Archive for the ‘God's Will’ Category

New Commandment. “A new commandment I [Jesus] give to you [disciples], that you love one another [fellow Christians] as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:34, 35).

Love/Hate. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother [or sister in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20, 21).

Application. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him” (1 John 3:16, 17; See 2 Thessalonians 3:4-15; Proverbs 6:6).

Grace. In the “Dispensation of Grace” in which we live (Ephesians 3:2), one of the great privileges of each believer is Christian giving.  We all have time (24 hours each day), talents (spiritual gifts), and treasure (money).  Giving is just one of the spiritual sacrifices we may offer up to God (Hebrews 13:15, 16; Romans 12:1, 2).

O.T./N.T. In the Old Testament times, some of the Jews’ sacrifices were bloody while we, as New Testament priests, offer non-bloody sacrifices to God (1 Peter 2:5, 9). The Jews, under the Mosaic Law, were also required to pay three tithes amounting to 23% (Numbers 18:20-32; Deuteronomy 14:23-29) plus taxes.  “Tithing under the [Mosaic] law was mandatory, giving under grace is voluntary.”   – Dr. M. R. DeHaan

Guidelines For Christian Giving

l. It is to be exercised in a spiritual manner, preceded by the giving of self (Romans 12:1, 2), as exemplified by (a) the Macedonian believers, who “…first gave of themselves to the Lord…see that you abound in this grace also….” (2 Corinthians 8:5, 7), (b) the Lord Himself (2 Corinthians 8:9), and (c) God the Father (2 Corinthians 9:15).
2. It is to be done 
voluntarily and cheerfully“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
3. It is to be performed with 
regularity“On the first day of the week let each of you lay something aside…” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
4. It is to involve 
every person“…let each one of you lay aside…” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
5. It is to be rendered on a 
proportionate basis. “…as he may prosper…” (1 Corinthians 16:2).

God has promised to reward those believers whose lives are marked by sacrificial devotion to Him and His work. “…He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

Someone has said, Under grace, God doesn’t look at the amount on the face of the check, but on the balance left on the tab. “ The man who makes $10,000 a month and gives 50% to the Lord still has far more left than the widow who gives 10% out of her meager allowance of $800 a month.”  Grace teaches us that our giving as Christians is not a legal obligation, but is a blessed privilege and becomes a measure of our love for God and His children.  Whose child are you – the devil’s or God’s (1 John 3:8-10; John 8:44)?

Some Additional Thoughts

What our giving does:
1. It 
brings honor to God Who blessed us with all physical and spiritual blessings. Proverbs 3:9
2. It 
expresses our gratitude to Him. Ephesians 5:20
3. It 
brings spiritual joy. Philippians 4:4
4. It 
helps meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of people everywhere. Philippians 4:15-19; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4
5. It will 
demonstrate our faith in God’s ability to provide for us in the future. Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 9:8

Motives And Rewards

Only when one gives with a proper motive is it pleasing to God. The primary motive for giving should be the glory of God (2 Corinthians 8:19; 1 Corinthians 10:31). The secondary motive is for the welfare [love] of others, especially believers (Galatians 6:6-10; John 13:34, 35).  

A Christian’s giving should be made with (1) forethought (2 Corinthians 9:7), (2) regularity (1 Corinthians 16:2), (3) priority to the local church where one is being fed and cared for spiritually (Galatians 6:6-10; 1 Timothy 5:17,18), and (4) the Holy Spirit’s leading (Romans 8:14).

Note: Divine compensation for faithful stewardship doesn’t guarantee financial prosperity or robust health. But one can have true joy, peace, satisfaction, and hope which money can’t buy. God’s compensation plan is “out of this world.” (See Romans 8:18)

Action: Ask yourself, “What do I need to do with this information now?”  Read James 4:17.

Questions. Are you absolutely sure that you will go to heaven the moment you die? Why should God let you into His heaven? If you think you’re going to heaven, is there anything you could do or fail to do that could cause you to lose your salvation? If so, what would it be? If you’re saved, are you growing in the Lord (2 Peter 3:18), serving Him by serving others (1 Peter 4:10), and sharing the Gospel with the lost (Acts 1:8)?

Help. We’re here to help those who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16, 17). We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Then please share it with someone else who could use the information too. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

Clear Gospel: http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

Clear Gospel Audio: http://www.duluthbible.org/filerequest/9415

For more information about Christian giving, consult “As The Ushers Come Forward” by Herbert VanderLugt and “The Grace Of Giving” by Richard DeHaan. (Some of the information in this article was adapted from these publications.)

What comes into your mind when you hear the word holy or holiness? Have you ever met a “Holy Joe” or someone who wanted to be one?  Does God really expect us, as Christians, to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:15, 16)? How is it possible? What happens when we fail? Do all Christians retain their sin nature after they are saved? How does it manifest itself?

Perversions. “Without exception, every one of [the works of the flesh that comes from our sin nature – Galatians 5:19-21] is a perversion of something which is in itself good. Immorality, impurity, licentiousness are perversions of the sexual instinct which is in itself a lovely thing and part of love. Idolatry is a perversion of worship, and was begun as an aid to worship. Sorcery is a perversion of the use of healing drugs in medicine. Envy, jealousy, and strife are perversions of that noble ambition and desire to do well which can be a spur to greatness. Enmity and anger are a perversion of that righteous indignation without which the passion for goodness cannot exist. Dissension and the party spirit are a perversion of the devotion to principle which can produce the martyr. Drunkenness and carousing are the perversion of the happy joy of social fellowship and of the things which men can happily and legitimately enjoy. Nowhere is there better illustrated the power of evil to take beauty and to twist it into ugliness, to take the finest things and to make them an avenue for sin. The awfulness of the power of sin lies precisely in its ability to take the raw material of potential goodness and turn it into the material of evil” (Flesh and Spirit by William Barclay, page 39).

Holy. When the Prophet Isaiah heard the seraphs crying out and saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” he responded by saying, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3-5). The twenty-four elders, who represent the true Church, will respond in a similar fashion when they hear the living creatures in heaven saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

Definitions. Holiness is the attribute of God whereby He maintains His own moral excellence, abhors anything unlike Himself and demands of others a purity identical to His own.” – H. L. Schafer. Sanctification involves being set apart unto God for honorable use. God’s wrath is an extension of His holiness. On the cross, God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) made a propitiation to satisfy God’s outraged holiness against sin/lawlessness (Romans 3:24, 25; 1 John 2:2; 3:4; 4:10).

Wrath. During the coming seven years of the Tribulation on this earth (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19), the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16), and the wrath of the devil will be on full display (Revelation 12:12). Thankfully, true Christians will be caught up before this awful event takes place (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 3:10). But this doesn’t mean that true Christians won’t be persecuted prior to this event (John 16:2; 2 Timothy 3:12).

Saints. Believe it or not, according to the Scriptures, everyone who places his/her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, by believing that He died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day, instantly becomes a saint. He/she is separated unto God (Philippians 1:1; 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Hebrews 3:1; 10:10). This deals with our standing before God.

Practice. Sadly, not every Christian acts like a saint. God’s Word says, “…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:14-16). The Apostle Paul wrote, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Possible? You might ask, “How is it possible to overcome the temptations that come from our sin nature?”  First, begin by admitting that you still have a sin nature.  “If we [as Christians] say we have no sin [nature], we deceive ourselves, and truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8; Romans 7:15-25).  Then “Walk by means of the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust (i.e. strong desires) of the flesh (i.e. your sin nature)” (Galatians 5:16).  Don’t forget to “…reckon [yourself] to be dead indeed to [your sin nature], but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

Separated. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). To those believers living during the Great Tribulation, a voice from heaven will say, “Come out of her (i.e. the apostate, one world Church), my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

Sanctified. In His High Priestly prayer to His Father, Jesus said, “Sanctify [believers] by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). “[Christian] husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:25, 26).

Focus. The writer of the Book of Hebrews tried to encourage some persecuted believers when he wrote, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). Imagine the change that would take place if a Christian meditated on these things: “whatever things are true…noble…just…pure…lovely…good report” (Philippians 4:8).

Complete. When the believer sees Christ face to face, the sanctification process will be complete (1 John 3:2; Ephesians 5:27). Until then the work will go on as believers are transformed into Christ’s image (Galatians 4:19; Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 15:49). Don’t sabotage the progress by grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit who lives in all true Christians (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; John 14:17). When sins are committed, repent (i.e. change your mind about what you have done), and confess them to God and those whom you have offended (1 John 1:9; James 5:16).

Help. If you need spiritual help, we can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Click on “Follow” to receive future articles as they come out.   If you’re not sure you’re saved, read “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation.”  We have it in 24 languages on our website.

 

During World War II many young Japanese pilots devoted themselves to their Emperor Hirohito, whom they considered to be a god, and to the “Divine Wind” also known as “Kamikaze.” They were willing to die for the honor of Japan as they aimed and crashed their planes into our naval ships.

B.T.W. An interesting side note. Once, when my missionary father, TimothyPietsch, was in a Japanese hospital, he had a roommate who had been a kamikaze pilot in World War II. That must have been an interesting discussion. Earlier my father also had a part in the conversion of Mitsuo Fuchida* to Christianity when he received a pamphlet from my dad about Jake DeShazer (of the Doolittle Raiders) who had been a prisoner of the Japanese. Fuchida was the lead commander of the pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor. I have a picture of him at our home in Tokyo when I was a small boy going to the Japanese Peer School, the school of the Imperial Family of Japan. The Emperor’s daughter also was attending that school when I was.

Divine Wind. God the Holy Spirit is also likened to the wind. He often works in mysterious ways to accomplish that which the Godhead had determined to do (Ephesians 1:11). He also has a desirous will which may or may not be carried out. In some things He works in conjunction with true believers who act as ambassadors for God (2 Corinthians 5:20) and witnesses to the bodily resurrection of Christ and the transforming power of God (Acts 1:8).

New Birth. Shortly after Jesus began His ministry on earth, and after performing some sign miracles for the Jews (1 Corinthians 1:22; 14:21, 22), He told the leading Rabbi of the time that he needed to be born from above if he wanted to see and enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5).

Offensive. “To declare to an orthodox Jew that he was born wrong the first time and needed to be born into a different family was an affront indeed. The Jews prided themselves on their physical lineage (cf. Philippians 3:4, 5; Matthew 3:9). They viewed themselves as citizens of God’s Kingdom in a very exclusive sense. However, in this instance Christ informed one of their leaders that inclusion in God’s Kingdom is not through physical but through spiritual birth.” – E. Pickering, The Word Became Flesh, p. 21. Today, Jews and non-Jews need the same Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (Romans 1:16, 17).

Dual Covenant.** Those “Christian Pastors” who are telling the Jewish people that they don’t have to believe in Jesus Christ’s death for our sins, burial, and bodily resurrection to be saved, are, as one man said, “loving them to hell.” Jesus Christ said, “I am the [only] way, the [absolute] truth, and the life [i.e. the giver of eternal life], no one comes to [God the Father] except through Me“ (John 14:6). This is not a politically correct statement because it implies that other ways to God are not sufficient for salvation from hell to heaven. The Apostles Peter and Paul affirm Christ’s words (Acts 4:12; 16:31). You either believe it or you don’t.

Problem. We all need to be born from above because we all have a sinful nature*** that rebels against God. Those people, including Christians, who deny that they have one are deceiving themselves (1 John 1:8). This sinful nature (disposition) was passed on to us through a stream of blood that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve who rebelled against God by eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis ; Psalm 51:5). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). “It is refusing to recognize any restrictions or restraints from God and act as though he had none.” – H. L. Schafer. God determines what is sin and what is not sin.

Victory. All Christians retain their sin nature even after they are saved and will have it until they die or are raptured (Romans 7:15-25; 1 John 3:2; Hebrews 4:15). This nature tempts us to engage in sinful activities that are perversions of good things. They are called “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21). But at the point of salvation each Christian receives (participates in) the divine nature that enables him/her to please God (2 Peter 1:4). These two natures are constantly at war with each other and the old nature always wins and gets its way unless the new nature is empowered by God the Holy Spirit.

Walking. When a Christian walks (i.e. orders his life) by means of the Holy Spirit, he can’t/won’t fulfill the lusts (strong desires) that come from his sinful nature (Galatians 5:16). Don’t blame the devil for the temptations that come from within you. His temptations are quite different and they come from without and are directed toward a Christian’s mind (2 Corinthians 2:11). If you’re a Christian, would you like to live victoriously over your sin nature so you don’t experience the awful consequences of your sinful (lawless) behavior? Of course there is temporary pleasure in sin (Hebrews 11:25). Otherwise we wouldn’t engage in it. But the guilt that follows is often overwhelming unless one’s conscience is seared (1 Timothy 4:2).

Clarification. While it is true that God’s desires that we don’t sin, He knows that Christians will sin periodically (1 John 2:1, 2; 3:9, 10). When we sin, we need to confess our sins promptly to God and then claim His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Don’t confuse family forgiveness with judicial forgiveness**** (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:1).

Eternal Life. “…Eternal life is not earned by begging, crying, praying, working, or joining. [Neither is it gained by promising God that you will always make Jesus the Lord and Master of your life, known also as “Lordship in exchange for salvation.”*****] Salvation comes as a free gift when we believe what God has said. For almost two thousand years people have been adding to the gospel [1 Corinthians 15:3, 4******]. But the truth still rings clear today – Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life’” – K. O. Gangel, John, p. 54

Questions. Are you sure you’ll go to heaven the moment you die? Why should God let you into His heaven? If you say you’re a Christian, is there anything you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation? If so, what would it be? Do you have assurance of salvation? Can a person be sure?

Help. If you have questions and would like answers from the Bible, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.comfor more information.

 

*Mitsuo Fuchida http://www.biblebelievers.com/fuchida1.html

**Dual Covenant. http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/pages/deception/john-hagee-and-dual-covenant-theology.htm

***Sin Nature http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/1natjm07.htm

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/1natjm00.htm

****Forgiveness http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/christia/2aspects.pdf

***** Lordship For Salvation http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/lordshrq.pdf

******Gospel http://www.cleargospel.org

Questions. If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions: Why am I here? What is the purpose of my existence? Why did I wake up this morning to face another day? Why did God save me? When He saved me, why didn’t He take me immediately to Heaven to be with Himself? Why did God leave me here upon the earth for a time? For what purpose did God create me and for what purpose did God save me? God’s Word gives us the answer to these questions. “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For you created all things, And by You will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)  We glorify God when we make Him know to others as the Lord Jesus Christ glorified God the Father while He was here on earth (John 17:1ff). 

Purpose. Some folks within Christendom believe that God’s primary purpose is to save people from having to spend eternity in hell with the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41, 46). Consider what Pastor Pastor Carlton Helgerson wrote in his paper The Challenge of a New Religion. “Neo-evangelicalism professes to be most anxious to propagate the gospel. It claims that the chief purpose of God is the salvation of man. This is an error….This assumption is not only a mistake, it is a clever deception, for it places soteriology [the salvation of man] above everything else. It makes man, not God, the center of one’s theology. Every Bible student ought to know that the chief purpose in all that God does…is His glory! The humanistic element that places man’s salvation above the glory of God runs counter to what God has revealed. The salvation of souls is but one of the ways by which God is glorified. We must put His glory first. Any lesser motive, including reaching the lost, dishonors the Author of the written Word.

Concerns. If our primary concern is the salvation of the lost, then our whole approach is man-centered. If our primary concern is for the glory of God, then our whole outlook and emphasis will be God-centered. The failure to see the glory of God as God’s chief purpose has led to at least two serious errors of our day.*  (Click on the link below to learn more.)

Practice. Here are a few ways that we, as Christians, can glorify God.  As we live our lives from day to day we can/should glorify God as we –

Call upon Him in our times of trouble (Psalm 50:15; Philippians 4:6, 7; 1 Peter 5:7).

Praise and give thanks to Him always (Psalm 50:23; Hebrews 13:15, 16).

Exhibit God’s light and life before others (Matthew 5:16; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:8).

Communicate with God eight ways (John 14:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Abide (feel at ease) in Christ and bear much fruit (John 15:8).

Walk in (by means of) the Spirit (John 16:13-14; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16-25).

Display one mind with other believers (Romans 15:5-6; Ephesians 4:3-5).

Keep our bodies (the Holy Spirit’s temple) holy and pure (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:15, 16).

Eat, drink, or whatever we do (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Head home to be with the Lord forever (John 21:19; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10).

If this article has helped you, please let us know how it has and then share it with someone else.  Click on “Follow” to receive future articles as they come out.  Go to http://www.kelseypeach.com for more help and information either about how to be saved or how to mature in your faith and serve God effectively as you live here on earth.

(Portions adapted from “The Glory Of God and Evangelism” by George Zeller*)

* http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/mevangel/glryevan.htm

Prayer is nothing but a powerful placebo. We’d all be better off accepting that.” So says one man who claims to be an atheist. If he were an honest man, he’d claim to be an agnostic, not an atheist. Do you know what the Scriptures call atheists (Psalm 14:1)? What two things can we learn by observing nature that makes everyone without excuse (Romans 1:20)?

Was Christ’s half brother James wrong when he wrote these words that are a part of the Scriptures: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16)? Was he merely giving people a placebo?

Jesus. When Jesus Christ, as the God-man, prayed all night to His Father (Luke 6:12), was it a waste of His time? Why did He pray if He Himself was indeed God manifested in human flesh (John 1:1-18)? In what realm was He operating – His human or divine consciousness (Matthew 24:36; John 2:24. 25)? How many natures did/does He still have? How is He different from the other two persons in the Godhead and from us? What bodily form does He have in heaven today (Luke 24:33-43; 1 Timothy 6:16)? What kind of bodies will the believers in heaven have (1 Corinthians 15:49-54; 1 John 3:2) and what kind of bodies will the believers on earth have in the future (Daniel 12:2, 3)? How are they different? Will all the unbelievers be annihilated or suffer forever in a real body in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46; Luke 16:22-31; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8)? Is reincarnation Scriptural (Hebrews 9:27)?

You. Do you ever engage in prayer? When? Where? Why? How? To whom? What do you say when you pray? How important is it for families to pray together? Does prayer change things? Are your prayers limited to asking and receiving? Have you been disappointed when you didn’t get what you asked God for? Is God your Father or is the Devil your real father (John 8:44; 1 John 3:10)? Unbelievers shouldn’t be asking God for favors. Satan has attractive offers that he makes (Matthew 4:9). Does God answer your prayers with a yes, no, or wait?

Prayer. This word (proseuche) in the Greek language (in which the New Testament was written) is often inappropriately used by many people to cover all eight forms of communication with God. But it has the primary idea of worship. True worship of God (John 4:24) involves the use of the believer’s spirit (that belongs to the mind – Ephesians 4:23) and truth about God that is found in the Scriptures (John 17:17). We don’t truly worship God without thinking about His attributes. How many of them do you know? We can/should engage in true worship at all times in all places (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It seems that most people who attend church these days have the idea that worship primarily involves the soul (emotions). They don’t think that they have worshiped God unless they come away with a “good feeling.” Did you know that the soul of the believer is the last thing to be saved (1 Peter 1:9)? When will this happen (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)? When will the believer’s body be saved (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:23)?

Effective. Obviously, not everyone’s prayers to God are effective. Many requests are denied because they aren’t according to the will and plan of God. God has a “determinative will” that will be carried out no matter what anyone else tries to do to oppose it (Acts 2:23; 4:28; Ephesians 1:11). It involves, among other things, God the Father’s determination to make God the Son (The Lord Jesus Christ) King of kings and Lord of lords (Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 19:16). Do you know when this will happen? The Scriptures also identify 12 things that are said to be God’s “desirous will” for us that we may or may not carry out. This involves the use of our wills. When our prayers line up with God’s plan, He says “Yes.” We’re told to Ask [as though Christ were standing in our place asking for us] , and [we] will receive, that [our] joy may be full” (John 16:24). Sometimes [We] ask and do not receive, because  [we] ask amiss, that [we] may spend it on our pleasures” (James 4:2). What do you want and why do you want it (1 Corinthians 10:31)?

Fervent. Are you easily dissuaded by the colorful attractions of this world (1 John 2:15-17). Is God your refuge and strength, your very present help in trouble? Do you know that He alone is God and that He (Jesus Christ) will be exalted in the earth one of these days? Do you know that He is with/in you if you’re a Christian (Psalm 46:1, 10; John 14:17)? Do you believe that He is able to do far above all that you ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)? Are you willing to ask God for favors from a humble heart (James 4:6)?

Elijah. This prophet of God was used to bring on a drought that lasted for 3 ½ years during the days of wicked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel (1 Kings 17, 18). God had made it clear to the Jews that if they obeyed His laws they would be blessed but if they disobeyed them, they would be cursed (Deuteronomy 28). Elijah simply asked God to keep His word and bring judgment on the wicked king and Israelites of that day. Later God prompted him to pray for rain (1 Kings 18:1; James 5:18). But first he had to challenge the 450 prophets of Baal and demonstrate to them and the Israelites that there was only one true and living God. The prophets of Baal called on their god to bring down fire on their sacrifice but to no avail. But when Elijah prayed, God answered by sending fire from heaven to consume his water soaked sacrifice. Then the false prophets were put to death for misleading God’s people (Deuteronomy 13:5). Beware of the false prophets and teachers of our time (2 Peter 2:1).

Righteous. Obviously, only God is totally righteous. God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) is righteous (2 Timothy 4:8). He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).  We, unlike God, are unrighteous and sinners (Romans 3:10-23). We deserve to be separated from God forever in the lake of fire (Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:41, 46). So, how can we be forgiven and become righteous people. God puts to a believer’s account Christ’s righteousness (Romans 4:22; James 2:23) when we place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). In other words, God says we did the right thing by dying for our own sins in the person of our Substitute, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This is known as “positional truth” or what God considers to be true in His mind. But “practical righteousness” is displayed when we act right by doing the things that God wants us to do as revealed in His Word. While all the Bible is to be believed, not all of it is to be believed and practiced (Titus 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:15). Without a clear understanding of “Dispensational Truth” a believer can easily end up trying to do what God may not have intended for him/her to do. Example: God doesn’t expect Christians to live by the Mosaic code of conduct today (Romans 6:14; Galatians 2:11-14; 5:1ff). We are to live by grace principles. Do you know where they can be found? If not, ask. We don’t bring bloody animal sacrifices to God today (Hebrews 10:4) nor are we required to give a 23% tithe today as the Jews did under the Mosaic Law (Numbers 18:20-32; Deuteronomy 14:23-29). They gave to be blessed (Malachi 3:8-12); we give because we have been blessed (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). Are you a Christian who is living by the wrong set of rules that are found in the Bible? Would you like to receive our FREE “Dispensational Chart” that can help clarify this? If so, ask for one.

Faith/Works. To the believers in the church at Ephesus the Apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Ask us about “Spiritual Gifts” (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:11-16). Which were temporary and which are extant gifts?

Formula.  Correct: Grace + Faith = Salvation + Works. Incorrect: Grace + Faith + Works = Salvation. Whatever you do, don’t get this wrong or you will regret it forever. Don’t believe in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2; Matthew 7:21-23).  Believe on Christ through the Gospel.*

Help! If you have questions/comments about this article, contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com. If you’d like to receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”  If you’ve been helped or encouraged by reading this article, pass it on to someone else. Thanks for helping us get God’s Word out to people who need it. 

*Gospel in 30 languages:  http://www.cleargospel.org/    http://www.davidpietsch.com/the-gospel/ 

“God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation” in 24 languages: http://www.kelseypeach.com/goodnews.htm

(Pass these links on to others so they can be saved.)

Although the Devil/demons can only tempt Christians after they have secured permission from God (Job 1:12; 2:6; Ephesians 6:13; Luke 22:31), their attacks seem to be harder to resist and may last for a longer period of time (Job 1, 2). But with the power that comes from God (Philippians 3:10; 4:13), Christians can be victorious over any and all temptations that come our way (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 4:4). Our spiritual enemies include the Devil, our own sin nature, and the present world system. When resisting the Devil, we must use the armor of God that includes the –

Shield Of Faith. This piece of the armor involves our faith (trust) in God and His Word, particularly as it relates to His promises that have been given to us as Christians who live in the “Dispensation of Grace” (Ephesians 3:1-12). Do you know where to find them in the Scriptures? (Ask for our FREE “Dispensational Chart”)  We must not try to claim the promises that were given specifically to the Jews. Doing this has caused a lot of people to become disappointed or angry at God for not fulfilling their expectations. Were you or are you being misled by someone who is teaching you a heresy?  We don’t believe in “Replacement Theology.” (http://www.gotquestions.org/replacement-theology.html)

Application. First, we must know the promises of God. Then we must claim them by faith and make them our own (Hebrews 4:2). Sometimes the fulfillment of these promises may be delayed, but if God said it, we can/should believe it. Wait patiently for Him to keep His Word (Galatians 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). He is faithful to His Word, because He is truthful (John 14:6). He has the ability to do what He promises to do because He is omnipotent (Ephesians 3:20; Revelation 1:8). He cannot deny Himself or go back on His promises (1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Timothy 2:13; James 1:17).

Faith. It is one part of the “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22, 23). God supplies it to Christians who have their known sins confessed to Him (1 John 1:9), and who are filled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Unconfessed sins grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30). We quench Him and render Him inoperative in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:19) when we deny or say “no” to Him and refuse to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Romans 8:14; James 4:17). His leading will never contradict the Scriptures. Once saved, we can’t get rid of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:17).

Fiery Darts. When a maturing Christian is being attacked by the devil, he must be aware of the fact that the Devil may change the circumstances around him or his opportunities to sin (Job 1, 2). Instead of being attacked in just one area, the Devil may tempt us from multiple angles so as to get us to sin (1 John 3:4) and render us ineffective in our service to God (John 15:5; Philippians 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). Do you feel “washed up” and “out of commission” due to some sins you’ve committed? Then change your mind (repent) and confess your known sins to God (2 Corinthians 7:9; 1 John 1:9). Claim God’s forgiveness. Make yourself available to Him by yielding yourself and the members of your body to God (Romans 6:11-14, 12:1, 2).

Doubt. Since man’s first days on earth, Satan has tempted human beings to doubt God and His Word (Genesis 3:1). He used and continues to use the “allegorical” method to interpret the Bible. It changes the clear meaning of words into something completely different than that which God intended to convey to us. Although this method was/is used primarily in the area of eschatology (future things), it is sometimes used to interpret other teachings in the Scriptures. The Apostle Peter warned Christians about this deception (2 Peter 3:16). We must rightly see and make Biblical distinctions between the rules in the Old Testament and the New Testament (2 Timothy 2:15). While all the Scriptures are to be believed, not all of it is to be believed and practiced by Christians (Titus 1:9). The shield of faith must be used to overcome the temptation to doubt God and His Word. Are you doing this? He rewards believers who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Helmet Of Salvation. A Christian’s past tense of salvation occurred when he placed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Ephesians 2:8, 9). Our present tense salvation is based on Christ’s current session (ministry) in heaven where He intercedes for those who belong to Him (Hebrews 7:25). He can’t/won’t lose any believer (John 10:28, 29; Ephesians 4:30). All true Christians are eternally secure in Christ (Romans 8:35-39).

Discipline. The fact that God disciplines all His children who “get out of line” and will do whatever it takes to transform them into Christ’s image (Romans 8:29; 12:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 3:18), guarantees their eternal security (Hebrews 12:5-11). Every person starts out life as a child of the Devil and needs to be born from above (John 3:3, 16; 8:44; 1 John 3:9, 10). Once saved, God expects us to start acting like Christians (Galatians 2:20). He puts His desires in us and empowers us to do His desirous will (Philippians 2:13; 4:13). Our future tense salvation will take place at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). This is when our bodies and souls (emotions) will be saved (Romans 8:23; 1 Peter 1:9).

Application. When we metaphorically put on the helmet of salvation, and think about all that Jesus (the God-man) provided for us when He saved us, we will be able to overcome discouragement (Job 19:7-12), disappointment (Job 3:3-10, 17:1, 13, 16), cowardice (2 Timothy 1:7; Luke 22:31-33; 1 John 4:4), and an unforgiving spirit (2 Corinthians 2:10, 11; Ephesians 4:31, 32).

Trials. The Christian’s trials in life came to pass, not to stay with us forever. In heaven there will be no more tears, death, sorrows, or pain (Revelation 21:4). Not all who die R.I.P. (Rest In Peace) in their graves (Luke 16:19-31). Consider the unbeliever’s everlasting fate (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46; Revelation 21:8). Where will you spend eternity? Why should God let you into His heaven? Read Ephesians 2:8, 9 and Titus 3:5. Ask for help if you are not sure about your eternal destiny (2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 5:13).

Riches. Every Christian has been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer has identified in the Scriptures about 33 major things that transpired the moment a person placed his/her faith in Christ alone for salvation. Discover some of the Christian’s spiritual blessings found in Ephesians chapter 1.

Sword Of The Spirit. This piece of the metaphorical armor is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). In the Greek language (in which the New Testament was written) the word is “rhema,” not “logos.” The “logos” often refers to the entire Word of God (The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments – John 17:17), whereas “rhema” refers, in this passage, to individual words or sayings that can/should be used to respond to the temptations to use filthy speech (Ephesians 4:29) rather than appropriate words in any given situation. What we say or don’t say in our conversations with others conveys messages to them. The avoidance of foul language doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is a Christian (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Our language should be pure (Proverbs 15:26) and edify others (1 Thessalonians 5:11), rather than tear them down (Galatians 5:15). What effect do your words have on others?

Our Words. The Psalmist prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 190:14). “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). The Apostle Paul wrote, “In everything (in the midst of it) give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). For this reason, we must guard our hearts with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

Thoughts. “…whatever things are true…noble…just…pure…lovely…[and of] good report…mediate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). The blessed man doesn’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit down with the scornful. Instead he delights and meditates in God’s law (Psalm 1:3). The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to meditate on Biblical truth (1 Timothy 4:15). Don’t engage in transcendental meditation (T.M.) and many forms of what is called “contemplative prayers.” (http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-meditation.html)

Busybody. When a Christian is focused on being what God wants him to be, and doing and saying what God wants him to do and say, he, at that moment, won’t be engaged as a busybody in other people’s business.

Caution. Let’s be aware of the Devil’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) and take the Biblical steps to overcome him when he tempts us. “Greater is He (God) who is in us than he (the Devil) who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Contact. We desire to help those who sincerely want to know and do God’s will. If you’re teachable and willing to change when you see truth from God’s Word, contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com.

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While it may be permissible or expected of spies in the espionage business to sleep with the enemy to gather important information, it is not an acceptable practice for Christians. With language that would not be pleasing to the seeker sensitive people who attend many churches these days, James (the Lord’s half brother) used some strong language to rebuke Christians who were engaged in spiritual adultery with the world. This diabolical system was devised by the devil (Luke 11:50, 51; Genesis 4:17-24) in an effort to control the undesirable aspects of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 John 5:18, 19).
      Model. Satan’s ideal man is not a drunken bum lying in the gutter. This is what the sin nature of man produces (Galatians 5:19-21). Satan wants his counterfeit to be an upright and moral man who is an outstanding man in the community but who acts independently of God (2 Corinthians 11:13; Isaiah 14:13, 14), and who worships the creature rather than the Creator. He wants people to believe that men can become gods (Romans 1:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12).
      Friendship. When a Christian enters into intimate friendship with the devil’s crowd and his system, he acts like an enemy of God (James 4:4). The world system is organized on the cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure. It is imposing and powerful with military might and is often religious, scientific, cultured, and elegant. But it seethes with national and commercial rivalries and ambitions, is upheld in any real crisis only by armed force, and is dominated by satanic principles. (Adapted from Dr. C. I. Scofield’s Study Bible notes, Revelation 13:8)
      Blessed. The Psalmist wrote, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1). King Solomon wrote, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent…do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood…” (Proverbs 1:10, 15).
      Love. While the unsaved, natural man or a carnal Christian (1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3) can have only a fond affection for this world system, the maturing Christian (Romans 8:14) is told not to take the “agape” love that the Holy Spirit has produced in his life (Galatians 5:22) and misdirect it toward the world system (1 John 2:15-17). We cannot love it and God at the same time. We may use the world system (that includes human government, commerce, entertainment, industry, and education – Genesis 4:17-24) but Christians must not abuse it by making it the primary focus of our lives (1 Corinthians 7:31).
      God’s Love. God the Father loved the people who were/are caught in the devil’s world system (John 3:16). He sent God the Son to die for our sins…and rise again bodily from the grave on the third day. Any and all who believe on Him exclusively will be saved (Acts 16:31). We are not saved by our good works lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).
      Jealous. Yes, God the Father is justifiably jealous for His people, the Jews (Exodus 20:5). He chose them to be His witnesses to the nations around them (Isaiah 43:10) and to be the ones through whom He would give to us the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:21). He was/is a loving, gracious and kind Husband to them (Isaiah 54:5). Yes, they are at the moment set aside by God but He’s not done with them as a nation (Romans 11:1ff). We don’t believe that the Church has replaced Israel.
      Purchased. God the Son purchased us with His own blood (1 Corinthians 6:20; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:19). The true Church, that is His body (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Ephesians 1:22, 23), will become His bride at the Rapture (Ephesians 5:32). The Apostle Paul had a godly jealousy for the carnal Christians in Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:2). He and the Apostle John didn’t want believers to have other idols or gods that came between them and God (1 John 5:21). We do recognize that some people display an unholy jealousy that is the work of the flesh. It perverts the noble ambition to do well and that can also spur us on to greatness.
      Grace. It’s been called “Unmerited Favor” or “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” More grace is bestowed on those who humble themselves before God (James 4:6). It is amazing and marvelous that God should extend it to those who deliberately sin against Him and who act like His enemies (Romans 5:10). We need grace to be saved (Ephesians 2:8, 9) and grace to live the Christian life by grace principles rather than by the Mosaic Law or Kingdom Rules (Romans 6:14; Matthew 5-7; 1 Timothy 1:3, 4). Do you know where in Scripture you can find the Christian’s “Rules for living” for today?  Ask about our FREE “Dispensational Chart.”
      Dispensations. Contrary to what some men are saying about dispensations, they aren’t different ways to be saved, but deal with the rules for conduct in different time periods throughout history. A Pastor-teacher must hold fast the faithful word (i.e. truths that are to be believed and practiced today) as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine (i.e. truth that is to believed but not practiced), both to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:9).
      Apparent. It’s quite apparent to careful students of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15), that there are differences between the Old Testament rules for the Jews and New Testament rules for Christian conduct. The Jews offered bloody sacrifices to God (Hebrews 9:13) but Christians offer up spiritual sacrifices to God today (Romans 12:1, 2; Hebrews 13:15, 16). Those who teach other than “Grace teachings” for our conduct and spiritual growth are accursed (Galatians 1:6-9). The Apostle Paul had to rebuke Peter on one occasion for his inconsistency (Galatians 2:11-19).
      Ensnared. Of the eight different kinds of Christians, the Satanically ensnared Christian is the one who refuses to acknowledge and live up to the truth (2 Timothy 2:26). He will ask all kinds of foolish questions to get out of that which he knows he should do. He is his own worst enemy.
      Questions. Are you this kind of Christian? Are you tired of being abused by the devil or demons (Matthew 18:34)? Are you headed for a premature death (1 John 5:16; James 5:10, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:30)? Are you teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2)?
      Help. We’re here to help those who want to know for sure that they are headed for heaven when they die (1 John 5:13), and to help Christians grow (2 Peter 3:18), use their spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10), and reproduce themselves in the world (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8). If you’re interested, call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website for more information: http://www.kelseypeach.com.

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The Psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). But the sad fact is, even though all true Christians have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, and were chosen, predestined, adopted, accepted in the Beloved, redeemed, and forgiven judicially (Ephesians 1:3-7), all of us still have a sinful nature that has strong desires (lusts) to lure us into sinful (lawless) conduct (James 1:12-15; 1 John 3:4).
Wisdom. To display the wisdom from above (James 3:17, 18), and abide (feel at ease with God – John 15:1-14), and to maintain our family fellowship with God, we must confess all known sins to God and others, if necessary, and then walk in the light of God’s Word (1 John 1:3-10; James 5:16). Earthly, sensual, demonic wisdom is full of envy, self seeking in the heart and causes confusion and every evil thing (James 3:13-15).
Wars. The Lord’s half brother asked his Christian audience, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your [hedonistic, playboy] pleasures” (James 4:1).
Denial. As surprising as it may seem, there are those who teach that Christians lose their sinful nature when they get saved.* But the Scriptures make it very plain that even though we begin to participate in the divine nature when we get saved (2 Peter 1:4), we don’t shed the sin nature that was passed down to us by our parents until we die physically or the Rapture takes place (Psalm 51:5; 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). Those who teach and believe this way are simply denying the truth about the sin nature (1 John 1:8). They twist the Apostle Paul’s words found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 to suit their preconceived ideas.  The unbeliever who dies without Christ as his/her personal Savior and who ends up in the lake of fire will retain his/her sin nature and will never have his/her cravings satisfied (Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Revelation 22:11).
Fact. A very difficult concept for most believers is the fact that after salvation they are still capable of doing every sinful thing they did while they were unsaved. The Christian can lie, steal, and use foul language (Ephesians 4:25, 28). He can commit fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 6:18), commit murder (1 Peter 5:14), get drunk (Ephesians 5:18), and lack faith (Romans 14:23). He can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit who indwells him (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).  Adapted from Dr. H. L. Schafer, Maturing in Christ, p. 50
Provision. Obviously God doesn’t want Christians to engage in sinful behavior (1 John 2:1, 2; 3:4) and has made every provision for us to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17). One problem is that we don’t study God’s Word carefully for ourselves (2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11).  Maybe you’ve been taught by someone whom you trusted the subtle doctrines of demons instead of truth (1 Timothy 1:19, 20; 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:13). Just as a small piece of steel can redirect a train to another track, so a small perversion that seems right can lead to disaster (Proverbs 14:12).
Proof. Even the Apostle Paul wrote that he struggled for about 10 years with his sin nature after he was saved (Romans 7:15-25). But it need not take us that long after we are saved to learn how to live a victorious Christian life when we apply God’s truth to our lives (Romans 6:11-18).
Walking. “To walk by the Spirit, the spiritual believer allows the Holy Spirit to take over the battle with the flesh, or sin nature. When the Spirit is permitted to assume the struggle, He always gains the victory (Galatians 5:16-18). In contrast, the carnal Christian has a conflict between his two natures; his new nature is never able to achieve its desires. His sin nature always overwhelms his new nature (Romans 7:15-23).”  H. L. Schafer, “Maturing In Christ” p. 134
Enemies. The Christian has three spiritual enemies: the devil, the present world system, and his/her own sin nature. Each enemy must be resisted God’s way or we will continue to be enslaved to the sins we don’t want to commit as Christians. There would be no need to warn Christians about committing the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) if we weren’t capable of doing such things.
Believe. Whether they realize it or not, all unsaved people are dominated by their father the devil and/or their sin nature that we all inherited from our parents (John 8:44; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 3:9, 10, 5:19; Psalm 51:5). To get out of Satan’s family, we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the grave on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). We aren’t saved by our good works lest any of us should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).
Desire. God wants every Christian to “walk worthy of the calling with which we were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). As long as we walk by means of the Spirit, we won’t be able to fulfill the lusts that come from the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Tired? Are you, as a Christian, tired of getting beat up spiritually by the devil and/or your own sin nature? Do you want to feel at ease (abide) with God and have Him feel at ease with you (John 15:4-10)? Do you want to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:9)?  If you’re teachable and seriously willing to change, there is hope for you (2 Timothy 2:2). If not, you will continue to be in danger of a premature death (Romans 8:6; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 1 John 5:16; James 5:19, 20) or be under the constant torment of the devil or demons until your life is over (2 Timothy 2:26; Matthew 18:34). Honest confession leads to family forgiveness and restoration of fellowship with God (1 John 1:9).
Help. As a fellow traveler along life’s path, we’re here to help people spiritually and point them to the only One who can save us from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and the presence of sin. “Being confident of this very thing, that He [God] who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ [the Rapture]” (Philippians 1:6).
Contact. You may call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website: http://www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, please let us know how it has and then share this article with another fellow traveler in life. If you want, click on “Follow” to receive future articles as they come out.

In a rut? “Years ago when the western U. S. was being settled, roads were often just wagon tracks. These rough trails posed serious problems for those who journeyed on them. On one of these winding paths was posted a sign which read: ‘Avoid this rut or you’ll be in it for the next 25 miles!’” – Source unknown

Ivy. Paul Van Gorder wrote, “On a road not far from my home are some trees that are slowly being destroyed by huge coils of ivy. The vines wind themselves like snakes around the trunk. At this point it is impossible to untwist these runners because they are so firmly embedded into the trees. They are literally strangling the life out of those helpless giants. But there was a day when the ivy was a small plant just seeking a little support in climbing. Had the trees resisted these tiny tendrils, they would not be in the state they are today.” To help us make the right decisions, let us consider –

The “Slave” Test. Believe it or not, we are the slave of the one to whom we yield (Romans 6:14-18). Most people, including many Christians, love and serve themselves (their sinful nature) or the devil (2 Timothy 3:2; Ephesians 2:2, 3; John 8:44). Others love the world system and abuse it (1 John 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 7:31). During the early years of his Christian life, the Apostle Paul admitted that he had a real struggle with his sin nature just as we do (Romans 7:15-25; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Victory. Victory over the sin nature came to him when he learned how to walk by means of the Holy Spirit and let Him kill the strong desires (lusts) that came from his (Paul’s)  sin nature (Galatians 5:16-25). Those who deny that they have one are only deceiving themselves and are proud (1 John 1:8; 1 Timothy 5:3-5).* God wants every Christian to live victoriously over all three of our spiritual enemies. He doesn’t want us to keep on sinning even though He knows we will sin sometimes. That is why we need an Advocate – Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1, 2; 3:7-10).

Methodology. Here, briefly, is what God tells us to do with reference to each of our three spiritual enemies: Our sin nature – Galatians 5:16-26; Romans 6:11-14; Satan – 1 Peter 5:8; James 4:7; Ephesians 6:10-17; Satan’s world system – 1 John 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 7:31. Would you like to live a victorious Christian life? If you’re teachable and willing to change, there is hope for you (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16, 17; Romans 12:1, 2).****

Ensnared. If not, you may become a “Satanically ensnared Christian” (2 Timothy 2:26), or a “carnal Christian”* who is about to die prematurely (Romans 8:6; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; 11:30). Those who defy God and act lawlessly may have their days on earth shortened by committing the “sin unto death” (1 John 5:16; James 5:19, 20). Your “actual years” may not equal your “potential years.” “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6). Are you a true son or daughter of God? Make sure of it (2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 5:13).  Don’t be one who “believes in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:2; Matthew 7:21-23).

Confess. It you’re a Christian who is out of fellowship with God, repent (change your mind about what you are doing – 2 Corinthians 7:9, 10), and then confess your sin(s) specifically to God, and He will forgive you (1 John 1:9). Then make sure that you accept His forgiveness, and learn from the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15), and perhaps through a more mature Christian**** (1 Corinthians 11:1; Hebrews 13:7, 17), how not to keep on doing the things that break your fellowship with Him and make you miserable (1 John 1:7).

Victory. “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin – Each victory will help you some other to win; Fight manfully onward, Dark passions subdue; Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through.” – Horatio R. Palmer. Read and believe 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Help.  If you have honest questions/comments, contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at http://www.kelseypeach.com.  If this article helped you, let us know how it did.  Share it with someone else who is teachable and willing to change.  Click on “Follow” to receive future articles as they come out.

*Sin Nature: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/1natjm01.htm

****”Maturing In Christ” by Dr. H. L. Schafer http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/index.php?keyword=maturing+in+christ+&searchtype=title&qfunction=search&x=0&y=0

Some material and ideas in this article have been adapted from George Zeller, http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/christia/67tests.htm

 

Having trouble making decisions? A farmer hired a man to work for him. He told him his first task would be to paint the barn and said it should take him about three days to complete. But the hired man was finished in one day. The farmer set him to cutting wood, telling him it would require about 4 days. The hired man finished in a day and a half, to the farmer’s amazement. The next task was to sort out a large pile of potatoes. He was to arrange them into three piles: seed potatoes, food for the hogs, and potatoes that were good enough to sell. The farmer said it was a small job and shouldn’t take long at all. At the end of the day the farmer came back and found the hired man had barely started. “What’s the matter here” the farmer asked. “I can work hard, but I can’t make decisions!” – Source unknown

In Part 1 we considered the “Scripture” test. Let’s go one to consider some other tests to help us make decisions that will glorify God.

The “Stewardship” Test. Stewards (household managers) have a master and are accountable to him (Luke 16:1-13). The Apostle Paul was the steward of the “Dispensation of Grace” in which we live (Ephesians 3:1-12). He wrote most of the new information from God for Christians to teach us how God wants us to live in this dispensation. Peter, John, James, and Jude provide supplemental information for us too. Each Christian is to conduct himself as a steward would in the use of his time, talents (spiritual gifts), and treasures (Ephesians 5:16; 1 Peter 4:10; Hebrews 13:15, 16).

Final Exam. The Christian’s works will be examined at the “Bema Seat Judgment” and each Christian shall give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Will you participate in this judgment of the New Testament Christian’s works (not for Old Testament believer’s works) or the one at the “Great White Throne” for unbeliever’s works that will determine his degree of suffering in the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 25:30, 41, 46)? “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

The “Separation” Test. Believe it or not, every person who places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4) immediately becomes a “positional” saint (one who is separated unto God). He is expected to start acting like one or as a “practical” saint (Romans 1:1, 7; 16:5; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:1, 2, 11; 1 Peter 1:15, 16). We are to bring the level of our “practice” up to the level of our “position” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). God enables each believer to live like a saint even though most Christians don’t draw on God’s power to do this (Philippians 3:10; 4:13, 19).

Yokes. Furthermore, Christians are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers in marriage, ecumenical evangelism, or in business (2 Corinthians 6:14).** We must, like Jesus, have love for and contact with unbelievers without being contaminated by them (Matthew 9:10, 11; 11:19; Psalm 1:1; Proverbs 1:10-19).

Mid-term Exam. How are you doing so far? Examine your own life (1 Corinthians 11: 28). Are there some adjustments that need to be made and some sins that need to be confessed so you (if you’re a Christian) don’t miss out on the rewards, crowns, and praise that the Lord wants to bestow on you? Honest confession leads to family forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and enables us to get back in fellowship with God as we walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). Judicial forgiveness is granted to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior through the Gospel (Ephesians 1:6, 7).  Are you forgiven and accepted in the Beloved?

Help. If you have spiritual questions, call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com.  To receive these articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”  It this article has helped you, please pass it on to someone else who might need the information.

**Unequal Yokes http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/separate/bibdocse.htm