Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Let's talk about judging for a minute since this is one of the main themes this morning. Does xxxchurch judge? Sure they do. You haven't stopped judging us since the day we met. You have judged my husband as an angry man not knowing him from Adam. You have judged our message. You have judged our reading of the Word as not being in line with Scripture. You have judged the version of the Bible we are reading. You have judged our methods. You have judged whether or not a sinning Christian will get into heaven. You have judged it as impossible to stop sinning. You have judged me a liar for saying that God's power freed me from sin. You have judged my mistakes as a true sign that I am in error.

Now before you get your feathers in a ruffle, I don't believe that you should stop judging. Judging is a part of our conscience. There are many things in this life that must be done through judging. For example, we can't vote without judging. It is a part of the image of God that we possess.

Talk about cherry picking in the Bible. No where is this more evident than in our understanding of judging. We read one line of Matthew 7 and fail to read on to the end of the thought and we exclude every other mention of judging.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Now, I want to say that our ministry did not judge first. Yours did. We were content to stay on our side of the street and warn people of the choice they are making. I have shown you at least 3 times in Jude 22-23 that our method is valid, but you continue to lean on your own understanding. You say you have glowing testimonies and yet there isn't one person here that lives by the power of God. You confess that God is not able to keep you from falling. You yourselves confess that you have no faith in the power of God. I am not the one saying that. I know for a fact that the power of God for everyone is a prayer away.

Anyway, the gist of Matthew 7 is hypocrisy. Paul explains this clearly in Romans 2

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge *practice the same things.* BUT WE KNOW THAT THE JUDGMENT OF GOD IS ACCORDING TO TRUTH AGAINST THOSE WHO PRACTICE SUCH THINGS. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, AND DOING THE SAME, that (WARNING) you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are (WARNING) treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on EVERY soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God."

So Paul says that he judges according to the judgment of God against such things. What things? He just said it in the prior passage:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, STRIFE, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, UNDISCERNING, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same BUT ALSO APPROVE OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE THEM.

This is hypocrisy when, for example, I am home watching porn and then going out and judging pornographers. But if I get the log out of my own eye, then I am free to get the splinter out of my brother's eye. I have to judge and discern that my brother, in fact, has a speck in his eye before I can try to get it out. Of course, I don't consider that passage talking about these sins unto death but more the things between us that we find to be irritating. You are a judge for example and then judge us for judging. That is the log in your own eye.

Romans 2 is a continuation of a thought from Romans 1 where he's just mentioned these gross heinous sins unto death.

Did the apostles ever judge?

Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT looked intently at him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. THEN the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord."

Please note that Barjesus is not a Pharisee or religious leader. He is a sorcerer. He is the "common folk." He is blinded by God by the power of the Holy Spirit in Paul and this is the sign and wonder that leads the proconsul to be saved.

" It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already JUDGED (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, DELIVER SUCH A ONE TO SATAN FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FLESH, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:15-16

Here Jesus is commanding us to judge righteously:

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24

In order to fulfill these passages of Scripture, one must judge:

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person. 1 Cor. 5:11-13

Now here's the dilemma that we encounter. Even the whores at these events hold up signs indicating that God loves them even if they continue to practice pornography ruining families and lives with their adulteries. This is no different than someone in WW2 Germany taking communion and then heading off to the concentration camp to kill whole families. They sincerely believe they are saved; but they're not. It is deception to think that if they died tonight, God would let them in. You aren't even supposed to eat with someone who calls themselves a Christian and is one of these events. Do you? Do you judge righteously? Are you judged of no man because you have the mind of Christ?

Jesus is not coming back to coddle people in their sin. Let's investigate why you would burn up my people. Let's investigate why you ruined so many families with your perversions. Let's investigate why you murdered little innocent babies in the womb? Let's investigate why you were out at night drunk and puking in the street. He is simply going to destroy it all when the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and those who hold the truth in unrighteousness. And let me warn you of something, the blood of these people that you have encountered where you have told them that God loves them in their sin and have fallaciously concluded that they can continue in sin or those Christians who see your booth and conclude that God loves porn because it helps them with their sex lives are going to turn to you and accuse you to your face for not warning them of hell's fire. Their blood will be on your head.

At the very end of Revelations, an angel comes on the scene from heaven to give the last gospel message. Now I would sincerely appreciate it if you would take note of the message. Does the angel tell all these wicked evil sinners that God loves them and wants them to go to heaven? Does he say that God cares about why they started sinning? Whose message does this mirror better for a people so lost in gross error? Yours or ours? Is this Gospel a warning of judgment or compassion?

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

Friday, May 29, 2009

Can a Christian be set free from sin?

I don't think there is anything more near and dear to my heart personally than this misunderstanding about Christians and their ability to stop sinning. There is so much here that I believe is misunderstood mainly because of:
1. Sin nature
2. Wood, hay and stubble
3. 1 John and the message there
4. Romans 7
5. The creation account
6. Once saved always saved

I think Oswald Chambers put it in a nutshell here in one of his messages from My Utmost for His Highest:

Spontaneous Love
Love suffers long and is kind . . . —1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is not premeditated— it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love. We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying, "Now I will never think any evil thoughts, and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe." No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity. We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. And when we look back, we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions, which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there. The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through it and it is in our past.

The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts, as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it "has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . ." ( Romans 5:5 ).

If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. And when we look back, we will not be able to determine why we did certain things, but we can know that we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit.

See, what I hear you saying concerns someone who is trying to obtain righteousness by the Law instead of looking for a righteousness that is by faith in the power of God and His love (which is the fulfilling of all the Law) within our hearts. The former is a fail-fail situation. You can have an appearance of righteousness, but you will always fall short and you will be in bondage to the whole law. I have met Christians like this. They are judgmental of many things and constantly putting one more chink in the chain of laws that they must uphold. It is actually worse than the rabbinical laws because now not only do they try to uphold the Jewish law but their perception of Jesus' law. Imagine trying in your own ability never to think a wrong thought. I mean, it is virtually impossible.

What we want is the power of the Holy Spirit doing the work in us. See, Romans 14 is speaking about those who are so weak in faith that they continue to need a lot of rules to keep from sinning. We are to respect that in them. However, the real freedom from sin comes from faith in Jesus and His Spirit doing this work of righteousness in us and it is genuine, not just positional. We are led of the Spirit of God to do what is right.

People have a measure of the Spirit before salvation. God says that He is manifest in every man and that He lights every man that comes into the world. Jesus told Peter that his spirit was willing but his flesh was weak.

I think one of the major misunderstandings stems from our understanding of the creation account and in particular understanding this from a position of 6 literal 24 hour days vs. 6 time periods and the fact that we are presently in the 7th time period. If Adam didn't die on the 24 hour day that he ate the fruit, there is only one other possibility - his spirit died. However, if it was truly physical death that occurred, that means that we are still in that day and that indeed, it was physical death that occurred within this day. Eventually, this day will end and a new day will begin where there is no death and God will begin creating again. Right now, we are in the day of rest and can enter into that rest. Heb. 4 I believe that this latter explanation is what happened and that opens up our understanding of why man sins and falls short. It is a cognizant rebellion toward God and our conscience because our flesh is so weak. What God's Spirit does is to pump us full of His power within our spirit so that our flesh is no longer the driving force.

The potential for sin is still there in much the same way that Adam had the potential to sin. And yes, if we sin, we can receive forgiveness. THANK GOD! But the plan of God is for us to be free.

This is explained in 2 Timothy 3 and the problem of WHY these folks are sinning. If we aren't living in those perilous times, I will be amazed and the #1 problem that causes this is that we have a "form of godliness, but deny the power thereof." People in this day and time believe unequivocally that God is rather impotent to free them from sin because they don't believe in His power. So they conclude one of two things - they will always fail or they must uphold a stringent set of rules to keep from sinning. In that state, we are forever learning but never able to to come to the knowledge of the truth. Well, what is the truth? Is it not Jesus? Didn't He say that He is the way, the TRUTH and the life. Doesn't He tell us in Matthew 7:21 that in order to get in that we need to "know Him?" Only those that do the will of the Father know Him. This seems to be a crucial aspect of our salvation and why not everyone that says, "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom.

The more we humble ourselves in our suffering, the more grace and ability we receive. James 1, 2 Cor. 12. This is another way that we receive more and more power. We humble ourselves under His will and He lifts us up and HIs power is then made perfect in our weakness. His Word is also living and active and able to help us to not sin by transforming our minds.

Romans 7 begins by saying that he is speaking to those under the Law. Phil 3, he tells us that he was blameless under the law. Luke 1:6 tells us that both Zacharias and Elisabeth were blameless. Anna and Simeon were the same. The Gentiles of Romans 2:14 have a measure of the Spirit. When the law came grace came. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Otherwise, we would have died in our sins because the Law has a tendency to make us weaker to sin. These people were under the Law and were able to walk out the Law even though it did not impart to them a righteousness that we have by the power of the Holy Spirit. Not to mention that they still were often deceived.

I think any time you go down the rabbit trail of telling people that they have freedom to sin and be forgiven at the end of the day, you open up the can of worms that we see today. When I hear one of these excuses, my alarms go off. That is the standard quote of every single Christian we meet at these wicked evil events. "Christians sin every day and at the end of the day are forgiven." It is not one place in Scripture. They are all convinced that their righteousness is positional as opposed to actually walking it out. Unfortunately, the righteousness we need comes by an act of the will by faith. Faith without works is dead. So it is a dynamic of both.

Wood, hay and stubble is bad teaching, not sin. If Hugh Ross is wrong and the earth really was created in 6 literal days, that would be wood, hay and stubble. On the other hand, if Ken Ham and Arch Bishop Ussher are wrong, then that would be wood, hay and stubble. Both of these men, as far as I can see, walk holy with the Lord. But one of them is off in their teaching and it does lead people astray. I believe it is Ken Ham, of course. There is one thing I have noted and that is that Ken Ham is not opposed to lying about Hugh Ross and defaming his character without qualifications just to win his point of view. That, I suppose, is major wood, hay and stubble. However, I do believe he is genuinely convinced that his tirades are true as opposed to willfully lying.

1 John 5:16-18 is a significant passage of Scripture that I have meditated on: If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

He makes a distinction here between two different types of sin. One is sin unto death and the other is sin not unto death. Why not pray for sin unto death? Well, if I can judge by the way they handled certain sins, it would be because they judged such things in a very determined, firm, direct way. Doug and I have concluded that sin not unto death are things such as falling into a situation that you didn't anticipate like seeing a movie where they take God's name in vain, separating yourself from Gentiles at a tea party, perhaps using debt, getting angry when your friend wants his nephew to join the crew when the nephew has never been faithful to the cause, etc. But these things do not lead to hell's fire like fornication, drunkenness, covetousness, lying, etc. PS. I have a feeling that Paul's reaction to Mark shaped him up quick, fast, in a hurry because later he became a huge asset to the ministry. Had Paul been easy on him, I am not sure that would have happened.

Because I am trusting in God to do this work in me and not relying on myself to do it, I have confidence in Him and His Spirit that they will complete this work in me. My testing and temptations are not in the flesh but my faith at times. Hebrews 6:1 says this, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

We are to not live in a lifestyle of sin-repent-sin-repent-sin-repent etc. We are to move beyond that into perfection or maturity. We are fully well aware of a transitional period. But that period clearly did not last for 20 odd years. I am now in a position that if I were to fall away, it would be impossible to bring me back. I know too much. Anyway, it was a fairly quick transition as is evidenced in the way that Ananias and Sapphira were judged for sin unto death.

In addition, all those warnings to the churches in Revelations indicate that each of those churches must overcome to get in.

Sinless perfection reminds me of the way some people were in the holiness/homeschool movement. There were these couples that would get up and say that they lived out the perfect day with nary a problem. We who lived in the real world were confused and discouraged because, frankly, I have never lived out the perfect day. Each day seems to carry its own suffering. Freedom from sin is no longer desiring to sin otherwise we aren't free from it. It has nothing to do with perfect lives. If I am sweating it out, I'm not free. I am no longer a slave to sin. I am dead to sin positionally and personally because of what Jesus did and because of the power of His Spirit. Where others are denying that power, I am going to shout it from the rooftops.

Many, many blessings!