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Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Behaviour - The Manifestation Of Holiness

PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD
2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:1


THE BEHAVIOUR – THE MANIFESTATION OF HOLINESS
1 TIMOTHY 3:15
The house of God is not the building in which a church assembles it is the church of the living God.

The church of the living God is the covenant relationship that baptized believers have with one another to carry out the work of Christ.

The building of God and the church of the living God is a context in which we live our lives.

Once in that context there is a proper way to behave. I think there are two things worthy of note in this connection.

1. We learn how to behave ourselves.
2. The behaviour is an “ought” to behaviour.

There is a way we ought to behave. Which of necessity means there is a way in which we ought not to behave. Unfortunately we live in a day when people do not want to be instructed in the way they ought to behave. Oh, general principles are not normally objected to but when one attempts to put the general principles into practice then the crying and the mockery starts.

The point is behaviour matters. It is a carnal, worldly believer who would argue that our behaviour does not matter or if it does it matters little, especially when compared with the inside. This is an insidious doctrine with terrible consequences.

Behaviour involves the way we talk, dress, entertain ourselves, attitudes we embrace, and the whole realm of what the scripture calls our “walk”.

Holiness that does not transform the behaviour is a cheap counterfeit of the real thing. Holiness that does not practice non-conformity to the world and hunger and thirst after righteousness is no holiness at all.

The fact is there is an appalling lack of discernment in this day. Believers have become adept at defending behavioral patterns that are clearly patterned after the world. This in spite of the scriptural admonitions to not love the world neither the things that are in the world, and be not conformed to this world.

Separation is ultimately about behaviour. Yes, it starts in the heart but it ultimately effect the behaviour. A separated life is the result of a separated heart. An unseparated life is the result of an unseparated heart.
Yes, God’s intention is to deal with the heart but the purpose is to affect the behaviour. Why, because it is our behaviour that the world sees and upon which it makes its judgment about our Christianity. It is our behaviour that forms our testimony. It is in the area of behaviour where people see if our Christianity has made a difference in our lives. It is our behaviour that determines if we are just talking the talk or if we are walking the walk.
SALVATION COMMENCES A CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR

Repentance
It should come as no surprise that the lack of preaching repentance and then requiring the fruit thereof has gone hand in hand with the growth of worldliness in the churches. Now we have even got to the point that instead of insisting on repentance we do what we can to make the services palatable to goats. This is the whole emphasis of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church. Instead of building sheep folds we are constructing goat pens. When you build goat pens don't be surprised when you attract goats.

Eze 14:6 - Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
This is a great verse because it defines the essence of repentance. Turn yourselves. If one does not turn from their idols and abominations then they have not repented. God is fairly clear about what is an abomination. All you have to do is look the word up in a concordance and you will find a list of behaviour that God identifies as an abomination. You might be surprised.

Eze 18:30 - Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Repentance is turning from all of our transgressions. It is to our benefit to do so. Why? Because iniquity is our ruin. When we turn from transgression, which happens to be a violation of law, then we are also turning from that which ruins us.

Ac 8:22 - Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
We are to repent of our wickedness. How do we know what is wicked? Must there not be a standard somewhere or is it simply left to the way we feel about it??? I, for one, would conclude their is a standard. The standard is the Word of God. To the law and the testimony must be our motto!

Ac 26:20 - But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Repentance is turning to God. If we turn from something (iniquity, sin, transgression, wickedness) then we must turn to something (God). When a soul turns to God they will do works that are suitable for repentance. It is the essence of what James was saying in the second chapter of his epistle when he wrote, show me thy faith without thy works and I will show thee my faith by my works. A faith that has no works is not saving faith. When we turn to God we have our eyes set upon God. We want to please God. We want to pattern our lives after Jesus when he said I do always those things which please the Father.

Ac 26:18 - To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Repentance is having our eyes opened. It is turning toward the light and consequently we see things in their proper context. It is being turned from darkness to light. If we are not careful we will turn to the light and then close our eyes against the light. 1 John 1:66 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: To be worldly, that is patterned after the world is to walk in darkness. If we are conformed to the world it matters little what we think of our spiritual state, the Bible declares we do not have fellowship with him. How can we? God is light and in him is no darkness at all!

Conversion
Now conversion is an old fashioned word. Where there is no repentance there can be no conversions. Conversion is the effect of repentance. When one repents they are converted. The conversion takes place because the individual is moving in a different direction. Their whole orientation is different.

Ac 3:19 - Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Without repentance and the resultant conversion there is no opportunity for having our sins blotted out. Salvation is not possible except in the context of repentance.

2 Cor. 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
So what are we to conclude if old things do not pass away and all things do not become new? It should at least raise the question of whether the individual is in Christ. This change is not prsented as a possibility but as a certainty. Those in Christ are new creatures. Old things are passed away. All things are become new. Every statement is a statement of certainty. The fact is biblical salvation ocassions a change in behaviour.

Born again
Being born again is the perfect picture of being converted for it aptly expresses the degree to which a person is convereted. It is a new birth. A new beginning. A new start. Everything is changed.

Joh 3:7 - Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
In fact Jesus said, "Ye must be born again!" We must have a new start that is produced by repentance and conversion.

Titus 3:5 – Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
We are saved, not by what we do but rather by what God does for us. However when we are saved we are renewed. God has never saved anyone he has not also renewed. It is, if you will, a package deal. If you do not want to be renewed then you do not want Biblical salvation.

1Pe 1:23 - Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Of course the seed by which we are born again, is an incorruptible seed. Consequenly it produces an incorruptible nature. It makes us a partaker of the divine nature. It causes the Holy Ghost to live in us. These are not the kind of changes that can take place without having a profound impact in our behaviour. Any honest person would have to admit this reality.
SANCTIFICATION ENSURES A CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR

Sanctification is God’s purpose
It may surprise some but God does not labor under the burden of uncertainty as to what to do with those who believe on his Son. He knows what he intends to do and in fact it has been predestined. Those who believe are predestined to be conformed into the image of his Son.

1 Thess. 4:3 – For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.
If there are any question the above verse should set it to rest. Our sanctification is God's will. It is God's will that we be separated more and more from sin and more and more unto himself. Let us be clear, this is the will of God!!

Eph. 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
What does God intend to do with his people? He intends to sanctify and cleanse them. How does he intend to do this? By the Word. John 17:17 - Sanctify them by thy truth; thy word is truth. God intends to take his word and cleanse his people thereby. Exposure to the Word of God results in a cleansing process taking place. This necessitates that we allow the Word to define dirt and then give us an aversion to dirt. In a properly maturing believer this will happen.
Let's have a little practical application right here. How is it that believer's can have their video shelves full of PG, PG13, and R movies? They are likely not properly defining dirt and when they do they likely are not allowing the Lord to work in the hearts a proper aversion to it. They justify exposure to the dirt instead of allowing themselves to be cleansed by the Word of God.

1 Thess. 5:23 – Sanctify you wholly; body, soul, and spirit.
Don't tell me the outside is not important. You are a Nicolaitan if you do! God's desire is to sanctify all of us; body, soul, and spirit. If your body is not being sanctified then you are not achieving God's stated purpose in your life. Is your choice of clothing sanctified? Is your choice of hair styles sanctified? Is your use of language sanctified? Is your entertainment choices sanctified? These questions are dismissed at one's own peril.

Eph. 2:8-10 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We rejoice in the truth of verses eight and nine and rightly so. I would only add that we should equally rejoice in the truth of verse ten. Many have taken the grace of God and turned it into laciviousness. Verse ten has to do with God's purpose in our lives as it relates to producing good works, right living. At salvation we are created unto good works. It is these very good works that God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. It does have to do with our walk, our manner of living. Whatever happened to the grace of God that appears to all men teaching us that denying ungodliness we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. This is an aspect of grace that is sadly lacking in many people's theology. The grace that does not teach us this is not the grace of God.

Heb. 13:20,21 – Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
What does the God of peace do? He sets himself to make us perfect (complete) in every good work. Not some good works. Not most good works. Every good work. He seeks to move us to do His will. How do we know His will? By reading His book! It is not by watching the culture and seeing what is acceptable there, that is a wayward standard. It is God's desire to work in us that which is wellpleasing in his sight.
Sorry, but call me a legalist! I will never be convinced that mixed swimming is wellpleasing in his sight. Cross-dressing will never be wellpleasing in his sight. Men with women's hairstyles and women with men's hair styles will never be wellpleasing in his sight. What is it with women who cut off their hair and then say, "It's just so much trouble." God says it is your glory! Sorry women but you got it wrong. It is not trouble it is your glory, God says so. Watching every violent, cursing, sexually suggestive movie that flows out of Hollywood will never be wellpleasing in His sight. I do not see myself ever being convinced otherwise! As for me give me the old paths wherein dwelleth righteousness!

Sanctification is the believer’s desire
Let me simply give you a few verses to ponder and ask if they do not indicate that the believer will have a desire for sanctification??
1 Thess. 4:4 – That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
2 Tim. 2:19-21 – Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Col. 1:9,10 – For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Titus 2:6-8 – Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Tit 2:14 - Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Heb 10:24 - And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Sanctification is the Spirit’s work
No matter our desire without the Spirit sanctification would be a practical impossiblity. The cleansing process requires divine power, energy, desire, and ability. It is for this very reason that true sanctification deprives one of the opportunity to take any of the credit. Our is simply assuming a position of subordination. In doing that the Spirit of God is not quenched and has the liberty to do his work.

2 Thess. 2:13 – But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Sanctification of the Spirit. Sanctification is by the Spirit and of the Spirit. It is in conjuction with believing the truth. A soul has never been sanctified who has not been in a believing position toward the truth. If we will not believe the truth about ourselves, sin, the world in which we live, God's view of sin, etc. . . the sanctification process will be greatly hindered.

1 Pet. 1:2 – Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Again we are reminded that the sanctification that we enjoy is of the Spirit.

Rom. 15:16 – That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Being sanctified by what? By the Holy Ghost! We are not sanctified simply by personal effort. Having begun in the Spirit are we made perfect in the flesh? The answer is always the same! The flesh is encapable of bringing about even the least degree of sanctification. We are always, first and last sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Phil. 4:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Who began the work? The Holy Ghost! He began the work. He is performing the work. He will continue the work until the day of Jesus Christ. The fact is God is determined to never leave us alone. If we are saved he will continue to mold and make us more into the image of his Son. He is fully committed to the task and will accept nothing less than victory. In the final anaylisis when we see him we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. The work will be completed and it will be God who is the completer. He started it and he will finish it.
Phil. 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This verse sets forth clearly how the work is all of God. It is God who both gives us the "will" and the "do" of his good pleasure. The desire does not originate with us, nor does the doing. It is all of God, by God, through God, and with God! Thank God for the presence of his Spirit within.
SCRIPTURE ASSUMES A CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR
I am again going to just give you a thus saith the Lord. In reading the following verses determine in your own mind if the Scripture does not assume a change in behaviour in the life of the believer.


1 Pet. 1:13-16 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.


Eph. 2:2-6 – 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: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


1 Pet. 4:2-4 – That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

Ro 6:4 - Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Ro 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Eph. 4:22–24 - That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

1 Pet. 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: . . . .

1 Thess. 4:7- For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Titus 2:11,12 – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; . . . .

2 Pet. 1:4 – Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2 Pet. 3:11 – Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, . . . .
Holiness is not an issue that simply has internal consequences. It has consequences in our behaviour. In the way we talk, in the way we dress, in the way we conduct our business, in the way we entertain ourselves, and in our relationships. In every area of life.

Perfecting holiness in the fear of God is recognizing that some behaviour is worldly and carnal and addressing the root of the problem in our hearts so that our behaviour might be conformed to standards of holiness and righteousness.

The Second Picture In The Previous Post


Someone asked what the second picture was in the previous post. It is a profile picture of this flower in my wife's garden.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Front Yard, Back Yard

Back Yard
Front Yard
Front Yard
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The Bent Of The Needle

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
1 John 3:6

"A trade, a course of sin--is inconsistent with a state of grace. The best saints have sadly miscarried as to particular actions; but he who shall judge of a man's spiritual state by particular acts, though notorious bad, will certainly condemn, where God acquits. We must always distinguish between some single evil actions,and a serious course of evil actions. It is not this or that particular evil action--but a continued course of evil actions--which denominates a man wicked. Just so, it is not this or that particular holy act--but a continued course of holy actions--which denominates a man holy.

Every man is--as his course is. If his course is holy--the man is holy. If his course is wicked--the man is wicked.

No man ought to conclude, because of some particular good actions--that his spiritual state is good.

No man ought to conclude, because of some particular sinful actions--that his spiritual state is bad.

A course of sinning is not consistent with a course of godliness. Though the needle of the seaman's compassmay jog this way and that way--yet the bent of the needle will still be northward. Just so, though a Christianmay have his particular sinful joggings this way or that way--yet the bent of his heart will still be . . .
God-wards,
Christ-wards,
heaven-wards,
holiness-wards."

Road Trip To Get Sara And The Grandkids

Does any one see the grasshopper?? It was at a welcome center after crossing the Texas line into Louisiana.


Interstate 55N, north of Jackson, Mississippi.

How neat is that the picture does not do it justice. I love road trips.


At Sara's house. James Kelzie. Don't take my picture Grandpa. I didn't believe him. You see him smiling under there.


At Sara's house. Thomas and Evelyn.


Sara's house......... James Kelzie and Evelyn, part of Thomas.


I don't mind road trips as long as I have my own truck.



Are we there yet??? James Kelzie actually asked that 20 minutes after we left their house. We only had 600 miles left and 13 hours and 20 minutes???




In deep meditation!


The trees are tall in Texas. . . . . . . . . this one happens to be in Louisiana!

I did not have him pose this way . . . . . honest . . . . . no really . . . . .


Rest stop in Louisiana. Grandma and Grandpa were taking advantage of some Cajun hospitality at the free coffee dispenser.



I'm telling ya . . . . we are in Louisiana!


Stretching the legs as lunch time!


Falling "head over heels" for Grandma. It would not be the first time someone had done that!

Making a break for it. Anything not to get back in the van. Are we there yet??


Think I will sleep to help pass the time.

I think I will too........


I think I will too........


Lake Charles, Louisiana!

Cajuns have to be told everything!!!


When I see this sign I know I am home even though we still had three hours of travelling.


Is it real????


Texas Welcome center at Orange in Southeast Texas on Interstate 10.


Butterfly at the welcome center.

Is this going to turn into a pine cone????

Six flags over Texas??? France, Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate, United States

Do we have to go all the way to El Paso???? Yes that is 857 miles of Interstate!


I'm glad he is not coming toward us.

God bless America!!

An hour from Freeport, I hope??? Leaving Houston! Two people were pulled over on the side of the road and everyone was slowing down to look. Well, I am not going to wait in line and then not look. Just some guy talking on his cell phone. Probably talking to his mother.


Finally, the traffic is starting to break up a bit.
Over all it was a good trip. We left Buckees in Lake Jackson at 7:00 AM Monday morning and arrived at Sara's house at 7:45 PM. We left her house the next morning at 6:00 AM and arrived at our house at 7:40 PM. 1300 miles round trip, and the Lord was good!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

God Would Not Rub So Hard

The following is from a message by Thomas Brooks entitled, "London's Lamentations." The message was preached in 1670 . My family has had the unpleasant experience of having God rub hard this week. While we all know he has done it in love and for our good the rubbing has been difficult. My hope and prayer is that as a result we will more clearly reflect the image of the Saviour, especially those two special people who have patiently borne the most intense rubbing!

And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: . . . . . Isaiah 1:25

"By severe providences and by fiery trials, God designs the growth of His people in grace. Usually the graces of the saints thrive best--when they are under a smarting rod. Grace usually is in the greatest flourish--when the saints are under the greatest trials. The trimming of the candle--makes it burn the brighter. God bruises His spices--to make them send forth the sweeter fragrance. Fiery trials are like the brush, which, though it is sharp and scratching--it makes the cloth more pure and clean. God would not rub so hard, were it not to fetch out the dirt and spots which are in His people.

Stars shine brightest in the darkest nights; and so do the graces of the saints shine brightest in the darkest nights of affliction and tribulation. God will sometimes more carry on the growth of grace by a cross than by a mercy. Yes, the Lord will, sooner or later, more or less--turn all fiery trials into blessings for the helping on the growth of grace in His people's souls. Though fiery trials are grievous--yet they shall make us more gracious. Though for the present they appear to harm and damage us; yet in the outcome we shall find that God will turn them into the spiritual and eternal advantage of our precious souls.

Thrice happy will afflicted Christians be, if under all their crosses and losses they grow into a more deep acquaintance with God and His holiness; with the vanity, mutability, impotency, and uncertainty of the world; and with the deceitfulness, vileness, baseness, and wretchedness of their own hearts!

If under fiery dispensations, we grow . . .
more holy than ever,
more humble than ever,
more heavenly than ever,
more meek and lowly than ever,
more tender and compassionate than ever,
more faithful and fruitful than ever,
more patient and contented than ever,
then we may be confident that the grand design of God in bringing all those fiery trials upon us, was for His glory, and our own spiritual and eternal good."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jesus Alone For Salvation

The following is from the message, The Comer's Conflict With Satan by C. H. Spurgeon.

"But remember, sinner, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee - it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee - it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that is the instrument - it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Christ, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Christ, the author and finisher of thy faith; and if thou do that, ten thousand devils can not throw thee down, but as long as thou lookest at thyself, the meanest of those evil spirits may tread thee beneath his feet."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sound Doctrine

Titus 2:1 – But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

Sound – To be well, uncorrupt, wholesome.

If there is sound doctrine then of necessity everything that does not match sound doctrine is unsound doctrine. It is bad doctrine, corrupt and dangerous to the souls of men. This is a topic that is of utmost importance in our day. The ecumenical spirit abounds. We are encouraged to set aside our differences and just come together as one “body” in Christ. This itself is the doctrine of devils. For in such an arrangement truth suffers. It loses its ability to distinguish itself in the midst of false teaching. It is robbed of its authority to identify and rebuke error. It is compromised on the altar of unity and love.

We are continually challenged that unity and love are the most important aspects of Christianity. Those who do not know their Bibles can readily embrace this fuzzy, romantic, shallow theology. But for those of us who read our Bibles, study our Bibles, and believe our Bibles we know that true love does not compromise truth for anyone, and true unity is only achieved in the context of truth. The ecumenical spirit is the spirit of compromise. It is the spirit that forbids us to exercise discernment. It is the spirit that condemns us for pointing out error and false teaching. It is the spirit that chastises us as unloving for refusing to join hands with false Christianity, not to mention Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. . . !

On this point the Bible is clear. Eph 4:5 - One Lord, one faith, one baptism, . . . .

There is only one faith. There is only one body of doctrine that is after godliness. Any teaching that does not align with this faith is false and worthy of censor.

Galatians 1:6-9 - I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

There are not two gospels. There is only one. The term “another gospel” is not an appropriate designation. If any teaching does not match the gospel of scripture it is to be pronounced accursed. In fact not only is the message to be counted accursed but so is the messenger. God help us to be true to the Bible on this account.

According to the Bible our primary commitment is to be to the truth. Genuine unity is only possible as people embrace the truth. Genuine love for others will preclude us from departing from the truth for their sake. In a day of tolerance, relativity, and when truth is subjective and a matter of personal opinion the need for those who will speak the truth in love is more necessary than ever.

Instead of dealing with any particular truth as I have done on other occasions I want to simply remind us of the importance of truth and the value that God places on it and how we are encouraged to embrace it and depart from and expose error. The clarion call of truth must not be diminished in these dark days but rather crescendo so that at the final stanza it will be declared with fortissimo.

The Bible gives abundant encouragement to believe, sustain, defend, and proclaim sound doctrine.

Tit 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

2 Tim 1:13 - Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Jude 1:3 - Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which
was once delivered unto the saints.

2Tim 2:2 - And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Tit 2:7 - In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

2Pe 1:12 - Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.

2 Tim 4:7 - I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

1 Tim 6:20 - O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

1 Tim 4:6 - If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

1Tim 4:13 - Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

1 Tim 4:16 - Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

1 Tim 5:17 - Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

2 Tim 3:16 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2 Tim 4:2 - Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

2 Joh 1:9 - Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Joh 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Joh 14:17 - Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Joh 15:26 - But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Joh 16:13 - Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Joh 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

2 Co 13:8 - For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Eph 4:21 - If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

1Tim 2:4 - Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

2 Tim 2:15 - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Tit 1:1- Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

2 Joh 1:4 - I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

3 Joh 1:4 - I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

3 Joh 1:8 - We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

It is inconceivable that in the face of so many Scriptures that people would pretend that doctrine is unimportant. Doctrine divides. It divides truth from error. It divides light from darkness. It divides that which is holy from that which is unholy. It divides that which is genuine from that which is false. God help the people that quit making the distinction! When they do so they have abandoned their heritage and their God!

We are told don’t make an issue out of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, which Bible, eternal security of the believer, the charismatic movement, method of church government, the way of salvation, ecclesiastical and personal separation, etc, etc. . . . How can we not??!! The Bible speaks to all of these things! We have a solemn obligation to search, study, and saturate ourselves with the Scripture so that we can know the mind of God on these issues. Having discerned his mind, we are to tenaciously hold to that which we have concluded! To say it does not matter is arrogance and a travesty of the worst degree! If God speaks it does matter and he has spoken about all of these issues and numerous other issues as well. God having spoken it does matter!


The Bible gives abundant warning against false doctrine.

Romans 16:17 - Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Romans 1:25 - Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Eph. 4:14 - 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;

Ac 20:30 - Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

2 Co 11:3 - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Ga 3:1 - O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Col 2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

1Tim 4:7 - But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

2Tim 3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

2 Tim 4:3 - For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

2 Pet 2:1,2 - But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 Joh 4:1 - Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

1 Tim 1:3 - As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

2 Joh 1:7 - For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

1 Tim 1:5,6 - Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

We are warned at every turn to be on guard against false doctrine, heresy! We are warned about being deceived. All of these verses should prohibit those who know and love the truth from joining hands with those who have embraced error. The very fact that so many are willing to come together is a clear indication that they are exercising no Biblical discernment and often times the reason is because they can’t, for the Spirit of truth does not dwell within and consequently they have not been guided into all truth.

Many who talk about Jesus have in fact abandoned the Jesus of the Bible. That is the Jesus who alone is the way to the Father. The Jesus who does not need baptism or any other work to save the soul, but whose blood atonement alone is sufficient for the repentant, believing sinner! It is the Jesus of the Bible who has suffered once in the end of the world to put away sin and after he had made one sacrifice for sins forever sat down as the right hand of the Father. Anyone who adds anything to this is guilty of heresy of the darkest hue. Anyone who claims to believe this and then joins hands in prayer and evangelistic campaigns with those that don’t are guilty of high treason!

They claim we only disagree on minor points. This can only be true if how a man gets to heaven is a minor point. And I would contend that if this is a minor point then there are no major points! There is a doctrine that saves and provides eternal life and a doctrine that damns and ensures eternal vengeance being poured out on the brow of the religious sinner. I for one cannot join hands with those who embrace the latter and act as though it does not matter! The fact is nothing matters more!


The Bible clearly denounces false teachers.

Tit 1:10,11 - For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

2 Joh 1:10,11 - If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Ac 20:29 - For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

2 Cor 11:13-15 - For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

1 Tim 6:3-5 - If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

2 Tim 3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

2 Pet 2:1,2 - But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Gal 2:4 - And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

Php 3:2,3 - Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Jude 1:4 - For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:10-13 - But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, grievous wolves, false apostles, deceitful workers, ministers of Satan, proud, knowing nothing, corrupt minds, destitute of truth, evil men, seducers, false prophets, false teachers, false brethren, dogs, evil workers, ungodly men, brute beasts, clouds without water, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, raging waves of the sea, wandering stars.

I am afraid most people do not have the “stomach” for Bible terminology in relation to those who embrace, hold to, and promote false doctrine. We live in a day when we are encouraged to call them brethren! How foreign is this to the New Testament?! The lines are blurred, Satan rejoices, hell is enlarged, truth is trampled in the street, and God is betrayed!

We need to consider the view of the great apostle to the Gentiles when it came to the treatment of error.

Galatians 2:4,5 - And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Paul did not give place to error for even an hour! Why? Because he understood what was at stake. That the truth of the gospel might remain with you. Baptist who join hands in their ministerial alliances with those that baptize babies, those who believe in baptismal regeneration, that speaking in tongues is an evidence of salvation, and that you can lose you salvation are a disgrace to the name and should abandon it at the first opportunity, for they have abandoned it in practice. They contaminate their hands by holding hands with those who are polluted with false doctrine!

Acts 15:1,2 - And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Obviously the way a man gets to heaven was not a minor point with the Apostle Paul. In fact when they sought to add works to salvation there was no small dissension and disputation with them. The ecumenical crowd of today would not appreciate the Apostle Paul! Nevertheless for those who know and love the truth we hope to emulate the Apostle Paul in this area and if we are a disruptive element in the push of the ecumenical spirit then so be it and let the heathen rage!

Our commitment is to speak the things that become sound doctrine and may it ever be so!

Dragonfly

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bellowing Alligator

Last Saturday I was walking around a lake at the Brazos Bend State Park and I saw several alligators. The one in the following clip was across the way. You can see it lift its head out of the water when it starts bellowing.

If you listen closely you can hear another alligator bellowing down the way. Both of these were males and there was a female in the vicinity.

At one point there is quite a bit of wind noise, it does not last long. I took the video on my little digital camera. Since I was by myself I choose my camera over my video camera. Bad choice on this occasion.

Eventually the big gator swims off toward the other male. They meet down the way and the one in the video follows the smaller one for a while. They then go under water to settle their differences and the little emerges several yards from the big one.

You may have to turn the sound up to hear it well. It was quite a show! Thanks Olivia for getting the link set up for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhPneMqTjFw

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Black Swallowtail??



I arrived for my 3:30 bus run about thirty minutes early today so I decided to take a twenty minute walk. See what I found? The little critter was very patient and still for a long time. I actually got about 10 pictures. I think this is the best one. I think it is a Black Swallowtail??
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Birds Of Brazos Bend State Park

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks

Great Egret

American Coot

Great Egret

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Great Blue Heron

Black Vulture

Great Blue Heron

Black-bellied Whistling-duck

American Coot

Mississippi Kite

Common Moorhen

Great Egret