Ephesians Pt 18 Masters and Slaves

Ephesians 6:5-9(ESV)5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ. 6 Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. 7 Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord. 9 And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him.

The apostle Paul wrote this to show how Christian workers and bosses should treat each other. It is addressed to slaves and masters, not to employees and employers. The idea of masters and slaves is different from our western way of thinking. Although our text was written to slaves and masters, it applies directly to employees and employers. It shows practically how those filled with the Holy Spirit, who subject themselves to one another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:18-21), should relate to one another in the workplace. Paul is saying,Your relationship to Christ and the fact that you live primarily for the glory of the Father should transform your relationships at work to reflect His work in you.

Slavery had been a common practice in many ancient societies such as Egypt, China and the Middle East. Most slaves originated from the spoils of war, kidnap or voluntarily to pay for debts. The treatment of slaves varied in the ancient world, but in most cases slaves were the property of the master, with little or no rights or status. This meant that many were treated harshly, although most ancient societies had some laws to regulate slavery, such as the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1750 BC).

Slavery was allowed in the Old Testament, this may shock some that slavery was an accepted practice. It must be noted that the slavery mentioned in the bible is very different to the slavery that occurred in the Americas in the 17th and 18th Centuries which is the popular view of slavery today. Old Testament treatment of slaves was also generally more humane than the slavery practiced in other ancient civilizations.

Throughout biblical times slavery was a common practice. The bible does not condemn slavery but has clear teaching on how slaves should be treated, which was often counter-cultural to the practices of surrounding nations. Biblical slavery amongst Jews was often an act of mercy to provide for the poor rather than an act of exploitation. The bible condemns the abuse of slaves and the forced enslavement of people and slaves were to be treated well in both Old and New Testaments.

The Israelites were to treat their enslaved fellow Hebrews as if they were servants. (Leviticus 25:39-40). They were also to give them the option of their freedom in the 7th year of their service (Exodus 21:2), and give them the means to make a new start (Deuteronomy 15:12-18), although they could remain a slave if they chose.

Exodus 21:16 (ESV) “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.

It’s verses like this that John Newton, the slave trader in England thought of as he wrote the hymn Amazing Grace.  He knew full well that because of his sins, he deserved death and yet the Lord granted him repentance and faith.

Slavery was permitted in the Old Testament…
There were reasons for slavery. If an Israelite fell upon hard times they could offer to work for someone else who would in turn look after them (Leviticus 25:39). If a thief was caught and could not make restitution then they were to be sold for the theft (Exodus 22:3). Debtors who went bankrupt could be forced to sell their children into slavery (2 Kings 4:1). These reasons all apply to Hebrew slaves, however, it is difficult to say why the bible allowed them to take foreign slaves. Maybe it was a way of dealing with prisoners of war rather than killing them? Perhaps they needed slaves to prosper as a nation? Both these reasons could apply to David putting the conquered Ammonites to forced labour (2 Samuel 12:31(ESV)31 And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at[a] the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

Slavery is not condemned in the New Testament either.

Paul doesn’t condemn the system of slavery because it isn’t exactly like what we think of when we think of slavery.  When it was practiced under God’s boundaries it was a lot like an employer and employee relationship.

Galatians 3:28-29 (ESV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Paul could say this because whether one was a servant or a master, the blood of Christ has made them equal in His kingdom. Rather than condemning slavery, Paul explains that the Kingdom of God is a leveling, equalizing kingdom. Often, in the church of the first century the slave/master relationship would be turned around when they entered the church.  In the outside world the slave was the follower. He did what his master told him to do.  Once they entered the church, the slave might be an elder and the master would submit to his leadership. Paul was not opposed to the freedom of slaves if the opportunity arose. Paul believed that God had called people to different stations in life and they were to live out the Christian life in the situation in which they were called.
1 Corinthians 7:17-24(ESV)17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
For slaves to disobey their masters would have caused God’s name to be reviled. Slaves were to please God by their service and the brotherly love with a believing master should be another reason for serving him well. Masters were to treat their slaves well because they both had the same master in heaven with whom there is no partiality.

1 Timothy 6:1-2(ESV)Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

In a list of the lawless and disobedient (1Timothy 1:10(ESV), the New Testament condemns those who take people captive to sell them into slavery, which is consistent with Old Testament Law.

In Paul’s letter to Philemon, he urges Philemon to receive back the runaway slave Onesimus as a brother, but Paul does not command him to be released from slavery.

There were abuses in slavery but we must not allow the abuses to cloud our thinking.

Jesus didn’t condemn slavery.

Luke 7:2-10 (ESV)Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

The centurion’s servant was under his authority and did whatever he told him to do.  The centurion understood authority.  He was under the emperor’s authority; his soldiers were under his authority.  He also knew that the disease that plagued his servant was under Jesus’ authority.  Just like when the centurion gave an order, it was carried out.  He knew that Jesus could just give the order and the disease would obey. Jesus didn’t say, you should not have a slave.  But rather He healed this man’s servant whom he loved and cared for.

Slavery has only been explicitly ‘outlawed’ for the last 150 years. The historical momentum of slavery and the slave trade still guides the minds of the elites today because it is everywhere as an economic system. Enslavement is a technique/technology wielded by institutions. Like any technique/technology, improvements and innovations outmode prior models and methods. When automobiles became abundant, horse-drawn carriages were banned from the roadway. This would not be called the “abolition of traffic”.

Slavery upgraded from an apparent system to a not so apparent system. Plantations were replaced by ‘plants’ and factories. Masters of industry are bosses of industry: slave owners were business leaders, moguls, empire-builders, who arranged systems of human employment designed to maintain and reinforce their positions as the elite. A free and endless supply of laborers helps to maximize and centralize revenue. They “put people to work”, they were “job creators”. The overt system of African slave labor built the infrastructure of a more subtle wage slavery system. When the 13th Amendment was ratified and slaveholders lost their ability under the law to “create jobs” and “put people to work” in the old way, they simply used the wealth they had amassed from exploiting slave labor to tweak the process and procedure of slave-taking into something more accommodating. A “soft slavery” was demanded and provided, economic enslavement not imposed by physical brutality and violence, not limited to one marginalized group of humans determined by the color of one’s skin, not upheld by the illusion of racial divisions, but an all-inclusive and sneaky slavery, a slavery that masquerades with the facade of free will. The modern day equivalent to biblical master and slave is …… Employer and employee

This following scripture is the emphasis of the entire Bible. The first and greatest commandment is (Matthew 22:37-39(ESV)37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ) The second greatest commandment is that we love one another. But the Lord does not put that command first. It is deliberately second, because the primary thing in life, the foundation for everything else, is that you love the Lord God, who sent His son Jesus Christ as our atonement on the cross so we can have a right relationship with Him. Everyone has a personal relationship with Jesus. Some are redeemed and some are condemned. A right relationship with Christ is primary!

In this very instructive passage, the apostle deals with three things:
1. There is activity which is required by this relationship.

2. There is an attitude in which that activity is to be performed.

3. There is an awareness of a fundamental principle at work that keeps this whole relationship from degenerating into tyranny.

First, there is an activity required on the part of employees, and it is put in one word — obedience: “obey your earthly masters.” This is the same Greek word that occurs in Chapter 6, Verse 1, with regard to children. “Children, obey your parents.” We looked at that last week. It means to follow orders. It is a military term, and it means that Christian employees are under obligation to those who hire them to do what they say. It is really very simple. Do what the boss says, obey him. Don’t talk bad about him or her behind their back, don’t just give them lip service. Do what they say. If you are a janitor be the best janitor the company ever had. Follow orders.

Second, and this is the important thing which he says four different ways, Obey with a sincere heart. Ephesians 6:5-7(ESV)”with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” This means without divided loyalty, freedom from the tension that is created by conflicting loyalties. In other words, settle it once and for all in your mind that you are not there merely to please the boss, you are there to please the Lord. You are to carry your relationship of concern for the Lord to your work as well as to your church. You are to work as unto Christ, and your supreme concern is your loyalty to him. If you are trying to please two different forces, those around you and the Lord, you will be torn apart with a conflicting tension that never lets up. To begin with, workers are called to obey their employers with fear and trembling. We must notice that the fear and trembling is not because your boss is mean but because you represent Jesus at your job.  You want to do a good job and work hard because whether your boss is a believer or not, will see the difference Christ makes in one’s life.  It goes on to say, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

The bottom line is that whether you like your boss or not, whether your boss notices your efforts or not, you are to be diligent in your work.  Sooner or later someone will notice that you don’t stand around and do nothing even when there’s nothing really to do, you find something.  Even this is not for your benefit.  We don’t want noticed to get ahead. Ephesians 6:6-7(ESV)6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, At times when other employees are grumbling and complaining you are hard at work.  When we work hard and are faithful to our employers, we will get noticed and compensated.  Because we are really working for the Lord and not for our employer, He will justly reward our efforts. So he says, obey “doing the will of God from the heart”. Paul expresses the same idea negatively, “not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers…” Then positively, “…but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

Four times the idea is put forth: never work for men, you Christians, work only for God. You can work under a man’s direction, but remember that you are working unto the Lord, that your daily task is work that he has given you to do, and you do it unto him. What a glory this gives to every task. The first sign is eye-service. Do you know what that means? That means working only when the boss is watching. When he turns his back, you quit working. That is eye-service. It is that attitude that so widely invades our society today, the idea of working only when the boss is watching. If you are a Christian, this is absolutely forbidden if you want to be faithful to your Lord. Remember, the eye that watches you is not a human eye. Therefore, the first sign of a divided loyalty is eye-service.

The second sign of failure in this respect is men-pleasing. Notice how the apostle is putting his finger on the attitudes that are found so frequently in this relationship of labor and capital. Men-pleasing! What is it? It is playing office politics, buttering up the boss. It reveals a double heart, the lack of a single eye. It reveals that we are trying to get on by making men happy but disregarding what God thinks.

One other factor is added by way of motivation. There is to be an awareness, Paul says, of an unseen but powerful fact: Ephesians 6:8(ESV)8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. It does not make any difference what your status in life is. When work is done unto Christ, he undertakes to correct the conditions that make for unhappiness, or else to make compensate on another level. Notice that he does not promise always to correct the condition, because God’s will is that Christians must sometimes live as his Son lived, under very difficult and contrary conditions, and manifest his grace anyhow. They are poor homes, but homes where happiness dwells. It does not take wealth to be happy.

Third, There is an awareness of a fundamental principle at work that keeps this whole relationship from degenerating into tyranny. Employers must be certain that his or her lifestyle is not a contradiction. Any attempt to bring Christianity into the workplace will backfire if the employees or customers see hypocrisy in a boss’s personal life or ethics. When Christian employers consider themselves first and foremost servants of Christ, they will see their position as a divine assignment from God. (Romans 1:1(ESV)Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, They will make all decisions based on pleasing Jesus as the real Boss.

Treat them justly and fairly. Christian bosses have no right to treat employees as personal possessions. They are not existing for your enrichment. You have no right merely to extract money from them, to exploit them, to use the sweat of their brow only that you may become richer. No Christian master has the right to think this way. Treat them as people with problems, and listen to their problems, do something about them. This is his exhortation.

If you are an employee, the Lord shows us through Paul how He wants us to walk in the spirit and submit at our jobs. Like with all the rest of the relational texts and examples, we are to obey the Scriptures for the glory of Christ.  You are to work hard at your job, not to get ahead but to bring glory to your Lord.

Ephesians 6:8-9(ESV)8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Whether employer or employee, children of God should live every day in the fear of the Lord. When our relationship with God holds top priority in our lives, all other relationships will benefit. One major relational shift that faith in Christ should produce is the servant attitude Jesus had. Mark 10:42–45(ESV)42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. We all come the same way: broken, humble, and repentant. We leave justified and forgiven, but with a new heart to love and serve others. Even if employees do not know Christ, a Christian employer can demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) with humility and patience. If the boss isn’t a Christian the employee can still show the fruits of the spirit as well and serve the boss knowing he is doing his or her work as unto the Lord. The thrust of this passage inescapable, we are to do our work as if Jesus was our employer.  We are to do it diligently but with a proper attitude.  Realizing that Jesus is our employer is the only way we can labor under certain less favorable conditions with a godly attitude.  1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

If you’re a worker, work for the greatest Boss in the world, work for Jesus.

The Lord takes us a step further here than to simply say as an employee…work hard!!  Jesus would tell us to work hard with a proper attitude.  The only way this can take place is if we are walking in the Spirit.  It’s not the deed done well only but the motivation is just as important.

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Purpose of the Church Pt2 Teach Sound Doctrine

Is it enough to “just believe in Jesus” in some structureless sense that separates “faith” from any particular doctrine about Him, or is doctrine—and the content of our faith—really important after all?

Scripture plainly teaches that we must be sound in the faith—which is to say that doctrine does matter.
1 Timothy 4:6(ESV)6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

 2 Timothy 4:2-3(ESV)2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

Titus 1:9(ESV)9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Titus 2:1(ESV)But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Sound Doctrine matters a lot.

1 Timothy 6:3-4(ESV)3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions.

The purpose of the church is to teach and preach sound doctrine while protecting the flock from wolves and false teachers. The Bible is clear that we are not to treat wolves in the same way that we treat sheep. The great Protestant Reformer Martin Luther said it well: “With the wolves you cannot be too severe; with the weak sheep you cannot be too gentle”. Luther also said, A preacher must not only feed the sheep so as to instruct them how they are to be good Christians, but he must also keep the wolves from attacking the sheep and leading them astray with false doctrine and error;

Sound, biblical doctrine is a necessary aspect of true wisdom and authentic faith. The attitude that scorns doctrine while elevating feelings or blind trust cannot legitimately be called faith at all, even if it masquerades as Christianity.

God holds us accountable for what we believe as well as how we think about the truth He has revealed. All Scripture testifies to the fact that God wants us to know and understand the truth. He wants us to be wise. His will is that we use our minds. We are supposed to think, meditate, and above all, to be discerning.

The content of our faith is crucial. Sincerity is not sufficient.Paul charges Titus, Titus 2:1 (ESV)“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine”. Such a mandate makes it obvious that sound doctrine is important. But why is it important? Does it really make a difference what we believe? If I were to ask you what you think is the largest problem facing the church in America, what would your response be?

“A lack of biblical discernment. The church basically suffers from spiritual AIDS. It could die of a thousand heresies because its immune system is so totally deficient” John MacArthur

Discernment = In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22(ESV) teaches that it is the responsibility of every Christian to be discerning: 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. The apostle John issues a similar warning when he says, 1 John 4:1(ESV)Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. According to the New Testament, discernment is not optional for the believer-it is required.

Here are a few reasons the church is in the crisis it is in.

1The rise of extreme tolerance – The church is reluctant to take a definitive stand on any issue.

2A refusal to shun the world – The church is preoccupied with image and influence.

3A failure to interpret Scripture accurately.

4A lack of spiritual maturity.

Many men get told stuff for going too far but no one says anything about those cowards that do not go far enough. We need pastors that will teach and preach sound doctrine not tickle and entertain the ears of people. The Word is a sword and the sword is to cut not to entertain.

Sound doctrine is important because our faith is based on a specific message. The overall teaching of the church contains many elements, but the primary message is explicitly defined: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4(ESV)For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,. This good news is not open for interpretation, and it is “of first importance.” Change that message, and the basis of faith shifts from Christ to something else. Over time the methods may change bit the message must stay in tact. Our eternal destiny depends upon hearing “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” Ephesians 1:3(ESV)Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,; Romans 5:8-9(ESV)but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 

To proclaim the truth and to support the truth through Scripture and reason, this is the greatest need of the church.” John MacArthur

“There are too many ballpark interpreters and preachers. The theological atmosphere of evangelicalism is saturated with a dense fog of uncertainty and misplaced emphases in handling the Word of God. Many churches are on the rocks because of careless hermeneutics, ignorance of biblical languages and unsystematic theology. Rough estimates as to what this or that passage means will not do. We need qualified preachers and teachers who will take the time and make the necessary sacrifices to do their homework well and bring clarity to the minds of God’s people as they read and study God’s holy Word.”

The biggest problem facing the church is lack of discernment. If you can’t discern the truth you can die of a thousand heresies. It’s just like spiritual AIDS. A deficient immune system leaves you susceptible to dying at the hands of a thousand illnesses.

Along with the responsibility to teach, preach, and instruct, part of the responsibility of ministry is to reprove, rebuke and exhort
2 Timothy 4:2(ESV)preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.; Titus 1:9(ESV)He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. And in that vein, it needs to be said that a massive part of Christianity lacks discernment.

As shepherds we must teach and preach sound doctrine and show people how to have spiritual discernment. You must know what you believe, why you believe and be able to give a defense on it.
1 Peter 3:15(ESV)5 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Titus 1:15-16(ESV) To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. Knowledge of what the gospel teaches about various subjects is the preventative vaccine that enables the believer to resist false teaching. Truly embracing this vaccine produces not merely head knowledge of the gospel, but good works that flow out genuine saving faith.

Sound doctrine is important because the gospel is a sacred trust, and we dare not tamper with God’s communication to the world. Our duty is to deliver the message, not to change it. Jude conveys an urgency in guarding the trust:
Jude 1:3(ESV)Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Philippians 1:27(ESV)27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, To “contend” carries the idea of strenuously fighting for something, to give it everything you’ve got. The Bible includes a warning neither to add to nor subtract from God’s Word
Revelation 22:18-19(ESV)18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Rather than alter the apostles’ doctrine, we receive what has been passed down to us and keep it “as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus”
2 Timothy 1:13(ESV)13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Sound doctrine is important because what we believe affects what we do. Behavior is an extension of theology, and there is a direct correlation between what we think and how we act. For example, two people stand on top of a bridge; one believes he can fly, and the other believes he cannot fly. Their next actions will be quite dissimilar. In the same way, a man who believes that there is no such thing as right and wrong will naturally behave differently from a man who believes in well-defined moral standards. In one of the Bible’s lists of sins, things like rebellion, murder, lying, and slave trading are mentioned. The list concludes with “whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine”
1 Timothy 1:9-10(ESV)understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, In other words, true teaching promotes righteousness but sin flourishes where “the sound doctrine” is opposed.

Sound doctrine is important because we must ascertain truth in a world of falsehood. 1 John 4:1(ESV)“Many false prophets have gone out into the world”. There are tares among the wheat and wolves among the flock

Matthew 13:25(ESV)25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
Acts 20:29(ESV)
29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; The best way to distinguish truth from falsehood is to know what the truth is.
Many times when those who stand firm in God’s Word as truth and call out false teachers they are told they have a critical or judgmental spirit, it is because we have stepped on the tender toes of a false teacher that is teaching the opposite of what biblical Christianity teaches. We are told that they are humble people with good hearts, and we need to stop bashing them. We are also told that we are false teachers because we are creating disunity in the Body of Christ, first off if they are a false teacher then they are wolves and not part of the Body, secondly we (true teachers) can back up what we say in scripture in context, we do not cherry pick and take scriptures out of context to make our doctrines.

May I suggest that these well-meaning scolders and followers of false doctrines  are possibly venting at the wrong people? The real dividers in the Church can be found throughout scripture.
Romans 16:17-18(HCSB)17 Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, 18 for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites.They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

Some will say we need to be in “unity” yes we will be in unity with those teacheras and churches that teach sound doctrine, not doctrines that will send people to hell.

Sound doctrine is important because the end of sound doctrine is life.
1 Timothy 4:16(ESV)16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. Conversely, the end of unsound doctrine is destruction.
Jude 1:4(ESV)For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Changing God’s message of grace is a “godless” thing to do, and the condemnation for such a deed is severe. Preaching another gospel (“which is really no gospel at all”) carries an anathema: “let him be eternally condemned!” Galatians 1:6-9(ESV)I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Sound doctrine is important because it encourages believers. A love of God’s Word brings “great peace” Psalm 119:165(ESV)Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. and those “who proclaim peace . . . who proclaim salvation” are truly “beautiful”
Isaiah 52:7(ESV)How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”. A pastor “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” Titus 1:9(ESV)He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it..

The word of wisdom is Proverbs 22:28, (ESV) Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. If we can apply this to sound doctrine, the lesson is that we must preserve it intact. May we never stray from “the simplicity that is in Christ” 2 Corinthians 11:3(ESV)But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Purpose of the Church Pt1

Many people today understand the church as a building. This is not a biblical understanding of the church. The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people.

The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. Ephesians 1:22-23(ESV) says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) until Christ’s return. The body of Christ is comprised of two aspects:

1) The universal church consists of all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13(NLT)“13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.. This verse says that anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Spirit of Christ as evidence. The universal church of God is all those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

2) The local church is described in Galatians 1:1-2: “Paul, an apostle … and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia.” Here we see that in the province of Galatia there were many churches—what we call local churches. A Baptist church, Assemblies of God church, Non-Denominational church, etc., is not the church, as in the universal church—but rather is a local church, a local body of believers. The universal church consist of those who belong to Christ and who have trusted Him for salvation. These members of the universal church should seek fellowship and edification in a local church.

Acts 2:42-47(ESV) 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

This could be considered a purpose statement for the church: According to these verses, the purposes/activities of the church should be 1) teaching biblical doctrine, 2) providing a place of fellowship for believers, 3) observing the Lord’s supper, 4) praying, 5) taking care of each others needs, and 6) Worship

1. Teach Biblical Doctrine

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship,” that’s friendship, “to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul.” People were amazed because God showed up and the Holy Spirit was working. Jesus ascended back into heaven and sent the Spirit, and when the Spirit of God dropped on the people of God, lives were changed in large number, and the world has never been the same.
“And many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.” We still see people healed and miracles done because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So here’s what it says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” We devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching; we open the Word of God. God used them to teach the Old Testament, to write some of the New Testament, and to be eyewitnesses to others who wrote the rest of the New Testament. Everything connects to apostolic teaching. We believe in the Bible. We believe in the whole Bible. We’re not trying to invent a new religion. We’re not trying to change anything. Our goal is faithfulness to the timeless truths of the Word of God not traditions of man.

2. A Place for Fellowship
Some people joke about the “Bedside Baptists” who attend the “Chapel of the Tube” on Sunday mornings. But it’s more than a joke. Many people refuse to get near a church unless their family member is playing the role of a sheep in the Christmas pageant! They claim they can get more out of a fishing trip than from the typical sermon.

Can a Christian survive apart from a church? Some Christians have no choice. They are trapped in a hospital bed, or working in an isolated area where no church exists. And God is certainly sufficient to care for their needs. You can still get to heaven if you can’t go to church.

The importance of true Christian fellowship is that it reinforces these things in our mind and helps us to focus on Christ and His desires and goals for us. As iron sharpens iron, in true Christian fellowship Christians sharpen one another’s faith and stir one another to exercise that faith in love and good works, all to God’s glory. Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers. The author of Hebrews says that’s not the way to go. We need the encouragement that church attendance affords. And the approach of the end times should prompt us to be even more devoted to going to church.

If we cut off a hand or a finger and set it aside from the body it will eventually become dead and rotten. Same with a believer who does not belong to a local body.

Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honor one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).

The church must be together to carry out many of its purposes.

For these reasons and more, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to Christ should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

3. The 2 Ordinances (Baptism and Communion)

Protestants and Evangelicals see ordinances as symbolic reenactments of the gospel message that Christ lived, died, was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven, and will someday return. Rather than requirements for salvation, ordinances are visual aids to help us better understand and appreciate what Jesus Christ accomplished for us in His redemptive work. Ordinances are determined by three factors: they were instituted by Christ, they were taught by the apostles, and they were practiced by the early church. Since baptism and communion are the only rites which qualify under these three factors, there can be only two ordinances, neither of which are requirements for salvation.

Ordinances are generally understood to be those things Jesus told us to observe with other Christians. Regarding baptism, Matthew 28:18-20(ESV) says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
As for communion, also called the Lord’s Supper, Luke 22:19 (ESV) says, “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” Most churches observe these two practices, but may not necessarily refer to them as ordinances.

4. Prayer
Prayer is Communication with the Father, our Creator. Before Salvation we have no communication with the Father. Just the fact that people like us can speak to the Creator of the universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (ESV)19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Without Jesus the only prayer God hears is that of repentance. If you are not saved God is not obligated to listen to any of your prayers. 

Jesus is the gate into the House of Prayer, repentance is the key.

Isaiah 59:1-2(HCSB) Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. 2 But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.

5. Compassion
Acts 2:45 (HCSB)45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need.

The word compassion means: (1) a deep awareness and sympathy of the sufferings of another. It also has a second definition: (2) the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.

In addition to having the sorrow that is felt for the suffering of others, it is a willingness and an urge to assist them. The word actually means to do something about feeling sorry, to be affected by their situation. It is to enter into one’s sorrow and pain. When we feel true compassion, we will be moved inwardly. Having empathy; to have one’s heart reach out toward the needs of others. To be compassionate, to pity; to be kindhearted. It means to be tenderhearted; to be sensitive and affectionate, to be moved with tender feelings over the pain and sufferings of others.

This compassion will stand ready to assist the one who is sorrowing. Paul preached that God is the source of all the believer’s ability for showing true compassion. In Colossians. 3:12-13(HCSB) Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.

If you’re going to form the vision, you also have to be able to fund the vision.If you want your church to grow, you must learn how to motivate believers to invest their resources into the Kingdom for ministry and for facilities. You can either give by reason or by revelation. Giving by reason means this – I look at what I have, I figure out what’s reasonable, and I commit that amount. It doesn’t take any faith to give by reason. I just figure out what can I afford to give. Giving by revelation means I determine my gift by praying “Lord, what do you want to give through me?” This requires faith. When you give by revelation, you’re committing an act of worship and saying, “How much am I willing to trust God?”

James 2:15-19(HCSB)15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.

James the little brother of Jesus is saying you can say that you believe but the evidence of your belief is in good works! He contrast it by telling people that who are just believing without “good Works” are like the demons but even less because at lest the demons shudder!

There are so many people who suffer and keep on suffering never having their needs met. Which causes many in the world to become hardened to others’ sufferings. Many hoard and build up assets when they could be sacrificing and reaching out so that they can meet the world’s needs. This should not be said of the believer. It does not mean that believers should be without the necessities of life. All believers need to have compassion when they see the sufferings of others. Compassion is to be felt by believers to the point they are moved to act. These actions will include sacrificing and reaching out to meet others’ needs.

Notice how compassion will not leave any room for selfishness. True compassion will have a person deny himself so he can help others in their needs and sufferings. As people assist others, they are drawn together. People being united can be done by compassion – when a person shows a feeling for another and sacrifices – reaching out to help each other. A great bond is formed between the believer and the ones that he ministers to.

6. Worship
What you glory in you will sacrifice for. If you glory in God you will sacrifice all other aspects of life to make sure you are in His presence.

Worship is a lifestyle. People don’t have sin problems they have worship problems. People continue in their sin because they fail to worship the God of scripture.  The highest we take people most of the time is into sin management. People glory in football and sacrifice coming to church so they can worship their idol. God wants all of you not just what you want to give him. If you glory in Hunting you will sacrifice for it, God doesn’t say not to do these things but we are not to esteem them above God.

We worship Him with our renewed and cleansed minds, not with our emotions. We see this all the time as people don’t come to church, they don’t worship unless they “feel” like it, their favorite song is played, or their favorite worship leader is leading. We are not to let our worship be dictated by our feelings or our emotions.
John 4:24(ESV)God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Christian worship engages both heart and head. It necessitates true doctrine about the Father and his Son, and their partnership in rescuing sinners, and due emotion about that doctrine. It is both an affair of the heart and an affair of the mind. At bottom, it’s not what we do (or don’t do) with our hands (or what someone else is doing or not doing), but what we do with our hearts and minds — because the one who has captured our hearts and minds. Worship is in spirit and in truth.

Only God can make dead men live

We ask ourselves often the question – What does it mean to be saved? What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be really born again?And there’s a lot of confusion about it. There are a lot of people, as we know, claiming to be born again today that it’s very obvious don’t know the meaning of it. Before we are baptized, we must come to believe that we are sinners in need of salvation Romans 3:23(ESV)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Hamartia means missing the mark. Now watch, this is the real true biblical definition of sin. Sin is a failure to hit God’s target. Sin is a failure to glorify God, Romans 1:21-25(ESV)21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. When they knew God they…what?…glorified Him not as God.That is sin. Sin is coming short of glorifying God. This is the state of man before salvation: wholly defiled. Our sinful corruption is so deep and so strong as to make us slaves of sin and morally unable to overcome our own rebellion and blindness. This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total. We are utterly dependent on God’s grace to overcome our rebellion, give us eyes to see, and effectively draw us to the Savior. Apart from the grace of God, there is no delight in the holiness of God, and there is no glad submission to the sovereign authority of God.
As a result of Adam’s fall, the entire human race is affected; all humanity is dead in trespasses and sins. Man is unable to save himself.Genesis 6:5(ESV)5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Romans 3:10-18(ESV)10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14  “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate a response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s goodness, works, birthright,nationality, parents,etc. because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to.
Romans 8:29-30(ESV)29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 9:6-19(ESV)6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
Ephesians 1:4-7(ESV)4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Ephesians 1:11-12(ESV)11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
The doctrine of irresistible grace recognizes that the Bible describes natural man as “dead in his trespasses and sins”
Ephesians 2:1-10(HCSB)1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. This ought to eliminate any doubt and any question. Cause it’s here.
Colossians 2:13(ESV)13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,, and, because man is spiritually dead, he must first be made alive or regenerated in order to understand and respond to the gospel message.

A good illustration of this is seen in Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. In John 11:43, it is recorded that Jesus told Lazarus to “come forth” and that Lazarus came forth out of the tomb. What had to happen before Lazarus—who had been dead for several days—would be able to respond to Jesus’ command? He had to be made alive because a dead man cannot hear or respond. The same is true spiritually. If we are dead in our sins, as the Bible clearly teaches, then before we can respond to the gospel message and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we must first be made alive. As Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, one must be “born again to see the kingdom of God.” John 1:12-13 tells us that being born again is not the result of something we do—“the will of man”—but is a sovereign act of God. Just as Lazarus could not bring himself back to life or respond to Jesus’ command without being brought back to life, neither can sinful man.
You had as much to do with your spiritual birth as you did with your natural one. 

Ephesians 2:1-10 makes it very clear that while we are still dead in our trespasses and sin God makes us alive. The Bible is also clear that the act of being born again or regenerated is a sovereign act of God. It is something He does which enables us to believe the gospel message, not something that comes as a result of our belief.

The reason this doctrine is called “irresistible” grace is that it always results in the intended outcome, the salvation of the person it is given to. The blood of Jesus saves every person it was intended to save not one more not one less. Those whom God elected He draws to Himself through irresistible grace. God makes man willing to come to Him. When God calls, man responds
John 6:36-44(ESV)36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
The reason God’s grace is irresistible and always brings forth the desired result is that God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into” His kingdom. Colossians 1:13(ESV)13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. Or, as Psalm 3:8(ESV) puts it, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

The precise ones God has elected and drawn to Himself through the Holy Spirit will persevere in faith. None whom God has elected will be lost; they are eternally secure. Ephesians 4:30(ESV) tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16(ESV) 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.John 10:27-29(ESV)27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
We can also call this adoption and it is “from Him”—from God. “In love he predestined us for adoption.”Ephesians 1:4-5(HCSB)For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,

So adoption was part of a God’s plan. It was his idea, his purpose. It was not an afterthought. He didn’t discover one day that against his plan and foreknowledge humans had sinned and orphaned themselves in the world, and then come up with the idea of adopting them into his family. No, Paul says, he predestined adoption. He planned it. The misguided but popular concept that all people are children of God and can truthfully call Him “Abba Father” is simply not true. Just as children do not choose to be adopted or choose who will adopt them, neither do Christians choose to become children of God. Instead, God chooses them. He predestines them “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”, having been chosen by God from “before the foundation of the world”

And if we ask when this predestination happened, verse 4 makes that plain: “He chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless in His sight.” Before the creation of the world, and before we existed, God looked on us in our need, and he looked upon his Son crucified and risen as the all sufficient atonement for our sin, and because of that he chose us to be holy and blameless. And to that end he “predestined us for adoption.” It happened before the creation of the world. Therefore your adoption is not based on your fitness, your worth, or your character. It is rooted in God’s eternal purpose and grace. And that means that your adoption is not fragile or flimsy or uncertain. God will not adopt and then find out that you are not worthy and unadopt you. He knows we are unworthy. And he chose us and predestined us for adoption. This is firm and sure and unshakable. He reached down when we were at our worst to make us sons and daughters.

Before the foundation of the world God saw that we would be sinners and planned the death of his Son so that our sins could be forgiven and God’s wrath removed. God adopted us in our unworthiness to make his grace look great. You were adopted for the praise of the glory of his grace. God’s action in adopting us is radically God-centered and God-exalting.

Spiritual Warfare Pt7 Helmet of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17(ESV)17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, This instructs us to put on the whole armor of God and to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” When a soldier suited up for battle, the helmet was the last piece of armor to go on. It was the final act of readiness in preparation for combat. A helmet was vital for survival, protecting the brain, the command station for the rest of the body. If the head was badly damaged, the rest of the armor would be of little use.

The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us. Jesus said, Matthew 10:28(ESV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. The idea in this verse is that, as we prepare for Satan’s attacks, we must grab that helmet and buckle it on tightly. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act of the past or even a future hope. God’s salvation is an ongoing, eternal state that His children enjoy in the present. It is daily protection and deliverance from our sin nature and Satan’s schemes.

The fifth piece of God’s armor is represented by the Roman soldier’s helmet, without which he would never enter battle. Some of the helmets were made of thick leather covered with metal plates, and others were of heavy molded or beaten metal. They usually had cheek pieces to protect the face.

The purpose of the helmet, of course, was to protect the head from injury, particularly from the dangerous broadsword commonly used in the warfare of that day. That was not the much smaller sword mentioned later in this verse, but was a large two–handed, double–edged sword.

The fact that the helmet is related to salvation indicates that Satan’s blows are directed at the believer’s security and assurance in Christ. The two dangerous edges of Satan’s spiritual broadsword are discouragement and doubt. To discourage us he points to our failures, our sins, our unresolved problems, our poor health, or to whatever else seems negative in our lives in order to make us lose confidence in the love and care of our heavenly Father.

Since Paul is addressing believers, putting on the helmet of salvation cannot refer to receiving Christ as Savior. The only ones who can take up any piece of God’s armor, and the only ones who are involved in this supernatural struggle against Satan and his demon forces, are those who are already saved.

Trusting in Jesus Christ, immediately saves from the penalty of sin. For believers, this first aspect of salvation, which is justification, is past. It was accomplished the moment we trusted in Christ, and that particular act of faith need never be repeated, because we are secure in our Father’s hands—from whom, as we have just seen, we can never be snatched. John 10:28–29(ESV)28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. We are forever saved from condemnation. Romans 8:1(ESV)There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. Jude 24-25 (HCSB) Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(ESV) 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no qualifier here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life. Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish.  But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand.

There are opponents to this position that would state elsewhere in Scripture such declarations exist that teach we can lose our salvation.

Ephesians 4:30 (HCSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? There is none that I know of. Every sin that man can commit against God and man, even the most heinous was dealt with at the cross of Calvary. If this is so, then what sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” that which He has already paid for?

Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Those who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit will war with their sin and not seek to abide in it.  Those who declare that they are eternally secure and then go out and sin on purpose in any manner they so choose are probably not saved to begin with since this is contradictory to what Scripture teaches.  1 John 2:4-5 (HCSB) The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him:

The second aspect of salvation, which is sanctification, involves our life on earth, during which time we experience a measure of freedom from the dominating power of sin. Being now under God’s grace, sin no longer has mastery or dominion over us; we are no longer sin’s slave but God’s slave.
Romans 6:14(ESV)14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:22(ESV)22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Paul shows these first two aspects of salvation side by side in the previous chapter of Romans 5:10(ESV)10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Christ’s death saved us once and for all from sin’s penalty, and His life within us now is saving us day to day from sin’s power and mastery.

The third aspect of salvation is future, the aspect of glorification, when we shall one day be saved altogether and forever from sin’s presence. Looking forward to that glorious time, John says, 1 John 3:2(ESV)2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. To be like God is to be without sin. We rejoice that this aspect of our salvation “is nearer than when we believed” Romans 13:11(ESV)11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

It is this final aspect of salvation that is the real strength of the believer’s helmet. If we lose hope in the future promise of salvation, there can be no security in the present. This, no doubt, is why Paul calls this same piece of armor “the helmet” which is “the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8(ESV)8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.. “Having the first fruits of the Spirit,” Paul explains in Romans 8:23–24(ESV)23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
The helmet of salvation is that great hope of final salvation that gives us confidence and assurance that our present struggle with Satan will not last forever and we will be victorious in the end. We know the battle is only for this life, and even a long earthly life is no more than a split second compared to eternity with our Lord in heaven. We are not in a race we can lose. We have no purgatory to face, no uncertain hope that our own continued efforts or those of our loved ones and friends will perhaps some day finally make us acceptable to God. We know that whom God called He predestined,
Romans 8:28-30(ESV)28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. There is not the loss of a single soul from predestination to justification to sanctification to glorification. That is God’s unbroken and unbreakable chain of salvation (cf. John 6:39–40(ESV)39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”;
John 10:27–30(ESV)27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

The blood of Jesus saves every and exactly everyone He wanted it to save and those that it was meant to save, not one less and not one more.

Notice it says “My Sheep” not the goats, not the wolves, but the sheep. Not everyone who sits in the church and claims to know Jesus is a sheep.

We have a certain hope, “a living hope,” as Peter calls it. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he exults in his first epistle,
1 Peter 1:3–5(ESV)3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. That is the salvation which is our helmet. Our helmet is the certain prospect of heaven, our ultimate salvation, which “we have as an anchor of the soul” Hebrews 6:19(ESV)19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,

To the worldly, fleshly Corinthians who were self–centered, divisive, and confused about the resurrection, Paul said,1 Corinthians 15:32(ESV)32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” If the Christian has no future element of salvation to look forward to, if, as the apostle had said a few verses earlier, 1 Corinthians 15:19(ESV)19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. Paul’s own spiritual helmet was his firm hope in the completion of his salvation.
2 Corinthians 4:17–18(ESV)17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. The faithful believer does not “lose heart in doing good,” because he knows that “in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9).

To the persecuted and under attack Christians to whom he wrote, Jude gave sobering warnings about false teachers, Jude 4(ESV)4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. But he began the letter by addressing believers as Jude 1(ESV)Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for[b] Jesus Christ. Tereo (the verb behind “kept”) means to guard, keep watch over, and protect. God Himself guards, watches over, and protects every person who belongs to Him. Jude ended the letter by assuring believers that He keeps you from stumbling.
Jude 24(ESV)24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,

1 Thessalonians 5:23(ESV)23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word behind “keep” in this verse is not tereo, as in verse 1, but phulasso, which has the basic idea of securing in the midst of an attack. No matter what our spiritual enemies may throw against us, we are secured by God’s own power.

Because of the power of the cross, our enemy no longer has any hold on us,He knows that, but he also knows that most of God’s children do not know that—or, at least, they do not live as if they know. We must learn to keep our helmets buckled so that his fiery missiles do not lodge in our thoughts and set us on fire.

There are several actions a believer can take to keep this helmet fastened and functioning:

1. Renew our minds. Our minds are battlefields. The outcomes of those battles determine the course of our lives. Romans 12:2(ESV)2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. instructs us to renew our minds by allowing the truth of God’s Word to wipe out anything contrary to it. Old ideas, opinions, and worldviews must be replaced. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies, and confusion from our minds and adopt God’s perspective.

2. Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. Human beings are sensory creatures. What we cannot fathom with our five senses, we tend to disregard. If we allow them to, circumstances may convince us that God does not really love us or that His Word is not true. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. God rewards our faith. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we can choose to believe what appears impossible.

3. Keep an eternal perspective. When life crashes in around us, we must remember to look up. Our salvation is the most precious gift we have received. Keeping our eyes on that can help us weather life’s storms. We can choose to live our lives by the motto “If it doesn’t have eternal significance, it’s not important” Matthew 6:20(ESV)20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

4. Remember that victory is already accomplished. When we consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God” Romans 6:11-14(ESV)11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace., we eliminate many of the opportunities Satan uses to entrap us. When choosing sin is no longer an option for us because we recognize ourselves to be “new creatures”
2 Corinthians 5:17(ESV)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come., we effectively cut off many avenues of failure.

5. Find all our hope in Him. Psalm 73:25(ESV)25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. Our helmet is most effective when we treasure what it represents. The salvation Jesus purchased for us cannot share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things. When pleasing the Lord is our supreme delight, we eliminate many of Satan’s lures and render his evil suggestions powerless.

As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honor Christ Philippians 4:8(ESV)Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7; cf. Isaiah 26:3; 1 Peter 1:5).

How to Identify False Teachers

Titus 1:10-16(HCSB)10 For there are also many rebellious people, full of empty talk and deception, especially those from Judaism. 11 It is necessary to silence them; they overthrow whole households by teaching what they shouldn’t in order to get money dishonestly. 12 One of their very own prophets said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.13 This testimony is true. So, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith 14 and may not pay attention to Jewish myths and the commands of men who reject the truth.15 To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work. This passage shows us how to deal with false teachers. But before noting what that passage tells us, it is important to note that in

Titus 1:5-9(HCSB)The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town: one who is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful[a] children not accused of wildness or rebellion. For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it. This provides us with qualifications for elders. Within the context of Titus, then, the necessity of biblically qualified elders is in part rooted in the need to deal with false teaching.

Having established that, in Titus 1:10-16 Paul identifies three ways that gospel-centered churches handle false teaching:

1. Gospel-Centered Churches Recognize False Teaching/Teachers
Titus 1:10-13(HCSB)
10 For there are also many rebellious people, full of empty talk and deception, especially those from Judaism. 11 It is necessary to silence them; they overthrow whole households by teaching what they shouldn’t in order to get money dishonestly. 12 One of their very own prophets said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.13 This testimony is true. So, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith

When doctors are in medical school, part of their training involves diagnosing illnesses by the symptoms that present themselves. In the same way, Paul provides us with some diagnostic tools to recognize false teaching. He instructs us to observe their character (insubordinate, empty talkers, deceivers, etc.), their tactics (upsetting whole families, playing to the culture), and their motivation (shameful gain).

2. Gospel-Centered Churches Rebuke False Teaching/Teachers 

Titus 1:13-14(HCSB)13 This testimony is true. So, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith 14 and may not pay attention to Jewish myths and the commands of men who reject the truth.

When Paul says “Rebuke them sharply” he uses a play on words with the false teachers’ promotion of circumcision. In effect Paul says something like, “Use the sharp knife of correction with those who wield the dull blade of circumcision.” Paul is not advocating legal action, nor is he promoting a witch hunt. But false teaching is so dangerous that it requires corrective action. The goal of that corrective action is “so that they may be sound in the faith” (1:13). The word translated “sound” can also mean healthy. True spiritual health comes from the gospel, not false teaching.

3. Gospel-Centered Churches Resist False Teaching/Teachers (Titus 1:15-16)

Knowledge of what the gospel teaches about various subjects is the preventative vaccine that enables the believer to resist false teaching. Truly embracing this vaccine produces not merely head knowledge of the gospel, but good works that flow out genuine saving faith.

Regardless of whether you are an elder or not, every believer is responsible for being so familiar with the true gospel that false teaching is immediately obvious. The gospel is the only way that we can be made pure, because it points us to the only one who is truly pure-Jesus Christ.

Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect.
Matthew 24:23-25(HCSB)23 “If anyone tells you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Over here!’ do not believe it! 24 False messiahs[a] and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Take note: I have told you in advance.
2 Peter 3:3(HCSB)First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires,

Jude 17-18(HCSB)17 But you, dear friends, remember what was predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 they told you, “In the end time there will be scoffers walking according to their own ungodly desires.”

The best way to guard yourself against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. 2 Timothy 2:15(HCSB15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. Any believer who “correctly handles the word of truth” and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine. For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity. Matthew 3:16-17(HCSB)16 After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. 17 And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him! Therefore, step one is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says.

Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” Matthew 12:33(HCSB)33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:

1) What does this teacher say about Jesus? In Matthew 16:15-16(HCSB)15 “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”, and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” In 2 John 9(HCSB)Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity.
1 John 2:22(HCSB)22 Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah? This one is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son.

2) Does this teacher preach the gospel? The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures

1 Corinthians 15:1-4(HCSB)Now brothers, I want to clarify[a] for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose. For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy” are not the complete message of the gospel. As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah. No one, not even a great preacher, has the right to change the message that God gave us. Galatians 1:9(HCSB)As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!

3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord? Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11(HCSB)11 Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, have abandoned themselves to the error of Balaam for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion. In other words, a false teacher can be known by his pride (Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses). Jesus said to beware of such people and that we would know them by their fruits.
Matthew 7:15-20(HCSB)15 “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. 16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. 

For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church: Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet. Satan masquerades as an angel of light and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness
2 Corinthians 11:14-15(HCSB)14 And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.15 So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works. Only by being thoroughly familiar with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.

How would you recognize counterfeit/False Christianity?

In 2 Peter 1 we read about genuine believers. And in 2 Peter 2 we read about counterfeit believers. If you put these chapters side by side you will see the difference between authentic and counterfeit believers.

1. Different Source—Where does the message come from?

Peter says,2 Peter 1:16(HCSB) For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. And then he says the false teachers exploit you “with stories they have made up”

2 Peter 2:3(HCSB)They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.. So the true teacher sources what he says from the Bible. The false teacher relies on his own creativity. He makes up his own message.

2. Different Message—What is the substance of the message?

For the true teacher, Jesus Christ is central. 2 Peter 1:3(HCSB)His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. For the false teacher, Jesus is at the margins: 2 Peter 2:1(HCSB)But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves.

Notice the word secretly. It’s rare for someone in church to openly deny Jesus. Movement away from the centrality of Christ is subtle. The false teacher will speak about how other people or yourself can help change your life, but if you listen carefully to what he is saying, you will see that Jesus Christ is not essential to his message.

3. Different Position—In what position will the message leave you?

The true Christian message 2 Peter 1:4(HCSB)By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. Listen to how Peter describes the False Teacher’s message:
2 Peter 2:19(HCSB)19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them. The true gospel is teaching people how to escape corruption, while the counterfeit is mastered by it.

4. Different Character—What kind of people does the message produce?

The true gospel message pursues goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brother kindness, and love 2 Peter 1:5-8(HCSB) For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The counterfeit gospel is marked by arrogance and slander They also “despise authority”. This is a general characteristic of a counterfeit gospel message.
2 Peter 2:10(HCSB)10 especially those who follow the polluting desires of the flesh and despise authority. Bold, arrogant people! They do not tremble when they blaspheme the glorious ones;
They are “experts in greed” and “their eyes are full of adultery”

2 Peter 2:14(HCSB)14 They have eyes full of adultery and are always looking for sin. They seduce unstable people and have hearts trained in greed. Children under a curse!

5. Different Appeal—Why should you listen to the message?

The true teacher appeals to Scripture. 2 Peter 1:19(HCSB)19 So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. God has spoken, and the true teacher appeals to his Word. The false teacher makes a rather different appeal: 2 Peter 2:18(HCSB)18 For by uttering boastful, empty words, they seduce, with fleshly desires and debauchery, people who have barely escaped from those who live in error.  So the true teacher asks, “What has God said in his Word?” The false teacher asks, “What do people want to hear? What will appeal to their flesh?” True teachers are Prophets, they do the will of God, False teachers do the will of the people they are politicians.

6. Different End—Where does the message ultimately lead you?

Here we find the most disturbing contrast of all.
2 Peter 1:10-11(HCSB)10 Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you. The false teacher will experience “swift destruction” 2 Peter 2:1-3(HCSB)But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and the way of truth will be blasphemed because of them. They will exploit you in their greed with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced long ago, is not idle, and their destruction does not sleep.

Jesus tells us that there will be many who have been involved in ministry in his name, to whom he will say, Matthew 7:21(HCSB) “Depart from me; I never knew you” Don’t Be Naïve  We must not be ignorant, Peter’s plain statement reminds us that the church needs to be protected. Among the many wonderful people who come to through the doors of the church each year, some would do more harm than good. They may seem the nicest of people, but they do not believe in the authority of the Bible or the exclusivity of salvation in Christ. We welcome such people, because they need Christ as much as we do, but we must not allow them to have influence in the church.

Spiritual Warfare Pt6 Shield of Faith

The shield of faith is part of the armor of God in Ephesians 6:16(HCSB)16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Faith is not something we conjure up on our own, nor is it something we are born with, nor is faith a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual. Ephesians 2:8-9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. this makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. It is not obtained by our power or our free will. Faith is simply given to us by God, along with His grace and mercy, according to His holy plan and purpose, and because of that, He gets all the glory.

The Roman shield of the time was called a scutum. This type of shield was as large as a door and would cover the warrior entirely. Such a shield was not just defensive but could also be used to push opponents. When fighting as a group, soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (In Latin meaning “tortoise shell”). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. Shields, often made of wood and then covered in hide, when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows.

Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves the Commander of the Lord’s army.

2 Timothy 2:3-4(HCSB)3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.

As soon as we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are drawn into a spiritual battle. It is a battle where eternal death or eternal life is at stake. It is a battle with one who is 100% committed to drawing us away from God. It is a battle that calls us to make the spiritually lost a priority as we stand in unity with Jesus. Is this the battle that we are winning? Are we truly concerned that there are real people that will die and go to Hell? Are we concerned with it? Do we know that we are in a battle, even though it is invisible and spiritual it is real and it is eternal.

Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB)Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

Hebrews 1:6(HCSB)6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. This verse stresses the importance of faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Satan’s attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God.You start asking yourself, “Did God really say? Can I really trust God? Isn’t that just your interpretation?” Faith prompts us to believe God.

There is a saying and even a song that says “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” It may be a nice sentiment, but it’s bad theology. The truth is, “God said it, and that settles it — whether I believe it or not.” God’s truth isn’t based on whether you believe it or not. It’s still true even if you don’t believe it, because God can’t lie.

You need that kind of certainty in difficult days. With the Shield of Faith, you have certainty that God’s promises are true even when they don’t appear to be true in your life. God comes to the Garden of Eden, creates a perfect environment, creates a perfect man and perfect woman – perfect in the sense of sinlessness, not in the sense of an accomplished perfection.  And there they are, and here comes Satan, and what does he say?  “Has God really said?”  And then he says, “You know, God doesn’t want you to know good and evil because you’ll be like Him, and He doesn’t like competition.  You can’t trust God He has ulterior motives.  You can’t always believe exactly what He says.”  Satan was tempting them to doubt God and believe him.  Eve was a sucker, Eve was a fool, she believed the devil, and you know what happened.  Every temptation that ever came to you came on the tack of “believe me, not God.”

Watch this, Christ has been fasting forty days and forty nights, led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God as God prepared Him for His ministry.  At the end of that time, Satan comes to Him to tempt Him.  And how does he tempt Him? He tempts Him to not believe God – same old deal.  “Don’t believe God, believe me.”
Matthew 4:1-11(HCSB)Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”11 Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.

We give in to temptation when we believe what it has to offer is better than what God has promised. It’s seducing temptations, that’s all. Satan fires arrows of impurity, arrows of selfishness, doubt, fear, disappointment, lust, greed, vanity, covetousness – it all comes down to this: 1 John 2:16(HCSB) For everything that belongs to[a] the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because his methods continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the ones which Paul warned the Galatians about, Galatians 5:19-21(ESV)“sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these”. He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God (Isaiah 14:12-15). The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross (an instrument of death) and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom. The pride of life “comes not from the Father, but from the world.” And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptation of the pride of life do the will of God, and 1 John 2:17(HCSB)17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

In other words the arrows are, “Don’t believe God, He doesn’t keep His word, He didn’t give You the whole picture, He didn’t tell You the truth.  Believe me, do it my way.”  And that’s the way every temptation comes to every believer every time.  Satan comes along and says, “Oh yeah, I know the Bible says you’re not supposed to have sexual relationships with somebody outside of marriage, but it’s fun.” Who do you believe when you sin?  You believe the devil.  It’s the bottom line, people; it’s so simple.  When you sin, you believe Satan; when you obey, you believe God.  That’s the bottom line.  And the shield is the double protection.  “I will believe God,” said Christ.  “Get away, Satan.  God will feed Me when He’s ready, and God will anoint Me as Messiah when He’s ready, and God will give Me the kingdoms of the world when He’s ready, on His terms.  I will not believe you.”
Titus 1:1-2(HCSB)Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

God isn’t lying.  And yet every time you sin, you’re dumb enough to believe Satan, and so am I; we’ve been suckered again.  “Oh, I know that I ought to give this to the Lord, this is what I ought to give the Lord, but oh boy, I want to buy this, I want to do this, I want to save this.”  And so we do what we think we’re going to win by doing; we’re going to do it and we’re going just sort of shove God in a corner, it’ll all work out, you know.  And all we’ve done is cheat ourselves, see?  We just cheat ourselves.  God stands there with His hands open, and He says, “If you ask Me for bread, will I give you a stone?”  No.  “Do I want to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessing, so much you can’t contain it?  Do I want to give it back to you pressed down, shaken together, and running over?  “Do I want to bless you with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies?  Do I want to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think?  Do I want to give you every good and perfect thing that comes down from the Father of lights, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning?  Do I want to unload all of this substance of heaven all over you for as long as you live?  Yes, I do.  And will you believe Me and obey Me so I can?”  Satan comes along and says, “Do it my way, and you’ll like it.” It’ll be fun. It’ll fulfill you. You’ll gain what you desire” – it’s a lie. He is a liar, John 8:44(HCSB)44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Whenever you sin, you’re saying, “I really don’t believe God knows best, Satan knows best.” We say, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory” and we all say, “Amen, brother, preach it.  Yes, He’ll supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus, no question about it.”  And then when we lose a job, “Ohh, God what are You doing to me? Why did you do this – see?  There’s Satan “The Lord has forsaken you,” see?

Matthew 6:33(HCSB)33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  And we run through life seeking all the things that should be added and missing the Kingdom of God.  You see, you can’t just go around saying, “I believe God, I have faith in God, the just shall live by faith,” and then grab everything you can grab that is worldly.

So the only way to extinguish the arrows of Satan is to believe God.  The Bible says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.”  Who do you believe?  Abraham believed God.  Who do you believe?  Do you believe God?
In other words, what God said is true.  If you believe it and obey it, it’ll be a shield; if you mess with it, you’ll suffer, see?  Satan comes along and says, “Oh well, I know God said that, but let me add this.”  No.  No, “He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

Psalm 12:6(HCSB)The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times.

He literally bombards the believer with the arrows, the fiery darts of seductive temptation, to elicit out of us ungodly, non-Christlike, evil responses.  And the only defense we have at this point, Paul says, is the shield of faith, because sometimes it just rains temptation. We live in a world where it really does rain temptation, all around us, and we must have the shield of faith. Faith reminds us that, though the fulfillment of God’s promises may not be readily visible to us, God is true to His Word. When Satan attempts to plague us with doubt or entice us with instant gratification, faith recognizes the deceptiveness of his tactics and quickly extinguishes the arrows. When Satan accuses us, faith chooses to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and that there is no more condemnation. Romans 8:1(HCSB) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:34(HCSB)Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

The term “faith” means believing God, and that is the bottom line of the Christian faith. That is the bottom line of everything we believe, everything we hold to, everything we have our confidence in. The whole of Christianity is an act of believing that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  Believing that He wrote the Bible, believing that Christ is God, believing that He died, believing that He rose, believing that He’s coming, believing that by believing we can enter into His Kingdom – the whole thing.  That’s why in Habakkuk 2:4 (HCSB)Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith.

Romans 1:17(HCSB)“17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

Galatians 3:11(HCSB)11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith.

Hebrews 10:36-38(HCSB)36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.37  For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 38 But My righteous one will live by faith;and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him.39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

Faith is our life; it is a matter of believing God.  Now, everybody lives by something, everybody has faith in something.

Faith is one of the greatest gifts, and it is the means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God.

Ephesians 2:8–9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. It is because we have been justified through faith that we belong to God and have peace with Him. Romans 5:1(HCSB)Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is the doorway to hope in God.

Romans 5:2(HCSB)2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Because we have faith in God, our suffering need not faze us; in fact, we can persevere under it.
Romans 5:3–5(HCSB)3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The things Satan attempts to use to discourage us can actually become tools in the hands of God.

All believers have this promise:1 John 5:4(HCSB)4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become overcomers. In that way, faith is our shield.

1 Peter 5:8-9(HCSB)8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

We win when we believe God, we win when we trust God.  You may go through doubts, and anxieties, and fears, and worries, and concerns, and problems, and struggles, and trials, and tribulations, and persecution.  As long as you believe God, as you believe His sustenance, you believe His Word, you believe His power, you believe His promise, that doesn’t have to be a point of loss; it can be a point of strengthening, a point of gain.

The shield of faith is the consistent application of what we believe about God to the issues of life.  Now, if you don’t trust Him then you don’t know Him well enough, right – because if you really knew Him, you’d trust Him.  Oh, the more you know God, the deeper you get into the heart of God, the more you know about His truth, and the Word of God, and the more you meditate upon His person in your prayers and meditating times, the more you know God, the greater you’ll trust God, and the greater you trust God, the less likely you will be to not believe Him.

And so it all goes back, as everything does in the Christian life, to your relationship to God.  It’s there; it’s down deep in the heart.  If you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, if you believe that God is who He claimed to be, if you believe all that God’s promises that He gave to you are really true, then you’re not going to sin, because you’re going to stand in the place of the greatest blessing.  Everybody wants to be blessed, everybody wants the best.  God says, “I’ll give it to you if you do it My way.”  If you do it Satan’s way, you just disbelieved God.  But the more you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him, the more you’ll believe Him.