Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Busted!! Part Two

Not so many years ago if I were asked the simple question "how is a soul saved" I would have said something silly like "ask Jesus into your heart" or "you have to say the sinner's prayer" which is actually the beggars prayer in which you beg for forgiveness of your sins. Fifteen years into attending different churches, Pentecostal, Baptist and non denominational varieties, not once did I hear the Gospel that saves our never dying souls with any amount of clarity yet I would have told you that I was saved and a Christian. Every church I attended quoted Bible verses, taught the scriptures, offered Sunday school classes, had prayer time and of course a time of so called worship with either a choir or band playing. One brand of church taught you could lose your salvation, another taught you could not lose your salvation. One church taught speaking in tongues is for today and the other taught speaking in tongues was not in operation today but could not explain why. One church had basically a rock and roll contemporary band and the other church had just a piano, organ with a full choir. Both types of church had Bible to explain why they taught what they taught and operated as they do.....and yet....they were extremely different in their teaching, even on opposite ends of the spectrum. How can both types of churches be so different in what they believe and both churches have Bible to back up what they believe? The answer is the failure to rightly divide the word of truth as instructed by the Apostle Paul in 2ND Timothy 2:15.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

As sincere and as well meaning as a person may be, right is still right and wrong is still wrong. Someone may be the kindest, nicest, politest, honest, and generous person you will ever meet and yet they can still be wrong when it comes to their Bible understanding. It would probably not be a stretch to believe that most people that stake claim to being a saved Christian are no more saved than the man on the moon if they cannot with clarity state how a soul is saved during this present dispensation of God's grace. You cannot look at someone and make the determination if a person is indeed a Christian, it is according to what one believes and places their faith in that makes that determination. Many will say they believe in Jesus, but what does that actually mean? As children, we were taught to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny and in so doing, we would receive gifts only later to discover there were no such characters. Our childish beliefs were not based upon knowledge, but upon what we were told to believe. That same scenario is pervasive in churchianity whereby the people are being led by a pastor or a teacher rather than basing their belief system grounded by personal Bible study. This is one type of person that says they are a Christian.

The other type of person that says they are a Christian is one that may have a fair to good deal of Bible acumen and have failed to understand the doctrinal differences between the covenant nation of Israel and the church, the body of Christ which is the new creature. The first type of person is a joy to deal with because they are not tainted by false teaching and are clean slates ready to be presented the gospel of the grace of God with clarity. The second type is most challenging in that they are in need of reteaching but will be hard to convince of their error. They have already accumulated doctrines from all over the Bible and have blended everything from everywhere, here a verse, there a verse, everywhere a verse verse into one belief system which happens to be an egregious error. They read things back into scriptures things that were not revealed until later, failing to see the progression in revelation of the scriptures. This type of sincere person who has been taught or even studied by himself will use terminology from anywhere in the Bible and apply it to themselves such as saying they are "born again" or say things like they will "endure unto the end" to be saved. Terms like repent being dealt around as if it meant to "turn from you sins" or everywhere they see the word "baptize" their mind goes to thinking about a water ceremony. They may refer to themselves as a "priesthood" of believers, or a "flock", a "royal priesthood", "chosen", "sheep", "new testament Christian". These folks will answer the simple question of "how is a soul saved" with statements like " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" or they will pull out the big guns on you and quote John 3:16 and then tell you we need to keep the commandments.

In both types of people we should be able to discern their need is one and the same, a clear presentation of the Gospel of the grace of God in that Christ did everything necessary to save our never dying souls. It was Jesus that died for our sins. It was Jesus that was buried. It was Jesus that rose again the third day with victory over death, Hell, and the grave. The only participation that we have in the salvation transaction is that we are the sinners for whom Christ died and if we place our belief, trust, and faith in what Christ did, God counts our faith for righteousness and the Holy Spirit of God baptizes us into the body of Christ, the new creature. It is just that simple!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Busted!! Part One

Surely, you have seen on television where a witness to a crime stands behind a one way mirror and from a police lineup of suspects, the witness then picks out the criminal. Hopefully that would be the only way your are familiar with this process having never been the victim of a crime. Well of course everyone in the lineup claims innocence and there is one that is guilty. By looking at the accused the victim then picks out the true criminal. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just look at someone and know full well if they are actually a Christian or not? The victim of a crime has evidence knowing what the criminal looked like. As a Mid Acts Dispensational right divider of the King James Bible, we have the evidence against the pretenders because we have studied to shew ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. In other words, they stick out like a sore thumb! Not by appearance, but by doctrine. As the before mentioned criminal is the enemy to civil society and justice, the person who is not following the doctrine according to the Apostle Paul's "my gospel" and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery has placed themselves as the enemies of the cross of Christ.
  • Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
  • Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

When a nation goes to war as did America in WWII, our soldiers proudly wore the uniform bearing the stars and stripes of this great nation. The enemies would also wear the uniform of their nation therefore making it easy to distinguish which side someone was on. The uniform of a Christian is the doctrine given by Christ to the Apostle Paul to usward as we operate in this present dispensation of the grace of God. It would be a disaster for the USA to go off to war today using the battle plans from WWII just as much as it is a disaster for a person to go to their Bibles and utilize the doctrines that God Himself has set aside and is not in operation during this present dispensation. Unfortunately, when the typical church goes selects an assembly it is not based upon doctrine but rather what aspects appeal to their wants and taste. Have you ever been invited to a church wherein the person says something like "we have the best music in town" or "the people are so nice"? How about "our preacher isn't long winded" or "you can feel the Lord is there when you walk in the doors"? I have heard all of those. As I reflect back on my church experience never do I recall anyone saying that their church will equip and edify you in sound doctrine. Am I the only one? (tongue in cheek)

If a service man was known to be endorsing our adversaries position he would be labeled an enemy of the state and his or her picture would be all over the news channels. When a person endorses or adheres to doctrines not associated with the Gospel of the Grace of God, they have identified themselves as an enemy of the Gospel and that requires a Bible believer to mark them, make it known, warn others, and avoid them.

  • Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
  • Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Beseeching someone is not something that leaves a choice between acting or not acting. The case has been made and the only action or choice you have is to follow Paul's direction. It's not a warm and fuzzy situation where nobody gets their feathers ruffled. It is soldiering and is hardness. You will be called names, despised, made fun of, and the such. These things should not come as a surprise because our pattern Paul gives us a heads up......

  • 1 Corinthians 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.

If you heard someone say that Jesus had two heads and walked on his hands, the error would be so obvious, who could miss it. When the distinction is not so obvious to the unsuspecting hearer or the person who is not yet weaned from the milk, it is the duty of the person of full age having their senses exercised capable of discerning good and evil to identify the error and correct the issue. This will not make you famous or popular among the church crowd which is the largest mission field in your area as well as mine, but who is going to do the job if you do not? Remember, we have been besought!! Paul tells us of a time when....

  • 2 Timothy 4:3 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;
  • 2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

That time has come and was established long ago, even in Paul's time. Therefore, Paul gives us this charge.....

  • 2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
  • 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Ready or not, here I come! In season, out of season. Reprove, nobody is gonna like that one because they think they have it all figured out already. Rebuke, folks are gonna say you don't have any looooooove, Exhort, give them encouragement and something to look forward too. Longsuffering, don't give up on them knowing you didn't understand Mid Acts either and it takes some time. Doctrine, don't start with doctrine if the person isn't saved. A doctrinal discussion with an unsaved person is like trying to teach a baby how to drive and automobile when their feet won't even touch the pedals. It's a process. Now let's get engaged in the battle for the souls of men. When an army is taking an enemy position, often times the commander will shout..."CHARGE"....Paul has given us that command in 2 Timothy 4:1....Let's roll!!