Keep Praying, Keep Fighting

Keep Praying, Keep Fighting

Daniel 10:2-3,12-13, 16-21 “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. [notice Daniel was fasting and praying for an answer to his prayer] Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. [a terrible vision, terrible news, a terrible announcement took all his strength] For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, [God through His angel strengthened Daniel supernaturally to carry the burden he was under] And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. [God will encourage us when we go to Him in prayer, even when we think there is no way I can be encouraged] Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.”

Introduction

Keep praying and keep fighting for what you know to be right, there is an invisible war (10:10–21) going on all around us that we know nothing about. For three weeks Daniel received no answer to his prayer, but unknown to him, from the very instant he started praying, God started answering and sent one of His angels to give the answer to Daniel, but a dreadful and fearful spiritual battle was raging for those three weeks. Satan was doing his best to stop or delay this angel of the Lord from fulfilling his mission to give Daniel an answer to his prayer. Just because all may seem lost, just because we do not get the answer in the timeframe in which we expect, does not mean God and His angels are not working and are not actively fighting in the spiritual realm on our behalf.

Angelic Help

We get the impression that the glorious man clothed in linen vanished from the scene and one of the angels, perhaps Gabriel, touched Daniel. The old prophet was on his face on the ground, but the ministry of the angel enabled him to lift himself to his hands and knees. Then the angel spoke to him, and this gave him the strength to stand upright. This is not unlike when Jesus was in the Garden and the angels ministered unto Him. This is the third time Daniel was touched by an angel (Dan. 8:18; 9:21; and see 10:16, 18–19). Perhaps we, unknown to us, have had and angel sent down from God to touch us and give us strength, when we had none left, and give us a will to carry on, when all our spirit was spent and depleted. Perhaps, in our greatest hour of need, the Lord may do what He did here with Daniel and send an angel to give us a touch, to help us face the unfaceable, to help us endure, the unendurable; just perhaps, if you are in such a situation right now, God has an angel on his way to give you that kind of touch too.

Greatly Beloved

“Greatly beloved” – Daniel was addressed as “greatly beloved.” We recall that our Lord Jesus Christ was spoken of this way by the Father. Because we are His children, in and through Christ, the Father loves us as He loves His Son (John 17:23, 26). So, to the Lord in Heaven, we too are His “greatly beloved” as Daniel was. To God we are His “greatly beloved”, and a Father who loves His children that much, only wants what is best for us, and is working toward that end in all the situations in our life.

An Invisible War

Daniel’s conversation with the angel reveals to us the important fact that there is an “invisible war” going on in the spiritual realm between the forces of evil and the forces of God. For three weeks, Daniel had been praying for wisdom to understand the visions he had already seen, but the answer to that prayer was delayed. Why would the Lord not immediately answer the petitions of His “greatly beloved?” Because “the prince of the kingdom of Persia”—an evil angel—had attacked the angel bearing the answer, probably Gabriel. Michael, the archangel then assisted Gabriel and together they won the battle. Maybe that delay in the answer to your pray, could be because angels, sent from God on your behalf, are caught up in a great spiritual battle, an “invisible war” with the forces of evil.

Well-meaning people may scoff at the idea of demonic forces and good and evil angels, but the fact remains that this is solid biblical theology. When Lucifer rebelled against God and was judged, some of the angels fell with him and became the demonic evil angels that oppose Christ and obey Satan (Revelation 12:7–12 – And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.)

According to Ephesians 6:10–18, Satan has a well-organized army of evil spirits that obey his every command. But through His sacrificial work on the cross, Christ defeated Satan and his army and we can claim that victory by faith. The believer’s responsibility is to put on the whole armor of God by faith and use the Word of God and believing prayer to oppose and defeat the wicked one. Paul told the Ephesian believers that the Christian’s battle was not against flesh and blood but against demonic forces in a spiritual realm that oppose the holy angels who always do God’s will. When a Christian prays, God will direct the armies of Heaven to fight on our behalf, even though we may know nothing about the battles that are being waged in this invisible war all around us. (II Kings 6:17 –  And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.) What might you see that God has placed of His Heavenly host all around you on your behalf, what battle might you see, what evil force might you notice being blocked from reaching you by an angel from God, what might you see if you could catch a glimpse of the spiritual realm all around you? An incredible thought to contemplate.

Daniel had been involved in a cosmic spiritual conflict and had no idea it was even going on. The Lord was even using some of His highest angels to answer his prayers! This knowledge certainly puts our prayers, and what we think of them and how we consider them, on a whole other level of importance. The neglect of prayer is the reason why many churches and individual believers are so weak and defeated. Someone once said, “Much prayer, much power; no prayer, no power!” Jesus taught His disciples that the demonic forces could not be defeated except by prayer and fasting, the very activities that Daniel had been involved in for three weeks (Matthew 17:21– Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.).

A Caution

Our Lord Jesus took seriously the reality of Satan and his demonic forces, and we should too. A cautious caveat needs to be added here though, this does not mean we should blame every headache, interruption, and delay in the answer to our prayers on demons, but it does mean we should respect Satan’s power because the Bible tells us that he “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” I Peter 5:8.

Notice in Daniel chapter ten, twice the angels tell him, to “Fear not” (Daniel 10:12, 19). God does not want us to have a spirit of fear, we should put our trust in Him at all times and in all circumstances (II Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.) Notice it was the Lord through His angels that gave Daniel the strength he needed also notice what God tells us in Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Conclusion

Finally, the angel made it clear that the battle was not yet over. The battle is not over till we see Jesus, so keep praying and keep fighting for what you know to be right in the Lord. As soon as he finished instructing Daniel, Gabriel would return to assist Michael in battling the prince of Persia and the prince of Grecia, two satanic evil angels who were opposing the plans of the Lord. Keep praying, keep having faith, one answer may come, but the “invisible war” could still be raging all around you, don’t let up, keep praying, keep having faith, keep fighting and keep living for the Lord. Do not let your guard down to the Devil. Think of all the things in your life that have already been changed because you and others have fervently prayed.

A delay does not mean that God has not already dispatched His angels on your behalf. A delay does not mean that God is not working in the situation. Keep praying, fast and pray when needed, keep having faith. God will give you strength when you do not have one drop of it left. God will encourage you when you think it is impossible to ever be encouraged again. God and His angels never quit, honor the Lords commitment to you and keep pressing forward in your life for Him. Take the next step, keep on bended knee and trust it all to Him. (II Corinthians 10:4-5 – (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;)

The Power of Influence

The Unfortunate Power of a Bad Influence

The wrong kind of influence can lead others into sin – Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” Notice how is says “lest thou learn his ways” – because you could be influenced by them to sin. Be on guard for who may be influencing you!

Some examples of a bad influence

Solomon (I Kings 11:3-4 – And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.) – These verses provide us a dual example of bad influences.

First, Solomon left a terrible influence on his children, his followers and future kings by him taking 700 hundred wives and 300 concubines. This evil adulterous influence and legacy led to much sin and heartbreak.

Second, his many worldly wives eventually had a bad influence on him and turned him even further away from God.

This goes to remind us and show us, influence is a two-way street, we have influence on others and others have influence on us. We need to be vigilant and guard both. We need to guard our influence on others to make sure it is always Christ-like and we need to be diligent in gauging the influence others have on us to make sure we are getting the best kind of influence; or if we are in a situation where we cannot always get that Christ-like influence, to be aware of that and ask Christ’s help to filter out the bad influences and do our best to not let it influence us for the worst.

Ahaziah King of Judah (II Chronicles 22:3-4 – He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction.) – Notice the duality of influence found again in these verses. He was influenced by evil counselors, they had a sinful destructive influence on him, and he in turn had an evil and destructive influence on others. We need to guard the kind of influences we have in our life and seek out Godly influences and be spiritually aware of the evil influences in our life and if possible stay away from them, and if not, guard against them while we are being exposed to them.

What Kind of Attitude Should We Have Toward Our Influence?

We need to be making sure, to the best of our ability and circumstances, that the influences in our life are the right kind of influences, influences that point us to Christ and have a Godly impact on us.

We need to guard our influence that we have on others and seek to make sure it is the right kind of influence. We need to make sure, again as much as our circumstances allow, that our influencers and our influence we give out are both anchored in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Hebrews 6:19 – Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;)

How is your Influence?

We should stay away from anything that will hurt our influence – Romans 14:13-16 “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

We should avoid as much as possible all evil and sinful influences. Keep in mind many things are not necessarily wrong in themselves, but they may lead you or someone you influence to sin, so we need to stay away from those influences as well as much as possible too – I Thessalonians 5:21-23 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Conclusion

The power of a good example and influences, and bad  influences lives on past death (Hebrews 11:4– By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh). The power of Abel’s good influence and example lives on and unfortunately the power of Cain’s bad influence and example lives on. What kind of influence will you be known for years from now to have had on others? What kind of impact will you have had on the world with your influence? We all have influence, how will you use yours for Christ? Or will you let it be used by Satan? Our influence as Christians cannot be overemphasized. We have an effect on others. This fact is illustrated well by the poem “Touching Others“.

The slightest breeze that ever blew
Some slender grass has wavered,
The smallest life I ever knew
Some other life has flavored.

We cannot live our lives alone
For other lives we touch
Are either strengthened by our own,
Or weakened just as much.

How is your Influence?

Check your influence – What kind of influence are you personally having on others? What kind of example are you setting for those around you, to those that look up to you, to those that love you? Make sure you are that Christ-like influence to others and make sure you are around the right kind of influences. Decide that today; determine that today, with Christ’s help!

Illustration

In 1874 Richard L. Dugdale was employed by the New York Prison Commission to visit the state prisons. As he visited he was surprised to find criminals in six different prisons whose relatives were mostly criminals or paupers, and the more surprised to discover that these six criminals were all descended from the same family.

This led him to study their relatives, living and dead. He studied the court and prison records, reports of town poorhouses, and the testimony of old neighbors and employers. He learned the details of 540 descendants of the patriarch of this family born about 1720. He traced others linked to the family bringing the number up to 1,200 persons of the family of the Jukes (Juke was not the real name of the family). They were described this way:

“The almost universal traits of the family were idleness, ignorance, and vulgarity. They would not work, they could not be made to study, and they loved vulgarity…. It is very difficult to find anyone who is honest and industrious, pure and prosperous.”

In 1897 A. E. Winship was asked by a scholarly organization to prepare a paper on Jonathan Edwards. In the course of his studies he discovered the descendants of Edwards presided over the New York Prison Commission which housed many of the Juke descendants. This led Winship to a study in contrast between Jukes and Edwards. Jonathan Edwards’ great-great-grandfather, Richard Edwards, was a clergyman. Among the first men of the Edwards family to come to the colonies in New England was William, a son of this clergyman, born about 1620.

The results of this study of contrast between the Edwards and the Jukes, is also an observation of the power of influence on a family. The Edwards family had the influence of a preacher as the patriarch, the Jukes family had the influence of a man of poor morals and poor work habits as their patriarch. There life affected more than them. There choices affected more than just them. Their influence affected more than those just around them, it affected multiple generations of their descendants.

The Jukes family:

  • 310 of the 1,200 were professional paupers—more than one in four.
  • 300 of the 1,200—one in four—died in infancy from lack of good care and good conditions, as a result of their poor work ethic.
  • 50 women who lived lives of harlotry.
  • 400 men and women ruined their health early in life by their own sinful lifestyles.
  • 7 were murderers.
  • 60 were habitual thieves who spent on the average twelve years each in prison.
  • 130 more were criminals who were convicted of other crimes.

What a terrible example, and it all started with the Patriarch of this family in 1720, what a terrible influence he had and look at all the ruined lives as a result of that one man’s evil influence.

The Edwards family:

  • 1 U.S. Vice-President (Aaron Burr)
  • 3 U.S. Senators
  • 3 Governors
  • 3 Mayors
  • 13 College Presidents
  • 30 Judges
  • 65 College Professors
  • 80 Public office holders
  • 100 Lawyers
  • 100 missionaries, pastors and theologians.

What a drastic difference in these two families, they illustrate well the power of influence. Your life affects others. More than you may think it does. How are you influencing others? How are you influencing the generations coming up behind you?

Numbers 14:18 “The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”

How is your influence? Your life and how you live it affects more than just you. It can affect generations to come. Influence your family towards the Lord and leave them a Godly heritage.

How is your Influence?

 

Are We Having a Good Influence?

We need to make sure our influence is setting the right kind of example (I Timothy 4:12 – Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity).

Let no man despise thy youth” – It is clear from this that Timothy was then a young man, but he commanded a lot of respect even while being so young. You can have such a godly influence on others even in your youth that you will be well respected among all men, older and younger.

But be thou an example of the believers” – One of the constant duties of a Christian, no matter what their age, is to live a life so closely to Christ that it points others to Him and influences others that do not know Christ to want get to know Him and to want to have what that Christian has that makes them so joyfully different than the world. Do people notice that joyful difference in your life? – Or is there no joyful difference?

In conversation” – or lifestyle in general. Does your lifestyle reflect Christ to others; does your lifestyle influence others to Christ?

In charity” – Love to the brethren, and to all. Are you setting the right example in this area or are you a respecter of persons perhaps? (Romans 2:11 – For there is no respect of persons with God.) – How is your influence in this area?

In spirit” – In the government of your passions, and in a mild, meek, forgiving disposition.

In faith” – At all times, and in all trials, show believers by your example, how they ought to maintain unshaken confidence in God.

We need to consistently be the right kind of influence to others (Titus 2:7 – In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity).  We need to be consistently demonstrating a good influence to others in our life and we should be seeking companionship and friendship with those who themselves show a “pattern of good works” for Christ.

The Power of a Good Influence

We can win souls to Christ, we can influence people of the world, and the lost we know personally, to change their mindset about Christ, we can demonstrate, with a Christ-like influence, what true Christianity is like to the lost world. Are we doing this?

I Corinthians 7:16 “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”

I Peter 2:11-12 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

A good Godly influence can cause the unsaved sinner conviction and shame over their actions and decisions. Are you living out a Christ-like influence among your friends and family? Are you being the kind of influence you should be, that you need to be?

Some examples of a good influence

Joshua (Joshua 24:23 & 31 – Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.)

Joshua had such a great influence on his people when he was alive that he bent their hearts and wills toward God, he put them on the right path in their life and in their faith. He influenced them to live right for the Lord. Are you having a “Joshua” influence on someone?

Joshua set such a good example in living for the Lord and he made such an impression on the people by his good example that his Godly influence to his people continued on after his death. What kind of influence are you having on others? Is it a Godly influence? Are you pointing them to Christ with your influence on them? We all have an influence on someone. Remember we will all give an account one day of our actions and the influence we had on others to Christ. Let that reckoning day with Christ be one of rewards for having a good Christ-like influence on others. (II Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.)

Jesus had a profound influence on the Apostle John

Notice John’s attitude at firstLuke 9:54 “And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?”

Notice John’s attitude after he had been with Jesus for awhileI John 4:6-11 “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

Are we having a positive impact for Christ on others? Are we having a “Joshua” influence on our friends and family? Are we influencing them to live Christ-like lives? How is our influence? Look at the influence Jesus had on John, in the first passage John was suggesting burning people to death, in the second passage after the influence of Jesus on his life, he had become the Apostle of Love. How are we influencing those around us? Are we having a positive impact on them or are we having a negative impact on them?

How is your influence?

What is your influence?

 

 

A High View of Scripture

A High View of Scripture

Without question, the maintaining of a high view of scripture, that is a Hill that every Christian should be willing to die on. Not using a perversion of the Word of God is a Hill to die on. Maintaining the integrity and the high standard of the Word of God is a hill to die on. A high view of Scripture is absolutely essential and indispensable to the discerning Christian. This is a Hill we should all not hesitate to die on.

The Authenticity of the Scripture: understanding and acknowledging the Bible’s authenticity. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is inerrant and infallible. In the Old Testament alone the text claims to be the very words of God over 3,800 times. Contemporary Christianity is inundated with attacks on the inspiration and authenticity of the Bible. So we need to acknowledge the Bible is indeed the pure Word of God, and we need to acknowledge for English speaking people, that the King James version of the Bible has been the gold-standard for centuries.

All Bible versions contradict each other. Which one is right? We need to stand for what is right, we need to stand for the gold-standard, we need to stand for the time tested English version of the Bible, the one that can be trusted and has been trusted for centuries, and that is the King James version of the Bible. If multiple versions are acceptable, confusion will abound! God tells us in His Word, He is not the author of confusion. So one version will be the right one to use for English speaking people and all others would be the incorrect one to use for English speaking people, otherwise there would be, and there currently is, confusion.

The Authority of Scripture – a high view of Scripture also demands submission to an absolute authority. The Bible comes from God Himself. It reflects His perfect truth. It also bears His authority. It should be the final say on our thoughts, our words, our actions, and our practice. We should submit to the Word of God, and we should do this submitting through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15).

Why?

Some ask why we do not use other versions, sometimes this question is asked in a rather condescending way. The answer is quite simple, and the answer for those asking the question should be quite simple for them to realize, but it seems they sometimes choose to ignore the obvious answer as to why many of us believe the King James Bible is the only bible English speaking people should use. Instead they seem to assign a straw man reason or argument as to why we stay with the King James Bible. They may say it is out of ignorance, it is because we are old-fashioned, we are stuck in the past, we are stubborn and unwilling to change.

I recently read a blog post that said my position on the King James Bible is “flawed, inconsistent, and irrational.”[1] This is not how to address a fellow believer; this is not how to try to “win” them over to your point of view. This is a good way to offend that brother or sister in Christ by referring to their conviction on the bible as “flawed, inconsistent, and irrational.” I cannot speak for all that believe in exclusive use of the King James version of the Bible for English speaking people, but for me this statement did not set well. It implicitly is stating that I am irrational, inconsistent and flawed in my thinking on this most important issue.

By doing this it dismisses all the research, all the study, and all the time I have spent in prayer seeking the Lords guidance and wisdom on this subject, and becoming 100% confident I am 100% right with my Lord with this position. My position does “tie itself to a strong argument[2] a strong argument based on much research prayer and study. Documented research, comparative research with real examples of concerns and issues with the newer TR versions readily available for viewing.

It seems to be telling me, you think the Holy Spirit that directed me to this position on the King James Bible is also then “flawed, inconsistent, and irrational” for doing so, and I am here to say my God is not “flawed, inconsistent, and irrational!” This same blog post also made this rather seemingly condescending statement, “please, don’t tell us that “the text is the issue” seemingly implying the text was not the issue, but instead a stubborn attitude about my position was instead the issue. Again I cannot speak for all those that believe the King James is the version of the Bible all English speaking people should be using, but I can state unequivocally that yes sir, the “text is the issue”, the translation of the text is the issue, the trustworthiness of the translation from the text is the issue, the accuracy of the translation from the text is the issue.

I research these new translations, I compare and contrast, I read the introductions, I am aware of what the introduction of the King James says, and I have yet to find, after I put in some effort to study the newer TR translations, one that I feel is as trustworthy as the King James. I do not dismiss them out of hand, I do research on them and when I start discovering errors, questionable translating, odd translating, questionable footnotes that cast doubt on important doctrines, then I have no choice but to dismiss them as an untrustworthy translation and keep using the King James Bible. So this is my reasoning behind using the King James only and believing as I do about God’s word. Reasoning that is based on and does “tie itself to a strong argument.”[3]

Please do not assign reasons as to why I take this position that do not have any basis in fact, please do not make blanket derogatory comments about fellow believers that believe differently than you on this issue, that is not a way to bring unity, but rather a way to cause further division. We should be “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit”[4] with our words and not causing the opposite. I pray I am not guilty of the same in this article. My thinking and my position is not “flawed, inconsistent, and irrational” it is actually a very consistent, logical, reasoned, well researched, and fully rational position and belief on this subject of Bible versions.

Also I do not have a “preestablished bias” regarding this issue, another example of a blanket suppositional statement about all brothers and sisters in Christ that hold to a position that the King James is the bible English speaking people should be using. My position has nothing to do with “the fear of man” and has everything to do with the fear of God. This article I read seemed to be full of a lot of assumptions: assuming of motives, assuming of reasons, assuming of beliefs. My belief is based on concrete black and white factual research, along with the most important reason to base any belief on and that is God and His Holy and precious word.

I’ve come to the realization that the vast majority of those who say that the text is really the issue, don’t actually believe that the text is really the issue.  They may not have the disposition of Steven Anderson, but they certainly hold to the same theological position.” – This statement was over the top. Just because I do not share your opinion or belief on Bible versions does not mean I am like Steven Anderson. Why turn to insults in support of your position or in your arguing against another’s position, it is never right to insult or derogatorily refer to other Christians in such a meritless way. This is another example of a blanket suppositional statement, that are unfortunately prevalent in that blog post.

Unity

Sometimes harsh words, unnecessary breaking of fellowship and name-calling occurs amongst believers. When this happens, we should all seek to reconcile to each other through the love of Christ and for the “furtherance of the gospel.” Put away the pride that could hinder this process. We are to be humble servants of our King, not prideful name-callers and promoters of self.

Ephesians 4:1-6 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

What Should Our Unity Be Based On?

All true believers have a common life mission. There may be differing gifts, personalities, approaches to ministry, education levels, or schools of thought, among Bible-believing Christians. We can all “do church” a little different and still be true to the fundamentals of the faith. Some have more formal services, some have more relaxed services, there are many varying preferences concerning one thing or the other, but we all, if we are true Biblicists should be able to unite around the scriptures and the fundamental beliefs we all share based on the Scriptures. Methodologies may differ, but theology should be right by the Scriptures.

Separation is Also Needed

The principle of separation can be often misunderstood and misapplied, when this happens the results are unnecessary divisions and tensions. Many things have happened over the years in the name of separation that should not have happened; such as, name calling, slandering, divisive words and posts, meritless based assumptions and accusations, mean-spirited words, have all happened in the name of taking a stand or in the name of truth, or in the name of separation.

A lot of well-known names can be included in the list of guilty parties to these unnecessary stands, name callings, slanders, and the resultant fragmentation that occurred. But the principle of separation is also biblical and still needed.

What are some wrong reasons for separation?

  • Personal disagreements
  • With the caveat that they are sound on biblical principles – disagreement on colleges, mission boards, conferences, methodology, etc.
  • Differing degree and application of biblical based standards and rules of ministry
  • Differences in preferences and style

When are some right reasons for separation?

  • It would be right to separate from non-believers
  • Not to separate from fellow believers would be wrong when they are violating the clear and easily distinguished biblical principles, even if the violation seems minor.
  • Liberal and unscriptural stands on music, and the Bible would be right reasons for separation.
  • It would be right to separate from fellow believers when unbiblical and antibiblical teaching and preaching is occurring on their part, it also does not matter how minor this may appear, if it is going against the Bible, that automatically makes it a major difference and clear reason for separation. I have seen this play out in my own life; it is very sad when it happens.

We should not accept new trends (or old traditions) without first testing them to make sure that they meet with God’s approval. If these trends or traditions fail the test, we should quickly discard them and then warn others also of them. But if they passed the test of Scripture, we can embrace them and endorse them wholeheartedly. (I Thessalonians 5:21-22Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.)

Rebuke When Necessary

Though we must remember compassion when exercising separation, we need to separate when the clear teaching of the Scriptures compels us to. Sometimes rebuke is a necessary element of that separation, and if not given along with the separation we would be failing in our biblical responsibilities as Christians.  (I Timothy 5:20 – Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.) If we fail to rebuke sin publicly when the situation calls for it, we are then sinning ourselves, by violating a clear command of Scripture.

[1] (Are We Ready – A Question for Those who Love the KJV, 2019)

[2] (Are We Ready – A Question for Those who Love the KJV, 2019)

[3] (Are We Ready – A Question for Those who Love the KJV, 2019)

[4] Ephesians 4:3

How is Your Influence?

Matthew 5:13 – Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ye are the salt of the earth” – Our Lord shows us here what all who profess to follow Him, should be; we should be the salt of the earth, to preserve the world from sin and destruction. We are to influence the world to God.

But if the salt have lost his savour” – A Christian, who has lost the life of Christ, and the witness of His Spirit, out of his soul, may be likened to this salt.  He may have the sparks and glittering particles of true salt, but without its power or comfort; only the soul that is in union with Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, can preserve its savor and influence, and be the instrument of good to others.

To be trodden underfoot” – There was a type of salt in Judea, which could easily be rendered savorless, and of no other use but to be spread in a part of the temple, to prevent slipping in wet weather.  This is probably what our Lord alludes to in this place; to the existence of such a salt, and to its application to such a use.

We Need to Be Concerned About Our Influences

We need to be concerned about the kind of influences we allow in our life. We also need to keep a constant check to make sure we are being good influences for the Lord. What kind of influences are we letting into our life to affect us and our decision making? What kind of influence are we being to those around us, to our friends and to our family?

Are we being a bad influence, or are we being a Godly Christ like influence. Are we letting Satan and the world influence us negatively and push us farther away from God? Or are we letting Christ influence us by digging deep into His Word, by praying and meditating on His truths and growing closer and closer to Him each and every day

Illustration on being a good influence

Four preachers were discussing the merits of various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James best because of its simple, beautiful English language and its trustworthiness. Another preferred a different version for various reasons. Still another favored yet another version. When the fourth preacher was asked his opinion, he replied, “I like my mother’s translation best.” The other three were a little puzzled. They were unaware that his mother had translated the Bible. “Yes, she did,” he stated, “She translated the Bible into life. She lived what she read, and hers was the most convincing translation I ever saw.

This good mother had a fine Christian influence on her son. What about our influence? Do we so live out the Bible, like this mother did, that people can see the Word of God in us come out in your everyday life and actions? Do we have the kind of influence where people see the Bible in us also?

What is Influence?

Influence is to affect or alter the conduct, thought, or character of another. This altering can be either for the better or for the worse.  How is your influence, is it for the better or for the worse?

Everyone has it. – Romans 14:7 says “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” – We all are influenced and we all influence. We should be concerned about influence. You want to have good and just influences on yourself to help yourself to be more like Christ and you want to be a good Christ-like influence on others so you can influence them toward God and toward the things of God.

You do not want to find out one day that you influenced someone away from God because of your bad influence on them. Wouldn’t that be a horrible thing to find out? Make sure you have good influences in your life and make sure you are being a good influence. You should be very concerned about anchoring your influences in the Lord. Your life or someone else’s life may depend on it. (Romans 14:12 – So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.) We will give an account for our influence.

We Need to be Guarding our Influence

Jesus taught us to guard our influence, to make sure it was a good one, in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:13-16 – “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Let your light so shine” – Or more literally, let your light shine, outwardly to all. As the sun is lighted up in the sky to diffuse its light and heat freely to every inhabitant of the earth; and as the lamp is not set under the bushel, but placed upon the lamp-stand that it may give light to all in the house; so should every follower of Christ diffuse the light of heavenly knowledge, and the warmth of Divine love through the whole circle of their influence. Are we letting our light, the light of the Lord shine to those around us, or are we keeping that light to ourselves?

Illustration

Missionary, Dr. John Geddie went to Aneityum, an Island NW of Australia, in 1848 and worked there for God for 24 years. On the tablet there erected to his memory these words are inscribed, “When he landed, in 1848, there were no Christians. When he left, in 1872, there were no heathen.” He was a profound influence for the Lord. Are we making an impact for the Lord with our life? – What kind of influence are we being for the Lord?

We Should Influence others toward Christ

That they may see your good works” – It is not sufficient to have light-we must walk in the light, and walk by the light.  Our whole conduct should reflect the light of the Lord, and be a constant example of its power and truth.

And glorify your Father” – Real Christians are the children of God-they are partakers of His holy and happy nature: they should forever be concerned for their Father’s honor, and endeavor to glorify Him, and His salvation, that others may be compelled to come to the light, accept the true light and walk in the light.  Then God will be glorified, when the glorious power of His grace is manifested in the salvation of men. (Luke 14:23 – And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.)

Illustration

It has been reported that years ago the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel. As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.

Conclusion

What kind of influence are you having for the Lord? – How is your influence? What is your influence? Are you being the right kind of influence to others? Do you live your life in such a way, that people can see the Bible through you? Are you being salt and light to those in your circle of influence? Is the light of Christ shining through your life?

How is your influence?

God’s Word, Bible Study and Traditions

GOD’S WORD, BIBLE STUDY, & TRADITIONS

Mark 7:6-13 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

“The keeping of human commands always leads to the neglect of the divine.” – Charles Spurgeon.

Verse 9:  “Full well” – Jesus is rebuking them here by saying in effect “Are you not acting in a most self righteous and pious manner, by preferring human traditions to God’s commandments?” The guilt and foolishness of the scribes and Pharisees are exposed by this condemnation. It is a terribly sinful thing to put the traditions of men on a pedestal higher then God’s Word. It is a terribly sinful thing to establish rules of governance in a local assembly based just on traditions of men and not the Word of God. It is a terrible and sinful thing to put in effect things that will alter men’s futures and their capacity to serve God and all the while those things are based more in the traditions of men then the Word of God. – Always make sure everything is based in God’s Word. Research things out for yourself, dig deep into the Scriptures’, and come to conclusions and convictions for yourself, and do not just rely on what you have always heard; but own those beliefs for yourself by careful and exhaustive Bible study.

INTRODUCTION: We need to create the good habit of daily Bible reading. We either have good habits or bad habits. If we have not developed the good habit of daily Bible reading then we have developed the bad habit of NOT reading the Bible daily! Time is a factor in daily Bible reading. Lots of people say they do not have the time. Let’s look at the reality of time. James 4:14 says “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” As you see James teaches us that our time on earth is brief, but a vapor in comparison to eternity. If we do not develop the good habit of daily Bible study our time on this earth will catch up with us. We will have spent our life on earth not utilizing the time we had for Christ. Many Christians will meet God never having read his Word through once. Wouldn’t that be a shame; to meet God, to meet Christ, knowing everything that was done for you, because He loved you, and you never having bothered to completely read His love letter to you?

WHY IS GOD’S WORD SO IMPORTANT? – Because it contains God’s mind and will for your life, because it is the only source of absolute truth in the world, and because it is the Divine authority for your life. (II Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.) God inspired men of old with His Holy Spirit from time to time, influencing them to speak or write His will to men. (II Peter 1:20-21 – Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)

  • God’s Word is infallible in its entirety. (Psalm 19:7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.) – The written Word of God is perfect for our faith and practice, it is perfect in making all who follow it wise unto salvation; it is perfect to trust, it is perfect to accept and it is perfect in its demonstration of the atonement, the righteousness, and the intercession of Christ on behalf of man.
  • It is inerrant in its parts. (Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.) – God’s Word contains no errors or mistakes. There are erroneous versions of the Bible out there, but God has preserved for English speaking people a Bible we can rely on and use with confidence- and that is the King James Version of the Bible.

Adam Clarke speaking about these verses in Proverbs said “Everything that God has pronounced, every inspiration which the prophets have received, is pure, without mixture of error, without dross.”

  • It is complete. (Revelation 22:18-19 – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.) – These verses are a solemn warning to those who would seek to tamper with and alter the Word of God. It is dire condemnation to them proclaimed in these verses if they add unto or they take away words from the Holy Scriptures.
  • We need to examine and review some of the changing (the adding to and taking away) of God’s Word that is happening today. There are over 64 thousand less words in the other versions of the Bible compared to the King James Version.
  • In 1611, the King James Bible translation was finished. It took 54 scholars 6 years to translate the Bible into English. That is how careful and serious they took their work. We can rest assured that the King James Version of the Bible is the complete Word of God for us today.
  • People were warned not to alter God’s Word some 2,000 years ago in this passage in the book of Revelation. God takes His Word very seriously and He expects us to take His Word very seriously as well.
  • It is authoritative and final. (Psalm 119:89 – For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.) – Although things may happen on earth that go contrary to His Word; in Heaven it is firmly settled and kept pure for eternity.
  • It is totally sufficient for our needs. (Psalm 19:7-9 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.) – “The law of the LORD is perfect” – the Hebrew word translated as “perfect” means perfectly complete, full and whole. So the Word of the Lord is perfect, complete, and whole. It is all sufficient to meet any and every need that arises. God’s word is sufficient to transform people completely from the inside out. This begins with our salvation and continues with our sanctification.
  • It will accomplish what it promises. (Isaiah 55:11 – So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.)

The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon had these thoughts of this verse “So we are invited to trust in an effectual gospel which can by no means fall to the ground.  We have no cunningly devised fable put before us, but the infallible truth of God who cannot lie.  All things else may fail, but the promise of God will be fulfilled as surely as God is God.

THE GOAL OF COMPREHENSION– We need to do more than just topical studies in the Bible. A topical study is looking up all the relevant passages to a certain topic and studying those. This is not a bad way to study the Bible, but we also need to study the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse as it was written. Why work at studying the Bible as whole and not just topical studies? Because with topical studies you risk taking or applying a verse out of context; we need to consider all that God has revealed to us in His Word. (Psalm 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.) 

“The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” – A. W. Tozer 

“The Bible is a harp with a thousand strings. Play on one to the exclusion of its relationship to the others, and you will develop discord. Play on all of them, keeping them in their places in the divine scale, and you will hear heavenly music all the time.” – William P. White 

  • Study and learn the Bible both privately and at church. Come to Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study. The Bible warns us on this subject – “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” II Peter 1:20.
  • Some study only at church and none at home. Others only study at home if they study at all and neglect church services. (Hebrews 10:25 – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.)
  • Those that study only at home by themselves are more likely to get a false understanding of passages, along with false application of passages. They are more likely to fall for false teachings and false teachers.

BASIC BIBLE STUDY TOOLSSome suggestions for some tools to use as you study the Bible to help and get the most out of your Bible reading/study time. We are told to study God’s word, and we need to study it as efficiently as possible. (II Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.)

First you need to make sure you are using the right Bible. The King James Version is the Bible English speaking people should be using. Some Bible’s have a paragraph layout instead of a verse layout. The paragraph layout helps you get the complete thought of the writer but can be difficult to use.

  • Dictionaries, maps, study Bibles are also good tools to have as you read and study your Bible. You use these to look up the meaning of words, geographical information, and comments to help explain the meaning of the passage. Make sure you are getting a good reliable study Bible. Consult your Pastor’s opinion on one.
  • Markup tools. Such as colored pens, highlighters, a straight edge to use in aiding underlining of verses. Write notes in the margins of your Bible about what you learned from that passage.

LEARN TO LOOK FOR A BIBLICAL VIEW ON ISSUES – AND NOT JUST A TRADITIONAL VIEWTitus 1:9 says “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.” Notice the verse says “by sound doctrinenot by tradition of men but by well thought out, researched, studied and reasoned teaching based on God’s Word and God’s Word alone.

We always need to be thinking toward a Biblical view and not just a traditional view. (Mark 7:8a & 13) To get a proper view on any subject we must take into account both God’s terrible holiness, and His gracious forgiveness in view of the sinfulness of man.   To find the Biblical position on issues, we must:

  • Approach the Scriptures open-mindedly. We all have the tendency to believe what we’ve always been taught, without looking at our views critically to see if they are consistent with Scripture. The person who desires to know God’s mind must always come to the Word with a pure heart and an open mind, leaving prejudices and preconceived ideas behind. What is most important is that we find out what God’s Word says not what our traditions or culture say.
  • Look at all of Scripture as a whole on a subject. We cannot just rely on those verses which support our cherished positions.  That is how we so often argue Scripture.  For a view to be Biblical, it must fit every Scriptural text into the view without denying or doing interpretive violence to any position. Scripture must agree with Scripture.
  • Look at each Scripture in its context. The context of a passage will never change the meaning of a verse, but it will clarify the meaning. Each text must be studied on its own, faithfully understanding it in context.  Then, we seek to put all the verses together into a unified and consistent whole.  If the Bible is God’s Word, then every verse’s clear meaning will fit just like a puzzle piece perfectly in the whole of His Word.
  • C.I. Scofield had a great thought on the proper interpretation of scripture ““Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one and never use an if to contradict a verily.”

Seek Biblical answers not just traditional answers, not just good sounding answers, not even at first glance what would appear to be “Biblical” answers, but seek to actually examine the Scriptures for what they truly and actually say. Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and remember and keep at the forefront of your mind that our Lord strongly condemns placing mans traditions above His Word. Learn to always make sure the position you are taking or the stand you are making on an issue is based on God’s Word and not just mans tradition. (Mark 7:6-8a & 13 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.)

WHAT SHOULD BE MY REPSONSE TO THE WORD OF GOD? – Because the Bible is so important to us, because it is so important to learn and heed its teachings and truths, the Bible teaches us that our response to it should consist of the following:

  • Believe it. (John 6:68-69 – Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.) – Do you really believe the Bible? A lot of Christians will say they believe the Bible; but you could not tell it by how they are living their lives. Live your life in such a way it is obvious to all those around you that you actually believe every word of the Bible.
  • Honor it. (Job 23:12 – Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.) – Are you honoring the Bible with your actions? Are you honoring the Word of God with your attitude?
  • Love it. (Psalm 119:97 – O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.) – If you love something, it will be very important to you. You will want to spend lots of time with it. You will make it a priority. Do you really love the Word of God like you should?
  • Obey it. (I John 2:5 – But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.) – Are you obeying all the Word of God or just certain parts of it? We are commanded to keep the whole Word of God. Do you have pet sins you allow to stay in your life that go against teachings in the Bible?
  • Guard it. (I Timothy 6:20 – O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:) – We need to be guarding the Word of God and not being flippant with it, but being sincerely thankful we have such easy access to it as we do.
  • Fight for it. (Jude 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.) – Sometimes, now it seems more often than not, we will need to take a stand and fight for what we believe the Word of God teaches. If the world comes into conflict with God’s Word, the Bible makes it clear what we are to do “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29.
  • Study and teach it. (Ezra 7:10 – For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.) – This is something we all need to be doing. We all need to be diligently studying the Word of God and we all have someone within our influence who knows less about the Word of God than we do that we could be teaching His Word to.

IN CONCLUSION – For the person willing to study the Bible carefully, there is great reward. (Psalm 1:1-3 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.) We need to create the good habit of daily Bible reading. Many Christians will meet God never having read his Word through once. Wouldn’t that be a shame? This is why we need to develop the habit of Bible reading and study and keep it up the rest of our life. You need to make reading the Bible a pleasurable experience in order to make it a habit and keep it up. Don’t make it like work, start out small and with the New Testament, Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs then progress to the rest of the Bible. Make use of Bible study aides, make sure you study in context, and make sure you study in church and at home. Most importantly make sure you are studying out of the correct Bible so you can trust you are learning correct doctrine and teaching and not missing others that are left out of the wrong versions of the Bible.

Why is studying the Bible so important to us and “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” The Bible is so important because it contains God’s mind and will for our life, because it is the only source of absolute truth in the world, and because it is to be the Divine authority of our life. The Bible can cleanse our way because it is infallible, because it is inerrant, because it is complete, because it is all sufficient, and because it provides assurance for our salvation.

The Bible is the source of absolute truth, it is the source of victory, it is the source of spiritual growth, it is the source of power and it is the source of guidance. In God’s Word, a genuine Christian may have unlimited confidence. We can wash our minds and our souls by the studying of, meditating on, and praying over the Word of God. The Word of God is of extreme importance in our life. The Word of God is essential to the cleansing of our soul, minds and spirits.

Because of what the Word of God is, what it does, and how it benefits us, we need to respond to it appropriately. We need to first of all simply believe in it as the living Word of the all powerful, omnipresent, omniscient God. We need to honor it, we need to love it, we need to obey it and when necessary, be willing to fight for its truths and teachings. Most importantly we need to be sharing it with others. We need to be witnessing from it to others in order to bring more into the household of faith. What are you doing with the Word of God? Are you neglecting it? Are you not honoring its teachings? Do you need to recommit yourselves to God and His Word? Do you need to put God’s Word back into the proper place in your life? Make that decision and make that commitment to God to make His Word paramount in your life.

 

Why are we not Happy?

The Immanence of God

One of God’s attributes is the attribute of Immanence. This is closely related to His attribute of Omnipresence. God is immanent. This means you do not have to go great distances to find God. He is in everything, He is right here, right now with us. God is omnipresent, which means God is everywhere. God is also immanent, which means God penetrates everything. God is omnipresent and immanent, penetrating everything even as He also contains all things. A good definition of this attribute was given by A.W. Tozer, he described it this way:

God is above all things, beneath all things, outside of all things and inside of all things. God is above, but He’s not pushed up. He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down. He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. He’s inside, but He’s not confined. God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside all things embracing and inside of all things filling. That is the immanence of God.[1]

God does not have to travel to get anywhere. We may say a prayer something like this, “God, please come and help us,” or perhaps, “please be here with us,” we mean this of course in a spiritual way or a psychological way, but in reality God does not have to “come” anywhere to help us, because there simply is not anywhere or any place that God is not.

So, Why are we not Happy?

Why aren’t all Christians the happiest, the most at ease, the most content people in the world? The main answer is we seek to have or seek to make our own rest, our own happiness, and our own contentment. We seek this from that which is so small, so trivial, so temporal, when we are designed to seek our happiness in that which is eternally immanent.

What is it that makes you happy? What is it that lifts your spirits? Is it your job? Is it your house? Is it your car? Is it a vacation? Is it getting favorable reactions to a social media post? Is it your marriage? Is it your location? Is it your friends? Just what is it exactly that brings you joy?

Perhaps we are not happy people because we have our minds set on things, we are looking around us, we are looking in the mirror, we are comparing ourselves to others, many of us are not happy like we should be or as happy as we could be, because we have our minds set on small things. We beautify things, we obtain more things, we put our confidence in things and God, we put our confidence in our job and God, we put our confidence in friends and God, we put our confidence in our home and God, we put our confidence in our ambition for the future and God; so we are putting God as a plus one to all things in our life, when He should be The One in our life.

Where is your Confidence?

We are putting our confidence in so many different things and not just in God. We focus so much of our life and so much of our effort and so much of our attention on the small things, and so little of it on the Immanent One. We multiply, we increase and we are still anxious, we still fret, we still stress, and we remain ever unsatisfied. Why? – Because all that is beneath God will not satisfy, will not bring true and lasting happiness. We are made in the image of God, He imprinted a need for Him in our hearts, we cannot get around that. God did not make the horse in His image, He did not make the butterfly in His image, He made man in His image.

God only made man in His image, no other creature on earth was made in His image but man, so nothing short of God will truly satisfy you. You will find over the years, that you are not content with “all things plus God,” to get true contentment, true happiness, true joy you will have to rework that formula to be stated this way “God minus all things.”

It is not wrong to have things, and have nice things, but as soon we set our hopes on those things instead of God or make God a plus one to those things we lose something out of our heart. We lose the proper place of God in our heart, He is the Immanent God, we are designed with the need to give Him the utter preeminence in our life and heart. If we depend on things and God, people and God, location and God, situation and God, job and God, family and God, possessions and God, for our happiness, we have lost our way and are destined to be frustrated and irritated with life. It must always and only be God and nothing else that we depend on for our happiness.

Whatever else God sees to bless us with, hold that at arm’s length while also holding it dear for Jesus sake. We can love things for His sake, but things are not necessary for our happiness. If there is anything necessary for your eternal happiness and joy but God, you are not yet the kind of Christian you need and ought to be. For only God is the true rest, only in God is true happiness, only in God is true joy. That is how we are designed, with a God shaped hole in our heart, we need Him to have the immanence in our life, not things and Him, but just Him.

Conclusion:

Why are we not happy? – We are not allowing God to have the penetrating presence in our life like we need, and like He desires to have. We need the immanence of God practically manifested in our day to day life, we need it practically manifested in our priorities, we need it practically manifested in our dreams and plans, and in all parts of our life to live truly happy in this world.

*** Is the Immanence of God being practically applied in your life?

Colossians 1:15-18 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

*** Does God have the Preeminence over all things in your life?

[1] (Tozer, 2007)

Murmurings & Disputings

“MURMURINGS & DISPUTINGS”

(Philippians 2:12-18)

Philippians 2:12-18 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.”

INTRODUCTION 

The Bible tells us in verse 14 to do all things without murmuring and disputing. This means we are to do all things without a complaining and confrontational spirit. We are to do all things with a good attitude. We are to work willingly, happily and with a servants heart for our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:7 – With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:) When we work for someone or serve in the church, do it as if you are reporting directly to Christ himself, because in a way, you really are.

Let’s look at the definitions of these words:

Murmurings – means to grudgingly grumble about something.

Disputings – means a doubtful discussion, consideration or debate about the purpose, reasoning or thought.

So you could say the verse this way – “Do all things without grudgingly grumbling about it and without doubtfully considering or debating the purpose or reasoning behind your instruction to do it.”

I would say it this way “Follow the leadership you are under whether that be Christ or your boss or your Pastor. Without having an attitude about what you are told or asked to do, without constantly complaining about everything and without doubting and debating the request or command.”

Look at verses five to eight. We need to have a servant’s heart like the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:5-8Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

MURMERINGS AND DISPUTINGS 

We need to not have murmurings and disputing toward things we do for God and our Church or for things we do at our secular jobs. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.) We are going to examine about three areas where we need to watch our attitudes or our “murmurings and disputing”.

Secular Job

  • We need to maintain a testimony where we work. Especially since we are Christians and hopefully those you work with know you are a Christian.
  • We need to maintain a good testimony of having a good attitude and not complaining about everything at work, because we represent Christ. If people we work with see a negative complaining, insubordinate attitude from us, they are not going to want anything we have. We will turn them off to Christ and that may end up sending them to a Christless eternity.

Church life

  • We need to have a good, a non complaining attitude in things we do for Christ and in our church life. Constantly complaining about things is a sin. A very discouraging sin to the leader that has to hear it all the time.
  • We need to support and enthusiastically follow the leadership of our Pastor. God put him in the leadership position in our church “for such a time as this.” God gives him the vision and we need to follow and support the vision God has given him.
  • Of course if the leadership of the church is leading in an unbiblical path we are not obligated to follow it in those circumstances, nor should we. We should follow the biblical guidelines given in those circumstances as found in Matthew 18:15-17. Our ultimate allegiance should be to God and His word.

To the brethren

  • The Bible warns us over and over again about causing problems among the brethren. Of the seven things listed as what the Lord hates in Proverbs chapter 6:16-19 the last one mentioned and considered an “abomination” is “he that soweth discord among the brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16, 19 – These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:, vs.19 – A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.)
  • Don’t be guilty of what the Lord considers an abomination!
  • How do you sow discord among the brethren? – With murmurings and disputings. With a complaining attitude. With an attitude of seeing just how much you can get away with or trying to get special treatment for yourself.
  • Don’t be guilty of this sin, the Lord says is an abomination. We are commanded in the Word of God to mark those which cause division among fellow Christians and to avoid them. (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.) – Don’t make fellow Christians have to avoid you.

WHY SHOULD WE NOT BE GUILTY OF MURMURINGS AND DISPUTINGS? HOW DOES NOT COMPLAINING BENEFIT US?

Philippians 2:15a – “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,”

Four Specific Benefits are listed in the first part of verse fifteen:

  • “Blameless”So we will not have any guilt, or be the one to blame because of problems within the church or in the world. Make sure you are never the source of “discord among the brethren.” Instead seek to be the solution to that discord.
  • harmless” – Never be the one guilty of causing harm or hurt feelings to other Christians or other people in general. Strive to live a life that does not cause harm to others. The Bible tells us to cut out the murmurings, disputing and the gossiping in order to cut out the harming of others.
  • “sons of God” – We are Christians, if we are saved we are the “sons of God.” We should want to act like our Heavenly Father and live and set a good example and not act like the father of this world the devil.
  • “without rebuke” – If we don’t let ourselves murmur, dispute, or gossip about things we will have no rebuke coming to us.

WHY SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT BEING BLAMELESS, HARMLESS, SONS OF GOD AND WITHOUT REBUKE? – THAT IS ANSWERED IN THE NEXT PART OF THE VERSE 

It is because we livein the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” Verse 15b.

  • We are to be a light to the world that we live in. How can we be that light if we are complaining, gossiping, murmuring and disputing? We need to be the lights we are commanded to be. (Matthew 5:15-16 – Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.)
  • The world we live in needs our witness. Paul says we live in the “midst of a crooked and perverse nation”I think that accurately describes our nation today. So because of that, more than ever, we need to be living right as Christians and not murmuring or disputing. We need to be setting the example on how to live right not being an example of how to live wrong and sinfully.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO BECAUSE WE ARE A LIGHT IN THE WORLD? – VERSE 16a TELLS US WE SHOULD BE – “Holding forth the word of life”

What is the “word of life”? – The Gospel is called the “word of life” because it reveals to us eternal life and shows us how to have eternal life. It is called the “word of life” because it has the answers to all of life’s issues and problems. If you can’t find the answer keep looking. Sometimes the answers come as a result of the hours you spend in study and prayer in the looking for them.

  • Holding forth the word of life” – are you holding forth the word of God? Are you doing as we all are commanded to do in Acts 1:7-8 – “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
  • Are you “Holding forth the word of life” by obeying what the Lord commanded in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
  • Are you “Holding forth the word of life” by obeying what the Lord said in Luke 14:23 – “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

CONCLUSION

Why should we not be murmuring, complaining and disputing? – because of the benefits God’s Word tells us we will receive in verse fifteen  to be “blameless, harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke”

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing because we live in a “crooked and perverse nation” that needs a light, a light of hope, a light of love, and light of victory through the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing because we are commanded to hold “forth the word of life” – the gospel to the world.

We should not be murmuring, complaining and disputing so we can say as Paul did in the last part of verse sixteen “that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” So we can have joy at His appearing and know we have not lived in vain and to know that are labor has counted for Him and for eternity.

Character for the Crossing

Character for the Crossing

(Exodus 14:10-18)

Exodus 14:13-14 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses and the Israelites in Exodus chapter 14 learned an important character lesson of living by trust and faith in God, versus living by sight or living by their own logic or thinking. They learned, along with many other truths through this perilous event, that if you trust God wholly and completely He will not let you down.

INTRODUCTION

“That they go forward:” They needed to go forward with their lives, not faint in their present circumstances, not dwell on the past, but trust God and move forward. Exodus 14:15. We will look at several character truths learned both by Moses and the Israelites in this account, found in Exodus chapter 14, of their crossing of the Red Sea; which we can apply to our lives, so that we too can “Go forward” or move forward in the direction God has for us. We will examine how living by sight contrasts with living by faith.

 Do we live a faith filled life or do we live a sight filled life?

Are we going forward in our life, or perhaps are we just treading water and not trusting God to see us through to the other side of the situation?

THE SETTING

The setting of this text is when the Israelites, led by Moses, have finally left Egypt and are being chased by Pharaoh. They are on the edge of the Red Sea, and the Egyptians are at their back, and the Red Sea is in front of them. They appear to be in a no win, no alternatives situation. The Israelites at this moment, along with Moses, are going through an extremely stressful and difficult time, as you can imagine. We will learn some principles from God’s Word from this passage to help us to make it through our own hard times and difficulties.

LIVING BY SIGHT

Exodus 14:10a – “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them;”

The Israelite’s were living by sight; and what they saw was on one side the Egyptian army marching toward them, and on the other side was the Red Sea. As far as they could see they were in a no-win situation.

But are we to live by our sight, are we to live by our vision? – No, we should just trust in the Lord by faith to see us through all of our no-win situations, and watch Him miraculously snatch victory time and time again, from the jaws of defeat.

Instead of living by sight, we are to live by faith. (II Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight:) To walk by faith, is to live in the confident expectation of things that are to come to pass just as the Lord wills them, and at just the moment He wills them. The Lord is always on time. Those that don’t live by faith are only influenced by things they see, they will live for wealth, for personal honor or gain, for acquiring objects or for friends. The Christian on the other hand, is to have a firm conviction of the reality of an unseen God, of a Savior, of a God that holds the whole world in His right hand; and we are to live by this faith, and not by our sight of temporal things, but by our faith in our eternal God and His love and care for His children.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 1 – God may mean for you to be right where you are. Sometimes obedience to Christ puts you in the middle of the trouble. (Acts 7:54-60)

WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?

FEAR (Exodus 14:10b -and they were sore afraid:) –  Fear is a result of living by sight and not living by faith. If we are living by sight, we will have fear because:

  • we do not trust our circumstances to God and His control
  • we cannot see things from His perspective.

The Bible tells us the spirit of fear does not come from God. (II Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.) If God does not give us a spirit of fear, then who does? A.B. Simpson, an old Canadian preacher from early 20th century, said this about fear, “Fear is born of Satan, and if we would only take time to think a moment we would see that everything Satan says is founded upon a falsehood.”

If you have a problem with fear and worry take it to the Lord, He can help you overcome that spirit of fear. (Psalm 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 2 – Remain calm and stay confident in the situation you find yourself in and give God time and room to work. (Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

COMPLAINING (Exodus 14:10c – and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.) – Having a complaining spirit is a result of living by sight and not by faith.

  • Having a complaining spirit displeases God. (Numbers 11:1 – And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.)
  • If you have a complaining spirit, you need to examine yourself and repent of this sin and turn back to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:39-40 – Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 3 – We need to be more concerned with God’s glory in the situation than complaining about our current circumstances in the situation. (Psalm 148:13Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.) We are to give God glory, bring God glory and direct glory to God in all we do, even in going through difficult, seemingly no-win situations. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

DOUBTING GODLY LEADERSHIP THAT IS IN OUR LIFE (Exodus 14:11And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?) – Doubting Godly leadership can be a result of living by sight and not living by faith.

The Bible tells us that people who have doubting spirits are unstable in all their ways. (James 1:6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.)

This doubting by the Israelite’ of Moses’ leadership took a sarcastic and disrespectful tone. Living by sight can not only lead someone to doubt the Godly leadership in their life but to also start disrespecting that Godly leadership as well.

This doubting of Godly leadership will lead to ungratefulness and forgetfulness of what that leader has done in our life. Once one lets this sin of doubting and questioning Godly leadership in their life, it can be hard to get a lasting victory over it. It may plague you again and again. (Exodus 16:2 – And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 4 – Acknowledge our true enemy, of which Godly leaders are not, and keep our eye on God. Don’t let the sin of doubting God or doubting those who are trying to help us creep into our life. We need to be on guard for that. (Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

THINKING OUR WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GODS (Exodus 14:12Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.) – Thinking we know better than God on how to handle a situation is a result of living by sight and not by faith.

We need to learn to trust in God’s wisdom and quit thinking that we know better. If God is leading us in a certain direction, trust Him and go in that direction. Don’t think you thought of something God must not have considered or He would not have led you in that direction. Nothing ever surprises God, God knows all the facts of the situation. Nothing ever slips His mind.

If God is leading, just simply submit and follow. (Proverbs 3:5-8 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.)

Living by sight means we are relying on our own flesh; and the flesh can be impatient and not willing to wait for God’s timing of deliverance. We will not be able to understand God’s timing or God’s reasons as to why things seem delayed or not answered them the way we would like. (Isaiah 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon had this comment on Exodus 14:12:

“This unbelief was both unjust and cruel.  Had they not seen the Lord’s works in the great plagues?  Could they not believe that he who had wrought such marvels could and would deliver them?  They were smitten with panic, and were willing to return to bondage; whereas true freemen never debate which of the two to choose, slavery or death.”

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 5We need to make sure not to think that we know better than God, we need to just trust God to deliver in His own unique way and in His own timing. God’s timing and God’s way is always best. (Romans 11:33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!)

SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?

A LACK OF FEAR (Exodus 14:13aAnd Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not,) – Moses was living by faith, and he knew with God on their side there was no need to fear. So Moses exhorted the Israelites to not fear their current circumstance.

Psalm 23 tells us to what extent we are to not have fear as long as God is with us. (Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.)

If you think about it for a moment, we really have nothing to fear as a Christian. We are, if we are saved, in God’s hand, and what can man do to us, that God has not ordained to happen, if we are in God’s hand. (John 10:28-29 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.)

And if God has allowed it to happen, or caused it to happen, we know that it is a good gift for us, even though we may not see how it is good, from God’s perspective it is. (James 1:16-17 – Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 6 – We need to learn to exercise faith, and when we are not sure, we should just take the next logical step, trust God and go forward.

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POSITION (Exodus 14:13b – stand still) – Moses told the Israelites to stand still. Moses was confident in their position as long as they had God on their side. As long as they were living by faith they could have confidence of their position or confidence in God in their circumstance. Moses was trying to give them confidence by showing his own confidence in the Lord.

If you are living by faith you need to testify of the confidence you have in your position and circumstance to your family, to your friends and to all those around you. You need to do what you can to influence others to have this confidence in God as well.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 7 – Envision God’s presence with you in your current circumstance, and have confidence in your position with Him, and demonstrate this confidence to those around you who don’t yet possess it. (Matthew 28:20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

SEEING THE HAND OF THE LORD WORKING IN OUR LIFE (Exodus 14:13And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.) – Seeing God at work in our life, and seeing answers to prayer are both the results of living a life of faith and not a life based on our sight.

God’s hand is at work in your life. Have faith and trust His sovereignty over your life. (Philippians 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.)

Moses and the Israelite’s were about to see the Almighty hand of God at work on their behalf, on a monumental scale. It is an exciting thing to see God at work in your life. You need to make sure you are living by faith; you do not want to miss out on a mighty blessing from God.

God is our Heavenly Father and we need to stand still and have confidence in His ability to do anything or meet any need we may have. (Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 8 – Living a life by faith gives us the opportunity to see firsthand God at work in our life. A result of seeing Him at work is that we get more energized and more encouraged to keep living a life of faith for Him. (Jeremiah 33:3Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

THE LORD WILL FIGHT OUR BATTLES FOR US (Exodus 14:14a – The LORD shall fight for you) – Don’t try to fight your own battles with circumstances, with others or with the flesh, call on God and He will fight those battles for you and with you. This fact is a great result of living by faith and not living by sight.

The Lord will be with you in the heat of the battle. He will fight for you in the battles of your life on your behalf. (Deuteronomy 20:4 – For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.)

With the fact that the Lord is fighting for you, we need to remember to give Him the glory for victories, because it was not us, it was Him that did it. Point all glory to God.

Never was a Hebrew leader ever been tried as much as Moses was at this point. He was exposed to the danger coming quickly at them from Pharaohs army, he had no obvious or visible way of escape or defense, he had the multitude under him getting very frightened, they were questioning God’s leadership and his leadership. Can you imagine the stress Moses was under at this point; but he did not lose hope, he did not get discouraged, instead he confidently rallied his people and told them that deliverance was coming.

Why did he not get discouraged? – He had the presence of God and he was living by faith in God and trusted God for deliverance though neither he nor anyone else could see any possibility of it coming at that moment. We too can keep from living in discouragement by living the faith life.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 9 – You will be greatly tested, you will be greatly stressed, just make sure to not lose your faith and confidence in God.

How do we do that? – We use the small situations as faith builders to help us with the next one and with the next one, till when we face the giant of a faith testing circumstance we have already learned to always and confidently trust in God for deliverance. (Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. & Romans 4:20 – He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

PEACEFULNESS (Exodus 14:14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.) – A sense of peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of great trial and stress, is what comes from living a life by faith and not by sight. (Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)

MOVING FORWARD IN OUR LIFE WITH THE LORD AND FOR THE LORD

Exodus 14:15 – “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”

The end result of living a life of faith in God is moving forward with and for the Lord.

  • The Lord wants us to be constantly moving forward in our walk with Him, and He wants us to be constantly growing in Him.
  • He does not want us to rest and be content where we are at in our walk with Him, but he wants us to be maturing in our knowledge and walk with Him. The Lord desires for us to move past the milk of the Word and unto the meat of the Word. (Hebrews 5:12 – For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.)
  • We should always be striving to conquer new challenges and take new ground for His Kingdom.
  • We should never come to a place where we think we have arrived as a Christian; because if we do we are no longer living by faith, we would be living by sight.

We need to make sure we are always growing in the Lord, always moving forward in your Christian walk, and seeking the things of the Lord; we should not ever quit trying to become more like Christ. (Colossians 3:1 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.)

speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:” – Are you going forward for the Lord?

CONCLUSION

God performed a great miracle in the parting of the Red Sea and Moses and the Israelites went over on dry ground. Pharaoh and his army were destroyed. God can perform a great miracle in our life too.

  • We need to commit to living a life by faith and not living a life by sight.
  • We need to commit to developing Godly character.
  • We need to commit to “going forward” for Christ.

We should not give God any excuses or reasons why He cannot use us; instead we need to be living by faith now and watch just how God can use us in so many different ways, different ministries, and different circumstances in the future.

We should always keep in our thinking that the Lord is in control of our life. He sometimes may bring circumstances or trials in our life for a purpose or for a reason. God controls a chain of events from start to finish with the goal in mind to help His children to be constantly doing one thing for Him; He will bring about events so “That they go forward” like it says in the last part of verse 15.

Are you going forward for Christ? Are you letting God lead you, are you letting God develop you so He can use you in a particular ministry in the future?  

Samson – Pleasure of Sin & Destruction

Samson – Pleasures of Sin & Destruction

(Judges 16:1-5, 18-21)

Judges 16:16-17 “And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

Samson gives in to Delilah’s constant nagging of him to tell her the secret to his power. Could he not perceive she had his ruin in her mind? By telling Delilah the secret to his power he not only betrays himself but God also.

Someone made this observation about Samson in this passage – “The weakness of Samson’s heart in the whole of this history, is yet more astonishing than the strength of his body.” What is the condition of your heart, Christian? Is it strong through the reading and meditating on the Word of God? Or is it weak, like Samson’s was, and susceptible to falling for the temptations of the world, due to neglecting to feed it daily with the Word of God. Do you want to keep yourself from destroying your life with foolish decisions? – Then keep yourself well-fed with with the Word of God.

Samson has trouble staying on the straight and narrow. In fact, it seems he was seldom on the straight and narrow. He had a great weakness to the sins of the flesh. He seems to be forever giving in to the slightest of enticements of the sins of the flesh. This weakness in his character keeps pulling him to the enticements of the Philistines, the oppressors of Israel, and into a whole lot of problems.

DEFILEMENT OF THE HARLOT (Judges 16:1-3)

“Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.” Judges 16:1. At the close of Samson’s twenty years as a Judge of Israel he intentionally goes to Gaza and shames and defiles himself with a harlot. God’s Word was as clear back then as it is now that we are not to do what Samson did in Gaza “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Deuteronomy 20:14. Instead of being like Joseph when he said “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9. Samson intentionally seeks out this great wickedness against God. Again, Samson’s lack of character to the sins of the flesh is on full display.

We need to establish clear convictions and set clear standards when it comes to these sins of the flesh that Samson was prone too. If he had done the same and asked God to help him with these weaknesses of his, imagine how different the account of Samson would be. (I Corinthians 6:18-20 – Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.)

After Samson traveled to Gaza, and stays at a harlot’s house, his enemies wait at the gates of the city to ambush him, but he tears the gate from its very hinges and puts them “…upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.” Judges 16:3. Again we see displayed the great strength of Samson, which was given to him from God, where all power comes from. (Matthew 28: 18 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.)

DELILAHS ENTICEMENTS (Judges 16:4-19)

He then falls in love with Delilah. The Philistines approach Delilah and entice her with 1,100 silver coins to find the secret of Samson’s strength so they can get rid of it and capture their enemy.

Samson refuses to reveal the secret and teases her, telling her that he will lose his strength should he be bound with “seven green withs” She does so while he sleeps, but when he wakes he “brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire.” She persists, and he tells her that he can be bound with new ropes. She ties him up with new ropes while he sleeps, and he snaps them, too. She asks again, and he says that he can be bound “If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.” She does so with similar results “And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.” Judges 16:14.

He finally tells her the secret to his strength. (Read Judges 16:15-19) – Eventually, after much nagging from Delilah, Samson tells Delilah that he will lose his strength with the loss of his hair. God supplies Samson’s power because of his consecration to God as a Nazarite, symbolized by the fact that a razor has never touched his head. Delilah calls for a servant to shave Samson’s seven locks. With this, Samson, sadly, has finally broken the last tenet of the Nazarite oath.

Lessons learned

Delilah’s approach is far from subtle: “Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee” Judges 16:6. She asks Samson to reveal the secret of his power so that he could be rendered powerless. What does he think she will do with this information? After his earlier experience with his wife, his groomsmen, and the riddle, one would think that Samson would have wised up in this area.

  • Samson is not dumb. I believe that Samson is arrogant due to all of his previous escapes from the Philistines, Samson at this point may really even think that he is invincible. It appears that Samson is toying with Delilah and enjoying every moment of it.
  • Notice though, Samson’s confessions get closer and closer to the real truth, but yet they become more and more ludicrous.
  • Finally, Delilah wears Samson down, and he tells her the truth about his strength. I think that Samson still believes that he is invincible because he does not intend to let anyone cut his hair.
  • The sad reality is that Samson did reveal the secret of his power, his hair was cut, and he was now deprived of his supernatural power. He was no stronger than any other man. Sadder yet is the fact that initially Samson didn’t even realize that his power was gone.
  • Samson kept playing with sin, dabbling with sin; jumping head long into sin without giving it a second thought. The Bible does tell us there is pleasure in sin for a season, well Samson’ season is now up, he is going to reap what he has sown, he is going to start suffering the consequences to all that playing, dabbling and jumping into sin he has done. So sad, such potential for the Lord squandered! –  Learn this lesson from Samson, don’t waste your potential for the Lord on the “pleasures of sin” – IT IS NOT WORH IT!!! (Galatians 6:7-8 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.) – The principle of the preceding verse is true, do not ever think it will somehow not apply to you, it applies to everyone, we will reap what we sow.

DEPARTING OF THE LORD

Judges 16:20 – And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.

God will not allow us to escape the consequences of our sin; what we sow we will reap. Even though God’s will is unstoppable by us, Samson still had to face the consequences of his sin. Delilah begged for him to tell her the secret of his strength, and when he did, the last part of his Nazarite vow was broken. “All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” Numbers 6:5.

  • Even after his hair was cut off ,Samson still at first expected God to be with him (Judges 16:20). Samson had gained confidence from previous violations, but when he broke this last part of his vow to God he had to face the consequences of his actions.
  • The lessons we can learn from Samson’s life are that if we willingly and repeatedly walk into temptations, which lead to sin, we will suffer the consequences of our disobedience, even though God can still use us to accomplish His will.

DETAINMENT IN GAZA (Judges 16:21-25)

In the midst of this tragic situation, the author of Judges supplies the reader with a faint word of hope. Samson’s hair began to grow back. (Judges 16:21-22 – But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.) – The great thing we can learn from this is – With God, don’t ever doubt, don’t ever despair too long, because with God there is and always will be HOPE!

Who knows why the Philistines didn’t take note of his hair growing back, or why they did not keep his head shaved. But for whatever reason, they did not take Samson seriously any longer. It was over for Samson, they thought, and all that was left was ample opportunity for them to humiliate him. Now they would make him pay for all he did to them.

There are many valuable lessons we can learn from the account of Samson and Delilah:

  • Though born with unbelievable potential, Samson forfeited his life because of sin. The lesson for us is that, the deeper we allow ourselves to be influenced by the enticement and allurement of sin, the more blind we become.
  • This extraordinary account tells us that Samson was spiritually blind long before his eyes were gouged out (Judges 16:21). We must accept the reality that sin can seep deep into our lives.
  • We must know that sin has a blinding, numbing impact upon us. Otherwise, we find ourselves enslaved by it, just as Samson did.
  • All sin, especially sins of the flesh of which Samson kept falling into, come with their own dire and sometimes deadly consequences.
  • Sin binds us, then it blinds us; then it slowly grinds away at us (Judges 16:21).
  • Sin will take us farther than we may intend to go. It will hold us longer than we intend to stay. Sin will cost us more than we intend to pay.
  • We must heed the warning found in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Think of all that could have been if Samson had lived by the thought of this verse.

DOOM AND DESTRUCTION (Judges 16:26-31)

The Philistines wanted to celebrate their victory over Samson with a heathen worship ceremony, one that included bringing Samson in to further humiliate him. If Samson was not willing to give credit for his power to the God of Israel, these Philistines were eager to give their god, Dagon, credit for Samson’s defeat. In so doing, they were proclaiming Dagon’s superiority to Yahweh, the God of Israel. This is not the first time other nations would praise their god as superior to the One True God, nor will it be the last. But we should not expect Yahweh to remain silent in such circumstances. Nor would I want to be a part of a nation that is guilty of mocking God, and it is sad to say but right now many are doing so in our own nation.  (Judges 16:27 – Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.)

Samson’s humiliation was cruel, but fitting.

  • It was Samson’s eyes that got him into so much trouble. Now Samson’s eyes are gouged out.
  • Samson’s strength was used for his own purposes and glory; now his enemies mock him, and he is powerless to do them harm as he had once done.
  • Samson took pride in being invincible; now he is in chains, grinding grain.
  • Samson was inclined to indulge the flesh, enjoying illicit pleasure; now he is being paraded about only partly clothed, much to the delight of a mocking crowd.
  • Samson is finally paying a high price for his sin.

It would seem that Samson now sees things more clearly than he has ever seen them before in his life. Samson came to trust in the God of Israel. He now prays, calling “O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” Judges 16:28. He prays that strength may return to him one last time so that he might get his revenge against the Philistines. Is this a model prayer, the kind that others should be encouraged to repeat? I don’t think so. This prayer falls short of the ideal, but taking the words of the writer of Hebrews seriously, I believe this is the point in time when God acknowledged Samson’s faith.

God answered that prayer. Samson was positioned in such a way as to be able to exert pressure on both main supports. When these two supporting columns gave way, the entire building collapsed. The roof and supporting beams, along with the 3,000 people standing on the roof, came crashing down upon those assembled below. While Samson sacrificed his life in order to destroy the building and its inhabitants, more Philistines were killed through Samson’s death than he killed during his life.

And these were not your “everyday,” “run of the mill” citizens. These were the cream of the crop. These were the top political and military leaders of the nation. For all of these leaders to die in one place and at one time would have thrown the Philistines into confusion and chaos, which would render the nation powerless for years to come.

Judges 16:31 “Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.” – This last verse in Judges 16 could be called “family reunion”. It is interesting to note that Samson had a family beyond his father and mother. This verse informs us that Mrs. Manoah did not remain barren after the birth of Samson. Samson had brothers and perhaps sisters as well. When they learned of Samson’s death, they went to Gaza to remove his body and bury it in Israelite territory in the tomb of his father, Manoah. This means, of course, that Manoah had died before his son, Samson. At long last, Samson was restored to his family and to his country. Fitting for a man who is to be found in the hall of faith. (Hebrews 11:32-33 – And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,)

CONCLUSION

With the Spirit of God upon him, Samson was a powerful man with supernatural strength. We also find he was very intelligent with an unusual sense of humor. While he had almost unlimited potential to deliver his people from the Philistines, his story ends in needless tragedy. He not only failed to deliver his people, but killed himself. The words disobedience, defeat, disgrace, and destruction could be used to describe his life, but the Bible also uses one more word to describe him and that is faith.

Despite all of Samson’s weaknesses, he did turn back to God before he died (Judges 16:28–30). God in His grace used Samson to fulfill His purpose. In reality, Samson’s death did much to stop the oppressive actions of the Philistines. Samson’s destruction of the temple of Dagon was a major factor in their downfall at Mizpah by Samuel and the children of Israel some 100 years later (I Samuel 7:7–14).

Perhaps the greatest lesson we learn is that God desires to forgive and give grace.  In the end, God saw Samson as a man of faith. This is evidenced by the fact that he’s listed among those in the hall of faith (Hebrews 11:32). When we read through the list of names recorded there, we find that no one in the “hall of faith” was perfect. Samson was the strongest man to ever live, but it was God who gave him the strength. More importantly, Samson let himself be used by God. In fact, God could have used him without making him the strongest man. He’s willing to meet us right where we are, right now and to take us where He wants us to be if we will let Him (James 4:8a – Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.).

There is only one way to understand the story of Samson and that is from a divine point of view. We should not attempt to make Samson a model for Christian men and boys. Samson is a man who illustrates the warnings of Scripture, particularly those we find in the Book of Proverbs. He is a man who lived his life in the pursuit of fleshly pleasures, a man who cared too little about God and about his divinely-given gifts and calling. Samson is a study in how not to live the Christian life.

We should strive to have the faith that Samson had at the end of his life and live to avoid all the mistakes he had in his life as he let his flesh lead him instead of letting God lead him. Decide and determine that you will follow the leading of God in all areas of your life to live in the spirit in fellowship with Christ and not follow the leading of Satan and live in the flesh. (Romans 8:5-8 – For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.)

Picture credit: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-d809-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

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