"Consider thy ways . . ."-Hag. 1:7
Vol. 3 No. 2
Saturday, May 10, 1997
IN THIS ISSUE:
Set Your Affections On Things Above
A Lying Tongue
Working With God ... or Against Him?
Who are we?
Set Your Affections On Things Above
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Col 3:1-4
The devil is very subtle and one of his best devices is not to get us to do evil, but simply to deceive us. He is at his best when it comes to deception, he is the father of lies, according to the Lord himself, he is the master deceiver. If he can simply make us think we are something we are not or that we are right with God when we aren't, then he has accomplished what he wants. His desire is to tear down God's name and Kingdom and raise up his own.
Now almost everyone thinks in their own mind that they are not deceived about themselves or their relationship and walk with God. They may admit faults and even sins, but they find it very hard to accept the possibility that they have been deceived about their Christianity. But when we read the Word of God and realize the description there of the Christian life, and the demands that God puts forth, and then begin to compare our lives, our priorities, and affections, we must admit that most of us are living in deception. The only way out of deception is light. Deception is darkness; it is confusion. You're not certain, you are confused on matters that is deception. When you have light, you see things clearly. There are no shadows, there is no doubt or confusion. You can see in the light; it is darkness that you can't see in. The child of God is to walk in the light; we are the children of light.
Colossians 3:1 starts out with "IF ye then be risen." That is a conditional statement. IF you are risen; IF you have been born into the family of God, then the following applies to you. There is a great difference between the lost and the saved. Before you were saved you didn't care for the Word of God or the things of God. They were foreign to you and didn't affect your life because you were dead to spiritual things. But after you were born into God's family the Bible came alive to you and you came alive to the Bible. It speaks to you now and you respond to it now. You became a spiritual being and you now develop a spiritual life and you communicate with a spiritual being, which is God. After all, God can only be worshipped in spirit and in truth. You begin a spiritual battle that cannot be fought with carnal weapons. You cannot fight this battle with a fist or a knife or a gun. A .357 Magnum won't shoot down a devil, so throw your guns aside, you can't fight this battle with those weapons. So if you are going to accomplish what the following verses say there MUST be a resurrection; there MUST be a real change from one realm to the other. There MUST be a transition from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
So then, IF there has been a resurrection in your life, IF there has been a renewing of your mind, IF you are a new creature in Christ Jesus, and you aren't the same person as you were before, you have some responsibilities to take care of. The old man is to die. You are not to help him, you are not to feed him, you are to make NO PROVISION for the flesh whatsoever. Notice what verse 4 says, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." IF you are risen with Christ, then there is no more YOU. You are DEAD, and your life is hid with Christ in God. It is not YOU, and YOUR personal interests, and YOUR desires that you are supposed to pursue. All these things are supposed to be DEAD, INACTIVE, and NOT CONTROLLING YOUR LIFE IF you have been risen with Christ. You are to be UNRESPONSIVE TO SELFISH INTERESTS. All the selfish motives, and selfish desires, everything that is YOU, and everything that YOU would like to have, that YOU would like to do, that YOU would like to accomplish all that is to be PUT TO DEATH. Your life is HID WITH CHRIST, and YE ARE DEAD. The physical man is not to have preeminence in your life now, it is to be the SPIRITUAL man.
The problem we all have is that we try to live in both realms at the same time and God says we cannot do that. We can't serve God AND mammon, or God AND ourselves. We are not our own, but we have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our body and our spirit, which are the Lord's. (1Cor. 6:20) We gave our life to Christ when we got saved that used to be the terminology we used, and it is correct, by the way. You cannot get saved and keep your life, your desires, your goals, your motives Jesus said so. Some might say, "well, I know some people who are saved who live that way." Not if they have been risen with Christ, they don't; they can't according to the Bible. IF we have been risen with Christ, we have become a spiritual being and we are to change our affections, our desires, and our motives for living and doing what we do. IF we have been risen with Christ, we are seek those things which are above, and to set our affection on things above, NOT on things on the earth. IF you are a spiritual being now, your main interest is not the things on the earth. The things that guide your life and influence your decisions are not things on the earth, or your selfish desires and motives.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Mat 6:31-32)
The "Gentiles" here represent the lost people of the world. We are told that THEY seek after all these things. That is where their interests are, that is the way they live, and that is what their minds are occupied with. That is what they spend their energy and lives pursuing. Worldliness is not simply going after pornography, drunkeness, immorality, etc. The most dangerous kind of worldliness is not those things, but these same things that the Gentiles seek after houses, clothes, and everyday living. He doesn't mention bathhouses here, or houses of ill repute, but just the everyday concerns of living and keeping up in the world that you spend more time thinking on, more energy working toward, and have more interest in than the things of God. These things should not control you or influence your decisions or your walk with God. They should not be in the forefront of your thinking or your interests.
The word "affection" in Colossians 3:2 means your interests. It means your mindset; the things which you place your greatest desires on; your goals, your greatest passion set them on things above, NOT on things on the earth. Yet we look around at each other and find that we are all caught up in buying and acquiring material possessions. Most people who claim to be Christians live almost exactly the same as the "Gentiles" in this respect. They live from "new thing" to "new thing." If you compared the time you spend seeking after things on the earth to the time you spend seeking after spiritual things, how would you rate? How much time have you spent in the last week thinking on spiritual things compared to the time you have spent thinking on things on the earth? "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." That is, out of the overflowing abundance, whatever it is full of, that is what will come out of the mouth. Now let me ask you, what do most professing Christians want to talk about most, things above, or things of this earth? How many Christians have pearls to cast before you now? All they have is junk of this world: "Look what I've got," "Look what I've done," "Look what I've bought," or "Look where I'm at now."
"Train up a child in the way he should go " What do most Christians train their children to set their affection on, things above, or things on the earth? Do they not emphasize education and career, and all the things necessary in order to acquire and achieve in THIS world? We point them in that direction and give them a big shove and then wonder why they have so little interest in the things of God. We teach our girls to look nice and act right, but not to be spiritual. We teach the boys to work hard and gain a position in this world, but we don't teach them to be spiritual. We teach our children to take thought on what they eat, what they wear, and wonder why they don't set their affection on things above.
The fact is, you really don't have to give much thought to eating, because you WILL eat. You won't be hungry long and you WILL eat. You don't have to give much thought to what you will wear. IF you are risen with Christ the Holy Ghost within you won't let you put on things that are not right, and He certainly won't let you go without clothes.
Why are Christians defeated and empty of joy and excitement about the things of God? They base their entire lives and invest all their energy and strength on things that God says are going to rot and rust and decay, and neglect the things that God said they should set their affection on. What do you give your best effort to, things above, or things on the earth? Do you get up a spiritual person in the morning or do you resurrect the old physical man every morning? Is the main interest of your heart God, who gave himself for you, or is it your own selfish desires and interests? Surely it is a deceived person who lives for self and thinks himself a Christian on his way to an eternity filled with things that he cares no more for now than the lost people do.
A Lying Tongue
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: (Eph 4:25)
This subject seems to come up so much these days, and there seem to be so many who are deceived in this area that we feel it needs to be dealt with.
Many times people have said to me that they think it is all right to lie in order to further God's work. If it is necessary, or more convenient, then surely God will overlook it, or He will agree that a lie is the best way to make things go forward. They have studied it out and found their examples in the Bible to justify their viewpoint in this matter. Rahab the harlot is the Christian liar's heroine. She lied to save the spies and that is proof that God approves of lying under certain conditions. They also invent hypothetical situations in which lying would be the only way to save the life of your family or yourself, and then arrogantly ask, "Now, what would YOU do in this situation?" Anyone can see that is simply situational ethics, and not Bible Christianity.
The major flaw in all the logic to justify lying in certain situations is very easy to point out. It is not based on what the Bible says, but rather on the examples of other human beings. We should never forget that the men in the Bible were only men, and the fact that they did something doesn't necessarily mean that God approves, or that it is not sinful. We simply shouldn't try to justify our actions by the actions of others. The Word of God is our judge now and will be when we stand before God. Also, anything that leads us downward, away from holiness, and not upward toward a cleaner and more holy walk with the Lord cannot be the HOLY Spirit leading and teaching us. The Holy Ghost will NEVER tell a man to lie. Lying is SIN, no matter what the conditions are under which it takes place, and God HATES a lying tongue.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)
The DEVIL is the father of a lie. When your lips utter a lie, you are being used as an instrument of Satan, according to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is NEVER the author of a lie. Yet I have had people claim to be Spirit-filled Christians and tell me that they just can't help lying at times that it is just necessary sometimes. This cannot be true. God does not have to resort to the devil for help to do his work and accomplish his purposes. The best thing that could be said about someone who feels it necessary to lie is that they have very little faith in God. I think of the martyrs who have been burned, whipped, and stoned to death because they wouldn't deny their faith in Christ. Why didn't they just throw out a little lie? Surely God would understand, after all, it would have been to save their life so they could go on serving God! But the thing was they had faith in God and had committed the keeping of their souls to Him. They esteemed their faith in God and their testimony for Him of much more value than their own earthly lives. There are many now who profess to have that same faith, but would not hesitate to lie in order to save their lives. In so doing they would deny the Lord they claim to serve because the DEVIL is the father of a lie. They would trust the DEVIL to deliver them, so they could serve God longer! What a foolish bunch of blasphemy!
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: (1 Pet 3:10)
God sees all deceit as lying, not just the most blatant outright lies. If you deliberately deceive someone with words designed to make them believe something not in conformity with the truth, you have lied to them. This form of lying is called "guile" in the Bible. We are told that Jesus had no guile in his mouth. The words He spoke were pure and meant to direct men to the truth, and in no way were they designed to mislead or deceive anyone. Yet many who profess to know God continually speak with guile in their mouth. They skirt the edges of the truth and don't outright lie with their tongue, but they manipulate their words in such a way as to make others assume something that is not the truth. They do this and comfort themselves by thinking they haven't REALLY lied, but they REALLY have, and they will be held accountable for every deception they have propagated.
People seem to classify lies and assign degrees of guilt to them depending upon how "big" the lies are. The fact is, that the person who is unfaithful in little is unfaithful in much, and the person who will tell a little lie to save face or to "keep from offending" someone will tell a big lie if he deems it necessary, and without a doubt a situation will arise which will prove it necessary to tell a big one. God doesn't distinguish between big lies and little lies, but says He hates them all. The person who has the "mind of Christ" will not tell a lie under ANY circumstances. If Jesus wouldn't do it, we shouldn't do it.
It should scare the stuffing out of people who have the idea that it is OK to lie sometimes when they read what the Bible has to say about it. The very clear teaching of the Bible is that ALL liars are going to hell.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Rev 21:27)
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Rev 22:15)
To read verses like these and then take the devil's side in this issue is outright foolishness. It is dishonesty and self deception. Again, selfishness is the ultimate motive behind a lie, no matter what justification is put forth. God doesn't need to lie to get his work done, and He doesn't need a Christian to help him out by telling lies and deceiving people. It is outrageous to expect God's blessing upon a lying tongue. If a professing Christian lies in order to further the work of God, and it appears that God blesses him, there are two great possibilities. One, that God has approved of his lies and agreed with him to do evil in order to do more good. The other possibility is that what he and everyone else is counting as blessings from God on his work are not really that at all, but the answer of the father of all liars as a reward for one of his own. There you have it. It is no wonder that the idea that lying is OK under certain circumstances is believed so much. This is the state we are in, and you need to realize it: generally, professing Christians will sooner call in question the clear teaching of the Word of God than they will the testimony of some other professing Christian who happens to have a "great work" to prove that they are approved of God. In other words, the Word of God is not our final authority for faith and practice, but the experience and example of other Christians is.
when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8
Never has there been more pressure from everywhere to do away with the law of God. The attack is not coming from without, but from within the church. It seems the theme of the Gospel has now become, "We are not under the law, but under grace." That is the catch-all that explains and excuses all sin and unrighteousness in the church.
Jesus Didn't Teach Lawlessness
The Lord Jesus Christ never meant for us to understand from his words that the moral law was done away with, fulfilled, or annulled in any way, that is purely an invention of men. In the Sermon on the Mount He set the moral standard much higher than it had been understood in the written law. The sacrifices and the ceremonies contained in the law were fulfilled with the life, work, and death of Christ, and are therefore no longer necessary, because they were only a shadow and a figure of these things. (continued on page 7)
The moral law is completely different, for it is not a shadow of things to come, but shows us the character of God. One of the basics of New Testament Christianity is that we are to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. When the law shows us what God is like, how disgraceful and outright deceitful it is to try to do away with it or make it of none effect while claiming to be a Christian!
Sign of the End Times
It is a sign of the end times. The Wicked One referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 is understood to be the "lawless" one. It is the spirit of antichrist that wants to shake off the law and claim it has no place in the life of a Christian. It is the rebellious sinner who despises dominion, and especially from God. The person who has truly found Christ was brought to Christ by the law of God, for it was his schoolmaster. That person will LOVE the law of God, and will not look upon it as bondage and negative, but as sweet and wonderful. Those who don't know Christ will surely think differently. They say, "let us break his bands asunder and cast his chains from us. Jesus said that if we love him we will KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, and his commandments are NOT grievous. And the Bible says in 1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
Works of the law?
"Well, we know we're not saved by works of the law!" That is the battle cry of so many in their effort to make the lost sinner see his need of a saviour. What he really needs to see is the peril he is in for disregarding the law of God. But that has become such a distasteful thing in this antichrist age that no one will preach that anymore. That is precisely why fewer and fewer are getting saved now. The problem is that no one stops to consider what "works" of the law are. They have mistakenly assumed that morality is a "work of the law." It is NOT. The book of Galatians deals with this very subject very clearly. The works of the law described and dealt with there are such things as circumcision. We have other Scriptures to prove that it has nothing to do with salvation, but it was an outward keeping of the law. If you want to teach people that they aren't saved by being circumcised, sacrificing lambs and burning incense, go ahead, but when you start telling them they don't have to pay any attention to the moral law of God, you have crossed over the line and are committing a grave error, which you will give account to God for. Don't lump the moral law of God in with what Christ fulfilled of the ceremonial law given to Israel. The blood of the souls who you mislead will be on your hands.
The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Romans 7:12
For we know that the law is spiritual . . . Romans 7:14
God is holy, his law is holy, and we are to be holy. Without holiness, no man will see God. Gripe and accuse and say that came from this or that denomination or that "sinless perfection" doctrine, but it is BIBLE, and God said it, and it is TRUE. The lawless, antichrist preacher who teaches that unholy people are going to heaven, and the law of God is irrelevant, is a deceiver and a liar, or he is too lazy to read his Bible and study to find out the truth, and he is just repeating what he hears all the BIG preachers preach.
There are many who promote this heresy without really understanding how it is received in the minds and hearts of the people who hear it and base their salvation on it. "Not by works of the law." "We're not saved by keeping the law." They take it to mean that it makes no difference whether they are moral or not. They take it to mean that no matter what they do after they pray the sinner's prayer, they are going to heaven. Just always remember that any message or doctrine that makes it easier for men to sin is NOT OF GOD! That is exactly what is taught when you stress "not by works of the law" without teaching the full counsel of God and showing that it is not referring to the moral law. Jesus didn't come to set men free to sin all they want and not have a guilty conscience about it, He came to set men free from the power of sin, and sin is the willful transgression of the law.
Love and the Law
Anyone who preaches the law of God is labeled a legalist these days. People who spout off such nonsense are completely ignorant of the Bible, or else just plain wicked and deceitful in their hearts.
". . . love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:10
How about that? If you REALLY love your neighbor you will fulfill the law of God; that is, how can you love your neighbor without keeping the law of God. Moral laws are there to protect you and your neighbor. The first four of the Ten Commandments are concerning your actions and attitudes toward God. Number five talks about your parents. Then the last five are concerning your actions and attitudes toward your neighbor. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet, thou shat not commit adultery, etc. are all to benefit and protect your neighbor. Thou shalt have no other gods before me, thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy, are to keep your mind right concerning God. Jesus narrowed it down and simplified it for us to understand in an eggshell: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." But it's not necessary in our day, because we are NOT UNDER the law.
Those who run around the country preaching this stuff ought to get out once in a while and face the results of their heresy. The churches, as well as the houses up and down the street are full of these "lawless" ones who have found a hiding place to continue on their road to hell and keep talking about how they are "saved by grace." They speak of love and accuse anyone who stands up for God's law of not loving. What arrogant hypocrisy! Love is the fulfillment of the law. And mark it down that no sinner will ever get saved apart from the spiritual, holy, just, law of God. It is what will bring him to Christ. Ever wonder why so many people in the churches act like lost people? It is because they ARE LOST. They have heard ANOTHER Gospel and received ANOTHER Jesus besides the One in the Bible. Jesus doesn't make a person lawless, but does quite the opposite, He brings them under control. The centurion in Luke 7:8 didn't see Jesus as lawless, rather he saw him as under the control of someone else. "For I also am a man set under authority . . .," The Bible also refers to giving him our "reins." Now say if you like that the Holy Spirit is our guide, and you will be correct, but the Holy Spirit NEVER contradicts the law of God. Yet there are actually people running around now claiming that the Holy Spirit told them to lie, cheat, leave their wife and get another woman, and all sorts of other things contrary to the law of God. Guess what their excuse is! You're right! Some preacher told them they weren't under the law, but under grace, and salvation is not by works of the law. Don't you stand amazed at how the Devil can even take a truth of God's Word and use it to damn souls? He can do that when the prophets of the Lord are light, treacherous persons who won't think twice about preaching some nice-sounding cliché they heard in a meeting somewhere without looking for themselves at what the Bible teaches.
Working With God or Against Him?
For we are labourers together with God . . . (1 Cor 3:9)
Surely we could agree that we would get the best results in the work of the Lord if we cooperated with God in all things. After all, it is HIS work, not ours and He certainly knows how to accomplish it better than we do. God surely wants to see sinners converted more than we do and He would surely use the right methods and say the right things to a sinner to get the job done. Let's consider God's dealings with a sinner and then consider our dealings with sinners and we'll see if we are working WITH God or AGAINST Him.
Every person who has been truly saved and born into God's family can remember what the Holy Ghost was pressing upon his heart while he was under conviction. God is very consistent and He tells every sinner the same thing. The message that God is pressing into the heart of every sinner under conviction is: "REPENT!" and "do it NOW!" There has never been a sinner under conviction who felt any other direction from God than this simple message. The issue between a sinner under conviction and God is his sin and he knows it very well. No matter who says that you don't have to repent of your sin to be saved, the Holy Ghost still tells sinners to repent, and He presses it into their hearts with urgency. They KNOW that they cannot have peace with God and continue in their sin. They feel they might not live another day if they don't repent and turn to God, but still they linger. Why?
To answer the question let us look at the instructions that are given to lost sinners today. God is saying, "REPENT!" and the preacher says, "Raise your hand." God is saying, "REPENT!" and the preacher says, "Come forward and someone will pray with you." God is saying, "REPENT!" and their Christian friends will say, "Read your Bible," or "pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart." God is saying, "REPENT!" and the sinner will be given the "plan" in four or five points and THEN asked to repeat a sinner's prayer. The sinner is convicted by the Holy Spirit that he is a sinner and when he does come forward someone takes a Bible and begins to try to show him that he is a sinner. If he is under real Holy Ghost conviction he already knows that and God is saying to him in his heart with great urgency, "REPENT!"
What do you suppose would be the result if we simply told the sinner the same thing that we KNOW God is telling him? If we simply took up the same argument that the Holy Spirit is making with this rebel against God and his throne, do you suppose the results might be different than what we are seeing in most of our churches? Too many are too sympathetic with the sinner and his struggle against God. We should not give him aid or COMFORT in his battle against God. What we should do is join up with God and hammer at the walls of his hard heart with all the strength we can muster, telling him the same things that the Holy Ghost is pressing upon his heart. We should not feel sorry for him while he continues in his rebellion against God. He is wanting to be comforted, but there is no real comfort for him until he surrenders to God and lays down his weapons and quits fighting. The Holy Ghost that is convicting him and pressing him so over his sin is the Comforter that will soothe and heal him the moment he surrenders and gives up his battle against his Creator. Any effort we make at comforting him while he is still struggling against God will simply grieve the Holy Spirit and harden the sinner's heart more.
Let's junk our own "plans" and methods and let God lead the way. Then let's follow hard behind Him and cooperate with Him in the work of salvation. Surely that is an idea worth considering. Let's face it, God knows how to save the hardest sinner, but it is very evident that we DON'T. The work is the LORD'S, but the Lord uses people to carry the Gospel to other people. Surely more could be accomplished if we simply cooperated with God.
"Pride is a hypodermic that men give themselves to ease the pain of being a fool." unknown
Midway Bible Baptist Camps 1997
Primary and Junior Camp July 7-11
Teen Camp July 14-18
Family Camp Meeting August 4-8
DON'T MISS IT!
For more information contact the church.
Provoking Thoughts is a publication of
Midway Bible Baptist Church, P.O. Box 419, Fishersville, VA 22939.
Pastor Owen OR Bro. Mike Miller
Midway Bible Baptist Church
P.O. Box 419
Fishersville, Virginia 22939
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