Unmasking False Teachers – Part 2

Danger

In my previous post in this series I looked at the methods of false teachers. In this post, my focus will be on the marks of false teachers. What does a false teacher look like? It is important to note that they are not going to be up front and say “I’m a false teacher and I’m here to deceive you!” All of God’s people need to be on guard and employ godly discernment. The Bible is filled with warnings concerning false prophets, teachers and shepherds. These troublemakers are influential and are in churches and many are writing “Christian” books. The prophet Ezekiel warned, Continue reading Unmasking False Teachers – Part 2

The Earth is the Lord’s – Part 2

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Knowing that the earth is the Lord’s (; ), what does this mean for us?

On the sixth day of creation, God created man. Why did God create him? He created man for His own glory. God did not need to create man, but out of His own good pleasure He chose to create man. This gracious creative act was for God’s own glory (cf. ). This means, it was for His sake, not for ours. In other words, we do not exist for us but we exist for God. That is why Paul says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (). This is done because He is worthy to receive this glory:

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” ().

The greatest responsibility of any person is that they give glory to God. When this does not take place we are sinning. To not glorify God is to glorify man and this is a terrible sin. A W Pink insightfully noted,

“Something more than a theoretical knowledge of God is needed by us. God is only truly known in the soul as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all the details of our lives by His holy precepts and commandments”.

After considering the fact that the Lord is the Creator, we need to understand that we owe Him our all. However, we need to acknowledge that we are sinners an unworthy of entering into His favourable presence. This is why we need the forgiveness of our sins which is found exclusively in His Son Jesus Christ.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;

24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,

everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”

The Earth is the Lord’s – Part 1

World

Have you noticed that the world is a big place? I live in Melbourne, Australia. If I want to travel north to Sydney by car, it will take me at least 9 hours (and that is without pit stops). That is only one example that reveals the size of the Australian continent. Consider the vast range of terrain and resources in the North and South American continents. Travel across the oceans and then discover the huge space of the African, Asian, and European continents. Of course, there is also the earth’s southernmost continent Antarctica. The world is a big place right?

After taking time to allow this to sink in, consider the words spoken by King David, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,the world and those who dwell therein” (). This is an amazing statement. Why is the earth the Lord’s and what are the implications? I will answer those two questions in two posts. For now, let us briefly consider the first.

Why is the Earth the Lord’s?

Firstly, He is the Source of all things. All things exist because He is the Creator.  The opening words of the Scriptures say, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (). The earth is the Lord’s because He made it.

Secondly, He is the Sustainer of all things. All things work and function because He makes them work. The function and operation of the world is complex. Just consider the growth of plants and trees. All these things work and are sustained by God. We read, “And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You” (b). The earth is the Lord’s because He sustains it.

Thirdly, God is the Sovereign of all things. The psalmist proclaimed, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (). He is the all-powerful ruler of the universe. As the Sovereign over creation, this means He looks after the stability of the physical universe (), the circumstances of nations within the world () and the length of human life (). He is the ruler over all things.

This is why David rightly declared, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof“. What does this mean for us? And what does this require of us? These questions will be answered in our next post. For now, take time to acknowledge that this world belongs to the Lord God Almighty. In the words of the hymn writer,

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet“.

24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

89 Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,

Since his days are determined,
and the number of his months is with you,
and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

Jesus Christ: The All-Seeing Saviour

All-Seeing Saviour

Who is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God (). He is supreme above all creation because “without Him was not any thing made that was made” () and spiritual life is found exclusively in Him (cf. ). Despite the clear testimony of Scripture concerning who Jesus Christ is, sadly many people serve the seeker-sensitive Jesus. He is a “Jesus” that makes them feel comfortable in their way of life. He is nothing more than a “Jesus” of their own making.

In this post I would like to discuss one aspect of who Jesus Christ is. Though much could indeed be said, I will limit myself to the following: Jesus Christ is the All-Seeing Saviour.

The Lord Jesus Christ is able to look at people and see their true spiritual condition. Regardless of what people claim, He knows everything about them. He is aware of every thought and action that you have done. On one occasion early in Christ’s public ministry, after He performed a number of miraculous signs, He  attracted the following of many individuals. However, “Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people” (). In these verses () there is a play on words. The point conveyed is that many believed in Jesus but Jesus didn’t believe in them. Why? Their faith wasn’t saving faith. Sure, on the outside they said they believed in Jesus. However, in a way that only He can, He saw their hearts. Because of His Divine awareness – “he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (b-25). Here we see a glimpse of the all-seeing Saviour.

In each letter to the seven churches in Revelation (), Jesus says, “I know your works” (). Such a statement is both a comfort and a caution. The glorified Christ is fully aware of every single action and deed you undertake and nothing escapes His attention. He knows all that we do and don’t do, and nothing is hidden from Him. He is fully aware of all that takes place in our churches – even if we don’t know about it ourselves. Every action that takes place in the church, every act of service for the Lord – menial and prominent, known and unknown – He sees it. He sees your service, your suffering and your sin.

This is who Jesus Christ is. He is the all-seeing Savour and He is watching. For those who love Christ and strive to serve Him, take comfort and know that He is watching you and knows your service. However, when we sin, be cautioned. Christ knows it all. For this reason, let us come to Him with with humility and honesty and submit to all His ways.

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 8:58

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people

24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people

2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

Revelation 2:9

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 2:13

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

Revelation 2:19

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

Revelation 3:1

3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Revelation 3:8

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelation 3:15

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!

The Incomparable Christ

Incomparable_Image

There is none who can be compared with the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is He incomparable? I would like to answer that question by considering what the Scriptures teach concerning His Supreme Person, Position and Provisions.

His Supreme Person
The Lord Jesus Christ is not presented as a simple person in the Scriptures, instead He is announced as the Supreme Person ( and ). The Scriptures provide many names for Him, but Continue reading The Incomparable Christ

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Resources for Spiritual Growth – Part 2

spiritual-growth2

In my last post we saw the importance of the priority of prayer and the permeation of Scripture in spiritual growth. In this final instalment of of posts on resources for spiritual growth I will consider the final two: the power of the Spirit and the presence of fellowship. 

The Power of the Spirit
If we are going to serve the Lord with our highest love, reverence and obedience we are in need of Divine help. For this reason we need the power of the Holy Spirit. This power will help us apply what we learn in the word of God. Both the permeation of the word and the power of the Spirit work hand in hand. How does this power work? We need to be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is a  straightforward command in Scripture, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The word “filled” in this verse means “to make full” in the sense of permeation or control. The idea is that the believer’s life is to be under the control and direction of the Holy Spirit. This control leads to conduct that is in conformity to the word of God (cf. Col. 3:16).

Continue reading Resources for Spiritual Growth – Part 2

God is in Heaven

Father in Heaven

Our Father in heaven” ()? In this post I want to dwell on the two words “in heaven” because they are filled with glorious truth that ought to greatly encourages us when we pray. The Scriptures teach that God is everywhere (omnipresent). Yet in a special way, His abode is located in Heaven. It is the place in which He rules and governs the universe. In the book of Isaiah we read these words, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool...'” (Is. 66:1a).

Continue reading God is in Heaven

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

O_Come_Holy_Spirit_by_LordShadowblade1

Many people talk about the need to be filled with the Spirit. This is understandable because it is a biblical concept. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Some make this refer to an experience limited to a select few whereas others ignore its importance completely. What does it mean? In we have this straightforward command, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit“. The word “filled” in this verse means “to make full” in the sense of permeation or control. The idea is that the believer’s life is to be under the control and direction of the Holy Spirit. This control leads to conduct that is in conformity to the word of God (cf. ). Let us consider four features concerning the notion of being filled with the Spirit.

Unlike other references to filling (the sovereign fillings in Luke-Acts), the filling in is a command. The implication of this is very serious – to not be filled with the Holy Spirit is disobedience. Furthermore, because this is a command, it is clear that this ought not to be confused with the baptism (; ; ; ; ; and ), sealing (; ) or indwelling ministry (; ; ) of the Holy Spirit. All of those take place once and for all at the beginning of every believer’s salvation and then have ongoing effects. Nowhere in the Scriptures is the believer commanded to receive the baptism with the Spirit, or to be sealed with the Spirit, or indwelt by the Spirit. However, to “filled with the Sprit” is a command. Continue reading What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 11:16

16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.