VIDEO If the Lord Be God, Follow Him

One of the seeming dichotomies in Scripture revolves around the word “choose”. Throughout the Scriptures we see the words choose, chose, and chosen—all in relation to the sovereign work of God in salvation. Yet we also see in Scripture the clear call for us to choose.

Choose for yourselves whether it is right for us to obey God or men. Choose this day whom you will serve. Choose life so that you may live. Time and again we see God figuratively drawing a line in the sand, commanding us to choose.

In this message, Dr. D. James Kennedy unfolds an epic drama of choosing—choosing between life and death: “If the Lord Be God, Follow Him.”

 

Who are Christians Following?

In an ostensibly Christian nation that has largely abandoned the idea of objective truth, does the Church fare any better than secular society? In many ways, it seems, the answer is an emphatic, “No!”  This is especially true when examining opinions about abortion and human sexuality. With New York state’s callous legislative action that now allows infants born alive to be neglected until they die, the contrast between darkness and light within the U.S. population is becoming more stark than any of us have ever seen.

If a nation’s character is determined by how it treats its most vulnerable members, the United States does not have much to boast about. And neither does the Church in America. Prevailing diversities of opinions about abortion may be the most obvious sign of future events, whether they be good or adverse.

According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, 57% of all American adults favor some sort of legal abortion. Not surprisingly, among church denominations that compromise and distort scripture, there is majority support for abortion in all or most cases. Alternatively, there is more support for the protection of life among those who are faithful to the written word of God. This data is not new or unexpected. But there is a change occurring.

A growing minority (40%) now opposes abortion in any situation. The cause of shifting convictions may be the undeniable evidence that a fetus injected with saline, feels pain and is repulsed by it. Saline injection is a common mode of abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.

Perhaps the shift is because the development of high-definition ultrasound now reveals a fetal heartbeat early in pregnancy. Most likely, it’s a combination of these and other facts. But one thing seems to be clear—it is becoming increasingly difficult for rational minds to deny the scientific fact that life begins at conception.

Regardless of the reason, the deepening division among professing Christians is noteworthy. Is it possible that God is purifying His Church? Might He be separating sheep from goats? Where will this end? When will it be fulfilled? Scripture gives us some answers but not all of them.

For the past hundred years, churches in America have followed one of two general paths. Some have faithfully sought the Christ revealed in the Bible and to the Early Church, while others have chosen to deviate from the truth and followed an image concocted by men that makes Jesus more approachable, easy-going and less than holy. One leads to a personal and profoundly life-changing salvation. The latter leaves dead men and women deceived as well as dead.

Just as the Bible is truth and life to the Christian, it’s an obstacle and death to the Enemy. There are two primary ways that people are deceive and betray others. Satan and his human allies will either claim that the word of God does not say what it clearly says, or they will argue that it does not mean what it clearly means. When the first approach fails, the second often succeeds.

Where the wicked view the Holy Book as a collection of archaic restrictions and regulations, the deceivers use it as a manual of exceptions and indulgences. But the righteous treasure it as pure and precious truth. Distortions of scripture, as with civil law and the U.S. Constitution, are accomplished by exaggerating the margins toward an extreme.

Liberal churches preach love and liberty to the exclusion of righteousness and justice; whereas minor and major cults and all false religions impose tyrannical rules and rigid legal systems at the expense of compassion and mercy. Adherents to these cult practices follow a distorted image of Jesus or a new prophet and are lead away by slow progressive fallacy.

Polycarp was a second-generation Christian, a disciple of the apostle John, and the first Christian martyr. He became the bishop of the church of Smyrna and confronted heresies similar to those we see in the Church today. Polycarp warned his own flock with counsel that echoes through time:

“Let us therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd and their false teachings and turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning.”

Throughout the centuries, the Christian Church has ebbed and flowed, rallied and regressed. It has persisted in truth because its message of love and liberty sets hearts on fire and restored broken lives. When the Church has run astray, returning to the reliable written word of God has been the solution. It still is. The Word of God has a name—His name is Jesus the Christ. Wise men and women still follow Him.

by Timothy Buchanan

 

Original here

How to Avoid God’s Discipline

1 Corinthians 11:27-32

“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Can you relate to Paul’s statement from Romans 7:19? Although sin’s power has been broken in the Christian’s life, it can still exert influence. That’s why the apostle tells us not to let sin reign in our bodies—otherwise, it could lead us away from the Lord and hinder His transformative work (Rom. 6:12-13).

Divine discipline is one of the means God employs to halt the progress of sinful behavior in His children. But it doesn’t always have to come to that. Paul suggested that the Corinthians examine their hearts prior to participating in the Lord’s Supper. Then they could correct themselves before coming under the Father’s discipline.

We can adopt the same practice of self-examination in our daily life by asking God where we might be harboring wrong attitudes or hidden sin. Then as we pray and read the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will help us see where we have gone astray. If we truly desire to mature in our faith, we will honestly confront the problem areas He reveals. This is done by confessing our sins and turning from them in repentance. But if we delay in this process, we are inviting His discipline.

Sin is not something that we can sweep under the rug and ignore. Unless we put it to death, it will grow and poison our life. The heavenly Father knows this, and because He loves us, He may forcefully intervene with divine discipline so we can be forgiven and restored to fellowship with Him for eternity (Heb. 12:6).

On Judging Others

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

This is a very familiar maxim, often cited by unbelievers and carnal Christians as a rebuke to Christians whom they regard as intolerant. These words of the Lord Jesus Christ do, indeed, warn us against a self-righteous attitude, condemning others who disagree with us on the basis of superficial criteria.

On the other hand, this caution by no means relieves us of the responsibility of evaluating the beliefs and practices of others in the light of Scripture. In the very same sermon, in fact, Jesus said just a few moments later: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine”; and “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:6-15). Obedience to such commandments obviously requires one to make a judgment as to whether certain unbelievers should be regarded as “dogs” or “swine,” to whom it would be counterproductive to try to speak of spiritual matters, or whether certain professing Christian leaders are actually false prophets who should be repudiated. Jesus also said: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

Since the Scriptures themselves are to be used in the final judgment (John 12:48; Revelation 20:12; etc.), it is obvious that we should use them right now to discern truth and error, right and wrong. “For the word of God . . . is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

There is another basis of judgment that the Lord Jesus has authorized us to use. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. . . . Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:18-20). Thus, the test of Scripture plus fruit produced can serve as the basis of a valid judgment. Until adequate data for making such a test are available, judge not! HMM

Major Preaching Challenge

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

—Ephesians 3:8

Many of us who preach the unsearchable riches of Christ are often pretty dull and hard to listen to.

The freshest thought to visit the human mind should be the thought of God. The story of salvation should put a radiancy in the face and a vibrancy in the voice of him that tells it. Yet it is not uncommon to hear the wondrous message given in a manner that makes it difficult for the hearer to concentrate on what is being said. What is wrong?…

It is true that only the Spirit-filled preacher can be morally effective at last; but for the moment we are thinking only of the ability of a speaker to command the attention of his hearers. And if the speaker cannot keep his hearers immediately interested, his message cannot possibly have a long-range effect upon them, no matter how spiritual he may be.   WOS067-068

Lord, in this media-saturated, video-oriented age, it is increasingly difficult for the preacher to hold the interest of sound-bite listeners. Yet as we give ourselves to the task of preaching, You’ve promised to bless, and we thank You. Amen.

 

Herein is love, not that we loved God

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.—1 John 4:10.

 

I saw a little child, with bandaged eyes,

Put up its hands to feel its mother’s face;

She bent, and took the tender groping palms,

And pressed them to her lips a little space.

 

I know a soul made blind by its desires,

And yet its faith keeps feeling for God’s face—

Bend down, O Mighty Love, and let that faith

One little moment touch Thy lips of Grace.

Anna J. Granniss.

 

If I felt my heart as hard as a stone; if I did not love God, or man, or woman, or little child, I would yet say to God in my heart, “O God, see how I trust Thee, because Thou art perfect, and not changeable like me. I do not love Thee. I love nobody. I am not even sorry for it. Thou seest how much I need Thee to come close to me, to put Thy arm round me, to say to me, my child; for the worse my state, the greater my need of my Father who loves me. Come to me, and my day will dawn; my love will come back, and, oh! how I shall love Thee, my God! and know that my love is Thy love, my blessedness Thy being.”

George MacDonald.

 

Be persuaded, timid soul, that He has loved you too much to cease loving you.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

 

The Cure For Envy

“Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.” Prov. 23:17, 18

When we see the wicked prosper we are apt to envy them. When we hear the noise of their mirth, and our own spirit is heavy, we half think that they have the best of it. This is foolish and sinful. If we knew them better, and specially if we remembered their end, we should pity them.

The cure for envy lies in living under a constant sense of the divine presence, worshiping God and communing with Him all the day long, however long the day may seem. True religion lifts the soul into a higher region, where the judgment becomes more clear, and the desires are more elevated. The more of Heaven there is in our lives, the less of earth we shall covet. The fear of God casts out envy of men.

The death-blow of envy is a calm consideration of the future. The wealth and glory of the ungodly are a vain show. This pompous appearance flashes out for an hour, and then is extinguished. What is the prosperous sinner the better for his prosperity when judgment overtakes him? As for the godly man, his end is peace and blessedness, and none can rob him of his joy; wherefore, let him forego envy, and be filled with sweet content.