All posts by John

Christian saved by grace through faith.

Listen only to Sound Doctrine!

Something has really been bothering me recently and I want to get it off of my chest.  Excuse while I enter a mild rant about some doctrinal teachings that are going on in today’s church by some well known pastors.  I may have posted some things about perseverance, encouragement, trial by fire, etc., because I know these are issues that I deal with and I feel that everyone needs a positive message from time to time to uplift them.  But what I want to impress upon you is that while the central theme of the Bible is love, we can’t dismiss the fact that it also teaches a much firmer message of death and separation from God if we do not repent from our sins and in turn trust Christ as our Savior. 

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  In accordance with this, Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Combine those two messages and it tells us that we are ALL worthy of death because of our sin.  This is reality.  This isn’t a feel good kumbaya message.  It’s death and separation for all eternity.   The only message of hope, is through the gift of God, in Jesus Christ.  In Psalm 130:5 David says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” There’s not some hidden message, or hidden meaning.  Jesus’ death on the cross is our hope; our hope is in His resurrection and coming again.  The Apostle Paul states, “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 No seed of “hope” needs planting by someone else.  There is no hope without Jesus.  If you want to know the “purpose” for your life, this is it: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

I offer this measuring stick of truth as a test to those who might not be preaching sound doctrine of the Bible.  Pay close attention to the sermons you hear, whether they are at your home church, on the internet, or on TV.  If you do not hear the name of Jesus being preached I Corinthians 1:23; if you don’t hear the way to salvation is through repentance 2 Peter 3:9 and belief in the bloodshed of Christ on the cross Romans 5:8-9 then that is your queue to remove yourself from that false teacher.

 

2 Timothy 4:2-5 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Encouragement in time of need

There’s no doubt these are becoming increasingly difficult times.  Economic uncertainty, jobs are lost, retirements disappearing, the list goes on.  But like I mentioned yesterday these are NOT times of fear.  I want to follow up on that thought with a verse from Psalm 11:3-4

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?  The LORD is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne.  He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them.”

What this verse says is that when all around us is falling apart, the “righteous” should look to the Lord.  We will see Him on His heavenly throne watching all that is happening.  He sees our struggles and He is unaltered.  There is no panic by God.  Picture this: Peter sees Jesus walking on water and calls out to Him, “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus called to him; Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking towards Jesus.  But as the winds picked up, Peter lost faith and began to sink.  He cried out “Lord, save me!” “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'” Matthew 14:28-31 Unwavering, unaltered, Jesus lifted up Peter.  He will do the same for us.

Look to the Lord in your time of need.  “In the LORD I take refuge.  How then can you say to me: Flee like a bird to your Mountain.” Psalm 11:1

Fear Not!

Has anyone been watching the news recently?  Seen the headlines?  Everything seems to be fear driven, filled with words like crisis, turmoil, recession, collapse.  Everything is fear, fear, fear!  It’s being forced on us like it’s how we are supposed to feel.  As if we have no other choice but to fear.  In fact, as Christians, fear is the exact opposite emotion we should feel.  In Ken Blanchard’s book, Lead Like Jesus, “Fear is a complete anti-God state of mind.  It is a good thing turned bad.”  Fear is all around us, especially these days, and if not dismissed, it will devour us.  Need a quick example, look no further than our fear-driven stock market that’s full of speculation and uncertainty.  Take a look at the definition of fear from Merriam-Webster: 1) an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger 2) anxious concern 3) profound reverence and awe especially towards God.  Interesting how the first 2 definitions are anti-God, while the third is of God.  Sounds like two diametrically opposed definitions, yet they both come from the same word. 

In accordance with fear, we need to look at how fear is spread.  When someone promotes something undesirable, the dictionary defines them as a “monger.”  Combining this idea with our thoughts on fear and we get “fear-monger” defined as one who gets great joy and excitement by making others fear him.  Who’s “him?” Well since fear is the anti-God, we can surmise that this emotion is from Satan.  It’s the exact opposite of hope and trust in God.  Fear has often been referred to as the devil’s faith.  Pretty powerful!  An unknown author provides the following acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real.  I think that says it all right there.  If this is true, why then do we allow it to control us?  Why do we even tolerate the thought of fear in our media obsessed world?  The answer is quite simple… when fear motivates us, it creates within us a humanistic worldview and forces us to remove our trust in God.  This is what the world is all about.   I chose to classify fear as humanism because when we get trapped in the snares of fear we begin to turn to ourselves and think “what am I going to do,” “how am I going to solve this,” or we take the proverbial ostrich approach and bury our head in the sand, hoping that the fearful situation will soon pass.  As Ken Blanchard states, “Being agitated by fear into fight-or-flight thinking and behavior is life threatening in the most personal and profound way.”

In his first inaugural address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  While this has become a very famous quote and strangely enough was given during the bank panic of 1933, this quote is not entirely true.  The only thing we have to fear is the Lord God Almighty.  The bible tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7 English author William Gurnall poses this thought, “We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.”  What does that say about our society and how far we’ve fallen?  What does it say about us when panic and fear rule our lives?  We’ve allowed man to create fear in our lives because of our inadequate fear of God.  The goal of fear is to create instability comparable to building your house on the sand.  We know what happens when our house is built on sand… it collapses.  Only when our foundation is built on the rock are we able to stand.  Matthew 7:24-27  When we fear God, there’s no room for fear of anything else.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 During the midst of our current storm and the ones to come, do not be fearful, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me [Jesus].” John 14:1 As Jesus teaches us, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Luke 12:4-5

Psalm 112:1-10 “Praise the Lord.  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.  His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.  Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.  Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.  Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.  Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.  He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.  He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.  The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.”