Dung Hill Christians

May 27, 2013

Philippians 3:4-3:11

Not many people think about dung beetles because frankly any animal that eats dung and carcasses normally does not end up on our most desired pet or entrée list. They are actually quite beneficial and can be admired for that. There are however quite a few Christians living and feeding in various dunghills. They are not beneficial to themselves or the Body. Indeed, they are destructive. There is always a need for dung removal in the Body and that has been the job of the prophets and polemicists over the years. However, dunghill Christians dwell in and thrive on things they should have tossed, covered, or flushed long ago.

Phil 3:4-11
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (KJV)

The Apostle truly understood the New Covenant and what was eternal treasure and what was dung. The manure that he could have hung on to and treasured is unfortunately what many Christians still hold on to as if it were platinum instead of dung.

Many bury themselves in the dunghill of fleshly confidence. We live in an age where the emphasis is on being number one and self-assertiveness. Success is all in the mind and if you project the winning attitude you can anything. What the mind can conceive man can achieve.

Is it any wonder that we have more CEOs, cheerleaders, and motivational speakers in the Church than pastors and prophets? Degrees are more important than doctrine or as one man said, scars. Since man looks on the outside and the carnal heart can understand the flesh maybe some of these techniques have merit in the world but they have no place in the spiritual realm and are toxic to the Body of Christ.

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (KJV)

This is one of the many flaws in modern psychiatry. They may be able to notice common flaws and patterns in man since we are all sinners and desperately wicked. However, a heart that suffers from the same problems cannot properly analyze or evaluate a deceitful and wicked heart. They see the symptoms but since they use a pseudo-science and seek answers in the wrong places they cannot find the cure. This is how criminals manipulate that false science and get away with murder and other crimes.

There has to be a standard for sanity to develop a cure for insanity. That can only be developed and set by the Creator. If the only cars that a person ever saw were rusty and held together by baling wire you would think that is the normal state of a car until you visited the GM or BMW assembly line and saw a new car come off the line.

There has not been a perfect human being seen since the Fall save that of Jesus Christ and they crucified Him. Therefore we are looking at bad data and making bad assessments based upon that data. Unless we go back to the owner’s manual and schematics we are helpless in repairing those of us that are in what appears to be greater disrepair than the rest of us. He is the standard of sanity and His Word is the medicine that cures.

Indeed, our concept of sanity is flawed. All humans are insane. Only the degree varies for if we were sane we would love the Creator and abide by the laws He gave us for our good. Instead we deny Him and justify our actions though they have caused nothing but pain, suffering, wars, and untimely deaths for nearly six thousand years. We keep doing the same things over and over expecting different results and that is a prime proof of insanity thus mankind is stark raving mad. Trusting in our flesh to do anything right let alone live righteously is insane.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (KJV)

Just as a branch is totally dependent upon the main vine to obtain sustenance and the ability to produce fruit so also is the Christian totally dependent upon Christ. Our salvation is totally of Him. We had no power to save ourselves and we have no power to keep ourselves saved. We are wicked to the core. Therefore the only way we are going to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and live the resurrection life of Christ is to fully depend upon Him. What part of nothing don’t we understand?

Once we think we have a handle on things and only need Christ as an occasional rescuer we have fallen from the power of grace in our lives. When that happens carnality is the controlling force in our lives and we can either become arrogant Pharisees, philosophical Sadducees, or backsliders filled with our own ways, which are the things we did in the past. When you find me down at the Honky Tonk kickin’ back Jack Blacks singing Karaoke you will know that I am backslidden.

2Co 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
2Co 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
2Co 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; (KJV)

A death sentence is pretty serious and all encompassing. When you receive a death sentence all your desires, dreams and plans go out the window. Meetings you were to going to have don’t matter anymore. Most relationships are severed immediately and even the closest ones are about to be severed when the sentence is carried out. Last meals are really not all that tasty no matter if they give you everything you love. There is no aspect of your life that is not affected.

Paul tells us that we need to accept a death sentence when it comes to walking in the Christian life. We are to be dead to sin. We are crucified with Christ. All things are becoming new. We are a branch of the vine so we have no real life outside of what Christ gives us. Our life is hid with Christ because we are dead and He is our life. So why do we strive to do things in our flesh and have confidence or trust in ourselves? We are insanely eating and walking in dung. We need to come out of that sewer.

Another dunghill Paul mentions is religious heritage. So many people trust in the fact that they were born into a Christian family so they must be Christian. I have had one fellow tell me he was literally born a Christian. Salvation is not inherited from your parents but the sin nature and the resulting damnation are inherited.

Pawpaw or Dad may have been a preacher or a deacon. MeMaw or Mom may have sung in the choir, led the Ladies’ group and edited her husband’s sermons but none of that will help you. Your spiritual heritage comes from Adam and that means you are condemned to Hell the moment you understand right from wrong and choose wrong. The age of accountability comes to different people at different ages but once reached your heritage is that of the damned until you are born again.

You could be genetically linked to the Apostle Peter and that will not help you. Some think because they are of Hebrew descent that they are automatically assured a placed in the Kingdom of Heaven. Sadly, there are some Christians who teach the same thing helping to damn souls that might have been saved. Some of us are not reading Scripture. Paul had a dynamic heritage and he called it dung. Let’s see what he says about genetic Judaism.

Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
Rom 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (KJV)

Paul was saved and knew that he could not be accursed or damned but he would be willing to be accursed if it would mean the salvation of his kindred. He obviously believed that they could and would be accursed if they did not receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The Gospel is the power of God to the Jew first! (Romans 1:16)

They had privileges by being born a Jew in that they had access to study the Law and to understand the promises of a Messiah and the kingdom. They also should have known the prophecies as the Rabbis did when they told Herod where the Messiah would be born though the Rabbis didn’t care to follow up on the claim. They had a birthright but like Esau they could choose to sell it or not take advantage of it.

Paul clearly states that though they be genetic seed of Abraham if they are not of the faith of Abraham it profits it them nothing. Genetics are a flesh thing whereas the Kingdom is of faith and spirit. Anyone can bring a child to birth but not all are true parents. It is a blessing to be born a Jew but if the child neglects their faith the blessing is null and void and they are no better off than if they had been born to pagans.

The same goes for children born into a biblical Christian home. They are blessed to be raised up in a household of faith hearing the Gospel and the whole counsel of God but if they fail to be born again or forsake the teachings of their parents then they may as well have been born to crack addicts. It profited them nothing. John the Baptist and Jesus had some things to say about the genetic/religious heritage.

Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Mat 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Mat 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (KJV)

The religious leaders of the day were accustomed to rituals so they had no problem with going through the motions with John’s baptism. In fact, for some it might have been a good political or social move to endear them to the common man but it had no real spiritual meaning for them. After all, they were sons of Abraham and Rabbis not Gentiles or sinners.

John got a bit radical with them. His comments would make the grace and love people of our day faint. He called them vipers and hypocrites. We have the same groups in our day they just go by different names. The Pharisees were orthodox in much of their doctrine but did not live by the same rules that they required for everyone else. The Sadducees were the Liberals denying almost everything in the Word of God but claiming to be to good Jews.

Both groups were as dangerous as vipers and full of poison. Both were made up of genetic sons of Abraham but were warned of being cast into Hell if they did not repent. God, who made the genetic code and atoms could easily rearrange the atoms within stones and weave them into humans with the same genetic code as Abraham. God is not impressed with genes unless they are spiritual ones.

Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (KJV)

Many consider this a parable and thus not a true story. None of the other parables use specific names of people in them. In fact, there may be some irony here since Jesus only names Lazarus. The rich would not know which rich man he was talking about being in Hell because they would not have had a clue as to who Lazarus was but some of the poor would have known and where he begged. It would be like a double slam at the rich because they are supposed to care for the poor and they should have known which beggar was outside of whose house. The poor would have known that rich man and nodded an Amen where the rich would be pondering. The number of brothers would have been a hint but there may have been many rich men with that many brothers as large families were the norm.

We can conjecture about who the rich man was and why he was not called by name but the bottom line is that both the rich man and Lazarus were Jews by genetics but Lazarus was the true son of Abraham. The crowd would have been shocked that a rich man went to Hell and a poor man to Abraham’s bosom because they, like many modern “preachers”, believed that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing but no one seemed upset at the prospect of a Jew being in Hell. Jesus, in His omniscience, killed the current belief right here knowing that heresy would come about in the latter days.

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (KJV)

We know the rich man is in Hell, but we also know that Judas Iscariot is in Hell and He was a Jew as well.

Dan 11:36-39
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. (KJV)

Daniel is describing the Anti-Christ. There are many speculations as to who he will be and even his ethnicity. Most theologians expect him to be of Jewish descent because he will not “regard the God of his fathers.” This phrase is used throughout the Old Testament in relation to the Jewish people. I concur that he will be Jewish. He will also be cast into Hell with the False Prophet so that makes two Jews currently in Hell and one to be placed there. If even one Jew can be put into Hell then the theory that no Jews go to Hell is shot to pieces. We have three names specifically but there will be more.

Luke 13:28,29
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. (KJV)

Note that Jesus is speaking in the synagogue to Pharisees and Sadducees. This group of Jews was fortunate to be born in the very land of the Kingdom but they will not benefit when the Kingdom is established. Indeed, the dispersed Jews, whom may well have been despised as well as Gentiles will be brought into the Kingdom and these privileged folks will be thrust out. Being born a Jew has its privileges in this life but it is not a guarantee of salvation.

If being born of the Abrahamic seed is not a guarantee how much less is it one for those of us that are grafted in? If natural branches of the vine can be lost so can the wild ones grafted in. If you are born into a Christian home you have great privileges but unless you personally partake of the True Vine you shall likewise perish. If you are a true born again Christian then you should love the Jew and pray for their souls as well as the peace of Jerusalem albeit there will be no peace in Jerusalem until Shiloh comes and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Next Paul speaks to the dunghill of works/personal righteousness/Law. I have had many people tell me over the years that they are going to get into Heaven because they keep the Ten Commandments, are good people, have observed some ritual in some sect, given to charity, doing the best they can, etc. etc.

Interestingly, those who told me they were keeping the Ten Commandments usually could not name them. It is kind of hard to keep a list of rules when you can’t even name them. Others who have said that they are going to make it by doing the best that they can I have asked if they are doing the best that they can. The honest ones answered no. I told them that then they were damned by their own creed.

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (KJV)

Since we are all unclean how can we expect to bring forth clean acts or righteous acts? If I poured crystal clear mountain spring water in a chamber pot would you want to drink out of that pot even if I assured you it were clean. I doubt it. What if you had looked in and saw even a couple of small drops of urine or specks of manure? Would you drink it? No, of course not! The pot and its contents would defile the pure water. Well, we are the pot and no matter what we try to dispense we will defile it by our motives and nature. Anyone see any value in storing up used feminine hygiene cloths? Well, our righteousnesses are like a used one of those meant to be burned or tossed into a garbage heap.

We fade like a leaf. That is a leaf cut off from the tree no longer drawing the sap of life from it. It is dead though it may maintain an appearance of life until all the sap in it is drained or dried. Then the slightest breeze can blow it around. We are cut off from the source of life from birth because we are born dead in sin. We have no spiritual life though we may have some semblance of it or a form of godliness because we participate in some religious system. But we are blown about by every wind of doctrine until the cold wind of death blows us into Hell or the Holy Spirit breathes life into us at conversion. No works of the Law or flesh can do this for us. It is faith alone or nothing.

Rom 9:30-33
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (KJV)

I would ask those that claim to be Christian and yet teach salvation by the Law to read this verse and repent. Though you may be orthodox in many other ways you are damning people to Hell by causing them to seek their own righteousness by obedience to something that was ordained to first condemn us to death then point us to the Savior and faith in HIS work, not our works. Nothing needs to be added to His work and nothing can be taken away. Do not stumble over the Rock but rather throw yourself upon it and receive His gift of grace and mercy!

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (KJV)

The law covered every possible work that a person in the flesh can do and if you are trusting in your good works or righteousness you are performing the works of the flesh and cannot be justified by them. David asked the Lord that if He counted iniquities then who can stand before Him and the answer is no one. Because of our deceitful heart that we discussed earlier every work by the flesh is tainted by selfish motives whether we are conscious of them or not. We could be very selfish and deceive ourselves into thinking we are unselfish therefore all works thus motivated are sinful though the act itself may not be sinful. David asked to be kept from secret sin. He wasn’t referring to sins others did not know about but rather sins he didn’t know about.

This should be the death knell for Arminianism and other theologies that demand we get saved by changing our ways or to be kept saved by our own strength and works. If the flesh could get us what we needed then Christ died in vain. Trusting in our works is rolling about in a dunghill that is nothing but a stench in the nostrils of God. No flesh shall be justified by this stench.

Gal 3:10-14
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (KJV)

The Law only brought cursing because we could not keep the Law. We might be good at a few of them and some folks even good at many of the Laws for long periods of time but that is not good enough. You have to continue in ALL things all the time until death and no one can do that. To offend in one point was to offend in all of them. So a man lives fifty years and as far as he or anyone else knows he has kept every law to the letter and yet one day a person makes him mad and he dies of a heart attack and is damned because for a split second he hated that person enough to kill him. That would be all it took to throw fifty years away. Yet, we know that no one has ever kept the first of the commandments perfectly, let alone the other 600+ commandments in the Old Testament. No one has loved the Lord God with all their heart mind and soul for their whole lifetime. Yea, I wonder if anyone has done it for any large stretch of time. David was a man after God’s own heart yet we know that he lost track of God in his lifetime.

Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (KJV)

I think that Paul’s testimony here is the final answer or bottom line for our righteousness being anything but a dunghill. Paul calls himself the chief of sinners and yet God used him to write most of the New Testament and to evangelize most of the Gentile world. Did that happen by Paul’s righteousness? Hardly, he says that in his flesh there is no good thing. He readily admits that he is struggling between the flesh and his mind. What frees him from the body of this death is not his good works or self-righteousness but rather Jesus Christ. If the Apostle recognized that all the wonderful things that he had done in man’s eyes were dung then we can do no less.

One last dunghill in our opening passage is zeal.

Rom 10:1-4
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (KJV)

The Jews often had great zeal in their religion, but they did not always have knowledge. After all, the Sadducees decided the Bible was a text they could look at with a critical eye and pick and choose what was the Word of God to them and if they didn’t want to believe the miracles that was OK they were still zealous for Jehovah or at least their seats in the synagogues and their popularity among the public.

The Pharisees had great zeal as well but often forgot that the Law had a spirit or principle to it that made the letter come to life. They revered the Word but sometimes they made it suit their purposes and forgot God’s. Jesus had to remind them that the Sabbath was made to benefit man not man made for the Sabbath. They forgot that they were sinners as well as the people and did not identify themselves with the people like Isaiah in Chapter six of his prophecy or Nehemiah in his prayer. They liked to rule over the people rather than shepherd them.

They both had great zeal but not the real knowledge of God or His Word. Many today have the same problem. We often excuse many doctrinal errors because the person is so zealous. We say that as long as they are sincere. The first lad to make homemade wings and tried to fly like a bird was sincere but he fell sincerely to his death if he leapt off a high cliff.

Many cults are sincere. The girls who practiced “flirty fishing”, which was really a form of prostitution in the name of evangelism were sincere but sincerely wrong. People sincerely believe that Jesus was the brother of Satan, but they are wrong. Some think Jesus was a lesser god and not part of the trinity but they are sincerely wrong.

Many mainline sects practice a lot of things in sincerity and many zealous voices are raised in support of these practices but they are sincerely wrong and their zeal misguided without the true knowledge of God or His Word! They are in dunghills of zeal and ignorance and we ought not to walk with them in any form of fellowship. They are unclean and we are to come out from among the unclean.

Maybe some of you reading this are walking in one or more dunghills. It is time to come out and climb to Calvary’s hill. For some of you it may be for salvation to remove the sin’s crust from your soul. For other’s it may be to be sanitized because you have been in the dunghills of self-confidence, some religious heritage, self-righteousness, or having zeal without knowledge. Come to Calvary where sinner and saint can both be made clean and learn to walk in the power of his resurrection. To do so will be a more than just a breath of fresh air after the years you spent in stench but it will be a life more abundant bringing forth fruit for eternity. Won’t you come? Maranatha!


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