Tag Archives: Witness

From Such Turn Away

2 Timothy 3:1-5 King James Version

3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

This is quite a list of people to turn away from.  The admonishment is not that we should not witness to these people groups mentioned here.  We MUST witness to them, but in the loving, gentle, patient way that we talked about in our last lesson.  The people on this list are certainly opposing themselves, and must learn to restore themselves to the place where God can guide their path.  They have lost their way and will have a hard time coming back if we are not apt to help them along.  The types of people mentioned here are indeed the hardest of all to witness to as well.  Most are so full of themselves there is no room for anyone else, especially God.  But if we can help to get just a little bit of themselves put to the side, there is where our opportunity is to chare the gospel with them.  We must watch for these moments carefully and take advantage when we see them arise.

The condition of these men is the reason perilous times have come.  When more and more people start to act on the manners described here our society starts to break down.  People will not care as much about others.  The neighborly manner in which we treat each other will slowly vanish.  Responsibility for one’s actions will disappear and accountability will vanish.  As a result, people will think they can do whatever they want with impunity.  If they are called out for their immoral behavior, the one who is on the right side will be called wring and will face persecution.  Right will become wrong and wrong will become right.  The biblical morality we once lived by will be replaced by an ever-changing worldly morality that will cater to the whim of those who have given into the lusts of the world. 

Can anyone truly deny that we are currently seeing this happen today more than just 10 years ago?  I can give a hundred examples of this but I will stick with a few.  We see school shootings and mass shootings going up all the time. Instead of centering on the critical problem that is driving these shootings, we say it’s the fault of the gun that person is handling.  Instead of doing a better job tracking and tacking care of those with mentality issues. We let them loose on a society that has little protection from them.  Instead of defending our schools in practical ways we simply lock the doors, making it even worse if a shooter does get in somehow.  The shooter is rarely held accountable as they should be.  They get a prison cell where they are catered to and the taxpayer pays for their life to the tune of $50,000 a year.  There they can finally get the help they need, but they rarely do.  Here we see these attributes form the list above: disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, fierce, despisers of those that are good.

The second example I will site is the prevalence of the gender identity discussion.  We are adding genders all the time instead of just looking at a person and knowing what sex they are biologically.  I hear on Facebook you can now choose from 56 different genders when choosing a sexual identity.  We wonder why our children are confused?  In our schools, it is taught that it does not matter if you identify as any of these genders.  All should be accepted for who they are and what they are.  In many states it is against the law to council those that are claiming such status as is against their biological identity.  You have to let them do whatever they want to do.  I cannot imagine what our society will look like when the next generation takes over.  It will be sexual nirvana for those who are raised in it, but total sexual chaos for everyone else.  In the list above, we see lovers of their own selves, covetousness, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, without natural affection and blasphemers in this group.

This is only the beginning of what we are seeing today.  Our society is falling farther short of the glory of God every day and people are caring less and less about it.  In fact, our minds are being numbed to what God wants as our ability to express disgust with these things is challenged more and more by what is becoming the mainstream.  Godly ways are called wrong, worldly passions are indulged in and no one seems to care.  It is harder and harder to find someone that will stand up for what is right and decent.  Harder and harder to speak the truth.  Harder and harder to witness to those whose hearts are gone so far away.

We must turn away from hanging around with such people all the time because we might get pulled into their own ditches and mistruths.  We might find ourselves sympathizing with them.  We must turn away from all these practices, which I am not going to try and explain one by one.  We must turn away from close friendships that might entangle us.  But we cannot turn away from doing everything we can to get them to trust us sop that we might bring the truth to them.  And we must present that truth in the method that Paul explains at the end of the previous chapter: with gentleness, patience and meekness.  We must slowly instruct them in the ways of a God who loves them just as much as He loves us.  God’s desire is to have them turn from their ungodly ways, to stop opposing themselves and to come back to Him.  Can we be such witnesses for the Lord?  They may all look on the outside like they are godly but they do not know God’s power to save.  Many would love to be saved from their ways, but they deny there is a power that can do that.  We must show them the power of God unto salvation that is Jesus Christ.  They need that power to touch their lives, and we can be the instrument of God to make that happen.  Let us not leave them to the devil’s whims.  Let us shine our light so brightly that they will be drawn to us!

No Other Doctrine

1 Timothy 1:3-4

3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Paul faced a constant battle with false teachers everywhere he went. He would set up a church, explain to them that salvation is by grace through faith, and they would all rejoice that they did not to do anything to earn their salvation. After he left the area, false teachers would come in and tell them they were not saved until they were circumcised or baptized or some other work of the flesh that was needed. It was happening all over the new church and it was deceiving many into thinking they actually had to do these things to be part of Christ’s church.

As we explained in the last post, our salvation was secured at Calvary. The only thing you have to do is accept the free gift. Jesus paid the price. He took the penalty for sin once and for all. There is nothing you can do, or have to do, to earn your salvation. It can’t be earned, It can only be taken as the free gift it is. If you are depending on anything else, or any work of the flesh, to obtain your salvation, then you have been listening to false teachers.

Paul decided to leave Timothy in Ephesus so he put down some of these teachings. He specifically mentions two things. Endless genealogies and fables. Timothy had a task ahead of him. The teachers in the church were teaching these things and Timothy had to put a stop to it. Paul wanted to make sure that the teachers were teaching things of God that would edify the people and their faith. Paul went on to Macedonia to check on the churches there and possibly start more.

Endless genealogies points to teaching that says our lineage is what makes us acceptable to God. In those days, being a son of Abraham was a big deal, and claiming that you were a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was an even bigger thing. There are many places in the Bible where God is described as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have top remember that Jacob was later named Israel, and thus the father of the nation. Isaac was also the father of Esau, who was the father of the Edomites, arch enemies of the Israelites. We could spend days hashing out genealogies and get nowhere.

The fact is that we are part of the faith covenant with Abraham. Abrahams seed includes all who by faith accept Christ’s sacrifice since Christ was the fulfillment of the law. We are blessed, just as the nation of Israel is blessed, when we have this faith in God because without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The Bible says that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). This is the faith we must have. Not faith in genealogies, but faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ.

In today’s world, many think that they can hang on the coattails of their parents and grandparents. They think that their genealogy can get them into heaven. The believe that because they go to their parents church and have been good all their lives, they are assured a place in heaven. This could not be further from the truth. We all make heaven our home by our own personal decision. We must believe that Jesus died as an atonement for our sins and that he rose again to give us eternal life. We must act on that belief by accepting the sacrifice He made and making Him the Lord of our lives. We must relent of our sins and leave them at His feet. This is what brings salvation into our lives. Once saved, we must obey His commandments in order to even see the Kingdom of heaven. Nothing in your genealogy can save you. Your parents cannot take you to heaven. Only you can make that decision.

Fables speaks of things made up that falsify the truth. One of the chief examples of this in Paul’s time was the Judaizers. They preached that circumcision must be done to those who accepted Christ. This was a subversion of the truth of the gospel. Paul tells Timothy here that anything that ministers questions in the mind of the believer should not be taught, but things that minister grace.

We have to remember the times they were in. The gospel was preached to the people, not read by the people. The heathen, or Gentiles, did not know the Old Testament either. They had to take the word they were told and process it. It is so different today. When Paul preached, people took him at his word. It was all they knew about what happened. When false teachers came in and told them something different, it raised questions in their minds whether Paul was telling the truth. This is what Paul was trying to stop.

Today we have a lot of examples of false teaching that raises questions. Some would say that all Protestants are following a fabrication of the truth and that Catholicism is the only way to God. Of course, I disagree because Christ is the only way to God, not any church organization. Some would say that once you are saved you are always saved and cannot lose your place in heaven. Jesus clearly says otherwise (Matt 7:21). Some would say if you want something, anything, just claim it from God and it’s yours. If you don’t get it, you don’t have enough faith. I do not believe that for a minute because God is sovereign and He will decide what is best for you. You really don’t know what is best for you at any given moment. God knows you better than you know yourself and he will always do what is best for you.

Then there are some who say once you get saved, grace will cover anything you do after that. Jesus also contradicts that belief by saying we should be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matt 5:48). As stated above, He says that not everyone who calls Him Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father. What is that will? It is found in Matthew chapters 5-7. We are under grace, but we are also told we must do you best to follow Christ’s commands. We can’t just go and do anything we want and expect grace to cover us. Even Jesus knew this as shown by His testing in the wilderness. Satan came to Him three times tempting Him and Jesus did not fall for his charms (Matthew 4:1-11). If anyone would have been covered by grace it would be Jesus. Paul says God forbid that we should continue in sin so grace can cover us (Romans 6:1-2). Let’s not fall for the grace covers all gospel.

These and many more “fables” are around in the church today to lure even the very elect away from the gospel message (Matthew 24:24). The NAR (New Apostolic Reformation church is the latest in trickery. I am not going to get into all the various ways that this cult is drawing people away from the gospel, but I suggest you study it out yourself. It is very deceptive and is sweeping through churches around the globe. I am saddened by how easily people are drawn away from Christ and the pure Gospel message.

Let us be ministers of grace. Grace that leads people to repentance. Grace that tells people of the cross and the price that Jesus paid for them so many years ago. Grace that says you can accept this sacrifice of love by faith if you’ll only believe. It is a simple message that is as profound in so many ways. Christ crucified, the hope of glory. Let us never forget the Gospel message and let us preach it wherever we go.

The Mystery of His Will

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

A lot of what Paul says in Ephesians is everyday Christian knowledge. It is good to review the basics once in awhile. In Christ we have redemption through the blood of Jesus. He forgave us of our sins. We did nothing to deserve it. It was by the riches of his grace. And he has abounded that Grace to us in all wisdom.

 I am so glad for the grace of God.  When I try to define Grace I usually use the acronym God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. He bore a terrible death so that I could have God’s riches. He willingly went to the cross. He could have called ten thousand angels when they tried to take him in the garden but He did not.  He knew the future He faced and He did not back away from it. When He was praying in the garden,  He knew what He was going to have to face and He did not back away from it.

Still today, He abounds His grace toward us. He uses His wisdom and His prudence to shower us with grace every single day in the areas where we need it. God is not obliged to give us anything. It’s all by grace that He provides for our daily needs. We can go all the way back to Noah and realize that God can destroy this earth anytime He wants to. But He loves people so much that He won’t do that.  He said He never will flood the Earth again, and I’m glad

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Paul says God has made known to us the mystery of his will. Do you know the mystery of his will? I know a lot of Christians that say “I need to find God’s will for my life”. Well I’m here to tell you today that His will is sitting right in front of you.  You’re reading out of it every single day hopefully. What is the mystery? The mystery is that we can miss it so easily!  What did Jesus come to do? He saved the lost, he healed the sick, opened blinded eyes, made the lame to walk, set the captive free and proclaimed the good news. And He told that the things we have seen him do,  we should do, and that we will do greater things. That’s His will. Then He told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel.  That’s His will.

Eventually Jesus will return and ,Paul says, in the fullness of time  He wants to gather us all together. But,, until that time we have work to do.  We need to see that people find Christ. That’s His will for our lives. To go out and find souls that are lost and bring them into the kingdom.  We need to ask God to heal, deliver them, and sanctify them, just like He has done for us.  Then we give thanks to God.  Start right where you are, and if God has more for you to do, He will let you know.  His will is right in front of you!    It’s really pretty simple. Why do we make it so complex.

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

WI discussed predestination last lesson, so I will not go back into that.  Paul adds here that we have obtained an inheritance. How did we obtain an inheritance? How many of you know that a will does not go into force until the one who left the will has died? I bet all of you answered yes to that one. Well the word of God is God’s will. And the Word was made flesh and came and dwelt among us (John 1:14). His name is Jesus. And Jesus went to the cross and died.  When Jesus died, God’s will then came into force. It became our inheritance. That’s another reason why it is our duty  to carry out His will.  But along with that, we inherited all the blessings of the word.  The fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23), the gifts of the spirit (I Cor 12:8-10), the blessings of obedience (Deut 28:1-13).  I could go on and on.  I have  a few friends who are talking about reading through the bible this year, and this is one reason that is a good idea – you will get to read all the blessings that are ours because of this inheritance.

Now we are not to carry out this will to glorify ourselves and bring praise to our lives! We do all these things in order to bring glory to Jesus Christ and God the Father. He deserves all the praise and all the glory because He’s the one that makes it possible. Never forget that

Attaining Christ Jesus

Philippians 3:11-12

“ If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Here Paul summarizes the previous verse by saying that he would love to attain the resurrection of the Dead. The beauty of this is because Jesus rose from the dead we will all be resurrected into new life in Christ. We will put off the old mortal body and take on a new Immortal body (1 Cor 15:53). And we will reign with Jesus in heaven (2 Tim 2:12). This was all provided because Jesus rose from the dead. I’m so glad for the hope that we have in Christ.  I have no doubt that Paul will be in heaven and I look forward to meeting him someday.

Then Paul declares that he has not already attained this. Paul knew that he still had work to do. He knew that when God was ready to take him, he’d go. But until that time he still had work to do. He says he’s not already perfect but he’s going to follow after Jesus Christ. Look at the example of Christ – He was giving his life to the very end. Even on the cross as he was suffering and dying by the hands of the Romans he said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). What a powerful statement for someone who had just been beaten half to death and was nailed to a cross.

What about our lives? Are you still working and striving for the gospel, doing all you can to minister to others and to spread the word of Jesus Christ and his saving power? It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are, God can use you in great ways to reach out to people. There’s so many things and so many people that we can touch every day. During my cancer treatments, I am pretty well confined to quarters. I can’t get out Minister like I’d like to. I’m praying that between the three blogs and the Facebook page that I have, people are being touched by the gospel. We need to use the tools that are available to us to do as much as we can to reach out to others.

Paul talks about being apprehended by Jesus for a reason.  We were all chosen by Christ for a reason.  Have you found your reason yet?  I can tell you one thing for sure. You are a vessel for His love and peace to reach into a lost dying world.  Your circle of influence is different than mine.  Your mission field is all around you.  Are you busy in that field, plating seeds and tending to the harvest?  Are you doing all you can to help as many people as possible get to know Jesus?  I have to admit I am not.  I need to get busy.  Let’s all start to witness more, love more, spread more joy and peace around this world.  We can make a difference!

Like Minded and Bringing God Glory

Philippians 2:20-21

” For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s”

As we discussed in the previous lesson, Paul mentored Timothy and trusted him implicitly to go back and minister to the Philippian Church. He says here that Timothy is the only one who is like minded with him and that Timothy will naturally care for the church.

Isn’t that what discipleship is all about? Jesus did everything He could to try to teach His disciples to be like minded with Him. Over and over again we see Him explaining the parables in detail to the disciples so they will understand the deeper meaning of the simple stories He was telling. We see Him take aside the disciples many times and teach them kingdom principles. And we see the final prayer in John where He instructs the disciples on what they need to be doing and what they will face.

He knew he would be leaving this world and wanted the disciples prepared for what was to come. Life would not be easy for them. He knew they would face scorn and ridicule and He wanted them to be strong in the face of it. He wanted them to be like minded with Him and to be able to trust them with the message that He left.

I find it fascinating that the one who denied him three times – Peter – is the one who became the greatest spokesman in the Jerusalem Church. He was also the first one to go to the Gentiles when he went to see Cornelius. It boggles the mind to see what the Holy Spirit can do to a man. Peter was just a fisherman and he became the Lord’s greatest spokesman.  He gave his life for his Savior. What an example for us to follow.

Paul then addresses a problem that is still in the church today. There are too many ministers and pastors that are only seeking their own and not seeking the things which are Christ. You might ask who are these? These are the ones refuse to teach the uncompromising word of God. They don’t have a problem compromising on abortion. They don’t have a problem compromising on gay and lesbian relationships. They don’t have a problem compromising on many issues that are very explicit in the Bible. They just want to be liked and don’t want to be controversial.

When you look at the teachings of Jesus, He was extremely controversial in His day. And He never backed down to the scribes and the Pharisees. He preached the uncompromising word because He was sent from His Father and He had to tell the truth. He was not here to seek His own glory but to bring glory to the Father. We need to be the same way. Never compromise what the word of God says. Now we need to love one another and all of our preaching needs to be done in love and with a heart to restore and to save the lost soul. We are not here to condemn anyone. It is also not our job to convince them that their sinners.  That is the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:8-11). All we can do is present the gospel message and hope that they hear it.

So let’s be like Timothy. Let’s be like minded with Christ and care for the church enough to tell them the truth. We should never seek our own glory, but seek to glorify Jesus Christ in everything we do.

 

Lord, Help me never to seek any glory for myself.  I want to glorify you in all I say and do.  Help me preach the uncompromising Word of God, that sinners will come to repentance and be saved.