Friday, November 28, 2008

What is Real Wisdom?

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13 (NIV)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17 (NIV)


Notice the words that are associated with wisdom from Heaven.

1. Humility
2. Pure
3. Peace-loving
4. Considerate
5. Submissive
6. Full of Mercy
7. Good fruit
8. Impartial
9. Sincere

There are people who think they, themselves, are wise. Other people also may think they are wise. If they do not have the above characteristics, they have deceived themselves and their fans are neither observant nor do not know the definition of wisdom.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Different Needs in Unbelievers

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 22, 23 (NIV)

Here are three extreme means of evangelism, on three different needs in unbelievers.

1.Doubters:

-Be merciful
-Show mercy
-Preach mercy

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 (NIV)

Doubt is removed by faith and faith is caused by the preaching of Christ.

2. In the fire—those on the brink of death. Snatch them from the fire. This is urgent preaching and insistent on repentance.

3. People in filth—Mercy and fear

Mary sings of the mixture of mercy and fear in her song.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. Luke 1:50 (NIV)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christians are not to Love the World

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4 (NIV)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:15, 16 (NIV)

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. John 17:14-16

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:18 (NIV)


The world is in opposition to God and in opposition to those that love God. The world hates them. Christians do not like to be hated by the people who surround them. Yet God wanted them to be surrounded by the world, but not tainted by it and certainly not to love the world.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Show Respect for those in Authority

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:1-7 (NIV)

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. 1 Timothy 2:1-7 (NIV)


All of these texts are clear. They do not need to be taught the content. People need to be taught to obey the content.

How to obey:

1. Confess the sin of not obeying the law. That is disobeying God. The president, the king, and the governors are God’s servants.
2. Obey by doing good. That is God’s will. This obedience silences the ignorant talk of foolish men.
3. Show respect for everyone, love the brothers, fear God, and honor the president.
4. Pray for the president and all those in authority. There are two reasons for this:

a) That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
b) God wants all men to be saved. There seems to be a connection with (a).

If you are bummed about the election, confess it. As long as you are bummed you are not rejoicing in the Lord always.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Loyalty & Treason are not Necessary Words for a Christian

A few days ago I mentioned both loyalty and treason were bad words. To the normal worldly person loyalty is always a good word and treason is always a bad word. I suggested there are better words.

Here are a few, God, love, truth, obedience, responsibility and humility. With these as our standard as Christians we find that loyalty and treason are not necessary words. I can obey God with love, truth, and humility. If I have a responsibility to my wife, children, church, and nation, I carry them out by obedience to God and love for God and my wife, children, and nation.

You can reply by saying that I am “loyal.” Not even close. Loyalty is an artificially created humanistic emotion. Love is a God authored and created emotion.

The man in the Bible that stands out in loyalty in my mind is Joab. His brother Abishai is a close second. The man who stands out in love and obedience is Paul. There is not a whiff of loyalty about him.

…though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:4-11 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Loyalty & Treason

Over the years I have periodically thought about loyalty. I am thinking about it again. In my earlier thinking, I came to the conclusion that the word was a bad word and the practice was a bad practice.

Loyalty causes things like millions of people giving strong adherence to, and following of people, like Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and causing the premature death of hundreds of millions of people. And the people who were loyal thought it was a good thing.

Loyalty causes people to say, “I was born a Methodist, I will die a Methodist”, even though the Holy Spirit may have left the Methodist church a hundred years ago.

Loyalty causes people to say, “South High School in Omaha is the best high school because I go to South High.

Loyalty is taught in nations, churches, and schools. In military units, it is called “Espirit de corps.”

Pep rallies help it along, Martial music helps it along.

We have a problem with what I have just written. That is, the opposite of loyalty, is treason and treason is bad. A traitor is an evil person.

If I remember correctly, here is a quotation from the Merchant of Venice.

“The man who has no music in his soul is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.” That is not scripture, but it gives a worldly view of treason. It is not good.

Jeremiah was considered a traitor by the king and the people. He was the only one obedient to God.

Dietrich Bonheoffer was executed as a traitor because he was in the plot to assassinate Hitler.

If loyalty is bad and treason is bad, then there must be something else.