Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Reproach of Sin

"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34


As a country, we are falling, or have fallen already. We have been judged by the Almighty God in heaven who is the supreme judge and have been found guilty. We tried to make our defense but to no avail. We told Him we wanted to make life better for everyone but that didn't work. We said that we would try to make everyone happy on this earth but he didn't listen. We, as a nation and church within the nation, said we'd even help the poor and try to make things better for them. It didn't work. Instead, we were slapped in the face with the very words, "Depart from me, I never knew you." Matt. 7:23b


We again tried to make our defense. "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? Matt. 7:22 But this was only met by the statement, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matt. 7:23 Then he made this shattering statement. "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." Matt. 7:21


We asked, "what is the will of the Father?" The answer is to love his Son, Jesus Christ and serve him in sincerity. "That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;" Philippians 1:10 His will is that we are one with him, having him fully in our heart and that we walk in the light of his Word and walk in his Spirit which enables us to love others as ourselves, something that we cannot do in the flesh.


But as a church and nation, we have not. The trial continues: Our Lord begins to tell us our crimes. We have been blessed and have not only received the material blessings but a heritage that is unlike any other nation. We rode on the high places of the earth and were placed as the envy of the world, like a shining city on a hill. But now, that shining city has gone dim and is fast going out. We have sold out to humanism that champions only the temporary happiness and leaves out Christ. We have allowed this to infiltrate our body so much that we are more concerned with being like the world than Christ. The ball games have become our god as well as the movies from Hollywood. We have no time for his Word and if we take the time, it is for only a short while. God is no longer the end but the means to happiness. Now, we have been given what we want as a nation, a false god. We stand guilty as a nation before Him and we have no more defense. I can list the sins but you know them already. Darkness will continue to fall on this nation and only those who walk in the light of his word will survive the thrashing that will come upon the church.


God will keep his people. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1 What a promise! But there is a condition, and that is to dwell in the secret place of the most High God and his Son, Jesus Christ. To "dwell" means to stay there. You're not a Christian one day than maybe not so the next, but every day, 24/7. While we do our work, we are Christians ready to serve Him. We care more about time spent with Him than even our recreation. To the true believer, Christ is the end, not the means to an end. Dark times are coming to America, but God will keep you if you want to be kept in Him. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" John 10:27 If you are truly one of His, you will hear his voice, which is primarily that of his Word, the Bible. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:28 You will not perish or be lost but only IF you follow the conditions set out in verse 27 which is to hear his voice and follow him. Will you follow Him and hear the voice of his Word?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Golden Perachute

Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!" Habakkuk 2:9

We constantly hear commercials advertising gold for sale. They say it is the best security against the future for if the dollar goes, (and I believe it probably will),gold will survive. Christian leaders and financers are constantly telling us to buy gold against the future. You have probably heard the statement, "Have a golden parachute." But what does God say about this.

First, it is certain that we must use wisdom, that's for certain. In Proverbs alone, there are many proverbs that talk of the future. "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." Proverbs 22:3 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." Proverbs 6:6-9 There are other verses regarding looking at the future and storing goods as God directs, so that is not a bad thing, but wise. However, for one to put his trust in gold does not seem to be what Christ had in mind when he said in Matthew 6:19-21, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." First, that gold and silver can be stolen, lost, and even lose value regardless as to what they say. What good is it when you pay a thousand dollars for an ounce of gold but can't find anywhere to sell it? Plus, it becomes a trusting place when Christ is our trusting place and provider.

While it is necessary to have money in this world, we can't love it. Paul wrote this to Timothy in I Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." So what should we do if we have resources? The answer is in verses 17-19 of the same chapter. "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

The church is in the shape it is in today due to the love of money. "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" Revelation 3:17

God has been go to America! We have prospered much as a nation due to God's blessing but now I fear this blessing is coming to an end. It is now time for us to not trust in a "golden parachute" but to trust Christ and his Word and get a firm foundation of faith. Take the suggestion that Jesus gave to the church of Laodicea: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." Revelation 3:18

Make faith in Christ and his Word your golden parachute! He will not fail!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Response Regarding “Sipping Christians”

I want to respond to a comment made regarding the recent post, Sipping Christians. The best way is to insert comments so I will. I appreciate your response but I feel this deserves a public response. The responder's comments are in quotes.

"I want to respond to this blog post not because I necessarily want to change your mind (though I'd be glad if you did) but because I would like to convince you that there are Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, true-blue Christians who believe that God has not forbidden moderate consumption of alcohol."

First, there is no convincing me of this so forget that. I have been saved for almost thirty-three years now and I plan to stay on the same road I've been on. I've lived in victory in Jesus for the past thirty-three years and plan to continue with God's help. I've had the same wife for thirty-two (and the only one) and four grown children who attend church regularly. I will tell you that some of them are not living like they should but they have not rejected God or his word. Some just don't live all of it. I used to drink and play in the nightclubs in college and after that but when I got saved, the alcohol went. Why would I want to partake in something that even many sinners will not partake in and many others have been delivered of?

"The Bible clearly prohibits getting drunk; I'm not aware of any Christians who disagree with that statement. As for the verses you quoted I believe they are all concerned with the abuse of alcohol, not its moderate use. The statement "wine is a mocker" is the same sort of statement as "knowledge puffs up" in the New Testament. Of course we don't believe everyone with knowledge is arrogant. The verse is saying that knowledge has the potential to make someone arrogant. The same goes for wine. It will mock the one who is deceived by it. And note the language: "mocker" and "raging." Both sound like words used to describe someone who is drunk. Being "deceived" by wine and strong drink sounds like a euphemism for being drunk."

I don't think you can take the scripture regarding "knowledge puffs up" in the same context as "wine is a mocker." Here is the scripture: "Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." 1 Corinthians 8:1 The last part of the verse sheds more light as to why we should not partake of beer, wine, etc. Paul was talking about eating things sacrificed to idols and his main point was that, the idol is nothing to the believer however to the idol worshipper it was like a deity, therefore the believer's eating things sacrificed to idols would definitely be a bad witness. The same goes for alcohol.

"There are, in fact, positive references to alcohol in the Bible. God has given wine to make men's hearts glad (Psalm 104:14-15). Melchizedek gives wine to Abraham. Wine is a part of various OT sacrifices. We should drink wine with a merry heart (Eccl. 9:7). There are others: Is. 55:1, Amos 9:13-15, Is. 25:6-9."

Note that none of these are in the New Testament and you may also want to consider the incident of Noah and Canaan when Noah became drunk and what happened. Please read Genesis 9:20-29. Also, the incident of Lot and his two daughters where wine was used to cause their father to commit insect. Please read Genesis 19:30-38. The positive references are made in that the wine was not fermented as is today.

"It is furthermore pretty clear that Jesus himself drank wine. In Luke 7:33-35 Jesus contrasts himself with John the Baptist, who ate no bread and drank no wine. In Luke 1:15 John is prohibited from drinking wine and strong drink. (Even if you want to argue that wine is not alcoholic I'd say it's pretty clear that "strong drink" is alcoholic. And if God's people were not permitted to drink alcohol then why would there need to be a special prohibition made for John?) Jesus contrasts himself with John by saying that his enemies call him a drunkard. There's a clear parallelism here. John did not drink alcohol but Jesus did. Besides, how could Jesus' enemies call him a drunkard if he never drank alcohol?"

Yes, Nazarites, which is what John the Baptist was, were prohibited from drinking anything regarding wine, even the cernal, that's true. However, once again, wine was a staple that was common among the Jews but the fermentation was not like today.

"I think your concern about alcohol being the appearance of evil is misguided. The only people who think moderate consumption of alcohol is a morally questionable practice are those who have been taught that it is. Here's the kicker: consumption of alcohol has only been an issue among Christians in the past couple of centuries, particularly here in America, because of the prohibitionist movement. Talk to a Christian in the ancient or medieval world and they wouldn't understand your concerns. Your argument about alcohol being the appearance of evil only makes sense to you because we are in a culture that has a history of being uncomfortable with alcohol. If you were born in Ireland or Italy or France you wouldn't be asking these questions. And we are not permitted to bind the consciences of God's people just because we are the descendents of sincere, well-meaning, but misguided prohibitionists."

There is no "kicker." You are correct in that through the centuries many in the church drank wine and such however you are not aware of the progress of the church age given in Revelation 2:3 as in the letters to the churches. The sixth church, which was the previous age, was when much of the missionary work was done and ushered in the revivals of the 1900's.

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:7-13 This describes the church up to the recent times.

"Alcoholic wine has always been used in the Lord's Supper throughout church history. Martin Luther, who rediscovered the doctrine of justification by faith alone, was a lover of beer. John Wesley, to whom your own tradition owes so much, is known to have drank wine and beer. (Later Methodists repudiated his example and became prohibitionists.) With all due respect, you're quite wrong that the traditional, Bible-believing church has rejected alcohol. It's quite the opposite.

As I said, I'm not trying to turn you into a drinker. I am troubled, however, by your condemnation of Christians who disagree with you on this issue. Believe me, I know many devout Christians who love Jesus every bit as much as you do, who pray, go to church, read and believe the Bible, and still do not believe there is any sin is drinking a beer or having a glass of wine. But we don't even have to get into that kind of argument. I think the Biblical argument is strongly on my side. At the least I'd for you to acknowledge that there is a possibility that fellow Christians can disagree about this and not condemn each other as false Christians. "

You are right though, about today. Many do believe they can "sip" and still be right with God. That's because we are now in a different age. See below.

But, you may have a point, because now we are living in the Laodicean age where Jesus says, "15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Could it be that we're too busy trying to justify our sins and actions to get that faith needed to make it through? That glass of wine isn't going to help you pray through to salvation and the Holy Ghost! May the Lord Help you as you seek after him in the Spirit of Truth.