unnamed2unnamed

With the recent passing of the Religious Liberties Bill here in Mississippi and all that has been written and talked about by the liberal main stream media since I figured I would chime in with my two cents.

First it needs to be stated I am very conservative, I belong to the Constitutional Party, (yes you can look it up) I am also a Reformed Baptist who believes in the infallibility of scripture. The end of the Bible in the book of Revelation Chapter (KJV) 22  18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. That means what God wrote I accept as truth and cannot and will not change.   

          That being said the liberal media paints a picture of hate and discrimination about believers like me surrounding issues like this. Nothing could be further from the truth. We, that is true born again believers are commanded, not asked, to love our neighbors; Matthew 22:36-40 ESV “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” and this of course includes those of the LGBT community.  No one let me repeat no one claiming to be a Christian can truly be a Christian and HATE someone from the LGBT community.

The word of God not the word of man says that the LGBT lifestyle is wrong. That those apart of the community are caught up in the bondage of sin and in need of being set free. As a Christian I (we) have two duties. First is to share the Good News Psalms 96:3 NKJV “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” that Christ is the way to true freedom.  Note as the Apostle Paul stated we are to always do this with gentleness 2 Timothy 2:25 ESV Correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, that God may be at work and not us.

Secondly we are called to never compromise the Word of God. Psalm 119: 1-4 (AMP) How blessed and favored by God are those whose way is blameless [those with personal integrity, the upright, the guileless], who walk in the law [and who are guided by the precepts and revealed will] of the Lord. 2 Blessed and favored by God are those who keep His testimonies, and who [consistently] seek Him and long for Him with all their heart. 3 They do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. 4 You have ordained your precepts, that we should follow them with [careful] diligence. Yet this is exactly what we are being called to do. The liberal minority has deemed this truth, Freedom of Speech (which this falls under) is this; you are free to agree with their liberal viewpoint or our speech is free to be censored and or outlawed or we are free to be imprisoned. It begs the question; who is being discriminated against here?

My Pastor last night made an interesting observation. If this was about anything more than wanting full acceptance for the LGBT community, they would look at this as a great opportunity. Start a business that caters to just that clientele, if as they claim their number are so strong they should do great and leave those with strongly held religious convictions alone.

         By His Grace Alone

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Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 

- - - Acts 20:26-27 (ESV) All text ESV unless noted

 

            There is a plague that has invaded our country and it started in the “Christian” churches. It is a plague that has resulted in ignorance, distortion and deficiency. What is this plague I am speaking of? It is none other than the proper preaching of God’s word.

               

            This plague started with men and unfortunately in more recent time’s women preaching only portions of God’s word. These men (we will not mention the women again as the bible calls only men to preach) as well intended as they may have been; failed in their duty to do as Paul declared in our text today, ‘to declare to you the whole counsel of God.’

               

            So what is the whole counsel of God? It is the “good, the bad and the ugly” to quote a spaghetti western movie title. It is man’s sin and total in ability to do good apart from God. It is God’s hatred of sin and the sinner while at the same time being fully capable of expressing love to us while we were yet in our sinful state. It is the whole Word of God not just the parts we like or understand and certainly not our pet theological topics. It is one reason I am so guarded against those who insistent on topical preaching each week. That type of preaching usually leads to a lack of declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

 

D. A. Carson[i] :  

 Explains what Paul meant this way: “When Paul attests that this is what he proclaimed to the believers in Ephesus, the Ephesian elders to whom he makes this bold asseveration know full well that he had managed this remarkable feat in only two and a half years. In other words, whatever else Paul did, he certainly did not manage to go through every verse of the Old Testament, line by line, with full-bore explanation. He simply did not have time.

 

What he must mean is that he taught the burden of the whole of God’s revelation, the balance of things, leaving nothing out that was of primary importance, never ducking the hard bits, helping believers to grasp the whole counsel of God that they themselves would become better equipped to read their Bibles intelligently, comprehensively.

 

It embraced God’s purposes in the history of redemption (truths to be believed and a God to be worshiped), an unpacking of human origin, fall, redemption, and destiny (a worldview that shapes all human understanding and a Savior without whom there is no hope), the conduct expected of God’s people (commandments to be obeyed and wisdom to be pursued, both in our individual existence and in the community of the people of God), and the pledges of transforming power both in this life and in the life to come (promises to be trusted and hope to be anticipated).”

 

            Before we go further it is critical, that if we are calling ourselves Christians we agree that there is only one AUTHORITY and one STANDARD for which we must adhere. That is the Word of God. Are you a child of God calling yourself a Christian today?

 

            How do we know we are a child of God?  We obey His laws first and foremost. 1 John 5:2–3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

 

            But Jesus in His earthly ministry also made is perfectly clear we are to pay tribute to those God has appointed over us.  Matthew 22:20-22 And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21 They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” 22 When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

 

            Of course some modernist have tried to twist scripture and say the above was for taxes only but Paul in his Epistle to Titus clears that up. Titus 3:1 (KJV) Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work

 

            We are however, as Christians, are to question tasking’s by those appointed over us to insure that they are in compliance with the Word of God. Acts 5:29 (KJV) Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men. The Word of God always trumps the law of man. If this is your AUTHOIRY and STANDRAD you can proudly wear the name badge Christian.

 

            So now let us look at a few examples that maybe we do not have the whole counsel of God on.  Let us start with the one that has been most recently been in the headlines as the U.S. Supreme Court made it’s in my opinion unconstitutional decision.

 

            Homosexuality and Same Sex Unions have become the rage. The liberal media has waged an all-out persecution crusade against anyone who exercises their constitutional right to freedom of religion by refusing to support these schemas.  We have been fed a steady stream of lies and innuendo in order to get the minority agenda passed. Sadly even the pulpits of evangelical churches have been wrongfully preaching half-truths and or just as bad messages of hate.

 

            Let us look at the Whole Counsel of God:

 

            a. It is a sin Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. There are no mincing words here. Others words for abomination include: outrage, disgrace, horror, hatred, atrocity. Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines it as: “Extreme hatred; detestation”

 

            b. Those engaged in it cannot go to heaven 1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality. God’s word is clear. Those who actively engage in this sin are condemning themselves to hell.

           

            c. The cause of Homosexuality, transgenderism etc. is the evil in our hearts our own sinfulness: Romans 1:24-27 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. The homosexual agenda would have you believe people are genetically wired to be that way. That is a bold face LIE. God’s word again is clear it is our selfish sin.  

 

            d. What should be the Christian's Response to the Homosexual?

 In his article Christianity and Homosexuality Matt slick explains[ii]

“Just because someone is a homosexual does not mean that we cannot love him (or her) or pray for him (or her).  Homosexuality is a sin, and like any other sin it needs to be dealt with in the only way possible.  It needs to be laid at the cross and repented of.

 

Christians should pray for the salvation of the homosexual the same way they would any other person in sin.  They should treat homosexuals with the same dignity as they would anyone else because, like it or not, they are made in the image of God.  However, this does not mean that Christians should approve of their sin.  Not at all; Christians should never compromise their witness for a politically correct opinion that is shaped by guilt and fear.

 

In fact, the following verses should be kept in mind when dealing with homosexuals. "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.   6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person," (Col. 4:5-6). "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith," (1 Tim. 1:5).

 

You do not win people to the Lord by condemning them and calling them names.  This is why God says to speak with wisdom, grace, and love.  Let the love of Christ flow through you so that the homosexuals can see true love and turn to Christ instead of away from Him.”

 

            So how do you love your homosexual neighbor without committing the other BIG controversy of our times Judging others. Have you noticed the one verse that both Christians and non-Christians (especially those in jail and prison) can quote is Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.

 

            The problem arises when we try and apply modern understandings to ancient Greek text. Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 (all verses KJV) gives me one of the best understandings of the word:

 

a. JUDGE, n. [L. judex, supposed to be compounded of jus, law or right, and dico, to pronounce.] This refers to the man, the one sitting on the bench or in the case of the scripture; God.

 

b. JUDGE, v.i. [L. judico.]  This verb for the most part, is what bible is referring to and primarily to sub definitions #1 and #4.

 

1. To compare facts or ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish truth from falsehood.

            Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment John 7:24

 

2. To form an opinion; to bring to issue the reasoning or deliberations of the mind.

            If I did not know the originals, I should not be able to judge, by the copies, which was Virgil and which Ovid.

 

3. To hear and determine, as in causes on trial; to pass sentence. He was present on the bench, but could not judge in the case.

            The Lord judge between thee and me. Gen.16:5

 

4. To discern; to distinguish; to consider accurately for the purpose of forming an opinion or conclusion.

                        "The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." Psa. 37:30

            Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment 1 Corinthians 1:10

 

            Read 1 Corinthians 6-1-5 we are called to judge others for someday we will judge the angels.  Unless you are willing to Judge others how else can you/we fulfill the mandate in Romans 16:17-18 Amplified Bible (AMP)17 I appeal to you, brethren, to be on your guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them.18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites and base desires, and by ingratiating and flattering speech, they beguile the hearts of the unsuspecting and simpleminded [people]. You must be able to identify, then avoid and or weed out those who are set on causing trouble in the fellowship of God. It is your duty. You cannot do that if you are unwilling to judge others.

 

JUDGE, v.t. To hear and determine a case; to examine and decide. To preside over a legal case, this rules us out. Yet that is what many have a tendency to want to do.

 

JUDG'ER, n. One who judges or passes sentence. Again only God and those whom he appoints to the bench have this authority. The rest of us only have authority to Judge as it pertains to discernment. Yet this is the one that everyone jumps on fast. We will condemn someone sure enough quick and easy without the least bit of biblical backing; just give us half a chance. This is what Christ spoke of in Matthew 7:3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

 

            I recommend always judging using the following guidelines:

 

1) Judge using scripture alone. This is RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT!!!

2) If scripture is silent so should we be. Let the Elders of the church deal with the                                                                                                                              B I G issues.

3) Pray for discernment from God

4) Never be disrespectful or degrading

5) Always be truthful and merciful

6) Always judge yourself FIRST

 

            Back to our main text I hope you can see the importance of seeking out the “whole counsel of God.” By picking and choosing what we want to hear, preach, study or teach we are in danger of the very sinful acts that we may be trying to avoid.

 

John Piper [iii]    

has an excellent article on the subject: in it he says: I see three unmistakable implications from this verse:

 

“1. Knowing the Whole Counsel of God Knowing the whole counsel of God helps people get to heaven. Look carefully at this and you'll see why I say it like that. You cannot say from verse 27 that a person has to know the whole counsel of God in order to be saved. A person doesn't have to know it! What you can say is that if an elder doesn't teach the whole counsel of God, he may be an accomplice in someone's destruction. And if a person MAY fall short of heaven because of an elder's neglect in teaching the whole counsel of God, then knowing the whole counsel of God helps people get to heaven….

 

Why did God elect his bride the church before the foundation of the world? Why did he create the universe and mankind in his image? Why did he permit the fall into sin? Why did he choose the nation of Israel? Why did he give them the law? Why did he have animal sacrifices and a tabernacle? Why did Jesus come into the world? Why did he preach the kingdom of God? Why did he die and rise again. Why did the Holy Spirit come? How is God fulfilling his purpose and counsel today by calling and regenerating and justifying and sanctifying a church from every people and tribe and tongue and nation? How will he bring this age to a close? How should we then live? What is the unified, whole counsel of God that holds all this together and gives it meaning?

 

That is what we ought to be teaching our children—faithfully, systematically, and with so much life and power that the beauty of it shines for them.

 

The first thing to say from verse 27, then, is that knowing the whole counsel of God helps people get to heaven. Otherwise Paul would not have said that he is innocent of their blood because he taught them this whole counsel.

 

2. Wanting to Learn the Whole Counsel of God The second thing to say from verse 27 is that people should want to learn the whole counsel of God. Biblical Christians hunger to know the whole counsel of God.

 

This text clearly teaches that elders are deficient and may be guilty of someone's destruction to the degree that they do not declare the whole counsel of God. It must follow that the people of the church are also guilty to the degree that they are not interested in the whole counsel of God. If not teaching it is a sin, then not wanting to be taught it is a sin.

 

So the text clearly implies that Christians should long for the whole counsel of God the way a baby longs for milk. Once you understand this verse, disinterest in the whole counsel of God implies disinterest in the means of salvation. Because the text says that Paul will be innocent if someone fails to be saved, because he gave the fullest means of salvation—the whole counsel of God.

 

3. Courageously Teaching the Whole Counsel of God Finally, the last thing to say about verse 27 is that elders should be courageous in teaching the whole counsel of God.

 

This idea of courage is implied in the phrase, "I did not shrink from declaring to you . . . " This means that there are parts of the whole, unified counsel of God that might make an elder want to shrink back from teaching them. They might be hard to understand. Or they might be uncomplimentary to human pride. Or they might demand radical obedience. And so the elders might be tempted to declare only part of God's counsel—the part that is easy and that they know people especially like. But that would be a shrinking back from declaring the whole counsel of God. It would be cowardice not courage.

 

And that brings us back to the point made at the beginning—obedient life—courageous life in this case—is just as important as accurate doctrine. For Paul the two were inseparable: I did not shrink back—that is, I am a certain kind of person. I declared the WHOLE counsel of God—that is, I taught a certain kind of doctrine. That's what we must aim at together: a courageously obedient kind of person, and a unified, whole counsel of God.”

 

            Piper is so right. It is what the pulpits across America today need, men of courage and conviction to ‘to declare to you the whole counsel of God.’ He is also quite correct in his assessment of what is needed in the pews across America. It is men and women not just “Wanting to Learn the Whole Counsel of God” I dare say DEMANDING to learn the whole counsel of God.

 

            My friends we hear so much about being “fed by the spirit” when folks go looking for a church. As if it is some emotional sensation they must experience each time they are at church building. That is hog wash. There may be a spirit moving upon these churches but it might be the Holy Spirit.

 

            The duty of the Church first and fore most is plainly stated in the Bible. It is to PREACH the Gospel. Romans 10:14 (AMP) But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?

 

            As we have just learned those standing in the pulpit must be preaching the whole counsel of God if the plague that has resulted in ignorance, distortion and deficiency is to be reversed. Is your church “declaring to you the whole counsel of God?” If it is not you need to find another church.

 

In HIS Service

 

Mike  

_______________________

[i] —D. A. Carson, “Challenges for the Twenty-first-century Pulpit,” in Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes, ed. Leland Ryken and Todd Wilson [Crossway, 2007], pp. 177-178; bullets and italics added

[ii] Christianity and Homosexuality by Matt Slick http://www.carm.org/

[iii] John Piper The Guilt of Giving Part of God's Counsel, April 16, 1989 ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

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Four out of ten “Christians” (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.

Although a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept that teaching. More than one-fifth (22%) strongly agreed that Jesus Christ sinned when He lived on earth, with an additional 17% agreeing somewhat. Holding the opposing view were 9% who disagreed somewhat and 46% who disagreed strongly. Six percent did not have an opinion on this matter.

Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.  © The Barna Group, Ltd, 2009.

             As the above reference shows we in America have lost our understanding of biblical truths. These truths fall under the doctrine of Sanctification, the biblical term for being set apart by God to God for the purpose of growing on Grace. This is also known as maturing in the faith.

            Today I would like to look at what someone else termed the Seven Pillars of Biblical Truth1. I came across these seven truths and their corresponding verses sometime back on the internet and copied them down as a reminder to me. Unfortunately I forgot to copy the source.

            The first is Pillar is in my opinion the most significant as it states:

[1] I copied this title for an unknown source. I found this on the web some time ago and failed to cite the source not thinking I would use it as a sermon. I have made and attempt to keep the original 7 pillars and their corresponding verses intact and easily identifiable. If anyone recognizes the text and can cite where it comes from please inform me.

 1) Our God is True

So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us - - - - Hebrews 6:18

            Our God has to be true not just some of time but all the time. This is so essential for His word also says:

Isaiah 45:6-7 That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

This denial of this basic biblical truth is a leading cause in the failing of evangelical churches in America today. Listen to what Rev. Jim Flowers is rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Mobile, AL has to say about God:

God does not have a plan. I have always bristled at the phrase "God has a plan." It is often said with all good intentions to calm one's fears, but for me, it has always been unnerving, an insidious, false sense of security. The thought of God as a dogmatic** cosmic puppeteer, a God of prescriptive design, evokes serious questions as to the problem of evil and violence in the world, the disparity between wealth and power and the lack thereof, the dispossession and suffering of innocent millions. If God has a plan … it ain't working.

God doesn't have a plan. Instead, God is like a jazz musician, as it were, improvising creation into being, making it up as God goes, open to imaginative possibility, playing artfully the music of creation anew.

                        Whom do you wish to follow? A God who is in complete control? A God who numbers the very hairs on your head? Or a God who is at a loss for what is happening today in the world and can only react to the problems and do the best he can.

            Let me tell you folks the choice for me is simple I have no desire or intention of bowing down to someone who has no more power or control over things than me. Our God must be in control which means He must be True.

** Dogmatic is a term defined in secular world as bigoted, suborn, unyielding, intolerant or narrow minded. Yet I would assert the most dogmatic man to ever live was Christ Jesus

2)  Our Conversion must be True

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me      - - - John 14:6

            As I Said above very dogmatic don’t you think? No one, no way except through me?

There is an old saying up in Maine “Ya can’t get there from he-ar” Neither can all these so called modern age evangelicals with their watered down version of the Gospel.

            They are what the bible warns us against:

2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

            Take note where the deceivers of the good news will come from. That’s right from within the church. A little knowledge in the hands of the wrong people is a dangerous thing. It will lead to a false Gospel messages being spread.

            My own conversion story covers an 18 year period. In 1980 I went forward to an alter call because a Baptist pastor told me if I came forward and said a special prayer I could avoid hell. Well hell did not sound like any place I wanted to be; so forward I went. Was I converted, saved, No! I had no sense of duty to God. No commitment to change.

That well-intentioned preacher only told part of the story. He played the get out of hell card but failed to mention the Lord of your Life clause. That came 18 years later when I had slumped to the lows of life and God in His mercy and Grace pulled me from the miry muck.

            In Tim Challises’ blog (18 Apr 2015) he quotes John MacArthur who looks at Mark 4 and says:  This is a critical lesson, by the way, to all evangelical manipulators and clever marketers who think they can make people believe. No human being no matter how persuasive, no matter how clever, makes a contribution to regeneration, conversion or justification. All we can do is give the truth. We can’t change hearts and we can’t produce life from dead people. That’s something the Lord alone does. “No man comes to me except the Father draws him.” And once He begins to draw him, then it’s the blade, then it’s the ear, then it’s the full grain. It needs to be drummed into the heads and hearts of all Christians who have been seduced by the contemporary lies, that if we just get better at marketing the gospel, we can be more convincing and we can convince people to be saved. Just tell the truth {and people will be converted}.

            The test for true conversion is simple, Conviction of Sin, if a person sins are they convicted of that sin? Or do they just ignore it and laugh it off like they always have and the rest of the world continues to do? To me that is the easiest way to tell a true conversion.

3) Our Beliefs are based on Truth

For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. (Jesus speaking)   - - - John 17:8 

Christ Himself testifies that Gad the Father gave Him (God the Son) {Same God Same Person ALL Part of the Trinity} the very words to speak to His followers.

The same is factual for all of scripture it is of and by God. Yes it was penned by men but under direct inspiration of God in the form of the Holy Spirit. Read with me:

John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

2 Peter 1:20  Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.

4)  Our Worship is based in Truth

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth -- John 4:24

Listen it may seem obvious to those with even an inkling of common sense but you just cannot get on the same level plane with God, at least physically speaking. Yet that is exactly what many have tried to do with the worshiping of graven images and beasts of burden and such.  Many forget the preceding verse John 4:23 reads:

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

            The hour is now and God is looking for a few Good Folks. But just like the US Marine Corps, our God is a bit picky and is not about to take just anybody. No the bible clearly says HE is seeking those, who will worship Him in spirit and truth.

            No God calls us to worship Him in true spirit, and spiritual truth. They cannot be separated. The rich ruler in Luke 18 or Ananias, with Sapphira in Acts 5 are both certain examples of NOT following this principle.

5)  Our Walk must be in Truth

O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;              - - - - PS 15:1-2

            Ok, I get it this one is a tough one because we all know we are but sinners saved by Grace. Yet even though we are destined to sin again we are not compelled to live a life of deceit. Walking blamelessly does not necessarily mean without sin. I am certain I have a few of you confused so let me try and clear things up.

            First look at 1st Peter:

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation    - - - - 1 Peter 2:12

            Now there is no way to do that apart from the power of God working in you.

2 Peter 2:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence                       

He has given you all things that pertain to Holiness, which does not mean we will always use them at the proper moment. Hopefully even after we have sinned the holiness kicks in and we repent, ask forgiveness of those we have offended, make restitution as needed, etc. None of which we would have done apart from Christ. That is what I meant by our walk may have moments of sin but still be in truth.

6)  Our Conversations must be true

            Considering the fall of mankind was predicated upon a lie Gen 3: 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely dieI for one would think it wise for mankind to abstain from the practice. The bible clearly tells us we should always practice truthfulness in all our speech.

Proverbs 18:20-21 From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Matthew 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another                                                                                 - - - -Eph 4:25

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

            During my research I came across this illustration and I could not resist using it, I hope you get it:

In the early 1900s George Riddell acquired the sensational London newspaper The News of the World. Meeting British journalist Frederick Greenwood one day, Riddell mentioned that he owned a newspaper, told Greenwood its name, and offered to send him a copy. The next time they met, Riddell asked Greenwood what he thought of The News.

"I looked at it and then I put it in the wastepaper basket," said Greenwood, "and then I thought, 'If I leave it there the cook may read it,' so I burned it." Today in the Word, November 3, 1993.

            Not only does God require of us that our tongue speak no evil but our pen must not write any either.  Ask yourself does what I am about to write Glorify God? If not, it DOES NOT belong on paper.

            But the Bible not only warns against false speaking it warns against those who would suppress truthful speech. This should be very familiar to anyone who has seen the shift in the geo social political climate in America the last 10-20 years.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness   - - - - - Romans 1:18

7)  Our Proclamations must be true

Henry Augustus Rowland, professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University, was once called as an expert witness at a trial. During cross-examination a lawyer demanded, "What are your qualifications as an expert witness in this case?"

The normally modest and retiring professor replied quietly, "I am the greatest living expert on the subject under discussion." Later a friend well acquainted with Rowland's disposition expressed surprise at the professor's uncharacteristic answer. Rowland answered, "Well, what did you expect me to do? I was under oath." Today in the Word, August 5, 1993.

What too many may seem like arrogant boasting was in fact biblical. Professor Rowland was at the time considered by most the ultimate expert in the field of physics. His answer while brash was truthful. We too must be ready at all times to give an answer in nearly the same manner.

            Let me explain. A somewhat more acceptable answer from the Professor might have been ‘I am considered by my peers and colleagues the greatest living expert on the subject under discussion’. This way the truth is presented without you sounding boastful.

            But the real message in this pillar is not to be humble. It is that all of us, each and every Born Again, Converted, Sanctified believer has a duty to share the Gospel and to do so in a truthful way.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  - - - - 2 Tim 2:15

Less you think you are exempt from this because you are not a preacher, think again. The great commission puts you in the club folks.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

            To whom was Jesus speaking? Many think to the Apostles alone, but this is incorrect. He was in fact speaking to His disciples and if you are a follower of Christ you too are a disciple and this commission is for you.

            Now the Bible is full of cautions and warnings and this is no different. For those of you would be teachers, preachers and the like listen up:

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  - - - Romans 2:6-8

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.    - - - - Hebrews 13:17

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.    - - -  James 3:1

            It is my prayer that you will be able to use these seven pillars as a guide to help you in your Spiritual growth with Christ. The key to that growth is and always will be biblical truths.

            My closing illustration comes from Our Daily Bread:

The story is told of a young girl who accepted Christ as her Savior and applied for membership in a local church. "Were you a sinner before you received the Lord Jesus into your Life?" inquired an old deacon. "Yes, sir," she replied. "Well, are you still a sinner?" "To tell you the truth, I feel I'm a greater sinner than ever." "Then what real change have you experienced?" "I don't quite know how to explain it," she said, "except I used to be a sinner running after sin, but now that I am saved. I'm a sinner running from sin!" she was received into the fellowship of the church, and she proved by her consistent life that she was truly converted.

            I would encourage you today to make that commitment to God. If the Holy Spirit has pricked your heart with the guilt of your sins, confess them now making Christ Lord of your Life.

In HIS Service

Mike

.

First preached at Bayside Baptist Church, Lakeshore MS, 19 April 2015

Copied from http://www.challies.com/ ; TIM CHALLIES

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Aileen and a father to three young children. I worship and serve as a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, and am a co-founder of Cruciform Press.

 

If you have read this blog for any length of time, and especially the daily A La Carte posts, you know that I’ve got a thing for info graphics. What appeals to me about them is their ability to display information visually. Just as there are many words that can be used to describe any one fact, there are also many ways to display facts.

Today I’ve got an info graphic for you, and one that I is going to kick off a series called “Visual Theology”—an attempt to display theology using a combination of words and pictures.  I have asked one designer to take a shot at displaying the ordo salutis, which is to say, the order of salvation, which refers to the sequence of conceptual steps involved in the salvation of the Christian. I will let the graphic explain it from here.

OrdoSalutis_Infographic_HIGH

Please note this is a PDF file and takes a few moments to load.

FSM/FSMWO

Special Prayer Requests

09 Feb 2014

 

PRAYER

Inmate Requests

Pray for Tony D. as he has lost his appeal. Pray God will strengthen him.

Shannon N. asks prayer that he makes parole and reconnection with his kids

Ronnie M. asks for prayer for his mom’s health, passing his GED, he gets released soon and for better treatment of inmates

Clayton J. asks prayer for his family to be saved, that he gets probation time, reconciliation with his son, clearer understanding of God’s word and the desire to do God’s will in all things.

Ronnie C. asks prayers for his mom Kathy and sister Vickie.

 Our Internet Friends

Sandra S. wrote -  Hi, Keep me in your prayers, please... Greetings from Rio de Janeiro. Brazil. All the best!

Jason E. , Need your prayers for Latricia Ray been sick for couple weeks coughing real bad hardly able to breath. Please also pray for me I am traveling out of town on Monday to an appointment that will determine my income for the next while.

Judith T, wrote; Desperately looking for prayer for myself and my 16yr old daughter for healing and deliverance. Things are really rough. Thank u for praying..

 Lakeshore Baptist Church

Pray for the ongoing construction of the new church. God will send us the right volunteers to complete the project.  Please keep all them in prayer for safety and efficiency. Pray for finances to complete the project.

Pray for Ms. B. who runs our Mercy House distribution center, she had a heart attack and 2 stints put in

Mr. Gary who is back in the hospital

Mr. James who has taken a down turn

Ms. Sheryl who is recovering from hip replacement

Gabriel who is having problems after knee surgery

Trina’s uncle who has many health issues

Robert’s friend who has cancer

Angela still having problems a year after neck surgery

Mr. Gene’s granddaughter pregnant with twins

Pastor Don and the many others suffering from sinus attacks this season

Emily as she takes her master’s exam Thursday

Continued Prayers for Naida and I in our work in Lakeshore.

Pray we can reach folks in the community, that we will be an asset to Pastor Don and the church here.

Pray for Naida’s family, especially her sons she left in MA.

Continued healing prayers for:

Rich B. and his continuing health isses

Dan M. recovery from Quad Bi-pass

Bob and Vickie B. Multiple Scoliosis

Miss B who has been having heart issues

Shelia W. diabetes related issues

Mr. Sam as he continues to fight cancer

Mr. Dan continued recovery from a stroke

Mr. David Travis who has serious health issues

Mike’s mom (local family) who is battling cancer

Employment for;

Robert O., Aimee, and others

Fellow Ministries

Wells of Hope Academy, Uganda:  

 Please pray God will continue His divine providence over this ministry and provide the funds needed to finish the construction projects and run the school.

 You can contribute or follow on facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/139936426116070/ or Website: www.wellsofhope.org Telephone; 256772407716

 Prison Fellowship

Prison Fellowship invites you to join us in praying for the work being done in prisons throughout the country, and for the lives being touched by this ministry. This week, please join us in praying for an Angel Tree child named Kassidy. She was very close to her dad until last year, when he was overtaken by drug addiction. His preliminary hearing was last week, and because she lives in a small town, she is being bullied in school. She is also suffering from depression. Please pray for the salvation of both Kassidy and her father.

Prison Fellowship's Prayer Team offers volunteers the opportunity to take the needs of prisoners before God during regularly scheduled intervals. To learn more about the prayer team, and how you can participate, click here.

 International Network of Prison Ministries (INPM)

 Please prayer for the newest Prison Ministries members:

Arizona Second Chance New Days Prison Ministry
Trisagion Orthodox Christian Assembly Edwin
Ignacio Sanchez Lemonada Prison Ministry
Victory Assembly Prison Ministry Dismas Ministry
Dallas Children Photography Not Forsaken Missions
Universal Life Church of Cadott Thumb Church
Chain Breakers Freedom Tabernacle Gospel Ministry of Smithfield
Freedom House Discipleship The Way Out Rehabilitation Cneter
Isaiah 61 Ministries Community Grandparents of America
Alpha Care Hope Prison Ministry

Serge Taran, Founder **International Network of Prison Ministries; http://prisonminist ry.net/support. htm

 True Freedom Outreach New Zealand; PRISON WORK IN EGYPT

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Warm New Year greetings to all of you, and a special thank you to those who gave extra for Christmas.  I have been awaiting news of Christmas in Kanater and an updated list of KWP prisoners, before penning this newsletter.   From 8-12 January I attended the New Wine conference held in Warkworth, and was encouraged by the opening message given by Andrea Wigglesworth, that 2014 will indeed be a year of the Lord’s favour for New Zealand.  Two hundred years ago the gospel was first preached in New Zealand on 25th December, 1814, when a Maori chief, Ruatara, invited Samuel Marsden to speak in the Bay of Islands.  An initiative to reach every home in NZ this year with the good news of God’s grace is under way.  May 2014 be a year of God’s favour in your lands too, and in Egypt, and for the brothers and sisters in Kanater.  May we all see many receive the good news, be set free, and be enabled by the Holy Spirit to  minister God’s love and grace to others in need.

Miss Jeanette Grimmer, 154 State Highway 1,  RD 1, Warkworth 0981, New Zealand.

Jeanette’s e-mail is:  jgrimmerster@gmail.com

You can read the whole newsletter from Ms. Jeanette here. 24464 TFONZ 27th January, 2014 Newsletter (1)

Missionaries

Tabăra Larga (Camp Larga) "Copii pentru Hristos" Moldova

 Pray with us for:

Health, power and being filled with the work for which He has called us

The Teachers Home Bible Clubs, for many more young people to answer God’s call to teach children

That the children in these clubs and Sunday school will follow God

Repairs to the Camp’s stage and road

 Our Friends from ARBCA

Please pray for ARBCA  national pastor Obed Rupertus.  Obed injured his hand with a circular saw.  Here is a note from his daughter:  “Please keep my daddy, Obed Rupertus, in your prayers! We thank the Lord that it didn't cut any bones, tendons or nerves but he is about to lose the piece of skin (flesh and muscle) base-back of his thumb due to infection He can't take pain killers cause of his thrombosis earlier last year so he's in a lot of pain. Pray for healing and strength, as he has to deal with this pain. Thank you so much! God is good.”

From Emmanuel Baptist Church in Jesup, Georgia

 We are anticipating Earl Blackburn to be at EBC on February 15-16 and ask that you pray for the ministry of the Word during his visit.  For more than two years we have published a monthly article in the local newspaper.  Several folks from around the county have commented about the various articles.  Please pray that the Lord will use this outreach to advance His kingdom.

As a Reformed church in a small community we face various challenges.  One is the distance people travel to attend worship and various church functions.  Although there are several ARBCA churches in Georgia, none are close to Jesup.  Moreover, although there are many churches in Wayne and surrounding counties, none are reformed or even nearly reformed.  Currently folks are attending EBC from six different counties in addition to Wayne where EBC is located.  One challenge we face is how to assimilate and involve these people in the life of the church.  Please pray that through Christian prudence we can in wisdom address this situation and see EBC grow in number, influence and ministry.

From Grace Baptist Church in Van, Texas

Prayer requests:  1.  That we would seek to glorify God in all our duties, both personal and corporate    2.  That God would continue to give us a self-less spirit of seeking to serve one another and others    3.  That we might find new means of carrying the gospel to people in Van    4.   That we might find the right property on which to build, (or one with an existing building) that we might call our home for our meetings.   5.  That we all might be growing up into the image of Christ

 

 

Recently I began holding regular Sunday evening services at the local county jail. A true blessing of God and one that hold great responsibility. The following is a copy of the sermon I preached over the first two Sunday evenings.

The most recognized verse in the New Testament is probably John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For many years I understood that Sin was a bad thing and if I just believed Christ died for my sins all would be ok. Much like some of today’s water downed versions God’s Holy Word This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life (The Message) my understanding of man’s sin was greatly lacking.

It was not until I read the follow on verses to John 3:16 (17-21) that I understood how low, how wicked how disgusting my sin and yours truly was.

 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Let us take some time now and look at these verses individually.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

So why did God’s Son come? Let’s look at the two key words in this verse.

 Condemn or Krino (kree-no)

*to pronounce judgment, to subject to censure

*pass judgment on the deeds and words of others

*to preside over with the power of giving judicial decisions, because it was the prerogative of kings and rulers to pass judgment

Saved or Sozo (Sode-zo)

*to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue

*to save in the technical biblical sense

*to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

So why did Jesus come; well we just read that it was not to convict or doom folks He came to save them and more.

I have listed six reasons I believe are most important to Christ’s coming. Let us explore them together:

1. He came because God promised He would. We read of that promised ‘seed’ who would destroy the effects of sin (Gen 3:15 )

There we find two “seeds”, or descendants, the seed of The Serpent and the seed of The Woman. There is to be enmity between these two classes, enmity meaning strife, contention, hostility and war. It is clear then that they represent opposites in conflict. And like all warring parties they hate each other.

Let me ask you a question, would you believe in a god who breaks his word? Would you believe and trust in a God who could not fulfill His promises? If one of the first promises we read about in the Bible is a lie or broken what good is the rest of the book? But though many, many have tried no one came prove a single blatant lie of the Bible.

 2. He came to fulfill the Law Matthew 5:17 - “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but fulfill.”

Anyone ever heard someone say I’m a New Testament Christian. Warning bells should go off at that statement. It maybe some innocent comment; a naïve way of saying I am washed in the Blood or it maybe someone professing this neo orthodox idea that the Old Testament is no longer applicable in any way and should either be discounted or left to one’s own interpretation.

Those people are WRONG! They need to really the book, read 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Now do not leave here saying Brother Mike said all the OT laws are still valid. If you go and ask the CO’s for a calf to slaughter you are likely to get a checkup from the neck up instead.

 3. He came to call Sinners to repentance Matt 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

John MacArthur said about this: Repentance is no more a meritorious work than its counterpart, faith. Think about that. Just like we have no part in saving faith neither do we in repentance. It is the work of God alone.

It is an inward response. Genuine repentance pleads with the Lord to forgive and deliver from the burden of sin and the fear of judgment and hell. It is the attitude of the publican who, fearful of even looking toward heaven, smote his breast and cried, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" (Luke 18:13). Repentance is not merely behavior reform. But because true repentance involves a change of heart and purpose, it inevitably results in a change of behavior.

A side note: I am often asked can we tell if someone is truly saved. My answer in most cases is Yes; God’s word is full of examples of the outward expression of the inward man we can look for, but that is a different sermon.

 4. He came to Fight; Matthew 10:34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

God is love of that there can be no question. But that same God is no whamsy pansy wuss; that many would have you believe. Read the accounts of God judgments upon Israel and her enemies in the OT, or of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 and I am sure there are more than a few vendors from the temple of Israel that wish He was not so tough. He is a mighty God. He is more than capable of taking on all comers.

 5. He came as a Saviour; Matthew 18:11 - “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

We will study this in depth in the following weeks, needless to say as the verse says He came to save.

 6. He came to serve Matthew 20:27-28 - “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The first characteristic needed to being a good servant is humility; and the first characteristic of a good Christian is being willing to serve (1 Samuel 3:4)

Phil 2:7-9 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Think about that for a moment the Son of God, the second person of the trinity, all knowing, powerful and everywhere humbled himself so much that He took on the flesh of man. He left the throne on high to come to this cursed planet to become a servant for you and me. That folks should make you stand in reverence and wonder. Stand in wonder trying to figure out why He would come to serve a wretch like you and me. Stand in reverence when we realize there is no good reason apart from His love. What would you do for a loved one? How low would you humble yourself?

 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Let’s look at this word condemned again for a moment. It is a judicial term, a legal term that we still use today. Inmates on death row are condemned to die. So true is the fate of sinners Rom 6:23a For the wages of sin is death;

But upon their believing, the process is comes to a standstill, judgment is stopped, and he is not condemned. This means more than a stay; he is not condemned, that is, he is acquitted and his record wiped clean.

Unlike someone who through modern DNA evidence is found innocent and his record cleared we the accused sinner, are not innocent, we cannot plead not guilty to the indictment. We are guilty and our sins are our own fault. We have no one to blame but ourselves, we have what I call SOS Disease, that is Stuck on Stupid Disease.

But we can plead a noli prosequi or do not prosecute, upon the indictment, as Paul states, Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Like the world all born again believers will be Judged (2 Cor 5:10) but unlike the world we will not be condemned; 1 Cor 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Ok, here is where it gets scary. How many times have I heard from unbelievers that they think Christianity is no good because how can a “loving God” punish all mankind for Adam and Eve’s screw up?

Let look at what Christ says next:

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Do you see it? Do you see what the mighty Savior says? Who condemns mankind, God? No man himself does, men loved darkness rather than light.

There is no one in this room, no one anywhere in the world that would not have done the exact same thing as Adam and Eve. Some of us type A personalities would have led a charge to that tree without the serpent’s help.

Condemnation = Krisis - Kree-sis This is the sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment That light (Christ/Salvation/Regeneration) has come

BUT!!! Men love darkness: Darkness = Skot-os of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality

Deeds = Ergon – Er-gone business, employment, that which any one is occupied that which one undertakes to do, an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasized in opp. to that which is less than work the very nature of and desire of man (his work habits) are evil.

AMPLIFIED 19 The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.

I would like to make 4 points about this verse.

 1. Our Rebellion against God is unwavering:

Gen 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me

Rom 10 -12 As it is written , There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth , there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way , they are together become unprofitable ; there is none that doeth good, no, not one

 2. In this state of rebellion all man’s acts are sin

Mark 7:20-23 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Romans 14:23 says, "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." This is a radical indictment of all natural "virtue" that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God's grace.

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.

 3. Because of Sin man cannot see the light (God)

Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Rom 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be . 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

2 Cor 4:4-6 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 4. Sin deserves Eternal Punishment

Sin all sin not matter how “big” or “small is evil and deserves eternal punishment. I love the comment Geoffrey Thomas, pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church in Wales for over forty years; he called the depravity of our sin “maggot dung”. That my friends is pretty low.

Then many of us have heard someone say “but how can your God allow bad things to happen to good people?” Ask them who standard of “good people” they are referring to the worlds or God’s?

Job 4: 8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death

Rom 6:23a For the wages of sin is death;

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

Have you ever known someone like this? Maybe if more of us looked more closely in the mirror we would see the truth. Nah!

We love the dark side; we crave the excitement the adrenalin rush of living on the edge. We hate the thought of being caught convicted or exposed.

Reprove here means:

to convict, generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted

by conviction to bring to the light, to expose to find fault with,

to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove

to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation

Why does man not go toward the light on his own accord? Because his lies, tricks, his evil intent would be exposed to God and the world. Little does he understand God already knows and sees all his faults. And truth be told most of the world does too!

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Here Doeth – Poieo= poy-eh-o; means to act rightly, do well; to carry out, to execute and is this case “truth”.

What truth? Why the truth that is found and taught in the Holy Bible. The truth of God with His purpose and plan of redemption through Christ. The truth that specifies the duties of man, opposes the superstitions of the Gentiles, the inventions (made up laws) of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among supposed Christians.

An example of the later was an article in written by a “priest” in Mobile, AL recently. In it he compared God to a Jazz impressionist just kinda going with the flow. He claims God has no plan instead He (God) has a Nike attitude. You know He God Just Does It, whatever strikes His fancy at that moment. How corrupt a thought, how false a claim how lost a man is he. God has a plan, He has had said plan since before the foundations of the world. It is clearly defined and stated in the Bible yet so many today make up their own God and call it Christianity.

The last key word here is Manifest = Paneroo – fan-er-o-o meaning expose to view, make manifest, to show one's self, appear to become known, to be plainly recognized, thoroughly understood who and what one is.

In stark opposition to the man in Verse 20 the man here in Verse 21 knows he will be exposed he wants to be exposed. Why, but for the Glory of God. The transformed life he leads is on display for all so that they may understand but for the grace of God go I.

Let Us Pray.

On occasion while discussing biblical things I hear folks say things like I do not understand, how can they not understand. I try hard to remind them they are speaking of the unregenerate and until such time as God chooses to open their eyes  2 Corinthians 4:1-4:

 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Then there are times like this when someone (thanks Stephen) I know, shares a story that leaves me dumbfounded. For this story deals not with an ordinary man but one who claims to proclaim the Glory of God. The problem is what book has he been reading? I quote:

God doesn't have a plan. Instead, God is like a jazz musician, as it were, improvising creation into being, making it up as God goes, open to imaginative possibility, playing artfully the music of creation anew. Yet it’s kept to a theme, a theme grounded in beauty and mystery, but a theme, a melodious score nonetheless present ever since the dawn of time, even before. It’s the one song of goodness and love and right order -- a theme whose imaginatively improvised notes are, as Flaubert put it, Just. Fitting. Right.

If you dare the full story can be found here:  From the Pulpit: Does God have a plan?

My response is dynamically opposed to your conclusion. OF COURSE GOD HAS A PLAN! The basis of my faith is and must be that God is in full control. He is sovereign in all things in other words He is in charge. Rev. Flowers would have him wandering about without purpose or cause (a Jazz musician). Is that the God you want? One who is little more (if at all) greater than man? Man who loves darkness (John 3:19) because his deeds are evil? The bible declares God's plan for Himself and man.

During my 20 years of service in the Army one learns a critical lesson we called it the 5 P's, prior planning prevents poor performance, failure to apply this acronym never failed to cause many a chaotic moment. Yet Rev Flowers conclusions would have us believe that God has no plan, no concept of planning, is incapable of preventing (sovereign) events from taking place. In direct opposition to the bible, that says it is only through God's Grace and Mercy that He holds back the true chaos this world is capable of.

My friend responded to Rev Flowers in this manner {mine}:

Rev. Jim Flowers: "God doesn't have a plan."

God:
Ephesians 1:11. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined {pre-planned} according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Romans 8:28. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men

Acts 4:26-28. 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed'-- 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Job 37:5-13 God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. 6 For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. 7 He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it. 8 Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens. 9 From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. 10 By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. 11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. 12 They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. 13 Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.

The entire Bible is a revelation of God's plan.

Rev. Jim Flowers: "salvation is about your neighbor"

God:
Luke 13:5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:36. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Rev. Flowers has created his own god. One that does not and cannot save.

No my friends I want no part of a god that is not in control. Whose improvising may or may not be successful. No the God I bow down before, the God I and all others (including Rev Flowers) will stand before in judgement, is a God worthy of Glory, Honor and Praise. For He had a plan a glorious plan to redeem an unworthy sinners such as I from before the beginning of time. In that we can loudly proclaim:

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ