4. GIVE THE LORD A SHOUT OF PRAISE.
This boisterous crowd manipulation was not heard in our Churches until someone imitated the Charismatic Church.
5. DANCE BEFORE THE LORD.
Now our Churches are featuring women in interpretive dancing in long, flowing robes prancing across the stage, waving their arms and gracefully symbolizing some emotion they are expressing.
6. THE RAISING OF HANDS IS IMITATED.
In the Pentecostal churches they lifted hands to symbolize they were ready to receive God’s revelation but in the Restoration Churches it is supposed to just glorify the Lord. It is quoted, “that men pray everywhere lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” They ignore that he is addressing only men, not women (aner not antropos) and that it is to be done everywhere not just in the assembly. They ignore the expression "“lifting up holy hands” is a euphemism for sincere and Holiness when we pray.
The Jews often prayed lifting up their hands and there is nothing inherently wrong with it, but it must be admitted it is a learned trait from the Pentecostals, not an imitation of the Jews’ religion.
7. THE PRAISE TEAMS ONE SEES TODAY IS COPIED FROM THE CHARISMATIC AND VINEYARD CHURCHES.
Again, this is not wrong in itself, anymore than clapping and raising hands and shouting, but one needs to realize the influence the Pentecostals and Charismatic’s have had on us.
8. THE MUSIC BANDS AND SOUNDS OF LOUD MUSIC HAVE ALSO COME VIA THE PENTECOSTALS AND CHARISMATIC CHURCHES.
I speak not of instruments of music in worship, for they predate the Pentecostals and Charismatic churches. I speak of the boisterous, loud, rock and roll singing and swaying, with hip revolving type music. I speak of its praise teams; men and women making movement during praise that makes you feel like you were in a disco. One cannot deny that we have copied those churches that brought their music form from the world into the Churches. This was not the Restoration Church copying the world. It was the Restoration Churches copying the Vineyard and Pentecostal music styles.
9. WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES.
Women leaders and speakers were only seen among us by occasional brazen women the Elders of the Churches could not control.
Now they are featured song leaders, speakers, and headed for the pulpit. They are asked to preach at our conventions. The Pentecostals and Charismatics have led the Church into female dominated churches contrary to the Scriptures. They have feminized the Church.
10. “TESTIFYING” IS ANOTHER DIRECT INFLUENCE THAT HAS COME INTO OUR CHURCHES.
Both men and women are allowed to get up and testify of something God has done in their life that may or may not be true. God is often given credit for a false gift, a lousy healing or even something that has not taken place. “The Lord told me” or “The Lord said to me” is often heard when the Lord has not spoken or the testimony flatly contradicts the Word.
Lies, false doctrine and claims are made and go unchecked by the leaders because they do not want to correct the person publicly and so the lie remains for the Church and visitor to take home with them.
11. THE IDEA THAT SPIRITUAL GIFTS REMAIN.
One of the most dangerous concepts the Charismatics have brought to us is the Spiritual gifts or continued revelation continues to exist today in the church. Tongues, their interpretation, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, though not often heard in our services are allowed to be claimed by our members therefore subjecting the Church to those who still claim revelation from God. We are left at the mercy of those claiming dreams and visions from God and “The Lord said to me” teachings.
12. FOLLOWING THE EMOTIONS IS PROBABLY THE MOST DANGEROUS THING THE CHARISMATIC AND PENTECOSTALS HAVE BEQUEATHED US.
The Word of God does not count. Emotions reign supreme. “God has spoken to my heart” or “The Lord has led me to do this or that!” can start an anti-scriptural practice and stop a scriptural one.
Emotions, subjectivism, and “You can not deny my experience” rules the day. Truth against a feeling seldom has a chance when one buys into the “God is still revealing mentality.”
Now some of these things are not wrong in them selves. However, to deny the Lord’s Church has been infested with Pentecostal and Charismatic faith, practice, and vocabulary ought to alarm anyone with common sense. Will our Churches reject truth out of admiration for the growth, excitement, and success of the Charismatic churches?
Denominationalism has also been swayed by them. The alleged gifts and excitement has created Promise Keepers and other such gatherings that cement believers into one unholy union of denominations that believe nothing and fall for everything. These movements have shut our mouths against false preaching and practices that cause division. These innovators are invited to speak at our Colleges and Conventions.
That the gifts, excitement and praise of the Charismatic in all sects is the glue that holds the Evangelicals world together cannot be successfully denied. “I’m okay, you’re okay” is advocated because they all have the same gifts, music, styles of worship, idol leaders and musicians. This makes us one. I cannot deny you because you can do what I can do.
Brethren, this is not the unity of the Spirit of God. This is more like the unity of Babel where men use slime for mortar.
I admonish you to take heed to your collective worship. Holy Scripture exhorts us to let everything be done to edifying, to exhorting, to comforting the Church. We are to impart knowledge and our understanding is to be fruitful. We are told to pray and sing with the Spirit and understanding. Our Amens are to be given only to what we understand. People are to leave repentant knowing God was there. Every single thing is to be done for edifying man and glorifying God and is to be done decently in order. (Read I Corinthians 14)
Take heed that the blind do not lead the blind, lest we all fall into the ditch.
“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
This false doctrine is also refuted by John in his first letter, and he clarifies the difference between the saved and the lost with regard to sin.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ... If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8, 10).
If we say that we ‘have no sin’ or that we ‘have not sinned’, we are contradicting the word of God.
At the dedication of the temple, when Solomon prayed that God would forgive the people if they repented, he interjected, “For there is no one who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46).
To establish that everyone needs God’s forgiveness, Paul states: “There is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22b, 23). As in 1 John 1:8, 10 both the past and the present are included. All have sinned in the past and all fall short in the present. Thus if we say that we have not sinned or that we have no sin, we are contradicting God’s word, which is the same as calling Him a liar.
Of himself, Paul writes: “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good” (Romans 7:21). “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:19).
The sinfulness of man includes both bad things that are done and good things that are left undone (sins of commission and sins of omission). Anyone who evaluates himself honestly must confess that he is a sinner. That is why John writes, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8).
One woman told me that she did not recall that she had ever sinned. She thought only things like murder and adultery were sin.
In the Scriptures God designates many things as sin, such as love of the world, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," carnal mindedness, hatred, arrogance, conceit, pride, prejudice, partiality, love of self, selfish ambition, love of money, envy, slander, outbursts of wrath, dissension, contentiousness, divisiveness, heresy, complaining and unthankfulness [Matthew 5:28; Romans 8:6, 7; 16:17; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:20; Philippians 2:3, 14; 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 3:2-4; Titus 3:9, 10; James 2:9; 3:16; 1 John 2:15, 16].
In addition to deeds, there are also thoughts and attitudes that are sinful. The removal of such inner sins is a lifetime assignment in our “striving against sin” (as it is called in Hebrews 12:4).
What about sins of negligence: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
And what about those absolute commands such as: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Do we not fall short in this every day? Is this not something we seek, yet never fully accomplish, in our “striving against sin”?
Many other commands come to mind, such as: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31); “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33); “Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
Who, without deceiving himself, can say at the close of any day, “Today I have not thought, done or said anything wrong, and I have committed no sins of omission”?
If we are honest with ourselves, and if the word of God is in us, we must humbly confess at the close of each day that we have sinned and that we fall short of the glory of God.
“The Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22).
The pervasiveness of sin may not be used as an excuse to sin!
Since all have sinned, salvation is possible only by the grace of God.
Some had twisted Paul’s teaching to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). They misused Paul’s emphasis on salvation by grace to justify continuing in sin. He condemns such: “And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’? - as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just” (Romans 3:8). “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1, 2).
When one accepts the grace of God and is baptized into Christ, he dies to sin and does not continue to live in sin: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3, 4). “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Romans 6:12). “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15).
Since everyone sins, what is the difference between the saved and the lost?
In Paul’s wording, the lost “live in sin” (Romans 6:2) and the saved “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
John describes these two conditions as “walking in darkness” and “walking in light” (1 John 1:6, 7).
Paul also uses the contrast between light and darkness: “Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).
To be cleansed from sin we must walk in the light. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6, 7).
The Greek present tense as used here describes continuing action1: if we are walking in the light the blood of Jesus is cleansing us from all sin.
“Come and let us walk in the light of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:5).
If we follow Christ we walk in the light. Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
All of us were in darkness before we became Christians, as Paul told the Ephesians: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
They who walk in the light do not continue in a sinful way of life. It is not possible to walk in the light and in darkness at the same time.
Walking in the light is a requirement for forgiveness.
The aim of the Christian is not to sin at all! Yet “we all stumble in many things” (James 3:2).
Walking in the light does not mean that there is never a need for forgiveness, since it is a condition for receiving forgiveness! “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
John clarifies this in chapter two: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2). Here ‘if anyone sins’ [aorist2] does not refer to a situation where someone continues to live in sin.
Being wounded in battle or even losing a battle, is not the same as fighting for the enemy. When we are on the Lord’s side in the war with Satan, Jesus provides satisfaction for our sins. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
A Christian may not continue living a life of sin.
In chapter three, John discusses the incongruity of living in sin and claiming to be in Christ.
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (1 John 3:4-6).
Here John is not referring to the same situation as in 1 John 2:1 where he says: “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father.” In that case the verb does not indicate continuation2. Here ‘whoever commits sin’ means ‘the one practicing sin’. The Greek present in this passage indicates continuation in sin1, which is not possible for someone who is abiding in Christ.
The present tense in English and Greek are quite different. In English ‘if anyone sins’ refers to sinning at anytime whatever, but in Greek, ‘if anyone sins’ communicates a continuing action: ‘if anyone keeps on sinning’.
“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7). This seems obvious, but false teachers were claiming that one could be declared righteous by the grace of God even though he continued living an unrighteous lifestyle!
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). Here again, the meaning in Greek is “the one who is practicing sin” referring to a way of life.
“Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). This refers to a continuing action: “does not practice sin” and “he is not able to be sinning.”
“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God” (1 John 3:10).
Something wonderful about the fellowship among those who walk in the light is that we can pray for each other’s sins to be forgiven! But there is a limit. It does not apply for someone whose sin is such that he is walking in darkness.
“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death” (1 John 5:16, 17).
“We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:18, 19). The form of the verb ‘does not sin’ means ‘does not keep on sinning’.
What does it mean to walk in the light?
In his first letter, John mentions various things that are associated with walking in the light3. Briefly summarized, this requires being in fellowship with the Father and the Son through the teaching of the apostles. Not only must we believe in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ, but we must confess His name and walk as He walked by obeying His commandments. We must know the truth and have the word of God dwelling in us. We must practice righteousness. The love of God must dwell within us and we must love the children of God. We may not love the world. We must confess our sins and purify ourselves. We may not continue in a life of sin.
What have we learned from the Scriptures ?
“Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? By no means. How shall we, who are dead to sin, live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1, 2). Everyone sins. But the prevalence of sin may not be used as an excuse to keep on sinning. Since everyone sins, salvation is only possible by grace. The difference between the saved and the lost is that the lost “live in sin” (Romans 6:2) whereas the saved “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). The lost, walk in darkness. The saved, walk in the light. One must walk in the light to receive God’s forgiveness.
When a Christian sins he has “an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” who is the propitiation for his sins. But a Christian may not continue living a life of sin. To be forgiven he must walk in the light which involves being an obedient child of God who follows Christ. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
1 Unless modified by the meaning of the word or the context, the present tense in Greek describes an action that is continuing. See the following explanation by Jeff Smelser, included with permission and downloaded from http://www.ntgreek.net/present.htm on March 31, 2012:
Aktionsart & the Present Tense
2 The aorist in Greek simply states the action without providing any information about its duration. See Robertson, ‘Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the light of historical research’, pp. 831- 833.
3 What does it mean to walk in the light according to John’s first letter?
1. Having fellowship with the apostles and thereby with the Father and the Son (1:3).
2. Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (5:1, 5, 10).
3. Believing in the name of God’s Son Jesus Christ (3:23; 5:13).
4. Believing the testimony that God has given of His Son (5:10).
5. Believing that God has given us eternal life in His Son (5:11).
6. Having confidence in Christ that God hears us when we pray according to the will of God (5:14).
7. Confessing that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (4:2).
8. Confessing that Jesus is the Son of God (2:23; 4:15).
9. Being born of God (2:29; 5:1).
10. Being children of God (3:1).
11. Having an anointing from the Holy One (2:20, 27).
12. Having the Spirit who has been given to us (3:24; 4:13).
13. Knowing Christ (2:3, 4, 13, 14).
14. Abiding in Christ (2:5, 6, 24).
15. Knowing the Father (2:13).
16. Abiding in the Father (2:24, 27, 28; 4:12, 13, 15, 16).
17. Knowing the truth and having it in us (1:8; 2:4, 21).
18. Having God’s word abiding in us (1:10; 2:14, 24).
19. Being of the truth (3:19).
20. Practicing the truth (1:6).
21. Keeping the word of Christ (2:5).
22. Walking as Jesus walked (2:6).
23. Practicing righteousness (2:29).
24. Keeping the commandments of Jesus (2:3, 4).
25. Keeping the commandments of God and doing what is pleasing in His sight (3:22; 5:3).
26. Doing the will of God (2:17).
27. Loving God (4:19, 21).
28. Having the love of God abiding in us (2:5; 3:17).
29. Knowing and believing the love that God has for us (4:16).
30. Loving the children of God (5:1, 2).
31. Loving our brethren (2:10; 3:14, 23; 4:11, 12, 16).
32. Loving in deed and in truth (3:18).
33. Having fellowship with one another (1:7).
34. Having overcome the wicked one and the world (2:13, 14; 5:4).
35. Not loving the world or the things in the world (2:15).
36. Confessing our sins (1:9).
37. Purifying ourselves (3:3).
38. Not continuing in a life of sin (3:6; 5:18).
Published in The Old Paths Archive