Duke University’s Arguments Against A Statutory Second Amendment

Herschel Smith · 22 May 2022 · 14 Comments

The Regulatory Review links a paper by Joseph Blocher of Duke University arguing against state preemption laws that prohibit more restrictive gun control statutes by cities and counties than instituted by the state itself.  The paper is entitled "Cities, Preemption, and the Statutory Second Amendment." He argues: As a practical matter, though, nothing has done more to shape contemporary gun regulation than state preemption laws, which fully or partially eliminate cities’ ability to…… [read more]

Step Into the Breech By Faith

BY PGF
4 weeks, 1 day ago

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”- James 2:17

It’s not a point of pride to be called by the Father; it’s somewhat terrifying. Many ask, after the initial glow or during a time of testing, why me? But the answer is clear, to serve through Christ, bringing glory to the Father. Those that are Christs have no idea what they are doing. That’s because there is no reason by human understanding and most certainly not logic that those known of God are those He has drawn to Himself. Sons of God of varying callings and ordinations to bear fruit and genuine men of God try to exude confidence to those around them in a plan or works that God has for them, but they can do nothing except that Christ wills it. They don’t instruct you in righteousness to elevate themselves as sadly some perceive; usually, it breaks their heart to have to do it. Pray for your leadership that they would be faithful servants of God to feed the flock with truth, even facts from a friend.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2

Not knowing where to start serving God, Christians should try everything; prove His will by searching out the many ministries and callings to find which one(s) God has chosen for you. The object is not to find the one you like—this is a significant problem with the New Religion. The idea is to call upon the Father as you seek and knock on the many doors to find His will; it won’t be long before instruction arrives from the throne room of the Almighty as to what direction you are to take. We implore you, regardless of how crazy the thing sounds or ill-equipped and fearful you are of that first effort; do it, do that something! You won’t regret it.

Five years later, you’ll find yourself in the perfect will of the Father, building His kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit come alive within you, the favor and blessings of Christ upon you, in the middle of a war you never knew existed, a real spiritual battle, being carried out through people.

Walking by faith is doing the one little thing that God puts in front of you. After months or years of doing the next little thing, it becomes apparent in hindsight by what means and manner God has chosen you to fulfill the works of His desire. This is why many won’t work. They expect to be told the 3-point plan with specific milestones and end goals. That’s not faith; that’s corporatism devoid of God’s ever-present guidance.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” – 1 Corinthians 5:7

You don’t know what God will do until after you do the first thing to which He is compelling you, drawing you, calling, and willing you to attempt. But, He’s God, so you know that it will be good if you trust in Him above your own understanding. Then you must do the following little something the next day and the next, ever learning to hear and obey the voice of the Shepard. God equips the called; He doesn’t call the equipped. He derives maximum glory through raising the unequipped into a mature soldier of Jesus Christ.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Those marked by the Father are under continuous gentle and loving pressure, but its pressure nonetheless to do more and more in service of Him. You will be rewarded by degrees as you serve, and far better is the reward in Heaven. Having heard His voice, walking in trust by faith alone, workers in the Kingdom of God most often only know in hindsight where God has been leading them.

Luke 12:41-48 relates the growth of the calling(s) that the Father has put upon you, and those that returned fivefold interest over the charge given while the Master is in the far country are rewarded five kingdoms to rule (Matthew 25:14-30). Yes, that’s a reward and manifold more responsibility with the attendant work, all while trying to bring even more glory to the Father that the name of Jesus Christ may go throughout all the earth. Behold, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

After you start, God will provide; if you serve, God will give you time to act, not before but after. If you do, then God will teach you and raise you in the ability to perform. Next, God will provide you with the resources to operate if, first, you step out in faith to serve. You must start all endeavors by faith, and God will bring the increase. God doesn’t call disciples to wait for the rapture! The more you serve, the more you learn of God. Having faith unto salvation is not the end; it’s not only salvation; we are saved unto good works; those made His don’t get saved and do nothing. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”- James 2:17. I fear for those souls and their eternal state.

The fullness of service to the Almighty is unknown until we are in the midst, and even then, we continue to grow, and our service may change. And the fullness of the fruit is not known in this life. It’s by faith that a man is saved and continues in faith to follow after in service. God first draws unto salvation, then saves, then draws anew unto works, but only after you step into the breech by faith does God qualify you to the avocation.

So too, as a son serves his Father by doing as He commands while seeking His will, the son learns more and more about the Father, who He is, and what pleases Him. And as the son grows through walking by faith into the mercies and instruction in righteousness that the Father brings all His sons, thereby does the son glory that he knows God. Take that first small and tentative step of faith to do the works of God, ever drawing nigh to the Father that made you and gave you the heart of love to serve Him.

The Great Commission

BY PGF
2 months ago

Daniel saw the vision of the Ancient of days commissioning the church, handing it to the Son of man with His army of witnesses, His Christian Soldiers, to conquer the world that all people should serve Him.

“13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14

From the moment the church was birthed, Jesus declares that through His death, burial, and resurrection, He has been given the keys to bind hell and death.

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” – Revelation 1:18

Satan is a defeated foe; Christ binds evil that the world will be overflooded with the knowledge of the glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14) by the spreading of the Gospel (Acts 1:8) that all people should serve Him (Daniel 7:14).

All people are subject to Christ, but some, a precious too few, are citizens of the Kingdom of God, building His domain that all enemies be made His footstool. When you got saved, you were to have abandoned your pagan kings and kingdoms; EVERYTHING about you should have changed; do you not hear Him calling His sheep, feeling the gentle pressure of the drawing and calling to serve your new High King? This is hard for folks saved in their youth, with so many years of cultural Churchianity ingrained in them. You must fight to overcome the world for Jesus Christ that you might be a son of God (Revelation 21:7).

There is nothing defensive about the Great Commission. Its offense, all the time, taking the field in the name of our High King and attacking the gates of hell relentlessly (Matthew 16:18), submitting yourself to the will of God (James 4:7).

Jesus has provided the practical instruction for His followers to carry out this deputation.

“14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” – Mark 16:14-16

“18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:18-20

The Great Commission is relatively simple.

  1. You tell lost people about Jesus.
  2. You teach converts all that He commands (the Word of God).

Both distinct missions seek the growth of the body of Christ. Soul-winning aims to grow the number of true converts, while discipleship seeks the development of individual believers in their depth and breadth of maturity in Christ. You are supposed to be on the battlefield taking the world one new convert at a time, teaching the nations all that Christ commands.

Standing Orders are those given to soldiers in the absence of their commander. They are what you are supposed to do until you receive new orders. The Great Commission is our standing order; it’s the church’s mission. It’s what you are commanded to accomplish by the Captain of your salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ, until His return. With Acts 1:8, these are the last words of our Lord Jesus, and these are His standing orders.

“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.” – Acts 1:8

We assure you that if you set about to accomplish this, the Lord will immediately and miraculously bless, prepare, and anoint your efforts! All of you who are saved were saved through the hearing of the Gospel under this commission. If any of you claim salvation and don’t continue in the work of carrying out this commission, you fail your brothers, and you fail Christ.

Acts 1:8 does not directly cross-reference the Great Commission verses in the Gospels, but it’s Jesus telling His disciples that the start of the mission is nigh, and the Holy Spirit’s arrival is imminent. They were to start witnessing right away after Pentecost, and they did. God added to the groups of believers popping up in and around Jerusalem as they spread the good news. And then the Gentile (Roman Soldier) Cornelius and his house got saved (acts 10), and the Gospel took off. After that, the disciples began to teach the converts and start communities of believers while seeking to expand the reach of the Gospel to the entire Roman Empire. God created new groups of believers who were instructed to change everything about their lives away from their pagan historical past, following after Christ being salt and light and righteousness. They turned the world upside down, and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing, changing whole civilizations by making them Christian.

“Matt. 28:19 – μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (NA28 – Nestle-Aland, 28th Edition Greek New Testament). The first word here, μαθητεύσατε, means “make a disciple of or a follower, which involves instruction or teaching.” The last word is ἔθνος ethnos (from which we derive our English word “ethnic”) and can mean multitude, company, people, but in the broader application, as here, means all nations or peoples. Jesus wanted (and still wants) the gospel to be taken to the entire world and “every creature” (Mark 16:15).” – Roger L. Leonard.

Literal translation: disciple-make all the people/nations

Go and make disciples of all the people of the nations (every creature) that Christ may subjugate every man to His kingdom. The job is to conquer the world in the name and power of Jesus Christ. Nobody is coming to save us. Our Lord commands His disciples to overthrow the world by the power of God, the Holy Spirit in us, wielding His sword, which is the word of God through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not hyperbole; it is your God-ordained duty in service of the One who saved you from the wrath and death and hell you deserve and has given you eternal life. Acts 1:8 and Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:16-20 are clear enough; these are our Standing Orders.

We are all made witnesses for Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. This mission is unto the ends of the earth. This is put forth to instruct us what our job is in the Kingdom of God while we work toward His return. Conquer the world because He’s coming back, not despite His coming back. Every soul on earth must needs hear the Gospel. It is not a limited ministry in any sense. Father God wants us to tell all people the Gospel of the finished work of His Son on the cross, making and training converts.

Once you believe, you become a witness for Jesus Christ, the witness being a legal term for which you will be held to account at the Judgment. If you know that you are supposed to tell people about Jesus, and you are, then failing to do is a sin.

A witness is someone that testifies as to the veracity of the facts. A witness for Jesus Christ testifies of Him. Discuss with every creature the atoning death, the resurrection, how He saved and changed you and has blessed you, how He is the Son of God, the only way to the Father (John 14:6) that sinners may be forgiven entering into eternal life.

Acts 1:8 with Mark 16:15 are the commands of God that make us the tip of the sword of the Gospel we are to wield at every soul on earth, giving them a stark choice under the threat of wrath and death and hell, or salvation unto eternal life in heaven with Christ Jesus. This is their choice, and telling them is the duty of every Christian; showing every soul, whosoever, and howsoever you may meet them, that our King saves.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

We are to show by opening the Scriptures that Christ died shedding His blood to cover the sins of the lost sinner, that He was buried, and that he rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Although not called to be a Preacher proper as from the pulpit, every believer is called to share the Gospel and win souls to Christ. The Holy Spirit of God convicts and saves the lost sinner; you are His witnesses, His messengers of the good news of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Don’t confuse the Gospel of Peace with anything other than peace in Christ Jesus. It’s not a feeling or how to get along with the lost world. The glad tidings are the resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfilling the promise of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world that salvation by faith in Holy God through the cross and the blessing of eternal life in His Son had come to all who would only believe. That’s the good news.

Simple does not mean easy. Jesus trained His disciples for years and gave them the Holy Spirit. Nobody but God will be on your side if you decide to take this on unless you are blessed to be around a very mature and seasoned (well-salted) group of believers. This is why most Christians shy away. They don’t feel supported; there is no sense of having a team to carry out the mission of Christ with singleness of purpose.

We put some thought into structuring a group of believers for this two-part commission; reaching the lost and building whole communities centered around Christ. Seeing the fruit of the American Churches, they are lost in a sea of endless activity to no avail. They leave a wide wake of a form of godliness, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory while losing ground to the workers of iniquity year after year.

Suppose you have the rare and distinct blessing of being in a mission (not missions) oriented group of believers with regular purposeful soul winning and training that grows the believers. In that case, it’s your duty to replicate this effort. Under this commission, use all resources directly to support this tip of this spear mission ordained by Christ Jesus. All believers must share the Gospel and help the soldiers returning from battle by uplifting them and encouraging them while ministering among the saints. Tell every soul the Gospel; this is a direct order of Holy God, and teach each other how to be Christ-like!

If only the Churches were places to get instructed, uplifted, encouraged, and prepared. Suppose churches were a place to share battlefield tactics, prayer, and partnering for practical strategies; other serious men and women would want to be part of the success. People love to win. We should prepare each other to re-enter the battlefield for another round of wielding the Gospel at the sons of men who are living in the kingdom of death and hell in this world.

It is your duty to make men and women competent Christians. The greatness of the Great Commission is also not to be reduced or watered down. Teaching converts is the natural follow-on conclusion to winning the lost sinner to God, as it was always God’s plan to have fellowship with them. Even if the new converts are not the ones you are teaching, both jobs need to be done. Sometimes you win a soul to Christ and never see them again, but that’s no excuse for not doing this work. Sometimes you teach an infant, and as they grow, they move away to follow God’s plan for them. You’ve done your part. It’s work; although a blessing to fellowship, it’s not a social hour. The great commission is the work in support of making yet more converts to the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus Christ by training up the young, not of age but spirit, in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6) so that they too can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ while living and growing in ever-expanding and multiplying Christian communities forsaking sin and rebuking the workers of hell.

The hard part is building the communities of believers. The Covid shutdowns proved that. We can count on very few people, but this is very likely due to the lack of a team approach. Christianity in America is hyper-personalized with no sense of a larger mission or single team. The Great Commission is that mission; to tell every creature of Christ in a way that they may choose to live or die while we build centers of support for new, growing, and seasoned Christian men, women, and families.

We are not to be snatching brands from the fire when we make believers; we are supposed to be making a new soldier; all power and authority having been given to Jesus Christ on earth for the discipleship of all nations. The command is that we, faithful followers of the way, take every aspect of society and claim it in the name of our King, including recreation, social, corporate, government, trade, etc. Adding by the will of Holy God; Peoples, Nations, Countries, and Kingdoms, making them all, every last one, disciples of Jesus Christ is what God has intended by this commission.

“Teach all nations – The word rendered “teach,” here, is not the one that is usually so translated in the New Testament. This word properly means “to disciple, or to make disciples of.” This was to be done, however, by teaching, and by administering baptism…Jesus broke down the partition wall, and commissioned his disciples to go everywhere, and bring the “world” to the knowledge of himself.” – Albert Barnes.

“As the numbers of converts increase, this providentially leads to the subsuming under the authority of Christ whole institutions, cultures, societies, and governments.” – Ken Gentry.

“Christianity should be twisted in with national constitutions…the kingdoms of the world should become Christ’s kingdoms, and their kings the church’s nursing fathers…do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations…Christ the Mediator is setting up a kingdom in the world, bring the nations to be His subjects.” – Matthew Henry.

It’s on the test, folks!

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” – 1 Peter 3:15

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33

Who do you love, Jesus or your lost friends? Jesus or your lost social media buddies? Jesus or your lost family? Who do you love, Jesus or your lost Churchianity?

Fasting For Both Spiritual Purposes and For Lean Times Ahead

BY PGF
2 months, 2 weeks ago

In dependence upon Him, fasting is one thing Christians do to draw closer to Holy Father God. And fasting can help prepare your body as the potential end of the times of plenty approaches.

Fasting with prayer is a marvelous way to seek God, especially with problems far beyond your scope of ability to accomplish alone. Examples include Ezra 8:22-23 and also Nehemiah chapter 1, the prayer Nehemiah made to God while fasting. Fasting shows God that you’re serious (1 Corinthians 7:5, Joel 2:12).

“19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.” – Mark 2:19-20

The Bridegroom, having left to be seated at the right hand of Power, we fast.

It won’t always be this way. The amount of food available today is not even close to normal. These are very clearly the good old days. Fasting can help you prepare for lower caloric intake while improving your overall health. When you get hungry or have sugar withdrawals or toxin dumps (explained briefly below), take this time to pray. Fasting is not simply eating less. Fasting is for seeking the Lord while drawing nigh to God, cleansing your hands from sin, and purifying your heart; that He may draw nigh to you (James 4:8).

Several things happen when we fast. Since the ingestion of nutrients means good health, seldom used immune system functions kick on with a lack of food input. In the long run, this makes you healthier to have these immune responses already up and running before times of stress or shortage. Mankind has been accustomed to short periods without food, and some people continue to in many regions. Our bodies are anthropologically tuned not to eat for short periods, so fasting for a day, say 3 or 4 times a month, can cause natural body weight normalization. Also, if you suffer sugar withdrawal during fasting, the most common symptoms are emotional distress or sadness; this condition can mean that you are sugar dependent. Cut the sugars out.

You don’t want sugar withdrawal, and so-called toxin dumps the first couple of days of a stressful event. That’s when you need to be alert and at your best. Other health benefits include clearing and natural maintenance by our bodies, including the lower GI and colon. Fasting gives much-needed rest and relief to major organs, especially the Kidneys and Liver, while not ingesting preservative-laden foods and other poisons. You may experience toxin dumps or, as some call it, detox or cleanse effects as your organs begin to dump toxins into the bloodstream. These can be hard on you if you don’t recognize what’s happening, but your organs will appreciate it as they get cleaned out. Some symptoms might be awareness problems, dizziness, sadness, and general sluggishness. This is pretty normal the first few times you try it. Your gut needs a rest, and your organs need a break from the chemicals; you’re getting healthy; keep going as your body recovers from years of abuse.

There are a couple of ways to do it. You might try going from supper to supper the next day the first time you do it. You can also go from supper to breakfast two days later, 36 hours or so. A 24 hour fast is more manageable because in the morning and during the day, you see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is supper. But, going a whole waking period without eating, which is the 36 hour fast, is very healthy. For most people, Juice Fasting, intake of fruit and vegetable juices, is not preferred. Water is the way to go as you depend entirely upon God and take in no sugars.

Some things to do include; busying yourself with light physical activities especially walking or low impact aerobics. This will simulate the exertion levels of historically food-gathering people. When you eat again, go slow. Eat something light, and don’t overeat. Eat fruit or some vegetables, something healthy and full of water value and electrolytes. Wait a few hours before eating again. They say your stomach shrinks even in one day, so this is a chance to recalibrate your total food intake levels during meals and in general. Speaking of water value, we get more moisture from our food than we realize. Drink plenty of water while fasting; you should drink much more water than you may be accustomed to having.

Some things to avoid include fasting for the first time on a workday, as your alertness may be lacking. But you do get used to it after a time or two. Don’t use laxatives of any kind; this is counterproductive. Make your body work to get used to it. Also, allow your body to recover naturally if you’ve had a poor diet. Don’t fast if you have challenging exercise or labor planned. This could be dangerous the first time or two, which is another reason you should make yourself used to fasting before you have to by no choice of your own. Watch your attitude and anger as low blood sugar could cause you to say some things to loved ones that you might regret.

Don’t tell anybody you’re fasting, which may be hard to do if you have children. In that case, fast with your wife, as the head of her in Christ, you can declare a fast. Your children won’t bother you about not eating if you get them a pizza or something they like. You can also get them involved and used to skipping a meal or two.

“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” – Matthew 6:16-18

Your Father, which sees all things even in secret, will reward you openly. While fasting is an excellent time to go tell people about salvation through Jesus Christ.

We could say that this isn’t medical advice, but we don’t care if you consult your health care provider first or not.

Refuse Him Not

BY PGF
2 months, 3 weeks ago

“18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:18-29

Verses 18 through 21 remind the reader of Mount Sinai and the terrible presence of Holy God. See Exodus 19:12-20. But those that had put their faith in Christ as the church was birthed, and all Christians, have come to mount Sion, the city of the living God, and to the heavenly Jerusalem. The heavenly Jerusalem is no comparison to the earthly. It’s the most excellent presence of the living God who dwells there, and those who God has called are already citizens, having entered into eternal life at the moment of the new birth.

Verse 25 says that you are to refuse Him not. How terrible was it for those that knew the truth and rejected Him on earth both under Moses and in the first century? Don’t turn away from Him that now speaks from Heaven.

You are to be salt, not honey. The word of God is sweet to the ear but bitter to the belly (Revelation 10:9), dividing both heart and soul asunder (Hebrews 4:12). But Christians won’t bare the sword of truth as they are supposed to by speaking righteousness into the world. Everywhere they are turning away. How can you refuse Him that speaks from Heaven? How shall you escape the damnation of God?

Christians, if that’s what they are, have been taught that the Kingdom of God is in some far-flung distant future only dimly lit, and to rest upon their ease, they will be raptured away. They learned this from the men taught in the American University system, which should rightly be called cemetery schools. They are where faith goes to die under the weight of the doctrines of men.

Look what God has given you: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant…” You should be filled with all joy to overflowing that you desire to tell all men of Christ and what great things He has done that they too may enter into the glorious presence of God; to know the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.

The heavenly Jerusalem is now. Hebrews 12 says that it’s right now and available to all who would put their faith in Christ. Why have you turned away? You’ve been misled or lied to perhaps that Christ’s blood was insufficient. The blood of righteous able cried out unto God from the ground (Genesis 4:10), but verse 24 in our text says how much better is the sprinkling of the perfect blood of Christ that when applied by your belief through faith Christ’s blood cries forgiven, redeemed, and clean unto the Father in your stead. Why have you turned away? Why have you come short of the glory of God?

In verse 22 specifically, we see that the heavenly Jerusalem is now. Flee from your false teachers; turn back to your first love, the Father of lights in whom there is no variableness. Now, are we come to Sion, the city of the living God, great and terrible is He, for our God is a consuming fire, how will you escape the wrath having turned away!?!

Return to Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant; your teachers are false; your Kingdom is not later, for Christ rules and reigns from one end of the heavens to the other that you might be filled with the truth to serve Him by building the city, this Kingdom, by the Spirit of God which is the Almighty in you. Judgment is now, from day to day, but you looked away and followed after another master. Lies, comfort, and ease are not better than the living God.

How can Hebrews 12:22 exist now and Revelation 21:2 be later? The Bible doesn’t contradict. Indeed He comes again, and the final order with Him, but these things were to have shortly come to pass in Revelation some two thousand years ago, or Hebrews 12 isn’t true. If the Holy Spirit is God, and surely He is, and you have the Holy Spirit, then why are you waiting for another generation to build His kingdom? His kingdom cannot be moved, so why have you left it?

Jesus said in the gospels that he would do no great thing because faith was lacking. In your shrinking away, you’ve reduced your faith and thereby the power of God in you. The Kingdom awaits and with it a Christian a country, but you don’t believe because devils have told you that it can’t be done, the Kingdom is not yet, while they tell you to wait for The Antichrist (the which there is no such person), to stand in a temple that no longer exists! Why do you seek antichrist instead of the heavenly Jerusalem? Who do you actually worship?

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” – Hebrews 12:28

You are to be salt, not honey; the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not a social gospel, and the declaration of His truth in righteousness, not a weak and beggarly defeat. This is the building of the Kingdom now. What’s wrong with you that you won’t serve the living God? Why do you shrink back from the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus for you? Who has told you to be a consumerist of Christianity, for they are false!

Why are you not now being made meet for the Master’s use? Why won’t you consume the Bible as a ravenous child crying out to the Father for sustenance that you may live? Why won’t you pray down the power of God that you might bring forth fruit by the thousands to conversion at the foot of His cross? Why have you once believed and turned away from He that now speaks from Heaven? What’s wrong with you, are you converted to the way or not?

Christianity isn’t about an experience, you narcissistic feelings seekers. It’s not about you at all. It’s about Him, the mediator of a new and better covenant. It’s not better because it’s easier; it’s a better covenant because He is better than the blood of dumb animals. Christ having been made sinful man, yet without sin, so that you might be made the righteousness of God in Him, He speaks now from Heaven. When you see Him, you will know just how small you are? It’s about His Kingdom, His designs, and His purposes. Why are you not trying to fulfill the full measure of all that He called you to? Do you seek to feel good now to stand before Him later with nothing to show? That’s not Christianity.

“And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” – Hebrews 12:27-28

Why are you shaken when you’ve been brought forth out of darkness into the glorious light of Christ Jesus? You are to have been the fruit that remains, being part of the Root, which is Christ; you are now a branch to bear fruit to glorify His holy name. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

The same Christ that forgave and saved you can forgive and restore you now. You may be willing to die for Christ, but will you live for Him?

 

Why Not Call It Sin?

BY PGF
2 months, 4 weeks ago

A mea culpa, (via WRSA) but why not call it what it is?

“26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” – Romans 1:26-32

Everyone comes to the realization of sin in their own time, in their own way. Most deny it when faced with it. This post isn’t against the author of the linked piece. It’s Christian instruction and what used to be common knowledge.

Verse 28 of Romans 1 says of sodomites that “God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” Sodomy running rampant in your country isn’t a sign of judgment; it is judgment. The Holy Bible says that God will wreck your entire civilization over the course of generations that you may fill up the measure of your iniquity, bringing your Descendants to faith by repentance, crying out for forgiveness from Him. Yeah, I don’t like it either, but we don’t get a vote; He is God, we are not.

God’s chief attribute is that He is holy. He is perfect first, before all other things. A people do not mock His created order except under severe penalty, which is death. Those that do such things are “worthy of death.” And so the unrepentant will die in eternity, and the West along with them because the Church is no more. If the individuals in your civilization are worthy of death, then your society, which also becomes worthy of death, will not stand.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” – Romans 1:18

When people know the truth but identify good as bad and evil as good, they hold the truth in unrighteousness, and the wrath of God abides on them being revealed from heaven against that people. Romans 1:18 is the difference between national blessings bestowed by God or national curses for rejection of righteousness; God handing your civilization over to wickedness.

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:15

I feel sorry for sodomites. Their mind is not their own; they have been handed over to vile affections and the unnatural use of their body. A little sodomy is ok, but we shouldn’t teach children about it? This is not a serious-minded position. There is no such thing as a little bit of sin against God. Sin begets more sin. God is Judge, and the penalty is death.

The scary part is that so few understand what’s happening to America and the depths of where we are headed. The American Church is false and therefore has no more influence.

When your Church has no response to sin, you have no Church! American Christians, if that’s what they are, have no answers to what’s happening. They are also blinded. The American Church hasn’t a clue as the people there are busy watching porn and football, playing video games, getting abortions, and handing their children to the State to raise because they couldn’t be bothered. The American Church says, well, maybe there isn’t anything that bad as sin. These, too, will burn! You teach the whole counsel, the whole ordinance of God, or you are false. Either the church of the living God calls evil against men and God sin, or there is no church at all.

Don’t expect the State to solve this problem. It can’t. Even if the State wanted to solve sin, it lacks the capacity to do that which only God retains authority over. This duty falls to the church.

This isn’t only about sodomy; that’s just one sin of many. Most sinners, and all men are sinners, like just a little private sin. But that’s not how sin works. Sin is the gateway drug to sin and more sin. You can’t have a little indulgence on the side; that’s not how sin works. Sin isn’t the result of what we do; it’s what we are, at our core. We are cursed and produce evil at every turn. The more we do it, the more we want it.

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” – Ecclesiastes 8:11

Always and forever, men misunderstand God’s patience and longsuffering in love as tolerance, but it is not so. They go so far as to say, where is God? But be sure, your sin will find you out. Sin is sin; it violates God’s created order; the sentence will be passed and executed.

“But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.” – Ecclesiastes 8:13

In God’s economy, there are two kinds of people; them that believe on the Lord to the saving of their soul and them that don’t. Among them that don’t, some are wholly wicked and perverse. God makes clear that He is sore displeased with those people, has turned them over to a reprobate mind, blinded them to Him, and that they need to be, depending on the nature of it, put out of society or killed for the preservation and good order that a people walk not as animals but upright before the Judge of all. Some people actively make war on God, and they need to be dealt with. That’s what the laws of Western Civilization have reflected for hundreds of years until recently.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” – Romans 1:22

If anybody can claim to be anything and nobody may call it a sin, we have lawlessness; it’s anarchy. They are as animals! Equality is government-created anarchy attempting to invert creation itself, causing a state of corruption not only civil and legal but, most importantly, moral; it’s an open insurrection in rebellion against Holy and Almighty God!

The fundamental Christians are right. They keep their women home and dress them modestly. Their women obey their menfolk, and their children keep silent until addressed. They homeschool and teach; yes, ma’am, and yes, sir! They train their children daily in the moral code of Holy God. They do these things so that perverts and freaks don’t lay hold of their women and children and turn their family and all of society to follow after the wickedness of sin! Do they still sound crazy; or seem a little extreme? Maybe they’re on to something and not so foolish after all. Oh, and they still call sin, sin.

Creation is God’s; His created order is ordained that it might go well with you and that your days may be long upon the land. You either operate within His order or are cursed, damned to suffer the consequences, both personally and as a civilization.

God doesn’t compare us to each other, He holds out holy as the standard, and no cursed man can attain. But you can be forgiven, even delivered from your sin. God can deliver the drunk to be sober. God can deliver the addict to clean, the deviant to a lovely heart with pureness of mind; only the Lord can reform the wicked. God can restore a man, a marriage, a family, a nation if only you would submit to His authority.

God doesn’t just forgive sin through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ; He can deliver the sinner from His affliction. And which is the greater miracle, to be forgiven or made whole? Forgiveness is not a license to sin; go and sin more.

Christian Mentoring and Fasting with Prayer

BY PGF
3 months, 3 weeks ago

These two essential and much neglected aspects of Christian growth and maturity need attention by the churches in America; mentorship and fasting with prayer.

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” – Acts 5:42

If you are a serious Christian and have studied God’s word for years while serving in the body by teaching in a group of believers or at home with your family, please consider mentoring a new or infant Christian. Consider taking on two or three by meeting once a week and studying through some aspects of Christianity.

And if you’re new to the faith or know that you are slack in your growth, then you will have to seek out a mentor(s). Importantly, it should be purposeful, involving prayer and studying the Scriptures together, and can even include serving God together.

Probably the place to start is the sure foundations of the faith. Salvation in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, under the word of God alone, to the glory of God alone.  A mentor can lead those newer to the faith by notating verse by verse through the book of John and then discussing what you’ve discovered at a regular time each week while sharing life, growth, and prayer together.

It is recommended to discuss faith without works (James 2:20) and its enjoined truth; so too, works without faith are also dead. More than half of those who claim Christ in America say that some work or ceremony is required for salvation. This needs correcting. But the easy-believism of useless fake converts is rampant as well. The American Church is apostate; hold true to the faith even to the end.

Very few actually want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s a pity; they know not what they’re missing. It’s as though they read the Bible and get preaching, but what God says through His word is not penetrating the dullness of their minds.

Please teach each other to mature in Christ. Being a Christian requires work to bring glory to the Father.

“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” – Matthew 6:16-18

And consider fasting specifically from food. Fasting with prayer significantly increases our awareness of God through dependence upon Him. Like serious prayer, the work and growth that fasting does in us are not describable in such a way that would convince you to partake of it. It’s something that you have to do to grow in the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ to see the Kingdom of God up close as you draw nigh to God. Rest assured, He will answer when you begin to fast. Don’t tell anybody that you’re fasting. Fast in secret that your Father, which is heaven, may know and send blessings for your faith. Pray a great many times throughout the day when fasting. Skipping breakfast is not fasting. Be serious; go 24 hours the first time, then longer as desired other times after.

Essential Christian Instruction, Part Five

BY PGF
3 months, 4 weeks ago

Part One  Part Two  Part Three  Part Four

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33

God ordained this way: we that are Christ’s would testify and share Scripture; it’s by your mouth to the ear of the lost sinner that is God’s chosen modality of bringing those He would save to faith in Him. There are more efficient ways He could have made, for sure. Still, none other would bring greater glory to the Father than you, having been a lost sinner yourself, now a vessel full of faith, going and testifying of Jesus Christ to those that He would also call to glorify His holy name.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation. You can be a part of the workings of God to see lost sinners come to the fullness of the realization of Christ Jesus to get saved.

Linked here is a Gospel Primer with clear and specific instructions on how to talk to people about Jesus Christ. Freely take and use it for God’s glory.

We are all witnesses for Jesus Christ. Sadly, most Christians in America today are bad witnesses and don’t even know what the Gospel is, probably because they aren’t actually Christian. Some Christians are good witnesses in how they live and share the love of Christ. But others, and this is our goal, are good at being a witness for Jesus Christ by purposefully learning how to share verses of Scripture in a way that God uses to bring faith in the heart of the lost sinner.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17

When sharing what great things Jesus has done for you, and especially when sharing how He saved you, it’s effective to share a few verses of Scripture about how Jesus saves lost sinners. There is real power in opening the Bible and sharing Scripture with a lost soul. It is strongly recommended that you read and discuss verses that prove sin, death, damnation, the futility of works, faith in Christ alone, and turning to God for salvation.

The Holy Bible is the words of life to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the lost. As a witness, or soul winner, you are only the messenger of the Gospel; it’s God’s power in grace and mercy that saves.

Parts Two and Three of these Essential Instruction posts are also necessary preparation for soul winning. Going under your own power is almost always fruitless. Without prayer and knowing some scripture sharing the Gospel is much more difficult. The Holy Spirit brings conviction to a lost sinner, and it is the word of God that brings faith.

The purpose of this, Part Five, is to give you some tools and ideas that will help you grow into a believer who is ready to share what great things Christ has done for sinners. Jesus spent three years training His men. It’s ok to need training. Get trained and do the works of God!

Nobody can take your salvation testimony from you. Telling people about how you got saved is a good witness for Jesus. Telling lost sinners how they can be forgiven of their sin to be saved by the power of God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is what soul winners do by sharing a few verses of Scripture that the Holy Spirit uses to bring conviction to the hearer.

“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.” – Acts 1:8

And so there you are, at the ends of the earth, saved, sealed, but for what? God didn’t save you because you’re a great guy or gal. He saved you to serve Him to bring glory to the Father through His Son.

You can share the Gospel in such a way that lost sinners come to the fullness of the realization of faith in Christ Jesus. You must pray for the help of God that lost souls would be converted to the truth. These conversations with lost sinners will be uncomfortable for both you and the lost sinner. Please keep in mind that the lost sinner is hell-bound to burn for all eternity. It is a much better thing to have a 20-minute uncomfortable conversation with a lost sinner, as you warn them, than that they die and suffer eternal damnation.

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” – Revelation 20:11-12

You should care about souls headed for hell, and if you want a moral and just society, an America that is free again, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to get it. Nobody can set us at liberty but Christ. Do you want a Christian nation again? Serving in the power of the Holy Spirit that God would make more Christians through sharing a few verses of Scripture is the way to do it.

We are too hard on lost sinners and much too easy on other Christians. The lost know not what they do or before whom they will be held to account, for their eyes are blinded. They’re lost sinners; what do you think they’ll do but sin in wickedness, destroying what is good and holy all the day long. What do you need to be a just, moral, and upright Christian people; more Christians, say it ain’t so? How do you get more Christians; tell them *gasp* about Christ? Are you even Christian? How do you not feel pressed upon by the Spirit of God to share what great and glorious things He has done? Don’t shrink back now by denying God before men. Most Christians don’t even know what the Gospel is.

You can be a part of the workings of God to see lost sinners come to the fullness of the realization of Christ Jesus to get saved. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation.

The Gospel Primer will help you not only to discuss the things of God, but it will show you how to bring lost souls all the way to a decision to enter into His kingdom or reject Christ having chosen the things of this present world; God help them.

The lost sinner needs to understand these things. 1. That they are a lost sinner. 2. That the wrath of God is upon them. 3. That they cannot save themselves. 4. That only Jesus Christ can save them. And 5. That they must be saved by faith.

There is also a set of verses called the Roman(s) Road to show a lost sinner about these five facts. There are several variations of the Roman Road. Here is one such set of verses to share with lost sinners to show them their need for salvation in Christ.

Sin: Romans 3:10-12, 23

Consequences for sin: Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:14-15

Salvation from Sin and wrath: Romans 5:8-10

Belief (Faith) in Christ: Romans 9:10-11

Call upon the Lord: Romans 10:13

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

Your knowledge, personality, background, education, and salvation testimony build upon each other to make you the Christian God wants you to become. By adding tools and ideas to your existing knowledge, you significantly increase your effectiveness while witnessing for Jesus Christ.

As a point of personal testimony, I’ll say that I’ve never been full of more joy or been closer to God than having just led a lost soul to the foot of the cross of Christ into the point of decision. It’s the coolest thing ever. (I know it’s a childish expression, but it really is the coolest thing ever.) There is nothing that has satisfied my soul more than to see the light of Christ realized in the eyes of a soul that God is speaking to through His Holy Spirit. You can see the Kingdom of God in action, first hand, beholding the power of Jesus Christ to save. No stories here; go and make your own.

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” – John 15:8

Essential Christian Instruction, Part Four

BY PGF
3 months, 4 weeks ago

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

“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.” – Hebrews 10:25

Time with other bible believers studying the truth of God’s word and learning about the Christian life is essential for growth in Christ.

The purpose behind these Essential Instruction posts is to grow in Christ. In the next post, we’ll provide specific technical instruction about how to lead a lost soul into the Kingdom of God if they’ve by given by the Father under the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God to rely on Christ Jesus. Here in Part Four, we’ll not be talking about modes of worship or rudiments of outward forms of godliness as a group of believers. This post is about you serving God in spirit and in truth.

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” – Romans 12:4-5

See also: 1 Corinthians 12:12

A local church is a body of believers. All followers of Jesus are His church, sometimes referred to in Scripture as the body of Christ. The church of Jesus Christ is not a Church building. When the members refuse to serve, they make the body lame and dysfunctional retarding the growth of His church by slowing the spreading of the Gospel to every tongue. God has a job for you to do, that the body may be whole.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” – Acts 11:26

What did Jesus command in the Great Commission? What did they do at Antioch? What did the disciples do everywhere they went? What are you doing?

A Christian is a believer who is now in the body of Christ and becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. A Christian is someone who gives His life in service to the Father just as our Lord Jesus did. Christianity is not a mere belief, although that is the essential first thing. Christians do the work of God to bring about the glorification of Jesus Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth, preaching the Gospel to every creature and teaching all nations to obey Christ. Being saved by Jesus is not the end; it is the beginning, the beginning of a new life of service for our Lord in the Kingdom of God.

This is very important; the Churches of America have taken to preaching the Gospel to each other and ministering to the lost. This is the exact opposite of what Almighty God calls Christians to do in service of Him as commanded in His word. The first work of believers, if done according to the Holy Bible, is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to lost sinners outside the body. And secondly, care one for another as a group of believers, teaching not only about the Bible but how to accomplish what God commands in His word.

“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.” – Jude 1:3

The church we should want is not one where believers come to get refreshed from work, or the news cycle, or from a hectic life of worldliness nor as a babysitter for our children and an activity center. Your local church should be the group of believers we rely upon to be refreshed in the power of Christ, refilled with the Holy Spirit of God. And the local church should be the place we get encouraged and uplifted because we’ve spent a week reproving the wicked of sin, sharing the Gospel with the lost, and standing in the righteousness of Christ against the evil of this present world by following the commandments in the new testament. We should want a church that contends for the faith within and outside the body in serious commitment to follow after Christ.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples in John 15:12

Seek opportunities to teach, share the simple Gospel with the children of your church, spend a little time listening to widows and the elderly. Great all members with a smile and sincerely ask if you can pray for them, and then do pray throughout the week, and follow up the next week and ask them how it’s going. Offer to help the Pastor with anything He needs. He’ll say no at first but continue to make yourself available. Depending on how your church is structured, there may be many ways to contribute, but it’s mainly about the people. Serve in meekness, love, longsuffering, mercy, and compassion, never backbiting, telling tales, or spreading gossip. You don’t need anyone’s permission to love and care with sincere kindness one for another and not in words only but in deeds that help your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Now, pastoral leadership is a narrow calling of God on the men He chooses. But specific gifts and ministries may include teaching, church planting, missions, evangelism, and we are all made witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. And we all strengthen each other uplifting each other’s spirit to prepare each other to re-enter the battlefield doing battle for our High King.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2

Want to know the will of God for your service of Him? Prove it, test it, try the reigns of God by giving yourself in time and ability within the body. You’ll find where you work best for His glory. Perhaps He’ll use you in one capacity for a season and another capacity for another season. This is not unusual for those who seek to earnestly and humbly give of themselves for God’s kingdom. When you begin this search, God will put you where He wants you. You’ve got to want it; take the initiative.

God isn’t looking for benchwarmers to help Him with gravity by holding down a pew with your backside. Christians are not useless observers. Consumerist Christianity is destroying the American Church. Be ye doers of the word!

Another thing that is destroying the American Church is that it is supposed to be for believers; it is not a mixed multitude. Inviting somebody to church is a kindness but having a group that is half lost people is not the church. The church is the body of Christ, and we are His people. We are to assemble with other believers to strengthen each other so that we can go into the world and seek the lost that God would make His own. Filling the body with lost people weakens the purposes of assembling together.

Contending for the faith is done by following the commandments in the New Testament and telling people about Jesus. When studying the New Testament, it becomes clear that Jesus was preparing men to preach to the lost, create assemblies that gather as His church, and within those assemblies to set out specific functions for service of Him by caring for the saints. In these two things is the fullness of the Great Commission; to serve God on earth in the name of Jesus Christ by following His commandments; teaching and learning and ministering among a group of believers, and secondly by spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to lost souls outside the body.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” – Hebrews 10:24

Disciples seek the lost to share the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus. And followers of Jesus Christ minister among a group of believers, a local church. This ministration includes caring for one another, urging each other to do good works, encouraging each other, and sharing life with other believers. The church is not a building; it’s the body of Christ, that is, all the believers working and serving Holy God to accomplish the specific tasks for the particular purposes that the New Testament lays out. If accomplished according to Scripture, this is an excellent work for Holy God in which He is well pleased.

Time with other bible believers studying the truth of God’s word and learning about the Christian life is essential for growth in Christ. Personal prayer and bible study do not replace church going. And going to church does not replace personal prayer and bible reading & study time. You must do both.

So that you mature in Christ becoming a worthy vessel to serve our King in His kingdom, you must examine yourself with fear and trembling to become the member in particular that God would have.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5

“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.” – Philippians 2:12

Prove God’s perfect will for your service of Him. Prove your own self whether you are in the faith. Are you in or not!?! Work this out with fear and trembling before the throne of the Almighty; will you follow Christ?

And pray; God help me grow and put me in service of you that your holy name would be glorified and that I falter not unto the day of redemption. Amen.

Essential Christian Instruction, Part Three

BY PGF
4 months ago

Part One

Part Two

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:11

This is Part Three of several posts about growing and maturing in Christ to accomplish the works that He foreordained for you to walk in. In later posts, we’ll look at serving within the body of Christ (church) and then specific technical instruction in how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with lost sinners. Here we’ll discuss personal Bible reading and study.

If you say that you’re saved by the grace of Holy God and have never read the book that He left for you, shame on you! Men died to write it. Men died to make it a household item. Jesus died that it might all be fulfilled. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35 that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” God has preserved His word supernaturally by His will that you might know Him and have specific instruction on how to proceed to implement His kingdom while we anticipate His return. Please read the book; it’s all in there! You’ll answer to God one day. And we’ll leave it at that before this turns into a much-justified tirade.

If you love the Lord that saved you, the Holy Spirit should fill you with the desire to be salt and light, in His strength and righteousness, to the wicked and depraved world. Christians should change the environment they are in. This is the mandate of the Great Commission; to conquer the world in the name of Jesus Christ by effectively wielding the sword of God, which is His word; you have no right to settle for less. How can you wield His sword if you don’t know it?

Read for comprehension by examining the text with singleness of purpose; that you might know Him and His mind toward you. You should do personal Bible reading and study time daily. It’s best to set a specific time for this each day.

When reading the Scriptures, pray and ask God for at least four things: To reveal what is happening in the text. To reveal what He needs you to learn from it. To teach you what He wants you to learn. And ask Him to reveal personal application for your church, family, and self.

Context is king. Many religions claiming to be Christian have taken just a handful of verses and made a religion from them. There are 66 books within the Holy Bible. You must seek to know who wrote the individual book you are reading and studying and the overarching purpose of God in giving us that book. All Scripture is given us for instruction (2 Timothy 3:16), but knowing who the intended audience was and the occasion of the writing is critical to understanding sound doctrine as applied to the church today. The Holy Bible is not a book of mystical, vaguely knowable sayings. You can understand it when studied in context.

Let’s start at the beginning. For brand new Christians and other infants, the book of John in the New Testament is a great place to begin personal reading and study. It lays out the simple fact of who Jesus is, how much God loves you, what He’s done for you, and who you are to God.

Here is how to grow; challenge God to prove His word. Now, don’t take that wrong; we don’t confront God or seek a duel of sorts, desire for God to show you that His word may be proven true. Our topic verse in Acts 17:11 at the top says: “…searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Don’t be afraid to tell God that you can’t hear the text, don’t understand it, and need His help to show you His purposes in judgment, grace, and instruction in righteousness.

Interrogate the text. Don’t take any man’s word for what the Bible says. Search the Scriptures daily for yourself! Are these things so?

A goal in reading and study should be to have family Bible study, but how can you teach your children if you are still ignorant? How can you know what your pastor teaches is accurate if you refuse to grow in the faith and knowledge of God by reading His word? How can you be a mature Christian soldier serving our King while remaining in darkness and ignorance?

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – 2 Peter 3:17-18

After reading John, read the whole New Testament. It’s ok not to understand it all at first. Read from Matthew to the end of Revelation, asking God to reveal His word to you. The reason to start in the New Testament is that what happened two thousand years ago when Jesus was here is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The books of the Law and the Prophets in the Old Testament were fulfilled in (by) Christ Jesus. Reading the New Testament is like reading the answers to the test before taking it. We have the answers to the prophecies of the coming of the Son of God to save His people, raise up a church, restore righteousness in the earth, and end the curse of sin and death since the fall in the garden.

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” – Jesus in John 17:17

Next is some practical reading and study instructions for anybody. Although God’s word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11), those ‘read the Bible in a year’ plans are essentially a waste of time. After reading the whole New Testament (perhaps twice?), start back in Genesis and begin your reading cover to cover. There is no end to the growth in grace and knowledge of God as He reveals His holy word to you. There is no goal; read and study for the rest of your life to know Him that loves you and saved you from eternal torment. You’ll never attain to the end of the knowledge of God in this life; it’s an ongoing relationship with Jesus that matters.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Study a book going verse by verse, writing down what God reveals. The first book to do this with, again, is John. While studying in this manner, at times, you may simply be paraphrasing the word, but at others, God will bring the Scripture to life, and you’ll end up writing half a page about one verse that God is showing you. Pray for understanding and write down every thought working your way through the book a little at a time. Not only will God show you very personal things, but in writing about what you read, you’ll have to think and justify your understanding of the word of God and its meaning. If you have the Holy Spirit, you will grow very quickly doing this. Of course, without the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit of God, nobody can understand the word of God to any helpful degree of truth, especially the deep things of God.

You must be serious about reading and studying God’s word. This way, when you come under the sound of preaching, the Holy Spirit of God connects sections of Scripture, concepts, and related verses which will bring the word of God alive during the preaching. Otherwise, you sit there, not even knowing if what’s being said is true! If you know the word of God, no man can lie to you about God by soft-peddling perversions of the true and living God who is mighty to confound and destroy by His judgments, merciful and loving in His graces; for He is the only righteous One that exists.

Here are just three good reasons to study Scripture:

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Psalm 119:130

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

The word of God brings us into the light of truth and will change your simple mind to maturity. Coming into the knowledge of Christ consistently rebukes us from sinning against God that we may be steadfast in the faith unto the end. The word of God brings faith; we are to walk by faith, not by sight.

You must read and study the Scriptures to gain an in-depth understanding of God and the ministries He would have you serve in.

Note how not one extra-biblical text or course is mentioned here. Personal prayer with reading and study is done on top of any instructor-led or guidebook-driven studies. Personal prayer and bible study do not replace church going. And going to church does not replace personal prayer and bible reading & study time. You must do both.

Essential Christian Instruction, Part Two

BY PGF
4 months ago

Part One

In subsequent posts, we’ll discuss Bible reading and study, serving within His church, and seeking those that Holy God would save by His grace. Here in Part Two, we’ll briefly examine prayer.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” – James 1:22

Doers of the word bring glory to the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. Hearers only will fall into deception, and worse, self-deception. There is no worse place to be than living in a lie and thinking that you’re alright. God didn’t call you and choose you for you to be a spectator.

As a believer, geometric growth in Christ is experienced when you do these four things simultaneously. Personal prayer; praying like you mean it. Personal, self-motivated daily reading and study of the Bible. Assembling together to not only hear preaching but to minister and serve each other in a group of Bible believers (church). And sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with lost souls outside the body.

Prayer is simply talking to Holy God. Don’t forget that He is Holy, but you can and should speak to Him about everything. Here are just a few verses about prayer.

“Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.” – Psalms 54:2

“I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.” – Psalms 3:4

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalms 34:4

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” – John 15:7

In John 15:7, Jesus starts with the word if. If you abide in Christ and His words abide in you.

It’s not possible to explain prayer to you in a way that would adequately convince you that God answers prayers. Prayer is one of the things that you have to do for yourself to see the work of God in and all around you. The excuse that God will work His sovereign will and His great purposes will be accomplished anyway is a lame excuse for not praying. Prayer is about bringing a change in you, brothers and sisters, by the power of God. Prayer will change you from somebody who occasionally sees glimpses of God’s kingdom into somebody who sees the work of God in action. This happens by prayer and actively seeking to effect the bringing in of God’s holy kingdom to glorify the Father through prayer, study, and service. You can see so much more of the workings of God when you do the works of God. Don’t show up before the throne of God slack.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

God knows what things you have need of; what God wants is you! God wants all of you.

All we can say is pray. Pray seriously. If you’ve never prayed for more than five minutes continuously, then you’re not serious about knowing God. After about five minutes of prayer, all the fluff is gone, all the rudiments of daily desires and needs evaporates, and you’re left only with what God actually desires to hear from you; your helplessness, depravity, sinfulness, desire to live in His righteousness, your deep moral conflicts in a world beset by sin and wickedness, how very thankful you are to Him for His grace and mercy, and much more.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” – Psalms 51:17

Once you arrive at a broken spirit and contrite heart, then can Holy God make of you a vessel worthy of the name; Christian, learning to grow in Christ and serve by building His kingdom while we anticipate the fullness of His glory starts with prayer.

When seeking to be fully immersed in the Kingdom of God, you can see the answers to prayer in real-time as you serve; if that is, you are serious about serving in the kingdom. In that case, God will give you specific charge of, probably informal at first, ministries to teach, comfort and encourage the saints, and to seek the lost that God would make His own. This only happens through doers of the word. Not to get sidetracked about the apostate Church in America, but the informal is where most of the actual work of God is getting done today anyway.

There is, of course, the incorrectly labeled “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6. Start reading in Matthew 6 verses 5 through 15 to get a more complete context. You can pray in this model if you choose, and nothing is wrong with that. Vain and mindless repetition of these verses, however, is as the heathen do. If you want to know the actual Lord’s Prayer, read and study John 17. It’s the Lord’s prayer for His disciples. Everything spoken of in John 17 by our Lord can be directly applied to you today. But he didn’t pray that prayer for them, or you, to be useless pew sitters. That prayer in John 17 is for those who would risk their necks in service of our King as He brings in His kingdom. John 17 is not just a great prayer by Jesus; it’s a teaching tool about righteous prayer in the will of God and a life of dedicated service to bring glory to the Father through His Son.

You’re losing your civilization because you won’t work the works of God to confront the sin all around us, being filled with the Holy Spirit through prayer. It’s that simple. Christians are surrendering the field to the enemy. It’s a real battle that starts with prayer.

James 5:16 says in part: “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” If your prayers aren’t being answered, carefully look at that “righteous man” part. Shed any unrepentant sin. Recall to mind the tasks God called you to that you put away or never pursued and set about to serve in them. Prayer avails much for them that are in the will of the Father.


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