INCOMPARABLE

December 5, 2017

INCOMPARABLE GAIN

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7).

As far as our Father is concerned, the early and middle years of the Christian life have to do primarily with our spiritual development. Maturity must underlie all abiding effectiveness. Most of our service during this time is learning how not to do it.

“Incalculable harm has been done to the deeper spirituality of the Church, by the idea that when once we are saved the using of the gifts in His service follows as a matter of course. No; for this there is indeed needed very special grace. And the way in which the grace comes is again that of sacrifice and surrender. We must see how all our gifts and powers are, even though we be children of God, still defiled by sin, and under the power of the old nature. We must feel that we cannot at once proceed to use them for God’s glory. We must first lay them at Christ’s feet, to be accepted and cleansed by Him.

We must feel ourselves utterly powerless to use them aright. We must see that they are most dangerous to us, because through them the flesh, the old nature, will so easily exert its power. In this conviction we must part with them, giving them entirely to the Lord. When He has accepted them, and set His stamp upon them, we receive them back, to hold them as His property, to wait on Him for the grace to daily use them aright, and to have them act only under His influence.

Above all the difficulty which Paul had to meet in his care of the churches, that which arose from our disposition to return to the law, or to ‘confidence in the flesh,’ was the most frequent and the greatest.

“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Prayer for Paul C. he’s kind of off the chart and needs to get back.

Pray for Donna H, fighting the Big C, she’s 49, three kids, married and she’s tough.

Pray for Stacey, 24, pregnant, left the Marines, and she has not much in the way of family support. We met at the VA hospital, I was sitting outside and she just came over and broke down. Pray her family reconciles. (she is the second woman I’ve met there that is in the same boat, she’s also dealing with feeling guilty about not still being in the Corp.)

was that Plato or Play-dough

November 30, 2017

The gospel of Mark is considered the first of the written Gospel’s by many scholars. Jesus first words were “repent” not learn philosophy. I am rather alarmed by so called Christian philosophers that have raised the hue and cry that theology must give way to philosophy or that therefore no intelligent, scholarly discussion can take place. And because of this the new purveyors have deemed themselves the new heralds of the gospel.

Yet their theology has been compromised so that it is more palatable to the so called intelligent atheist.

Well baloney, they have forgotten all the scriptures that convey the truth about man’s intelligence and wisdom being dung, foolishness; and the power of the Word of God to convict and persuade and provide the only true concept of God.

It amazes me that these “wise men” usually pick theology books that also water down the truth of God’s word and plan. Or that they won’t call themselves Christians but ‘Theists’. So how does a Theist become more Christ like it they have a problem with an inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God that is the answer to all of life’s questions and is not reduced to a bunch of egg heads creating a mathematical formula for truth. God is the epitome of truth, not philosophy.

So don’t stone me if you’re a philosophy major, you still need Jesus, the only way to understand God. The only way in to heaven (no mother Mary isn’t going to do it either).

And stop with the stupid questions about where evil comes from, it’s been answered, just like the chicken or the egg question, yes the bible has already answered this question, in the beginning God created the chicken not the egg. Duh.

Invest your self in the study of God’s word if you want to truly be wise, and stop watching you tube, your rotting your brain.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

the truth about forgivness

November 28, 2017

I am amazed at all the “teachers” out there that say they are “biblical” or I’m a Christian whatever. Unfortunately so many people don’t know what the bible really teaches, so they don’t know they are being duped with distorted truths and just plain nonsense. These new fads come up with “secrets revealed” and yet they either got their so called training off a cereal box or don’t have any discernment at all. And in a bid to be famous or trendy the come up with sayings that really don’t mean anything. But hey put a pretty face on it and a package with great graphics and you have a best selling falsehood.

Which brings us to forgiveness, biblical forgiveness, not some new age, touchy feely nonsense.

Joseph had a solid reason for wanting revenge against his brothers: They planned to kill him but instead sold him into slavery and told his parents he had died. And then, to his surprise, their paths crossed again. Now he was in a position of power and authority; he could have had his brothers executed or sold as slaves. Instead, he forgave them (see Ge 45:4–7).

 Joseph understood that God had used the crime to save the lives of others (v. 5). But knowing God used the situation for good probably didn’t remove all of Joseph’s hurt and pain. Forgiveness is necessary, but it isn’t always easy. Knowing what is and is not required of us can help us through the process of forgiving those who have wronged us.

 Forgiveness requires that:

  ➤ You understand what it is—Forgiveness is a decision and a promise to release a person by canceling the real debt the person has with you. It’s returning to God the right to take care of justice.

 ➤ You focus on how God has forgiven you—The starting point of our willingness and ability to forgive is God’s forgiveness of our sins. Reflect on the many ways you have sinned against your Creator and then think about the price he paid so that you could be forgiven and restored. Focusing on your gratitude for what God has done in forgiving your sins often makes it easier to forgive the hurts caused by others.

 ➤ You accept that it is not optional—Gratitude to God will often motivate us to forgive others. But when the hurt and pain is too deep and forgiveness seems impossible, we might need to remind ourselves that forgiving others is not optional—it’s a prerequisite for our own forgiveness. As Jesus said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Mt 6:14–15).

 ➤ You separate your feelings from forgiveness—If you rely on your feelings to let you know when it is “time” to forgive, you might never do it. The time to forgive is always now, not when our feelings catch up or the hurt has passed.

 ➤ You realize psychological relief is not the reason—Often when we forgive someone who has wronged us we will eventually feel a sense of relief or peace. While this is a welcome benefit of forgiveness, it is not the reason we forgive.

 ➤ You know the initiative is on the forgiver—May we wait until someone seeks our forgiveness before we forgive them? No, we may not. Jesus expects us to forgive those who sin against us even before they request it or take responsibility for what they have done (see Mk 11:25).

 ➤ You realize it is an ongoing process—We tend to want a “once and for all” forgiveness event, but Jesus reminds us that with some people or situations, we will need to forgive over and over and over again (see Mt 18:21–22).

  Forgiveness does not require that:

  ➤ You forget—We can forgive without forgetting the situation that caused the debt. For instance, if someone has physically abused you in the past, you can forgive them without putting yourself into a situation where they can continue to harm you. Forgiveness might lead us to seek reconciliation, but we are not required to put ourselves in danger. While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violated our trust or even to like being around those who hurt us.

 ➤ You necessarily have a face-to-face meeting or restoration of relationship with the offender—(you do not)

  Though we are called to forgive those who sin against us, and we must be ready and willing to do so (attitudinal forgiveness), pursuing relational reconciliation is complex and not automatic. As a general rule, if the offender has not repented, has not acknowledged the sin, and does not ask for forgiveness (transactional forgiveness), reconciliation is not warranted. The decision to reconcile is also impacted by the duration and severity of the sin involved.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

MY DEAR SON

November 24, 2017

My Dear Son;

I’m not sure how to write this letter or to talk about the burden in my heart in such a way that you are encouraged to repent because of your relation to Christ and not based on your relation to me. In that I have failed to be the godly role model that should have guided you to a deeper walk with Christ.

You are correct in that when I took a hiatus from the church pulpit and left the ministry for a while I became very carnal and course in my speech and habits. I know that for both of us leaving a very strict Pentecostal culture, we were in uncharted territory in both of our lives.

And I’m so sorry that it took me as long as it did to get back to that well spring of holiness and sanctification that God was renewing in my life. And that my waywardness has affected you more deeply than I feared. It is my most fervent wish that you would renew your walk in leading a life pleasing to Christ in every area of your life. That specifically your choice of entertainment was filtered by asking yourself if this would be pleasing to the Lord.

You are the best son a father could have, you are like me in so many areas that is why I am warning you not to repeat the same mistakes I’ve made in my life. I am so proud of you and wish only the best for you. But please consider a godlier walk in every area of your life and not use me as an excuse to be vulgar.

It may not be a great failing, but it is a failing none the less and the sorrow I feel that my example would be the root of this is so painful to my heart. Especially now in the midst of this great trial I’ve been enduring for so long, and my renewed closeness to God and the deep restoration of a truly faithful walk with Him, I feel the blame more keenly as I’ve grown close again to God.

I love you so much and you are a great son but please take this to heart.

DAD.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

THE RIGHT WAY

November 21, 2017

THE RIGHT WAY

Maybe one of the most misquoted verses in the bible and certainly one of the most misunderstood verses.

Matthew chapter 7:1-2; “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

And of course people don’t usually quote the next several verses.

Matthew 7:3-8 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

So let’s cover verses one and two;

7:1 This verse does not disallow the right of making moral and spiritual judgments (cf. 7:6; 1 Cor. 2:15; 5:9; 2 Cor. 11:4; Phil. 3:2; 1 John 4:1) but forbids a bitter, hostile, and unkind spirit which delights in finding fault with others. Hypocritical self-righteousness has no place in the life of a Christian. The verse is particularly applicable to the area of motives. No one of us can know the heart of another, and thus to draw conclusions as to the “why” of people’s actions, especially when those actions are indifferent or even good, is to invite God’s judgment upon one’s life.

And now verse 6; This verse does not mean that the blessings of the gospel are not to be offered to the Gentiles, but rather that spiritual mysteries should not be pressed upon those who are either unready or unwilling to accept or appreciate their value. The verse continues logically in the train of thought developed in the sayings which immediately precede it. While judging others is not the prerogative of man, there are, nonetheless, those whose uncleanness and violence prevent the sharing of the sweetest and most noble insights of the Christian faith.

So we are to judge ourselves, if we judge others we are to use the same measure applied to ourselves and finally there are people not ready to receive or perceive the Gospel message. We are not to force it on them or even share it with them as it will actually cause harm.

Therefore our witnessing has to be done in love and in God’s timing. Which if you are in harmony and sync with God (walking in the Spirit) living in the vine, you can count on being led of the Lord.

Bottom line, don’t be harsh, cruel, mocking, or a hypocrite. But be loving, kind, long suffering.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Lisa, she is getting divorced and will be a single mom with a 3 year old. She has to sell her home and is a pediatric ER nurse (stressed). Please keep her in prayer.

Pray for our nation, that revival will once again sweep our country.

 

the fortress of solitude

November 14, 2017

I was going through a stack of old bibles that I’ve collected over the years and I’m always interested in the old sermons I find in them or notes scribbled on church bulletins, sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. The same with sermons, I’ll read an old sermon of mine and think “oh my poor congregation” they sat there so feigning interest. This time the bible is one I bought from a collection and this sermon was in it. after reading it several times I thought I would share this gem that I found today.

“Beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 3:17-18)

Is there a path of steady growth in the presence and power of God for the one who has placed their confidence in Jesus? Should we assume that it is God’s intention our lives would be increasingly pervaded by the action of his hand, until “all we do in word or deed” would be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”? (Col. 3:11) Is this something we can arrange for, so that the command to grow in grace makes sense?

We are told repeatedly by Paul to put off the old person and to put on the new. How does one do that?

The answer is actually rather simple. One must intend to do it, and then one must sensibly implement the means. Putting on the new person, growing in grace, is something we must do. Appropriate action is the key. True, as Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) But it is also true that if we do nothing it will be without him.

The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action. Earning is attitude. You have never seen people more active than those who have been set on fire by the grace of God. Paul, who perhaps understood grace better than any other mere human being, looked back at what had happened to him and said: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (I Cor. 15:10)

As to “means of grace” placed in our hands, well-directed action is the key. The disciplines of the spiritual life are simply practices that prove to be effectual in enabling us to increase the grace of God in our lives.

That grace is, of course, “unmerited favor.” But the form it takes is the action of God in our lives and with our actions. If we wish to know more of this and see the deliverance it works in and around us, we must do the things that will bring it to pass. These things are spiritual disciplines or the disciplines for the spiritual life.

A discipline in any area is something in my power that I do to enable me to do what I cannot do by direct effort. This is the general nature of discipline, and there is simply no area of human attainment–from playing a musical instrument, to sports, to speaking a language or being friendly–that does not require discipline.

The need for discipline does not change when we come to all that is involved in walking in the holiness and power of Christ. Would we do the things that Jesus himself did and taught? Then there is a way. It is the way of disciplined grace: discipline under grace and grace in the midst of discipline.

What are some of these disciplines? A primary one is solitude, which must go hand in hand with silence to be complete. In solitude I arrange to be alone, out of human contact, for lengthy periods of time. This allows my inner compass to stop whirling in response to the demands of others. The elasticity and wholeness of my soul is restored as I grow “still and know that God is God.” (Ps. 46:10)

Only solitude and silence, extensively practiced at wisely allotted intervals, can take the world off my back and forever release me from both hurry and loneliness. They open the door to productive engagement with other disciplines. I begin to find myself increasingly before God in such a way that he can safely fill me with himself.

Study and worship, fasting and sacrifice (of time, energy, money), journaling and prayer, confession and service are also among the disciplines. Some disciplines may be freely chosen. But often our circumstances will impose activities on us which, if taken as such, can be marvelous disciplines enabling us to receive extraordinary grace. “Tribulation works patience” is only one illustration of this principle.

But there is no such thing as a complete list of spiritual disciplines, chosen or imposed. Many different activities might be entered into with the aim of finding the manifest grace of God which enables us to do what we cannot do–and be what we cannot be–by direct effort. But the ones that emerge as most beneficial in Christian history should all be considered very seriously.

And of course “what we cannot do by direct effort” covers all that Jesus taught us. We cannot keep his teachings on our own. He never intended it. But by whole life training in the well-known disciplines of the spiritual life we can become inwardly the kinds of persons who naturally (supernaturally of course) do what he said and did. That is how the gift of a holy and powerful life comes to us.

Now disciplines are not law, they are wisdom. We have to learn how to do them, and we always fail at the outset. But to fail here is not to sin. The sin would be in not adopting and following up on a wise program of disciplines under grace. For then we are not really intending to do what Jesus said. We are planning to fail.

Also, disciplines are for disciples–apprentices–of Jesus, not for dabblers or mere consumers of religious services. They are for people who intend to learn from Jesus how to live their whole lives in the kingdom of God as he would live their lives if he were they. Such people are serious about this and will not be denied.

Thus they are prepared to experiment and learn from their failures until, under their constant teacher, they find that disciplines truly are full of grace and strength.

Fasting becomes feasting on God, meditation on scripture becomes celebration. Religion is no longer an additional burden to be carried in an already overburdened life, but is replaced by a joyous confidence that God is present and prevailing in every situation of life and death.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Jennifer she has her second eye surgery at 7am Tuesday morning.

THE WATCHMAN CRIES OUT

November 13, 2017

“First, it should be said that precisely in these days nothing is so important as this, that we stand fast in the faith. The storm has not yet reached us; we have received only a small wind from its periphery. The really difficult times may still lie before us; they will be difficult even if we ourselves remain exempt from conflict;

We must lay up reserves of faith. That means we will have to do everything in these days to strengthen ourselves out of God’s Word and in prayer for the coming difficulties, to create, to collect heavenly treasures, so that we can hold out and do not fail in the days of greatest scarcity. As a soldier receives provisions before combat and checks whether he has everything that belongs to his equipment, so we also want to examine and obtain the equipment of our faith so that we have it when the need comes. We should, indeed, always do that; it is true of all days and even of so-called normal times that we do not live by bread alone but by every word from the mouth of God. But now we understand better than before how urgently necessary that is, how much faith is a question of existence, no, is in the last final the question of existence. This struggle is, indeed, really a war of faith. It is concerned not only with power and economic goods; rather, it is concerned with whether the proclamation of God’s Word shall remain free, or whether Christendom and the Christian congregation must again crawl into the catacombs because the powers on earth are enemies of Christendom and all faith in God. There can also come again for the church times of hunger when one may preach, read the Bible, and pray together only in hiding places.

 Therefore, work while it is still day!”

These were the words of Emil Brunner in 1959 from Zurich, Germany.

In 1985 Dr. J. Vernon McGee, believed that the church had already compromised to much and that the end of America was close at hand.

I bring this up today because I was approached by a man running for a congressional seat in Texas and he wanted to know if I would endorse him.

He stood there patiently has I read his party platform documents. When I finished reading them, I put a big smile on my face and shook his hand, he was convinced that I was in his corner. As a photographer came up, I leaned over and whispered, “you can go to hell, and I will use all of my ability to see that this “New America” you dream of will not come to exist.”

Friends we are war, a day after Veteran’s Day I want to do all I can to ask you to recommit all of your resources to fighting this shameful day when our liberties are at stake. America as we’ve known it could be gone in just a few more years or even months. You will be banned as bigot, a hater, just by being labeled a Christian.

Socialism is at our door and its allies hate all we believe in. You must pray, read your bible, share your faith. Every Sunday school class should be teaching evangelism and Christian Theology and Christian Philosophy. You MUST be able to give an answer to why you believe. Challenge you pastor to step up his game, he must preach like never before.

There is no more being bashful about your faith. We have failed at being salt and light.

You have to vote every chance you get, even in the smallest election.

And sacrifice, sell your overpriced home and car and then home school your kids. I don’t believe our children’s Christian core values can survive public school. Learning tolerance to point it’s being pushed today will rob us of our children believing as we do.

Sounds extreme, believe I know. Evangelism is happening in countries that have never let missionaries in. two countries that were totally unreached, Mongolia and Albania are now experiencing revivals with tens of thousands (literally) coming to Christ.

The enemy is not at the gate, he’s in your home, every tv show has the goal of breaking at least two commandments, that’s in every show. And the filth you watch has robbed you of any sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

Christians are watching porn, reading porn, and there’s no shame. It’s hard to get a Christian to even blush now days.

Repent before it’s to late or all will be lost. Mom and pop businesses will be a thing of the past. And we will be taxed so heavily that Christian Social Agencies will disappear.

If a person isn’t filled with the Holy Spirit they can only be filled with the spirit of this age, which is unholy, self-centered, fulfilling all the lusts of the flesh, carnal, self-destructive and enjoying the destruction of the righteous.

It will be the coliseum of Rome all over again.

I never felt like this would-be message ever seen by me, but wake up, shake off the numbness, rouse yourself and renew what God has done for you, to you.

The Watchmen on the walls are shouting; “awake O Sleeper, awake.”

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

HOUSEKEEPING;  sorry I get so busy to pray requests I forget another item and then don’t always properly post them. A lot of the source for each day’s posts come from what’s happening in the ministry. But also a lot comes from questions. PLEASE REMEMBER,  post all prayer requests and QUESTIONS TO THE EMAIL ADDRESS, YOU CAN PUT YOUR NAME AND COUNTRY IF YOU WISH.

We haven’t done a bible giveaway in a while so keep your eyes peeled for that and the bibles are always free including shipping anywhere in the world.

Thank you to those that ‘like’ and those that comment, your encouragement is a blessing

Kindest regards

gw

Come quickly Lord Jesus

November 9, 2017

Content and Complete

Our culture simply does not like to wait. Yet we wait less today than men have ever waited. We travel at high speed waiting less to arrive at a distant place. Communications which formerly took months now are completed in seconds. Meals which used to take hours to cook are now done in minutes in microwave ovens. People used to have to wait until they had cash to purchase a new car or home. Now these things are bought on credit. We do not have to wait. Fewer and fewer people are willing to wait until marriage to enjoy the pleasures of sex. We Americans are not accustomed to waiting.

Men do not enjoy waiting for anything, or anyone, including God. But the trust is men have been waiting on God all through history. Noah waited a good 100 years or so for the flood to come upon the earth (compare Genesis 5:32; 6:10; 7:6). Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for the birth of the son God had promised them (compare Genesis 12:4; 21:5). Abraham did not even possess the promised land in his lifetime, and it was more than 400 years until his descendants took possession of it (compare Genesis 12:1-3; 15:12-16). Asaph felt for a time that he had waited too long for God’s promised blessings (Psalm 73).

From their constant questions about the coming of our Lord’s kingdom, it was evident the disciples were not excited about waiting either. When Jesus tarried three days before going to the place Lazarus had fallen sick and died, both Martha and Mary cautiously chided Jesus for coming too late (see John 11:21, 32).

God’s promises never come too late; in truth, they are never “late” at all. When the Scriptures indicate a time for God’s actions, the fulfillment is always precisely on time (see Exodus 12:40-41). When Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be expelled from the land and held captive in Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12), the fulfillment of this prophecy would take place precisely at the end of 70 years. Knowing this, Daniel prayed accordingly (Daniel 9:1-3ff.). Likewise, the birth of the Lord Jesus came about exactly on schedule (see Daniel 9:24-27; Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4-5; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).

God is never “late;” He is always “on time.” But there are mockers who seek to convince themselves and others that the promise of our Lord’s second coming is false based upon the passage of much time and compounded by no visible evidences that He will come at all. In the college classroom, students allow an instructor five minutes to arrive for class, and then they leave. A full professor, being more important, is given up to ten minutes to arrive after the bell has rung. Mockers believe they have given God plenty of time to fulfill His promise to return and thus have now concluded that His time is up. “If He hasn’t come by now,” they say, “He simply isn’t coming.”

It should come as no surprise that men would arise who deny the second coming of our Lord. One of the most common falsehoods referred to in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 15:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2), this false teaching had an adverse affect on some of the saints (2 Timothy 2:18). To deny the second coming is not only to deny the Christian’s future hope but also to deny the judgment of sinners at the return of Christ. No wonder these “mockers” denied the second coming. These were those who were “following after their own lusts” (2 Peter chapter 3 verse 3). How much more comfortable it was to practice sin with the false assurance that they would not give account to God.

Proverbs speaks of those who are simple, naive, and easily led astray due to their youth, thus a lack of knowledge and experience. Some are fools, who are more willfully ignorant and morally stupid. But the scoffer (mocker) is a hard-core fool, a fool who vehemently opposes truth and wisdom.

And that is what we are seeing today, in these the last days, hard core fools.

It’s the last days because the authority of the Bible says so. If you believe the bible to be inerrant, infallible, inspired by God, and now I add one more to that list, still relevant. Than we believe that these are the last days and things are going to get worse, our country is going to fall away from God.

This is just my personal opinion, but it is my answer to a common question; “why isn’t America mentioned in the bible as part of the last days.” I personally believe it is because we will become a nation of hard core fools outnumbering the Godly in our country. We will fall away just as England has fallen. Welcome to the Christian minority. Good news, Jesus IS coming again.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Bond Servant

November 7, 2017

shackles

  THE BOND SERVANT

  “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4).

  God has a unique plan concerning each one of us. The secret of realizing our personal calling is not to look at others, but simply to walk in close fellowship with the Father. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him” (Ps. 62:5).

  “No one Christian has a right to stop on his way for another; he must go forward himself in individual faithfulness. The effort to drag others along with us is in reality but a device of Satan to keep ourselves back. Note Jehovah’s word to Jeremiah, ‘Let them return unto thee; but return not thou to them’ (Jer. 15:19). Are any desirous of going forward, let them not stop to carry along with them ‘the men of Ephraim.’ Far better is it to go on with but a few to follow, than to get numbers with us who are only halfhearted.”

  “You may say, ‘Show me a pattern man.’ We all like to copy; but there is no gain in copying. You have to learn the Lord for yourself. All you learn for yourself will remain, and nothing else. Every one has his own history.”

It is plain enough that every believer is called of God to something definite. The real difficulty is to ascertain the specialty, and this I do not think can be discovered but in nearness to the Lord, and when you are interested in His interests. We first learn that He is interested in us, and then we gradually become interested in His interests. It is then you apprehend your mission in life.

  “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

SHEEPDOGS’

October 31, 2017

Romans (16:17-20)

17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil. 20 And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

I’m a church planter, for a large part of my ministry it has been my role to start churches from scratch. In hotels, store fronts, street preaching, house churches, fire stations.

After getting a church up and going and mentoring a young man, when there is a core of mature believers and a sound financial base I turn the church over to this young pastor. My final words have always been the same, “preach your way through Romans” make it your life’s work to grasp this book and you will never stray after any false doctrine.

Paul’s intention throughout this epistle has been to carefully expound the truth of the gospel and to explain its practical implications and obligations. Early in the epistle he alluded to those who would encourage others to live in a way that offends the righteousness of God:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:28-32).

Our Lord Jesus warned about those who would come as “sheep in wolves’ clothing.” His words apply to those of whom Paul speaks in our text:

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20).

In order to identify those whom the saints at Rome are to “keep an eye on” Paul indicates three “fruits of falsehood” which characterize those who pose a threat to the saints.

The first fruit of falsehood is strife. Paul says we are to “keep an eye on those who cause dissensions” (verse 17). The old adage, “divide and conquer,” seems to be one of the fundamental tenants of those aligned with falsehood. In Romans and elsewhere in Paul’s teaching, strife is condemned, and Christian unity is upheld. While retaining the distinct identity of the Jews and their future hope, Paul has sought to demonstrate the unity which Jews and Gentiles experience in Christ. In Romans 14 and 15, Paul has forbidden debate and tension which can arise out of differing convictions. But just as communism has sought to expand by fomenting strife, so Satan seeks to further his cause by adding fuel to the flames of friction and discord.

Teachers who depart from sound doctrine engage in speculation and argumentation which results in strife and friction:

If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels (2 Timothy 2:23).

In his Epistle to the Galatians, Paul contrasts the fruit of the Spirit with the fruit of the flesh. He shows that strife and discord are the fruit of the flesh, while unity and harmony are the fruit of the Spirit:

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another (Galatians 5:13-26).

The second fruit of falsehood is stumbling. Our Lord Jesus had severe words for any who would be the cause of the stumbling of another, especially one of His “little ones”:

“And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

In Romans, Paul has just taught that we dare not be the cause of a brother’s stumbling:

So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification (Romans 14:19–15:2).

The strong should help the weak, and they should not cause them to stumble. Those who are promoters of falsehood are a cause of stumbling. The weak are their prey, those not well versed in Scripture or alert to the dangers of false teaching.

The third fruit of falsehood is the attack against biblical teaching. The Scriptures are the standard by which all teaching must be evaluated and to which all teaching must be subordinate:

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

“Every cult is either the Bible plus or the Bible minus.” False teaching either seeks to subtract from the Bible or to add to it. Paul warns the Romans that the peddlers of error will always be recognized by their departure from the doctrines the Scriptures teach, which now includes Paul’s epistles.

Bring your bible to church, get copies of the pastor’s sermon, if you have doubts about a sermon call an elder brother or a pastor you’ve known from before and ask. Go to your pastor and ask him to clarify. A mature pastor will not be offended. A young pastor or hypocrite might attack you or belittle you. Don’t be intimidated. Churches that have sound preaching, expository preaching, and sound full gospel messages are in my opinion rare.

Be a sheepdog and help guard the flock, study to show yourself approved isn’t just a bible verse for pastors.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Jennifer in prayer, Tuesday morning 5:45 am, surgery for her eye, pray she has peace and no fear and the doctor’s hand guided by the Lord.