I’m going to take a break for a few weeks from our usual Wednesday testimony to encourage the brethren in a different way. Here recently I stumbled into a conflict within the church that was being handled very poorly by some. As a young believer I was greatly discouraged to see men, old enough to know better, treating elders in the church shamefully, and on social media, for all to see. It sent me where discouragement always sends me, to prayer and study.
God once again encouraged me through His Word, and in my times of praying for these men, I was reminded that they are just that…men. Fallible men will discourage where an infallible God will encourage. And so today I want to talk about a verse that particularly encouraged me during my study. John 8: 1-2
Can you imagine what it must have been like to sit and listen to Him teach? And yet, His earthly ministry was short, eternity is everlasting. This verse encouraged me by reminding me that the things of this world are passing away, the discouragement will come to an end, and eternity will be spent in His glorious majesty. I wonder if we’ll have the chance to sit and hear Him teach? Until then let us hang on every word that was written, for in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh!
One more thing, brethren, slander, and gossip are sins. I’m grieved to see it taken so lightly by so many, let that not be said of you and I. We are to seek peace where it is at all possible. And as always, beloved, be good Bereans and study to show yourself approved!
American theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758) gives his testimony. I love this, reading a testimony like this, from a brother whose gone home to his Lord, makes heaven somehow nearer, somehow sweeter. God has blessed me beyond measure on this Earth, but I can not deny that I feel a great desire for home. I’m also encouraged to see, in reading these testimonies, that we serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and always, who is no respecter of man. I hope you’re blessed by this testimony beloved, and as always be good Bereans, study to show yourselves approved.
“The first instance, that I remember, of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things, that I have lived much in since, was on reading those words, I Timothy 1:17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen. As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before. Never any words of Scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever! I kept saying, and as it were singing, over these words of scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy Him, and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do; with a new sort of affection. But it never came into my thought, that there was any thing spiritual, or of a saving nature in this.
From about that time, I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by Him. An inward, sweet sense of these things, at times, came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged to spend my time in readings and mediating on Christ, on the beauty and excellency of His person, and the lovely way of salvation by free grace in Him…
On January 12, 1723, I made a solemn dedication of myself to God, and I wrote it down; giving up myself, and all that I had to God; to be for the future, in no respect, my own; to act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And solemnly vowed, to take God for my whole portion and felicity; looking on nothing else, as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and His law for the constant rule of my obedience: engaging to fight, with all my might. against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end of my life. But I have reason to be infinitely humbled, when I consider, how much I have failed, of answering my obligation…
I have loved the doctrines of the Gospel; they have been to my soul like green pastures. The Gospel has seemed to me the richest treasure; the treasure that I have most desired, and longed that is might dwell richly in me. The way of salvation by Christ, has appeared, in general way, glorious and excellent, most pleasant and most beautiful. It has often seemed to me, that it would, in a great measure, spoil heaven, to receive it in any other way. That text has often been affecting and delightful to me, Isaiah 32:2, And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest,…
It has often appeared to me delightful, to be united to Christ; to have Him for my head, and to be a member of His body; also to have Christ for my teacher and prophet. I very often think with sweetness, and longings, and pantings of soul, of being a little child, taking hold of Christ, to be led by Him through the wilderness of this world. That text, Matthew 18:3, has often been sweet to me, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, … I love to think of coming to Christ, to receive salvation of Him, poor in spirit, and quite empty of self, humbly exalting Him alone; cut off entirely from my own root, in order to grow into, and out of Christ: to have God in Christ to be all in all; and to live by faith on the Son of God, a life of humble, unfeigned confidence in Him…
Once, as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as mediator between God and man, and His wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception ó which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time, in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone; to love him with a holy and pure love; to trust in Him; to live upon Him; to serve and follow Him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.
I have, many times, had a sense of the glory of the Third Person in the Trinity, in His office of Sanctifier; in His Holy operations, communicating divine light and life to the soul. God in the communications of His Holy Spirit, has appeared as an infinite fountain of divine glory and sweetness; being full and sufficient to fill and satisfy the soul; pouring forth itself in sweet communications, like the sun in its glory, sweetly and pleasantly diffusing light and life. And I have sometimes had an affecting sense of the excellency of the Word of God as a Word of life; as the Light of life; a sweet, excellent, life-giving Word; accompanied with a thirsting after that Word, that it might dwell richly in my heart…
Though it seems to me, that in some respects, I was a far better Christian, for two or three years after my first conversion, than I am now; and lived in a more constant delight and pleasure; yet of late years, I have had a more full and constant sense of the absolute sovereignty of God, and a delight in that sovereignty; and have had more of a sense of the glory of Christ, as a Mediator revealed in the Gospel. On one Saturday night, in particular, I had such a discovery of the excellency of the Gospel above all other doctrines, that I could not but to say to myself, ëThis is my chosen light, my chosen doctrine,í and of Christ, ëThis is my chosen Prophet.í It appeared sweet, beyond all expression, to follow Christ, and to be taught, and enlightened, and instructed by Him; to learn of Him, and live to Him. ” Reference
As I said last Wednesday I’m taking a short break from testimonies to give a quick perspective on why we testify (which I covered HERE) and what a testimony is.
So what is a testimony? This is important to define if you find yourself testifying to the unsaved, as many other religions and cults have redefined what a testimony is. Your testimony is simply the story of how and when you were saved.
It isn’t the Gospel, once we testify we shouldn’t think the job is done and the person has heard the Good News. What they’ve heard is our reaction to the Good News. This is important, but not as important as going on and sharing the Gospel with them as well.
Two last thoughts on the testimony:
1. If you can’t remember when you were saved, but can remember the general time of it, what happened to you, how things changed, then I wouldn’t let other, more specific testimonies make you feel as though you are unsaved. If, however, you believe you were saved as a child and have no testimony or evidence for a change in your life, then I hope and pray you will work through your salvation with fear and trembling.
2. It will be rare, if ever, that the lost respond to your testimony the way you think they will. Do not be discouraged by this, some plant the seed and others water, while yet others harvest. Also, when you are mocked or persecuted, you will be blessed in heaven. Pray for those who wrongly misuse you.
As always, dear friends, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved!
This was a very difficult testimony for me to watch, as it is so very similar to my own conversion story. My greatest fear is that there are so much more people sitting in church wearing themselves out, unregenerate, and unaware of the eternal consequences. The lie that saying a quick prayer can get you out of hell, that you can earn your way into heaven by saying that prayer, has fooled millions. Satan is so deceptive, he found a way to lull the world into this deception. Between this and evolution is it any wonder that we are seeing such a great falling away in the church?
I hope Charo’s testimony will be as much a blessing to you all, friends, as it was to me.
Last week we talked about the Strong’s Concordance, a wonderful Bible help that is invaluable. Another Bible help that is comparable, and in some respects even more helpful depending on the type of study you’re doing, is the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge.
If the Concordance is often left unmentioned, the Treasury is virtually invisible. This book is an absolute treasure, true to its name! I’m not sure how it is possible that the churches have forgotten the hard work believers have put into the blessing and edifying the body of Christ, but it’s time we were reminded.
The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge is usually printed with R. A. Torrey’s name, although he promoted the book, he wasn’t the author.
Torrey was an important American evangelist who was even the superintendent of a little-known
school, although it was called something different back then, it’s now known as Moody Bible Institute. He was also born a decade and a half after the book was published, in 1830. Samuel Bagster was the man behind this jewel, this particular saint had a heart for getting the Word to more people.
If you’re doing a word study I strongly recommend the Concordance, however, if you are just reading a verse that you want to go deeper on, the Treasury is the place to go. It connects the verses, whereas the Concordance just gives you one word at a time. There are over 500,000 references in the TSK, and as with the Concordance, the entire book is available in App form! You can also find several websites offering this tool free, along with inexpensive copies for your own library on Amazon.
I hope you will all find this book friend, and use it, and that it helps each and every one of you grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I always tell them, twist not scripture lest ye
be like Satan.”
― Paul David Washer
There are many places in the Bible where it warns us to be careful not to take God’s Word out of context. This is no small matter, this is a deep concern.
We are told to be on guard, watchful of the untaught and unstable who will distort to the word. So what happens when the world of unbelieving church goers pick one verse and use it to their advantage? Chaos, confusion, manipulation, and even spiritual death. This, then, is truly a matter we must address. As believers, we’re given the wonderful blessing of the Holy Spirit, who, coming to make His abode within us, will teach us all things. Confusion on God’s Word need not stand, friends. Not when we have the Helper to clarify. Remember, Christ spoke in parables to the unbelieving multitudes, but in private He expounded the parables to his disciples. If we are true followers of Christ, we do not have to remain in darkness as to the truth of God’s Word.
Now that we are in the light we must be wary of false teachers, false preachers, and false gospels. There are men from within our churches who arise speaking perverse things. These men twist the scripture to fit their own desires.
One such scripture that is well known, and well used, is ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’. Whew…well, in that case, I guess we better let our brothers and sisters fall into sin without helping them back up. I guess we better not proclaim the Gospel to the world because in doing so we pronounce judgment over sin. You cannot hear the good news without first understanding there’s bad news.
Luke 12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Jesus is speaking here to the people about how they can discern the weather, but do not discern the time they were in. They are not judging for themselves what is right.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul even writes about how the congregation there should have judged one in sin, and how he had already judged the man and given him over to Satan that his spirit might be saved. Those are some stern words, however, Paul is speaking of salvation…is there a greater, or more weighty matter?
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples, he gives many ‘blessed are,’ and ‘woe to them’, then he says…
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which do good to you, what thank have he? For sinners, also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye, therefore, merciful, as your Father also is merciful. JUDGE NOT, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:31-37
Whoa…what a minute…did Jesus just tell us to judge not, then in John 7:24 contradict himself? Of course not. So, what happens when we take the full counsel of God?
Matthew 7 Jesus expounds on the point, to further explain what we are being required.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? OR how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother‘s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Are we told here that after we remove the beam from our own eye that we should ignore the speck in our brother’s eye? No, we’re told to work on our own sin so we can see better to help our brothers. This is judging righteous judgment, the command not to judge is referring to hypocritical judgment. Therefore, again, it is so important to take the full scriptures and not cherry pick the ones that fit your own agenda.
In Roman’s 2 Paul writes “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for, in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
So we see this repeated over, and over again. Judge righteously. How? It’s the heart friends, it always comes back to the heart. God is the very one who judges our hearts, He sees why we judge one another. So often we pick the flaws out in others that are actually things we don’t like about ourselves. This is a small example, but it is true also for sin. Men living in the sin of adultery preach the loudest against, as to not appear guilty. This is the sinful type of judgment, to judge others while sinning yourself.
We should first deal with our own sin, confess it, repent of it, ask for forgiveness for it. Then, when God has granted us the strength to overcome that sin, we will see clearly to help others out of it as well. There is no better testimony than to throw down the shackles of sin, not by our strength but through God’s Grace.
As always friends, take the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Be good Bereans, and study to find yourselves approved.
For today’s blog, I asked some folks if they had any questions about Genesis, creation vs. evolution, or the likes. I got back some awesome questions!
The first one was asked by Linda C. (This is the only one I’m going to answer today since my response was so long)
Linda asked why the fruit offering wasn’t as good as the meat offering with Cain and Abel. This is such a fantastic question! It’s always important for us to look towards scripture to interpret scripture. This is even more important in the case of Cain and righteous Abel, seeing how it is the only source we have.
There is a lot in the OT that is simply not explained, or expounded upon, until the NT. As many faithful men throughout the ages have quipped ‘The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is the in the New Testament revealed.’ Like the brass serpent in the wilderness, our Messiah saves us in so many ways, not just from sin, death, and damnation…but also from confusion.
Genesis 4:2-7 tells us that Cain and Abel brought to the Lord their minchah, translated offering. Cains offering was rejected, while Abel’s was accepted. God then warns Cain not
to be angry, but to rule over sin. Was Cains offering rejected because it was fruit and not meat?
Minchah is translated throughout the levitical law as ‘meat offering’. However, there are other words frequently used when referring to sacrifices, such as olah olah, so we cannot come to a decisive conclusion based on a word study if Abel’s offering was accepted simply because it was meat and Cains was not. We do see though, that when Adam and Eve sinned God killed an aminal to cover their sins, giving an example of the sacrificial system and a foreshadowing of the final sacrifice in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is possible that by the point reached with Cain and Abel everyone understood that offerings brought before God needed to be blood sacrifices.
If we were Old Testament believers we could go back and forth for a while, but we are blessed to be in the New Covenant! So this question is cleared up in the NT. Jesus calls Abel righteous in both the gospel of Matthew and Luke. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abel gave his offering by faith. Even repeating that his sacrifice was more excellent than Cains. John, the revelator (try not to sing the song, I bet you can’t do it) not the baptist, also refers to the Cain in his epistle 1 John. He tells us to love one another, not as Cain. He speaks of Cain as a son of Satan and calls his works evil. He hated Abel because he was evil, but his brother was righteous. It always comes down to the heart. God searches the heart.
Cains sacrifice would have been rejected no matter what he had brought. Proverbs 15:8 tells us that God hates the sacrifice of the wicked. Proverbs 21:27 calls the sacrifice of the wicked an abomination. John tells us Cain was wicked, even Cains actions cry out to his wickedness.
This is not just Biblical history, it’s a warning to all who read it. Those who come before the Lord with a wicked heart might fool the righteous, but they will never fool God. We cannot become righteous of our own accord, we must believe that Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, then rose again. We must cry out in repentance of our sins, and becomes slaves to the Lord who bought us out of the chains and bondage to sin. In Pauls letter to Timothy, he reminds him to work through his salvation through fear and trembling. We need to do this, and we also need to remember that the world, just as Cain did, will hate the righteous. Even unto death. They hated Christ and murdered Him, a slave is not greater than it’s master. If they hated Him, they will hate us.
We must, as Christians, take the Bible seriously. How do we know that Cain and Abel even ever existed? Because Jesus Christ verifies this, and the disciples led by the Holy Spirit do as well. What happens if we don’t take Genesis as literal history? Then we have no reason to hold to the Gospel or saving Grace. Why? It was only due to the first Adam sinning that God sent His only begotten Son, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, to atone for all sin. For by one man sin entered the world…you see our entire belief system hinges on Genesis. I can trudge through fossils, data, and more archeological evidence each Monday, but it would all be pointless without one certain agreement, Genesis is history. World history. Our history. Stand firm on the whole counsel of the Word, friends!