Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Have you ever wondered why the bible says sin entered the world through one "MAN" - when "Eve" was the first human to actually transgress the commandment of God not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Why then did Paul say that "sin entered the world" through "one MAN" (Adam) rather than through one woman, Eve????
Eve's role is not altogether forgotten, for Paul mentions her part also! I Timothy 2:14 highlights the difference between Adam's and Eve's actions. "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." If Eve was the one who was deceived, and she transgressed the command first, before Adam, why isn't she fingered as the entry point of sin into the world?
Are you beginning to get it already? What's the difference stated so far? That's right! Eve was deceived and transgressed; Adam was not deceived and transgressed. Do you see the difference? It is HUGE!
Paul saw it by revelation and described it in his letter to the Romans in chapter 5. "Therefore, just as through one man, sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. - For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam..."
Aha! If we can understand what is the "likeness of Adam's transgression, we will be nourished by the fresh bread being offered today. We already know what Adam's trangression was not like; it was not like Eve's - because she was deceived and HE WAS NOT! THAT'S IT!!!!!!! Do you see it now? Eve transgressed because she was deceived into doing so, but Adam sinned fully knowing what he was doing!
That is why Paul wrote this, which underscores the truth we need to lay hold of. " For as by one man's disobedience many were made [were constituted] sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made [will be constituted] righteous." The likeness of Adam's sin is described here as DISOBEDIENCE not as having been deceived. The Greek language makes it even more clear by Paul's use of the word "para + akouo". This word literally means to "hear - aside". The Greek word for "obedience" is to "hear + under". The difference between Adam who "heard aside" and Jesus who "heard under" is this; the first Adam constituted many men sinners by his hearing aside and the last Adam constituted many righteous by His hearing under.
Eve was deceived by the serpent and transgressed God's commandment; Adam was not deceived by the Serpent but chose to IGNORE God's commandment. He "refused" to hear the commandment, and he did so without being deceived in any way. This word "para + akouo" (disobedience/hearing aside) is also used in Matthew 18 in this way: "But if he will "NOT HEAR" [parakouo/hears aside], take with you one or two more....And if he "REFUSES TO HEAR" [parakouo/hears aside] the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."
How crucial it is for us to understand the difference between Eve's and Adam's transgressions. The action was the same - Eve -"she took some and ate it" - Adam -"and he ate it" but the heart behind the action is altogether different. There are several Greek words used to describe the full grown attitude of "hearing aside" [parakouo]. One of them is "ungodliness" from the Greek word [a (negative) + sebo - to revere (literally "to refuse to fall back")]. Refusing to "fall back", to recognize the authority and sovereignty of God is to become "ungodly/asebia." This word describes more of the heart attitude of defiance towards submitting onesself to God by falling back, "hearing under" [obeying] His word rather than "hearing aside" [disobeying] it. The other Greek word used to describe parakouo, "hearing aside", in its adult stage is "Lawlessness"! Lawlessness is a description of the relationship with the defiant individual to The Law of God which he so disregards that he defiantly transgresses it without repentance or remorse.
Transgressions may look the same from the standpoint of an external observation, but the difference internally is one of life and death. There is a sin not unto death, and there is a sin unto death. They may not look all that different on the outside, but that's not where God is looking is it? "The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
The difference between Adam's and Eve's transgression can be seen in several other places as well. "If we sin willfully after having received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no sacrifice, but a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the adversaries." In the same book of Hebrews we also read "For if the message spoken by angels proved steadfast and every transgression AND DISOBEDIENCE [parakouo] received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation."
God will forgive the sinner who transgresses a command, then repents, confesses his transgressions, and begins to "hear under" (obey). God will never forgive the sinner who transgresses one command after another because he continues to "hear aside" (disobeys) without repentance unto the "obedience/hearing under" of faith.
It was Adam's "hearing aside" that constitutes men sinners after the likeness of his transgression. We should learn to appreciate the difference; it is a matter of life and death!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Things, Things, Things – Samuel Chadwick
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
I have ceased to wonder that Jesus Christ was crucified. For many years it was impossible to imagine how men could so misunderstand and hate Him . But a fuller understanding of His teaching and wider knowledge of the world have led me to the conclusion that there is only one end to a ministry like His – and that is a Cross.
There are woes enough in these two chapters to account for all that happened. He unmasked iniquity where it was least suspected, and attacked the vices of the wealthy and powerful in terms of liquid fire;
He shocked and angered the most religious people of his time; called them ’whited sepulchers’, and defied their traditions; He hurled woe upon woe in all directions. His own friends understood Him but little better than His enemies.
A man, perhaps a follower, has been wronged by his brother, and appeals to this preacher of righteousness to secure him his rights. Instead, He rebukes the petitioner, and asks, Who made Me a judge or a divider over you? Disappointment was inevitable. To preach sternly and then refuse the responsibility of practical application to particular cases always brings provocation.
The explanation of His attitude is plain enough now. He came to establish a world-wide spiritual kingdom. He laid down principles that are universal, not precepts which were local. He sought to correct the dispositions of men rather than to secure their rights. He would destroy wrong, not by direct attacks upon vice, but by saving the sinner. That is His method. A new world through a renewed humanity. So here, instead of interfering in the quarrel, He reads the motive behind the appeal, and warns against covetousness. He detects the undue eagerness to gain possessions, and corrects the false estimate of the things of this world. And in so doing incidentally states one of the profoundest truths concerning the true philosophy of life. ’A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth.’
To the world things are everything. It longs for them, works for them, fights for them, lies for them, lives for them. Its one ambition is to possess abundance of things. To secure them it will pay any price, endure any hardship, suffer any obloquy, sacrifice any thing. Its homage and its envy are reserved for those who have the most things. It never troubles about how they got them, nor what they do with them, it is enough that they have won for themselves piles of things!
The cry of the world is for things. Things, things; always more things. This is a purely pagan view of life. After these things do the heathen seek. Pagan philosophy is based upon the supposed supremacy of things. Heathen religions find their heaven in the abundance of things. And, alas, most of us are pure pagan. We live for the things. We toil and strive for the possession of things. Our only idea of heaven is a place where we shall have undreamed abundance of glorified things. We call ourselves Christian, but our lives are heathen.
Christ’s teaching concerning things declares that true life does not depend upon things at all. Indeed the only way into life is by the renunciation of things. We must forsake them, sacrifice them, die to them if we would live. Not only He, but all the world’s greatest have proved that life is not measured by the possession of the world’s things. The greatest of all had not where to lay His head. Things are an encumbrance to the man who would rise.
He who wins the world loses his soul. To live for things is to die to all that is spiritual and divine. Life is being, not having. It is what a man is, not what he has that really matters. What you have will perish, what you are abides forever. Seek not things. They perish, they corrupt, they pass away. Seek to BE manly, honest, brave and good. “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Seek God first, always first. In Him only is the true life.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Art Katz : And They Crucified Him
I think we, every one of us, ought to be humiliated or humbled every time we pick up the book of Acts and read the glory that attended the life of that first church. By contrast the most successful kind of Christianity that we know, the most charismatic, the most to be lauded and applauded is utterly anemic and does not bear comparison.
How is it that these rude men, fishermen and louts who had no advantage of the kind that we have enjoyed, were able to turn cities upside down and shake the earth? Why is it we have not had a corresponding affect in our own generation? The answer, in my opinion is, that in missing the cross we have missed the power of the resurrection, we have sidestepped the cross as a subject let alone as experience because we have no tolerance or sympathy for suffering. The denial of self in any form is suffering. And we have not been encouraged to that.
We have overindulged and spoiled our youth, compromised truth in our marriages, suffered causalities and losses among our ministers, and given ground to the spirit of independence and rebellion in the churches. All because we cannot stand pain. We parents who indulge our kids rather than chasten them, are we being loving or self-indulgent? We pastors who condescend to placate men, rather than speak the truth to them in love, why are we so sparing? We saints who see the defects and things that need to be corrected in each other, why are we silent? Where are the Pauls in our generation who will confront the Peters, who have compromised the Gospel by being one thing with one group and another thing with another? Paul said he would not entertain that situation to go on beyond the moment for the purity of the Gospel’s sake.
I call that love. But you know that kind of love as an act is painful and it’s humiliating. It’s easy to be misunderstood. For which reason we prefer to keep quiet. For which reason the world is running amuck with us and for which reason we move into increasing carnality, not being corrected by one another.
The avoidance of pain is a costly avoidance. And the symbol of the cross at the heart of the faith is an invitation to share in His sufferings. In a word our Christianity is degenerating into a middle class culture. A sanctifying cover-up for the status quo. A vacuous praise club, an equating of gain as Godliness, a comfortable religiosity that leaves our real interests unchallenged and undisturbed in the avoidance of the cross of Christ Jesus. Somehow am I naïve to think we ought to look different, speak differently, act differently – that there ought to be such a savor and fragrance about us of Christ that it is a savor of death unto death to self and life unto life to others. The fact the world can so easily tolerate us, the fact of the almost complete absence of reproach, let alone of persecution, is itself a shameful testimony that we are so like the world that we cannot be distinguished from it.
We have lost even the difference, the sense of the difference, between that which is sacred and that which is profane. I believe that God could lay at the door of the church the full responsibility for the present condition of the world. And the things over which we cluck our tongues and point our fingers and look distain down our noses about are the things which can be attributed to us for we have not established in the earth a standard and an alternative to which a dying world might have turned. They simply did not know that there is such a thing as that which is holy and that which is sacred. For we ourselves are wallowing in the things that are earthly, common, unclean, and profane. The only alternative to that which is earthly, carnal, sensual and devilish is that which is heavenly. And there is no way to attain to that which is heavenly independent of the cross of Christ Jesus.
If the prophet Isaiah seeing the Lord high and lifted up cried out “Woe is me, I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips and I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” What then shall we say who are not prophets and oracles of God. We need to have our vision and our sight corrected. We need to address our lives to the plumb line of God. The standard of God to the cross of Christ Jesus. Not academically, religiously, or superficially – but in the actual experience of our lives as those who have come wiling to abandon everything.
Paul said “I am determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.” We desperately and urgently need to know Him – exactly as He is.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
From Pure Life Ministries – I have not personally reviewed their website, I do understand a bit about what they are about but don’t know whether I can support them whole-heartedly yet. I only say that as there are many that turn holiness into a work of the flesh or some “steps” that one can walk in order to be holy when in reality it is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the will of man that allows this to come to pass. Grace becomes effectual!
Regardless, I was very blessed by this exhortation. Please read and heed.
Anytime a person falls, gravity creates a force that drives the person to the ground. This momentum is not easily reversed.
So it is with the "Great Falling Away" predicted for the Last Days. Scripture gives every indication that many professing Christians will move in increasing velocity away from the things of God and toward the things of the world. In the days ahead, it will be increasingly difficult to swim against this powerful current.
The following list is provided to allow people to examine which direction their ongoing lifestyles are taking them:
1. Prayer is either nonexistent or mechanical.
2. You know the Word but you don't really live it.
3. Earnest thoughts about eternal matters no long grip your heart.
4. You can indulge in inward and outward sin without feeling devastated.
5. A longing for holiness is no longer a predominant passion of your life.
6. The pursuit of money and possessions are an important part of your life.
7. You can sing worship songs without really meaning what they express.
8. You can hear people treating eternal issues flippantly without becoming upset.
9. Your main concerns are of your temporal, earthly life.
10. Conflicts in your relationships with others are not a major concern to you.
11. You no longer hunger for a deeper life in God.
12. You don't live with a full and grateful heart.
13. You have little concern over and make little effort to meet the needs of others.
14. You always see your level of spirituality in positive terms.
15. You are more concerned about your pet doctrines than people's souls.
16. Sports, entertainment and pleasure are important aspects of your life.
17. You are more concerned with your image than with the reality of your life with God.
18. You are full of bitterness, or criticism, or pride, or covetousness, or lust.
19. You have a head full of knowledge and a heart made of stone.
Friday, August 28, 2009
This was sent to me a while ago by a dear brother. I hope that you are as blessed as I was by this writing.
“Then the kingdom of the heavens shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.” The Greek word for “wise” is φρονιμοι, the same word Jesus used in the parable of the “wise” and “foolish” builders. Jesus described the wise builder as one who not only hears the word of God, but after hearing, puts what he has heard into practice. Conversely, the same word for “foolish” is used in both parables; it is the Geek word μωραι, meaning dull or stupid. Jesus described the “foolish” builder as one who hears the word of God but fails to put what he has heard into practice.
Applying this understanding to the ten virgins, we have five whose habit was to hear the word of God and put it into practice and five whose habit was to hear the word of God without practicing the doing of it. In this parable, however, the distinction is indicated in another manner. Jesus first mentions that the “foolish” virgins took lamps but did not take vessels of oil along with their lamps.
The “wise” He said, took oil in their vessels with their lamps. The Holy Spirit would have us to see that it is in the practicing of what we hear that we secure the oil for our vessels. Peter even said so while speaking to the Sanhedrin: “We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those obeying Him.” Paul indicated that God gives His Spirit and works miracles among us through the “hearing of faith.” He certainly meant the “hearing under” of faith, for this is what he called all the Gentiles to, “the hearing under (obedience) of the faith.”
The parable continues to unfold illustrating that all ten virgins experienced the same conditions.
They all experienced a time of waiting, a long delay. They all experienced becoming drowsy and they all fell asleep. They were all awakened with a start in the middle of the night by a cry that the Bridegroom was coming and it was time to go out to meet him. They all awakened to the same urgent need for something – for light! It was the middle of the night, thick darkness, and they needed light in order to be able to make their way to the meeting place without stumbling. Can you imagine waking up in the pitch blackness and attempting to make your way without a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path? Their lamps were simply an earthen vessel with an oiled wick aflame that had to be carried delicately. There was a great danger of stumbling over unseen rocks, roots, or uneven ground, dropping or jostling the lamp and suddenly finding oneself with a snuffed out lamp in pitch darkness.
It is in the middle of the darkness that the wisdom of the prudent became apparent, for during the long delay the oil in all the lamps had been used up. Flames must be kept burning to have light and be able to light other lamps, but to have continuous flame one must have continuous oil. This is where the “foolish” virgins had been short-sighted. Like those in II Peter who have not given all diligence to add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Not having those things in an abounding measure, Peter warns will result in our becoming near-sighted and blind. Thus was the state of the “foolish” virgins as they go to trim their lamps and discover the problem is not with the wick, they have run out of oil, their wick is nearly dried out. Wicks that burn need to be trimmed, that is they need the burnt, brittle area clipped off so that a brighter flame can become a brighter light. The “foolish” virgins first assumed that the problem was with their wicks, but became alarmed to discover that their oil had run out. A trimmed wick, in a good vessel, is completely useless without “the oil.”
The reaction of the “foolish” virgins was predictable and common among far too many believers today. They turned to their “wise” fellow virgins and begged their help. Seeing the vessels of oil in their sisters hands they asked them to share from their supply. The answer they received was not what they had hoped for: “Not ever!” That's right, it was not a simple no, for there was a Greek word for simply no; the answer here was “Not ever!” How could a fellow virgin be so calloused as to give such an answer for such an earnest request for help? The answer was not callous, simply “wise;” because, the prudent virgins realized that it would take all the oil in their vessel to bring their own wicks back to full light. The answer was “Not ever, lest there not be enough for us and you.”
If you have ever used an oil lamp, you will understand that an oil lamp will not work unless it contains a sufficient amount of oil. The “wise” virgins realized that the oil in their lamps was so low it would take all the oil they had brought along to re-kindle a full flame upon their own lamp. There was no point sharing, for it would likely take all the oil on hand just to keep five lamps burning. Five burning lamps are better than ten partially filled useless lamps; they wisely refused to risk otherwise.
There was no other answer to give in the situation but for the “wise” to instruct their “foolish” companions to hurry to the ones selling oil and buy for themselves. Reluctantly and remorsefully, the “foolish” virgins had no other choice but to go back by the very way they had previously come. Moreover, they had to do so without the benefit of a good light from their lamp. It is difficult enough to carry a good lamp, fully alight; how much harder was it for them to attempt to retrace their journey while attempting to preserve the dying flame on their empty lamps. The difficulty must have been nearly unbearable, for their progress would necessarily be slow and arduous, all the while filled with the anxious thoughts of would they be in time. Moreover, in the back of their minds, would they not all have been convicted for the missed opportunities they had to purchase extra oil while it was near and readily available. Now it was midnight, no stores were open, visibility was extremely limited, and yet they were forced to press on in their dim hope.
While the journey for the “foolish” became tedious, anxious, and somber, the journey for the “wise” virgins became a joyful celebration in the presence of the bridegroom and the bounties of the wedding feast. Isn't that the way it is today with many fellow virgins? We all have trials, we all have to wait, we all find ourselves in a crisis needing light to make our way. Those with the oil of the Holy Spirit are the over-comers. The “wise” virgins who hear the word of God and put it into practice are purchasing the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit in due season and their vessels are full. Jesus called them the “ready” ones – a word which comes from the Greek word meaning “fit.”
Only believers full of the Holy Spirit are “ready” and “fit” for the marriage feast of the Lamb. They are the only ones experiencing the fullness of the abundant life of Jesus. They are the ones who are counting it all joy, whose weaknesses are becoming those areas where Christ strength is being perfected. They are the ones feasting on the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Their joy is full, Christ's peace is guarding their hearts and minds, and they have entered into His rest. They are living in the righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
While the “wise” virgins are celebrating, the “foolish” virgins have had to retrace their journey, going backwards to purchase the oil that they had neglected to buy when the time was right. Notice, that the voice of the bridegroom will awaken all virgins, but it will not fill all their lamps with oil. The oil of the Holy Spirit will be given to everyone who asks, but the voice of the bridegroom does not make up for the choice of not asking. The consequences for not being “fit”, not being a “ready” one, are the whole point of this parable. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation!” “Be very careful then how you hear, with the measure you meet, it will be measured to you. Whoever has he will be given more and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.” Have we checked our oil lately? Do we actually have oil, or could we be those who think we have, only to be shocked to discover our lamps are going out?
The “foolish” virgins eventually came. The actual wording of the Greek expresses it this way, “falling short they came.” Yes, the same word used in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The same word used in Hebrews 12:15 “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God.” The same word found in Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have fallen short of it.”
May the grace of God lead us to carefully examine ourselves to see the true condition of our waiting for His return. There is not a doubt that He will come, and there is not a doubt that we will come. The question is HOW will we come? Will we be “fit”, the “ready” ones, or our coming “fall short?”
Monday, August 10, 2009
My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
'Tis His to lead me there - not mine, but His—
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.
So faith bounds forward to its goal in God,
And love can trust her Lord to lead her there;
Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard
Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer.
No matter if the way be sometimes dark,
No matter though the cost be oft-times great,
He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark;
The way that leads to Him must needs be strait.
One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay;
One thing I do, I press towards my Lord;
My God, my glory here, from day to day,
And in the glory there my great Reward.