Date in ws file was 7/12/89
In using this text we run the risk of using a much used verse. It is a favorite passage, one which I have often used in the past.
There is a very important point which we need to consider before we look at this. This point is obvious yet overlooked. Isa. 8:20-- To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah is very clear here. Every message and messenger which is from God will speak according to the OT law and the prophets.
In other words, the New Testament presents nothing new, (except the mediation work of Christ). The message is not new. Thus, every NT doctrine must be understood in the light of what is already established in the law and the prophets. The Lord Himself made this extremely clear, Jn. 5:45-47; Lk. 24:44-48.
Therefore our doctrine of can two walk together, except thy be agreed must be viewed in the light of the law and of the prophets. Let's follow Amos just a little.
In chp. one, we see the Lord pronouncing His judgment against the heathen nations. Even the pagans will be held accountable to the Lord God of Heaven. No one will escape His notice and judgment. In this judgment against the heathens, it is for obvious wickedness. Anyone should have known not to do these things.
The Lord points out that if the heathen cannot avoid the judicial wrath of God, then how do His people expect to avoid His wrath. They can't and won't.
Now he moves on to His people. Judah and Israel, 2:4-8. Why is God going to move in His wrath against them? Amos 2:4-- because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments. The Lord then promises to send a fire upon His people, to devour the palaces... Despise here is speaking of rejecting. Using Scripture to interpret Scripture here is what we find.
I Sam. 8:7; 15:23, 26; 16:1
Isaiah 5:24; (30:12)
Jer. 6:(19) 30; 8:9
Ezek. 5:5-8 (20:13, 16, 24)
The passage which best sums up what Amos 2:4 and 3:3 is saying would be Lev. 26. The word despise is used in vv. 15 and 43. This is re-given and expanded on in Deut. chp. 28 through chp. 32. This will be difficult but let's just look at some major points.
First, Lev. 26:12 is used by Paul in II Cor. 6:16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for yea re the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Then in Eph. 2:21. In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord.
Of course, these are only two of the many NT passages which refer to the principle here that God dwells in His people. Thus, although Lev. 26 was addressed to the OT Hebrew nation, the principle contained therein is as far reaching as the church of the living God today.
Next we see in Lev. 26:3, the condition of inheriting God's blessings is to walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them. Verses 4-13 gives the blessedness of walking in His law.
Next, v. 14. If His people refuse to hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; and... despise His statutes, or if their soul abhors His judgments... then v. 16-39 describes the result.
Next, verses 40-46, as we reverse what is said with no damage to the context, we see that if His people ignore or reject their responsibility to obey His law, He will cast them away.
Without exception, in all the passages listed above (and many more which are not listed), we see that when God's people reject (despise), the law of God as given by Moses, God will reject them. This is what Amos is saying, 2:4. God's people despised the law of the Lord, and kept not His commandments. The result was a fire of judgment upon them. Paul applied this principle for the church as did Peter (I Pet. 1:14-25), as well as the writer of the book of Hebrew, 10:26-32.
This brings us to Amos 3:2, 3. V. 2, the Lord reminds His covenant people that they alone are the chosen ones. They are the ones which He choose to show Himself strong through by giving His law to.
Then in v. 3, we see that His people rejected HIs law. In doing so, in accord with Lev. 26 and Deut. 28, their God departed from them. Bringing us to the verse itself.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed. Agreed on what? Agreed that every area of life must be submitted to the law of God. Agreed that everything must be done in accord with His revealed will (as given to Moses). Agreed in their desire of obedience to that revealed law-word of God.
The agreement here isn't that the world is a mess. It is not even that the word of God is the word of God.
The agreement here is primarily between the law-giver and the ones the law was given to. Between God and man. As long as man agrees that the law of God is the rule for everything he does and he is committed to doing the commandments by the power of God, the law-giver will walk with the law-keeper.
A secondary application here would be between man and man. The agreement her is that the law of God is the final authority and the two, by God's grace are dedicated to law-keeping.
The walking together is based in the mutual dedication to that law.
As the two walk in that mutual agreement and dedication, they cannot help but be together. The mutual agreement and dedication is not that they should be together but that they should walk in the total law-word of God.
As people walk in dedication to the total law-word of God, others will see that love for God's word. their holy righteous life will bring conviction (or persecution), on those watching and the dedication to the commandments will reveal the law of God in us, Jn. 15:10.
The walking together here is common dedication to soul-winning and evangelization of the world. Common dedication to capturing every area under the authority of the law of God. Common dedication of standing against evil and wickedness even in high places.
Date, 6/89 or 3/89
This is a passage which we have touched upon it in the past, but it calls for closer attention.
We are living in a day of massive confusion. Everything looks so good on the outside and folks point to the results as confirmation that their root (or tree) is good. The electronic preachers, tele-evangelist look good and seemingly are building great works for God. God's people are being influenced by the thousands to send their money to them. We hear radio ministries which seem to be doing a great work for God and they have huge followings. We hear of big name preaachers which incite almost god-like reverence toward themselves.
You try to speak against one of them and folks (followers or not) will say, "They are doing such a great work. How can you say anything against them." The verse which, if not used, at least comes to mind is, By their fruits ye shall know them. --Their works are so good they must be right. They are doing such great works. That confirms their message is correct. But is this what v. 20 is saying?
Like so many other passages of scripture, to use the thought of v. 20 without the context of the passage (at least from vv. 15-20) will get a completely wrong meaning from v. 20. Our Lord warns us of this in the rest of His sermon, vv. 21-27. Let's start at the beginning of the passage.
V. 15, Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheeps clothing. Really we could go back up to v. 13 as He warns of the ease with which the broad way is found and the many which are upon this broad way. Then He goes on into His warning concerning the false prophets.
There are two things right up front concerning these false prophets. First, there will be far more false prophets than there are true. Because broad is the way and many there be that find it. Compared this with the few there be that find the way which leads unto life. The second thing which we fail to remember is that these false prophets are wolves in sheep's clothing. They look like, dress like, smell like, sound like, and are very convincing that they are the real thing. A sheep, they baa like a sheep. (They are walking and quacking like a duck, therefore they must be a duck.) They have other sheep following them. They are among the sheep. Yet they are a wolf and are destroying the sheep. But inwardly, the wolf is on the inside.
This seems to bring us to a contradiction with v. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Taken at face value this says if one has the outward (fruit) clothing of a sheep, then he is a sheep. This would be as contrary to this teaching as anything could be, therefore v. 16 cannot be saying what it seems to be saying.
Let's follow the context on through. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistle. No matter how much the fruit may look like a grape or a fig, it cannot be a good fruit if the root of the tree is a thorn or thistle. "But he looks so good, sounds so good. He has to be a sheep. The fruit on the vine looks so much like a grape, it must be a grape vine. The fruit looks so much like a fig, it must be a fig tree." V. 17, "The fruit on the tree looks so good that the tree must be good also." To make these verses stand like this must ignore v. 15 as well as vv. 21-23.
So what is our Lord saying here. Verses 17, 18 taken in the context of 15 and 21-23 is saying that no matter how good the fruit looks, the tree is what makes the fruit either good or corrupt. Something can have the very best looks (fruit) in the world, yet if the tree is corrupt, that fruit has death in it. Only the good tree can have good fruit upon it. The corrupt tree can not have good fruit upon it, no matter how good that fruit look. Let us point out, the Lord knows whether the tree is good or not. (Sometimes, it seems that ONLY HE knows.)
This fits with Rom. 8:6-8. The fruit can look good yet there can be a carnal mind behind it, therefore death in the pot.
Let's look at an illustration of this passage. In an article which appeared in the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Monday, May 9th, 1988. Jerry Falwell is quoted as saying, "The delicate balance (between moderates and conservatives) is Falwell's answer to making Liberty University to fundamentalist Protestants what Notre Dame is to Roman Catholics and Brigham Young is to Mormons. To draw 50,000 students he says, there are two groups he must reach."
Let me interject here, the terms moderate is use to describe people (professors, teachers, scholars and pastors) who want to keep their conservative cloak, yet deny the inspiration of the Scriptures. The Southern Baptist fight is between moderates (who do not believe in a literal interpretation of Scriptures) and conservatives (who do believe in a literal interpretation). The professors which the moderates desire to keep in the Souther Baptist universities deny the virgin-birth as well as the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures.
Continuing on with the article. "First, (Falwell) must persuade the religious right which traditionally has kept to itself on matters of education -- that an accredited university (licensed by the state) that teaches evolution isn't a place where the "lesser judges the greater."" "It is a shaking off of the albatross--this isolation inherited from other generations," he said. (Now he explains what he means by this albatross, the isolation which is inherited from other generations), "I have to convince them that we are not going to change the world unless we become part of it." (We will come back to this.)
At the same time, he must attract larger numbers of moderate evangelicals. Falwell says Liberty is the place where the two can meet, learn and then enter the work place spreading God's Word." This is only one example of many which we could identify with today. This is one of the more obvious but there are many.
First, let's look at the fruit. 1) Liberty has the standards of a conservative university. The article points out that male students must wear ties and slacks. Females must wear skirts. Even more impressive (convincing) is the students are expected to "witness" to their faith by often professing they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. To further confirm their claim is true (that it is a Christian university) is the statement by the paper that classes are taught by born-again Christians.
Let me give one more quote. "The most visible fight surfaced in 1985 when the ACLU charged that creationism was being taught in biology, promoting the Virginia Board of Higher Education to question whether graduates should be certified to teach in public schools. In response, Falwell established a Center of Creation Studies, an institute where evolution and creationism are taught side by side. "But we don't pretend to be objective," said Lane Lester, the institute's director. "We believe creationism is scientifically superior." 2) Liberty is growing by leaps and bounds. The goal is 50,000 students. They own 5,300 acres. 3) The university has a huge income, currently 132 million with a goal of 500 million. 4) They seem to have godly goals. They plan to build a law and medical school.
To the average man, they will sit back and say, "My look at how God is blessing. God surely is in this. By their fruit ye shall know them therefore it is a good tree. The fruit looks so good." The article, which is quite long. is riddled with red flags. We only quoted two for times sake.
The first thing which shows us that the fruit is corrupt is Falwell's statement, "I have to convince them that we are not going to change the world unless we become part of it." This is as contrary to the scriptural principle of separation as anything can possible be. I Cor. 6:14-18 is clear. We are in the world but not part of the world. Paul here is telling us to have no close relationships with the unholy person or adulator. Be pure and avid close relationships with the impure. We belong to a community that is under its own laws. It is to be distinguished in its purity from all the rest of the world.
Yes, we must go out into the world in order to influence it. Our command is to separate from sin, not from the world. We at times must take part in things where the world's crowd is involved in, but to become part of the world's crowed in order to reach them is ungodly. (The article talked about the movies being off limits officially, yet liberty students dominated the theaters. Rock music and stereos are forbidden, yet Walkman's and Bruce Springsteen tapes are tolerated. Panty raids have been known to take place even though students aren't allowed to fraternize in dorms of the opposite sex.)
As you read the article, you see that the worldly things are officially off limits, yet they are tolerated. This principle is as destructive as anything can be. When we establish boundaries for our children or for any under our authority, we had better enforce those boundaries or we will destroy them, our kids.
The second thing which shows us that the fruit is a corrupt fruit is the statement by the creation center's director, "We believe creationism is scientifically superior." Again, this is a contrary statement. It doesn't line up with God's word at all. Heb. 11:3, through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
This Humanist "professor" said the reason they believe and teach creationism is because they believe creationism is "scientifically superior." No, a thousand times no. We believe in creation because the word of God says that God created the world's by His word and out of nothing.
These are just two statements out of a quite long article. There were probably 8 or 9 more that go absolutely contrary to God's word. These are the words of a false prophet. These are the words of a wolf in sheep's clothing. All of the outward marks of a sheep yet the inside is corrupt. The fruit, even though it looks good, is corrupt because it is on a corrupt tree, built upon a corrupt foundation.
Another example which we can identify is Jimmy Swaggart. He came back in rebellion against the ones who he had submitted to the authority of. Therefore, no matter how good his fruit looks it must be corrupt because it has rebellion against authority behind it. This doesn't even take into consideration that both Falwell and Swaggart use the false gospel, "Ask Jesus to save you." Anytime you have any ministry built upon a false gospel which does not emphasize the substitutionary redemptive work of Christ, the fruit MUST BE CORRUPT no matter how good it looks.
II Cor. 2:11 talks about the devices of satan. All of these good looking outward fruit is nothing but a device to draw an unsuspecting soul into his trap. The list goes on and on. We know multitudes of people, even pastors, who have attractive looking works. You would swear up and down that they were good fruit of God, yet if you will look, you will find a MAJOR FALSE DOCTRINE underlining the work. This shows they are a false prophet. The air waves abound with them, and so does the community.
Of course this is far to close to home to avoid. It just doesn't matter how good the outside may look or seem, if the foundation is corrupt, so is the structure. Our Lord went on in the rest of this passage, vv. 21-29. Verse 24, 26, we have two deferent houses. Both look exactly the same yet were built on different foundations. This principle fits into absolutely every area. If the structure of either our life or of those who claim to be godly is not built upon the foundation of obedience to the principles of God's word, then it is a false structure. It doesn't matter how good the structure looks. Notice I Tim. 6:5, anytime a teacher or preacher uses "gain" as a proof of godliness, you have corrupt minds which are destitute of the truth at work.
In our lives also, if our prosperity is not built upon obedience to the principles of God's word then it is sin.
As we look around us and we see pastors, churches, co-workers who claim to be godly, yes, even missionaries, if the appealing structure is not built upon the principles of God's word then it is a false prophet and a shaky house built upon the sand.
We see from Matt. 7:22, 23 that the main foundation must be salvation. If the plan of salvation used, accepted, is not firmly based in the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ then the pastor or church is a false prophet. It may look good and appealing, but it is on the sand and will fall. When it falls multitudes will be consumed with it. (Of course, the context is speaking of the foundation being hear and do.)
God's people had better look past the nice sounding words and the beautiful looking structure (both in their lives and the things around them) and see what it is built upon. If it is not built upon the firm foundation of obedience to God's every word, then it is false. It is a snare of the devil to entrap the unsuspecting souls.
Let's further examine the attitude dealt with in tax-one. "It is hopeless. There is nothing we can do in the face of the evil and wickedness around us. The civil government has gone to pot. The taxes are high and are being almost 100% misused. The end in near for us, therefore there is nothing we can do except stand against the wickedness in high places and wait for Jesus to come remove us from this mess (Never mind that the sins of God's people got us in this mess, Matt. 5:13-16)." We said this was the attitude of an apostate so let's examine another passage which deals with this attitude in addition to the one already dealt with (in tax-one).
Matt. 3:13-18 gives us an excellent treatment of this. Here God deals with this attitude in terms which cannot be missed by those who read and meditate upon it (unless, a. God has blinded them to it, see tax-one, or, b. They are willfully ignorant of this as the reader ignores the principle contained herein, Ja. 1:22).
But before we look at vv. 13-18 we need to lay some foundation for it. Verses 13-18 will not stand alone anymore than Rom. 10:13 will stand alone. Malachi was written under Nehemiah as was Zechariah. There will be quite a similarity between these books because they deal with the same difficulty. A large portion of those who returned professed a genuine repentance but underneath were the ashes of corruption, waiting to burst forth once again into flame, (Hengstenburg for the argument here, Christology, pg. 1183). Nehemiah's efforts were to bring about outward reform. Malachi's efforts were more for spiritual reform, (We will not take the time to examine the whole book).
The thought which we want to see actually starts in 2:17. Here we have a statement by God concerning the inner spiritual condition of these people who returned to the land. His people who professed with their mouth their undying love for him. If we follow this throughout this book it is quite interesting. All though this book we find the prophet confronting them with their hypocrisy, 1:1, 6, 7, 13-2:10, 14, 17; 3:7, 13-14.
One point in passing. Notice vv. 15-16, twice we find the warning, take heed to your spirit. Here are sins which carry no civil punishment. Here are sins which only the Lord sees. Here are sins which lurk within the heart of man waiting to control the actions. Here are sins such as covetousness, pride, lust, rebellion, fears, envy, etc., the sins of the heart. Because they are not outward, men feel they are okay as long as they are kept within and under control. We see here that even though they are controlled and there is no outward problem with others over them, there sure is a problem with God. A wrong spirit will also inherit, reap the judgment of God against sin.
Malachi 2:17. We see that the people which God is addressing (with your words) include even the priests which were suppose to be leading the people closer to God. Yet we see that they were involved in the same wickedness and hypocrisies. Look at these folks. God gives us an insight into their innermost being. They are murmuring (under their breath, I'm sure. Or even in their hearts). These folks were hardened in their sins. In their hardness they were looking around at the heathens and seeing their wickedness. They were complaining to the Lord. "Lord, we are trying to do right and look at how difficult we are having it. Look at the heathen over there, Lord. He is going his way in rebellion against you and he is prospering. Lord you are showing more delight in them than you are in us who are doing right." But their murmuring doesn't stop there. Look at what else they were wanting.
V. 3:1-6 gives us a further insight into the situation. These people were hardened in their sin and proud of their spirituality. They were upset at the Lord because they were not prospering and the heathen were (this would fit with Ps. 37 and 73). As they were murmuring over this, they were also offering up strong prayers and fastings that God would hurry up and send the Messiah (even the messenger of the covenant). They were excited (delighted) over the prospect of the Messiah coming because he would come and judge the heathens. In judging the heathens (even as they prospered) they were confident that they would be exalted. The tables would be turned. They would be the ones exalted and the heathens would be the ones which would be put down. Revenge would be sweet.
They were going through the motions and saying the right words which professed to those around them their love for God. They were confident this would allow the Messiah to exalt them into the place of authority over the heathens (who now had the authority over them). They had delight in this prospect. "[T]hey are described as longing for the angel of the covenant. They had hoped that as he formerly led their fathers out of Egypt and punished Egypt, he would also come immediately after their return from captivity to judge all the heathen and pour out his blessing upon Israel (Henstenberg)."
The Lord isn't fooled by all of their outward motions. He speaks through the prophet and the next several verses gives us his response to their thought, vv. 1-12. It isn't hard at all to follow this through the NT which we won't spend any time on.
First, there must be a messenger sent, this was John, 3:1-Isa. 40:3; Mk. 1:2.
Second, the Messiah whom they are longing for will suddenly appear, 3:1-Jn. 1:29; 2:14, he suddenly appears in the temple.
Third, he is the messenger of the covenant, 3:1-Ex. 23:20, 21; Isa. 42:6; 49:8. They are longing for him to come make things "right" (Reverse the situation, placing them "up" and the heathens "down").
Fourth, 3:2. Malachi points out that things won't be as they want them to be. He is going to come all right but it isn't the heathens which are going to be in trouble. It is his people. He is going to look past the outward appearance. Rather than doing what they were fully expecting he is going to refine his people.
Malachi asked a question of these who thought they had it all together. But who may abide the day of his coming? This question strikes right at the heart of the situation because he is quoting Ps. 15:1, these people were expecting their good outward actions to spare them, yet he pins them down, showing that their inner attitude alone would spare them. Those who are violating Ps. 15 are facing a refiners fire, not exaltation as they hoped.
He goes on, vv. 2-6 describing the work of the Messiah. The marginal reference easily identify this as the work of Christ. Some of them would be I Pet. 1:7; Rom. 15:16; II Cor. 2:15; Ph. 4:18; Ja. 5:1-10; I Pet. 2:5; 9 Malachi places an emphasis upon the unchangeableness of God, 3:6-Rom. 11:29. The reference here would be to Nu. 23:19. The law is unchangeable, Titus 1:2; Ja. 1:17. When there is an attempt to change principle which has been established in the OT, we are actually attempting to change God. We are attempting to change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man. The next step is to be given up to uncleanness through the lust of our own hearts and to dishonor our own bodies---, Rom. 1:23, 24. This would cause one to wonder. Is this a reason we are seeing so many of "God's men (using the term loosely)" fall to the uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts? This is the next step which naturally follows their attempt to change God [His established OT principles] into a changeable creature like unto themselves. The fall to their own lusts is the result of creating a NT god which is different from the OT god.
Two gods, ones who has different laws and standards, ones who have different methods of approach, ones who have different standards of judgment. The God which changes not has only one method of approach, the finished work of Christ. He has only one standard of judgment, His inspired word, Rom. 2). Rom. 9:13; Rom. 11:26; Gal. 6:15-18 (3:16-Rom. 15:12), etc..
Malachi 3:7 once again he confronts them with a charge, this time, robbery. They deny this charge then he confronts them with facts, 8-12. What is he doing with these charges backed up with facts? These people are hardened in their sin. They look around them at the wickedness and the prosperity of the heathen and their depressed condition. They are persuaded that they are all right and they are long for the Messiah to come and set the matter right, exalt them and subdue the heathens. Malachi points out to them that when he does come (and he will) it will mean judgment upon them. This they deny, "After all, we're all right. Why would he judge us?" He confronts them with facts, yet they still continue on in their pride and hardness. Of course, the final threat is in chp. 4. The people did not turn and he did cut them off, giving the vineyard (kingdom) to a people who would bring forth the fruit to the owner in its season, Matt. 21:33-46.
Now, let's move on. Mal. 3:13-18. Remember the contrast which we are dealing with. 1. Things are a mess (never mind that they are this way because the Christian is asleep in the lap of ease and luxury and has caused the mess, Matt. 5:13-16; I Cor. 15:34. The Christian has turned society over to the devils crowd). There is no changing anything. Therefore, our only hope is to protest the wickedness of the civil government and refuse to support it. We are going to be gone, but in the meantime we'll oppose those things which we don't like."
The second line of thought would be something like this. "Things are a mess. There are all kinds of wicked ungodly civil policies in effect. But the problem isn't those policies. The problem is that the hearts of the people have turned from God. The problem is that Christians have withdrawn from all those other areas of society, education, art, music, science, politics, etc.." In withdrawing from those areas they have been turned over to the realm of darkness, Col. 1:13. The problems which we face are not being caused by ungodly leaders and their anti-christ activities and laws. Those leaders are only reflecting the attitude of the people under them. The only hope is not standing against and protesting ungodly civil policies (although many times we should). The answer lies in reclaiming those areas which have been turned over to the powers of darkness. Reclaiming them for the kingdom (glory) of God, I Cor. 10:31.
Malachi 3:13. They are not speaking to God but to one another about God. God had been merciful, gracious and long-suffering. The words which they are speaking one to another are forcing him to do something. He tells them, your words have been stout against me (strong-rigid, hard). As they did so many times before, they say, "Who, us? What have we said against you Lord? We have done all that we should, how can you say that about us? Haven't we been praying and fasting and longing for your promised coming. How can you say we are against you?"
Verses 14, 15. The Lord rehearses to them what they have been saying one to another." You have said, "It is useless to serve God and keep His laws. We have fasted. We have tried to live godly and what has it gained us? Nothing! We have tried it God's way and what happened? The wicked prospered. They are devoted to evil, they tempt God in every way and look at them. God builds them up and prospers them. God delivers them instead of his people who are trying to live godly."
Let's apply this to our day. "It does no good to do it God's way. When we try to obey Gal. 5:22-23 and/or I Pet. 2, the ungodly prosper. They take advantage of us and are built up, established even more. Therefore, we will have to meet evil with force and protest. Maybe it worked for Denial and the three Hebrew children but that was many years ago and the authority over them wasn't as corrupt as it is now." (And we will ignore the fact that those kings openly worshiped idols and mocked the God of heaven, that they burned churches (the temple at Jerusalem) and confiscated all of their money (carried all the riches to Babylon). We can rest assured that they were doing all which is being done today and then some.)
Paul makes an interesting statement along this line over in I Tim. 4:7, 8. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Paul tells Timothy to avoid the things which would hinder godliness because godliness has its rewards, both in the life that now is and of that which is to come. When this promise apparently is not fulfilled and the circumstances seem to be contrary to this promise, we frequently hear sounds of complaints even from true believers. These complaints sound like the complaints which the Lord rehearses to the people of Malachi's day, "Lord what's the use of trying to reclaim these areas for Christ. The harder we work, the more evil prospers. We'll, "protest evil and let it go at that."
We also find the same complaint in Ps. 73:13. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency (See Ps 37 also). Notice this almost caused the Psalmist to fall. Once he got a grip on himself he identifies this as whoredoms, v. 27.
Therefore, the thought from both the OT and NT is totally against the attitude, "Things are a mess. There is no chance of changing anything. The only hope is to protest and refuse to support the civil government and wait to be removed from this mess." These are stout words against God and will lead to the speakers being judged with the ungodly.
On the other hand, this principle demands that the Christian be actively engaged in reclaiming all areas for the glory of God in accordance with I Cor. 10:31.
As we follow Malachi 3 on through we see this. The ones who fear God will seek godliness no matter what the circumstances may appear to be. They will encourage one another in their work to reclaim these areas. These folks will be written in a specail book of remembrance, v. 16. This refers to a Persian custom of entering the names of anyone who did a special service for the King. In due season they would receive their reward (See Esther 6:1). The reason for entering their name is given in:
V. 17, here we see that these will have a special place with the Lord. The second part of this verse holds special interest for us. I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Here we would have an illustration of a man with two sons (at least). One son is disobedient, doing things his own way. To this son is promised chastening. On the other hand, we have the second son, he is obeying and serving his father. To him is the promise of spearing him from the chastening.
No doubt this is referred to in Heb. 12. Here we have two sons (at least). One is disobedient to the heavenly Father. To him is the promise of chastening with the rod, 5-13. (An interesting comparison would be Isa. 10:1-7 and Prov. 13:24). To the other who is obedient to the commands to build everything on the word of God is the promise of protection and deliverance, Heb. 12:26-29. (Compare with Matt. 7:24-29.)
Heb. 12:26-29 promises two shakings. The first (v. 26) was the shaking which resulted in the coming of Christ, Hag. 2:6, 7. The second shaking (v. 27) is to shake down, cause to collapse everything which is not built on the word of God. Then v. 28 gives us the reason for this shaking.
So, what do we have?
Yes, we cannot deny that things are a mess. And, sad to say, the blame lies at the door of the Christians. The civil government has gone wild because the Christians have allowed it to. Over 60% of our population claim to be Christians. If each one would only take his stand for Christ and just vote CHrist like things would be a lot different. We saw this over the pay raise. The Congress was determined to do it and had made every provision. Yet the pressure turned them around.
Art, science, music, communications, welfare, media, education, even things like agriculture and food processing have all gone to the devil. Why? Because Christians won't take Biblical principles into these areas and apply them. Society has and is going to the devil for one reason and one reason alone. Because the people have rejected God as their King and His inspired law-word as their rule for every action. The people no longer see a relevance between Christianity and society.
The Lord tells us the results of this rejection. The results will be confiscation of property, the best property by the civil government. The result will be larger and very expensive standing armies involving huge amounts of misspent funds. Notice that the ones in authority will confiscate the property and give it to their friends. The results in I Sam. 8 would make any people cry out to God for his deliverance from the overburden of taxes and the total misuse of them to enrich the friends of those in high places.
As the people cry out against high taxes and the misuse of those funds, God will ignore their cry. Why? Because the evil men in authority are NOT the problem. The problem is in I Sam. 8:7, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. The answer to high taxes and misspent funds is not crying out in that day, because the Lord will not hear you. The answer is a return to Christ as King over everything.
To say that the problem is unjust men and unjust laws in places of authority is to deny the word of God. To present protest against misused funds and excessive taxation as an answer to the problem is also to deny the word of God.
We are commanded to seek godliness. This alone will bring a grass root turn around of society which alone will work. Anything less will only result in more of the same and will not deliver his people who find themselves in the midst of the terrible shaking of Heb. 12:27. It was a turning from godliness which brought the present situation about. Only a return to godliness will bring about a change.
Date, 2/88 or 3/88
There are a couple of steps which took place which brings this lengthy study about. The second step was the preparation of a SS lesson in a series which we are putting together. They are question and answer type which the folks can take home and study. They are meant to help apply the law-word of God into every area of life. What is presented here in is what came out of the lesson on Deut. 29:18-24.
The first step to bring this about was research for a message. As we were reading and thinking about the chapter on "Marriage" in R. J. Rushdoony's, "The Institutes of Biblical Law", some things were brought to my attention. We will not even touch on his comments in the following, yet, what we present here will go hand in hand with what he presents. We strongly suggest that you read that chapter. Every pastor should have a copy of this book and use it. If you don't have it, let me suggest a source, "America Today Books", PO Box 249. Louisville, NE 68037. The cost is $27.00 plus 10% postage. This is probably the greatest work on and practical application of the law of God of our time.
I am by no means inspired. I can be swayed by the things which come along just as anyone else. Some things will influence us more than others. Some things we are able to lay aside until the Word of God speaks to us and some things we are not able to lay aside. Some things we examine in the light of God's Word and some things we don't. Far too often we do our examination of doctrines in the light of the teachers personality, or many other worldly methods of determining the validity of something. I would suppose the greatest influence upon us is a "teacher's" success in terms of the increase of his audience. Gain is not the sign of godliness, although human nature sure says it is, I Tim. 6:5; II Tim. 3:5. The most recent example being Jimmy Swaggart.
In the last decade or two we have seen the "big church" or "super church" movement. Along with this movement came a side effect which is devastating. That side effect being the lose of the families. The wives or husband's running off or the kids going to the devil.
The blame for this destruction has been and is being laid at the feet of the many hours of hard labor which are required to be successful. The 12 hr. days, 6-7 days a week. This total dedication to obtain a goal is required in any area, whether in the business world or in "God's work". Let me say, all work is to be God's work or it is sin, I Cor. 10:31.
The churches are big, yet, the families are destroyed. This gives an open door to another doctrine, the doctrine of "turn your hearts toward home". This doctrine claims that the answer to the destroyed families is to rearrange our priorities to where we are giving more emphasis to the families. But is this the answer?
We are all aware of Robert Schuller and his false doctrine of self-acceptance and self-love. Not a pastor I know would promote Schuller and with good reason. In his book, "Self Esteem, The New Reformation" he states, "To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image -- from inferiority to self- esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust (pg. 68)." Read what he says on this subject, pg. 67-69. He makes it very clear that he thinks the root of sin is a negative self-image and NOT rebellion against God. "But our rebellion is a reaction, not our nature. By nature we are fearful, not bad (pg. 67)." This garbage goes on for pages (Word Books, Waco, TX)
This is not the devastating influence into our Bible-believing churches. The devastating influence comes from the theology of a man who says, "The matter of personal worth is not only the concern of those who lack it. In a real since, the health of an entire society depends on the ease with which the individual members gain personal acceptance. Thus, whenever the keys to self- esteem are seemingly out of reach for a large percent of the people, as in twenthieth-century America, then widespread "mental illness", neuroticism, hatred, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and social disorder will certainly occur, (James Dobson, "Hide or Seek", pg. 12-13)." Notice, here he says the root of societies ills is the lack of self-esteem.
We see that Dobson's basic doctrine corresponds with Schuller's. Therefore, we have no choice but to view his teaching in the same light as we must view Schuller's.
Now, back to our subject at hand. The "super church" movement has resulted in many families being destroyed. There are teachers with great followings being raised up which are saying the reasons the families are failing is because the man's heart is not toward them. We also see that a major promoter of this "turn your heart toward home" has the same basic doctrine as that of Robert Schuller. Let me ask this question. We will dismiss Schuller as a false teacher, therefore, his doctrine as doctrines of errors. Why won't we do the same with those whose basic doctrine is the SAME?
What does God say? Let me present some things that I believe are being overlooked today. With the above in mind, let us consider the following.
Deut. 29:14-20 gives us our starting point. God made a covenant with His people, "do this and live, fail to do this and die", Rom. 6:16-19.
Moses builds on to vv. 18, 19. There are so many points here that we cannot even begin to discuss them all. One would be "Everyone serve God in his own way." This is so contrary to God's Word it doesn't even deserve an answer. But our danger here is much more subtle than such a foolish statement as mentioned. The one point among many which we want to pursue is the service of Jehovah God in the manner which the heathens use to serve their gods. We cannot develop this point for the sake of time other than to enclose one of the SS lessons as mentioned about. Very few of these lessons fail to have questions and answers but this is one of them. We used this one to sum up some previous lessons.
Now let's get down to the meat here. One of many things referred to here in Deut. 29:19 would be the use of the world's methods. Then it is excused with, "I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart--". God's people try to serve God in the way which seems best in their heart. On the outside their service seems good and pure, but inside is the corruption of the ages, Ezek. chp. 8.
This includes using such philosophies as presented by Maxwell Maltz (Psycho-Cybernetics, etc). This sure seems to includes most, if not all, of today's "Christian Motivation". There can be only ONE basic motive for serving God. That is found in I Cor. 10:31 and Jn. 14:15. Any teaching of self-sufficiency is contrary to II Cor. 3:5, 6, as well as Ph. 4:13.
There is also the prospect of the crown which Paul uses to urge his readers press on, II Tim. 4:8; I Thess. 2:19. There are other crowns mentioned, I Pet. 5:4; Ja. 1:12; and Rev. 2:10. Yet any pursuit of these crowns other than for the glory and honor of the One who bought us is an outright sin, Rev. 4:10, 11.
Yes, Paul does use the terror of the Lord to motivate, II Cor. 5:10, 11. Yet, it is Paul's terror of the Lord which drives him day and night in his attempt to persuade men. The basic motive here is to glorify God and love for Him.
We would be ignoring facts to say that the world's motivational methods do not bring results. Jn. 12:43 gives us one of the strongest, most effective motivations there is, the praise of men. We know of many people who claim Christ. If you will exalt them and praise them before men they will "move mountains" for God. Yet, on the other hand, if no one notices them or admires their work and dedication, you cannot even find them on Sunday morning for church. Why are these "serving God?" I think the answer is all to obvious. We should recognize a job well done. We should give credit where credit is due, but we need to be extra careful about using that public praise to motivate others to get a job for our Lord accomplished.
Any motive other than I Cor. 10:31 and John 14:15, for His glory and out of love for our Lord, is not Scriptural, therefore is not of God. Jer. 17:5 addresses this very thing. We preach it like crazy yet ignore what it says. Here God places HIS CURSE upon all who depend upon the flesh (the world's means) to do His work. All Jeremiah did was restate the curse which Moses had already given back in Deut.
Personally, I would just as soon not use a person if the only time you see them is when you praise them publicly, or if you will give them a job which places them before people. Of course, it is much easier to use these worldly methods to get a job accomplished "for God". It is much easier to inflate the flesh than it is to BUILD faith. Building a strong house is much more difficult than inflating a balloon. We have covered the definition of faith many times. Let it suffice here to say that faith is OBEYING GOD'S WORD NO MATTER WHAT THE COST AND LEAVING THE RESULTS UP TO HIM, and no matter how long it takes to come to pass, Heb. 10:35-39. Paul continues on with the illustration of faith in Heb. chp. 11 (v.13).
Now, with this in mind, let's look at Rom. 14:23. Here we see that anything which is done that is not motivated by faith is sin. It is a work of the flesh and has the promise of God's curse against it.
It is an imagination of the heart to think we can use the flesh and the world's methods for the glory of God. The Lord will not spare the one who attempts to use the world's means for "God's glory" or "to serve the Lord". Rather he will have the anger of the Lord against him and the Lord will smote him with all the curses that are written in this book. Deut. 29:19-20.
Let's look at just one point of this curse. The curse involves not only the lose of power and the captivity of God's people to the heathens, Deut. 28:25, but the children are given over to the enemy, Deut. 28:32. We would be ignorant of facts if we could not see 28:44 in action today as we see the heathen ruling over the "church of God" as we have borrowed from the heathen, Prov. 22:7. How much "church building" is motivated by a debt retirement payment? Who is that church serving then?
Of course, Deut. 27-30 is referring to the OT Israel and as the margin in your Bible says, fulfilled in 79 AD at the destruction of Jerusalem.
Yet, the principle of blessing and curse will live as long as Gal. 6:7-9 and Matt. 7:24-27 exists.
What we need to see is that part of the curse for trying to use the world's means to serve God, is the lose of the family to the enemy. This would make one wonder, is this a reason we have seen and are seeing so many families in the "big church" movement go to the devil? Of course, we have no way of knowing. We can only watch out for ourselves and that which God has made us responsible for. We alone know if we are doing God's work in God's way in accordance to His revealed Word. This principle, according to I Cor. 10:31, DOES NOT apply to the "religious" part of man alone. This principle applies to ever area of life. Are we eating and drinking for His glory?
God is the One who must circumcise the heart of our children to love Him. We can "stay at home" yet that will not cause our children to love God. Only as we serve God according to HIS every Word will He work in the heart of our children, Deut. 30:6. Of course, our enemy will do all he can to prevent God's people from seeing this.
Notice the danger here addressed by Moses is NOT that of serving God to much. It is not a warning against loving God with too much of our heart, soul and strength. The curse, with both Moses and Jeremiah, is for using the world's means to serve God which is actually the service of other gods. The command given is to serve God with all our might, every ounce of our being, Mk. 12:30. The curse of God is against using the arm of the flesh to try to do this service. When God's people serve Him after the imaginations of their heart in the way they feel is best, rather than a blessing, there is a curse. Rather than God circumcising the heart of our children to love Him, He forgets them, Hosea 4:6.
There are other things which have the curse of God against them as we see from Deut. 27:26. This is only one of the many areas covered in God's law-word.
Now, let's pursue this on through. This presents another question. Will our enemy try to convince God's people that it is because their heart is not toward home that the families are being destroyed? Remember, the chief promoter of this "new" doctrine which is to solve all of societies ills has the same basic doctrine as Robert Schuller promotes. He says that the root of societies ills is a lack of self-esteem. Is this doctrine right, Ph. 2:3? If not, then how can a Philosophy which is built upon this false foundation be right, Ps. 11:3? Our instruction and warning here is quite clear, Matt. 7:24-27: Col. 2:8.
Another thing quite striking here with Moses, is that he did not ONE TIME pronounce a curse upon those do not have their "hearts towar home". The curses here from chps. 27 through 30 are pronounced against those who disregard the law of God. Part of that law forbids the attempt to serve Him after the manner which the Egyptians (world) used to serve their gods. God does not accept this kind of service. He condemns it as idolatry and places His curse against it.
It looks like we are seeing this curse of this mixture of this service of Jehovah God and Malcham coming to pass and rather than throwing Malcham out, we are being told the answer is to "Turn our hearts toward Home." Rather than being told the answer is breaking off the arm of the flesh and returning to the arm of God we are told "Turn our hearts toward Home". If the devil can convenience God's people that the families (and society) are falling apart because their heart is not towards home, then he has accomplished his goal. He has caused His people to move from the realm of obedience to every Word which proceeds from His mouth which produces life, Matt. 4:4, to the realm of His curse and death. Balaam has taught Balak very well. What has happened to the message of "TURN YOUR HEARTS TOWARD GOD AND HIS EVERY LAW-WORD?" Here alone lies the answer if we want God to work in the hearts of those we are concerned about, Hosea 4:6.
Let us proceed further. As "great churches" have been built using the world's methods (doing "God's work" with the arm of the flesh), we have seen the curse come to pass. A few of these methods being; debt; worldly motivation; ungodly emphasis upon education as the answer; state approval and lisensure; and numerous other things contrary to God's Word. We use these things and everything comes unglued. Then the devil comes along and says, "It's not really because you have used unscriptural methods to do "God's Work," or ignored God's law. The real reason is because you have your heart in the wrong place. Turn your heart back where it should be, to your home and the problem will be solved."
This will do a couple of things, First, this will prevent God's people from dealing with and correcting these unscriptural methods of doing "God's work". Second, it will allow the continuation of walking in the imagination of their hearts, using the arm of the flesh to do God's work. It will allow the foolish heart to be darkened, Rom. 1:21; Ja. 1:22. Third, and in this the enemy's heart leaps for joy, it leaves God's people under the curse of God, for His wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, Rom. 1:18.
The law of sowing and reaping is in effect. When the arm of the flesh is used to "do God's work" corruption will set in, Gal. 6:7-10. The atoning work of Christ did not free us from the results of sowing to the flesh. It gives victory over the flesh, thereby avoiding the results, I Pet. 1:13-20.
God gives us the method of worship (worship is obedience to Him, not some "spiritual feeling"). That method is in Spirit and in Truth. God's method is revealed in His word and is the only acceptable worship, Jn. 4:24. The word of God gives us instructions for everything, II Tim. 3:16. These instructions include not only what to do to please Him, but especially HOW to do what is pleasing to Him.
No man or society has yet avoided the result of mixing the world with service to God. God is no respector of persons even though we are. All rewards will be based upon His truth as revealed in His total law-word, Rom. chp. 2.
Zephaniah also describes the times which Moses spoke of in Deut. 29:18-20. Moses warns of the curse which will come as the result of trying to serve both the Lord God and the gods of the surrounding heathen. He warns of the results of trying to use the heathens means to serve Jehovah God. Moses is saying, "Here is what will happen if you do this". Zephaniah, many hundreds of years later, says, "Here is what is coming upon you because you have been doing this." In Zephaniah's warning (1:5) we see God's people attempting to serve both Malcham and the Lord God. Malcham worship was the worship of the state. This is far to much to go into here. See R. J. Rushdoony's "Institutes", pg. 30-40. He presents this very well.
The warning here is just as much for us today as it was for the chosen people of God in Moses and Zephaniah's day. God's people are caught today "red handed" in trying to serve the Lord God AND the gods of the heathens around them. God's people today are using many ungodly methods to "serve God" and they seem to be prospering as many people are influenced into their followers. The arm of the flesh will bring results but it also brings a cruse upon the people using them and a curse upon their families. The ungodly methods are overlooked with "Look at all the good we are accomplishing." Or maybe even excused with "I must be doing it right because nothing bad has happened."
Both Moses and Zephaniah warn God's people of the results, Deut. 29:20 and Zeph. 1:13. Really Ecc. 8:12 sums it all up. "Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged--," he has not escaped.
This Antinomian (anti-law of God) attitude of our day has led to the "super church" attitude of the use of many methods which are unscriptural. This attitude has led to a philosophy of "The end justifies the means". I heard of a chapel message preached by probably the best known "Fundamental Baptist pastor of our day. This message was given at one of the largest fundamental Baptist college and the title of the message, "The End Justifies the Means."
This Antinomian attitude has the CURSE of God against it, Deut. 27:26. Part of that curse is the delivering of the families to the destroyer. The destruction of the families is a result of this curse.
The enemy has come along and said "the reason for the destruction of your families is because of your lack of attention to the family".
Now, I am not advocating at all the ignoring of our families and forgetting about them. Paul speaks clearly on this in his first letter to Timothy, 5:8. A man who fails to meet his families needs is worse than an infidel. I am speaking of the attitude which says "strong families build strong churches, etc.--" A STRONG MAN WHOSE TOTAL HEART, SOUL, AND MIND AND STRENGTH IS SET ON PLEASING AND SERVING HIS GOD IS THE ANSWER. We are speaking of the attitude which places more emphasis upon the family than upon a man's obedience to God in every area. Correcting the families will not remove the curse of God. Only a return back to right relationship with God will remove the curse. The command given to us by our Lord is, to love Him with everything we have.
The emphases upon the family over hard work and service toward God will continue to lead to destruction. The strong families of the past history of these United States were built by men who spent 10-12 hrs., 6 and 7 days a week at their calling under God as they sought to exercise dominion over everything for God's glory.
The families are being destroyed because of the CURSE of God upon His people, Heb. 10:26-31. There are many areas bringing this curse; using the world's means to do His work; serving the world's gods; in fact, Moses sums it all up in Deut. 27:26. "Cursed be he that does not accept the total, complete law-word of God as his every rule of action." His actions in his community, his job, his home, his church.
To cover one more base, Mal. 4:6. A man who has his heart turned toward his family will serve God with all of his being because he knows that his children will pay the price if he doesn't, Ex. 20:5.
Nothing short of Christian men turning their hearts back in loving obedience and total dedication to the Lord God of heaven and earth for every rule of action will remove this curse. The family going to the devil is only a result of this departure from God's every law-word. We cannot emphasize this enough. THE FAMILIES ARE BEING DESTROYED BECAUSE OF THE CURSE ATTACHED TO THE SIN OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD TURNING FROM GOD AND HIS LAW, AND FOR NO OTHER REASON. If there is any other reason then God did not really mean Hosea 4:6 when He said it.
A typed manuscript of the message "Family I" from R. J. Rushdoony's outline is available upon request. This would be good for those who do not have his book.
"One fold" -- no longer Jew and Greek but only him (Gal. 6:15; Rom. 10:12; Acts 15:9). With only "one shepherd." (Col. 3:11; Acts 17:26-28; I Cor. 12:13.)
Notice Gal. 3:26-29, from the time of Christ's first appearance until he comes again in judgment at his second appearance, the dividing line on being Abraham's seed and being heirs according to the promise is being "in Christ Jesus."
There are only two classes of people today, and there will never be a third. Either in Christ Jesus or not in Christ Jesus.
The dividing line between being the seed of Abraham and not being his seed (and heirs according to the promise) is in Christ Jesus or not in Christ Jesus.
THERE IS NO PHYSICAL HEIR TO ABRAHAM TODAY. ONLY THE "HEIRSHIP" OF FAITH IN CHRIST.
To say anything else MUST change these many N.T. passages as well as multitudes of O.T. passages, which prophecied the coming Messiah and the inclusion of the Gentile races into the covenant by faith, as well as the exclusion of ALL who refused the Messiah.
V.17, (compare with II Pet. 3:9 - perish - 622 -). II Pet. 3:9, "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
God was/is not willing that any man, Jew or Gentile, (at the point in time when John and Peter was written, there were Jews and Gentiles) should perish. He was just as concerned about the "other sheep," the pagens, as he was about Israel. He did not desire that the heathens, pagen, or Gentiles, should perish anymore than he did that Israel should perish.
He was "not willing that any should perish." He has no pleasure in the "death of the wicked," (Ezek. 18:32). "Perish" here is eternal misery (Jn.
Christ then, came to "lay down his life" because of this concern. Because Christ was willing to "lay down his life" to see the Father's desires come to pass, the Father loved him.
Note__for__us: Do we want the Father to love us, then we need to get concerned over what he is concerned about. Not just seeing people saved, that, of course, is the first step but HIS concern goes much further than this.
Notice II Pet. 3:1-18. V.9 is talking about eternal life. This is the same word as Jn. 3:16, as well as Jn. 10:28.
V.9 in its context, is also referring to PHYSICAL DESTRUCTION. The root of 622 - perish - is the word for destruction, ruin (3639) as used in I Cor. 5:5 "--for the destruction of the flesh--."
II Thess. 5:3 also uses this word 'destruction.' "For when they shall say, peace (1515) and safety; then sudden destruction (3639) cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
(Peace-1515-security, safety, prosperity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)). "I can serve the fleshly desires and nothing will happen to me."
This verse, I Thess. 5:3, reminds me of Zephaniah 1:12 "That say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil."
'Destruction -3639- Thayers (Pg. 443) "ruin, destruction, death."
Now read the context of I Thess. 5:3, he is referring to the physical judgment on sin. He is issuing a warning against being asleep. This is exactly the same warning he issued back in I Cor. 15:34 where he tells Christians to wake up and throw off their sin.
His warning here in I Thess. 5 is to wake up, and quit acting like those who are of the night, or of darkness. We have the light. We are not to be like the drunk who has only ONE GOAL and that is to satisfy his fleshly desire. There is only physical misery and death.
Now comes the hard part, if the Christian lives after his fleshly desires, if he walks around "asleep" then he faces the "wrath" of God in physical destruction. See I Cor. 3:17, 18; Rom. 6:16; I Cor. 5:5.
V.9 "wrath" -3709- Thayers (First Published 1851--Pg. 452) says here "To undergo punishment in misery." Thayer separates the "wrath" of I Thess. 5:9 from the wrath of God upon the wicked or as a penalty of divine punishment against sin, everlasting misery.
I Thess 5:9, "salvation" (4991), Thayer again, Pg. 612. "Future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which Christians redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kindom of God:" and he gives Rom. 13:11; I
Thess. 5:9; Heb. 9:28; I Pet. 1:5, 10; Rev. 13:10 as references.
Notice, Thayer does not identify this "Salvation" as the eternal life as we think of it but as the "sum of benefits and blessings which Christians--will enjoy after the visible return of Christ--"
Rom. 13:11 is the one which fits closest to our context, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."
Read_ Rom._ 13:10-14, it compares almost exactly with I Thess. 5:1-10.
What is God telling us through the Holy Spirit here? He is saying "Christian, wake up, quit serving the flesh. The day is almost here when you must stand before ME and receive your rewards. The day is almost upon you that you will have to answer for everything you have done in this body, whether it be good or bad (II Cor. 5:10)."
The day of salvation of almost here, it will come as a thief in the night. Don't sleep; but watch and be ready.
The day which we will receive the sum total of the benefits which we will be rewarded with as a result of our service and dedication to Christ is almost upon us.
Men today live like they will never have to answer for the things done in this body, live like they will never stand before Jesus and answer for their service to the flesh contrary to His will (I Thess. 5:3; II Pet. 3:4).
Let's look at I Thess. 5:9 in the light of its context. The context is calling for Christians to WAKE UP and quit serving the fleshly desires as the drunk man does. Because the day is very close at hand when we will receive the rewards for our service to God here in this body.
If we serve the flesh then only misery awaits us. Just the same as misery awaits the drunk man when he wakes up. Misery awaits the man who cannot get control of his flesh in smoking. Misery awaits the person who will not get control of their lusts, immorality, thoughts, pride, bitterness, anger, or wrath.
Only misery awaits the man who is a servant to his "vain conversation" which he received "by tradition from his fathers," (I Pet. 1:18-20). Christ came to redeem us from those empty things of this life. We only serve them because we want to. We enjoy those empty things which lead only to misery. We will continue to serve them until we see the need to be set free from them.
The choice is the person's, "I refuse, I chose against these thoughts, actions, ideas, and feelings."
"I chose NOT TO do---" And then don't do them.
Notice here, God does not have to bring on the misery. The misery is attached to the "corruptive things" just as sure as 'stink on a skunk.'
We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ that we would NOT have to serve the corruptible things of the flesh. Thereby missing the misery attached to them. We might add, this is the ONLY way the misery of 5:9 can be avoided.
Now, let's read I Thess. 5:9 according to both the context and the meaning of the words.
"For God hath not appointed (5087--to decree one to be subject to wrath) us to wrath." The misery which is attached with the service to the desires of the flesh serving the flesh, as a drunk man must serve his desires. God's desire IS NOT that we be in misery with our service to the flesh, "but to obtain salvation." The benefits and blessings which come from serving the Lord Jesus Christ in the power, influence of the Holy Spirit. As we chose against the desires of the flesh we will receive these benefits and blessing at the visible return of Christ as he sits upon His throne according to II Cor. 5:10. "By our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him."
Go ahead, remain asleep. Serve the flesh as the drunk does. You will still go to live with him whether we are awake unto righteousness or asleep and serving the flesh, but if you are serving the flesh:
1.Misery awaits you here.
2. You will miss the benefits and blessings which will be handed out in that day.
He died for us, redeeming us, setting us free from our "vain conversations, manner of life."
He died, NOT that we might escape the misery which is attached to the drunk man's lack of discipline, but that we might escape the controlling desire to be a drunk. Free from the controlling desires of the flesh and the misery attached to them.
He died, NOT that we might sleep as a Christian and avoid the misery, but that we might WAKE UP and serve God and avoid the misery which is attached to being asleep.
God did not intend (appoint) for the Christian to be in misery as the drunk man is in misery as the result of his being controlled by the flesh.
You say, "Well, I'm not in misery and I am not doing what I feel God wants me to do." Just wait!
He sent this Son, not only that we might have eternal life, but, that we might have abundant life here. A life above the misery which comes with being a servant to the things of the flesh.
God has not appointed us to the wrath, misery which comes from being asleep. Rather he has given us power, grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord that we might chose NOT to serve the flesh, thereby receiving the promised blessings and benefits of serving God.
God has appointed us to receive the benefits and blessings which come "by our Lord Jesus Christ." The victory over sin that is in Him. The victory over the flesh, the world, and the devil.
Now, back to Jn. 10:17, why does the "Father love" the son? Because of His total dedication to the Father's will. His total concern for what the Father was concerned about.
We see then, by the many passages like I Thess. 5:9, that to seek after the things of the flesh (the things which please us) rather than the things of the Spirit (the things above, that please the Father) is to invite 'wrath' against us. The misery connected with serving the flesh.
Christ had absolutely no 'wrath' against him. He had only the love of the Father toward him. He had only blessings and benefits from the Father toward him because he ALWAYS did what pleased the Father (Jn. 8:29).
My how we need a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit that our goals and desires might fall more in line with the perfect will of our FATHER in heaven.
Not that we might avoid the misery attached to serving the flesh, but
that we might be pleasing to HIM who is worth of all praise and honor and glory.
This was our LORD'S goal, right up to the death of the cross. This should be our goal also, even if it means the loss of friends, family, loved ones--things which we hold important.
What is pleasing to God in that situation?
Ps. 11:3, "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
There are only two foundations in existence in the world today. Both have been around since civilization started. One is a God centered foundation, the other a man centered foundation.
The first foundation was started by God himself. Gen. 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." From God's word we find the standard for every phase of our life. How to live, how to act, how to react; the answer to all of man's problems and questions. If you will go back and check in our history, Christianity was the prevailing standard. The Bible was the guide in the establishing of our laws and the setting up of this Republic. We are not a democracy, but a Republic. We are to be a nation ruled by laws, not a majority rule. Our republic was built on the foundation of Bible morality and laws, which we need to get back to. Our nation stayed reasonably close to this Bible standard until the early 1900's. About this time the other foundation started coming to the surface. This was the man centered foundation.
These are the only two doctrines in existence. God centered religion called Christianity and man-centered religion, called Humanism.
In the early 1900's Humanism openly started taking control of our Republic. 1.) This religion started taking over our schools. (Originally all schools were church schools). 2.) Started making our laws. 3.) Started undermining the foundation that our republic was built on. If unstopped, this religion will pull our republic down around our ears. This is one of their goals, (Pg. 10, pt. 14).
Humanism as such surfaced about 1930 headed by a man well-known in the public education field. His name was John Dewey, and he is known as "The Father of Progressive Education." The religion that he was openly promoting, and is still being promoted even stronger today is in every aspect of our lives. Humanism was declared a religion by our Supreme Court, (#367US488 Vs. Watkins, 1965 US Vs. Segar, 1970, Welsh Vs. US).
Christianity must have a man created by God and dependent upon God as the foundation of its teachings. This man is created in God's image and for His glory, (Col. 1:16). Humanism must have a man who has created himself, and is dependent on no one except himself and his fellow man. This is called evolution. In this Humanist religious plan, they couldn't start out with this foundation, because the public wouldn't accept it, so they started with some simple things in their training ground, that was developed by one of their leaders, John Dewey.
In this religion that John Dewey has so well passed off on the unsuspecting public under the guise of "Progressive Education," we see some doctrines which they believe being taught. Something will be taught. There is no middle ground. Either Christian principles will be taught, or Religious Humanist principles will be taught, but one or the other will be taught. As we point out some of these things that Dewey started in his progressive education, you will see that religion is being taught in our schools today.
They say you can't legislate morality. Someone's morality will be legislated. Either the "Progressive Education's" religion's morality or Christian morality. There is no middle ground. Evolution is only a smoke screen to keep us from looking deeper into what is being taught. Like we said, evolution is only the capstone of it. It is only the tip of the iceberg, --the end result of a much deeper problem. The grand designer of Humanism surfaced in Gen. 3:1, "Yea, hath God said?" He has been saying that ever since. He is the moving force behind anyone who tries to question the word of God.
Let us give some things which you and I (along with our children), are being taught everywhere we turn, we don't have these things in order, but you will be able to recognize them without going into detail. Which rule-book are we going to go by? We will believe, act on and teach one or the other. 1.) Humanism, or 2.) The Bible, Christianity. Unless we have had our head in the sand, we will recognize this religion's teachings, a few points of which follows, (Gen. 3:1, Satan is the founder of Humanism and these teachings.)
1. Humanism says that we must abandon any hope in a deity that will save us; therefore, we must set aside the Bible and its set of standards. We must remove the Bible and its rules from ourselves if we are to succeed, (Pg. 4).
A. Christianity says the Bible is needed for teaching, correcting and instruction before a person can live right. Christians say all truth is God's truth, (II Pet. 1:20, 21; II Tim. 3:16; Jn. 17:17).
2. Humanism says we must put aside the Christian principles that our fathers founded this nation upon because man alone has the power to control his destiny, (Pg. 10).
A. Even Humanist religion recognizes our country was founded upon Christian principles. Christianity says our foundation must be God's word and His principles, (Matt. 7:26).
3. Humanism says we must do away with prayer. (It is harmful because it gives people a false hope), pg. 13.
A. Christianity says that prayer is the answer, (Jn. 16:23; Ph. 4:6)
4. Now we get down to the nitty gritty. Humanism says (this must be their foundation): the universe it self-existing and not created, and that man is here as a result of evolution, (Pg. 8, pt. 1, 2).
A. Christianity says God created the world and man in His own image, (Gen. 1: 27 27). By the way, this took place in six literal 24 hour days. There are several concepts. 1) 6 geological days at 250,000 years each. (Third day was planets, Fourth day was the lights in the Firmament. Can you see plants waiting 250,000 years for light.) 2) Theistic evolution, God just gave it a push, then went on about His business.
5. Humanism says that the idea of man possessing a soul and body must be rejected. Man doesn't have a never dying soul, (pg. 8 point 3). Now we don't see this teaching in these words, but we see what this teaching results in. 1) Abortion. God says "ABORTION IS MURDER," (Ex 21:22). 2) Mercy killing. God says He holds our life, (Psalms 66:9).
A. Christians say man has a never dying soul, (Rev. 20:10; 21:8).
6. This religion says that man can reason his way out of his problems, and we can all work together to solve our problems, (8-2).
A. Christianity says that God alone has the answers for our problems, (Jn. 14:6). He can show us the way.
7. This religion says there are no longer any supernatural human values. There is no Yes or No. It all depends on the situation of whether something is right or wrong. We call this situation ethics.
A. Christians (God), says there is a definite difference between right and wrong. We have a guide book that tells us right from wrong, I Jn. 3:4; Ex. 20).
8. This religion calls for Equal Rights. They reject anything which would separate in anyway, (pgs. 20, 21, pt. 11.)
A. Christianity says the woman is to be treated as the weaker vessel, (I Pet. 3:7). The Scripture definitely makes a distinction between saved and unsaved.
9. This religion says that man's environment is to blame for whether a man does good or bad. Clean up the surroundings, and the man will be better. By the use of technology we can control our environment, conquest poverty, reduce disease, extend our life span, modify our behavior, alter the course of human events and development, etc., pg. 14.
A. Christianity says clean up the inside with the Gospel and the outside will be clean, (Mk. 7:15).
10. This religion says the goal in life is to have a good job and make a lot of money, and you will be happy, (9-12). Did lots of money make Howard Hughes, Elvis, or Getty happy?
A. Christianity says our goal in life is to glorify God, (I Cor. 10:31). This alone will bring happiness.
11. This religion says that it is time to do away with our profit motivated society and replace it with a socialized and cooperative economic system, (Ps. 10:14). Share the wealth. Take from the Haves and give to the Have Not, (Welfare).
A. (Lk. 19:15), Christianity says a profit motivated society is Scriptural.
12. This religion says there is no room for faith in our society, but that reason and intelligence is the answer, (17-4).
A. Christianity says faith in God and His word is the answer, (Heb. 11).
13. This religion says that the puritanical culture unduly represses sexual freedom. That the right to abortion and divorce should be recognized, (18-6). They do not want to prohibit sexual behavior in any way between consenting adults. We must reject all "religious or moral codes that suppress freedom (18-5)."
A. Christianity says true freedom comes from knowing Christ and following Him. He alone can make mankind free, (Jn. 8:32, 36).
14. They want to go to an open democratic society instead of rule by laws, (19-8).
A. Christianity is based on the laws of God.
15. They believe the state should encourage maximum freedom for different morals, political , religious and social values in society, (19-9).
16. This religion believes it is imperative to reduce the level of military spending and put the money into social programs, (21-13)
A. (Luke 11:21) -- Christianity says we need a strong armed forces to protect ourselves.
17. Humanism says that it is imperative that we have separation of church and state, (19-9).
18. This religion comes right out and say there is no reason for a deity, that we are responsible for ourselves, and that we must save ourselves, (pg. 16).
A. (Acts 4:12) -- Christianity says there is no other salvation except what is found in God through Christ.
There are many more things Humanism is teaching that you would recognize, but let me close with this. They tell us the goal they have in teaching these things are: 1.) To destroy anyone who is against their religion, (pg. 3). 2.) To form a one world government, (pg. 4), Rev. 13:21:12.
People stand up on their soap boxes and say, "We shouldn't teach religion in our schools." I guarantee they are teaching religion. According to their own statements and that of our Supreme Court, they are teaching religion, their religion of Humanism. What they are really saying is, "We don't want Christianity taught in our school," because they are teaching their religion. The fight over creation Vs. evolution, abortion Vs. life, is only the tip of the iceberg. These are just the end result of what is being taught. The fight isn't over creation, evolution, abortion, life, but, "We don't want you to remove or hinder the teaching of our religion to your kids." They don't want separation of church and state. They want the Bible and Christianity separated from them so it won't expose their religion.
People who are for evolution and against creation, don't want to have to answer to a creator for their actions. If they would realize they must answer to Him they would be forced to change. --"Knowing this first that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming! For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of that by the word of God the heavens (Creations), were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water (6 days of creation): Whereby the world that then was being overflowed (the flood), with water perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Humanism doesn't believe there is a Judgment--Christians do, (Heb. 9:2).
If man evolved he is responsible to no one except himself. "Do your own thing." "If it feels good, do it." "You set your standards for yourself". If man was created he is responsible to his Creator, and we need to do what is right whether we feel like it or not.
Although evolution is not mandatory in schools, the text book teach it, and it might as well be mandatory. What must we do to remove it? Do we legislate it out? A belief will be taught. Which is going to be taught to your kids. The religion of Humanism, or the Christianity that this nation was built on. We have daily religious instruction for our kids now, the religion of Humanism. I'm all for separation of church and state. Let's get Humanism's churches and religion out of the state. We need to get back to the Biblical foundation this nation was founded on. Should we teach Creation in our schools? One will be taught. Either Humanist doctrine or Christians doctrine. History has more than proved that the Christian doctrine results in higher learning levels, better discipline, better work force, higher individual goals and lower cost to the taxpayer.
We need to get back to the foundations this nation was built on. Someone's ideas will be legislated. We must see, since there will be one of the two taught, that we have the higher of the two, Christian ideals. To do this we must have creation. This is where it must start. Christian values have has always been taught until the humanist education came into power where they were replaced with their values. It is a shame we must legislate to return to the values of our fathers had, but lets do it. Someone values will be legislated..
*Source - Humanist Manifesto I and II. Prometheus Books. Sixth Printing 1978.