November 21, 2010

Secret things

Things done in secret: Does it matter if it hurts no one but me?

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Take my yoke means that we willingly and gladly accept the yoke of his laws upon us. That is, submit to his commands and precepts.

Psalms 1:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 ¶ I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 ¶ Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

The natural desire of man is to remove the bands and cords of God's law from off himself.

Joyfulness comes from submition to his ordinances, and walking according to his laws, commands and orders, always doing the will and work of the Lord.

Yoke... is a symbol of subjection and servitude. The Lord invites the believer to take his yoke upon him, and learn of him; that is, give up self-will, to be in submission to the will of God as revealed in his word, and be content to be in the lowest place. These are the ones who will find rest for their souls. For his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.

Christ uses yoke to mean taking on the genuine Christian religion, and following its laws as found in commandments. (John 14:15, with Proverbs 7:2, &c.) Psalms 2 tells us that the unsaved consider the yoke of the law binding cords and bands that must be broken. Yet Psalms 119 tells us that the yoke of the law is a joy to the believer.

I mentioned to a fellow pastor some time ago that an Old Testament passage that was being quoted by a New Testament author had to be understood in the context of its Old Testament usage, which made the New Testament usage mean something other than what the pastor was using it to mean. (That was years ago, so I do not remember the passage, only the pastor's answer.)

In other words, the understanding of the Old Testament passage in its entire context had to be brought forward in order to get the proper New Testament understanding. He told me that the New Testament author did not use the Old Testament meaning of the passage, and that the quoted passage would stand on its own; this allows the modern "teacher" to change the clear understanding of a New Testament passage where the speaker is quoting from the Old Testament.

All fundamental errors and heresies in the Church may be traced to our Lord's words, Ye do error, not knowing the Scriptures. Partial truth leads to error. In 1846, Charles Bridges made this point, Truth separated from truth becomes error.

In Matthew 11:29, we see that when the New Testament passage is separated from its Old Testament context, it leads to false teaching in the church. Likewise, when the Old Testament passages are separated from its New Testament meaning, the same problem of false teaching arises.

Rest for your souls is found in Jeremiah 6:16. When Christ quoted Jeremiah 6, the people clearly understood its context. V. 16 is in the middle of Jeremiah 6.

In this chapter, the Lord is pronouncing judgment against his people for their wickedness. He is calling the pagan nations to prepare for war against Jerusalem, and warning Jerusalem that because of the wickedness of his people, the enemies will make the land desolate, a land not inhabited, v. 8.

V. 13, from the least even unto the greatest of them, they are all given to covetousness, which is a sin of the heart. That secret sin reveals itself in dealing falsely.

Vv. 14, 15, the Lord calls his people to repent of their secret sins, covetousness, and return to him in obedience, but the religious leaders assure them that all is fine, peace, peace when there is no peace. V. 14.

V. 16, the Lord pleads with them:

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

But the people say, We will not walk therein.

The Lord continues:

17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. 18 ¶ Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. 20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. 21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.

God's judgment cannot be avoided with merely changing actions. There must be a genuine conversion of the mind, will and emotions.

V. 17, Harken to the sound of the trumpet...

In Old Testament Israel, the sounding of the trumpet was a signal for alarm of impending doom. Here we see the prophet warning men to move, and escape from God's judgments. They were to move back to him, or be annulated.

But the people say for the second time, we will not return.

V. 18, Hear O earth, and his people listen also—he proclaims his judgment against his people.

God's judgment is to bring upon his people the just reward of the fruit of their thoughts because they refuse to listen and return to his law.

Their thoughts... The context is covetousness, but the thoughts that bring about judgment include:

Bitterness, anger, lust, hatred, envy, wrath, &c.

The Lord through Jeremiah is saying to his people:

1. Look back to ancient history, and see how success and prosperity forsook our fathers (1 Corinthians 10:1) when they left the God directed way, and followed the way of the heathens. However, his people refused to consider and change.

2. God raised up prophets from among his people, sounding the trumpet of warning of impending doom if they did not return to the Lord's laws in their thoughts. However, they refused to hear and change.

3. He calls to his congregation to hear and know and understand what is about to come upon them for their sins, and for rejecting his plea to return to him for their rest.

4. God calls the entire earth to witness: He is going to bring evil against his people for their opposition and rejection to his law. Notice that God's action against them is not in response to their actions. Rather, it is in response to their thoughts—Fruit of their thoughts.

Matthew 12:35, A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

5. There was no shortage of sacrifices in the temple, but those sacrifices were mere outward service. The hearts of those offering the sacrifices were in rebellion against my words, ... my law. The judgment was not a result of not doing, but of not converting the heart. To obey is better than sacrifice, 1 Samuel 15:22.

6. V. 21, Stumblingblocks case people to fall. The Lord himself puts things before them that will cause them to fall. They would not fall if their hearts were stayed upon him, (Isaiah 26:3) but their hearts were set and hardened in their own ways.

7. Note the length and depth of God's judgment:

Jeremiah 7:19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

Every area of creation suffers for man's sin.

Summation:

Jeremiah clearly tells us that the Lord offered his people rest for your souls, if they would return to him and walk in his ways.
They refused.
He sent prophets to sound the warning, yet they still refused.

His call to return was more than simply bring their actions into conformity to his words and law. Rather, it was a call to convert the thoughts and intents of the heart, which they refused to do. It was the unlawful, secret things of the heart that was causing God to move against his people by placing stumblingblocks before them.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Christ brought the entire thought forward when he offered rest for your souls. The rest Christ offered can only come from genuine heart conversion from hating and rejecting the Lord's yoke, the word and law of the Lord.

Is it too late to turn God's judgment aside in this nation? Probably, for even those called by his name love the prophets who prophesy falsely identified in Jeremiah 5:31, which was given before he gave the words of chapter 6. The stumbling blocks are all around us, and his people are falling victim to them like flies.

V. 13, stumbling blocks that feed covetousness:

bill boards, TV and movies, &c.

Now, do the secret things matter?

Certainly they do, just as much as the things done openly. The difference is that people see unlawful deeds, and the Lord sees the unlawful thoughts of the heart. It is the Lord who brings judgment upon individuals and upon nations.

Secret things that out of public sight—that is, the thoughts and intents of the hearts that never see action
Secret things that are out of public sight—that is, the actions "behind closed doors" have social consequences.

The unsavory fruit of the thoughts will come to pass.

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Luke 12:3 3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

"I am harming no one but myself" is the enemy's lie. We not only harm ourselves, but all of society pays the price for the secret rebellions against God's word and law.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness (in the thoughts and in the actions) exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

A righteous life conforms to the standards established by God's word. However, a righteous life does not result in eternal life, for that comes only through the applied righteousness of Christ.

Jeremiah 6:19 I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

Job had a righteous life, chapters 29-31. Job shows us how righteousness is worked out into society through an individual. We also see that Job was not depending upon his outworking righteousness to result in his salvation. He was at all times looking toward his Redeemer.

Righteous thoughts and conduct can only be secured by plucking up or plowing under the wicked and worldly affections of the heart:

Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you}

Righteous thoughts and conduct issues must come from a new heart that only Christ can produce

Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.}

Habakkuk 2:4 the just shall live by his faith.

That is, faith in Christ makes one righteous before the Father. Christ's righteousness results in righteous actions. Job 29-31 gives excellent examples of righteous actions.

Isaiah 32:15-17, couples righteousness with the work of the Spirit, all resulting in peace and therefore eternal, assured quietness.

Because there has been reconciliation between man and God through Christ, peace comes to bless man's way.

In other words, true morality in individuals or nations comes from the righteousness of Christ placed in individual hearts through faith, and then lived out in lives. The final quote here is from:

Isaiah 60:21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

Isaiah prophecies concerning the Gospel Church. He speaks of the indwelling Spirit of God through faith in Christ, and that Spirit working out in His people's lives, righteous actions that glorify God. If righteous actions are missing, then we are allowed to assume that the righteousness of Christ is also missing.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

The second part of the verse says, any people. Thus, this verse applies to both a nation and to any individual.

The Word of God clearly links godliness with prosperity and ungodliness with misery. Because nations are made up of individuals, nations are also linked to the same things.

Biblical history proves that godliness and prosperity as well as ungodliness and misery is the fate of any nation as well as any individual. Godly nations shall prosper, and sinful nations shall suffer misery. Deuteronomy 27 & 28 clearly spells out the blessings and curses of glorifying God or failure to glorify him. Jeremiah 6 shows us that Deuteronomy covers much more than just actions.

A nation is not great because of its political wisdom, the conquests of its enemies, its excellent trade policies that make other nations debtors to it, its manufacturing abilities, its natural resources, nor anything that men consider greatness. Both Greece and Rome were considered great nations, but they were overrun with degradation. Their greatness only existed in fanciful stories and dreams.

Contrast the influence of ungodliness which produces suffering and misery with the influence of Christianity which produces peace and prosperity. Sin is a reproach to any people; that is, there is no individual nor nation that can escape the misery of sin, nor is there any that can escape the peace and prosperity of godliness.

We exalt and compliment patriotism, and those who are willing to give all for their country. However, patriotism without righteousness in thoughts and actions can only lead to judgment. God may use the patriot to advance his temporal interest, but that unrighteous patriot is an enemy of God who will bring God's judgement.

No individual nor nation is so low he can go no lower. Ungodliness removes the protective covering that only God can provide. Men and nations can invest all their resources to protect themselves, but only God can protect.

Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

The ungodly man is an enemy to his country, no matter how loudly he proclaims his patriotism, nor how much he might advance his nation's interests.

Those in authority who are wanting to remake America after their own image are against "Talk Radio." They are blaming "Talk Radio" for hindering their plans, so they want to stop it as much as possible.

Now, as much as I appreciate the truth presented by "Talk Radio," especially short-wave and computer radio, these hosts are enemies of this country. They present answers to this nation's ills that have nothing to do with righteousness as defined by God's word.

They are violating the first commandment. They have made and are persuading others to trust in another god, a god after their own imagination. They think that by getting people to understand the constitution and live by it, they can salvage America.

I wonder if the nice sounding patriots and those who offer hope other than righteousness are the slumbering blocks set before this nation, in order to bring God's judgment?

I have heard preachers say that if they can get enough people to profess Christ with their mouth, they can rescue American

However, no "talk shows" are calling America to repentance toward God and faith in Christ. In fact, very few preachers are doing that.

We are in the midst of a flood of infidelity, lawlessness and ungodliness, yet no one is calling for righteousness.

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me," means also "Thou shalt have no other powers before me." "Thou shalt have no other hope other than righteousness before me."

Our only hope in the imparted righteousness of Christ as it is lived from the heart out.

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it