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Showing posts from February, 2006

Fellowship is a Must

If we are Christians, that is people in whom Jesus Christ dwells.

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

Then there is only one reason we must break fellowship with another Christian. That is unconfessed, unrepentant immorality in the other Christian.

“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.” 1 Corinthians 5:9

For all other Christians it is the other way; we must have fellowship with them. If we do not have fellowship it is because we are not walking in the light. This is not church discipline. This is a natural consequence of sin.

Fellowship is Lacking When Light is Dim

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

There are two promises here based upon one condition.

1. Fellowship with one another.
2. Being continually cleansed from all sin.

What is the condition? Walking in the light! What is the light?

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

God Himself is the light. In Him there is no darkness at all.

It is very simple. If we are not in fellowship with one another, at least one of us is not walking in the light.

Careless Tourists

The following is from Vicki Van Gorkam. She, with her husband Fred, are missionary veterinarians in Ethiopia. Fred, her husband will be speaking at the Nuart Theatre after the showing of “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” at 7:00 pm on March 5, 2006. That is 516 S. Main St. in Moscow, ID.

I’m mad at uncaring tourists, who have been visiting the Hammar people for years and exposing them to HIV/AIDS with perverted sexual acts, previously unknown to the Hammar.

For years the Hammar and Bunna had been more or less protected. HIV/AIDS had not reached these tribal peoples because of their remote locations. Even the Ethiopian truck drivers who might have been carrying the deadly virus thought the tribal women were beneath them and did not desire contact with Bunna or Hammar women. School teachers who came to live there from other areas of Ethiopia brought their own women with them.

Sharon Smith, who worked as a nurse at the Alduba station when we were there from 1987 to 2002, did a lot of teaching …

Rituals

Every church has a ritual, whether it is an Independent Baptist Church or an Anglo-Catholic Church and churches on either end and in between. The liturgical churches have a planned ritual. The non-liturgical churches have a ritual by default.

At the worst, rituals become idolatrous; at the best, they are figures of the true; between the best and the worst, they are dead traditions. Normally they start as figures and end up as idols. The rituals described in detail in the Old Testament were meant to be figures of the true. We see this in Hebrews, chapters seven through ten.

Long before these rituals were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, they had ceased to be figures; they became the real thing to the people who practiced them. When this happened they were no longer acceptable to God even as figures.

Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than…

Joyful Singing

There are ways of expressing joy. Singing is one of them; laughter is another; hugging, cheering, and dancing are others. However, it is possible to sing, laugh, hug, cheer, and dance without joy. We might do them for pleasure, which is not the same.

In the first instance, the singing is the RESULT of joy. In the second instance, we think that the singing is the CAUSE of joy. The danger is that we might think that pleasure IS joy and also not be able to distinguish between cause and effect.
When the singing becomes drab in our churches, we find other solutions than the real one. We get a band with drums, a “worship leader” and speaker amplifiers. The singing might improve, or it might just look like it has improved.

A much better solution is to consider that…

1. the drab singing is an evidence that the saints have lost the joy of God’s salvation (Psalm 51:12)

2. that this loss is the result of accumulated, unconfessed, unforgiven sins in the body.

3. that confession of these sins …

Sophomoric

Sophomoric—adjective

This is a combination of two Greek words “wise” and “foolish.” The word “sophomore” goes back to 1684. “Sophomoric” got invented two hundred years later. Here is the definition: “conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature.”

I never liked the word. It seemed to me to be a “put down” word and I did not appreciate those kinds of expressions. It got worse when it seemed to me to be used by “sophomoric” people. Over the years I have seen many sophomoric people, not all of them sophomores, but I do not recall using the word to describe them.

This is a preamble to tell you that I am about to use the word. It is a descriptive word. It does not take much wisdom and discernment to recognize the characteristics of people pretending to be informed and authoritative. For hundreds of years the male of our species has bragged about his sexual prowess and multiple women. Add to this how much he could drink and not get drunk, or how drunk he could get a…

Traditions

The Jews had 2000 years of tradition at the time of Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church has had 1700 years of tradition since Constantine.

Evangelical American Protestants have 30, 50, 200 years of “traditional American values” and somehow we think it’s a virtue and a grand heritage. It includes, Ozzie and Harriet, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kincaid, Santa Claus, John Wayne, the Easter Bunny, and Trick or Treat.

Jesus said, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Mark 7:8

You may have another list of traditional American values than the list above, but they are still “traditional” values. They are not biblical; they are not Christian.

I grew up in the 30’s and 40’s of the last century. The values, then, were decadent. You may think that our current values are more decadent. That may be true, but let’s go back to the Bible; let’s not go back to an imaginary era that we worship as an idol. Compared to the previous …

At Calvary: A Hymn

There is a word that is common in evangelical English. It is the word Calvary. It showed up as a single occurrence in Luke 23:33 in the King James Version. It is the word Kranium in Greek. It should have been translated “skull” in the King James Version. The King James Version was a transliteration from the Latin, Calvary. There is nothing in the four gospels of why the word “skull” was used and no mention that it was a hill. It was just a place. Never the less we know the place where Jesus died is now called Calvary even though it was never called Calvary at the time.

At Calvary

1.Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was
crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died On Calvary.

2.By God’s Word at last my sin I learned- Then I trembled at the
law I’d spurned, Till my guilty soul imploring turned To Calvary.

3.Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus ev’ry thing, Now I gladly own Him
as my King, Now my raptured soul can only sing Of Calvary.

4.O the love that drew salvation’s plan! O the grace…

Euphemisms

Euphemisms are pretended synonyms. A euphemism is a nice sounding word that puts a good face on a bad sounding word. The word is talking about the same act, practice, or exclamation but does it in such a way that the act, practice, or exclamation does not sound bad. In fact, it might sound good or at least, innocent.

Examples: Adultery—Affair
Homosexuality—Gay
Jesus!—Geez or Gee Whiz
The Lord’s name in condemnation—Dog gone it or goldarnit
Condemnation—Darn it

Some people think it is a virtue to soften words of sin. It sort of cleans up the dirt. It does not succeed; it only has the appearance of clean without being clean. Why not? God cleanses that which is confessed as sin. Because we have cleaned up the word the sin is not confessed and therefore not forgiven.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Synonyms

Even among real synonyms there is a difference in the emotional response to the word. We are careful to use the better sounding word. These are not euphemisms.

Here are some examples:

Medicine and Medication—We do not wish to take our medicine, but we are eager to take our medication. Medication makes us well. Medicine is unpleasant to take. However, it is the same stuff.

Here is another example:

The Shroud of Turin or The grave clothes of Torino.

One phrase has a holy sound to it. The other, a commonplace, vulgar sound.

In evangelical Christianity we have, in English, different ways to pronounce the Lord’s name.

Jeeeesus or the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we talking about the same person? The first emphasizes the long e, the vowel, and speaks to the emotions. The second emphasizes the consonants and carries more meaning even though we are talking about the same person.

Why and How

Two of the most basic questions that mankind has had since the Fall have been “Why” and “How.” In both religion and science, they have caused great searches, theories, guesses and finding of fact. As a result, there has been a great advance in science. In the process of this advance, there also have been wrong conclusions in every century.

Because of man’s impatience for answers, his credulity, his mysticism, and his rebellion, we have billions of people living in scientific and spiritual darkness.
There is a basic right answer to every “why” and “how” question. The answer is,
…the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land. (Jonah 1:9 NKJV).

I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness… (Isaiah 45:6, 7 NIV)

It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. (Isaiah 45:12 NIV)

This right answer has been around for a long time. Rebelling against Him has caus…

Gossip- Approving Sin?

“Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:32

Practice and approve.

Gossip is a means of approving sin. It is a vicarious enjoyment of someone else’s sin by savoring it by talking about the sin and listening to the talk.

This is a means of enjoying sin without actually doing the sin. In fact, the talk may have the tone and content of disapproval. The gossiper, at least to himself, has the appearance of innocence because 1) he is not, himself, doing the sin and 2) he is voicing disapproval.

He deceives himself and his listeners.

“For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” Ephesians 5:12

Gossip- cont.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:15, 16

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” 1 Corinthians 5:12

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should re…

More On Gossip

Many years ago we knew a U.S. Air Force Chaplain. He and his family stayed in our home for a few days while we were gone. His name was Augie Kilpatrick. On one occasion my wife, Bessie, asked Augie how he handled gossip. He had a ready answer.

“I take out my little pocket notebook and write down, word for word, what I am being told. After I have taken it all down, I read it back to the person and ask him if it is correct and is it true. With an affirmative answer I hand him the notebook and my pen and say, “Please sign here.”

Many years ago we arrived in a new town and had settled into our home and church. We had barely got settled when Bessie got a phone call from a woman in the church. She had some gossip about someone else in the church. Bessie asked, “Is that true?” The answer was “yes.” Bessie said, “Let’s you and I go see her and correct her.” “If you go to see her, don’t tell her that I told you?”

This does not stop gossip, but it does keep you out of the circuit. Normally, we are…

Mind of Christ

We know more about the thoughts of God than we do about the thoughts of man. How can that be? There are at least two ways:

1. He has revealed his thoughts to us in the Scriptures.
2. He has given us His Spirit to understand the Spiritual words.

None of the rulers of this world understood God’s wisdom. If they had, they would not have nailed the Lord of glory to the cross. It is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love him.” But God has shown it to us through his Spirit. The Spirit understands all things. He understands even the deep things of God. Who can know the thoughts of another person? Only a person’s own spirit can know them. In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows God’s thoughts. We have not received the spirit of the world. We have received the Spirit who is from God. The Spirit helps us understand what God has freely given us. That is what we speak about. We don’t use words taught to us by peo…

Gossip

“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:28-32

These are consequences of rejecting God. Go through the list again. Besides the awful things of murder and malice there are things we enjoy like gossip, slander, envy, disobeying parents, and boasting.

Let’s dwell on gossip. We have always had opportunities to gossip at work, at teas, bridge parties, cocktail parties,…

Mind of Man

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11 NIV)

One of the things I see often is people judging with absolute certainty the thoughts and motives of another person. To them, it is self-evident. The text quoted is a rhetorical question. Paul is not asking for a show of hands on who knows another person’s thoughts. He is saying that man cannot know the thoughts of another man. We could know if the man told us and we could know if we had the man’s spirit. We could also know if God revealed the man’s thoughts to us. Until then, we must not judge the thoughts of another person. We guess! We guess wrongly and then act on our guess as if we were right.

Will of God

Here are two questions received by email. “What is the meaning of God’s will? What have I to do in order to do God’s will?” Here is a related question: “How can I know God’s will?”
There are two expressions of God’s will that are ultimate in the Scriptures. The first is our salvation.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3, 4 NIV)
The second is part of the first.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. (1 Thessalonians 4:3a NIV)
Both of these were accomplished by Jesus Christ.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV)

We now know that the will of God for us is our salvation, which includes our justification (conversion), holiness, and the redemption of our bodies at the Second Coming. Again, all paid for in advance.
Since we have already experienced our justifica…

Revival

“Revival,” like many words, has a recent history with several different cultural definitions:

1. The East African Revival of the 30s, 40s, and 50s of the last century. See Roy Hession’s The Calvary Road, Norman Grubb’s Continuous Revival, and Festo Kivengere’s Revolutionary Love.
2. The Welsh Revival very early in the last century where tens of thousands were converted in a few weeks. See Jessie Penn-Lewis’s, The Awakening in Wales.
3. The Korean Revival and North China Revivals were also early in the 20th century. See When the Spirit’s Fire Swept Korea, by Jonathan Goforth.
4. The Great Awakening in the middle of the 18th century and the Second Great Awakening in the middle of the 19th century. These two hit England, Scotland, Wales, the Colonies, and the United States.
The United States did not have anything startling in the 20th century that could remotely be called revival. We did have two World Wars and the ascendancy of liberalism in the Church. Europe, however, took the mo…