Three Enemies-Part 2

Aside

The Flesh: The world system, under Satan’s sway and influence, has a powerful attraction for all of Adam’s descendants. We were born under this enemy’s regime. Only when we come to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, are we able to be freed from this enemy’s power. Colossians 1:13 describes our liberation, in these words: (God) “….hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” However, the world system has a powerful ally within the center of our being that craves to go the way of this world. We still have remnants of our old fallen human nature (the flesh) that we inherited from Adam that must be overcome. Romans 8:5-6 draws a sharp contrast between those who are saved and those who are not. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Verse 12 gives us an important truth, one that we, who have been transferred into the kingdom of His dear Son, must never forget. It says, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” We are able, in His strength, to overcome the pull of the flesh! How? The answer is found in these words, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). This happened at the Cross. Today, when we feel the pull to give in to the temptations of the remaining remnants of our old human nature, we must recall that this evil urge has been nailed to the cross and refuse to consider its downward pull. Bring the principles of the Word to bear, pray earnestly and depend on the Holy Spirit to give you the discipline to say “no!” to sin. Selah! All three factors in the previous sentence must be used and must be motivated by love for and gratitude to our God for the awful price that He paid to purchase our freedom from spiritual bondage.     Ron

Three Enemies-Part 1

Aside

The World: Three enemies attack the true believer simultaneously. These three are the world, the flesh and the devil. Today, we want to consider the “world.” We are not speaking of the planet itself but of the world system. This is the thinking, behavior and standards that are influencing and driving those outside of Christ. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 2:2, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Satan holds sway over this world. The children of God can and should be salt and light. We can retard and slow the rate of decay. However, this world is operating under a foreign power and will until God’s moment to return and oust the occupying power. Until then, we are living under that alien power. Our allegiance is not to the current regime. It is to Heaven in which we have citizenship. Now the current ruling power has cleverly developed an appealing image of how much we can enjoy by going its way. Prestige, position, power, possessions and pleasure can be ours for the taking, if we will but relax and enjoy what is available. But God warns, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4), and “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Our lifestyles, values, attitudes and conduct are to be pleasing to Him, Whose we are. Can we overcome the very powerful pull of this present world system? Yes, if we are really serious with God because “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). Selah!And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:17).     Ron

Overcomer or Overcome?

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Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault.” (From Galatians 6:1). While the subject here is restoration, I want to focus on the fact that a genuine believer can be overtaken or overcome in a fault. Fault here is a sin or sins that one stumbles into. He or she is caught off guard and overcome by sin. Let’s face it! We are all vulnerable. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12). The question is this: How can we avoid stumbling? The first thing is to come to grips with the fact that we are engaged in a battle. We Christians behave as though we are not on active duty. We are under fire from three dlfferent opposing forces. Sometimes, we walk right into the enemy camp. Other times we are wounded before we even realise that we have been a target. We need a defense. However, wars are not won with defense alone. We also need to go on the offensive. Are we trained for that? Many are not! Have we identified the enemy? Some will just say, it’s the devil. That’s true. Nevertheless, it’s only part of the picture. I hope to devote a few articles to handling three major lines of attack, God willing. Selah! We will never keep from being overcome, unless we learn to be overcomers.    Ron

A Costly Climax

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Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5). The time will come when every knee shall bow to Jesus. (See Philippians 2:10) There won’t be any choice. All will bow, willingly or unwillingly. The ungodly will bow at The Great White Throne Judgment. They will be unable to stand in this judgment. Condemned for rejection of Christ’s salvation, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). At the Rapture of the Church, the wheat and tares (the saved and unsaved) will be separated. Our local churches have been populated by both since the church came into existence. The final “congregation of the righteous” in Heaven will have no sinners standing in their midst. It will be only those sinners who have been saved by grace who comprise that great congregation. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6). God knows all who are righteous. They have been credited with His Own Son’s perfect righteousness. God knows their ways because His Spirit, using His Word, has been conforming them to the image of His Son. They have a glorious future! The way of the ungodly comes to a costly climax. All that die, not knowing Him, perish! They perish forever, without hope! A costly climax indeed! Selah! God has provided a means to escape such a horrible fate. His Son purchased deliverance for whosoever will. He died on a Roman cross to pay the penalty due our sin(s). When we receive Him as Lord and Savior, the benefits of His payment are applied to us. We no longer await a costly climax!    Ron

Whoosh!

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Time is a little speck on the horizon of eternity. Years go by slowly until we look back and wonder where they went so quickly. Being locked into time (for now), distorts our perspective. We have “tunnel vision!” It seems to us that this life is our major concern. We live for “time.” We need to think of time as a very slight “window of opportunity” to prepare for eternity. The old serpent whispers, “You have plenty of time. You can give this some thought when you have a little “down time.” So, you keep busy and concentrate on today. Suddenly, folks are attending your funeral! For you, time has vanished! The psalmist has been showing us the blessedness of those who meet the conditions. Now, he turns our attention to those who do not meet the conditions. “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4). The Godly enjoy blessedness for time and eternity; the ungodly are swept off the earth so quickly that it’s like “whoosh!” Where did they go? Those who are born again endure forever, while those who are unsaved suffer in a Hell without hope. This is why we are granted whatever time we have on earth. We must make our decision to receive or reject Jesus as Lord and Savior during this very brief “window of opportunity.” James 4:14 underscores the point that we have been making, “….For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Selah!For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?.”    Ron

Tremendous Results!

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When we meet the conditions for being richly blessed, tremendous results follow! When a truly saved person invests much time and effort in absorbing, thinking on, applying, obeying and enjoying God’s Word, the effect on his or her life will be wondrous. This is what the psalmist is talking about in Psalm 1:3. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” The tree here in this text is a healthy tree. It is well rooted down into rivers of water. Nourishment from the water of the Word may not give physical health but it will give Spiritual vitality and fruitfulness. Note that there is regularity in producing fruit. (Study different kinds of fruit in the Bible). His leaf shall not wither as it is constantly drawing life from the roots. When we are faithfully, properly engaged in Scripture, we produce fruit throughout our time on earth. “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.” (From Psalm 92:14). This is a wonderful result that not a few have experienced. We may or may not prosper financially. We will prosper Spiritually! Our fruitfulness will impact lives for time and eternity. Selah! A strong, healthy tree will provide beauty, stability, shelter, comfort and nourishment. Let’s let God make us into that kind of a Spiritual tree!     Ron

Saturation!

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We’ve considered three conditions for being richly blessed: 1. Don’t be guided by ungodly counsel. 2. Don’t “hang out” with sinners. We can reach out to them but not by embracing their values and ways and we must be equipped to counter their wrong influence exerted upon us. 3. The same things apply to interacting with scorners, cynics, skeptics, etc. Now, the only way that we can safely interact with them is found in today’s verse. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Let’s examine it together. Note the word “delight.” His, the truly born again Christian’s, delight is in the law of the LORD. It isn’t a matter of God’s Word being interesting, informative and/or inspiring, although it’s all of that. Nor is it a matter of doing one’s duty. It is truly a pleasure to read and discover what God has revealed. It is like a very thirsty person craving for cool, clear water. He or she craves it, needs it and drinks deeply, enjoying the refreshment and longing for more. Then, there is the matter of meditation. We think deeply on the Truths of Scripture. As we begin to really understand Truth, we apply it and obey its commands. We are absorbing what God is saying to us. It’s becoming a part of the warp and woof of our Spiritual being. We learn to appreciate and defend basic Truths. When we develop Spiritual competence, we can interact with unsaved people, depending on God to make our witness stronger than their influence. Meditating day and night may include morning and evening devotions. However, it’s more than that. Bible (and prayer) should be the context for our daily activities. His Word should saturate all that we are, think and do. Selah! This doesn’t happen overnight. Nevertheless, it must be our purpose and goal each day.    Ron