Archive for the ‘Pride’ Category

A roving reporter came up to a man on the street and said, “Do you know what the two biggest problems in America are?” The pedestrian said, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” The reporter said, “You are absolutely right.”  Far too many people are unaware of what is really happening around them and the sad part is, they don’t really care until it’s too late.

The Problem: Ignorance About And Apathy For –

God. There are many false ideas about God in our world. Atheists, who boldly say, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1) are fewer in numbers than they would like for us to believe. Some of them are often very aggressive in their attempts to try to force their beliefs on others. Atheism has been responsible for millions of deaths around the world. But disproving the existence of God is nearly impossible in view of the fact that not one of us has been everywhere in the universe where God might be. Agnostics are more honest when they claim not to know if there is a god or not. Many people do not believe that God is truly knowable. They have been misled by false prophets and teachers who claim to know the truth. In the midst of all this, there is the truth about God, who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16, 17). And yet, because so many people love the temporary pleasures that go along with darkness rather than light (John 3:19; Hebrews 11:25), they make excuses for not coming to the Light of the world (John 8:12). He also claimed to be the [only] way, the [absolute] truth, and the [giver of eternal] life (John 14:6; See Acts 4:12; 16:31). Being the truth Himself, He also had/has the power to set us free (John 8:32, 36) from our enslavement to our sinful passions (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Peter 2:19), and from the overwhelming power of the devil who wants to take humanity with him to his eternal destiny in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 20:10).

Ourselves. The reason Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again from above (John 3:3-5) was due to the fact that all of us, without exception, are born into this world with the devil as our spiritual father (John 8:44; 1 John 3:9, 10). We also have a sinful nature (i. e. a lawless disposition) that was passed down to us from our parents (Psalm 51:5; 1 John 1:8; Romans 7:15-25). The devil tempts people to be proud of their race, face, or place in life (1 Timothy 3:6; See Ezekiel 28:17; 1 Corinthians 4:7), and to act independently of God (Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14). Any human being can get out of Satan’s family simply by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for his/her sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). Salvation is by grace alone (It’s totally undeserved). It’s through faith alone in the Christ of the Scriptures alone, and not in the Christ of the cults. It is not of works on our part lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). A Christian can overcome the sinful passions that come from his sin nature when he learns how to walk by means of the Holy Spirit and when he is filled with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18). We can overcome the temptations to be proud and to act independently of God by putting on the whole armor of God, while focusing our attention of the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:10-17; See 1 Peter 5:8; James 4:7). Our self righteousness is unacceptable to God (Isaiah 64:6). Without Christ’s righteousness put to our account, we cannot enter heaven (John 16:10). It is imputed to us at the moment of salvation (Romans 4:3-6, 22-25). No longer does the Christian have to obey his old boss, the devil. Submitting voluntarily to God is the only reasonable and logical thing for a Christian to do once he/she has been saved. If you’ve been saved, have you presented your body to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2)? Are you yielding the members of your body to God each day for Him to use you for His glory and your good (Romans 6:11-23)?

The Spirit World. Fiction seems to rule the day as many children and even adults are enamored by sorcery, witchcraft, and the supernatural, unseen world. It must delight the devil’s heart to know that so many people grope around in spiritual darkness and are not able to identify him and his agents, the fallen angels (demons). Did you know that behind the wicked rulers of this world there are spirit beings who manipulate them like puppets (Daniel 10:13; Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4). They also use false prophets and teachers to dispense doctrines of demons to humanity (1Timothy 4:1). Secular humanism and evolution are two examples. Some of their other teachings are so close to the truth that they are almost undetectable to some believers (Matthew 24:24) and the average person who doesn’t know the truth from God’s Word.

The Solution: Bible Doctrine And Compassion

Our Need To Study. This involves hard work that many people don’t want to do. It involves studying the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16, 17), meditating on it (1 Timothy 4:15), memorizing it (Psalm 119:11), interpreting it correctly (Titus 1:9), and applying it properly (James 1:22; 4:17). Spiritual growth can be painful at times as our faith is tried (James 1:2; 2 Peter 3:18). But the rewards of studying God’s Word are immense. The truth can set us free from the tyranny of the devil and our sin nature (John 8:32, 36).

Our Need To Love. “God [the Father] so loved the world [you and me] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have [eternal] life” (John 3:16). God’s love is produced in the lives of Spirit filled Christians who are walking by means of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16, 22, 23). We care about other people because God cared about us and His love has been poured out in our hearts (Roman 5:5). We are told to direct it toward the right objects at the right time (Galatians 5:13; 1 John 2;15-17). So we beg on Christ’s behalf – Put your faith in Him alone before it’s too late. Once you’ve been saved, start growing in the Lord (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).  Learn to serve the Lord and others with gladness (Psalm 100:2; 1 Peter 4:10).  Reproduce yourself (Matthew 28:19, 20).

Our Need To Warn. Today could be your last day on earth before you enter eternity. Don’t boast about tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1). Our lives are like a vapor that appears for a little while and then it vanishes away (James 4:14). Live like today might be your last day on earth.  You’ll live a more productive life.

Paradigm Shift

Perhaps for the first time you’ve been made aware of truth concerning “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation” for mankind. The Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, came to reveal the Godhead and His plans to/for us (John 1:1-18). God is knowable through His inspired, written Word (2 Timothy 3:16 17), and through the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18). No matter how sinful you’ve been, if you’re alive physically, there is hope for you (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The only unforgivable sin today is the sin of unbelief in Christ (John 16:9; 3:18, 36). If you die in unbelief without Christ as your personal Savior, you will be lost forever and suffer with the devil and his angels (demons) in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46). If you die as a true Christian, your future is as bright as the promises of God (John 14:1-3). We’d love to have you join us in heaven some day.

Help. Having read this, you will no longer be able to say, “I don’t know how to be saved and go to heaven.” We have done our best to share with you the truth from God’s Word on how you can be delivered from the clutches of the devil and from your own sin nature. If you need additional information, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or through our website: http://www.kelseypeach.com.  If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you.  Please share this with a friend in need.

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

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

 

One of the subtle temptations that comes from the devil is the notion that we can live our lives independently of God even though Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Having to go to God and humbly ask for wisdom (James 1:5) and direction for daily living (Romans 8:14; Proverbs 3:5, 6) seems so humbling and unnecessary for many people. Perhaps this was part of the temptation to Eve when the devil said to her through the serpent, “…God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). In other words, “You won’t have to rely on God to make such seemingly insignificant decisions.”

Pride. Did you know that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6)? Being omniscient, He knows the best course of action that we should take. He has graciously given us His Word (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). He knows that the regular intake of Bible doctrine is necessary for us to mature in Christ (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). The Holy Spirit is the One who can illuminate the mind of one who is rightly related to Him (John 16:13; 1 John 2:20, 27). He and God the Son make intercession to the Father on our behalf and ask Him to bring into our lives what we need to become spiritually mature (Romans 8:26, 34). Sometime these things come into our lives through trials and tests (James 1:2) or through other people who act like chisels, hammers, and saws to shape us into Christ’s image (Galatians 4:19). Thank God for them (1 Timothy 2:1). The temptation to act in a proud manner also comes from the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).

Dependent. From the moment of birth all of us are dependent on our parents or someone else to care for our needs to be fed, changed, and bathed. This is often repeated when we get very old and incapable of taking care of our own personal needs. But in between these times we can/should do some things to take care of ourselves and others who are dependent on us (1 Timothy 5:8). However, we should never forget that our ability to earn money, with which to secure things or services, also comes from God. “For what do you have that you didn’t receive” (1 Corinthians 4:7). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). But don’t forget that Satan’s offer to make one healthy, wealthy, and worldly wise comes with a high price tag that is often ignored (Matthew 4:9; James 3:15; Revelation 13:2). “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Independent. “Many Christians live most of the time without any thought of God, except to give thanks at a meal time, occasionally studying the Bible, praying and attending church services. The little daily activities are performed without regard to God. People attempt to make plans and then ask God to bless them. If God were included in making the plans, there would be no need to ask for God’s blessing.” – Dr. H. L. Schafer, “Maturing In Christ,“ p. 166

D.V. The Lord’s half brother James said it well. “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away“ (James 4:14). My friend, don’t leave God out of your decision making. Having to supplicate, intercede, or ask in Jesus’ name may not seem like the best course of action to take, but it can save us a lot of trouble down the road. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23). But have you ever thanked God for stopping you and keeping you from danger?

Thanks. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Unless a believer is filled with/by God the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), he’s not likely to do this. But if and when we do this, we will be expressing our confidence in God’s ability to do far more than we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). How big is your God? The Psalmist said, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalms 34:3). It starts in our minds and expresses itself through our words and actions (Psalm 150:6). Everything we do should be to glorify God – to make Him known to others (1 Corinthians 10:31). Are you doing this in your life?

Victory. To overcome the temptation to act independently of God, the Christian needs to put on the whole armor of God and focus his attention on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). Without Christ as our personal Savior, we have no righteousness that can make us acceptable to God (See Isaiah 64:6; Romans 4:3-5; Ephesians 1:6). We have no reason to act independently of God or to be proud. At the moment of our salvation God puts Christ’s righteousness to our account (Romans 4:3-5, 22-25; James 2:23). Without it we can’t enter heaven (John 16:10). Have you done the right thing by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4)? If not, why not now?

More? If you’d like to learn more about how to become a Christian or how to live the Christian life, we invite you to contact us or join us on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 7:30 P.M. (Pacific Time) for live lessons at the Grace Baptist Church in Paso Robles, CA or by means of a phone hookup. For more information, call 805-238-3549.

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

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

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

Who do you think you are anyway? Do you think of yourself more highly than you should think? To whom do you compare yourself? You can always find someone whom you think is inferior to you without realizing that there are a lot of people who are superior to you in many areas. God transcends everyone. He alone is God and there is none like Him.

Story. Consider the apocryphal story that was reported to be the actual radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.

Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THAT’S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.

Canadians: This is a lighthouse. It’s your call.

Reality. The American captain of the aircraft carrier thought he was so important he could demand that a Canadian crew change its course to avoid a collision. When he finally learned that the “Canadian crew” was some guy tending a lighthouse, things took on a whole new perspective.

Examples. God humbled proud King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon by causing him to go insane and eat grass for 7 years until he learned who God was/is (Daniel 4). For taking credit that belonged to God alone, King Herod died a gruesome death and was eaten by worms (Acts 12). The arrogant Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into the lake of fire after their 7 year rule over the whole earth (Revelation 19:20). At the same time God will humble His adversary the devil. He will use a lowly and inferior angel to confine Satan in the abyss (in the heart of the earth) for 1,000 years as Jesus reigns as the King of kings and Lord of lords on this earth (Revelation 19:16; 20:1-3). After this Satan will be released for a short period of time to gather all the rebellious people on earth as they make one final attempt to overthrow God. It will fail and all of them will be cast into the lake of fire to suffer forever (Revelation 20:7-15). We hope you won’t end up there with them (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:41, 46).

Pride. If not checked, it can lead to a fall from which we might not ever recover (Proverbs 16:18). Do you know which piece of the armor of God the Christian must use to overcome pride (Ephesians 6:14)? Are you committing “the sin unto death” (1 John 5:16; James 5:19, 20)? Pride led to Lucifer’s fall (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-19). As His creatures we should humble ourselves before God, the Creator (James 4:10; Genesis 1:27). Are you proud of your race, face, or place in life? What do you have that you didn’t receive (1 Corinthians 4:7)?

Tools. Metaphorically speaking, God has a “tool box” in which are chisels, hammers, saws, sand paper and various other things. He can/does use these on His children to remove the undesirable elements so we can become more like Jesus in our walk and talk (Hebrews 12:5, 6). God can use adversarial people, unpleasant circumstances, or the loss of the material things that have become an idol to us (1 John 5:21).

Basics. God wants His people to always do what is right in His sight, to be compassionate to those who are suffering, and to walk humbly before Him (Micah 6:8). “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Help. We’re here to help those who want to know how they can be sure that they will go to heaven when they die and those who want to know how He wants Christians to live. (Ask about our FREE “Dispensational Chart.”) No, we don’t have all the answers to the questions in life, but what we have we gladly share with those who are teachable and willing to change when presented with the truth from God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:2; 3:16, 17; John 17:17). We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website at www.kelseypeach.com. If you’ve been helped by this article, we’d like to hear from you. Consider sharing it with someone else too. Click on “Follow” if you’d like to receive future articles as they come out.

It’s hard for us to imagine that a godly man’s wife would suggest such a thing to her husband. But she did (Job 2:9). After all, she and her husband had just suffered terrible losses in a moment of time: 500 oxen, 500 female donkeys, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, plus all of their 10 children who were killed tragically when a house collapsed on them (Job 1). Try to imagine their grief and pain.

Blame. The messenger who brought the report to the patriarch Job was mistaken about the cause of the tragedy. He thought it was the “fire of God” that had done it when in reality it was the devil who was responsible for the calamity (Job 1:16; Contrast 1 Kings 18:24, 38; 2 Kings 1:10-12). By the way, did you know that the devil had authority over death in the Old Testament times unless God restricted him as he did with Job (Hebrews 2:14). Today Jesus holds the keys of death (Revelation 1:18) and no one can take the life of a believer without God’s permission. Jesus turns the key and opens the door for believers to enter heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14). There are no “back doors into heaven” as some “churches within Christendom” are teaching today. Ask about this false teaching that brings terrible grief to the living.

Worse. To make things even worse, in the next wave, Job was stricken with boils from his head down to his feet (Job 2). This tells us that Satan can cause and cure diseases and create life if God allows him to do so (Exodus 8:7). During the seven years of Tribulation (that may soon be here) the devil will empower the Antichrist and the false prophet to replicate and imitate the miracles of Christ and His disciples (2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:2, 11-15). We have many false teachers today who seem to be engaging in such things through their “miracle healing meetings”* (Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Peter 2:1ff).

Why? If such terrible things were to happen to you as they did to Job, how do you honestly think you might respond? Would you fall apart and ask, “Why me?” Would you feel sorry for yourself? Did you know that self pity is a form of pride that comes from the devil? Would you become disappointed, discouraged, and even doubt God and His Word? What pieces of the armor of God should you (if you’re a Christian) put on mentally to counteract the devil’s temptations (Ephesians 6:10-17)?

Blaspheme. People have cursed and blamed God for far less than that which happened to the patriarch Job. Consider what some people will do during “The Tribulation” days on earth (Revelation 16:10, 11). Hopefully you won’t be here on earth when all this occurs. Do you know how to avoid those awful days? If not, ask.

Heavenly Drama. Without Job’s knowing it, there was a conflict going on in heaven between God and Satan over him. When Satan and other good and evil angels reported to God in heaven one day, God taunted the devil into considering the righteous man Job. Satan responded by saying that the only reason Job served Him was because God had blessed him. If God were to take away all of Job’s material blessings Satan thought he would curse God (Job 1:6-12).

Purpose. God wanted to prove him wrong and he did, but Satan wouldn’t repent and never will. Don’t fall for the false teaching that eventually everyone, including the devil and demons, will be saved. Some people hate God and His children (Psalm 2:1-3; 10:3-13; 14:1; John 15:18). They would feel miserable if they were forced to go to heaven against their will. This false teaching is sometimes called “Universalism.” **

Challenge. God Himself was not willing to strip Job of his possessions, but He allowed Satan to do it. He didn’t let him lay a hand on Job in the first round. But when Satan said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life” God went even further and allowed the devil to afflict Job’s body too. The only restriction was, “Spare his life” (Job 2:6).

Test. God may allow you or me (as Christians) to be tested in a similar way as Job was. When we’re tempted, we’re given a special opportunity to display to God, human beings, and spirit beings (Daniel 4:17; Hebrews 1:14) our love for God rather than our love for personal pleasures that come from sinning (Hebrews 11:25). If sin had no pleasures associated with it, we wouldn’t pursue it and engage in it. Think about that for a moment. Christians who endure the test successfully, with God’s help (Philippians 4:13), will be given the “Crown of Life” at the Bema Seat Judgment (James 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

Caution. Contrary to what some people are being taught, crowns, rewards, and praise from God must be earned after we’re saved. Not every Christian gets them (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 John 1:8; Revelation 3:11). Do you know how many crowns a Christian can earn and how they must be earned?  Salvation is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Christ of the Scripture alone (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Beware of false teachers who want you to place your faith in a false Christ and another way of salvation (Matthew 24:5; Acts 4:12; 16:31).

True Love. The Apostle John warned maturing Christians by writing, “[Stop] loving the world [system] or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love [for] the Father is not it him” (1 John 2:15). You can’t love (agape) God and the present world system at the same time (Luke 16:13). Christians may and must use the world system while we’re here on earth, but we’re not to abuse it (1 Corinthians 7:31).

Knowledgeable. Now, unless you know what makes up the present world system, and who devised it and why he did it, you won’t know what it is that you’ve not supposed to love. Without your knowing it, your misdirected (agape) love of the present world system might be the problem that you’re having in your relationship with God? Does God abide (feel at ease) with you; do you abide (feel at ease) with Him (John 15:1-14)? We have three distinct spiritual enemies that want to disrupt our fellowship with God and make us ineffective in our service to God. Don’t blame the devil for everything.

Security. True Christians can’t lose their salvation (John 10:28, 29), but we, like King David, can lose the joy of our salvation when we sin (Psalm 51:5; Philippians 4:4-6). Beware of those who say Christians don’t have a sin nature that causes them to sin.*** If you need and want further help, and you’re teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2), contact us.

Treasures. Perhaps in response to our natural desire to cling to earthly, material things rather than to God, William Cowper may have written this song entitled “Treasures.” The words go like this: One by one He took them from me, / All the things I valued most. / Until I was empty-handed; / Every glittering toy was lost. / Then I walked earth’s highway grieving, / In my rags and poverty; / ‘Til I heard His voice inviting: / Lift your empty hands to me. / So I held my hands toward Heaven, / And He filled them with a store / Of His own transcendent riches, / ‘Til they could contain no more. / Then at last I comprehended / With my stupid mind and dull, / That God could not pour out His riches / Into hands already full.”

Questions. What do you value most? How do you spend your time and money?  What do you know about the spiritual blessings that God gave to every Christian at the time of his/her salvation (Ephesians 1:3)? What do you know about your “position in Christ” and your “possessions in Christ”? Without knowing these things, you are more than likely to live like a pauper than a kingly priest (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6), an ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20), and a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Contact. If you have questions/comments, you may reach us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com for more helpful information. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

Share. If this article has helped you, may we count on you to share it with someone else in your circle of influence? Together we can reach many people for Christ. It’s not necessarily who you know, but whom others know. Imagine where you might be today if no one had reached out to you with the Good News concerning Christ that pointed you to Christ.

Home Bible Studies. Have you ever thought about having a home Bible study with others?  Consider using these articles as the material to be read and discussed.  If you’re interested, perhaps we could help you via the Internet.  Think about the possibilities.

Clear Gospel in 30 languages. www.cleargospel.org

God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation http://kelseypeach.com/goodnews.htm

* Faith Healers http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/charis06.htm

** Universalism http://www.gotquestions.org/unitarian-universalism.html

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

Dangers to avoid: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/dangerso.htm

 

God’s adversary, the Devil, has within his tool box all kinds of things to try to ruin the true believer’s life while he is here on earth. Satan knows that he can’t take a believer’s salvation from him, but he can/does take the joy out of living for many believers who succumb to his enticements.

Coward. Whatever mental images you may have about the Apostle Peter, you should know that he was a very sincere man who told the Lord that he would never deny Him. Being the self confident man that he was, the Lord told him that the Devil wanted to sift all twelve disciples but He (Jesus) would only allow Satan to tempt Peter at that time (Luke 22:31-33). We all know that Peter ended up denying His Lord three times (John 18:15-17, 25, 27). Self confidence rather than confidence in God can/will lead to a fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Timothy. One of the Apostle Paul’s travel companion, Timothy, also yielded to Satan’s temptation to act in a cowardly manner while he was in Ephesus. The believers in Asia had forsaken Paul (2 Timothy 1:7-15; 2:2-5) and Timothy felt that his life was in jeopardy. So he kept his mouth shut.

Paul. On one occasion Paul himself was fearful when he came to the city of Corinth without his travel companions. His philosophical method that he had used in Athens didn’t result in a local church’s being established there. The Lord appeared to Paul in a vision to encourage him and to remind him that if he’d proclaim the Gospel in Corinth many people would be saved (Acts 18:9, 10; John 6:37). If you’re a Christian, perhaps you’ve faced a similar temptation to act in a cowardly manner when you tried to tell others about Christ. Do you know which piece of the armor you need to put on to counter this attack from Satan (Ephesians 6:17)?

Lying. We know that the Devil is a liar (John 8:44). He lied to Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:4). He tempted Ananias and Sapphira to lie to the Holy Spirit about the amount of money they received from the sale of some property that they owned (Acts 5:1-4). They wanted the same approbation that Barnabas had received for his generous gift to meet the needs of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem at that time (Acts 4:32-37). This incident was not one that should be used to promote socialism or communism that doesn’t work well.

Capitalism.  God is not opposed to capitalism even though many people have abused it (Ephesians 4:28). By the way, do you know what the best form of government is and when it will be established on earth (Revelation 19:16; Isaiah 9:6, 7)?

Deception.  While we don’t have to tell others everything they may want to know, it is a sin to tell a half truth with the intent to deceive others. Have you ever been guilty of this? Do you exaggerate? Do you know which piece of the armor is needed to overcome the temptation to lie (Ephesians 6:14)?

Pride. This temptation also comes as an attack from the Devil. It is an attitude that God hates (Proverbs 6:17; 8:13). When a new Christian, with the spiritual gift of a Pastor-teacher (Ephesians 4:11), is placed in a local church as a bishop (overseer), he is much more prone to be attacked by the devil to become proud (1 Timothy 3:6). Before he accepts such a position, he should be given some time to grow in the sphere of grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

Qualifications. Those in leadership positions, whether bishops (overseers) or deacons, need to have the Biblical qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. Don’t follow an under-shepherd who doesn’t have them. He may be a hireling in the ministry for the money (John 10:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:3-10; 2 Peter 2:15).  James, the Lord’s half brother warned, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).

Expectations. What does God say a Christian should expect in this life (2 Timothy 3:12)? What was the Apostle Paul’s experience (2 Corinthians 11:22-33)? Some people find their way into leadership positions to gain control over the church. Diotrephes, who loved to have the preeminence in the church, was such a man who even opposed the Apostle John (3 John 1:9-11).

Shepherds. They are to lead by example (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 2:5-11), not dictate from the rear (1 Peter 5:1-5). His job includes feeding, guiding, guarding, and healing the flock of God (Acts 20:28-30). He is not to “tickle people’s ears.” He is to convince, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and teaching. Many of his listeners will not endure sound doctrine. They will want smooth talkers who tell them what they want to hear rather than the Word of God and what they need to hear (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Questions. Have you yielded to these temptations? Would you like to live victoriously over your spiritual enemies: the Devil, your own sin nature, and the present world system? Are you teachable and willing to change if you can be shown from Scripture what God says (2 Timothy 2:2, 15, 24-16; 3:16, 17)?

Help. We’re here to show people how they can have eternal life as a present possession and a home in heaven by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (1 John 5:13; Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians s15:3, 4). You may call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com for more information.

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

 

                From the time of our new birth from above (John 3:3, 6), when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, by believing that He died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the grave (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4), each believer finds himself at a certain state/level of spiritual maturity.  Some Christians are new babes in Christ; many are carnal and walking according to their sinful nature (1 Corinthians 3:1; Romans 8:5-8).  Carnal Christians are in danger of dying prematurely (1 John 5:16).  Yes, there is such a thing as “the sin unto death.”  And then there are those who are maturing spiritually (1 Corinthians 2:15; Romans 8:14).  These people actually please God (2 Corinthians 5:9).

                Prayer.  “The immature Christian prays that God will withhold pain and suffering, seeing these things as evil. The mark of a mature Christian is that he can look back on his life and see that God can take the pains and pressures of life and cause them to work together for good in his life and ultimately draw one near to Himself through them. The immature shun suffering. While the mature do not seek it, they come to savor it in the light of how beautifully God uses it to bring us into intimacy with Himself. When knowing God is the ultimate good, suffering is not too high a price to pay to obtain it:  [The Apostle Paul wrote]: ‘… that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; …’ (Philippians 3:10).”  Bob Deffinbaugh  “The View From The Graveyard” Genesis 48 Commentary

                Trials.  How do you handle them?  Do you count it all joy when they come into your life (James 1:2)?  Do you ever think of your adverse circumstances and abrasive people as those whom God can use to help conform you into Christ’s image (Romans 8:29)?  Like hammers, chisels, saws, and sandpaper, our trials can be used by God for His glory and our advantage.  The Apostle Paul wrote: “For I consider the sufferings of this present time and not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).  “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).  Would you like to be instrumental in the deliverance of someone from hell to heaven?  There is the “Crown of Rejoicing” awaiting those who lead others to Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20).

                Beyond.  On the other side of the grave the believer has the happy anticipation of spending eternity with God in heaven (John 14:1-3).  “And God will wipe away every tear from [the believer’s] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away…But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:4, 8).

                Questions.  In which group will you be found?  It’s all based on one act of faith.  “He who believes in Him [the Lord Jesus Christ] is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God…He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him” (John 3:18, 36).  Would you like to enter God’s family?  If you’re already in it, do you act like a child of God?  If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  Are you yielding to temptations that come from the devil, your own sin nature, or the present world system?  To live victoriously, we must know how to react to each of these enemies. 

                Victory.  The devil’s 14 identifiable temptations must be overcome by putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17).  The temptations that come from our own sin nature must be overcome by walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25), and the temptations from the present world system must be overcome by our refusal to love the devil’s world system (1 John 2:15-17) but at the same time using it without abusing it (1 Corinthians 7:31). 

                Sinless Perfection?  Not in this life.  God doesn’t want Christians to sin and has made it possible for us not to sin (act lawlessly), but He knows that we will sin periodically (1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 John 2:1; 3:9, 10).  When we do, we must be quick to confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9) and to those whom we offend (James 5:16).  If the person forgives you, ask him/her not to hold it against you as a club.  Let our forgiveness of others follow the example of God (Ephesians 4:31).

                Pass It On.  If this article has helped you, will you pass it on to someone else?  To receive these articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”  Visit our website: www.kelseypeach.com for additional help and/or information.