Thursday, December 20, 2012

Been There; Done That

Many people have lived through many predictions of the end of the world. In 1000 AD many thought the world would end because it was the end of a millennium.

Christ was supposed to come in1806 in England.
John Wesley thought the Millennium would begin in 1836.
Millerites predicted the coming of Christ several times in the 1800's.
Russellites thought Christ would come in 1874.
Herbert Armstrong predicted Christ's return to be in 1936 and after that
changed his prediction.
Jim Jones predicted the end of all things to be 1967.
Hal Lindsey said the 1980's would be the last decade.
Pat Robertson said the end would come in 1982.
Edgar Whisenant said the world would end in 1988; then the next year he said
he missed it by one year.
Many predicted the end of the world at the turn of the year 2000.

Now, since none of these has happened, we have many to look forward to in
the future.
Dec 21, 2012 -- Tomorrow
2018 - 2028 -- F. Kenton Beshore
2020 - 2037 -- Jeane Jeane Dixon
2129 -- Muslim Said Nursi
2240 -- Jewish Talmud
2280 -- Rashad Kahlifa "Quran Code"
22,000,000,000 -- Scientists say the world will be torn apart.

We've been here before, and we will experience these predictions again many times until the Lord actually comes again.

SOLUTION:

Luke 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Faith On Earth



Luke18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

 “Shall he find faith on the earth?” seems to be such a sobering question, especially to those of us who live so far from the New Testament time when this was written and nearer and nearer to that day when the Son of man comes.
  The Lord will not be looking for simply “saving faith” when he comes (Heb. 10:39), but I believe he will be looking for that dynamic faith that James speaks of in James 2:20, 26—faith without works is dead.  Jesus will be looking for that working faith, that living faith, that pursuing faith that belongs to his faithful ones.
  We are not going to be judged by our faith; we are going to be judged by our works. 2 Cor.5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 
  The word of God is our rule of faith and practice in the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our faith is to be practiced; without works faith is dead. Without works faith becomes doubt. Without practice, faith becomes only a philosophy, and faith is more than a philosophy. It is a substance (Heb. 11:1). 
  In the churches of Jesus Christ, we practice the two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  In the churches we meet together for fellowship, praise, and worship. In the churches, we grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and we look forward to his soon coming.
  In other words, we are to assemble together more often now than ever before as we see the day approaching. Will he find this kind of faith?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Flesh And The Spirit

Galatians 5:16-26

Walk And Fulfill, 16-17

 Paul's command to us as God's children is to the point, saying "Walk in the Spirit."  He mentions this again in verse 25. We will either walk in the Spirit or fulfill the lusts of the flesh. He reminds us that the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these do not work together but are contrary to each other--they are opposites. When the flesh lusts against the Spirit, then we cannot do what we would if we did not have this hindrance.

Spirit And Law, 18-24

Those who do not have the Spirit of Christ are under the law, and they must meet the perfection of law's command, otherwise they will fall short of the required perfection of God's righteousness, the righteousness which is by faith in Christ.  But if we are led by the Spirit of God, then we are not under the law, under the demands of the law for righteousness.  Paul says to the Romans in Chapter 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.  We cannot live the righteousness of the law, for the demand is more than we can accomplish.

Paul gives a sample list of the works of the flesh:  adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (all sorts of evil), idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.  This, of course, is not a complete list, but it is a sample only. These are the things that hinder a man's meeting God's holy commandments, and those who do these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

That which is from the Spirit is not works but fruit. We are not saved by works but serve the Lord through the fruit of the Spirit. He now gives a sample list of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. There is no law against these things, because they are produced by the Spirit of God; they are not worked out by the flesh or by works.  That is because, if we have the Spirit of God, we have crucified the flesh and are not under the weight of the flesh's affections and lusts but can overcome them by faith in Christ.


Living And Walking, 25-26

We live in the Spirit by faith in Christ.  Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  The Spirit of God dwells in us and will never leave us nor forsake us.  So, if we live in the Spirit, with his indwelling and his ever-presence, then let us also walk in the Spirit.  The walking is the evidence of our living. It would be well for us to remember these two great verses in Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure

Our attitude is changed when we are saved by the grace of God through the working of the Spirit of God, so in verse 26 Paul exhorts us not to (1) be desirous of vain glory (arrogance), (2) provoke one another, or (3) envy one another.  What good Christians we would be if we would heed Paul's ample warning about not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh but walking in the Spirit! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

    A Man Of God

By Pastor Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – Sept. 12, 2012


A preacher is a man of sorrow
Preaching to many who do not hear.
He studies and prays through each tomorrow
To preach the word from year to year.

He stands up strong when he is weak,
Proclaims God's word with all his might.
He knows God says he must be meek
And in his preaching must be right.

He stands before a holy God;
He'll give account for each word said.
He's timid due to God's strict rod;
He contemplates upon his bed.

Many years have passed him by.
Frank Smith's duty did not wane.
He spoke the word with ne'er a sigh
And preached the word through sorrowed pain.

A bulwark of the soundest doctrine
Teaching many its wondrous truth,
From New Testament streams of grace
To Old Testament tooth for tooth.

How missed a man who stood so strong
And never failed to tell the tale
Of God's great love and sinners wrong,
Our Savior's death within the veil!

Listening now to truth unknown,
Not in this lowly earthly realm,
He sings with angels not alone,
The beauty there to overwhelm.

He is not here; he's gone away
Where evil has no lingering sway,
And nothing can describe the day
But peace and truth and endless day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Poem On Faith

By Pastor Dr. Ronnie W. Wolfe
August 3, 2012

Unseen, and yet as real as life;
    Untouched, and yet its meaning rife;
Unchanged because of sovereign love;
    Unmoved, secured in realms above.

Unleashed from God’s rich grace divine;
    Unfathomed that it can be mine.
Unwarranted yet its remonstrance,
    Unwitting here its great enhance.

Unsettling soul its need confess,
    And further claim his loneliness;
Unmerited grace the soul proclaim
    Unhindered, trust his holy name.

In grace sublime this faith came down
    A gift from God’s own name renown.
A channel through which love may go
    And save a sinner’s heart below.

By faith the grace of God employed;
    A myriad benefits enjoyed,
By faith the sovereign will is done,
    A sinner saved, a victory won.

And faith goes on through life’s long path,
    Protects the sinner from God’s wrath,
Provides a safe and peaceful place
    To praise God’s name for wondrous grace.

Then faith one day along with hope
    Protecting saints from slippery slope,
With charity in courts above
    Relinquish all in place of love.

For faith has now turned into sight
    And manifests God’s awesome might;
And after this great journey ford,
    We’ll cast our crowns as his reward.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Theological Synthesis

By Pastor Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – July 23, 2012

    I do not subscribe to Christianity Today, but a friend gives me his copy when he is finished with it.  I am not surprised any more when I read it to find that the writers apply the art of theological synthesis, that is, bringing together on an equal plane the doctrines of a conservative, literal faith in the Bible and the doctrines of those who take a less literal interpretation of the Bible, leaving its meaning basically to each individual believer, combining faith with science, denomination with denomination, religion with religion, and Christianity with cults.
    Revealing are the titles to several articles in the magazine along with an ad for the magazine itself.  The first article of this type is one called A Tale of Two Scientists, and the subtitle tells it all: “How two evangelicals–one a young-earth creationist, the other an evolutionary creationist–have lived out their faith and professions.”    The two scientists supposedly have the same strong faith in God, but one believes in a young and suddenly created earth, while the other believes in creation with a “gradual creation perspective.” 
    The article introduces a different way to read the Bible from its literal reading to one that would fit what he was learning as a scientist.  “Falk only knew how to read Genesis as six-day history, which he could not reconcile with what enthralled him in the laboratory. He had no one to help him rebuild his picture of God’s creation” (Page 26).  Falk wrote a book entitled “Coming To Peace With Science” in which his synthesis is apparent.  He says, “My prayer is that each person who reads it (the book) will respect that one should be able to be accepted as an equal partner in Christ’s body even if he or she believes that God created gradually.”  The capstone is a sentence at the end of the article: “Under Falk’s leadership, BioLogos has emerged as an important group of Christians advocating ‘evolutionary creation.’ Falk has held to his plea for Christians to love and respect each other while advocating different points of view.”
    Other article titles reveal this synthesis as well. One subtitle is “We haven’t always been deeply divided about origins.”  Others are “Marco Rubio’s Faith of Many Colors,” “Finding Jesus At Burning Man, How God made himself known at one of America’s most hedonistic gatherings.” “The Problem With Incarnational Ministry, What if our mission is not to ‘be Jesus’ to other cultures, but to join with the Holy Spirit?” and “Quick To Listen, Why Richard Mouw believes evangelicals should open their ears to Mormon believers.” The only thing to add to this is the ad for the magazine itself, which says, “I long for the church to become a place where everyone feels welcome. Where anyone can walk into a church or up to a Christian and find acceptance.”  This is the true nature of synthesis.  2 Cor. 6:17 says, on the other hand, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

They That Trouble You

Galatians 5:12-15

Paul gives his personal preference here, not the perfect will of God as such.  He is simply saying that, as far as his own personal, human will is concerned, he would that the people who are troubling the Galatians were cut off (amputated) from them so that they could serve the Lord in truth without any mixture of error or any temptation to yield to those who are always pulling believers away from the truth into the old Judaism.

He mentions these people in Gal. 1:7 Which is not another (Gospel); but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  Wouldn't it be nice if everyone who troubles us in our work for the Lord were simply cut off so that they could not do their dirty work? We could simply have the liberty to live and preach what we believe the Bible says, and that would seem to be a wonderful existence.

We know that God will recompense, or repay, those who are pulling the churches away from the truth, 2 Thess 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;  Good enough for them, right?  Well, I do not believe that God has planned or purposed that the world be separated from us just so that we can serve the Lord without any problems.  We might properly consider 1 Cor. 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

Jesus said, in part, in John 16:33, In the world ye shall have tribulation . . .  It is his purpose that we have tribulation. One reason is that tribulation works patience in us (See Romans 5:3; James 1:3).  If Baptists need anything at all, they need patience, as do all believers in Christ.  So, it is not God's will, though it may be Paul's will, that God "cut off" those that trouble us.

Then Paul delivers a warning to these believers in this Galatian church.  He mentions their liberty in Christ, of which the Bible speaks much (Rom. 8:21; 1 Cor. 8:9; 10:9; 2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 2:4; 2 Peter 2:16).  But he in this book, as well as in other books of his, warns them about this liberty.  They are not to use their liberty as an occasion to the flesh, to please the flesh, or to work, worship, or think in the flesh. God's liberty in salvation does not extend that far.  His liberty is liberty from the bonds of the law in order that we may be free to serve the Lord Christ (Col. 3:24).

Using this liberty for benefit of the flesh brings about strife and divisions. In these we "devour" one another and cause divisions in the Lord's churches.  But the admonition is to "love one another," which is the fulfilling of the law of Christ.  Those who "trouble" us will not be cut off while we are in this world. We are to do the work of Christ despite those who trouble us.  They will be here as long as we are, so we must work among them, preach the truth despite them, and love one another, using our liberty in the way God prescribes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Kind of Sinner Are You?

Every person in the world, if he will reason in himself and be honest, knows that he is a sinner. Today we say it in these words, "Nobody's perfect."  That is well said and well understood by all reasonable people.  In Christian circles we call these people sinners, and most people, whether saved or lost, will admit to their sinful condition.

But what kind of sinner are you? If you are just a person who knows that he has done many things wrong, you are just a common sinner, and this understanding will do little in way of change in your life except for those times when you may attempt to stop a habit or try to be a better person.  These sinners understand their sinfulness from a completely human source.  The mind is reasonable enough to verify the basic existence of man's depravity.

Before a person can be and will be saved, he must know that he is a sinner beyond the help of himself or his peers. He must know that he has sinned against God, and that his sin has touched an eternity of guilt and wickedness against a perfectly holy God.  Therefore, he must have the knowledge that his sin is to be punished with an eternal debt, not just the feeble attempt to stop bad things and begin good ones.

The Apostle Paul is a great example of how sinful a repentant sinner becomes at the time he throws himself upon the work of Jesus Christ and depends desperately and completely upon the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay for his sins. 

Paul, because of his wicked sin of persecuting the church at Jerusalem, calls himself the "least of the apostles" (1 Cor. 15:13).  Then in 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul says, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  Paul saw himself such a sinner that he considered himself to be dead--Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.  He tells us in Ephesians 2:1, And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

If you are not dead in your sins, then you are not the right kind of sinner. If you think only that you have made some mistakes or that you are not such a bad person or that you are as good as your neighbor, then you are not the right kind of sinner.

You must see yourself as a wicked sinner [wicked is what God calls sinners throughout the Bible].  The law of God (basically the ten commandments) have been written to show us how great sinners we are.  When the law of God (his commandments) are applied to our lives, we see how much we come short of his glory.  Remember Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We also need to understand that all sins must be paid for.  Ezekiel 18:20  The soul that sinneth, it shall die.  Certainly Adam and Eve died physically, but sin brings eternal death, or damnation (judgment), Matt. 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

The remedy for this death, of course, is faith in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, an acknowledging that you are a sinner, and the acceptance of the truth about Jesus Christ "that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6).  You must believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and resurrected the third day especially for you personally, took your sins away and cast them as far as the east is from the west, and have a change of heart (a new heart, Ezekiel 18:31), by which Jesus is acknowledged as your Lord and Savior.  Every step of your life from that time forward is led by the Spirit of God and by faith.  Your salvation is fixed, and your faithfulness is expected.  A totally depraved sinner produces a glorious saint of God.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Offense Of The Cross

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe - Galatians 5:11

Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

The Apostle Paul was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He was, however, a full-blooded Jew.  He said in Phil. 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;  He had been known to say that  Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (1 Cor. 7:19). Now he directs his attention to the Galatians concerning circumcision with the condition "if I yet preach circumcision . . . "

Circumcision is "but the keeping  the commandments of God," and Paul knew, as well as we, that the keeping of the commandments of God is not sufficient for salvation; therefore, why would he be persecuted if he preached circumcision.  Circumcision was a practical matter to the Jews; it was an everyday affair to them.  If Paul preached it, he would have no persecution from the Jews concerning his theology.  His theology would be no different from that of the Judaizers.  They preached that one "must be circumcised" (Acts 15:24).

But Paul did receive persecution from the Jews, partly because he preached the doctrine of Christ without the Law.  The gospel does not include the law except for its job to bring us to Christ as a schoolmaster.  We are condemned by the law, not saved by the law.

The offense was that which came as a result of the dying of our Lord on the cross. At the cross was our meeting place for the transaction of blood that washed our sins away.  "It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day."

Paul needed only to continue to teach the Law for salvation, as he did in the past, in order for the persecution, or the offense of the cross, to cease.  No one would care if he preached Law, but Paul was committed to preach grace and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ without the deeds of the law, Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  Notice also Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

When Paul said "I have fought a good fight," he meant in part that he was preaching the gospel against the grain of the many who were preaching works for salvation. But he did not care for that; he only desired to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He said once in 1 Cor. 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

Notice in closing, Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Insane Children

 Dr. C. M. Pierce, Harvard University, speaking to 1,000 teachers during a 1973 Childhood Education International Association seminar said, "Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane, because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity . . . It's up to you as teachers to make all of these sick children well by creating the international children of the future."  [See Sword of the Lord, May 11, 2012, pg. 22].

First of all, who is Dr. C. M. Pierce that he thinks he is in a position to be the judge as to who is insane?  From what source does he project such an insane postulation?  Any issue must be checked back to its source, so let us look quickly at the source of the information that parents give to their children.

The parents of our country most usually get their understanding of a sovereign God (supernatural being) from the trusted book, the Bible; and as a second source,  the founding documents of our own country, the United States, which is the most blessed country on this earth.

So, Dr. Pierce's source certainly is not the same source that is used for the ethical, beneficial, and patriotic documents from which these "insane" children learned their allegiances.  

Who is Dr. Pierce, besides a liberally education Harvard grad, to instruct the public school teachers to un-teach rather than to teach? As a result, we can infer from the statement he has made (quoted above) that the source for his allegiances comes from such places as Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler or perhaps Friedrich Hegel, who influenced Karl Marx.  These are obvious sources.

The word insane originally meant "healthy."  Today the word refers to defective function of mental processes such as reasoning.  I would dare to guess that some of these children who have been influenced by their parents have better mental processes and reasoning than some of our arrogant educators.

My children went to school with these insane notions, and I am now working on my grandchildren to give them the same insane notions.  I hope the teachers are ready for these insane students; because, if they are not fully prepared, the teachers may become insane themselves.  More power to the parents.  Let the schools teach "Reading, Riting, and Rithmatic."  We parents can handle the insane part.

Psalm 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coming Soon

Coming Soon
By Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – 4-26-2012

Don’t dismay in Heaven, friend,
Far past the sun and moon;
We’re here on earth, await our time,
We’ll all be coming soon.

When death’s dark shades upon us pass
And winds of sorrow blow,
We’ll acquiesce to Heaven’s call
And leave the world below.

Our Savior waits there as of old
To welcome us to our home.
We’re coming soon to that fair land,
And we’ll not be alone.

For grace is something to be shared
Among our loved ones here.
We’ll speak the word of God’s great love
And bring our loved ones near.

And joy will come to all of us
Our tears will flow no more.
We’ll have our tears all wiped away
On that eternal shore.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Cross of Christ


By Ronnie Wolfe - August 16, 2011

Crosses are many in their count
Among them large and small,
But one has solitary worth,
And one above them all.

Christ’s arms stretched out across its beam
In great proportion stress
The import of this unique hour,
Expressed His loneliness.

His feet that walked upon the sea
Were fastened firm that day
To the cross unfathomed in its cruel
And solitary way.

By this peace was reconciled
When the blood of Christ fell down,
And reconciliation made
When in His cross was found

The handwriting of ordinances,
Contrary to our way,
His cross was every wit sufficient
To take our sin away.

Redemption made, my soul procured,
Each man should thankful be,
That only on His cross we find
From law he set us free.

And every man who by His cross
Has his salvation found,
Should take his cross and follow Him
And to His cross be bound.

Monday, March 26, 2012

This Persuasion & The Leaven

Galatians 5:8-10

This Persuasion

"This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you." This persuasion is that of not running well, of not being faithful to the truth which has been taught and of not obeying the truth. These ones who had a perverse persuasion, no doubt, had been taught to keep the true persuasion of continuing in the grace of God (Acts 13:43). God did not teach them this perverse persuasion. God has rather ordained that people are saved through the preaching of the true gospel: 1 Cor. 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

The Leaven

In verse nine Paul speaks of a "whole lump." This regards the whole membership of a specific local church, the whole church (See Acts 15:22; Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 14:23). But it takes only a little leaven to leaven the whole lump. Sometimes it takes only one member of a local church who has a perverse persuasion to leaven the entire church, turn the whole tenor of biblical preaching to that of a perverse gospel (See 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6). How many modern churches have been leavened by one or two members of a local church? Many churches have changed their names from Baptist to one and another name relating the changes that are apparent in the leaven that has been planted in the church. Once that leaven begins to work, many changes can take place, and what used to be a good, sound, doctrinal church is now an organization with varying, changing doctrines to please people rather than God. This is the character of leaven.

The Judgment

There is a man in one or more of the Galatian churches who is causing problems with the truth, changing the truth of God into a lie and has become a false teacher, no doubt. It seems from verse ten that the majority of the churches in Galatia were primarily bent toward truth; but, remember, a "little" leaven will leaven the whole lump. The one who "troubleth you" will bear his own judgment. If this person leavens the whole church, then the church will suffer; but if this person is recognized and the church deals with the problem, only the person troubling the church will be under judgment. Many churches have come under judgment due to one person's leaven. God will not endure leaven. Notice Rev. 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Conclusion

Churches should repent of their fallen condition and do their first works, the works that established them in the Lord Jesus Christ. God will "come unto thee quickly" and remove the church's effectiveness and authority if we do not. May God show us the truth in a plain way and give us the insight and the will to correct our problems, dismiss any false teachers, and "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Tim. 2:10).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Hard To Say Goodbye

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe – 3-13-2012

UPON THE LOSS OF AN UNBORN CHILD

Hidden within protective walls,
This world you’ll never see.
But love so strong embracing you
Is a part of reality.

We’ve loved you long and strong amid
Your striving goal for life
And thought of you both night and day,
And ne’er forgot your strife.

Our heart’s desire and constant prayer:
To meet you on that day
When birth would bring you home to us
And take our fear away.

But in God’s own selective plan
He took you to His side,
Received you to his presence
With Him fore’er abide.

We miss you here as though you were
With us this very day.
We do not know why God designed
To take your soul away.

But we will bless His name for this;
He doeth all things well.
We’ll pray, and sing, and praise His name
On whom the honor fell.

We sigh with breathless agony
To know you are not nigh;
And we admit with sorrowed hearts,
It’s hard to say goodbye.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ye Did Run Well

Galatians 5:7

Ye Did Run Well

There was a time when "ye" (plural of you, to the Galatian churches) followed the fundamental teachings of the Gospel of grace by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. There was a time when you believed in and followed Christ and not man. There was a time when you did your work with singleness of heart and not in division, allowing men to have such influence on you.

There is mostly always a time in the past when believers have trusted the Lord more, served him more, and loved him more. It is certain that churches do leave their first love (Rev. 2:4). Some of the Galatian churches had, no doubt, left their first love, or they were on their way to doing so. "Ye did run well" in the beginning of your service to Christ, but what about now?

Who Did Hinder You?

Churches will go along just fine with their "first love" of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ until a person (who) comes along to mar the image of the blessed Gospel and to pervert it, making it a human idea or philosophy instead of a heavenly gift.

Notice Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? Someone has bewitched these believers not to obey the truth of the Gospel.

It was interesting to look up the word "who" in the book of Galatians to see their antecedents. There are 14 references with the word "who." Four times the word "who" refers to God or Christ. Three times the word "who" refers to believers. Once it refers to Jews, and six times the word "who" refers to those who are trying to hinder the Gospel.

Here are the references: 2:4 "false brethren;" 2:6 "those who seem to be somewhat;" 3:1 "ones who bewitch;" 4:23 " those of the bondwoman;" 5:7 "those who hinder;" and 6:13 "those who are circumcised and do not keep the law."

These are the ones who hinder the Gospel, the truth of it, and the glory of it. Theirs is a humanistic Gospel, a social or religious Gospel; but Christ's Gospel is one of divine origin and of God's working.

That Ye Should Not Obey The Truth

The truth begins with Gospel truth. That truth is the power of God unto salvation, and no other "truth" will accomplish real, genuine, and active salvation. Many religionists today are hindering the preaching of the Gospel of Christ by their humanistic means, their shallow doctrine, and their pernicious ways. Beware of false prophets (Matt. 7:15); beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matt. 10:17); and Phil. 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. Concision means mutilation, and that is what these interlopers do.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

But Faith

Galatians 5:6

Paul is explaining again, as he has so many other times, that circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing as far as our salvation is concerned.

John 7:22 says, "Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision." John 1:17 says that "... the law was given by Moses." So, we are speaking about the law when we speak about circumcision. Circumcision was the sign of a law covenant between God and Israel, and it runs parallel to God's conditional promise to keep Israel in the land if they will obey all of his laws, Exod. 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Circumcision, then, was an important part of Israel's obedience to God when he was building, promoting, protecting, and promising Israel. Circumcision was to be done on the eighth day after birth, and it was kept in the main by Israel except for some aberrations at times. In those times God disciplined Israel for not keeping the commandments of God.

Circumcision is a type of sin, and sin must be dealt with. Sin is the excess flesh, if you will, that is detestable even to the mind. So, God in a type had Israel to rid themselves of that excess skin in the flesh in order to picture the ridding of one's sin in the flesh; and Paul teaches us that for sin circumcision is ineffective. Circumcision is only a sign, a type, not a real spiritual rebirth.

Circumcision will not rid a person of sin, but faith will. Remember it is the faith that is by the grace of God, and only that faith, that can save. This faith works by love, for God so loved. He loved me so much that he came to earth and died for my sins personally, and it is only by faith in him that will work.

It is faith that works, not we ourselves; and faith works because Christ is the object of it and because that faith is in the work that Christ did in his death, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, baptism, communion, church membership, doing good deeds, or believing a particular set of doctrines will not and cannot save: it cannot rid a person of his sins; but faith can.

There is no difference, then, between the Jew and the Greek (Gentile): Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

The waters of baptism cannot save,
but faith can.

The force of the law can't make us behave,
but faith can.

So the heart of the matter
Makes wickedness scatter

The works of the law can't save us at all,
but faith can.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wait For The Hope . . . By Faith

Galatians 5:5

We who believe in and preach faith for salvation are not "fallen from grace" but are preaching the real and true gospel of Christ, for it is a gospel of grace, not a gospel of works. Hence, this verse follows verse four with a salient anticipation for a hope, but not only a hope alone, but also a hope of righteousness, a continued righteousness that was begun in us and one that will be accomplished until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6).

We wait "through the Spirit" for this hope of righteousness. This hope is begun by, substantiated by, and fulfilled by the Spirit of God and of Christ Jesus. The Spirit is our Comforter, our Teacher, our Guide, and our security. We are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14); we are justified by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11); we are quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18); we speak by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3); we know his abiding by the Spirit (1 John 3:24).

The hope we have is a "sure and steadfast hope." It is our hope that rests completely in Jesus Christ, not in our own, personal, simple, Sandamanian faith, but in our genuine, God-given, righteous faith that produces fruit in the Christian life. It is a hope of righteousness, perfect and flawless, by which Jesus Christ can present us faultless before his Father.

But let us not forget that, behind every element of faith is grace, that grace which emanates from God, flows from him to the believing sinner, quickens the sinner, and sustains him unto that eventual perfection that awaits all who truly believe in Christ.

With that sense of comfort and security, every believer should be able to patiently wait for that which is to come, though present circumstances may seem to oppose our optimism. Heb 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ye Are Fallen From Grace

Galatians 5:4

These nominal believers have not in reality been justified, for they claim to be justified before God by the law of Moses; but Paul himself says that one cannot be justified by the works of the law, Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Instead, Christ has become of no effect to them. Christ has not convicted them of their depravity and their active sin; he has not behooved them to come to him; he has not regenerated them nor converted them nor forgiven them; for in the law are none of these things. If law can save, then Christ died in vain, and our faith is vain: 1 Cor. 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. But our faith, not standing in the law but in Christ, is sufficient through his grace to justify the vilest sinner.

The law is our schoolmaster (Gal. 3:24-25) to condemn us so that Christ can save us from the bondage of the law. If the law is the object of justification, then no one is justified before God, Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Those who are justified by the law are "fallen from grace." They have turned from the only object who can justify: Jesus Christ. They have turned away, or fallen away, from the only true Gospel, the Gospel of grace. There is mercy in the law, but there is no grace in the law, For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, John 1:17.

Certainly they had not fallen from a condition or position of grace in Christ, for they show themselves to be without grace in Christ, yea, without Christ Himself, and without divine justification. They are leaven (verse 9), and they will leaven the whole lump if not stopped; and they will bear their judgment (verse 10).

Paul puts it succinctly in Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Liberty In Christ Jesus

Galatians 5:1-3

Being saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-10), we are free. The truth has made us free indeed. We are now free from the bondage of the law of Moses, which had kept us under tutelage until faith came (Gal. 3:23). We have been made free from sin (Rom. 6:18), free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2), and free from all men (1 Cor. 9:19). We are free to serve Jesus Christ and be among his bondslaves, or servants of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1).

Now that we are free, we are to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. We do this by faith, knowing that we are no longer in bondage but are set free from the bondage of sin and the law and are made free in Christ Jesus, 1 Peter 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

The greatest challenge, evidently, of nominal new-born believers is that temptation that comes to bring ourselves (usually by the help of those who have come in unawares) back under the bondage of the law, the "yoke of bondage." Those unconverted proselytizers demanded that new believers be circumcised, as under the law; but Paul instructs the Galatians that, if they are to be circumcised, there is no profit from Christ in that, Gal. 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Under the New Covenant Jesus Christ does not bind us under the obligatory service of the Old Testament Law; therefore, circumcision means nothing, and uncircumcision means nothing (See 1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 3:28; Rom. 3:22; 10:12).

If a man is circumcised, he is a debtor to the whole law. The Greek word for "whole" here is HOLOS and means "completely, every whit, every part." James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. This means every jot and tittle of the law, every nuance of the law, every practice of the law, and this, being impossible to do, plunges those who surrender to it into a situation of a dire circumstance, one from which a man cannot lift himself except by divine faith in Jesus Christ and not in Moses.

If one cannot stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and if he is willing to be put back under the yoke of bondage, then it seems to me that he does not have genuine, divine faith in Jesus Christ and that he is not indeed free but is still in his sins.

Be thankful for your freedom, your liberty. We are free in Christ, and the law cannot condemn us, for Christ has nailed all of these ordinances to the cross. Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

We are servants either of sin or of Christ. When Christ made us free, we were freed from being servants of the law to being servants of God and of Christ. Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.