Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lack of Knowledge

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:” Hosea 4:6

That verse has been used many ways. I’ve heard some preach it in regards to those lacking prosperity. They would say that because the poorer lack the necessary knowledge to succeed, they don’t. That’s partially true. I’ve heard others say that the knowledge that people lack is knowledge of the gospel and Christ’s saving power. That is even more true. Many people, even in this United States, are not aware that Christ can save them and make them a new creature in him. They may have experienced some religion, but not that saving, changing religion that only Jesus Christ can give. But to get the true meaning of this verse, we must read a little further.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Israel’s problem was that they lacked knowledge, like many in the world, and even in the church. But the reason was that they had rejected the knowledge that was once available to them. When you read the rest of the verse, God is telling them that they forgot the law so he would forget their children. After this, the northern kingdom of Israel went into captivity about one hundred years before the southern kingdom of Judah. They stayed in that condition for centuries and now the entire nation is still struggling. We know that God is not finished with Israel but rejecting knowledge has a great price.

We, in America, have been given much knowledge of the scriptures. We have available to us an inexhaustible supply of materials that can help provide the knowledge of God’s Word. The Old Testament law had several parts; governmental, ceremonial, moral, cleanliness, and holiness. While the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, it was also provided in order to make the Jews a separate people who could live in harmony with God and be effective for him on the earth. The moral aspects of the law re still with us and are translated into the New Testament. The church has this knowledge available to keep it a separate body, but is rejecting it. We are seeing the church so close to the world today that it is very difficult to tell which is which. Preaching against sin is becoming less and less and the knowledge of the Word of God is being rejected in place for modern teachers who can make us feel good. Paul was right when he wrote about the perils of the last days.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

The flesh likes what makes it feel good. We all like someone to pat us on the head and tell us we are doing good. What we don’t like is someone telling us we are doing something wrong. This is why Paul continues to admonish Timothy in the following verse. “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” Timothy would endure afflictions for preaching the gospel just like today. But we must trust in his Word and do our best, with God’s help, to obey it. Living the Christian life is not just a Sunday thing. No where in the Word of God do I find that, but living for him is a 24x7 thing. If we want to be able to call on him anytime 24x7, we should expect we are going to have to be his 24x7.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Mothers in the Church

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

This is the time we honor our mothers which is right. It’s a wonderful time when the family, the oldest institution, is exalted and the mother being the keeper of it. A godly mother is priceless. She teaches her children the things of God and how to interact in this sinful world using God’s principles and commandments in his word. Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote Titus about the mothers and their conduct.

We are living in a horrible time when we are hearing more and more where mothers are killing their own offspring. Truly this is the type of thing the Apostle Paul was referring to when he wrote Timothy saying that people in the last days would be “without natural affection.” It can only be a demo possessed woman who can go the lengths to kill her own children.

What is the older women’s responsibility to the younger who are just starting a family. The answer is in Titus 2:4, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children”. It seems a little strange that someone would have to be “taught” to love their children and husbands, but if it were so in those days, how much more in this evil time where sin will look for you instead of you having to look for sin. But a mother’s job is a never finished. Many times they come home from work each day only to have to do another days work at home. And while us men can do some things, lets be honest, the ladies are the “keepers of home” and those who “guide the house.” 1 Timothy 5:14

You mothers who are reading this are extremely important! The values you set for them and the character you build will be with them throughout their lives and eternity. Be strong! Raise your children to fear God and keep his Word. Teach them to hide the word in their heart that they might not sin against God. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11 May the Lord help the mothers in our land who fear God raise a generation of God-fearing youths who will be able to fight the battles on their knees so we may not have to fight as much on the battlefield. God help our mothers!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Lord’s Song – Continued

“Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.” Psalm 33:2-3

It is a fair statement to say that listening to music that doesn’t glorify God is not pleasing to him. When it became very apparent to many young church going people that Rock ‘N Roll was evil and of the devil, they backed away from it. So then Satan had another plan. Bring it in the church under the name of Jesus, and that’s what he did. What is happening to our “Christian” music today? The lines are becoming so blurred in some areas between the genre of Christian music and secular that some producers are now starting to say that there is not a Christian Music genre anymore The word “genre” in this context means “An expressive or style of music.” Wikipedia also says the following: “Genres are formed by sets of conventions, and many works cross into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions.” But remember, are we following the producers or the Bible? There IS a separate “song” for the Lord and one for the world and when these become blurred it is confussion and following after the doctrine of Balaam.

I’ll not fuss about the predominant beat that is in our music today for that is heard in all types of Christian Music. I’m using that term loosely for now. It would have been deplorable to have a drum set in the average church 50 years ago but now it is common place. Don’t get me wrong, I like some percussion and a little beat but I’m just trying to illustrate where we have been and were we are now. I’m not going to quibble about how various artists live. Most in the professional fields don’t live like we feel they ought and many have no separation from the world at all. But we sing in church gospel songs that were written by sinners who had an inspiring moment. I also will not flatly say that everyone in one category is wrong and the other is right. For example, not all of the music in the Southern Gospel category is without some questionable value and there are some good spiritual songs in the contemporary music ranks. But where we measure the merit of it is by the fruit it bears. Each type of music produces its own culture which is also a type of fruit. Look at the scripture below.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:15-20

Look at the fruits of the music. With the fruits, also comes the culture as mentioned above. Here are some lyrics to a song by a very well known Christian rock group called Skillet. It from the song, “The Last Night”

Your parents say everything is your fault
But they don't know you like I know you they don't know you at all
I'm so sick of when they say
It's just a phase, you'll be o.k. you're fine
But I know it's a lie

This is a “Christian” group! What kind of fruit will that bring? And when you read the lyrics of the whole song, there is no context that it can have Christ involved or be referred to. Groups turning their drums upside down, using dazzling light shows, selling teeth coverings that light up do not glorify God nor does these things bear Christian fruit. There is a distinct culture that the Christian rock genre produces, and it’s not of God. The Dallas Morning News described a DC Talk “Freak Show” concert in the following manner. "As teenagers' shrieks filled the Dallas Convention Center moments before dc Talk took the stage Friday night, one of the relatively few grown-ups in the sold-out crowd observed, 'This is just like the BEATLES.'" Dallas Morning News, April 27, 1996

Where is Christ in that! If you say that they are going after Christ like people went after the Beatles you’re badly mistaken. You may argue that there are lots of teenagers being saved at these concerts. First, I don’t believe they really are but there may be some as God can save anyone, anywhere. However, what are they being saved to? Unfortunately, this has become so popular and has been embraced by the “church” as the church has become more like the world. This is why, when raising a voice against it, there is so much opposition and so little support. This kind of music produces the same fruit as their rock counterparts; rebellion! You can see it in the words given above.

Gospel music should have a clear and understandable message as to what is being conveyed. That’s why the Apostle Paul used the word “admonishing” which means “to warn and exhort.” “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16 There must be that clear message that the hearer can understand. The message of Christian rock is not necessarily so. Michael W. Smith's album, Change Your World, has 2819 words but the word of Jesus occurs — ZERO! His album I’ll Lead You Home, has 2046 words but again Jesus occurs — ZERO! I realize the “hip” will say, these are his old “projects” as they are now called but things have not changed.

This is a subject that would take books to properly show and illustrate the demonic influence that Christian rock has made . But while we are on Michael W. Smith, lets point out one more thing that was observed by Dial-the-Truth Ministries.

“On the back of Smith's album The Big Picture, is Michael W. Smith — BACKWARDS! A common satanic practice, taught by Satanist Aliester Crowley (Crowley is very popular in the rock music world). Crowley gives instructions to the Satanist: But something even more frightening appears on the album . . . The M in Michael and the T in Smith is part of the Runic (runic means secret) alphabet used in witchcraft and Satanism! Only someone involved in the occult would know such an alphabet exists! In the book, Web of Darkness, former Satanist Sean Sellers says, "Runes are the oldest form of occult knowledge and magic . . . their use sets a person against God." (Sean Sellers, Web of Darkness, p. 72)” From Christian Rock: Blessing or Blasphemy by Terry Watkins.

As I said above, this just scratches the surface. There is no way we can cover this vast subject in this small sace. The rebellion and demonic influences that this music produces in the name of Christ is astounding. We must again recall Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:15, “ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

We have a lot of wolves prowling around our country in the name of Jesus, and they’re devouring our children and will eventually devour much of the church! There will be some that will read this and do a lot of “hair splitting” in order to defend Christian rock music, however I challenge you to prayerfully back off a little and take a long look at the fruits that this is producing and you’ll find that it is not producing Godly character or a hunger for Christ. The language and some of the terms may even be god-ward, but the fruit will not be there. That’s because it’s not The Lord’s Song!