BIBLICAL SALVATION – DANGEROUS MISCONCEPTIONS ANSWERED
Studies In Bible Doctrine
CHAPTER 7 - CONFRONTATIONAL EVANGELISM
If you will read Luke 16:15-31, you will find a man, who, during his life, cared not for the things of God. A rich man who didn't care about lost souls around him, or his own lost soul. Yet, after dropping into Hell-fire, he suddenly got a clear perspective of soul-winning! In fact, he had a better understanding of evangelism than most Christians today.
Notice his words in Luke 16:27-28:
It seems so simple, doesn't it? Why don't Christians bear the cross and do it? Abraham says the brothers have Moses and the Prophets -- this means they have those preaching Moses and the Prophets - Scriptures of that day continually read in the Synagogues. The contention between Abraham and the man in hell is not about whether someone should testify to the five brothers, but whether it would make a difference if someone rose from the dead. This man in Hell had the proper idea! If we could get a look at Hell, it would all come clear to us what our duty is. To testify to lost men, lest they also go to that place of torment! What if you were in heaven or hell, and knew you had lost loved-ones on earth -- would you want someone to TESTIFY to them the truth of God?
The Greek word used for TESTIFY is an intense form of the Greek word for witness. Martureo (mar-too-reh'-o) is the Greek word for witness, and is where we get our word MARTYR; which simply means WITNESS - the ultimate witness. The word used for TESTIFY is the Greek word DIAMARTUROMAI (dee-am-ar-too'-rom-ahee) , which is an intense form of the word martureo. It means to PROTEST SOLEMNLY -- TO TESTIFY. We are going to look at every time this word is used in the New Testament, and I want you to notice it is always verbal, confrontational evangelism or exhortation to believers. It is what Jesus commanded. It is what caused much of the persecution to the Christian Church. It is where we fail, and why we are not more persecuted today!
1. In Acts 2:40 After Peter tells the people to repent and be baptized; he gave them the complete "Gospel" in verse 40, And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourselves from this untoward generation. Peter did it!
2. Acts 8:25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem... The Apostles did it! What did Philip do when he went down to Samaria (Acts 8:5-12)?
3. Acts 10:42: And he (Jesus) commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. Notice the message! Notice the method! Notice the command!
4. Acts 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. Here is that word again used by the rich man in Hell. I WANT YOU TO SEE THAT THEY TURNED THESE PEOPLE OFF, AND MADE THEM MAD! Look at verse 6, And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. Now, if I did that, I would have many more critics than I already have. Maybe these "silent prophets" need to read their Bible!
5. Acts 20:21,23,24 "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ...and the ministry, which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God". Notice the message! REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. They were preaching repentance and "Lordship Salvation". The ministry that Paul had was that of TESTIFYING THE GOSPEL.
6. Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. Jesus approves of confrontational testifying!
7. Acts 28:13 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging: to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. Paul says we will be a savour of life to some, and a savour of death to some. Not all will believe, but we must testify to all that we can. (2 Cor. 2:14-16) Do we like the controversy that it causes? NO, but we are accountable to God to warn the wicked (Ez. 3:17-19; I Cor. 9:16). We should never try to provoke unnecessary controversy, but should appeal, warn, and testify the Word of God with common sense and love..
In the rest of the New Testament you will find this intense form of "witness": this "testifying" in regards to preaching to believers. This is a sermon in itself to these soft spoken, smooth preachers; who are afraid to convict or anger anyone. In I Thess. 4:6; I Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:14; 4:1; you will find the same Greek word the rich man in Hell used to describe how he wanted someone to speak to his 5 brothers. THINK ABOUT IT! How do you think he wanted his brothers approached! How would you want your brothers approached, if you were in hell, and knew they would soon be there too?
In I Thess. 4:6 we have Paul "testifying" about modest dress and conduct. In I Tim. 5:21 we have Paul "testifying/charging" Timothy to rebuke those that sin, and also to do the other things Paul commanded without preferring one above another -- This should be preached to pastors who leave out the head covering, and other things they say are "unnecessary".
In 2 Tim. 2:14, Paul is telling Timothy to "testify/charge" the people that if they deny Christ, he will deny them (2:11-14).
Last of all, in 2 Tim. 4:1 we have Paul "testifying/charging" Timothy to preach the pure Gospel even when people want to hear fables -- like eternal security, "doesn't matter what you wear", TV is fine, forget the head covering, etc. etc.
SO... THAT RICH MAN IN HELL WASN'T TOO FAR OFF WHEN HE ASKED SOMEONE TO GO AND TESTIFY TO HIS 5 BROTHERS. WHAT ABOUT YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, AND PARENTS? HAVE YOU TESTIFIED TO THEM?
I believe this is a major part of that cross Jesus called us to bear in Mark 8:34-38. It takes "denying self" to be a "testifying" believer to lost and saved people; to brother and sister, neighbor and friend -- to love and rebuke in love while hated like Stephen. Even with all the good deeds He did (healing the sick, raising the dead, and working miracles of many sorts), Jesus said his testifying cause the world to hate him -- it must have been pretty straight forward and convicting.
The early church brought on most of their persecution by this testifying! If they had hushed and lived quiet, holy lives, they wouldn't have been persecuted near as much! Jesus said, "The world hates me because I testify that the deeds thereof are evil". The disciples were hated and killed because they preached all over and "turned the world upside down" rebuking sin, and calling men to repentance and faith. The early Christians were killed by those they "turned off".
John Wesley was riding along a road one day when it dawned on him that three whole days had passed in which he had suffered no persecution. Not a brick or an egg had been thrown at him for three days. Alarmed, he stopped his horse, and exclaimed, "Can it be that I have sinned, and am backslidden?" Slipping from his horse, Wesley went down on his knees and began interceding with God to show him where, if any, there had been a fault. A rough fellow, on the other side of the hedge, hearing the prayer, looked across and recognized the preacher. "I'll fix that Methodist preacher," he said, picking up a brick and tossing it over at him. It missed its mark, and fell harmlessly beside John. Whereupon Wesley leaped to his feet joyfully exclaiming, "Thank God, it's all right. I still have his presence."
The sinners haven't changed, and neither has Satan. We don't expect persecution, because we don't TESTIFY TO MEN THAT THEIR DEEDS ARE EVIL, AND PREACH REPENTANCE TO THEM. Those who go door to door often present a "no repentance", "easy believism" message. They often go with faces painted with makeup, immodest clothes, jewelry; and just invite people to church. Some who have right doctrine don't go door to door just because they don't want to be associated with the first folks we mentioned -- so the world continues to go to Hell with that rich man!
The Easy-believe crowd are out making FANS, not disciples. It is easy to get people to be "pro-Jesus" or "Jesus fans"; but it is very different to BE A DISCIPLE and then MAKE DISCIPLES -- Very different! I was raised with the FANS-MAKING-FANS concept of Christianity; but now I am a part of the DISCIPLES-MAKING-DISCIPLES group. It is much harder, but IT IS RIGHT! Fans don't have to obey, just sit on the sidelines; but disciples must obey and follow -- Try telling people this at the door next time....And, uh, by the way, take off your jewelry, makeup, fashion clothes, fancy tie, styled hair, etc.; put on a head veil (ladies), modest apparel, and TESTIFY that they must give up all sin, and follow Jesus in obedient faith! Then you will understand what it means to bear the cross!
"His blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn him, you will be innocent." For this reason, out of fear, we are very earnest in desiring to witness according to the Scriptures--but not from love of money, of glory, or of pleasure. Justin Martyr 160 AD
CHAPTER 8 - THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
This should be obvious, but since some call "Lordship Salvation" heresy, it is important that we understand the message of the Gospel was not built around Jesus being just a Savior, but a King! The word Gospel means Good News ; the Gospel of the Kingdom is simply the GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST!
John the Baptist preached that men should repent and prepare for the Kingdom, and the King that was coming. Jesus preached, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus sent his disciples out to declare the Kingdom of Heaven. The Apostles continued to preach the same message after the resurrection -- Acts 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 28:23.
The subject of the Kingdom is not heard enough today. Jesus is not presented to the world as King and Lord; but as some feeble, emotional mother figure who is begging people to accept him so he can serve them. Jesus was promised as King, born as King, preached as King, was rejected as King, and must be accepted as King!
PROMISED AS KING
Jesus comes as King, and Jesus offers salvation as King. In the position of King he saves. To believe on a lifeguard to save you does not mean you must continue to follow him; but to accept Jesus or believe on Jesus as King means submission to his authority. Kings are submitted to, or rebelled against. Jesus is presenting himself as the King who has salvation. You cannot accept him as Savior, and not as your King!
BORN AS KING
Jesus was born King of the Jews! The wise men came from the east to worship the promised King! The scribes knew from Is. 9:6, and Micah 5:2 that Jesus the King would be born in Bethlehem as King.
PROCLAIMED AS KING
Jesus presented himself as King -- this is what outraged his enemies. Jesus gave parables such as Luke 19:14; and Matt. 25:31. Jesus' disciples were always asking him when he would set up the kingdom on earth, and wondered what position they would receive. The disciples argued about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Remember what Jesus said would happen to those who said to the king, "We will not have this man to reign over us"?
REJECTED AS KING
There is no doubt that Jesus presented himself as King just from the response of his enemies. They said, We have no king but Caesar! Listen to them in Luke 23:2,
The big issue at the crucifixion was not whether Jesus was trying to keep people out of Hell; but whether or not he was King! Jesus expected his disciples to recognize him as the promised King. He is a loving, compassionate King; but nevertheless, he is King. The accusation put over his head on the cross was not, "This is Jesus the Savior of men"; but it said, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews". Kings are submitted to or rebelled against; and men must choose -- they cannot be neutral.
HE MUST BE ACCEPTED AS KING
Jesus came as King, was rejected as King, and , therefore, must be accepted as King! When one accepts Jesus as his King, he then submits to him. When one receives Jesus as King, Jesus gives the gift of salvation to them. Remember Zech. 9:9? If the King comes with salvation, those who rebel against the King will not receive it! Only those who choose Jesus as King, and believe on him as such, will receive the free gift!
Salvation is the free gift of the King; but it is not given to rebels and enemies until they repent and submit in faith. The fact that the King does not give his free gift to rebels, does not mean that surrender, or submission to the King in any way earns or pays for the gift! Jesus is the rightful King that man has rebelled against. We deserve to be hanged for treason! Thank God! Our King loves us! Will forgive us! And give us eternal life if we come back like the prodigal son did to his father. Hallelujah!
Preachers no longer proclaim Jesus as King, so people don't know to receive him as King; and thus much faith is dead faith! Much professed belief is from a rebellious life! In Acts 17:7, the big uproar was not over Jesus as a great teacher, or as Savior; but as King! The preachers were preaching Jesus as King!
Jesus cannot be accepted as Savior and rejected as King!! He saves in the office of King, or not at all. You don't have Jesus as Savior at salvation, and then later recognize him as King -- that is not Bible! Those who teach this are false teachers! If you don't believe on Jesus as the King that saves those who repent of rebellion to him, and submit in faith; then you don't believe on the Jesus of the Bible! If you reject Jesus as King now, you will not enter into his Kingdom later!
These people who say the receiving of Jesus as Lord means we want them to be sinless and perfect, are not using their heads. I submit to Jesus as King and Lord, and confess him as such; but I still fail my Lord at times. Jesus being my Lord, does not make me a puppet, just a striving servant. The only reason preachers don't preach this, is to cover up all their false converts who go on in rebellion to Jesus. Those who are converted will not live in rebellion to Jesus; but will follow to the best of their strength and knowledge.
I don't understand how this could even be an issue, when Paul tells us in Romans 10:9,10 that confessing Jesus as our Lord is necessary to salvation. Do these preachers want us to be hypocrites in professing Jesus as Lord, yet not living according to our profession? Why would anyone want to argue about Jesus being Lord and King? If a lost man only wants a Savior, but not a King; then he will go to Hell for rebellion to God!!
There will be no rebels in Heaven, who do not want to serve Jesus as King and Lord. Only those who love Jesus as King and Lord will enjoy serving him in Heaven! Only those who serve him and love him as King and Lord now, will love him and serve him then! God does not give us a new heart desire and attitude on the way to Heaven, but just a new body. Our heart attitude and desire toward Jesus is supposed to be changed already at repentance and the new birth.
Peter preached on Pentecost that Jesus was both Lord and Christ. Some say this is splitting hairs about terminology; but I've been in the churches and colleges who call me a "Lordship Salvation" heretic for this; and it is not splitting hairs! If it is, it is a big enough hair to send you to Hell!
CHAPTER 9 - ETERNAL SECURITY AND OVERCOMING
The teaching of unconditional eternal security is very dangerous. I was told to ask Jesus into my heart at five years old, and then told I was safe and secure for Heaven, and could never lose my inheritance there even if I lived a wicked life. Had God not led me to true repentance and conversion; and then a better understanding of the Bible; I might have lived according to this heresy like many people I know.
When people who are taught this heresy doubt they are really saved, the reply their preacher gives is, "Well, you prayed the prayer didn't you?". Why don't we hear, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" II Cor. 13:5
The security that the Bible teaches is that those who desire to please God will have the power to do so. Those who desire to follow Jesus to the end, are offered grace to overcome; and those who strive to overcome, will be confirmed. The Bible security is God's promise of abundant provision to sustain us in the battle.
There are three main positions on this subject of eternal security. I want to briefly look at each, so you understand the basics of them.
CALVINISM: John Calvin, a reformer of the 1500's, believed and taught basic reformation doctrine: That men must "continue in the faith" and "persevere"; but that it was God's irresistible grace that "caused" them to do so. Those who were "unconditionally elected", called by God's "irresistible grace", and saved by Christ's "limited atonement", were also kept by God's irresistible grace in faith and obedience to ultimate salvation. Thus, those who fell away only revealed they weren't part of the "elect". This concept violates man's free will and the plain teaching of Christ in Luke 8:13. God is not willing that any should perish; therefore he would use his irresistible grace on everyone -- if this were true. If this were true, it would be God's responsibility to keep us, and the Bible would not have warnings and commands to men to endure, continue, overcome, etc. If God's grace were irresistible enough to save us and keep us, it would also keep us from carnality, sin, etc. When the responsibility for man's obedience is put on God, then it is his fault when we disobey. If the responsibility for man's repentance and faith is God's, then it is his fault that people go to Hell; and he can't justly condemn them.
Neither do we maintain that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer. Rather, we maintain that each man acts rightly or sins by his free choice...Since God in the beginning made the race of angels and men with free will, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. Justin Martyr 160 AD
ANTINOMIANISM: This old heresy teaches that man is perpetually justified by one act of faith, so future sins are forgiven and cleansed at conversion. Thus, it doesn't matter what you do after you "ask Jesus to save you"; because a forgiven person cannot be condemned. The Holy Spirit refutes this misconception in James and the whole New Testament.
From this heresy, repentance becomes only a change of mind for a moment, or a turning from no faith to dead faith that "trusts" presumptuously without obedience. Thus, according to them, Jesus' High Priestly advocacy in Heaven is useless -- You don't need to forgive sins twice! Thus "walking in the light", "sowing to the Spirit", "continuing in the faith", "confessing known sin", etc. is unnecessary and meaningless.
This heresy means unconditional security for those who commit one act of faith in "receiving Christ", whether they live by faith or not. If this is true, then you don't have to obey Christ, live godly, resist temptation, follow Jesus, or anything after you are converted. They say if you don't, God will chasten you, and eventually kill you and take you to Heaven anyway, so you don't make him look bad on earth any more. Any honest student of Scripture cannot accept this "TURNING THE GRACE OF GOD INTO LASCIVIOUSNESS". This is a terrible twisting of God's Word. "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" The Antinomians think so! This heresy is taught by modern Baptists. This is the same heresy Peter speaks of in 2 Peter 3:16 -- The unlearned always find refuge in twisting Paul's epistles. Because Paul is battling Judaism, his language is conducive for Antinomians to wrest. Read 2 Peter 2:18,19.
BIBLE SALVATION: (sometimes called Arminianism) James Arminius opposed John Calvin and taught man's responsibility before God. He taught man had free will or choice, and thus it was man's responsibility to repent, believe, obey, endure, etc. Man is thus responsible for not doing these things, and accountable to God, and in danger of Hell. Arminius did not invent this doctrine, but just defended his conception of what God's faithful had always believed from the times of the apostles. That Jesus died for every man, and calls all men to salvation and to repentance. God's grace is not irresistible; and the perseverance of the saints is not automatic or unconditional or God's responsibility. Man must believe on Christ with a living, obeying, continuing faith of his own free will and choice to be saved. Continual justification is based on continual faith. God's part in salvation is PROVISION and PERSUASION; but it is not his responsibility to make man's decisions for them or choose who will make the decision. God made man with free will, and therefore God holds them accountable for their actions and judges them accordingly. This system of doctrine is what the Bible teaches.
I was raised Antinomian, then went to Calvinism, but was never satisfied until I came to the Arminian position. It is hard for those raised in one position to move to another, but if you study your Bible enough, God will lead you. For a while I held the idea that all true believers would definitely persevere, and those who didn't, weren't saved to begin with. However, Jesus' plain words in Luke 8:13 are to the contrary. If Jesus said they "for a while believed"; then for a while they were "believers". This means they were on the narrow way, and then fell away because of temptation. Judas, and some others (John 6:64) never did believe, it seems; but this is not the only scenario taught in the Bible. If only the false believers are the ones who will not endure, then every time the Holy Spirit exhorts us to "hold fast our profession", "continue in the faith", "hold fast our confidence", etc. He is telling false believers to hold on to their false faith, false profession, and false confidence. It is clear that all the exhortations listed below are to believers: Romans 6:16; 8:13; I Cor. 3:16,17; II Cor. 6:13-7:1; Gal. 6:7-9; Eph. 5:1-7; I Tim. 4:16; II Tim. 2:12; Heb. 3:6,12-14; 4:11-16; 5:7-6:15; 10:22-39; 12:12-25; James 5:19,20; I Peter 1:9-17; 4:17-19; II Peter 2:18-22; 3:14-17; I John 1:6,7; 2:5 compare with 2:24-25; II John 8,9; Jude 20-24; Rev. 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; 21:7,8; 22:7,12-14.
Many times the Apostles included themselves by saying "we" or "us", as in I Cor. 9:27-10:14, and in Hebrews.
The conditions for salvation are clear in the Bible, and it is clear that it is man's responsibility to use God's provision of grace to meet the conditions God set on Christ's atonement and advocacy. The Antinomians can say the conditions don't exist; and the Calvinists can say the irresistible grace of God makes us meet the conditions, but the conditions are there, and the responsibility is put on us to meet them. So, no matter what you are, you'd better get busy following Jesus in obedient faith if you want to go to Heaven -- FOR HE IS THE AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION UNTO ALL (AND ONLY) THEM THAT OBEY HIM; AND OBEYING HIM (IN JESUS' DEFINITION) IS "KEEPING HIS SAYINGS". John 8:51, 14:21-24; I John 2:3-5.
You say, "What about salvation by grace through faith?" That is exactly what I believe; but you need to have Bible definitions of "faith" and "grace", not some man's. Titus 2:11-15 gives us a good look at "grace". Grace is in the PROVISION and PERSUASION aspects of salvation. Grace does not do our part for us; nor does grace overlook our part, or cancel it.
Faith and obedience are synonymous when it comes to God giving us a command or condition. Every time in Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter, their faith is seen in an act of obedience. God testified of Abel's obedience and counted him righteous. Enoch diligently sought God and pleased God, and it was called faith. Noah moved with fear and obeyed God; and by this he became "heir of the righteousness which is by faith"! Can't you see it? Abraham's faith in many acts of obedience was "imputed for righteousness", and called FAITH and FAITHFULNESS. Jesus is not a bank vault where you deposit your soul, and go your merry way. He is the King we trust, and therefore obey and serve.
For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because he worked righteousness and truth through faith? Clement of Rome 96 AD
If a person begins following Jesus, and then begins to practice known sin, or continue one that God has recently shown him to be sin; then his record in Heaven is defiled. God begins to chasten him, and gives him space to repent, so he won't be condemned with the world (I Cor. 11:32). If this man repents, while God is chastening, then his soul is saved from death (James 5:19,20). If he despises the chastening of the Lord, and persists in rebellion, then he will die spiritually (Romans 6:16; 8:13; Gal. 6:7-9; Heb. 6,10,12). I believe God will do all he can justly do to bring a person back before cutting him off. I also believe that if a person resists enough to be cut off (Romans 11:22); then he will never come back (Heb. 6). They already had all God has to offer, what more would bring them back? If the Holy Ghost from within could not persuade them, then how will he persuade them from without? Jesus taught this in Luke 8:13, as well as Matthew 18:21-35; 24:9-14,44-51; and John 15:1-11
CHAPTER 10 - WHAT IT MEANS TO BELIEVE ON JESUS
Due to the terrible deception of "easy believism", this chapter is necessary. Believing on Christ has been reduced to praying a prayer, and then expecting Jesus to take me to Heaven someday, whether I follow him in obedience, or not. Sinners are being told that faith without works is alive, and will save. They are not told that there is no forgiveness without genuine repentance. They are told to trust with a "dead faith" (James 2), and led to rely on Jesus, when they have no right to rely on Jesus without repentance and faith that obeys.
If objects are equal to the same object, then they are equal to each other. If there is only one way to Heaven, then all the promises of salvation must be equal to all the other promises. If we remember that the term SAVED primarily refers to ultimate salvation into Heaven, rather than the moment of conversion, we will understand what it means to believe on Jesus.
1. Matt. 10:22 Enduring to the end = saved
2. Mk. 13:13 Endureth to the end = saved
3. Jn. 8:12 Followeth me = saved
4. Jn. 8:51 Keep my sayings = saved
5. Jn. 10:27 Hear and follow = saved
6. Jn. 1:12 Receive him = saved
7. Jn. 3:3 Be born again = saved
8. Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized = saved
9. Acts 3:19 Repent and be converted = saved
10. Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus = saved
11. Acts 26:20 Repent and turn to God and do works meet for repentance = saved
12. Rom. 10:9,10 Confess Jesus as Lord and believe in the resurrection = saved
13. Rom. 10:13 Call upon the Lord = saved
14. Heb. 3:14 Hold fast confidence to the end = saved
15. Heb. 5:9 Obey Jesus = saved
16. Heb. 10:39 Believe to the end = saved
17. I Tim. 4:16 Continue in the doctrine = saved
18. I John 1:7 Walk in the light = saved
19. Gal. 6:7-9 Sow to the Spirit & faint not = saved
20. Rev. 2 & 3, 21:7 Overcome = saved
21. Rev. 22:14 Do his commandments = saved
...IF ALL 21 ARE EQUAL TO BEING SAVED, THEN THEY ARE ALL EQUAL TO EACH OTHER!
Either there are two or more ways to Heaven, or each statement is just a clarification, expansion, and definition of the other terms.
"Believe on Jesus" can erroneously be made as narrow as to only include a prayer, or intellectual trust; or as broad as to include "obey", "follow", "walk in the light", etc. It is vital to understand that "believing on Jesus" is not just believing in his historical existence, or his historical resurrection; but BELIEVING HIS TEACHINGS TO THE POINT WE OBEY THEM! Believing in Him as King, Lord, Shephard, Physician, to the point we ACT upon His leadership, teachings, and guidance.
Listen to God as He tells us about Abraham's faith in Gen.26:5 "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Yes, Abraham's works showed his faith. Without the obedience spoken of here, Abraham would have been unfaithful and unbelieving.
Today, men are trying to disregard the other statements, and reduce "repentance" to their definition of "belief", which is "dead faith". Therefore they must change the meaning of "repent" to a change of mind which doesn't change the actions, or a change from no faith, to a dead faith (James 2). They don't understand the Bible definition of "works", so they do theological gymnastics to avoid man having any part to play for fear that they will be teaching "works". This reveals that they just don't understand what the Bible is saying.
If my son, Micah, and I were on a wilderness trek with an experienced guide; and we were suddenly confronted by a grizzly bear. The guide turns to Micah and says, "Son, you stay calm and do exactly what I tell you." Now, I look at Micah and say, "Son, believe in the guide"; or "Son, trust the guide"; or "Son, follow what he says"; or "Son, hold fast your confidence in the guide to the end"; or "Son, receive this man as your guide" -- I have said the same thing! Wouldn't it be foolish for Micah to look at me and say, "Dad, does 'trust the guide' mean I have to obey him?" OF COURSE TRUSTING AND BELIEVING MEANS OBEYING!!
If a man came to town claiming to be the Son of God, King of Israel, and Savior of the world; and telling people to turn from sin, and be baptized as one of his disciples -- If I then went and told people to believe in this man, they would understand that I meant for them to do what the man said, not just pray a prayer and go on their merry way in sin. If I told people to turn from sin, and become one of his disciples; I would be telling them to believe in him without ever using the word BELIEVE. Is this that difficult?
Today Jesus is not presented as demanding repentance and obedience; so faith in him has been reduced to believing, as in Santa Claus -- at least those who believe in Santa try to behave.
If a man turns from sin, is baptized a disciple of Jesus Christ, and follows him in faith to the end of his life, he will be saved -- even if he never "officially" asks Jesus into his heart. I don't find one preacher in the Bible telling people to "ask Jesus into their heart!" What a tragedy that "salvation" seems to be marked down on the clearance rack: and the prophets of yesterday have become salesmen who have mastered their tricks to get men to buy their watered down product. The better deal we can cut the public, the bigger church we can build, and make true preachers look like hard nosed cavemen!
CHAPTER 11 - THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT SALVATION
I recently asked a preacher who was misled on the baptism of the Holy Spirit if he knew the difference between OT and NT salvation. He didn't. I was not surprised, but it just went to show why he was mixed up on the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, people were saved by a living, obeying faith in God. When you read Hebrews 11, and James 2, with Acts 26:6,7; & Romans 3,4; you see that those who believed God in following and obeying him were saved. Their faith was counted for righteousness, and their sins were forgiven on credit -- accounting that Jesus would definitely come and pay for them.
According to Acts 10:43, all the prophets preached "repentance and remission of sins in Christ's name" (Luke 24:47). The OT saints who were saved, served and followed Jehovah God in hope of his promised salvation through the coming Messiah. So we can say they were saved by the same faith we are -- except theirs looked forward to Christ by keeping the ceremonial laws and such; whereas our faith looks back to Christ's coming (and forward to his return) by following his teachings and confessing him as our Lord.
SO WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
1. We do not show our faith by keeping the ceremonial laws. Christ is the fulfillment of those rituals; therefore we look to the real thing, not the type. Instead of obeying God in the OT laws -- God's old covenant with man; we obey God by following his Son Jesus, and obeying his commands. Everyone saved was and is saved by grace through faith. Nobody was saved by the law. Nobody is saved by dead faith. Their faith lived in serving God through the law; our faith lives in following and obeying Jesus!
The Jews were to use the law as simply a guide to their faith, not to earn merit or salvation. This is where many stumbled, according to Romans 9:32. The same principle that applied to the OT Jews concerning the law (Duet. 30:11-14); applies to us now concerning Christ (Romans 10:6-10). They were to walk by faith in the light they were given, and so are we.
So... they followed and obeyed in faith, just like we do. Their faith was counted for righteousness, just like ours is. Their sins were covered until Jesus came; ours are continually cleansed in the blood (I John 1:7) as we walk in the light. The first main difference is how they were to show their faith (keeping the law Vs. following Jesus).
2. The second, and most important difference is the "Promise of the Father" in our New Covenant or New Testament. Lets look at a couple OT passages about NT salvation:
Now, if you compare these Scriptures with Heb. 8:6-13; 10:15-17; and Acts 2:15-21 & 33-41; you can see clearly that there is another big difference between OT and NT salvation. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit, which gives us a spiritual re-birth, and helps us to endure to the end. The promise of the Father, which Jesus obtained after his ascension, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit -- The indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8; 2:33,38,39). Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit was “with” them, but soon would be “in” them.
· John 14:17 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
The Old Testament prophets, priests, some kings, and a few others had a special anointing of Holy Spirit power; but it seems the Spirit was still only “with” them, but not “in” them. The common people didn’t even have this much as individuals. In Joel God promised to pour out His Spirit on all his children, not just certain leaders. He declared that even the servants, handmaids, sons, and daughters would not be denied this special blessing. All true believers have this blessing. It is how God writes His Laws in our heart and mind.
Thank God! We don't have to look to a human mediator for a relationship with God; we can know him ourselves and cry "Abba Father" as a child. We have been adopted through receiving the Spirit of God's Son to dwell in us. We can approach the Throne of Grace, not stand and wait for a priest in the Temple. We can come continually to our High Priest, Jesus, and receive atonement for our sins (Heb. 7:22-25). We now are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, we don't go to the Temple. The Shechinah Glory dwells within us. The covenant of Grace means I live on a higher holier plane than the ceremonial, carnal worship of the Old Testament. I am one of the true worshippers who worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23), not with my hands (Acts 17:24-31) or sacrifices, dances, images, instruments, etc.; but with the fruit of my lips, making melody in my heart, walking in the Spirit with sobriety, humility, and holiness.
Heb 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Hebrews 2:1-4; 10:26-29; 12:18-25; and basically the whole book teaches us that since we have a better covenant, with a better sacrifice, a better priest, a better hope, and better access to God; we also will have greater condemnation if we neglect it!
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven: Heb. 12:25
CHAPTER 12 - CARNAL CHRISTIANS?
In an effort to cover for the ungodliness in their churches, many preachers who build a crowd by the false repentance and easy believism (that we have been speaking of) like to point out that there are carnal Christians in the New Testament as well. The truth is that every time carnality was addressed we find an apostle warning them of missing out on salvation and warning them of judgment. Carnality was not tolerated and excused, but confronted, rebuked, and the unrepentant were disciplined out of the body. You don't find people in the New Testament tolerated in their rebellion. What you do find is excommunication, rebuke, warning, and even people dropping dead -- remember Ananias and Sapphira? The liberals usually run to I Cor. 3 to support their idea that once saved you don't have to obey. They say you will just lose rewards, but still be saved. Let's examine this Scripture.
I Cor. 3 is often misinterpreted as saying people can lay the foundation of salvation, and never do anything else, but still be saved. THIS IS A LIE AND A WRESTING OF SCRIPTURE! There are some very important points that these people miss.
1. Paul makes it clear that the builders are the preachers, and the people are the building. Observe: " Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
2. The warning is for preachers to beware how they build on the foundation of Christ, and teach the people; because if they don't teach them right, the people will be lost in the trial. The preacher's "work" will not endure judgment, if they are not taught right. The preacher's "work" will be tried. SO DON'T FOLLOW A LIBERAL, a compromiser, a softy, or a heretic (heretics are not even building of the true foundation) -- YOU MAY END UP WOOD, HAY, AND STUBBLE; INSTEAD OF GOLD, SILVER, PRECIOUS STONE. If you read further you will find that the heretic who is not building on the foundation of Jesus Christ, but is actually destroying the foundation and defiling God's temple (the church) is DESTROYED.
This is similar to what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:19, where He warns that if you discard a command of God by calling it the "least" then God will discard you on the same basis - being the "least".
3. The rebuke of carnality in Corinth was nothing more than immature zeal for one preacher over another - Not rebellion against Christ and the church!
In I Cor 5 & II Cor 2 we learn of a man caught in adultery with his stepmother. There was sharp rebuke, discipline, repentance, and restoration -- where is the justification for all the continued ungodliness in the churches of today?
Paul rebukes some folks in Heb. 5 for becoming dull of hearing. They are threatened with missing out on Heaven; but if you look at the life they did have, you will find they, in their "low time", were higher than most today! They "took joyfully the spoiling of their goods" for Jesus sake. They were "made a gazing stock by reproaches and afflictions" because they stood for the truth! They ministered to the saints. Don't use them to hide your rebellious church members behind!
If you want to learn what happens to backsliders, just read I Cor. 10:1-14! This passage says they all started out with the same salvation; but because they grew lukewarm and cold, they were spewed out - just as Jesus threatens the Laodicians in Rev. 3:15. Saying that all those who fell away never really had it, and wouldn't have been saved had they continued; actually surrenders the case for unconditional security. What guarantees that some future lapse won't show that YOU never had it; and what guarantees that continuing will save you!?
In I John 3:6-9 and 5:18 are some interesting verses that have puzzled many. Once a few things are understood, the puzzling goes away.
In Matthew 3, John the Baptist is preaching that the people repent of being evil trees and bring forth good fruit, meet for repentance. He said that every tree that didn't bring forth good fruit would be hewn down and cast into the fire. Jesus continued this thought in exposing false teachers (which is what John is doing in 3:7), and says, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Now, if the "cannot" meant "incapable"; why tell the people to repent and become good trees bringing forth good fruit!? Repentance would be impossible. JUST AS AN EVIL TREE CAN TURN AND BECOME A GOOD TREE, SO A GOOD TREE CAN TURN AND BECOME AN EVIL TREE AGAIN. Yes, you can know them by their fruits, because a good tree will not be bringing forth evil fruit -- it is inconsistent. You can tell false teachers by their fruit, but this does not mean they can't repent and become good teachers.
John tells the people to let the doctrine abide or remain in them, so they also can continue in Christ and the Father, and receive the promise of eternal life (I John 2:24,25). John is warning against false Gnostic teachers who taught you could live in sin, and still be saved (2:26). He is simply saying you can know the tree by its fruit! He is not saying that a bad tree cannot become a good tree, or that a good tree cannot become a bad tree.
The conclusion then is that carnality can cost you your soul. The narrow road is only wide enough for those walking in the Spirit, it will not allow for sin, carnality, worldliness, and self-will. If your church is full of this, then it is full of wood, hay, and stubble that will not last. Take heed how you are building -- First, make sure you are even building on Christ; Then make sure you are building according to the blueprint of God's Word. One who is sincerely striving to build on Jesus Christ, but has been taught wrong, or is confused about God's ways, will still be saved due to his sincere living faith in serving Jesus to the best of his understanding; but many of his "converts" will show up as wood, hay, and stubble; and be burned.
John T. Christian quotes Phillip Schaff in his history: “For the first three centuries the Lord placed Christianity in the most unfavorable circumstances that it might display its moral power, and gain its victory over the world by spiritual weapons alone. Until the reign of Constantine it had not even a legal existence in the Roman empire, but was first ignored as a Jewish sect, then slandered, proscribed, persecuted as a treasonable innovation, and the adoption of it made punishable with confiscation and death. Besides, it offered not the slightest favor, as Mohammedanism afterwards did, to the corrupt inclinations of the heart, but against the current ideas of the Jews and heathens it so presented its inexorable demand of repentance and conversion, renunciation of self and of the world, that more, according to Tertullian, were kept out of the new sect by love of pleasure, than by love of life.”
CHAPTER 13 - CHILD EVANGELISM?
Child training? Wonderful!
Child discipline? Tremendous!
Child teaching? Beautiful!
Leading children to "pray a prayer", get baptized, and tell them they can't lose salvation no matter what they do? TERRIBLE!
Most child evangelism starts out good with picking up children who normally could not get to church or learn about Jesus. Then they take them to church and teach them the Bible, which is also good. But then they lead these little children to pray and ask Jesus in their hearts for salvation, baptize them, and tell them they are going to Heaven no matter what -- This is vaccination against true conversion.
This has confused thousands of people as to what conversion is, and when they were truly born again. Usually those who lead little children to "accept Christ" also believe in "easy believism" (they have too), and eternal security. Can they tell a little child to walk the straight and narrow, or be excommunicated? Can they warn a child of being lukewarm? Can a little child deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus? Is a little child ready to be a disciple? We believe they are ready for teaching and training in preparation for future discipleship.
If you say that children are in need of conversion, then you are saying they are Hell-bound sinners. You are saying that God will stand a 9 year old boy before the Great White Throne with his eyes bugged in fear, and sentence him to eternal fire, because he didn't deny himself, take up his cross and follow Jesus! Our own unjust justice system doesn't try children as adults. Children are only told to obey their parents in the Lord; and parents are to spank them with the rod to deliver their soul from Hell -- This is all heart preparation, so when the seed of God's truth is sown, it will find good ground and bring forth fruit.
In Ex. 30:14, we see that only those from twenty years old and above were required to pay the atonement tax. Those under this age were safe.
How old were these children who were not accountable for good and evil?
Once again, those under twenty escaped! I'm not saying that it is wrong to lead our children to Christ before twenty, but I am showing that this idea of children being in danger of Hell at 8 or 9 is unbiblical. The main reason those under twenty were not accountable was because they were not old enough to be a part of the decision making process -- they were under their parent's authority. It is confusing and wrong to lead a child to baptism before they are old enough to make that intelligent choice on their own. Children will believe anything, even Santa Claus; but they are acting on Mom and Dad's faith, not their own personal faith. They are not able to be Bible believers -- disciples. Did Jesus baptize any child disciples?
It is true that Jewish children were circumcised at eight days old, and considered "in the covenant" from infancy. Does baptism take the place of circumcision for New Testament believers? We don't see this clearly taught in the New Testament. Did the apostles baptize every person of every age when they baptized house-holds into the faith? There is no way to prove one way or the other. The Bible does indicate that those baptized were first instructed in the Word of the Lord and believed -- this cannot be spoken of infants. If one says that they were under their parent's authority, were taken into the church when the head of the family believed, and thus raised in the faith; we answer: If we could know it was so, we would follow it; but how is it to be proved? If baptism with water is a parallel of baptism with the Holy Spirit, are we to believe that infants receive this? Do they then take communion? Paul says that if even one parent is a believer, then the children are "holy", otherwise they would be unclean - as the children of unbelievers; but he doesn't link this with the baptism of the child at all. We believe that our children are safe and considered "holy" because we are believers and raising them in the faith. Faith in Christ is what we want to teach our children, then they will hopefully make their own commitment to discipleship by being baptized. When they come to the age of understanding, then they must profess their own faith in Christ. As to the children of unbelievers, we know God will be merciful and just, and will judge them according to their light, ability, opportunity, and maturity. All children need to be taught about Jesus, but not given a false gospel and false hope. Obviously, parents who don't follow Jesus can't expect that their offspring will be the same in the sight of God as the offspring of God's beloved.
WHAT ABOUT LUKE 18 & MATTHEW 18?
1. These Scriptures are primarily speaking of how adults need to become as humble children to be saved; they are not speaking of children having adult accountability and baptism.
2. The offending of the little ones has two possible applications:
If children were Hell-bound sinners in need of evangelism while in childhood, could Jesus have said, "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven"? If children are Hell-bound sinners in need of evangelism, then do we have to be converted into Hell-bound sinners to go to heaven!? No, Jesus is focusing on the child-like humility and teachable spirit of children.
Jesus, the Son of God, didn't start to be about his Father's business until he was twelve years old. At this age a Jewish young man began taking part of the feasts and learning the Law. His disciples were all older than middle teens. Physically, God has made boys and girls become men and women during mid teens. We need to consider when God sees them as "accountable".
I believe we should teach, train, spank, correct, and mold children in the way they should go. Teach them that those who follow Jesus will go to Heaven, and those who follow the Devil will go to Hell. Teach them to pray, confess sin, love Jesus, etc. Becoming a disciple seems to be more fitting for those who are at least twelve or older.
CHAPTER 14 - SOWING TARES
This chapter is meant to answer the grave question: Can we discard some of the things Jesus and the apostles taught; and only teach people to observe "some things" rather than "all things" -- for the purpose of "winning more people"? And, "Is it acceptable to be a 'Christian' that doesn't 'observe all things' (Matt. 28:19-20), or keep the traditions of the apostles (2 Thess. 3:6,7)?"
When the servants came and told the master that they saw tares in the field, he said unto them,
When Jesus gave the interpretation of this parable, he said,
I would like to make some observations concerning this parable, and then share some convictions I have concerning this situation.
The parable says when the blade brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. In Jesus' interpretation of the parable, Jesus calls the tares those that live in such a way that is offensive to God, and Jesus also describes them as, "them which do iniquity (anomia - lawlessness)". This is what Jesus called those in Matthew 7:21-23, which were also tares.
They professed to be Christians, having done many "wonderful works" in Jesus' name; but Jesus sums them up this way: They were workers of iniquity, who heard his teachings, and called him "Lord, Lord"; but didn't obey his teachings and do the will of God.
From these and many other passages we conclude that Satan is at work to produce counterfeit believers, who may not even know they are counterfeits, as we see in Matthew 7:21-27. How is it that they are counterfeits and don't even know it? They are deceived by false doctrine that tells them they can say, "Lord, Lord" to Jesus, but don't have to obey all he taught, and will still be saved! They believe false doctrine that tells them they can profess to be a Christian, but don't have to do the will of the Father, and will still be saved. They believe false doctrine that once they ask Jesus into their heart, they can live in disobedience to him (work iniquity), and they are eternally secure!!
They believe they can hear Jesus' sayings, but not do them. Just like the false prophets in 2 Peter 2; the modern day liars are "speaking great swelling words of vanity"; and "alluring through the lusts of the flesh, and much wantonness"; and "PROMISING LIBERTY"!
James makes it clear that, if we are hearers of the Word, but not doers, we deceive ourselves. You see, the tares are not harlots and drunkards or atheists--but church goers, and even preachers. A tare looks very similar to wheat, and can only be discerned when it bears fruit -- the fruit is the difference. The Bible teaches us how to know the difference!
All who preach the unconditional security doctrine, whether from Calvinism or Antinomianism are SOWING TARES. All who claim to preach Arminian doctrine, but live in disobedience to the teachings of Jesus are SOWING TARES by their example. The preacher's life will define his doctrine! If I preach right, but live wrong; then I am teaching you to believe right, but live wrong -- You are becoming a tare! A hearer, but not a doer!!
The Pharisees did this, and Jesus rebukes them for actually "vaccinating" people against the truth, by making them "secure" in error, thus almost impossible to win to the TRUTH.
Yes, soulwinning is wonderful! Yes, Jesus takes people right where they are; but he doesn't let them stay there. He demands they "GO AND SIN NO MORE!" Are you obeying "all things whatsoever Jesus commanded"? Do you pass the I John test? Are you one who "cannot endure sound doctrine"?
NOTE: God is not going to separate the two until the judgment! He is going to let all grow together in the world. He is not in the business of killing false believers now, but letting them go until judgment -- ARE YOU LISTENING! YOU MUST REPENT, AND OBEY ALL JESUS TAUGHT!
CHAPTER 15 - THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION
Since I have come to the light of what New Testament Apostolic Christianity really is, I have been diligently preaching and writing to share with other Christians the great news and establish a truly Biblical church. Going forth with the assurance that people who claim to love Jesus will be overjoyed to receive the new light of how to be a more pleasing bride for our coming Lord! Have I been disappointed? That is an incredible understatement.
I have learned, to my dismay, that men, indeed, love their darkness -- their comfortable darkened churches, where "every man can do that which is right in his own eyes" and not be condemned, rebuked, or even "preached at". They can watch their dirty TV, listen to their worldly music, wear their immodest clothes, ornament their bodies with jewelry and fashionable costly array, read their dirty books, run with their unchristian friends, lay up treasure on earth, etc. etc. -- and never have their toes stepped on or their "eternal security" questioned.
Truly, the above Scripture covers not only the unchurched who won't come to Christ from the bars and night clubs, but even more the modern "Pharisees", who won't come to Gospel truth from their Laodician Sunday Clubs. The condemnation is the same! Nay, it is even much worse!
The person sitting in a church claiming to be a Christian with a Bible in hand is much more accountable than the harlot and publican who are not continually exposed to the Word of God. Yes! It will be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for lazy, unwilling, unfaithful churches who fall from being the bride of Christ to a two-timing harlot who won't repent when the truth is brought to her of her fallen condition!
THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION!! THIS!! That God has sent precious light into the world, in the person and teachings of his Son, Jesus Christ: and men snubbed their noses at it, ran from it; and when pressed with it, flew into a rage of hate and crucified it!! This is exactly the attitude of modern day Churchianity when presented with the glorious truths of Scripture that show us where we have slid, and how to get back to New Testament Apostolic Christianity! You can't pick and choose what light you feel comfortable with, and say, "I have received the light". You must receive all the light God gives through his Word.
NOTICE: It doesn't say, "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men had to struggle to live up to it consistently". It doesn't say that!! Because that is not the problem! We are not saved or condemned based on our ability to perform; but on our willingness to strive -- Faith that diligently seeks him, and works by love. You will be condemned for a stubborn unwilling heart that loved darkness more than light!!
You will be condemned if you love your fashionable clothes more than simple modesty; love your jewelry more than obeying the apostles; love supporting a church where you are free to do as you please more than one that teaches the whole counsel of God; if you love watching your TV more than a pure, safe home and testimony for your children; if you love to put up with a preacher who is leaning on the liberal side more than the one who is fighting for the right.
This is the condemnation! They love darkness rather than light because they want to do as they please, and "as they please" is not godly and right! Woe unto the man or woman who would rather have the praise of men, than go with Christ without the camp, bearing his reproach. Woe to the man who forsakes the cross for the crowd, and trades his eternal birthright for a mess of worldly pottage! The day will come when you find no place of repentance, though you seek it carefully with tears!
You say you believe in Jesus, and would never crucify him; but every time you reject the light of Jesus' teachings and stay in the worldly churchianity system, rather than "going with him without the camp, bearing his reproach"; you are definitely crucifying him! When you reject one aspect of Jesus' teachings, you have rejected him as Lord of your life! You kiss with the Judas kiss, and betray him, when you call yourself his disciple, but follow the ways of his enemies.
If you reserve the right to disobey the Word of God, then you are still lord of your life. If the matter was pressed hard enough, and you were publicly called down like the Pharisees were; you too would become so enraged you would cry, CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! This is exactly what happened almost 2000 years ago. This is why the apostles were also hated -- the disciple is not above his Lord!
Jesus demanded repentance and forsaking darkness for light, and still does. All the Old Testament prophets were slain and hated for this. They were never popular until years after their death. Jesus upbraids the Pharisees for the hypocrisy of building tombs to honor dead prophets, while hating and rejecting the living, preaching ones. This is exactly what is going on today. We honor the dead prophets, but don't obey them. Then we hate and reject the living men of God who are preaching the same message today!
If you end up in Hell, this will be the condemnation: "You loved darkness rather than light".
Preachers are commanded to "teach them to observe all things whatsoever" Jesus commanded. When you take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you enroll in this course -- you need to understand God expects the preacher to teach, and you to learn to observe "all things". In the New Testament, if you refused to obey the bishop who was teaching you truth from Jesus and his apostles, you were excommunicated and lost your hope of Heaven, unless you repented! Has this changed? If you are excommunicated from a Biblical church for Biblical reasons, you still lose your hope of Heaven. Even if you run to a liberal pastor who pats you on the back -- God is not mocked, nor will he allow his faithful preachers to be mocked!
The Calvinist would have us believe that faith is a gift that God gives to whoever he has unconditionally elected; but faith is the response to light (Romans 10:14-17), and light is given to every man (John 1:9; Titus 2:11-14; Romans 1:18,19). You either gratefully embrace the light, and thus receive more; or selfishly neglect and avoid it, so you can deceive yourself into thinking you aren't really accountable for it, and thus continue to love your darkness. Which ever you do by your own free choice will determine whether you are condemned or saved!
Has light come into your life? I have been hitting my head on the ceiling of different church groups since I was converted, and having to find a new group who was more Biblical. I want to learn and grow to the "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!" I want to be in that church without spot or wrinkle! That peculiar people zealous of good works! How large would our military be if anyone could leave boot camp, quit, and go home whenever they wanted to? The only one's who would stay in the crucible of training, to burn away their dross, would be those who really wanted to be a good soldier, and appreciated the training. This is how it is with Jesus and His church - you can leave the crucible of testing any time; and, therefore, ONLY those who REALLY want to be a soldier for Christ will remain and endure to the end.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
CHAPTER 16 - THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH
First, we need to think about what is being said. The reason so many people read their Bible, yet don't obey it; is because they don't think about what is being said. Charles Finney once said, "Though Bible in hand, the average Christian will rise no higher than the Christians around them". This is because we don't meditate in the Word. We must think our theology to its natural conclusion, to see if it is indeed Bible; or if it ends up in a contradiction of God's Word.
Let's look at what is being said in Romans 16:26: "The preaching of Jesus Christ to Jew and Gentile alike, and the glory of the Spirit New Birth of the New Covenant is now manifest by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to God's commandment; and made known to all nations for the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH". Paul says that the reason he is preaching the good news of Jesus to all nations is to produce the obedience of faith. Jesus died and rose again; the Gospel is preached; evangelists are sent out; and preachers preach everywhere all for this thing: THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH.
WHAT IS THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH? The obedience of faith is a certain kind of obedience. This attribute of true faith is very important for 3 reasons:
WHAT THE "OBEDIENCE OF FAITH" IS NOT
WHAT THE "OBEDIENCE OF FAITH" IS:
The obedience of faith is the natural result of putting our confidence in Jesus Christ as our Lord and King to save us from our rebellion and make us holy. It is the natural result of believing in the God-Man, Jesus, and his teachings; thus following him in obedience and seeking his way over ours.
It is the obedience of restored faith and trust in the one obeyed. A complete persuasion and assurance that Jesus is right on everything, is faithful, and is my only hope of knowing and doing right. Thus, I follow him, when I repent of my sinful, selfish way. It is that obedience that comes from total confidence in the one obeyed. The obedience of love, respect, admiration, fear and worship. Fear is indeed a part, because the Father judgeth, without respect of persons, according to every man's work. Therefore, we must pass the time of our sojouring here in fear ( I Peter 1:17).
FAITH WITHOUT OBEDIENCE IS DEAD. It is worthless to God and man. The whole value of faith to God is that it naturally produces loving obedience. If a man has faith in me as a leader and teacher, then I have a certain control over that person. If someone has faith in me, then I can lead them and change them with my teachings; but if they don't have faith in me, then I can't do anything for them. It is the same with God's government. His Kingdom is dependent upon his subjects having faith in him. If there is broken down faith, then there is disobedience. That is how Satan caused Eve to rebel against God -- he slandered God, and broke down her faith in him. That is how Satan still causes men to live in rebellion to God. Man's faith in God must be restored before man will repent and obey God. The whole value of faith to God is that it obeys out of the right motives!
OBEDIENCE NOT OF FAITH
As we said earlier, there is obedience that is not the obedience of faith. The Pharisees obeyed Moses' Law and certain traditions to be seen of men. Now, that is obedience, but not the obedience of faith. I can obey you, and not love you. I can obey you, and not have any confidence in you. Salvation is promised to men who have obedience from faith that works by love! Jesus can only help me if I put my faith and trust in him, and do what he says. If I don't put my confidence in him and obey him, then I will continue on in my rebellion to God until I pay for it in Hell's flames.
The keeping power of God is dependent on my faith -- we are kept by the power of God through faith. The only way for God to help me, apart from me exercising my free will in obedience to him, by faith in him, is to override my free will -- which he will not do. No one will be allowed into heaven without the obedience of faith -- or God would have to immediately take away their free will, and make them a puppet to keep sin out of heaven. There will be no rebels in heaven! Faith that doesn't have the power to produce obedience and righteousness is no faith at all -- It is dead faith, and worthless. It will not save you!
Why did God not say, "Obey Jesus, and thou shalt be saved"; instead of "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved"? Because, just as there is faith without obedience (dead profession), there is also obedience without faith. In many places God does simply say "Obey Jesus"; but it must be the obedience of faith (doing my best in hopes of God's mercy), or it is merely self trust in thinking I'm can earn my own well being in heaven, by self atonement, as a debt God owes.
The Jesus of the Bible is to be our object of faith: not the Roman Catholic Pope or church; a famous preacher; pastor, etc. There are those who follow the Catholic teachings with the obedience of faith -- their faith has obedience; and their obedience is from faith; but with the wrong object.
The Jesus of the Bible has a certain character, certain morals, certain teachings, a definite will, definite goals, etc. There are many "Jesus-s" being propagated today (Just as Jesus said there would be); who are not the Jesus of the Bible (2 Cor. 11:4). The Jesus of Christian Rock has different teachings than the Jesus of the Bible, therefore, he is a false Jesus. The Jesus of the Catholic Church, and many other churches and cults have different teachings than the Jesus of the Bible; therefore they are false also. I MUST HAVE THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH IN THE JESUS OF THE BIBLE.
Having faith in Jesus is having faith in his teachings, character, and ways. If men make up a new Jesus that is more pleasing to the flesh; having faith in this new version will not save!
It is interesting how Paul sums up his ministry of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles as, "making them obedient" (Romans 15:18). It is
interesting how Peter speaks of the Gospel message as a "holy commandment" and "the way of righteousness" (2 Peter 2:21). In 2 Thess. 1:8 we see Jesus coming to take vengeance on those who "obey not the Gospel". Hebrews 5:9 tells us that salvation is only for those who "obey Jesus".
We could go on and on with verse after verse; but to what avail? Those who have repentant hearts would never think of giving Jesus a disobedient faith -- It is unrepentant heretics that we have to preach this to. May God help you to have the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH IN THE JESUS OF THE BIBLE!
CHAPTER 17 - THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence <biazo>, and the violent <biastes> take it by force." Matt. 11:12
"The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth <biazo> into it." Luke 16:16
Luke’s parallel passage says, "Presseth into it", which can also be translated, "Entereth Violently".
“Every man” refers to the multitudes whom the Scribes and Pharisees considered “cursed” and “unlearned”; but they were the ones obtaining the kingdom - pressing in before the others with a zeal for repentance and reconciliation to God the others thought was beneath them. John’s preaching had stirred this zeal in those who knew themselves to be sinners and in need of The Great Physician.
This may be the most important chapter for you to understand, and apply. I would like to share with you the thoughts of many learned men, including early church writers, on this subject of "the violent take it by force".
The Pulpit Commentary says on Matt. 11:12, “Suffereth Violence: In Luke it is middle “Every man entereth violently into it;” and though it is certainly passive here, St. Luke’s phrase compels us to understand the reason of the violence to be entrance into the kingdom. The kingdom is not ill treated, but it is as it were taken by storm…Our Lord is describing the energy with which some souls are pressing in, and urging the need of such energy if salvation is to be obtained.”
I think, verily, that I also know the meaning of this. We could write volumes, and preach many sermons on the names of those men who stood and kept people from entering in: Pride, false security, fear, flesh, busy-ness, sin, relatives, bias, world, crowd, books, TV, bitterness, unforgiveness, unwilling heart, etc. etc. They are still standing at the door to keep you from entering heaven. You must be the "violent, who take it by force", if you will be saved at all.
I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point! You must have a violent desire; a violent faith; and violent striving to get on the narrow road, and stay on the narrow road. It takes this to contend for the faith. It takes this to witness! It takes this to raise godly children in a cursed world.
Noah had a violent habit of "moving with fear" and "obeying God" by faith. That is how he "found grace in the eyes of the Lord", while EVERYBODY else didn't -- just those with Noah! He didn't start this habit of faith when God spoke to him. It was because of this habit and practice that He "found grace" and God spoke to him. Abraham developed a violent faith that was willing to offer his own son in obedience to God! Moses had a violent, earnest faith, that chose to suffer with God's people; rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Look at Rahab's violent faith! This is the type of faith that we must have to be saved! This is the type of faith that it takes to keep our love from waxing cold.
I want you to notice this faith was essential for the Old Testament prophets to obey God:
Now, I want you to see something that I think is very sacred:
I stand in awe and respect when I think of Jesus setting his face, like a flint, toward Jerusalem -- toward his betrayal; Gethsemane; the unjust trial; mocking; spitting; buffeting; rejection; scourging; nakedness; shame; a crown of thorns; the cross....and ultimately "the cup" he must drink for all mankind! Jesus had to have violent determination! Violent love! Violent obedience to his Father! He set the example for us to follow. He overcame through "strong crying and tears" (Heb. 5:7); through sweating "great drops of blood"; and "laying down his life"!
Away with Antinomian Hobo Christianity! Away with Calvinistic puppetry! Away with the lies of unconditional security! "Ye Shall Not Surely Die" is the lie of the serpent! THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY HIS FAITH! Listen to Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness!" Hallelujah! Glory to God! He said that with a memory creased by stonings, shipwreck, rods, stripes, imprisonments, beatings, long night sermons, warning with tears, a night and a day in the deep, perils of robbers, perils of false brethren, and the care of all the churches!
THE KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE PORTION OF THE VIOLENT. THOSE WHO WILL NOT EXERCISE A VIOLENT FAITH, WILL NOT OBTAIN ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM!