Misapplying Scripture

There is a trap that we can fall into, if we are not careful. We can use Scripture to justify something that we want to do, even if that something is sin. One way that is done is by misapplying the concept of Christian liberty. We have liberty, but not liberty to sin.  One example of misapplying Scripture is found in I Corinthians 6:12. Paul was inspired to state: “All things are lawful unto me.” Some have used that kind of statement as an excuse to do things that are clearly condemned in God’s Word. Paul qualified his statement. He added, in that verse, that: “all things are not expedient” and “I will not be brought under the power of any.” He made an even stronger statement in Galatians 5:13. He wrote that we are not to, “….use liberty for an occasion to the flesh.” Liberty is not a big umbrella under which we can sin, if we want to, and then blame it on the umbrella. Liberty is the freedom to be and do what we ought to be and do. What is called “legalism” by many today is when we do something or refrain from doing something because someone’s standards are imposed upon us from without. Liberty is when our hearts freely want to do right because we love God and are grateful for salvation, and want to be holy and honor Him. A true disciple’s heart doesn’t want to excuse worldliness, but wants to walk as close to God as possible. Norman Clayton’s Gospel chorus “Every Moment of Every Day,” explains what is to motivate us: “Only to be what He wants me to be, every moment of every day; yielded completely to Jesus alone, every step of this pilgrim way. Just to be clay in the Potter’s hand; only to do as His will commands. Only to be what He wants me to be every moment of every day.” (Quoted from memory-unable to locate exact text). Selah! One who is truly born again loses his or her craving to live as the world does and craves, more and more, to be wholly set apart to God and be holy in heart and life.   Ron 

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Living in Grave Clothes?

When Jesus raised Lazarus from death, He said, “….Loose him, and let him go.” (From John 11:44). Jesus told them to remove Lazarus’ grave clothes and set him free. It would have been abnormal for Lazarus to go about bound in his grave clothes. He was alive! The same thing is true for those who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord. We are born spiritually dead; we are made Spiritually alive. The world’s ways, values, beliefs and lifestyle were our grave clothes. Jesus said in John 8:36: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” We are to shed the worldly grave clothes! In Romans 6: 2, Paul asks: “….How shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?” Then, in Verse 4, Paul reminds us that we: “….should walk in newness of life.” However, too many who claim Jesus to be their Savior insist on continuing to wear their grave clothes. There are those who name His Name, who rationalize and justify and excuse things that God’s Word condemns. The teaching in II Corinthians 6:14-7:1 has not been rescinded! This is what it says: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” in other words, get rid of the grave clothes! A. Catherine Hankey  wisely wrote in her hymn, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story,” these thoughts: “Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear that this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.” Selah! It is amazing that some even twist Scripture to justify worldly practices. More on that tomorrow, God willing.   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com  

Last Moments

A dead Man was restored to life, after being three days dead! He joined two very discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus and explained to them that Scripture was all about Himself. God’s Word foretold all that had happened to Jesus. Jesus used the written Word to prepare them for the revealing of the Living Word. That is still God’s Way, today! Jesus stayed with them that evening and while sharing fellowship with Him, they were enabled to grasp that it was really Him. He was alive and present! The Word prepares our hearts and minds to see Christ. Suddenly, He vanished from their sight, not from their presence. In Luke 24:33-53, these two excited disciples went to the eleven at Jerusalem and were informed that Jesus was risen indeed, that Simon had seen Him. The two told the others their experience. While they were discussing these things, Jesus stood in their midst. He confirmed that it was really Him, not a vision. He fellowshipped with them, reminded them of what Scripture had said about Him and then opened up their understanding of those Scriptures. He then commissioned them to preach, instructed them to await His enabling for the mission and then led them out as far as Bethany, blessed them and they saw Him taken up out of their sight! They worshipped, rejoiced, were constantly in the temple, praising and blessing God. This is still our mission today! Preach, teach, worship, rejoice, fellowship, praise and bless God; profound simplicity! In the hymn: “Lord Speak to Me,” may Frances Ridley Havergal’s heart cry be ours: “Lord, speak to me that I may speak  in living echoes of your tone.  As you have sought, so let me seek  your erring children, lost and lone. O lead me, Lord, that I may lead  the wandering and the wavering feet. O feed me, Lord, that I may feed  your hungering ones with manna sweet. O teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious truths which you impart. And wing my words that they may reach  the hidden depths of many a heart. O fill me with your fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflow  in kindling thought and glowing word,  your love to tell, your praise to show. O use me, Lord, use even me,  just as you will, and when, and where until your blessed face I see, your rest, your joy, your glory share.” Selah! “….Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; ….He was buried,….He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures….Therefore….so we preach, and so ye believed.” (From I Corinthians 15:3-11).      Ron

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In the Wake of the Resurrection

What was important to Jesus and to us in the wake of the Resurrection? I find it interesting that His first recorded encounter in Luke 24:13:32 was to two discouraged disciples who seemed to have lost hope. He came alongside of them on the road to Emmaus and asked them what had discouraged them so. He listened to their recital of all their reasons to be depressed. They were even downcast over reports of His body not being found. Apparently, the reports didn’t even cause them to consider why the body was not found. They were so wrapped up in their misery that they didn’t even recognize their Master. (What a lesson for us when we are suffering)! Jesus chided them for their slowness to believe the prophets and then asked them a thought provoking question in Verse 26: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” What did Jesus do next? “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded  unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Verse 27). Jesus expounded the Scriptures to them and reminded them that He, Himself, is the key to understanding the Word of God. It’s all about Him! Let Him be your Expositor, when you meditate on the Word.  When He finished, He gave the impression that He was going further. However, they urged Him to stay with them as it was getting to be late in the day. He agreed! What an example for us! They wanted Him to be with them and He was. They had fellowship and during that time they saw Him for Who He is. He vanished from their sight but not from their presence. “And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures” (Verse 32)? Mary Lathbury, in the hymn, “Break Thou the Bread of life,” grasped this glorious reality. She prayed: “Break Thou the Bread of Life, Dear Lord to me, as Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea: beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; my spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word!” Selah! To what was Jesus’ attention given after this remarkable encounter with two needy disciples? Come back tomorrow and let’s see what took place, God willing.   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

Crucial Events in History

There have been outstanding moments (times, events) in history. There are two events, however, that very far surpass all others! The first is recorded in John 19:30. Jesus exclaimed: “It is finished!” At that moment, the entire sin-debt was paid in full for all of humanity, for all of time. What is beyond astonishing is the fact that most people refuse the offer of pardon. They will not receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and thereby do not receive their pardon for sin(s). The penalty is separation from God forever in Hell. Because Jesus was and is God, His sacrifice is and was infinite. Anyone who will turn to Jesus in repentance and faith will be freed from sin’s penalty. The second event is found in Luke 24:1-8. Arriving at the tomb, the women were shocked to find Jesus’ body missing. In the midst of their dismay, two men (read: angels) spoke to them and said: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” They were reminded of what Jesus said: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” A man, the Man, lying dead for three days in a tomb, was restored to life! This was miraculous beyond words to express and it was absolutely essential! Paul explains in Romans 4:25. He wrote that Jesus: “….was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” Christ’s resurrection was God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice as satisfying all of the demands of His justice. The hymn, “Wounded for Me, by  W.G. Ovens and Gladys Westcott Roberts beautifully summarizes the impact of these two events: “Wounded for me, wounded for me,  there on the cross He was wounded for me;  gone my transgressions, and now I am free,  all because Jesus was wounded for me. Dying for me, dying for me, there on the cross He was dying for me; now in His death my redemption I see, all because Jesus was dying for me. Risen for me, risen for me, up from the grave He has risen for me; now evermore from death’s sting I am free, all because Jesus has risen for me. Living for me, living for me, up in the skies He is living for me; daily He’s pleading and praying for me, all because Jesus is living for me. Coming for me, coming for me, one day to earth He is coming for me; then with what joy His dear face I shall see, O how I praise Him-—He’s coming for me!Selah! Some fascinating and instructing things occurred in the wake of His resurrection. We will look at these tomorrow, God willing. Do stop by!  Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

Are We off Track?

Recalling that Satan is a master of distraction, has the church been coaxed off track? I suspect that many local churches are off track. Let’s think about some things that get a lot of attention in a local church. Let me list a few: income, expenses, grounds, buildings, projects, programs, meals, advertising, leaders, etc. All of these may be necessary and important, but are they shifting our focus from what matters most? What is it that matters most? These top the list: He does! Knowing Him, loving Him worshiping Him, honoring Him, spending time with Him, obeying Him, inviting others to know Him, etc. These are the real priorities for a local church and to focus on them means that we must engage in edification and evangelism. This is what Paul was pointing out in Ephesians 4:11-15: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.” .Which receives the most attention in your church and mine? Is it the secondary things that we mentioned first, or are these secondary to edification and evangelism? Unless they are, we are off track! Satan has us majoring on minors. If he does, let us who truly know Jesus as Savior and Lord do all we can to restore our focus on what matters most. All else should be marginal. Timothy Dwight appears to have the right focus in his hymn, “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord!” He wrote:I love Thy kingdom, Lord,  the house of Thine abode,  the church our blest Redeemer saved  with His own precious blood. I love Thy church, O God.  Her walls before Thee stand,  dear as the apple of Thine eye,  and graven on Thy hand. For her my tears shall fall;  for her my prayers ascend;  to her my cares and toils be given,  till toils and cares shall end. Beyond my highest joy I prize her heavenly ways: her sweet communion, solemn vows, her hymns of love and praise. Sure as thy truth shall last, to Zion shall be given  the brightest glories earth can yield, and brighter bliss of heaven.” Selah! If we are off focus, we pose no threat to Satan’s agenda!    Ron
 
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The Role of the Church in the Church

In a local church, there are professing believers and “possessing” believers. Jesus calls these “wheat and tares.” You can read about these in Matthew 13:24-30. The tares are to illustrate those in a local church who look pretty much like “the real thing.” The wheat is to illustrate those who are truly born again. In a local assembly, there are apt to be some who make no claim of being converted. They have come for various reasons. What is the role of those who are the church in the local church? The most important thing that they can do is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, walk in the Spirit, be guided by Him and become (Spiritually) healthy “wheat.” The contrast will expose the tares in the eyes of all present (including the tares). Some of the tares might be transformed into wheat. Those who are genuine believers should also exert a strong influence on their local fellowship to function according to Biblical principles. George Atkin’s hymn, “Brethren, We have Met to Worship,” gives a good perspective on how this works: “Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God; will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?  All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;  Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around. Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumb’ring on the brink of woe;  death is coming, Hell is moving, Can you bear to let them go?  See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down; brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around. Sisters, will you join and help us? Moses’ sister aided him; will you help the trembling mourners who are struggling hard with sin? Tell them all about the Savior, tell them that He will be found; sisters, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around. Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other, too; let us love and pray for sinners, till our God makes all things new. Then He’ll call us home to Heaven, at His table we’ll sit down; Christ will gird Himself, and serve us with sweet manna all around.” Paul challenged the Colossians Christians and us in Colossians 3:16-17: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Selah! Local churches can be or become vital, if the Church fulfills its obligations!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com