Monday, October 1, 2007

Unique Features of Christianity

( From "The Believer's Life" by: Dr. Arthur T. Pierson, circa 1905)

We now turn, to call attention to some of the unique features of the whole Christian system, which distinguish it not only as such, but differentiate it from all other so-called systems of religious faith.

The Gospel represents God as -1. Seeking men. 2. Reconciling men. 3. Loving men. 4. Saving men.

That is to say, all the steps in the salvation are taken by God, first of all. The utmost that man could do was to respond to divine approaches. No other religion has ever conceived of God as taking the initial steps. Instead of God seeking man, man has been taught to seek God, often very vaguely and ineffectually striving to placate an offended Deity by various offerings, sacrifices, self-denials, pilgrimages, and penances.

1. The Gospel alone represents God as seeking man, without any regard to man's moral condition or spiritual alienation; and, in fact, as seeking man not when in his best condition, but when in his worst state of spiritual want and woe. "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost."

2. God is represented as reconciling man to Himself, and it is noticeable that, although in many of our hymns, and prayers, and addresses we refer to God as being reconciled, the Bible never makes this statement. It rather represents God as never having been alienated. The alienation has been solely on the side of man. There has been no change in the attitude of God - the same God of holiness, and righteousness, love, compassion; man wandering from Him; but God yearning over man in all his wanderings, as illus-rated in the latter part of Luke 15, - the story of the "Prodigal Son."This is a very important distinction, and derives its importance from the fact that it ut-terly delivers us from all thought of having to do anything to bring God into a favor-able attitude toward us, - a reconciled position. If He has never been alienated from man, then there is nothing for man to do but for him to turn toward God, and he will find God's face already and always toward him.

3. God is represented as loving man. This is a new conception, not found in any heathen philosophy. Love is of two sorts - the love of complacence, which depends upon attract-ive qualities in the object; and the love of benevolence, which depends solely upon the loving nature of him that loves, and has therefore no references whatever to attractive qualities in the object, but is rather inspired to intensity activity by the determination to develop in the most unlovely that which shall prove to be lovable. God's love to man is not in consequence of man's virtues, but rather in spite of his vices, seeking to meet his awful destitution, and supply his desperate need. It is the love of One who, while He hates the sin, loves the sinner. This again is a wholly unique feature of the Christian system.

4. God is represented as saving man, not primarily with man's co-operation, but solely by His own blessed activity and grace. This is not a salvation that man secures by any-thing that he does. It is a gift, and all he can do is to accept what is freely offered by God to all, irrespectively of their deserts, and as freely offered to the worst as to the best.

These are the four great unique features of the Christian system, but others almost as unique are the natural outcome and concomitants of these. For instance, what is called by Isaiah "Abundant Pardon" - pardon so rich and free and inexhaustible in its patience, that it is never weary of forgiving, and which demands nothing on the part of the recip-ient but penitence. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7). It is a pardon that not only forgives, but cancels the debt and even destroys its record, so that the sins and iniquities forgiven are remembered no more.

There is also included justification without works, a new doctrine, unknown to any other system. This justification is more than pardon. It implies absolute reinstatement in the favor of God, as though one had never sinned; and the marvel is not only that this justi-fication is without works, but it is forfeited by all attempts to obtain it on the ground of personal merit.


Sanctification also is included, and again without works. It is dependent upon nothing that the sinner does. He must simply entrust himself to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and be content to have God in him meet and overcome foes with which he is un-able to cope.Scarcely less wonderful is it that all these divine mysteries, so profound and so unspeak-able, are yet in practicable application so simple that they are not beyond the reach of the humblest little child. All that are capable of sinning, that have enough intellect, and intelligence, and will to be responsible for action, are equally capable of faith; so that, while the Bible is full of grandeur and ineffable sublimity, so that even the angels them-selves vainly desire to look into and penetrate the mysteries of God, there are no mysteries in duty.

Salvation is thus put within reach of every sinner. All this constrains us to exclaim, with the Apostle Paul: " For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or, being His counselor, hath taught Him?" "For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever" - "of Him," as a source; "through Him," as a channel; "to Him," as the final ocean into which all empties. God is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the whole method of salvation. There is no room either for human works or for human glory, no disputing or dividing the honor with God, no room for boasting. We can only glorify the infinite grace that saves.

[...I'd like to include a portion of a previous chapter from Dr. Pierson's book as it relates to the subjects at hand. So here we go... ]


Turn now to God's provision for man's sinful and lost condition. "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." God made provision not only for sins, but for sin. Reflect a moment upon the doctrine of Justification (Romans 3: 9 - 31).

This grand passage of scripture is the only one in which that whole truth is presented, and a wonderful disclosure it is. Paul shows that:

(1) condemnation is universal, over both Jew and Gentile, so that there is no hope of self-justification, for how can any condemned transgressor justify himself? Then he shows:

(2) that by the Law can no flesh be justified, for the Law only brings the consciousness of transgression.

(3) Further (verse 21), that there is revealed a righteousness apart from the Law;

(4) (verse 22) that righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ - offered to all and to be put on, as a garment, by all believers;

(5) (verse 24) that Justification is presented as free - all of His grace, through the Redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

(6) (verse 25) That it is through the Blood, the basis of propitiation, which includes the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God.

(7) Last of all, that this Justification does not complicate or implicate God with evil. He remains righteous, while imparting righteous-ness to the believer. Is not that a wonderful plan of salvation? The substitution of an innocent Victim for the sinner is the basis of Justification by Faith.

Some say, "Let us hear no more of the blood!" But if you take away the blood, you take away the foundation of all else. The crimson of man's sin and the crimson of Atoning blood color and characterize every page of the Bible. One subject we cannot avoid here, thought it is very difficult, perplexing, and mysterious - the subject of Election. "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world. ...Having predestined us unto the adoption of children" (Ephesians 1: 4, 5).

No doubt Election is taught in Scripture. Three words used in Ephesians - "chosen," "predestinated," "before-ordained." Chosen refers to the eternal past; Predestination to the eternal future, looking to the final destiny; fore-ordination links these together, and shows the co-ordination of God's will and man's will in the actual process of Redemption. God's plan for my life, and the life actually lived, exactly match each other (chapter 2:10). The danger is of perverting Election into Fatalism, which destroys the freedom of man's choice; and, with that, man's accountability and responsibility.We should deal carefully with anything taught in the Word of God, accepting the mystery where it is inexplicable. "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God." It would be remarkable if, in this Book, there were no thoughts above our own.

This doctrine of Election is rather for the believer than for the unbeliever, and what was a stumbling-stone to the latter often becomes a stepping-stone to the former. Election, taught in the Word, must be consistent both with the sovereign will of God and the freedom of man; and if we cannot reconcile these two, it is because the subject is so infinitely lifted up above us. Man is free. There are in your heart and mine seven thunders that utter their voices, such as:

"I am,"

"I think,"

"I reason,"

"I love,"

"I judge,"

"I choose,"

"I act."

And all these voices unite in affirming "I am responsible." Moreover, God Himself directly appeals to choice: He says, "Why will ye die?" (Ezek. 53: 31).

As the Apocalypse closes, we read: "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." THUS THE LAST GREAT INVITATION IN GOD'S BOOK IS AN APPEALTO THE WILL. But - most starling of all - in Christ's lament over Jerusalem: "How often WOULD I have gathered thy children, even as a hen gathereth her chickens un-der her wings, and YE would not."

The yearning of God and the stubborn refusal of man are here put in clear antagonism. Often, in the same scripture, both sides are presented. The experience of saints vindicatesthe doctrine of Election. Saul of Tarsus came to a knowledge of God only when met in the way by the risen Lord Jesus when driving forward in a mad career of persecution: what wonder he exalts electing grace, for where would he have been but for that grace!

Tens of thousands of sinners evidently come to a knowledge of God only by the sovereign grace that seeks them out, and saves them. As to the practical aspect of Election, a distinguished preacher has appropriately said, that from a practical point of view "the elect are whosoever will, and the non-elect are the whosoever won't." The consistent view presented in the Word of God, throughout, is this: God has a plan born in His own heart, borne out by His own providence and grace. And in our salvat-ion, all from first to last is to be traced to Him. The plan is perfect and all-embracing. It takes in my repentance, faith, justification, sanctification, glorification.

He begins the work without my knowledge and co-operation; He carries it on with my knowledge and co-operation. I come to see His plan, to recognize its perfect beauty and benev-olence; I, by faith, come into that plan!


...And with that I'm going to close this message!

Hopefully, you have seen some new insights into some of the most challenging, deep things of God. It is not something that can be quickly understood in all of its complex aspects with a single, quick glance. Most Christians go to their graves with little or no accurate understanding of the Election and Predestination of God. I know I've learned a few things from reading Dr. Pierson's material and will probably post more segments from his book in future messages. In the meanwhile, be blessed in the Lord and in the power of His might!



The "Greatest" Sin...

Have you ever wondered what the greatest sin a person can commit might be? We all have
probably had this thought one time or another. Is it drunkenness, a sexual sin, or maybe
murder? Some of God's greatest men in the Bible were guilty of these, yet still found forgive-
ness, though they still had to suffer the consequences of their actions. In the following mess-
age you will learn what God considers to be the greatest sin we can commit. It is a sin that will
keep one from going to heaven, it is a sin that will cause one to suffer God's indignation and
wrath. Let's find out more...

(From the book: LIGHT ON THE WAY, by J. Wilbur Chapman D.D. circa 1915,)

What is the greatest sin in the world? It is not intemperance; it is not lust; it is not
dishonesty; it is not a thousand other things which may be mentioned. It is unbelief.

I know it, because He said Himself that the Spirit was to come to "reprove the world of
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement," and then He said, "Of sin, because they
believe not on me." (John 16: 8 - 9). Unbelief makes God a liar. He has stated certain
great truths in the Bible regarding the past, present, and future life of the individual.
He has told us about sin, and its remedy; about His Son, and His love. Faith is giving
assent to all He has stated. Unbelief is the rejection of His statements, and counting
them either as if they were not worthy of credence, or not of sufficient importance to
occupy our time or thought.

Unbelief is a blow at God's Word. Here great principles are stated, marvellous promises
made, precious truths offered for the testing. Unbelief is indifference, a sneer, a contept-
uous treatment of God's message. In other words, unbelief is rejection. But the Bible is
the standard of judgement, and the Book we reject, whatever may be the spirit of our re-
jection, will one day rise to judge us.

Unbelief is an arraignment of Jesus Christ, and an announcement, either by word, or
act, or thought, that the story of the prophets, the account of the journey of the wise men
to the star-marked cradle, of His incomparable youth, as well as the story of His great life
and the record of His death and resurrction, are not true, or, at least, are not worth our
thought. Unbelief is something more: it is declining to believe in the object of His life and
the reason of His death - refusing to believe in the Lord Himself. When the day of judge-
ment dawns, the question of questions will be, not "Were you drunken, or impure?" but,
"What did you do with Jesus?" And your answer to this question will determine your
position before God there as your relation to Him in this life determined it here.


That was one, short, but sobbering message. God tells us in the Bible that those who reject Him
will be "without excuse." The parable of the man who went to a marriage celebration in an un-
prepared fashion (without the customary wedding garment), was "speachless" when confronted
by the groom. This is only one of many references to people that wait too late to respond
to God's invitation to come to Him for salvation. I love the two scriptures: John 10:9 and
Revelation 22:17. If you want to know the heart of God, read these two verses in a King James version of the Bible.

(Regardless of what you've heard about Jesus, these verses will touch your heart and clear up any misconceptions you may have about the true nature of God, and how He feels about you.)



Tuesday, September 25, 2007


(From the book: "Holiness Manual" by George D. Watson, D.D. 1882)

We are living in a state of probation. It does not end until we die, or Christ calls us up. If we were free from danger, we would not be probabtioners. The idea of trial involves danger. The problem of salvation is to make us as secure as possible with the facts of probabtion. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Matt. vi, 13.

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt. xxvi, 41.

We must not confound temptation with sin; but while temptation is not sin, we are to avoid the causes of temptation. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1st Cor. x,13.

Many ask, How can a pure Christian be tempted to sin? How could a pure Adam and a pure Saviour be tempted? Angels had temptations peculiar to their nature. We have such as belongs to man's nature. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the firey trial which is to try you, as through some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad with exceeding joy." 1st Peter iv.12,13.

Temptation may appeal to the body or the mind or the spirit. If we yeild to those of the body, we become sensual; to those of the mind, we become worldly; to those of the spirit, we become devilish. According to this text, some trials may be so severe as to be like arrows of fire shot in the soul; yet think it not strange. "For in that He Himself hath suffered, He is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb. ii, 18.

The temptations of Jesus were not imaginary, but real, so distressing Him as to cause great suffering. So are the sanctified sometimes tried. "For we have not a high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Heb. iv, 15.

Christ was tempted in His physical, His intellectual, and His spiritual being in "every point," yet without sin. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God can not be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man; but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James i, 13 - 15.

When the heart is impure, it will be often tempted from itself; its own evil promptings will often lead it to "bring forth actual sin" which, if not repented of, will bring forth eternal death. Whereare the dangers that beset a beliver? Those that lie in the external world, those that appeal to the five senses, those that appeal to the mind, they are one class; another class lurk within - an unsoundness at the center; an inward aptitude for unholy things. Those dangers the lie within a man are greater than those that lie without. A seed of sin within a soul is like a beatiful palace with a keg of gun-powder concealed within it - it may be the house will never burn down, but it wouldbe a great deal safer with the gun-powder removed. A seed of sin in the soul is like a keg of powderin the closet, and the devil shooting lightening all around you.


1. Satan endeavors to reach a pure heart through the pressing wants of the body, or through wrong suggestions to the mind.

2. Impure suggestions dwelt upon will soon corrupt the heart.

3. The evil one may shoot his wrong suggestions into the mind, and then accuse the saint of havingforfeited his trust in the cleansing blood.

4. The sanctified may yeild to temptation and sin just as the holy Eve did.

5. If any should unwittingly yeild to evil, let him fly to Jesus for the perfect application of his blood.

We must stay in the cleansing stream.

Stan's Comments:

Well, that was a good word! The Bible tells us that we are not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good. We can only do this when we are walking "in the Spirit" and not the flesh. But we're not yet perfect or perfected. We still live in this body of flesh and it does not live by God's law.The warfare between our flesh and spirit-man will continue as long as we're living and breathing in this present world. And it's a dark world. It may be dark, but God's Word is a lamp unto our feet when we lean not on our own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all our ways!

Hopefully, you've found something in this little message that can be used against the wicked one when he comes to assault your soul. Remember, when temptation seems overwhelming, God has said He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our abiliy to resist, and that He will always make a way ofescape. And He'll do His part.

The question comes down to whether we will do ours. And we will have failures. When you fail, just remind yourself that He has said: "I will never leave you, or forsake you." So, run into His arms and ask for forgiveness. He will never deny the honest, repenting heart!!!



Sunday, September 16, 2007

Carnality: The Christian "Killer"


Carnality. Even the word sounds like a disease. Actually it describes a condition. A spiritual condition that is typical of those new to the world of Christianity and who as a result do not possess the higher wisdom of the more advanced. Unfortunately, things are much the same as they were in the day of the Apostle Paul. Ignorance of God’s Word is the norm among Christians, for few followers are devoted to personal bible study. Our lives reflect it. Our witness to the lost is hindered. We have become members of the apostate church and are so ignorant, - we don’t even know it!

Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians…

1st Corinthians 3: 1 – 4 (KJV)

1) And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2) I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3) For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

It’s impossible to teach deep spiritual truths to people who do not have the spiritual “fortitude” to digest it. That’s the condition of most Christians today. They can probably quote John 3:16, but ask them to explain the biblical basis for why they believe this or that and they’re suddenly out of their comfort zone.

Another sign of a carnal believer is their conversation. I know people who have been Christians for decades that rarely, - if ever, mention anything of a Christian nature in conversation. On the other hand, you can’t help but hear the tale-tale signs that you’re in the presence of on-fire, children of God who read their bibles daily. Their conversation is “peppered” with the seasoning of the Spirit of God. Their views are God’s views when it comes to the issues of the day. Their conversation often turns spiritual when talking to fellow Christians, and when they aren’t, they frequently drop “clues” indicating the direction of their internal moral compass even when they’re not aware it.

Carnal minded Christians are devoid of the benefits spiritual knowledge brings. They worry as much, sometimes even more than unbelievers do. The abiding peace that Christ promised is missing from their lives. In their ignorance, they continually displease God by their lack of faith because their minds are focused on earthly (decaying and dying) concerns.

Romans 8: 5 – 8 (KJV)

5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Galatians 6: 7 – 8 (KJV)
7) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap.
8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Let’s return to Romans 8:5: “…they mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the Spirit.” Tie that verse in with Galatians 6:8: “…but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” If our minds stay on spiritual things, God promises we will reap “life everlasting.” That sounds like the sublime experiences of those that have found “good pasture.”

David was “a man after God’s own heart.” And though he missed the mark on many occasions due to his choices (haven’t we all), he definitely had tranquil times when his mind was on spiritual things. Let’s look at one example…

Psalm 23 (KJV)

1) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters.
3) He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Those are not the experiences of a carnal Christian. Psalm 37:37 says: “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” Returning to Romans 8:6: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

If your spirit man is hungry, - FEED him! Feed him the Word of God and reap the blessings and benefits Christ provides at His table. Are you anemic? Begin taking a daily ration of “spiritual vitamins.” Daily doses of God’s Word puts the power of God’s Word inside you. That’s where He does His work.

Carnality creeps into our lives when we neglect the Word of God. Uncommitted Christians often care more about the opinions of others than they do of what God thinks about them. And He always ties it back to His Word. Let’s take a look…

John 5: 39 – 47 (KJV)

39) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
41) I receive not honour from men.
42) But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
43) I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
44) How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
45) Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46) For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me.
47) But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

What an indictment! Notice that Jesus is implying that our understanding is based upon our knowledge of His written Word. Even then, prior to the New Testament, it was the case. He told the Jews that if they truly believed the words Moses had written, then they would believe Him. Think about it, all satan has to do to trip us up is get us so busy with the daily details of this temporary life that we neglect God’s Word and we fall into our natural, carnal state. That’s where we live today. That’s why our churches are so confused. That’s why our leaders are so shallow, that we hear of one scandal after another. Some of the most disgusting sex sins we hear of today are committed by men that are supposed to be pastors! And of course, - the media is all over it.

We turn on Christian television, hoping to hear something that edifies, and all we hear in what I call “Prosperity Heresy.” The message is that “God wants you to be rich!” Preachers have learned the formula for building “Mega-Churches” and they’re cranking the handle of the “money machine” for all they’re worth! Let’s see what Peter said about the times in which we find ourselves…

2nd Peter 2: 1 – 3 (KJV)

1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2) And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

And John was told by Jesus…

Revelation 3: 14 – 19 (KJV)

14) And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold not hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18) I consoul thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thy eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.
19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.


There we have it. We know what carnality is, what causes it, and what to do about it when we find we’re guilty of it. God tells us in one place that judgment begins at the house of God, so let’s take personal inventory and if we find ourselves lacking take appropriate action. I cannot say it better than Jesus did…

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”



Prosperity Heresy and Mercenary "Ministers"


Nearly the whole world has seen the big preachers and television evangelists in recent years as Christian Television Networks continue to grow in number and coverage with the increasing popularity of cable and satellite technology. We have watched the telethons and listened to the product pitches that have become a staple of the Christian media machine. But what, if anything does the bible have to say about the methods used and the promises that are made to raise the tremendous cash flows required to pay for the expensive programming, amusement parks, and building projects? Is the true motive an effort to further the kingdom of God, or to bring in donations at any cost? Let’s see if we can discern the general tone of the mind of Christ regarding what we see and hear today…

1st Timothy 3: 1 – 2, 5 (AMP)

1) But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].

2) For people will be lovers of self and (utterly) self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth…

5) For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].

1st Timothy 6: 3 – 5 (AMP)

3) But if anyone teaches otherwise and does not assent to the sound and wholesome messages of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and the teaching which is in agreement with godliness (piety toward God),

4) He is puffed up with pride and stupefied with conceit, [although he is] woefully ignorant. He has a morbid fondness for controversy…

5)…among men who are corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, who imagine that godliness or righteousness is a source of profit [a moneymaking business, a means of livelihood]. From such withdraw.

2nd Timothy 4: 3 – 4 (AMP)

3) For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,

4) And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.

Comments on: 1st Timothy 3: 1 – 2, 5 (Text Above)

Talk about a relevant word for this generation, – it doesn’t get any more current than this! Paul tells the young preacher Timothy that times will come that will be dangerous for those who choose to follow Christ, for those who teach the religion of that day will be corrupt and utterly self-centered in their pursuit of wealth. The implication is that many of them will be “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who will actually deny the very truths they profess to embrace. And he says for us to turn away from these types of teachers.

"...woefully ignorant, bereft of the truth, totally corrupt" (1st Timothy 6: 3 – 5)

If anyone teaches a doctrine that doesn’t line up with the Word of God, with the general character of Jesus, they are full of pride and conceit and woefully ignorant of truth. They imagine the gospel is to be used for a source of profit and have no true regard or concern for the welfare of God’s people. Again, we are told to turn away.

"And will chose teachers to foster the errors they embrace" (2nd Timothy 4: 3 – 4)

Paul points to a time when people will actually seek those who will tell them what they want to hear, rather than those who would teach them the truth. We are not completely innocent victims of the false teachers of this age. After all, if we were more biblically literate we would readily recognize the errors being taught. Unfortunately, many Christians today have bought into the concept that God’s just a big smiling genie in the sky who promises to multiply our money and wants us all to be rich enough to make others envious of our lifestyles and want to learn how they can prosper in like fashion.

Paul states that this is nothing more than myths and man-made fictions. While this does totally fly in the face of what some of the big name preachers will tell you, I remind that it is the Apostle Paul himself who prophesied that these days would come. (…I think his credentials speak for themselves!)

Let's look into the mind and thoughts of Peter as well...

2nd Peter 2: 1 – 4, & 9 (KJV)

1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2) And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

3) And through covetousness shall with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

4) For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

5) And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

9) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished…

Peter looks into the future and states that because of the damnable heresies these false teachers teach, the world will speak evil of the way of truth. Isn’t it ironic that those who profess to represent God are themselves the very cause of people speaking against Him and His Word? These are preachers and teachers that have been seduced by the prince of darkness and have turned on the very Savior they claim to represent. They’ve “gone the way of Balaam and Judas who valued money more than their Master!

2nd Peter 2: 14 – 15, 18 - 22 (KJV)

14) Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

15) Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness…

18) For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

Notice that it’s through appealing to the lusts of our flesh that they entice us to follow them. Many promises have been made or implied to people by these false teachers that if you will “sow a financial seed” God will send you a hundred-fold increase. This is NOT the motive God looks for in those who give into the kingdom of God. He never blesses those who give to get!

19) While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage.

I’ve been approached by people that told me they had sacrificially given into a church we attended, but were still waiting over a year later for the fulfillment of their “harvest” to come to them. These folks were desperate. I don’t know how much money they had donated, but it was apparently more than they could afford. The pastor had been moving into the popular “Prosperity” message more and more, and though they didn’t know it, this had been quite unsettling to me. There wasn’t much I could think of to say to comfort them. I believe in tithing, and giving as the Lord impresses us to do. But I wasn’t about to start quoting the popular scriptures frequently used to “sweet-talk” the bride of Christ out of her livelihood. All I could do was try and encourage them to keep following God and to stay sensitive to His Holy Spirit.

20) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21) For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

22) But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Though many believe the doctrine commonly called: “Once saved, …always saved,” the truth is there IS one with the power to deceive us and cause us to turn from the right path, one that can cause us to follow the path that leads to the day of judgment and destruction. WHO is this powerful, sinister force? It’s us. We’re the enemy.

Look back at chapter 2 verse 1:

1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that BOUGHT them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

He BOUGHT them! They were bought and paid for! They were saved! …Then something happened. They turned away. They sold out! Their names were eventually “blotted out” of the Lamb’s Book of Life. How can I be so certain? Look at verse 3…

3) “…and their DAMNATION slumbereth not.”

That’s not “doctrine” folks, that’s bible. If it doesn’t “fit” your theology, you need to adjust your theology!

There are many scriptures that deal with false teachers and heretics, but let’s look at one more example, one more witness, one final spokesman for the Holy Spirit before closing this subject…

Titus 1: 9 – 16 (KJV)

9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

10) For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

11) Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

12) One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

13) This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

14) Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

15) Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

16) They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Titus 2: 1, 7 – 8, 11 – 13 (AMP)

1) But [as for] you, teach what is fitting and becoming to sound (wholesome) doctrine [the character and right living that identify true Christians] 7) And show your own self in all respects to be a pattern and a model of good deeds and works, teaching what is unadulterated, showing gravity [having the strictest regard for truth and purity of motive], with dignity and seriousness.
8) And let your instruction be sound and fit and wise and wholesome, vigorous and irrefutable and above censure, so that the opponent may be put to shame, finding nothing discrediting or evil to say about us.

11) For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.

12) It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world,

13) Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One)...

Those that teach God’s people and infer His primary interest is that they prosper and gain material possessions in this life should prayerfully consider the following verses...

Ephesians 4: 19 – 25 (AMP)

19) In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand].

20) But you did not so learn Christ!

21) Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him].

22) Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;

23) And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],

24) And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.

25) Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. [Zech. 8:16.]


Thank God for the many positive programs, sermons, and outreaches on Christian television. God still has to work through imperfect vessels as He prepares for the return of His blessed Son. In the meanwhile, let us be wiser than ever before about what we allow into our “eye gates” and “ear gates”. If we study the word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we listen to those who claim to speak on His behalf, He will lead us into all truth if we’re sensitive enough to listen and obey.



Suffering: What the Word Says

SUFFERING (In the Christian context) : To be abused for Christ’s sake.

Of the all the subjects covered by the Word of God, the subject of suffering is one of the most neglected by preachers, evangelists, and teachers. No one likes to think about the possibility of having to suffer or face persecution for their faith, but many have and continue to do so around the world. And this should come as no surprise, for God’s dealt at length with the subject and it can be found in some form in nearly every book of the bible. Suffering for Christ’s sake is so much a part of God’s will for believers, that He admonishes us to bear it patiently and to look ahead (just as Christ did) to our future reward.

As always, we at feel a calling to bring forth the topics the church needs to hear, even if it is a word she may not want to hear. For those who have experienced suffering for the cause of Christ firsthand, we pray this unit will minister to your spirit and draw you into ever increasing intimacy with the One Who came to suffer so unjustly for us all. Amen.

Matthew 26: 38 – 39, 42 - 44 (KJV)

38) Then He saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.

39) And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.

42) He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.

43) And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

44) And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

...And so begins the loneliest journey ever made. It is quite impossible for anyone to adequately comprehend what was facing Jesus Christ our Lord. He was about to take on the guilt for personally committing every filthy, defiling, and bloody sin of the human race. – And you think you’ve felt loneliness! Even He, as God in human form, felt the immense pressure of such an act. The man in Him cried out for mercy. If there could be ANY OTHER WAY Father, - let it happen!

The silence from heaven was deafening. Nothing. No compromise would be offered. And so the innocent became the guilty. - For you. - For me. - For “whosoever will.”

Thank you Lord Jesus!

1st Peter 5: 6 – 11 (KJV)
6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exhalt you in due time:

7) Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.

8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

9) Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

11) To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Here we see that nothing comes our way that escapes the knowledge of God. So if He allows us to suffer, it has a higher purpose. It isn’t because He’s quit loving us. He cares for us more than we understand. We’re told to be sober and vigilant because we have an adversary that wishes to harm us. He’s the one behind the persecution. Yet God allows it. Why? Because He’s called us unto His eternal glory. What does that mean?

1st Peter 4: 12 – 14 (KJV)

12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14) If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.

There will be no higher honor in heaven than to be known for having suffered for Christ’s name on earth and to have successfully overcome. God loves us enough that He will not remove that opportunity for our future and eternal honor when it comes our way. The fact is that it is worth whatever it costs us now. And truly loving God enough to live for Him will cost us something. Be it family, friends, or fortune. Just remember what Jesus said in the book of Mark:

Mark 8: 34 – 37 (KJV)

34) And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

35) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

36) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

37) Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus never minced words, did He? Unfortunately, we can’t make the same claim.
Church has sure come along way. It’s casual, It’s compromised, It’s carnal. Not much danger of hearing a sermon on the hardships of taking up your cross and following Christ. Not today. Why we wouldn’t want to scare off the ones we’re trying to induce to come in, would we? Cheap grace, that’s all folks want. Just some “warm fuzzies” to make them feel good and a fire escape from hell. I fear that if many people who claim to be saved today were to encounter real suffering for the name of Christ, they wouldn’t last too long. I can hear it now: “Sorry, I didn’t sign on for this! Hey, you never said anything about persecution, - I’m outta here, Dude!

And I can almost imagine a voice from above saying, - “Good riddance!”

Yeah, I thought that line would surprise you. Too harsh? Not really. Not when you consider the price that was paid for our salvation. We owe everything to Jesus, and if our association with Him ends up costing us something along the way, - so be it. His association with us cost Him, - everything! - Selah, (think about it).

Hebrews 12: 2 – 4 (Amp)

2) Looking Jesus, Who is the Leader and Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and also its Finisher [bring to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of God. [Ps. 110:1].

3) Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

4) You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.

Isaiah 53 (KJV)

1) Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

2) For he shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.

3) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we his as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

4) Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.

6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7) He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.

8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off from out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people He was stricken.

9) And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.

10) Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

11) He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.

12) Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

...What an AWESOME God we serve!!! Angels bow before Him. Heaven and earth adore Him. What an AWESOME God we serve!!!

As we see, Jesus suffered more than we can ever expect to. Still, He has promised rewards to those who’s lives lead them down the path of suffering for His sake.

Matthew 5: 10 – 12 (KJV)

10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

13) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Hebrews 13: 3, 12 – 13 (Amp)

3) Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are ill-treated, since you also are liable to bodily sufferings.

12) Therefore Jesus also suffered and died outside the [city’s] gate in order that He might purify and consecrate the people through [the shedding of] His own blood and set them apart as holy [for God].

14) Let us then go forth [from all that would prevent us] to Him outside the camp [at Calvary], bearing the contempt and abuse and shame with Him. [Lev. 16:27.]

The Holy Spirit also constantly monitors the treatment of God’s children, and gives them consolation, comfort, and assurance they are indeed the children of God:

Romans 8: 16 –18 (KJV)

16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

...And that brings us back to the glory again! God irrefutably ties our suffering here to our glory there! With all the suffering God’s people have gone through, through the ages, no wonder heaven’s such a glorious place! There you have it. If you find yourself in the midst of persecution or if you suffer for your Christian commitment take heart oh child of God! Just remember, it truly IS an honor to be counted worthy to suffer on His account!
Not only that, but you’re in some extremely good company...

Acts 5: 40 – 42 (KJV)

40) And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

One final verse comes to mind that reveals God has higher purposes than we see and/or understand here on earth. Listen to what He told Pharaoh when he refused to obey Moses...

Romans 9 : 17 (KJV)

17) ...Even for this purpose have I raised you up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

May we as Christians be found worthy of accomplishing God’s highest purposes for our brief time on earth!

...Well, - “GLORY!!!”