August 30, 2016
August 28, 2016
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
August 27, 2016
August 26, 2016
Dear single men, please advise your fiancée that she will not be getting a diamond because there are so many fake stones that look like diamonds that you want no part of that mess and you are sure that such a logical woman as she is that she would not want to participate in such an endeavor.
Ha! I cannot imagine that would go over very well. She would STRONGLY encourage you to investigate and be sure you come to her with a real one because they do exist be there 10,000 fakes or more. LOVE would be sure to get a real one.
In the same sense, just because there are many fakes seeming to have the gifts of the Spirit or others that are abusing the gifts does not mean that the gifts are not real or not for today. God’s love will be sure you get the real thing if you seek Him for it. (Luke 11:9-13)
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
John admits that there are false prophets, but we know John was real. The Corinthian church had all the gifts and terribly misused them for their own pride, but the gifts were real. What did they have in the 1st Century that we do not have today? People were sick, demon possessed, lost unbelieving people and people sending out fake letters as if they came from Paul. We have all of these in some shape or form and then some.
Is it really reasonable that God, the Father, who changes not and Jesus, the same, yesterday and forever who has all power would send the Holy Ghost with His power and gifts for a season leaving the Church to fend for itself throughout the centuries, especially in the last days?
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Is the Lord still calling people to salvation and giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost? If He gives the Holy Ghost, is He only giving us a percentage of His power and gifts? Has God had to cut back on the Holy Ghost’s power due to a lack of resources? Has He needed to downsize?
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Now, would you not think the elect had experience with the real so that they could identify the false? Even our Treasury agents only study genuine money so they can quickly identify a fake. Moses had no trouble taking down the false miracle Pharaoh’s magicians came up with because he had the real deal.
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
There will be people deceived and think they are doing things by the power of God and will find that they are are not, but that does not rule out people having the true gifts and the real abilities these folks thought they had.
Maybe my cessationist friends have missed the boat. After forty years of being one, I am having to rethink my theology. Indeed, as I look at some Scriptures and one keynote one we used, I really believe we erred and missed the power and abundance we were promised.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Much of my cessationist theology rested upon this passage. Does it not say that tongues shall cease? Greek scholars would tell you that indeed it is a ceasing in and of itself. OK, but when does that happen? Many say that tongues and the sign gifts ceased when the canon of Scripture was completed. Well, then if all the things that are in part are done away when that which is perfect or complete is come why do we still preach since we have the canon of Scripture?
We say that preaching is the forth-telling of the Word versus foretelling like the ancient prophets and the Apostles did. Well, if the canon is what is spoken of in this passage then all prophesy whether forth telling or foretelling should cease. No scholar would ever suggest that the canon ended that part of what is in part and that we should stop preaching. .
Knowledge shall vanish away. I agree that sometimes it seems like knowledge is almost totally absent from our society, but in reality we have greatly increased our knowledge and we are still seeking and gaining knowledge. Indeed, with all we know we realize how much more we still not know so knowledge has not vanished since the canon was completed. All of our knowledge will vanish away when we stand before the omniscient One and we receive true knowledge at a level we cannot now comprehend.
We are still children and until we are glorified we will stay children in the big picture. We will mature if we walk with God and grow in the knowledge of Him, but we will not be full grown until this flesh is put away. We call our teenagers children even though they have far more knowledge than a toddler for though they know a great deal they still only know in part and will learn much more before they die. We are still seeing through a veil or flesh or a poor mirror of who we are and who God is, but when we are there with Him face to face we will see clearly. We will know Him as He knows us. That day has not yet come even though the canon has been complete for two thousand years. When that day comes we will put away the childish things we have in this life and will take on the things of full grown redeemed men.
So that which is perfect has not yet come and indeed the Millennium is not the perfect or complete plan of God. Yet, many of the things we are experiencing in the Church will change and so many of the gifts may pass away then since we will be in the presence of Christ on the throne. Until that day or after the last day of the Millennium we can safely say that which is perfect or complete has not yet come.
Therefore, we can expect the Holy Spirit to act in the same way as He did in the first century. He is still convicting the world, sealing the believer until the day of redemption and dispensing gifts to the Body. Since that is all the same, it is not unreasonable to expect the gifts to stay the same because the needs are the same.
Truly, in every generation, the Church needs to be established in the hearts and minds of the people. We are surrounded on every side by the enemies of God, who have their own message, but also come at times as angels of light using the name Christian, but have another gospel. Paul said that there must needs be divisions among us that the approved may stand out. The gifts are what has us stand out from the other religions and also the cults.
Paul said that he came to preach, not only in word, but in power so that our faith did not rest in enticing words, but the power of God. He also warned that there would be those who had a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof. That power is in the gospel and that gospel was preached in power of the Spirit and the preachers exercised the gifts and the gifts were given to the saved. Why would that change? Are cessationists denying the power when they limit what the Spirit can do and what He can give? It seems to be that way. Many denominations have apostatized from the truth and have a form of godliness in that they use the bible, terms and symbols, but deny the power of the gospel in many ways by errors in Christology. Soteriology, Hamartiology, Ecclesiology and Pneumatology and in the end become cults instead of being part of the Body. Are the cessationists in danger of doing the same at least in Pneumatology?
The Spirit gives life to the letter. If we start telling Him what He can and cannot do are we sucking life from the letter and are left with only the letter and erudite homilies of men? Is that why we need Starbucks and entertainment to fill our buildings? Paul said to stay away from those who have form and not power thus showing the ecumenical movement as something needed by those who lack the power because they deny it. Machinations of men to promote programs that only work short term because they lack the power.
We need to seek the Lord and ask for the Spirit to be who He is and do what He does in our lives! We need not fear fakes and in essence erase some portions of Scriptures for fear of fakes and delusional. I know people who would never practice James 5:14,15 because that is in the past or it would make them look like Pentecostals. Some will not raise hands in worship, but might shoot an arm out for an instant like some kind of salute to avoid looking Pentecostal. They must stand perfectly still when they sing lest they look like those Holy Rollers. That is all silly as no Scripture belongs only to one group. We are exhorted to lift up holy hands and even David danced before the Lord, but we dare not look like one of those crazy people.
Fakes and fanatics should only cause us to dig deeper into prayer and draw closer to God to be sure we get the real deal. Why miss out on power and abundance because someone is a fake or an abuser of something that will empower our lives to live holy, be fruitful in our ministries and draw us into His presence? Seek Him. Ask for the Spirit to bring you into a closer relationship with Christ and show you where you are to fit in the Body and what gift has been given to you do what you are called to do. You will never regret it. We still need D. L. Moodys, Hudson Taylors and others to win the lost. Even more so we just need the Body to be filled with people are filled with the Spirit and exercising their gift that we may stand out as the approved of God and that the world will be moved by the people of God who are moved by the Spirit of God. Will you seek all that He has for you? May we all receive His abundant power! Maranatha!!!!
August 23, 2016
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;
God does still speak to His children and is interactive in their lives. His sheep still hear His voice, What has happened is that we are trained to not listen to it so we don’t hear it or we think it is our conscience or our own brain speaking. We also think that the only time God speaks is when we are reading the Word.
Sometimes, it is a verse we may not have deliberately memorized or even remember ever reading. Sometimes, it is “nudge” in our hearts to pray or witness to someone. Sometimes He puts words in our mouths. A preacher might say something not planned in His sermon and even unrelated to his sermon, but afterward have someone say that it was exactly what they needed to hear.
Sometimes, it may be something that comes to your mind that sounds like your voice, but the thought is either so profound or so needful in your life you wonder how “you” came up with it when you were thinking about something on the opposite end of the spectrum at the time.
And then there are times when you are very quiet or in deep despair when you hear something not in your voice that brings you great clarity or hope. That is God speaking to you through the Holy Spirit, the inner witness, Who was sent to guide you into all truth and to comfort you as well as convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He does not do that silently all the time.
Yes, God did speak and is speaking to us through His Son, but He sent the Holy Spirit as His representative to convey His direction for the Spirit will not speak of Himself, but will speak what He hears from Jesus,
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
The Holy Spirit will never say anything that contradicts the Word of God that He was directly involved with writing. He does supply the life to the letter thus you cannot properly interpret or “rightly divide the word of truth” unless He is teaching you. Without His teaching the letter kills and we become Pharisees hypocrites or religious unbelievers like the Sadducees so listen up and make sure you hear Him speaking. Yes, there are many voices speaking and false spirits, but don’t let those imposters and liars keep you from the blessing and protection that comes from the true voice that is yet speaking and will speak until we see Jesus in front of us and hear His voice directly.
Isa 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
If God had the Holy Spirit do that back in the day before He was sent to indwell each believer, how much more will He do it now for the ones He has sealed with the Spirit? May God open our ears to Him. Thank God that He is still speaking to us through His Son, the living Word, via the written Word, but Who also sent the Spirit to teach us the written Word as well as speaking to us what He hears from the Son that is specific for each of His children’s lives. Rejoice in His voice! Maranatha!
August 18, 2016
Ask the Holy Spirit, the Divine armorer, to load you up and then move out in the power of His might to light up the night! Hooah! Maranatha!!
August 18, 2016
John records Jesus as saying whoever believes on Him would do greater works than He did, not just to those in the 1st century or one generation. He did His works through the Spirit and we now have that same Spirit in us if we are truly born of God. That being so, why would the Spirit stop empowering the Church to do beyond what Christ did especially in an age such as ours where the mystery of iniquity is showing itself so boldly and evil men are waxing worse and worse due to demonic influence? People still need deliverance, healing and so on.
Having been a “theologian” that taught that the Holy Spirit was now limited because the canon of Scripture was completed, I now repent of that and I want Him to make me a true theologian through the power of the Spirit, not just by the doctrines of men. The Bible is the foundation and the Spirit will not do anything that contradicts the word He was involved with writing. He and the Word work in conjunction as the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive. (2 Cor 3:6) That being true, He is not going to allow the words of Christ to be unfulfilled.
True, the Spirit is not going to give a show for a wicked and adulterous generation who only seek the signs and not Jesus like the Pharisees and Herod, but that does not mean He will cease to empower the Church to do His works and greater. He doesn’t do Holy Ghost traveling shows where He manifests at 10, 2 and 4 like some seem to promote, but He will do what He was sent to do and that is to empower the Body of Christ to glorify God, win souls and edify the saints while convicting the world of sin and judgment.
Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Maybe you are not seeing the power and works of the Spirit manifested is because you believe what the theologians told you and not what Jesus said. Put down your denominational/theological glasses and ask why you are not experiencing the Acts of the Church as shown in the book of Acts. Calling it the Acts of the Apostles was a misnomer as folks other than the Apostles were filled and doing mighty works. It was the Acts of the Church that was built upon Jesus and Apostles, Jesus being the chief cornerstone. Even the carnal Church at Corinth was endued with the gifts and they were not Apostles. An Apostle won them to Christ, but the Spirit gifted them with all of the gifts, not just a select few.
Seek Christ! Seek to be empowered and allow the Spirit to give you what He wills and you may find that you have been missing out on all that God wants for you because of theologians and your lack of faith. Maranatha!
August 15, 2016
August 9, 2016
1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
Ever since the hippie movement we have moved into an age of the worship of self. It is all about me is the guiding principle of the age. People are about what is in it for them and makes them feel good or what advances their goal. This has infiltrated the Church in many ways because it has been adopted by many Christians. We have forgotten that Christianity is all about Jesus and the will of God, and others, not about us.
Many splits in churches are because somebody was unhappy about how things were done or something offended someone with influence. They then used that influence to try and work their own will. If there were not enough numbers to make it happen they lead their people off to start another church.
Doctrine is the real reason to split a church. If the leadership starts teaching error and no proper use of Matthew 18 effects a return to sound doctrine then those who know the truth should leave, but another church may not be needed as there may be several in the area teaching the truth. Seek those out and support them in the spirit of unity.
Many seek churches to just fulfill their needs. Sometimes that might be a particular type of music, age group, a coffee bar or something. Some think the Church is Welfare Part II. Doctrine is not important to people as it should be. In the church life, we have people at different maturity levels and often from many backgrounds. That means there could be many opinions of how something should be done or things that Christians should or should not do. Do we seek the good of the Body or our agenda?
In Romans 14 and 15 Paul is dealing with the merging of Jews and Gentiles into one Church, not gray areas as many teach. Now that is a monumental task since the cultures were as opposite as opposite can be. One very zealous for the Law of Moses and the rituals and traditions and the other having no such background and not interested in them once they heard the Gospel and especially since the Jerusalem Council released them from such observances. This created friction and the friction was generating great heat as it does still today.
He just spent all of chapter 14 telling the Church that stronger Christians were the ones who did not concern themselves about days and foods. Still no one was to judge the one on the other side or abuse the weaker brother. Tough he said the Gentiles had it right, he also told them to not cause their Jewish brethren to stumble. He said that he would not eat certain foods forever rather than cause his weaker brother to stumble.
He drives it home in these first three verses of chapter 15. Listen up strong people, you are not to bask in your strength and hurt people because you are right. You are to do what is necessary to help people get to where you are, not make them stumble and fall because you have to exercise your rights! It is not about you. You are not to please yourself. You are to edify your neighbor and bear the infirmities of the weak.
In Rome, that would have meant for people who were into bacon and ham sandwiches to eat them at home, but not bring them to the church suppers when you know your brother of Jewish background would be profoundly offended. A Jewish brother who saw his Gentile brother eating pork ribs through a restaurant window would not call everyone and talk about what an non-separated, worldly person that brother was to be doing that.
In our age, it might mean being careful of how you dress for church. You may feel you have liberty to wear something, but if it draws attention to you and distracts people from worship then save that outfit for another venue. When I was asked as pastor what the church dress code was I always said God and law enforcement frown on nudity, but otherwise I am open to discussion.
I have been at various services where I was embarrassed for the lady when she should have been embarrassed for herself, but I did not know her spiritual condition. She may have been lost or spiritually immature so I did not draw any attention to her as she was doing fine by herself in that respect.. I have seen men as well attired in things that may not be immodest, but were ostentatious at least. An early preacher named Chrysostom, also known as the golden orator, got quite rough on folks who got too gussied up for service.
Another thing is to not be age bigoted. Some young folks do not want to sit in the same service or Sunday School as those old people or the old people don’t want to sit with those young whippersnappers. Music is a big issue. Some won’t stay if the genre is not their genre. Sometimes a mark of maturity is to stretch you boundaries or get out of your comfort zone not lambaste something that is not your cup of tea. How are the older going to teach the younger if they are never together? How vain can a young person be if they think they do not need any mentoring from the old codger who has been down some roads the young need not go down and he could warn them?
While you have liberty, there are times when you are not at liberty to use it. When I visited a Mennonite church I wore dark pants, no tie, top button buttoned. I did not have a jacket as I was on vacation. Why, because that is what they dressed like and I did not want to offend them while I was there to learn about them. Karen sat on one side of the church and I sat on the other.
I could have exercised my right to wear a Western shirt and blue jeans and sit with my wife. Well, that would have been rude since I was a guest in their culture. It would also have disrupted their worship as they would have focused on me the rude intruder instead of the welcome guest. In the end, as they were walking out, one of the men kissed me on the cheek, as was their custom, and I returned it, which was out of my comfort zone. (2 Cor 13:12) Our Mennonite host at our B&B said I should be honored for he saw the Lord in me. Well worth the restraining of my liberty to hear that.
We need to get back to seeking God first and caring for one another rather than making everything about us.
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
One of the reasons we meet is to exhort one another. I exhort whoever I can and someone will exhort me. I will be taken care of as I take care of others. JOY – Jesus, Others, You. When we keep that order it is amazing how what we think are our “needs” are exposed as unnecessary or selfish wants and our real needs are supplied. There is no joy if you put yourself ahead of Jesus or Others. May God grant us the strength to withhold our liberty for the sake of our brethren, the cause of Christ and the good of the Church. Maranatha!
August 7, 2016
40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;
44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
The word straitly is a strong word. He very sternly commanded him to tell no one and yet he told everyone he could find to hear.
You would think that since this was a deliberate disobedience to a direct command of Jesus that his leprosy would return, his tongue cease to function or even he would have a massive MI. Some preachers and Christians would rejoiced if any of that had happened. Thank God, the compassionate Jesus healed him knowing the cleansed leper would disobey that commandment.
How could he remain silent? How many years had he been cut off from society living alone on the fringes of the city? He was dependent upon the mercy of those who would leave food, clothing and maybe even bandages for his wounds. He could never shake their hand, hug and kiss them for their generosity. He could never attend temple worship and to a Jew that was like being cut off and forgotten by God.
He was not forgotten for Jesus had compassion and healed him. Be quiet? To be clean and free to have a rich and full life was more than he could have ever hoped for in his despair! He had to shout out his joy and give glory God to all he could find. It exploded out of him. It was the living water gushing from his spirit. It was give glory and thanks or burst. If only all disobedience had this much holiness in it! Was this a holy joy disobedience? Wow! How to let that sink in. Imagine when he went to Heaven and he said about this time, “Jesus, I just loved you so much and was joyful that I could not obey that command.”
Here was a man commanded to not speak and he could not obey for joy and gratitude. What happened to us? We are commanded to speak and yet we seem able to contain ourselves. Church is an option and far from being sorrowful if we cannot attend we are content to be C&E Christians or concert goers or partakers of the homecoming buffets.
Have we forgotten that we were also lepers who were cleansed of our sins? Is the thrill gone? Where is our joy and gratitude? Why will we just sit back and let other lepers suffer, die and go to Hell? As Keith Green sang, “God’s calling and you’re the one but like Jonah you run. He’s called you to speak and you keep holding it in! Can’t you see it’s such sin?” We are not in a state of joyful disobedience. We are just cold and carnal. We have lost our first love. We have our priorities all backwards. It is more, “Bless me, Lord! Bless, me Lord! That’s all I ever hear.”
Why are we not more like Knox and Whitefield? Knox said, “Give me Scotland, or I die.” Whitefield said, “Give me souls, or take my soul.” Our ears are clogged with the wax of sin and self so we can’t hear the Lord like Isaiah. “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Thus we do not say like him. “Then said I, Here am I; send me.” Isa 6:8
Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
I wonder what is the greater disobedience to speak out of gratitude and joy when commanded not to speak or to lack gratitude and you where you do not speak when commanded? What do you think? Maranatha!