Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Impatience

The last 24 hours I have been thinking about impatience and anger. You may know most of the scripture I am going to quote you. I trust that they will hit you differently from something you know in your head.

As you look at each verse ask yourself the question, “Is this verse true or false?” Make yourself answer the question. If you answer “True”, thank God from your heart for this true statement and then thank God all day long for this truth. The result will be that this truth will end up in your heart. It will not be just information in your head.

My first verse is a rhetorical question. “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” He is not wanting to know how to sin. It is true. Thank God! This will become a part of you.

Sin does not travel in singles. Where there is one sin there are others close attached. When one sin happens another is close behind.

“But now you must put them all away, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). These sins go together.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
These sins go together and are to be put off together.

“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. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 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. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:13-18)

Notice “every evil practice.” Sins go together. Your impatience problem is not isolated!

“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” True or false? True! Thank God!

When you thank God it is impossible to be anxious, impatient, critical, cynical, or complaining and certainly it is impossible to be angry. If you have any of these you are not thanking God in all circumstances. Concerning your own standards, are they biblical? Do you have Scripture for your standard? Do you have grace if the standards are violated? Is the person in sin who violates your standards?

You may say that you were born this way. Perhaps! But you have been born again another way. You were brought up this way. Do you wish to bring up your son in the same way? You want him to be impatient and angry just like you are with your son. You can get advance preventative grace before you get out of bed in the morning.

Impatience is not patience. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Impatience is a characteristic of the old man. Impatience is always sin regardless of the provocation. The provocation is a temptation.

The person who provoked you to impatience may be in sin. He might not be in sin. He may have been in the will of God. In any case, he is not the reason you are impatient. You are the only one responsible for your sin. You must not get impatient. If you do get impatient, confess it as sin before you say anything. If you love your temper you are in gross immorality and justifying it makes it worse. If you have made it a habit of your life, then you are living in sin. You might even apologize to the person you were impatient with. That will not fly. Apology is not the same as repenting and confessing to the Holy God you sinned against.

If you have a habit of justifying impatience, it is impossible to rejoice in the LORD always. Any apparent joy is based upon present circumstances not upon being forgiven, because you have not been forgiven.

God does not overlook sin. He does not accept your explanation for the sin. He accepts a confession like David’s in Psalm 51:4, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” David had committed adultery and murder. Bathsheba had no law against adultery. Uriah had no law against murder. David had sinned against God.

The prodigal son had it right when he said, “Father I have sinned against Heaven and before you” (Luke 15:21). He had sinned against Heaven in his profligate living.

Sin is not social. It is not horizontal. It is vertical. All sin is against the holiness of God.

Remember all impatience is sin.

Forgiveness

There is in practice in our society an event called an apology. Culturally, it is accepted in polite society. However, it is not a biblical word or concept. We read it in Matthew.

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” (Matthew 18:15)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 4:23-24)

In both cases reconciliation is the object. We assume it includes an apology. What is included is rebuke and forgiveness. We see this in several places in the New Testament.

The first is Luke 17:3-4, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him.”

Notice that the offender commits the offense seven times in one day and each time says, “I repent.” If I am the offended party I might suspect that this fellow who says, “I repent”, is not really repentant. He probably isn’t. However, that has no effect on whether I forgive him. I am not allowed to withhold forgiveness based on my judgment that he is not really repentant.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” (Matthew 18:21-22)


Matthew’s question may have been caused by the Luke 17:3 teaching. Jesus replies “seventy-seven times.” In either case the forgiveness has nothing to do with repentance or apologies. Not only is this forgiveness in quantity, it is also in quality.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:35)

In the Lord's Prayer and in the comment on the Lord's Prayer we see the requirement to forgive.

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors...For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:12,14-15)

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)


Forgiveness is not conditional.

Love


There is, in this world, very much erotic love. Some of it is in the will of God but the overwhelming majority of it is in sin, contrary to the moral law of God. However, we think if it feels good, it must be good.

There is, also in the world, very much friendship love. It is also pleasant so we think it is also good. However, in II Timothy 3 it is speaking of friendship of money and themselves. This is a very evil love.

These first two types of love occur in marriage. They also occur in Christian marriage. Because our Christian wife is our best friend and because of our erotic attraction to her, we think our love for her is Christian love. It is not. It is two forms of humanistic love. These two types of love happen but they are not Christian love.

What is the difference?

Love is patient. If I am not patient, I am not loving. Regardless how much I insist that I love my wife if I am impatient with her I am not loving her.

Love is kind. If I am ever unkind to my wife I do not love my wife in a Christian sense.

Love is not rude. If I am rude to my wife, I do not love my wife.

Love is not easily angered. If I get easily angry with my wife I do not love my wife.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

I am writing this today because of my knowledge of many Christian husbands who do not love their wives. Let’s go to Ephesians 5:

Do you love your wife as Christ loved the Church? Christ loved the Church to present her to himself as a radiant church. Christ loved the Church to make her lovely, not because the Church was lovely.

If you think your wife is not lovely, it is because she is not loved by you. Your love for her is the cause of her loveliness.

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Peter 3:7)

Because your wife is the weaker vessel she is to be treated with respect and consideration. If not, your prayers will be hindered.

Isn’t a Christian wife supposed to be submissive to her husband? Yes, but that is not your business. Your responsibility is to love her, not because she is lovely, but because she is your wife.

“I don’t love her anymore.” That is not an option. You are to love her as Christ loved the Church. If you do not love her, you are in great sin.


“I am committed to my wife.” “I do not believe in divorce.” These two statements are not virtuous statements. They are substitutes for loving your wife.

You may not wish to come to the conclusion that you do not love your wife. Unless you come to that conviction you will not confess your sin; you will not be forgiven and you will love her less and less.

Have I ever been impatient with my wife and children? Yes! It was inexcusable sin on my part every time. I confessed that I did not love Bessie and I was restored. If I confess to my wife that I do not love her she will be hurt. True! She already knows that you do not love her, except in a selfish way. If your admission of sin is to God in repentance, you will be restored to love.

“I do not want to do that. If I keep my impatience with her it keeps her under control.” Perhaps, but her love, joy, and peace is more important than you being in charge.

A wife needs several things provided by her husband:

1. Security
2. Love
3. Provision
4. Protection
5. Leading

The first two are far more important than the last two. A woman needs love far more than she needs provision. To provide for your wife well and not love her makes little or no sense. Provision is not love.

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife” (Proverbs 17:1).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Books

You may know that I have been giving, selling and loaning books for 65 years. You may also know that I read books. You may not know that I very seldom read books in the daytime. Since reading was a pleasure, I did not think that working time should be used for pleasure. So I read in bed. That shortened my reading time because I would fall asleep while reading. Even with this abbreviated reading time I got through a lot of books. I am 86 years old, that means I had many bed time readings. Today however, I got into my recliner with six books (I read more than one at a time). All of these books are very different from each other and very good. They are

1. The Bible (Acts 7-8)
2. Strunk & White: The Elements of Style (After sixty years of writing I thought I should learn how to write)
3. The Curate's Awakening, a novel by George MacDonald. The story of an Anglican Clergyman who was not a saved man. I had read it 25 years ago.
4. The Death of a Guru, the autobiography of Rabi R. Maharaj. I had read it 20 years ago.
5. Christianity's a Dangerous Idea, a church history from the 16th to the 21st centuries by Alister McGrath. It is very good! I would also recommend another Church history from Apostolic times: The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent.
6. The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. It is very good!

Being a book collector I have many books which I have not read and probably will not. I have looked at the covers for so long I think I have read them. The Everlasting Man is one of those books. It was a profitable two hours in the recliner.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Teaching 3: The “How” of Teaching

“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28)

Notice “proclamation”, “admonishing”, “teaching”, “everyone”, and “with all wisdom.”

This kind of teaching is not “iffy” teaching. It is authoritative. Again the object is to “present everyone perfect in Christ.”

In the Lord Jesus Christ

Jim Wilson

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Effective Teaching 2: The Content of Teaching

“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)

"Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." (Ephesians 3:8)

“For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (II Corinthians 4:6)

This is what we are to teach. Glorious riches

Monday, November 04, 2013

School of Practical Christianity

For the Saints in Moscow and Pullman

How many of you think in terms of the following scriptures, or how many would like to think this way?

“You must aim to be saintly and righteous, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle.” (I Timothy 6:12)

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12)

“Not that I have obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)

“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Philippians 2:14)

“Love one another deeply.” (I Peter 1:22)

“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy in all you do.’” (2 Timothy 3:16)


We are thinking of re-starting the school of Practical Christianity. If so, it will not be as demanding as before (3 hours / 5 days a week for a semester), but it will be as qualitative. It will be free, not tests, no assignments, no grades, no academic pre-requisites, and of course no credit.

The prerequisite: You want to be like Jesus
The assignment: You believe and obey what you learn.
There will be a commitment to attend.

If you want to think like the scriptures quoted and would like the school, please let me know. It would be one two hour session a week for six weeks.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3)