Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Archive for May, 2018

The Contradictions of Anti-Legalists

If the word legalism means strict adherence to God’s law, then Jesus and his apostles were also legalists. Jesus told His disciples: “What things soever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven . . .” (Matt. 16:19 cf; 18:18) Jesus commanded obedience for he said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15) Jesus’ apostles commanded obedience for Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) To this end the “Spirit of truth” came to guide the apostles unto all the truth (Jn 16:13). In this sense Jesus and His apostles were legalists.

Is The Gospel a Legalist Term?

Jesus did not suggest the gospel, but rather commanded it to be preached unto all the world to every creature. Then Jesus commanded exactly what to preach when he said: “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be condemned (Mk 16:16). When the men in Acts chapter 2 asked Peter and the other apostles “What shall we do?” Peter commanded with authority, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Paul stated just as clearly when he said, “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess 1:7-8).

Now someone is terribly wrong here. IF anti-legalist are correct, then Jesus and his apostles were legalists for they were teaching a strict adherence to the law. According to those who teach anti-legalism, Jesus should have said, “Belief and baptism save you not, for you were saved when I died for you .” When Peter was asked, ‘What shall we do?’ he should have said, “Repentance and baptism don’t wash away your sins, for the Lord’s blood on the cross took away your sins .” Anti-legalists say, “The law of Christ is: ‘There is no law’. Paul should have never threatened the vengeance of God for those who disobey the gospel of Christ. He should have rather preached God’s grace and love for all who believe in him.

Conclusively, all who are anti-legalist are also anti-gospel of Christ!

Is The Doctrine of Christ a Legalist Term?

The doctrine of Christ taught Christians to meet every first day of the week (Acts 20:7 f; Heb 10:25) to remember the Lord’s death, (1 Cor 11:24-26) to give of their means (1 Cor 16:1,2), and to be taught the Word of God. (2 Tim 4:2-6). The doctrine of Christ also included Christians to sing and make melody in the heart to the Lord  (Eph 5:19). The doctrine of Christ commanded all Christians to remain faithful unto death to the commandments of the Lord (Rev 2:10). The beloved John made it abundantly clear when he said, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn 9).

Now someone is terribly wrong here. IF anti-legalists are correct, then Christians no longer have to meet on Sunday, remember the Lord’s death, give of their means, sing without the use of instruments, hear the Word be taught or be faithful unto death. These are all laws and would, therefore, be optional. Anyone who dares command that the saints of God have to abide in any doctrine whatsoever is pure ludicrous to anti-legalist. According to their definitions, all the apostles were legalists, and not to be followed (1 Cor 11:1).

According to anti-legalist, Christ and his apostles were mistaken for forbidding anyone to commit adultery, fornication, or homosexuality (Mt 19:9 ff; 1 Cor 6:0,10; Gal 5:19-21). According to these ultraliberals, there are no laws, there are no doctrines, and there is no right or wrong. Is it any wonder that they who profess such also say that God did not inspire all scriptures (1 Tim 3:16,17). Is it any wonder they say the apostles were not inspired writers? (Gal 1:11,12),

Conclusively, all who are anti-legalist are also anti-doctrine of Christ!

Anti-Legalist Are Legalist
To Their Own Doctrine

Oddly enough, according to their own belief, they are legalist as well. However, they are not legalist to God’s Word but rather to their own words. They are like those in the days of Jeremiah who said, “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, … For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble” (Jer 44:16-18). These are they who Isaiah described and Jesus reiterated by saying, “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matt 15:7-9). These are they who will obey their own laws and doctrines but reject God’s commandments and doctrines.

What Anti-Legalists Can’t Answer

Why on earth do anti-legalist believe that we are commanded to study and rightly divide God’s Word if God’s Word is not to be followed? (2 Tim 2:15) Why are we commanded to prove all things and hold firm that which is good, if it’s not good to strictly hold firm the truth of God? (1 Thess 5:21). Why are we commanded to contend for the faith, if the faith is whatever you want it to mean? (Jude 3) Why must we be set for the defense of the gospel, if the gospel can’t save or condemn anyone? (Philip 1:15-18) Why are we commanded not to go beyond that which was written, if we don’t have to abide by that which was written? (1 Cor 4:6) Truly, anti-legalist are anti-God’s Word. They are no better than deist who believes in God, but not in religion or the bible. Their law is their own law and their doctrine is their own doctrine.

Conclusion: If Christ was a legalist, so am I! If the apostles were legalists, so am I! If it is my cross to be called a legalist by ultra-liberals and denominationalist, so be it! If I am asked to choose whom to obey explicitly, I choose Christ and his apostles!  Anti-legalist hang their doctrine on God’s love and no law, for all else to them is legalism (Jn 3:16) Jesus and his apostles said it plainly,  “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends, and you are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you” (Jn 15:13,14) John said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (2 Jn 6)  “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (Jn 15:10). “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 Jn 2:3) “He that keeps not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jn 2:4). Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:31-32).

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me” (Jn 14:6) “According to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior” (Tit 1:1-3).  “You know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus” (1 Thess 4:2) “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 Jn 2:5). “This is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1 Pet 1:25 f; 1 Cor 15:1-4).

Jesus commanded His gospel to be preached to every nation: All who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but all unbelievers shall be condemned (Mk 16:15,16 f; Mt 28:19,20). All who confess not shall be denied. (Mt 10:32,33 f; 2 Tim 2:12). All who repent not shall perish (Lk 13:3).  All who endure to the end shall be saved (Mt 24:13). If we obey the Lord’s gospel and abide in the Lord’s doctrine until the end, we have the full assurance of God that we shall be saved (Gal 1:6-9 f; 2 Jn 9).  If this is legalism, I plead guilty and hope that God rewards me a legalist reward, i.e., eternal life! All anti-legalist need to repent and obey the commandments of the Lord to the full extent of the law of Christ and his blessed apostles. Anything less is damnation to their souls (2 Thess 1:7-9 f; 2 Jn 9).

If a legalist is a Pharisee hypocrite as ultra-liberals and denominationalists define, then they should obey legalist. Jesus said, “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (Matt 23:3). Therefore, even if you think those who obey the law strictly are hypocrites, Jesus commanded you to obey what they command you to do. Yet, ultra-liberals and denominationalists are twice worst than the ones they condemn, for they neither say or do!

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

How many have sang the old hymnal “Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the Potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still”?

How often do Christians sing songs that are really prayers, yet fail to understand what they ask? Christians who sing the song “Have Thine Own Way” are singing a prayer to God, asking Him to take full control of their lives. Yet, one wonders how many Christians sing this song with no intentions of giving God their full lives?

There are some in the church who seem to think that they can get to heaven by being baptized and continuing in their old lifestyle of following in their own way. This simply cannot be the case. A Christian must recognize that he cannot direct his own steps (Jer 10:23 f; Prov 3:5,6).

A Christian does not belong to himself, but to God. “What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6:19,20). But some Christians fail to realize that even giving God part of your life is just as bad (if not, perhaps, worse) as giving Him no part at all. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24). A person’s full allegiance must be given over to God. He must have total control in one’s life. If he doesn’t, he will fall under the same rebuke as the Christians in Laodicea (Rev 3:14.).

Paul says that a Christian must not serve sin! Because of this fact, Paul told the Colossians that they should no longer seek the things of the world, but seek the things of God. John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn 2:15). A Christians mind should be “in the clouds” because, first of all, he is dead to this world and all that it has to offer.

The New Man is hidden in God. What a comforting thought to know that a Christian’s life is “hid with Christ in God”! To know that a Christian’s life is protected by God should give us great comfort! God cares for each Christian and desires that they live a “quiet and peaceable life” (1 Tim 2:2). For this cause, God has delivered us from sin (Heb 2:14,15), and will deliver us from outward trials (2 Cor 1:10). It may be the case that we must die for our faith, but even then we find God’s deliverance. Paul had complete confidence that for him “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philip 1:21). So whether we are delivered from outward trials in a real sense or in the sense that we escape them through death to receive our reward, God has promised to deliver us! We are kept (guarded) by His power (1 Pet 1:5). No one can steal our salvation away from us (Rom 8:29, 31).

Who is against us if we have God on our side (Rom 8:31)? Therefore, Christians should focus on things above and not on earthly things (Col 3:2). After all, that is where our home awaits us. Christians are dead to the world and alive to God. Things of this world should not appeal to the Christian (1 Jn 2:15-17) because his life is hidden in God. And our life is hidden in God if we allow Him to have His own way!

The Ways We Rob God

Consider Malachi 3:8 which asks: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” The Jews, after leaving idolatry behind, thought they were just fine, but their self-righteous attitude had caused them to not give their best to God (Mal. 1:8). They were giving Him their leasts instead of their best. Their sacrifices and offerings took as little time and effort as possible, and so were not really sacrifices at all.

Unfortunately, many of us today would answer as the Jews did here, and say “Lord, in what way have we robbed You?” because we never stop for a moment to examine our lives, and see if we’ve been giving our best. Will a man rob God? Yes, sadly he would, and I would like to discuss a few ways in which we deprive God of what He truly deserves.

Robbing God of Money

The Lord tells the Israelite that He had been robbed of tithes. A tithe is a tenth, and the practice of giving a tenth of one’s possessions goes back to the time of Abraham (Gen. 14:20) and Jacob (Gen. 28:22). To the Israelites, it was a law that a tenth be given to the Lord (Lev. 27:30). Even the Levites, who received the tithes (since they had no inheritance), gave a tithe of the tithe (Num. 18:21-24 f; Neh. 10:38).

We recognize that the laws of the Old Testament are not binding upon Christians (Eph. 2:15 ff; Col. 2:14; Heb. 8:13). The New Testament teaches that a collection should be taken on the first day of every week to provide for the needs of the saints, but that must be done freely and not out of necessity (1 Cor. 16:1-3 f; 2 Cor 9:6,7).

Since there is always a need in the church, whether it be for evangelism, mission work, benevolence, or keeping the lights on in the place where we meet, a collection is taken every week. How much should we give? We should give what we are able to give; as we may prosper.

The reason why a certain amount or percentage is not given in the New Testament is that a Christian should not need one. We should want to give as much as we can, not because it earns us anything, but because God’s work deserves it.

Our offering to God is something that should be planned, not dug out of our pockets at the last minute. How different is that than the leftovers described by Malachi (1:8)? Each one of us needs to search within ourselves more and determine if we’re giving our best to God financially (Matt. 6:21, 33 ff; Lk. 12:21).

Not only must what we give be the best we can, but how we give must be the best as well. God is interested in what you desire to give, not what you feel is being taken from you. We should not be like Ananias and Sapphira who promised God the sell of a piece of property, and because it sold for more money than they had expected, held back part of the price. Thus, for robbing God their lives were taken (Acts 5:1-10).

We should all be more like David, who refused to make an offering that cost him nothing (2 Sam. 24:24). We should be liberal in our giving to God because everything belongs to Him anyway (1 Cor. 10:26 f; 1 Chr. 29:14). Consider the example of the poor widow who gave all that she had (Mk. 12:41-44).

Robbing God of Time and Talent

God only asks a portion of your money, but He wants ALL of YOU!
We are the first-fruits (Jam. 1:18). Old Testament offerings consisted of the sacrifice of animals; the New Testament sacrifices are our time and talent (Rom. 12:1).

We have all heard the phrase “time is money,” which in the business world is often times a true statement. Wasted time is wasted money. Likewise, in the spiritual realm time is just as precious, and we need to use it wisely. Like everything else, the time we have is granted to us by God, and He expects us to devote some to Him.

We are to redeem the time (Eph. 5:15-17 f; Col. 4:5) by doing good works (Tit. 2:14), rather than wasting it on things that are evil or of no benefit. Too often we procrastinate on things pertaining to God because other things seem more pressing. We cram so many activities in our day that we have no time for Bible study, prayer, helping others, or just thinking about God. Work, school, and a busy schedule often crowd God out of our day.

Perhaps we feel like we can put God off because “He’ll always be around.” When we do that and think that way, we rob God, and ourselves, of time together. Christianity is more than 3 hours a week. What if God spent only 3 hours a week answering prayers? Or only when He has a spare minute?
We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). But growth cannot occur if no time is given it.

We all have talents given to us by God, and He expects us to use those to give back to Him (Eph. 4:11 ff; Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12 concerning miraculous gifts).
Consider the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30): each man was given a certain amount that he was expected to do something with. Those who used what they had to gain more money were commended, while he who did nothing was condemned.

All of us has abilities that we can do better than others. We need to recognize our abilities and see how they fit into serving God. Just like time, we sometimes waste our talents or devote them entirely to the world and physical gain. But we need to help each other look for opportunities to use our talents for God (Think about what your fellow Christians are good at, and encourage them…artistic? writer? cook? painter? carpenter? mechanic? speaker?). Don’t hold back from God, give Him your best!

Robbing God of Love and Respect

Sadly, the reason why many of us rob God of these things is because we’ve first robbed Him of the love and respect He deserves (Mal. 1:2, 6-8). We do not give God our best, because we don’t consider Him the best. We are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mk. 12:30). This is the first and foremost commandment.

In all things, He may have the preeminence (Col. 1:18). Most people take God and His blessings for granted and have no problem putting Him on the back burner. Many have no problem ignoring what the Bible says, and no problem changing His words, because they do not respect it as God’s word. Many do not appreciate that God created this entire universe and that He upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3). Many do not appreciate what Christ has done for us, that He gave up so much as God to come live and die as a poor man (Philip. 2:5-11). Many do not appreciate just how much God loves us (Jn. 3:16 f; Jn. 15:13), and so they do not love Him.

The world is in chaos because man has robbed God. Our education system has no respect for the One who created our minds. Our government has less and less respect for the One who allowed this nation to rise (Dan. 4:17 f; Rom. 13:1)

Atheism is becoming more prevalent and the religious world is becoming more divided today because men have robbed God of the love and respect that is due to Him. The Pharisees even gave money, time, and talent, but no love and respect (Matt. 23:23). That is what God wants, and it is what He deserves.
If we love God as our Savior, and respect Him as our Creator, giving our money, time, and talents will be no problem at all.

Conclusion: Give yourself to God and watch what He gives to you (Lk. 6:38). We reap what we sow (2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:7) Christ has given us everything (Jn. 3:16), what will you give to Him? (Lk. 12:48, to whom much is given, much shall be required). It is indeed more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35) Will a man rob God? Yes, men have and will continue to rob our Creator, but that doesn’t have to include us!

When we stand before God on the last day, one of two things will happen: you will be united with God or separated from Him. If your life comes to an end, and you have been found robbing God, then He will have nothing more to give to you, except these few words “Depart from Me, I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23).

Transgender Is Not A Gender

Our culture has become increasingly characterized by all manner of ungodly wickedness. Such was the case in Sodom and Gomorrah and we know God destroyed them with fire and brimstone (Gen 19:24,25). As a result, our nation stands in shame and disgrace before God. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).

People who identify themselves as being a transgender claim to have an inner conflict between their natural gender identity at birth and the gender to which they personally relate. It’s been described as feeling as though they’re in the wrong body. Many transgender individuals have exposed the public to their inner conflict of identity by cross-dressing, males dressing like females and females dressing like males. This is nothing new; it has been going on for a great many years.

Bruce Jenner, a sports icon from days gone by, went public with his assertion that he is a transgender. You can read about Cher’s daughter, Chasity Bono, who transgendered from a woman to a man. Reality TV nowadays showcases children who transgender from boys to girls and girls to boys. Society wants to make transgender appear to be normal but the fact is, transgender is not a gender. God made both male and female (Gen 1:27). He never made a man who should have been born a woman, and he never made a woman who should have been born a man. Bottom line is, God doesn’t make mistakes!

No matter how many times a surgeon removes the male genitalia and surgically makes a female genitalia for him, he is still a man. The same applies to a woman. Transgenders are doing that which is against nature, even as homosexuals and lesbians. Therefore, transgenders are an abomination to God (Rom 1:26,27).

There’s a huge conflict within our culture regarding God’s word. Many people base their values, including their morality, on feelings and human reasoning rather than on the teachings of God’s word. When scripture contradicts what they think on these matters, their feelings, and personal reasoning override God’s word. They often try to explain away the clear teachings of scripture as being outdated or vague or a matter of personal interpretation. But Peter stated that the teachings of God’s word are not a matter of “private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20-21).

Conclusion: God’s word means the same thing for every generation, and there are no doctrinal contradictions within it (2 Cor 1:18). We need to simply believe and live by what the scriptures say and trust God to guide us in all truth. To live otherwise is to live a life turned upside down. God made one woman for one man for life. He never intended men to be with men or women to be with women. He never intended men and women to be surgically altered in order to become (in pretense) the opposite gender. Let us not be deceived, transgender is not a gender, it is a perversion!

We Must Love God More Than Our Own Family

Since the beginning of time, God commanded mankind to love and honor their father and mother and to obey them in the Lord (Eph 6:1-4). God commanded a man to love his wife (Eph 5:25) and for the wife to love her husband (Tit 2:4). God commanded parents to love their children and to provide for them (1 Tim 5:8). Even so, God does not want us to love our family more than we love God. Our family does not possess the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Salvation belongs to God and to God only, and to obtain it we must love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mk 12:30). And if we love God, we will obey God (Jn 14:21).

Many can’t accept the gospel of Christ because they feel that would condemn their mother or father.” Perhaps the individual’s parents are deceased and he knows that they never were baptized in order to have forgiveness of sins. Therefore, they are unwilling to obey the Lord in baptism because they feel that their obedience would be a testimony against their own mother and father.

Our actions will not change the destiny of our deceased parents. If our departed parents are rejected on the day of judgment, it will be their fault, not ours. When death overtakes anyone, he has either prepared or failed to prepare for judgment and eternity. No one’s acceptance of the truth will alter the destiny of anybody whose life on this earth is already completed.

Our actions may help to save our living parents. If our mother and father are still living and have not obeyed the gospel, we may be able to guide them through our own example and by teaching all who will give ear.

Each one must give account for his own life. Whether one’s mother and father are saved or condemned, or possibly one is saved and the other is condemned, every person is individually responsible before God. It is absolutely foolish to refuse to be baptized into Christ because one’s parents refused to do so. “Everyone of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).

Refusal to believe and obey the truth will condemn one’s own soul. Instead of saying, “I cannot accept what you preach because it would condemn my mother and father,” one should realize that if the truth is being preached, the reaction should be, “If I do not accept this, I will condemn myself.”

God must come before our parents, for Jesus said, “He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. . .” (Matt. 10:37). Luke recorded, “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14:26)

Some by their attitudes show more reverence for their parents than they show for God. The thoughts of their earthly father carry more weight with them than the thoughts of their heavenly Father. To please the Lord, we must to love Him more than we love our father or mother, our brother or sister, our husband or wife, even our own self. If we can’t love God above everyone else, we can’t be a Christian and thus we can’t be saved. And if we love God, we will obey his commandments. (Jn 14:15) Jesus commanded the entire world to believe and be baptized in order to be saved. (Mk 16:16) If we love our parents more than this commandment, we shall be condemned!

Hypocrites Abound

We see hypocrites in all walks of life. People are constantly pretending to be something they are not. Salesmen pretend to be your friend in order to sell you an item (house, car, clothes, etc.). Politicians pretend to be just like you in order to gain your vote. False teachers pretend to be servants of God in order to cause those weak in the faith to give them money (Rom 16:17,18).

Hypocrisy Defined

What is a hypocrite? It is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense. In the religious sense, it refers to the person who pretends to be righteous when in essence they are wicked.

Examples of Hypocrisy

1. Peter (Gal. 2:13). This passage records the conduct of Peter while he was in Antioch. In the early church, Antioch was one of the first congregations to overcome its Jewish background sufficiently to break down the middle wall of partition which separated the Jews and Gentiles. In Antioch, the two groups had fellowship with each other; they ate meals together. When Peter came to Antioch, he joined right in with the two groups. He ate with Gentiles on the same basis as he ate with Jews. Soon, however, some men from the Jerusalem church arrived in Antioch. The Jerusalem Christians apparently still clung to their Jewish heritage. These men would have considered it a sin to eat with a Gentile. Consequently, they would disapprove of what was going on in Antioch. When these men arrived in Antioch, Peter put on his mask; he pretended to be what he was not. Whereas he had been eating with the Gentiles, when the men from Jerusalem arrived he ceased to have anything to do with the Gentiles. Therefore, he was playing a part, pretending to be different to what he really was. Consequently, we read this report of what happened in Antioch:

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy” (Gal. 2:11-13).

This example from the New Testament illustrates what a hypocrite is; he is a man who pretends to be something he is not.

2. Matt. 23. Consider the various passages in this chapter which illustrate to us what the hypocrite is. Here is Jesus’ description of the hypocrisy of the Jews; He said:

“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do sad observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them. And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men” (vs. 1-5).

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, even while for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you shall receive a greater condemnation” (v. 14).

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (v. 23-24).

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also (vs. 25-26).

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (vs. 27-18).

These passages very well portray the nature of hypocrisy. Like the beautiful mausoleum which is very beautiful on the outside but full of decaying bodies on the inside, the hypocrite puts on a front which is very attractive but inwardly he is full of wickedness.

Hypocrisy Still In the Church

I have known businessmen who use their money to gain rule over the church. Whenever threatened, they threaten to leave and go to another church. They pretend to be faithful Christians who have the best interest of the church, but in reality, they are vested in self-interest.

I have known preachers, elders, and deacons to have had sexual affairs with women of the church while at the same time condemning such things as sin. They pretend to be good husbands and law-abiding Christians, but in essence, they use the church to fulfill their fleshly lusts.

I knew one preacher who was living in an adulterous marriage as biblically defined. During his tenure with this local church, he had convinced nearly the entire congregation that his marital situation was right with God. This caused many to be lead astray and commit adultery.

The man who pretends to be righteous but who cheats on his income taxes is a hypocrite. The man who portrays the image of a faithful Christian while loafing on the job which he is being paid to perform is a hypocrite.. The man who waits on the Lord’s table but lies when asked about the condition of the car which he is selling is a hypocrite.

Not All Sinners Are Hypocrites

None of us who claim to be Christians can live a perfect life. Consequently, we are going to be guilty of sin from time to time. The man who, when guilty of sin, falls down on his knees, prays to God for forgiveness, and honestly tries to cease practicing the sin of which he is repenting is not a hypocrite. This man is not trying to put on a cloak of righteousness to cover the wicked conduct in which he is engaged; he is a man who openly admits his guilt and asks God’s forgiveness. The hypocrite is aware of his guilt but has no intention of quitting his sinful conduct. Rather, he only wants to retain the respect of God’s people while following the Devil.

Conclusion: The hypocrite has the ability to hide his devious deeds from the sight of men, at least some men on some occasions. However, he can never conceal his conduct from God. Though the hypocrite might have a good reputation among men, his character is rotten and God knows it. The hypocrite is, therefore, a man who cares more about what men think of him than what God thinks of him.

God has revealed to us that all hypocrites will be exposed. Jesus said,

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Lk. 12:1 3).

The hypocrite will be exposed by God at the judgment. At that time, God shall tear away the cloak of righteousness with which the hypocrite hides his wicked heart underneath. Every idle word (Mt. 12:36) and every evil thought (Heb. 4:13) will be exposed for what it is.

Are you ready to stand before the judgment seat of Christ? Only the man who is protected by the blood of Christ can stand before God. Having had his sins washed away, this man is acceptable to God Almighty. The hypocrite, on the other hand, will be cast into Hell. Let us be sure that our righteousness is genuine and not feigned. Let those who call themselves a Christian, let as a Christian. Let the preacher, the elder, the deacon practice what they preach (Rom 2:21,22).

If Absolute Truth Doesn’t Exist

Have you ever heard, “You go to your church, and I will go to mine, and we will both meet together in heaven?” A lot of sincere people believe that, but then a lot of sincere people will be in hell come the day of judgment.

You will hear, even among brethren, that except for the gospel that there is no absolute truth. Have you ever pondered, even for a moment, what that would mean in terms of how we worship and how we serve God?

No absolute truth means we can make up our own truth, and we can do what we please as opposed to what God pleases. If there was no absolute truth, then truth itself would cease to exist.

Just think, what if there is no absolute truth…

Instrumental Music Would be Optional

If Paul’s writing about singing in the books of Ephesians and Colossians were not absolute truth, then that means we can have instrumental music, choirs, and solos. If the scriptures can’t be believed, then the denominations and liberal-minded brethren have it right. Worship as you please, do as you please, and by all means, be entertained to the fullest.

Women Could Preach
and Be Church Elders and Deacons

Once again, poor ole Paul must have been writing from his own personal hatred, and disdain for women when he wrote for women to be silent in the churches, and to not teach or to usurp authority over men, but to remain silent (1 Cor 14:33-40 f; 1 Tim 2:11-15) While we are at it, remove all those requirements for elders, and deacons that have to do with gender (1 Tim 3 f; Tit 1) With those prejudicial writings discredited, any Christian woman could hold the position of a preacher, elder, or deacon.

Sins Of The Flesh Would Not Exist

If one were to eliminate Jesus’ definitions of adultery in Matthew 5 and Matthew 19, and eliminate Paul’s writings in Romans 7 and 1 Corinthians 7, we can eliminate the word adultery this very moment. Imagine, no more adultery. Marry as many times as you want with no repercussions whatsoever. In fact, there would be no real need for marriage. Just cohabitate with whomever you choose and do whatever is your fancy.

Homosexuallity and lesbianism would be as natural as hetrosexuals. Transgenders and drag queens would be as normal as breathing. Gay marriage and gay parents would be the norm. Prostitutes and porn stars would be pillars of the community.

No More One Gospel of Christ

If we can eliminate truth, then there is no greater truth than the gospel of Christ. If Christ and his apostles can’t be trusted for the truth, then there is no truth. Since Christ defined the truth as himself, then the absence of absolute truth means no gospel, no salvation, and no right or wrong way of doing anything (Jn 14:6).

That means we can make up our own gospel. Sprinkling and Christening would be truth to the Catholics. Faith only would be truth to the Baptist. Belief and immersion would be truth to the churches of Christ.

In fact, make it easy on yourself, just call yourself saved, and call it the truth. Isn’t that what most denominations do already? Save your money, or join a country club if there is no truth. Eat, drink, and be merry, for, without truth, there are no restrictions whatsoever.

Conclusion: If there is no absolute truth, then there is no salvation, there is no Christ, and there is no God. Either the bible is our source for the absolute truth of God, or it’s nothing more than a book filled with laws, history, poems, proverbs, prophecies, gospels, and letters that were written by 40 uninspired men.

We can’t have it both ways. We can’t pick and choose what we choose to believe, and discard the rest. We can’t use ignorance of the scriptures as an excuse not to obey God (Mk 12:24 f; Acts 17:30).

If the Word of God was totally inspired of God then we must obey, and remain faithful to the gospel of Christ (2 Tim 3:16,17).  If the Word of God was totally inspired of God then we are assured that heaven awaits all who obey the gospel (Tit 1:2). If even one part of God’s Word is not truth, then that means God is a liar, and is not to believed whatsoever. However, we have God’s oath, and promise that his Word is the truth and that God can’t lie (Jn 17:17 f; Heb 6:16-19). If we truly believe in God, then we are assured that truth has only one version (Jn 8:32).

However, if we can’t take God’s Word for the absolute truth, then there is no God, there is no heaven, there is no hell, and when we die, we cease to exist. We would be just like the atheist who is all dressed up, and laid to rest with no place to go.

Let us never fall into the snare of doubting the veracity of God on some things, while believing other things. It is better to be an atheist or a Christian than one who is in agreement with both (Rev 3:15,16).

If God’s Word is the absolute truth, then obey it (Jn 14:15 f; 1 Jn 5:3) If not, then why waste your time partially obeying only the parts you like, and discarding the rest. Half truth and partial truth is no truth at all (Jn 17:17 f; Jn 8:31,32).

Vengeance Belongs To God

There are a multitude of reasons why one would want to take vengeance upon another but all of them reveal a lack of faith. Why? Because vengeance belongs to God, and no matter what evil we want to place upon another for doing something against us, God does it better.

What does the Bible say about vengeance?  “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.  Therefore ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; lf he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Following are seven reasons not to take vengeance” (Rom 12:17-21).

First, God is impartial in his blessing to mankind.  “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:44-45)  Just as God sends his blessings on the evil and on the good, so also He wants you to bless and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you as well as those who are your friends and loved ones.

Second, you are to live in peace with others. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom 12:18)  When you take vengeance, you are engaging in a battle. The person you took vengeance upon will want to take vengeance on you for what you just did, and back and forth it may go. You are not living at peace with others when you take vengeance.

Third, vengeance is God’s. “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Rom 12:19)  By taking vengeance, you are taking over God’s role.  When we take vengeance upon another, we are actually stealing from God. God has not given you that right. He is the one who takes vengeance; since He is all knowing, He will take the appropriate vengeance at the appropriate time.  It is not your right to take vengeance upon another, no matter the reason.

Fourth, you may heap coals of fire on his head. “Therefore ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head’” (Rom 12:20)  Burning coals heaped on a man’s head would imply mental pain.  When you take vengeance, he feels justified in his actions and has no mental pain. However, the effect of you returning good for evil may be that his conscience will convict him of the evil of his conduct and he may be fearful of God’s displeasure; this may lead to repentance.

Fifth, when you take vengeance, you are repaying evil with evil.  That means you have just committed an evil act.  “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:17, 21)  God’s way for you is to overcome evil with good.  Ultimately, good is more powerful than evil.

Sixth, the Lord will reward you for not taking vengeance.  “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Prov 25:21-22)  There is no reward for you when you take vengeance.  You will receive a reward only for returning good for evil.

Seventh, the Lord may withhold his vengeance if you take it instead. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him” (Prov 24:17-18)  The point is that when you take over God’s role of vengeance, you have the potential of messing up God’s purpose and plan and He may turn away his wrath from the one who has hurt you.

Be assured that God will take vengeance for you at the appropriate time.  “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed”  (2 Thess 1:6-10).

It may feel natural to want to take vengeance upon another but don’t do it! Do not take vengeance by word or by deed. Your role is to bless your enemy and pray for them.  Return good for evil.  God’s role is to take vengeance and repay those who trouble you. Therefore, when someone harms you, put them in God’s hands.

The Sin of Covetousness

When did you ever hear someone admit to covetousness? When was the last time you coveted? This may indicate that it is the least confessed and least understood sin.

Covetousness is not just desiring something what someone else has. It is desiring something that I have no right to possess. In the 10 commandments, Israel was commanded not to covet their neighbor’s house, wife, servant, ox, donkey, “or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Ex. 20:17). Why? These things did not belong to them, and they had no right to them. In Jericho, the reason the gold, silver, and iron things were banned was because they had been claimed by the Lord. The Israelites were to keep themselves from things they had no right to (Josh 6:18).

What makes covetousness so least-confessed and misunderstood? Covetousness is a silent sin. “You shall not covet” (Ex. 20:17) was different than the other commandments. The other laws had to do with things that were outward and noticeable when you violated them: do not “commit,” “kill,” “steal,” and “bear.” But the 10th commandment was inward, having to do with the thoughts. In Jericho, Achan “took” some of the things under the ban because he first “saw” and then “coveted” them (Josh. 7:19-21).

All sin begins in the heart. What silently starts on the inside is ultimately expressed in actions. That’s why covetous and covetousness are also translated “unjust gain” (Prov. 28:16), “dishonest gain” (Jer. 22:17) and “bribe” (Ex. 18:21). The desire for something you have no right to have leads to use dishonest means to obtain it. What is your heart’s desire? Do you have a right to it? If not, don’t even think about it.

Covetousness is a subtle sin. Jesus said, “Beware, and be on guard against every form of covetousness” (Lk 12:15). Watch for and then guard yourself. Why? Because it is such a subtle sin. “Every form” or “every kind” of covetousness tells us that this sin manifests itself in different ways.

This is not just about money. Pornography is another way of “coveting your neighbor’s wife” (Deut. 5:21). You have no right to her. You can covet attention. What is our motive for posting things on social media? Is it so people will be impressed that we have reached a status in life where we can take this vacation, live in this house, or purchase these things? You can covet praise. In the worship service, do we serve for God’s glory or for our own? That is reserved for God and Him alone.

Covetousness is a destructive sin. It was one of the “seven deadly sins”. In 1 Cor. 6:9-10, it is listed alongside fornicators, idolaters, homosexuals, and drunkards as those who shall not “inherit the kingdom of God.” In Eph. 5:5, “no immoral or impure person or covetous man. . . has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” That which is silent and subtle in the end is destructive and deadly.

How often have people pursued this path? Achan saw and coveted and took. As a result, he and his family were stoned, burned, and then covered by a heap of stones (Josh 7:24-26). Judas, one of the 12 apostles, gave up Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. And he was so overcome with grief that he hanged himself. Ananias and Sapphira were not required to sell their land. But they coveted the praise of the local church, and they were struck dead on the spot when they coveted part of what they had given to the church. When you don’t guard against every form of it, you destroy your life and lose your soul.

The cure for covetousness is contentment. “Let your conservation be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5). Is God’s companionship enough for you? Then make Him your heart’s desire.

The Purpose of Christian Suffering

Paul presents a different view of suffering from the conventional wisdom we read in the book of Job (2 Cor 1). One of the major reasons for the shift in thinking about suffering is the experience of Jesus Christ, the ultimate righteous suffering servant. The notion that He who was without sin was made to suffer for the sins of the world must have some sort of extension into the life of faith. This extension is that when we suffer on behalf of others, we reflect the attitude of Christ and therefore join Jesus in his work to love the world until it hurts.

Paul wrote this to the Corinth church:
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ”. (2 Cor 1:3-5)

Paul seems to argue that the reason why we can relate to people and help others is that we have experienced the same things. He claims that when we suffer and are comforted, we learn how to be a comfort for others as they suffer. We are God’s tools for administering healing in the world, but only as we have received healing ourselves from God.

And notice who we are suffering for__Christ!  He is the example and the one through whom the comfort comes. God comforts us because we suffer for Christ. This is different from suffering because we face the consequences of some sin we committed. This is not suffering because we made a poor decision.  Paul was participating in church planting work all around the Roman world, and he experienced suffering because he was a follower of Christ.  We must make that important distinction here!

Paul Continues:
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us” (2 Cor 1:8-10).

There is something in the above passage that seems to show us that those who suffer have the opportunity to put greater trust in God. Paul said that although they thought they would die they trusted in the God who raises the dead! That is a powerful proclamation! As we suffer, we still have a choice to put our confidence in God or to reject God. To Job’s credit, he did not reject God but went to God with his question of “WHY?” Paul’s writing declares that when we put our confidence in God, He will rescue us and this promise does not come from someone driving an expensive car and living in a fine house. It’s from Paul who has a laundry list of bad days for the sake of Christ.

When Paul was rejected by God to deliver him from his thorn in the flesh, Paul rejoiced. For this thing, I petition the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor 12:8-10).

In the end, there is a purpose to the madness and contradiction of life that has the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering. There are those who think that if we receive comfort from God, then our troubles just go away, but instead of removing the pain God grants us the grace and strength to persevere through the pain and hurt and time of suffering.  God also grants us the opportunity to become a blessing to others in their pain and hurt. So the end game is not our comfort, but God’s Kingdom.

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