“House Rules”

Posted: May 26, 2015 in Christian Life, Crowns, Dispensations, Salvation, Security, Spiritual Gifts

Every home has, or should have, clearly understood house rules if there is to be order and harmony in it. Too many children grow up in homes where the rules are constantly changing. They don’t know what to expect and are disciplined for violating rules that they didn’t even know existed. This causes many children to be needlessly provoked to wrath (Ephesians 6:4).

Dispensations. Far too many people are confused about dispensations. Some, within Christendom, think that a dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation of law in certain cases. Others think that dispensations are different ways of salvation. But briefly stated, they are simply the progressive house rules that God has imposed or will impose on some or all of mankind to test their obedience to Him (Luke 16:1, 2; Exodus 24:12; Ephesians 3:1-12). Each dispensation proves the fact that “The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9; See Romans 3:10-23). This is why Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (i.e. from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). We need a new nature from God that is given to all true Christians at the moment of our salvation (2 Peter 1:4). Do you have Biblical assurance that you have been born from above (Romans 8:16; 1 John 5:13)?

Salvation. There is only one way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:31). It is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the Christ of the Scriptures alone, and not of works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Today, we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Luke 24:39). Once genuinely saved, we can/should do good works to let others know that we are true Christians (Ephesians 2:10; James 1:22; 2:18-20). Don’t “get the cart before the horse.”

Rules. When one interprets the Scriptures normally, historically, and grammatically, it becomes apparent that God has laid down different rules to test people during the past, present, and in the future. We understand the Scriptures to teach 7 distinct rules for living with three of them involving a large portion of the Bible. (Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, Kingdom) It’s not too hard to see that the rules for the Jews living under the Mosaic Law (Exodus 19-Matthew 12:50) were quite different from the rules that are applicable to New Testament Christians. The rules that will be imposed on those living during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (Revelation 20:1-7; Isaiah 9:6, 7) will be intensified legal obligations with greater consequences to those who violate them (Matthew 5-7). Those who try to live by the wrong set of rules will not only be confused, but will not be able to come to spiritual maturity (Galatians 3:1-5; 5:1ff; Romans 6:14). Do you fit into this category?

Grace. The rules for New Testament Christian can be found, as a general rule, between John 13 and Revelation 3.  Jesus, in anticipation of the Dispensation of Grace, gave His disciples a new commandment that stood in contrast to the old commandment (John 13:34, 35). Under the Mosaic Law, the Jews were required to love their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18). Under Grace, the Christian is to love other Christians as Christ Himself has loved us. Jesus demonstrated His love by laying down His life for His sheep and for all mankind (John 3:16; 10:14-18; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

Love. God’s “agape” love, that is produced by God the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) in a Spirit filled Christian (Ephesians 5:18), can/should be demonstrated before others toward the right objects. (Yes, it’s possible for a maturing Christian to misdirect this love – 1 John 2:15-17) We need to be ready and willing, if necessary, to lay down our lives for the brethren by sharing our material things with those who are in genuine need (1 John 3:16, 17). Consider the Christian’s priority: “Therefore, as we (i.e. Christians) have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Responsibilities. God wants all true New Testament Christians to grow in the sphere of grace (2 Peter 3:18), walk by faith (Hebrews 4:2; 11:6), be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), maintain Christian unity (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 4:3), use their spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10), love other believers as Christ loves us (John 13:34, 35), witness to and evangelize the lost (Acts 1:8), and do all for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Obviously, there are more requirements than these things. These can be carried out only by using God’s resurrection power that is available to all Christians (Philippians 3:10; 4:13).

Failure. If we’re honest, we would have to admit that when we’re not walking by means of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25) we violate many of these rules on a regular basis. Are you failing to grow up spiritually (Hebrews 5:12-14), ignoring or doubting God’s promises (Hebrews 4:1, 2), dominated by your sin nature or the devil (Romans 7:20; Matthew 16:23), causing unscriptural divisions (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-9), failing to use or misusing your spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14), fighting, quarreling, and loving the present world system and its things (James 4:1; 1 John 2:9, 15-17; 4:20, 21). Are you timid, confused and ignorant (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4)? Are you serving and exalting yourself rather than God (Romans 1:25; 2 Timothy 3:2-5). If so, confession is in order if you want to have your sins forgiven and your family fellowship and joy restored (1 John 1:3-9). God wants each of us to examine himself/herself before we participate in the Lord’s supper.  Failing to do so leads to dire consequences (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). 

Judgment. Even though God accepts all true Christians in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), and graciously teaches (1 John 2:20, 27), disciplines (Hebrews 12:5, 6), empowers (Philippians 4:13), rewards (2 Corinthians 5:10), guides (John 16:13) and enables us to grow spiritually (2 Peter 1:2-4), many (perhaps most) Christians refuse to depend God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16) and carry out the responsibilities that He has placed on us.

Rewards. At the Bema Seat Judgment the Christian’s works will be evaluated to determine what endures the test of divine fire and what doesn’t (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Christians have 5 crowns that can be earned. Do you know what they are and how you can secure them? Rather than our strutting around heaven with the crowns we’ve earned, we will have something to cast at Jesus’ feet while acknowledging that He alone is worthy (Revelation 4:10, 11).

Appreciation. It certainly seems appropriate for every Christian to respond to God’s grace by living his/her life with moral purity (1 Peter 1:15, 16) as we anticipate His any moment return for us (John 14:1-3; 1 John 3:3). This hope (i.e. confident expectation) will also make us truly happy (Titus 2:13), and bring comfort to those whose Christian loved ones have been taken from them to heaven through the door of death (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Chart. Contact us if you’d like to get our FREE “Dispensational Chart” in an easy to understand format. It could revolutionize your life as it has mine. Phone: 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com.

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