In Luke 18:18-24 as well as Matthew 19:16-30 and Mark 10:17-22 we have three accounts of the story of a rich young ruler who came to Jesus seeking how he could attain eternal life. Actually, he was a superficial seeker, full of himself and really not that concerned about God and eternal life. Romans 3:11 teaches us that no one truly seeks after God. In John 6:44 Jesus declared that “no one comes to Christ unless the Father draws him. Luke 19:10 declares that “Jesus came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost.” He did not come to save the self righteous.
Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you can come to God when you get good and ready. That time will never come. Isaiah 55:6-7 warns us to “Seek Him while He may be found. Call on Him while He is near.” You can only come to Him as God’s Spirit draws you to Christ.
I fear that many go through life rejecting Christ because they want to live their own lives independent of God; however, they plan to get right with God in old age just before they die. The problem is, none of us know when we will die. Proverbs 27:1 warns us, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest no what a day may bring forth.” “Behold, now is the day of salvation.” II Corinthians 6:2
The Bible starts out with God seeking sinful man. Genesis 3:9 and concludes in Revelation 22:17 with God’s Spirit and His Bride (that is, we Christians) calling the lost to come to Christ.
Let’s look now, at this supposed seeker after eternal life. Most of us would be thrilled to meet one who asked “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
We would quickly take him to the Romans Road ( Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10) and invite him to pray the sinner’s prayer, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Then we would chalk him up as another convert. Jesus, the Master Soul Winner, did not do that. Of course, the Roman’s Road had not yet been written by the Apostle Paul.
HIS FATAL FLAWS
1. He did not recognize Jesus as God.
Jesus took time to help this man understand some basic truths that he needed to understand before he could be saved. Before one can be saved, He has to have a correct understanding of who Jesus is. The seeker had addressed Him as “Good Master” He recognized Jesus as a Good man and a Good teacher, but He did not yet know Him as God in human flesh.
Jesus wants him to think this through. He asks the seeker, “Why do you call me “Good? There is none good but God.” Until we understand that Jesus is God in human
flesh, we cannot be saved. Not just one of many gods, but the only one God, Creator of the universe. God the creator of the universe come down in human flesh to die for our sins. That’s the Jesus we Christians love and adore.
The rich young ruler saw Jesus only as a good teacher. He was not yet ready to hear and understand the Gospel.
Christian friend, when dealing with an inquirer, make sure he understands who Jesus is before you proceed to explain the Gospel to him.
II John 9 warns us to beware of any teacher who is wrong on the doctrine of Christ. What is the doctrine of Christ?
1. Jesus is the one true God, creator of Heaven and the universe, including earth and all that is on the earth.
2. In order to save us from our sins, He became a man through the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus. He was totally human, though He never ceased to be God.
3. He became a man in order to pay the penalty of sin that we deserved to pay in hell throughout eternity. He, our holy God, bore that penalty on the cross, suffering and dying for our sins.
4. Three days later He arose bodily from the tomb and showed Himself alive in His glorified body to many witnesses, including His disciples and others.
5. Then He ascended from the Mount of Olives back to Heaven in His glorified body, as His disciples watched Him disappear from their sight.
6, Before He left, He promised He would return to this earth to judge sinners and set up His Kingdom on this earth for 1000 years.
7. At the end of the Millennium He will destroy this earth as we know it, judge the lost and cast them with the devil and the anti-christ and his false prophet into the Lake of Fire for eternity.
8. He will make a new Heaven and new earth and we His redeemed saints will enjoy sinless perfection with Him forever.
Though you are not expected to understand all of this in order to be saved, you must understand and accept who Jesus is and that He died on the cross and rose again to pay the full penalty for our sins.
2. He did not recognize that he was a sinner.
Not only did Jesus want the rich young ruler to understand Jesus’ deity; but He also wanted the young ruler to understand that he was a sinner. In order to do so, He confronted him with the ten commandments. The young ruler in self-righteousness declared that he had kept all of God’s Laws from childhood. He did not see himself as a sinner.
Just as no one can be saved until they accept the truth of who Jesus is; so no one can be saved until they accept the fact that they are sinners.
3. He did not accept that salvation is by God’s grace and not by our works.
The young ruler asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer is clear throughout the Bible that it is not by our works of righteousness, but by trusting in and receiving God’s Gift of His grace, His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6.
From the days of Adam and Eve, salvation has always been through the sacrifice of innocent blood. The animal sacrifices throughout the Old Testament were all pictures of Jesus, the Lamb of God who would be the one, final sacrifice for sin forever. No one, including Abraham and the other Old Testament saints were ever saved by their works, but through faith in Christ’s coming sacrifice. Read and study carefully Galatians 3 and Romans 4 for clear teaching on this.
4. He valued his wealth more than eternal life. Luke 18:23, Mark 10:22
HOW DID JESUS DEAL WITH HIM?
Jesus’ heart ached for him in love, as He did for Jerusalem and for all the world.
He forced him to confront his sin of covetousness before he could comprehend his need of the Gospel
No one ever comes to Jesus for salvation until they understand their sinfulness and understand that they cannot save themselves through their own self efforts.
THE SAD RESULTS
He went away rejecting Christ for he valued his material wealth more than the wealth of knowing Christ as his Saviour from sin. Read Mark 8:34-38 for a grave warning concerning this.
Not only did he go away as a lost sinner, but he went away as an enemy of Christ. One who is not for Christ is against Him, Matthew 12:30 tells us. No one can be neutral about Jesus. We are either His friends or His enemies.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO AN INTERESTING THOUGHT
I do not state this as a fact for it is not clearly taught in the Scriptures, but I wonder whether this rich young ruler who turned his back on Jesus could possibly be Saul of Tarsus who eventually was saved and was renamed Paul the great Apostle.
Let me show you some similarities.
1. He was intense and exuberant. He ran to meet Jesus. Before and after his conversion, whatever Paul did, he did with all his heart.
2. He was certainly self righteous, just as Paul was. Paul writes about his self righteousness before he was saved in Philippians 3.
3. As the sin of covetousness kept the rich young ruler from Christ, so the sin of covetousness was the sin that caused Paul to become convicted as a sinner. He writes about this in Romans 7:7.
As that young ruler turned away from Christ to disappear into the darkness of sin, perhaps he grew angry with Jesus and became His chief enemy.
If that were the case, we can thank God that after Jesus ascension back to Heaven, He continued to pursue after him all the way to the Road to Damascus where Saul of Tarsus was traveling on his way to persecute more Christians. The glorified Christ knocked him down and confronted him with who He was. He was gloriously converted and called of God to be His Apostle to the gentiles. God used Him to write much of the New Testament and give to us the doctrine of salvation and the doctrine of His Church in the thirteen Epistles he wrote.
No, I do not strongly believe that the young ruler of Luke 18 became the Apostle Paul. It is only an idea I have considered. Note how Jesus concludes this story in the Mark 10 account. In Mark 10:27 Jesus said as He and His disciples watched that young ruler disappear from sight, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ
That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.”
The story of Jesus blessing the infant children and toddlers is recorded in Luke 18:15-17, Matthew 19:13-15 and Mark 10:13-16. In that story Jesus extends the well known invitation, “Suffer (permit) the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God.”
Practically, this story challenges us to reach boys and girl for Christ while they are young and their heart’s are tender and open to God’s Word.
Doctrinally, this passage is foundational to our understanding of by whom the Kingdom of God is received.
Throughout the four Gospels, Jesus is constantly teaching what it means to be involved in the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven. These two terms are used interchangeably.
Take for example, Luke chapters 17 and 18. Both deal with the Kingdom of God.
In Luke 17:20-21 we learned of the internal nature of God’s spiritual Kingdom in our hearts.
In Luke 17:22-37 we learned of the sudden catastrophic nature of the inauguration of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom when He returns in glory to bring the reign of Anti-christ to a close and to usher in His own Kingdom.
In Luke 18:1-8 we learn of the avenging of God’s elect as His Kingdom gets underway.
In Luke 18:9-14 we read of the Pharisee and the Publican who both went into the Temple to pray. The Publican went home in Christ’s Kingdom, justified by faith; whereas the self-righteous Pharisee went home in his pride and self-righteousness, just the way he came into the Temple; still outside the Kingdom.
Now in our text in Luke 18:15-17 Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God is offered to those who come to Him as little children. In John 3 Jesus explains to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, that he must be born again to enter His spiritual Kingdom. He speaks of a spiritual rebirth as the only way to enter His Kingdom. Those who enter the Kingdom, do so as babes in Christ; even if they come in with PhD’s. It’s one thing to know facts about the Bible It’s another thing to know Christ personally and intimately through faith in His Word and through the indwelling Holy Spirit who lives in every believer. The more time we spend in His Word, the sooner we attain spiritual maturity. Those who are in His spiritual Kingdom now will one day reign with Him in His Millennial Kingdom.
No one better illustrates that only the lowly enter the Kingdom than a little child. A child is humble and teachable; not proud nor sophisticated.
With that background, let’s take a look at the people in this story.
THE CONCERNED PARENTS
First, note the parents of the little children. Just as good parents want God’s blessing on their children today, so these parents brought their infants and toddlers to Jesus for His blessing. They were concerned for their children’s future and God’s best for them, just as we are today.
Christian parents today can provide for God’s blessing on their children, by setting a good example for them and by being faithful in a church where they can hear the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
Furthermore, they can present their small children in a dedication service, offering them to the Lord. A dedication service does not save our children, but it provides an opportunity for us to learn our responsibilities as Christian parents and it helps us in our home and church to provide the best environment for our children to grow up learning to know Jesus.
THE IMPATIENT DISCIPLES
Jesus’ disciples became impatient with these parents. Jesus had an important ministry to adults. They saw these parents with their children as unnecessary and unimportant interruptions to Jesus’ ministry.
JESUS REPRIMANDS HIS DISCIPLES
Mark 10:14 describes Jesus as angry with His disciples for attempting to keep the children from Him. He invites the parents to bring their children to Him so that He can bless them.
WHAT DOCTRINAL TRUTH CONCERNING THE KINGDOM DO WE LEARN?
In blessing these babies and toddlers, He is blessing non believers. They do not know God’s Law, nor are they aware of good and evil. They are too young to understand and believe truths about salvation or of the Kingdom. They had not arrived at the age of accountability. Nothing is said of them being Covenant children, or children of Abraham. Nothing is said of circumcision or baptism.
In fact, these babies, as all human babies, are born with a sinful nature. We inherited this sinful nature from our first father, Adam. Psalm 51:5 teaches. Psalm 58:3 teaches us that we are sinners from the womb and we go astray from birth. Ecclesiastes 7:20 declares “there is not a just man upon earth.” Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that “our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
We are born of the flesh, Jesus said in John 3:6; and we inherited a sinful nature from our first father, Adam, Paul explains in Romans 5:12.
Yet under the special grace of God, little children have not attained the age of accountability when they could receive or reject Christ as Saviour, Jesus teaches that His Kingdom consists of child-like people such as these.
When David’s first born son to Bathsheba died in infancy, he went to Heaven. David said with assurance in II Samuel 12:15-24 that although his baby could not return to him, he would one day go to see his baby in Heaven.
EARLY CHILDHOOD, PRIMETIME TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN
Our child’s heart and conscience is tender. It is not difficult for him to understand that he is a sinner and that Jesus died to pay the penalty for his sins. Children are open and receptive to the Gospel. Proverbs 22:6 commands us as parents to train up our children in the way they should go. Teach them from the Bible and show them by our example what it means to be a Christian. God’s promise is that if we will teach and show them the way, they will receive Christ and not depart from Him. It worked for our three children and it is working for our eleven grandchildren and it will work for you.
“Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they’re asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies exalting Somebody.”
Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecauador and martyred in 1956.
America was founded as a Christian nation. Although that truth has been removed from the modern history books used in public schools today, the fact remains that the colonists who came over from England and settled along our eastern shores, came not primarily to seek gold and wealth; nor did they come to these shores to gain freedom from religion, but freedom from the control and the oppression of a State Church and for freedom to worship and serve God according to the dictates of their conscience.
These colonists were not merely religious; they were Christians. Listen to testimonies of this down through the last four centuries.
John Winthrop, aboard the Arabela in 1630 reminded the colonists, “We are a company professing ourselves fellow members of Christ.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher who visited America in 1831 wrote, “There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America.”
President Woodrow Wilson in 1911 wrote, “America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.”
President Truman to Pope Pius XII in 1947 wrote, “This is a Christian nation.”
Former Governor of Mississippi, Kirk Fordice stated on CNN, “Christianity is the predominate religion in America. We all know that is an incontrovertible fact. The media always refers to the Jewish State of Israel, they talk about the Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq. We all talk about the Hindu nation of India. America is not a nothing country. It’s a Christian country.”
Though the Seeds of Righteousness had been planted in the heart of the Colonists, it wasn’t long before Satan had sowed his tares in hearts. The colonists needed to be revived. In answer to prayer, God sent godly preachers to them, men such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. They preached the Gospel to tens of thousands during the decades of 1730-1740. People got right with God and their hearts were prepared for their struggle against England and for the founding of America, a new nation free from the control of a state church and free to worship and serve God.
Our founders cried to God in prayer for wisdom and unity as they began the process of establishing this Republic. Our founding documents, including our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are filled with reference to our dependence upon God. Our nation’s hallowed buildings and monuments are filled with Biblical references carved in stone to God’s glory and to our sacred purpose as a nation
Wherever God is at work, you can be sure the devil is also at work attempting to undo what God has done. By the end of the 18th century, Liberalism had begun to take control of seminaries and pulpits across America and was turning America away from the God of their fathers.
WHAT IS LIBERALISM?
Liberalism is basically the denial of the Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God. It is the denial of the deity of Jesus. The Liberal may use the adjective divine to describe Jesus as being God-like, but they reject the deity of Christ, the truth that the man Jesus who walked in Palestine 2000 years ago and then died on a cross, is God in a human body. Of course, along with that rejection of the deity of Christ, was the denial of His virgin birth, His miracles and His bodily resurrection.
A liberal is at heart a Unitarian, that is, one who denies the Trinity, He is at heart a Universalists, that is, one who believes “all roads lead to Heaven and eventually all will be in Heaven”. They repudiate the truth that Christ rejecters suffer for eternity in Hell.
A liberal rejects the Biblical truth that God created the universe in six days simply by the power of His Word. He would rather choose to believe his god of chance, evolution, as the answer to the source of life on earth. He would reject the universal, world wide flood in which all but Noah and his family and the animals in the ark were annihilated.
The liberal judges the Bible by his own mind and refuses to submit to the Bible which judges all men as sinners under God’s judgment.
The liberal’s idea of Christianity is subjective, based on his reason and experience. He refuses to base it on the Bible. He interprets it in the light of limited knowledge and teaches it with his unregenerate mind simply as an ethical way of life that we must all strive to live.
I argue that if Jesus is not God, as He claimed to be, then He was a liar and a fraud and therefore not a good teacher. Therefore a liberal is inconsistent in claiming to follow Christ.
HOW DO LIBERALS WORK?
Liberals believe they are building the Kingdom of God by capturing the hearts and minds of the masses through gaining control of our educational system, our legislative system and the media over the past century. They have been very successful at that. The public school system and most colleges and universities teach the religion of liberalism and humanism. The way they have accomplished that has been to legislate the Bible from the classroom or in some cases teach it only from a Liberal perspective. Thus Satan has accomplished his purpose in turning America, a nation founded on Christianity, into a secular nation. With their liberal values, they have turned well over half of America into a liberal, secular, godless nation.
The National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches, founded about sixty years ago, unite liberal minded churches who advance the liberal social gospel throughout our nation and the world.
American Liberalism began in New England in the latter part of the eighteenth century when a handful of Boston area ministers called for a modern rational Christianity. Hence Liberals were often referred to as Modernists up through the first half of the twentieth century.
Their so-called enlightenment ideas gave rise to American Unitarianism and Universalism at the dawn of the 19th century. Perhaps the major fountainhead of Liberalism in America has been Union Theological Seminary in New York City. From there it has spread to most of the major denominational seminaries and State Universities.
Again, I remind you that Liberals basically feel they are building the Kingdom of God on earth. Their goal is to promote their idea of the universal fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. For more on this subject go to my link LIBERALISM.
WHAT IS FUNDAMENTALISM?
At the beginning of the 20th century, in response to the rising tide of liberalism in America, a group of Bible believing ministers and seminary professors from the major Protestant denominations rose up to form the Fundamentalist Movement, a movement who, as the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:17, was set for the defense of The Gospel.
These Fundamentalists, though having their denominational differences, agreed on what became known as the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith. They were godly Christian scholars who agreed that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, that Jesus is God in human flesh, born of the virgin Mary, and that He suffered and shed His blood on the cross to make a perfect atonement for the sins of all mankind. Fundamentalist believe that Jesus arose in His glorified body back to Heaven and that He is returning one day to judge the world and set up His Kingdom on this earth.
An important doctrine that marked the Fundamentalist Movement was an insistence on Biblical separation from apostasy. This is clearly taught in the Bible in both the Old and New Testament. Some of the major New Testament passages on this subject are found in Romans 16:17-18, II Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 5:11 II John 7-11 Jude 3-4 and Revelation 18:4.
WHAT IS NEO-ORTHODOXY?
The Liberal’s dream of bringing in the Golden age of the Kingdom was dashed with World War I and further crushed with World War II. About that time a new theological movement was exported from Germany, Neo-Orthodoxy.
An Orthodox Christian is one who holds faithfully to the Christian Faith.
The term Neo-Orthodox was actually a contradictory term. How can one come up with a new position concerning the Christian Faith which was once for all given to the Church, as Jude 3 teaches?
No, the term Neo Orthodox was a misnomer for this new theological movement from Europe. A better name would have been Neo-Liberalism. This new theological movement that swept America‘s seminaries almost a century ago was another “wolf in sheep’s clothing” about which Jesus had warned. This new movement was rooted in the works of Kant, Schleimacher, and Hegel. The works of Karl Barth, Emil Brunner and Soren Kierkegaard popularized it in America. Reinhold Niebuhr, a promoter of the Socialist Party in America, was also a leader in this new movement.
The Neo Orthodox are masters of double-talk. They say, “Though the Bible is not inerrant, it becomes the Word of God to us whenever it speaks to us.” Though they deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus, they wax eloquent when they preach on the Resurrection at Easter. Though they deny that Jesus shed His blood on the cross to appease the wrath of God for our sins, they preach eloquently on the cross of Christ and His love for us.
If our sins do not incur for us the wrath of God and eternal damnation in hell fire, then why on earth did Jesus go to the cross and endure the worst torture and means of death that anyone could ever devise? Why did He have to show His love to us that way? That doesn’t make sense. In fact, it would be sheer stupidity.
If you were in your front yard watching your home burn to the ground and a fireman should rush into your house, knowing there was no one to save, yet should stay there and burn to death to show his love for you, that would be ridiculous.
If on the other hand you were in the burning house trying to escape and a fireman should come rushing in to help you escape and in the process he should die in the flames, that would be an act of pure love.
Neo Orthodoxy, which denies the truth that all men are sinners and are sentenced to eternal damnation in Hell fire, teaches the irrational doctrine that Jesus endured the torments of death on a cross just to show how much He loves us. Of course, He loved us. He died on the cross and shed His blood because He loved sinners and He paid the penalty of death that we deserved to pay in Hell for eternity. He paid that penalty for a world of sinners by enduring the death that we all deserved to pay. Those who reject Christ as their Saviour will suffer in Hell for their own sins.
Christ’s death on the cross makes no sense unless He died to be the propitiation or to appease God’s wrath that we deserved to suffer for our sins. See my link on PROPITIATION for more on this.
Neo-Orthodoxy denies the orthodox position of inerrancy and verbal, plenary inspiration. By that term we mean that every word in the Bible is completely inspired by God and is accurate, whether it refers to science or history or anything else. Neo-Orthodoxy teaches that as the authors of the Bible wrote, they interpreted the events or the words of Jesus, writing their own flawed interpretations. But in this gobbledygook of error, “the Bible becomes the Word of God whenever it speaks to us”.
Whereas Orthodoxy accepts the Bible as the complete and sufficient revelation of God to us, Neo-Orthodoxy believes that the Bible is merely a medium of revelation. Orthodoxy claims it is God’s Revelation to us.
To the Neo-Orthodox, truth is defined as that which is relevant to his experience or to his personal interpretation, making the discovery of truth a mystical experience, rather than a concrete fact. See my article on EXISTENTIALISM on this web site for more on this confusion that is associated with Neo-Orthodoxy.
Neo-Orthodoxy further teaches that Scripture is not the only form of revelation, but that further revelation can be directly obtained from God as He speaks directly to us apart from the Scriptures. This explains the modern “prophetic ministry” which has become a norm in liberal and Charismatic Churches.
Speaking of the gift of prophecy, let me clarify. In the early church, before the Bible was completed, there were those who had the gift of prophecy. In the early church service one with this gift would stand up and prophecy, declaring truth given to him by God. When the Bible was completed, that gift, along with the gift of tongues, vanished away, according to I Corinthians 13:8-10
If a church has come to the place where she believes that Truth is revealed directly and that it is subject to the interpretation of each individual and that God is still declaring new truth and new revelation, then they have departed from the Truth of God’s Word and according to Revelation 22:18-19 they bring judgment on themselves.
We hold and preach the Bible, the complete Word of God. Let’s not lose it by departing from it to seek new revelations and mysticism, the very foundation of Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy.
WHAT IS NEW EVANGELICALISM?
By the 1940’s a number of Fundamentalists were fighting one another over issues that had nothing to do with the defense of The Faith. There was a spirit of negativism and legalism in some quarters of this movement.
With Neo Orthodoxy sweeping the country, a new generation of Fundamentalists were enthralled by what they were hearing from the Neo Orthodox. They thought, “They sound so much like Christians. Surely they must be our brothers in Christ.”
In 1950 a group of these former Fundamentalist leaders decided in a meeting in Pasadena, California to disassociate themselves from the Fundamentalist movement and become known as the New Evangelicals. Christianity Today, a brand new periodical, began to be published to promote this new movement. I remember as a young pastor receiving some of the first issues. The New Evangelicals reached out to the Neo Orthodox. They invited them to teach in their Colleges and Seminaries. They invited them into their pulpits. They worked with them in ecumenical evangelistic crusades. They channeled the converts into their churches. For all intents and purposes, they eradicated the theological differences between them.
These New Evangelicals were “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” That is, they were giving up their Biblical stand against false doctrine and ignoring the Biblical doctrine of separation because some Fundamentalists were bringing a bad name on the Fundamentalist movement and because they felt that they were basically one with the Neo Orthodox.
Chances are you have never heard the terms Neo Orthodox or New Evangelical. They are both passé and irrelevant today.
In the meantime, over the past sixty years or so, this compromise has had a tsunami-sized negative influence in Christian churches. The Christian’s compromise with unbelief has resulted in a massive almost sudden change in the church. I’ve watched it happen before my eyes as it grew with blinding speed in the early 60’s and it has broken my heart.
There is theological confusion in churches and Christian colleges and seminaries across our land and they are beginning to accept the old fashioned unbelief of the liberals. If I were a parent of college students today, I would be very cautious of some “Christian” colleges. I’ve observed graduates of these schools come out with a disdain for the Biblical doctrines and values and with an acceptance of liberal values.
Modern churches are more concerned about giving people what they want to hear, inoffensive preaching that does not cramp their sinful lifestyle; rather than preaching the truth that often offends. We Fundamentalists are often branded legalists for our stands against sin. For a correct understanding of legalism I challenge you to go to my study of Galatians under the category FREEDOM. There you will learn what true legalism is and how the Apostle Paul dealt with it.
As one who loves and appreciates beautiful, inspiring Christian music, I grieve over its loss to the past two generations. Though some modern Christian composers have given us some quality Contemporary Christian music, volumes of beautiful Christian music written and sung prior to the ’60’s has been lost to this current generation. Why discard generations of Scriptural, beautiful hymns of the church to limit yourselves to one style of music?
I’ll agree that some of the Christian songs we teens sang in the ’40’s and ’50’s were silly and insipid; but most of what we sang in church and in our youth meetings had spiritual substance and was sung to music that lifted us to Heaven. I grieve when I think of what modern Christians have never known and its replacement with irritating noise lacking melody, harmony and a solid Biblical message, with it’s relentless, same, boring rock beat. Congregations no longer sing four part harmony in the typical church. I listen to them attempt to sing, groaning in a monotone, looking up at the screen, not knowing where the melody is going.
Churches today are majoring on fleshly worship experiences and minoring on preaching. The average Christian today has little or no appetite for Biblical preaching. But we should not be surprised. Paul warned it would happen. Read II Timothy 4:1-4
All of this has resulted in the weakening of Christians and making them more susceptible to the lure of the world, the flesh and the devil.
I think we have almost come full circle. Christians from evangelical churches are accepting the liberal’s view of missions as simply meeting the social needs of people, with little or no thought to the preaching of the Gospel that saves a sinner from hell.
I am not advocating that Christians should not help meet the material and health and educational needs of the lost in third world countries. I’m simply warning that if that is all we are doing we are helping well fed, well clothed, educated, healthy sinners continue on their way to hell.
My prayer is that God would bring the Church back to the solid preaching of the Word of God and make us aware of the subtlety of Satan. At the same time, may we be loving and kind in our dealing with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I challenge you to read through Paul’s thirteen Epistles and note how much concern and attention he gives by inspiration of God to warning of the dangers of compromise with unbelief. Read the warnings Jesus gave in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7.
“When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 I wonder!
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart.
It is never to be irritated or vexed or disappointed.
It is to expect nothing and to wonder at nothing done against me.
It is to be at rest where nobody praises me,
And where I am blamed and despised.
It is to have a blessed home in the Lord
Where I can go in and shut the door
And kneel to my Father in secret.
It is to be at peace as in a deep sea of calmness
Where all around and above is trouble.”
– Andrew Murray
Back in 1949 I visited Haiti for the summer. One of the single missionary ladies wrote this in my autograph book. It deeply impacted me.
Somewhere recently I heard or read that a politician focuses on the next election while the statesman focuses on the next generation.
In Luke 18: 9-14 Jesus tells the story of a Pharisee and a publican who illustrate the essential difference between the saved and the lost. In verse 9 Jesus gives the reason for telling the story; to warn of the danger of anyone even thinking he could be righteous enough to be deserving of Heaven.
There is one major difference between true Christianity and all false religions. All false religions have one thing in common. They all teach that man must do something or attain a level of righteousness to be worthy of Heaven. True Christianity teaches that all men are sinners and cannot lift a finger to do anything to save themselves; that God has in His grace, done it all by sending His Son to die on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins and rise again for our justification. All we can do as guilty lost sinners is reach out by faith to Jesus and trust in His shed blood as the atonement for our sins. All false religions are based on gaining Heaven by human achievement. True Christianity is based on Divine accomplishment.
As you read the story of the Pharisee and the Publican coming into the temple to pray, you can’t help but be stuck with the stinking self-righteousness and judgmentalism of the Pharisee. Phariseeism has to be one of the ugliest and most obnoxious of sins in a church.
The Apostle Paul, who before his conversion was known as Saul of Tarsus, was an outstanding, proud Pharisee who hated Jesus and persecuted the Church after Jesus had ascended back to Heaven. In Philippians 3 Paul contrasts his life as a Christian to what it had been before he was saved. He describes his self-righteous Phariseeism before he was saved as a pile of dung.
The main excuse sinners make for not going to church is because they are disgusted with the Phariseeism they have observed, or think that they have observed in churches. Their standard excuse is “That there are too many hypocrites in the church.” That excuse will not hold water when that sinner stands before God and attempts to give his reasons for rejecting Christ. Thank God, that the publican in this story did not stay away from the temple because of the Pharisee; but came in humility and faith and was saved.
Though Phariseeism cannot be used a valid excuse for a sinner avoiding church; nevertheless, we Christians have a responsibility to avoid all traces of hypocrisy and Phariseeism in our lives.
Jesus was gentle with sinners who were aware of their sins and humbled by their failures; however, Jesus had no patience with the hypocritical Pharisees. Repeatedly He confronted them in anger. The harshest words that came from Jesus are found in Matthew 23 where He exposes the Pharisees as snakes and hypocrites and white-washed sepulchres full of dead men’s bones.
Hypocrites are attracted to churches, for they see in churches opportunities for them to gain power and prestige. Wherever God is doing a work of grace in a church, count on Pharisees to try to hinder that work. Pharisees despise others whom they feel have not achieved the level of spirituality that they have attained. At the same time, they deceive themselves into thinking that they are gaining God’s favor by their works.
My ministry for over fifty years has been, not only to preach the Gospel to sinners and build up saint in the Word, and comfort those who mourn; but also to preach the Word in such a way that Pharisees are exposed and run like rats from a burning building.
Let’s look now at this story in Luke 18 Jesus told concerning the Pharisee and the publican.
The Pharisees were a legalistic sect of Jews who arose in Israel about 200 BC. In Jesus’ day many of them were members of the Sanhedrin, the religious supreme court of the land. Jesus was brought before them to be crucified. They were sticklers for observing the details of the Old Testament Ceremonial Laws plus their own oppressive list of rules and regulations; but they knew nothing of humility nor showing love and mercy for fallen repentant sinners.
Though they claimed to know the Old Testament, they never grasped the truth of justification by faith which Old Testament saints understood to some degree. Of course, that great truth is taught in great detail in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and also in Galatians.
Examine with me some of the Old Testament references to justification, truths that the Pharisees should have understood and embraced; but totally missed.
Abraham was justified by faith when He believed God’s promise to Him of a Seed that would bless the world. That Seed, of course, was Jesus who came through the lineage of Abraham. Read Genesis 12 and 17 to learn of the promises God made to Abraham. Then read Romans 4 and 5 for Paul’s clear explanation of Justification. If you take time to read my series on Galatians which you will find under the category FREEDOM, it will give further light on the doctrine of Justification.
Here are some other Old Testament references to Justification. Psalm 143:1-2 declares that no living man can justify himself. Bildad In Job 25:4-6 concludes the same thing. Isaiah 53 prophesies that through the death of Christ, many would be justified. David in Psalm 32:1-2 writes of the blessing of being forgiven and having our sins covered and having no sin imputed to us. That’s a partial description of the truth of justification that Paul would expand and expound on in Romans 3 and 4.
So if the Pharisee’s hearts had been right with God, they would have known and understood these truths concerning justification and they would have realized that no one can justify himself through his self-efforts.
Observe now how this proud Pharisee went into the temple to pray. Like nearly all the Pharisees, this man had no time for God. He was centered in himself and note that he prayed with himself, listing all his supposed good qualities and thanking God that he was not a sinner like the publican standing off by himself.
The Publican, on the other hand, was humble and broken before God and simply cried out for God’s mercy.
The Publicans were Jews whose job it was to collect taxes from the Jewish people for the Roman Empire. They did that, but in the process collected much more than the taxes, which they pocketed for themselves. So the Publicans were among the most despised of the Jews. Zaccheus was a tax collector whom Jesus saved. His wonderful story is found in Luke 19.
In Luke 18:14 Jesus lets us know the outcome of this exchange in the temple. The publican went home exalted, forgiven and declared justified. On the other hand, the Pharisee went out as he came in: proud and self righteous and full of himself.
I urge you to take whatever time it takes to study this matter of Justification and get it settled now. Your standing before God determines your eternity in Heaven or in Hell.
“America was founded by people who believed that God was their rock of safety. He is ours. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”
Reporters interviewed a 104-year-old woman:
‘And what do you think is the best thing
about being 104?’ the reporter asked.
She simply replied, ‘No peer pressure.’
Wisdom from a veteran engineer missionary as he reminisces on working with nationals in a poverty stricken nation.
“When I showed up here, a young guy with a lot of energy and no gray hair, I approached problems like an engineer. This is the problem and this is what needs to be done. So let’s figure out how to do it and get on with it. It has taken a long time to understand dignity. People matter. People are all that matter.
When you give someone something, they have to give you something back. There is no such thing as a free lunch. A person who doesn’t have anything to give back ends up giving you a piece of their dignity or self esteem. You have to be very careful giving out to people unless it is someone you have built a relationship with.
All these deals where people come to poverty stricken places and want to give out food or clothes or money or whatever to people who really are in need or appear to be, aren’t really giving anyone anything. They are purchasing the dignity and self-esteem of people who might not have it to spare.
People that have been trying hard and maybe had some bad breaks don’t always have a lot of options. They have to take what is offered, how it’s offered. But in the end they end up hating themselves or the people giving things to them.
When you are in a place like this where people are poor and you are doing projects and have some money in your pocket, you have to be very careful.
You are here as a guest to help people get on their feet and do it themselves. Many have been beaten down and convinced that there is no hope for them or their country. A little encouragement and helping people help themselves goes a long way. If you realty do a good job of helping people help themselves, it might escape them that you helped somewhere along the way. If you are living for the buzz of having someone bow and scrape in appreciation and thanks, you might be disappointed, if that is what you are in it for.
Every individual is made in the image of God. Some around here haven’t heard that one yet and need to be told, and that they are valuable, important and capable of doing something. So valuable, in fact, that God sent His only Son to die for them.
We Americans are the richest nation in the history of civilization with the most disposable income. As American Christians, we have the responsibility to share the Gospel with those who haven’t heard, who might hear better when they aren’t on a six mile roundtrip hike getting water. And to our materially poorer brothers and sisters in Christ, that bucket of water is a lot lighter if you get on the other side and help carry it.”
The moment I begin to hate a man, I become his slave. He controls my thoughts. He controls my feelings. He even controls my dreams. Stress hormones constantly surge through my bloodstream and wear down my body. My work becomes drudgery. I tire easily. My windowed office seems like a cell in Alcatraz. Even while sailing the Chesapeake Bay, resentment ruins my relaxation. The spinnaker may be billowing in the breeze, but I might as well be a sea-sick galley slave.
The one I hate hounds me wherever I go. I can’t escape his mental tyranny. The waiter at the sea side restaurant may be serving up a blackened swordfish or a chocolate mousse, but I feel like a dungeon prisoner eating stale bread and musty water. My teeth chew the food, but the one I hate has stolen my pleasure. King Solomon must have had a similar experience, for he wrote, “Better a simple salad with love, than a sumptuous feast with hostility.” Proverbs 15:17
The man I hate may be soundly snoring many miles from my bedroom: but more cruel than any slave driver, he whips my thoughts into a frenzy. My Perfect Sleeper mattress becomes a rack of torture. I am, indeed, a slave to everyone I hate.
Early in my ministry, I was blessed to come across a book by S.I. McMillen M.D.
None of These Diseases. This book, published by Fleming H. Revell, made a profound impact on my life and has kept me from the negative emotions that could have ruined my health. The book, which has sold over 1 million copies, has gone through three editions with new material added for this generation. The above excerpt was worth the price of the book for me. Sadly, this profound illustration has been deleted from the later editions.
I’m only one,
But I AM one;
I can’t do everything,
But I CAN do something;
And what I can do,
I OUGHT to do;
And by the grace of God,
I’ll DO IT!
I learned this from Dr. Bob Jones Sr. as he shared it in chapel at Bob Jones University back in the mid fifties. I’ve emphasized the words in bold type as he did from the pulpit.
“I don’t think many Christians seem to understand that today we live in a very self-centered, very, very overly personalized narcissistic world. People are programmed to believe that they are the center of the universe, that the whole universe revolves around them. And even God is one of those revolving planets that moves around them to serve them somehow. There’s a very superficial understanding of divine glory, a very superficial understanding of divine exaltation, divine honor, the lifting up of the majestic Christ.
Really for decades, I think, evangelism efforts in the church in our sort of minimalist theology have been mostly sinner-centered. And even more so lately. God loves you, He loves you unconditionally. He loves you so much He wants you to be happy. He loves you so much He wants you to be satisfied. He loves you so much He wants you to be healthy. He loves you so much He wants to deliver you from all disappointment and all pain and to take you to heaven. And if you don’t let Him do that, He’s really upset and unfulfilled.
In other words, you’re the key to God’s fulfillment. It’s as if the salvation of the sinner is the goal of redemption and God is the means to that. That’s the very opposite of what Scripture teaches. The glory of God is the goal of redemption and the salvation of the sinner is the means to that. We are saved only that we might forever give glory to God, that we might forever exalt Christ.
That’s why we’re here doing what we do on the Lord’s day and only people who really understand that know what worship is all about. It’s not about a mood induced by certain music, it’s about being consumed with the honor and glory of God and Christ. And when you have a world where all the emphasis is on personal fulfillment, and then you devise a gospel that simply fits into that world of personal fulfillment, you cheat people out of understanding the very purpose for salvation, the very essence of worship and the very reason why we hope for the return of Christ.”
Well said, John MacArthur
God says, “You are not a store sample. The man I have chosen for you will be willing to pay the price to take you home. There is no need for a ‘taste test’ beforehand. You are not a K-Mart blue-light special; you are a well kept woman.”
A well kept woman is always mindful of her worth; she never stoops to being common and cheap. This woman will not be handled, examined and thrown back into anyone’s bin.
God says, “You are a Tiffany diamond, and when i’m finished with you, you will be of the highest grade. No flaws. No inclusions. It takes a discriminating eye to tell the difference between a cubic zirconia and a real diamond.”
Not too many people have the nerve to go into Tiffany’s “just looking.” They respect the name, they are aware of the quality and price, so if they’re not serious, they seldom move past the window. God says we should be regarded in the same light.
Remember, the things you do now will affect your relationship for the rest of your life. Build a solid foundation from the beginning, one that God can bless and build on.”
Taken from Joy Isaquirre’s web site: http://pinkmonster.wordpress.com in which she quotes
from Michelle McKinney Hammond’s book, What to do until Love finds you.
Atheism cannot account for rationality, love, or morality. This does not mean that atheists are always irrational, unloving, and immoral, but it does mean that they can’t account for rationality, love, and morality given their assumptions about the origin of the universe and our accidental place in it.
Atheistic evolutionists express moral outrage against murder and rape, but if evolution is true, how can there be moral outrage since it was killing and rape that got us where we are today as a species? Animals kill and rape every day. Why is it okay for animals but not for humans, who are supposedly highly evolved animals? If evolution is true, at death we are nothing more than dust in the wind and in life we are nothing more than a bag of meat and bones.
In Luke chapter 14 we find Jesus invited to the home of a Pharisee for dinner on the Sabbath Day. It wasn’t that the Pharisee was hospitable. Actually the Pharisees, as a whole, hated Jesus and were continually watching for opportunities to entrap Him through His words or actions and thus destroy His influence among the people.
As the story opens the conversation around the table turns to the proper observance of the Sabbath. Jesus’ attitude towards the Sabbath was a constant source of irritation to the Pharisees. The Sabbath issue came about as Jesus observed a sick man with dropsy who needed to be healed. It appears that this Pharisee was waiting to see whether Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath Day. In verse 3 we read that Jesus answered the Pharisee’s question. Whether it was spoken or just thought; Jesus, aware of the Pharisee’s evil intentions, asked them, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath Day?”
The Pharisees did not answer, so Jesus healed the sick man and let him go. Again Jesus answers the malignant thoughts of the Pharisees with another question. “Which of you shall have a donkey or an ox fallen into a pit and will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath Day?” Note once more that the Pharisees gave Him no answer.
Why? If they answered “Yes”, they would have to agree that Jesus did the proper thing by healing on the Sabbath. If they answered “No” they would come across as cold, uncaring, hard-hearted men. In either case, they would have been check-mated and silenced. They knew God’s Law concerning the care of animals in distress. Read it in Exodus 23:5 and Deuteronomy 22:4.
Let’s review what the Bible says about the Sabbath.
1. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day; not because He was weary and needed to rest, but because He was setting the example to us to work six days and rest on the seventh. Genesis 2:2-3
2. The fourth of the Ten Commandments commanded Israel to rest on the seventh day as a Sabbath Day of rest. Exodus 20:8-11 Resting one day in seven and devoting it to God is a moral issue. It is a matter of right and wrong.
3. As circumcision is a sign of God’s Covenant with Israel, so observing the Sabbath is also a sign between God and Israel. Read the entire 19th chapter of Leviticus and note the sixteen times God announced to Israel, “I am the Lord your God.” Note in verse 30 of that chapter that Israel was commanded to “keep His Sabbaths and “reverence His sanctuary.”
4. Leviticus 26 is filled with promises of blessing to Israel if they obeyed God and warnings of judgment if they disobeyed Him. Note especially the warnings in Leviticus 26:33-35 that if they disobeyed and profaned the Sabbaths, they would not get away with it. While Israel was in captivity and scattered, the land would recover her Sabbaths that the people had ignored.
5. Note in Ezekiel 20:12 that God gave His Sabbaths to Israel as a sign of His Covenant with them.
How about the Church today? What are we to understand about the Sabbath?
Observing the Sabbath or attempting to keep any of the Ten Commandments cannot make us righteous. Romans 3:19-20 shows us all to be guilty Law breakers before our Holy God. We are all guilty sinners and worthy to die and be eternally separated from God in hell. Read Romans 6:23 Revelation 20:11-15
We Jews and gentiles are made righteous and fit for Heaven; not through Sabbath observance nor any good works; but only through faith in Christ who was sacrificed on Calvary‘s cross, shedding His blood for our sins. Read Romans 3:21-31.
Not only are we declared righteous through faith in Christ, but we are made righteous through the work of the Holy Spirit who comes to live in the believer. This is clearly taught in Romans 8:1-4.
Now turn to Romans 10:1-4 and note that Christ is the “end” or the fulfillment of God’s righteousness in the heart of everyone who trusts Him. That means that if you are trusting in Christ alone for salvation, God sees you as having perfectly fulfilled all the Law of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is our righteousness. This salvation is a Gift. According to Titus 3:5-6 it has nothing to do with our works.
Christ is Lord of the Sabbath according to Luke 6:1-5. In fact, in Romans 9:27-33 and in James 5:1-4 His name is Lord of Sabbath.
The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:23-28
The Sabbath, along with all the feast days and ceremonial laws for Israel, are not for the Church today. Colossians 2 makes that clear.
Christ Himself is our SABBATH and our REST! We do not find our rest in Sabbath keeping. We find our rest by trusting Jesus alone for our righteousness. Read that wonderful invitation Jesus gives us in Matthew 11:28-30.
Augustine, a bishop of Hippo in North Africa who lived 354-430 AD, said, “God has made us for Himself, and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him.”
Why do Christians observe Sunday, the first day of the week, as their day of rest?
Christians need one day of the week to lay aside the routine and the cares of life in order to assemble together to hear the Word of God and worship Him. Because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1) and because as I Corinthians 15:12-21 teaches, Christ’s resurrection is central to the Christian’s Faith and the basis for our joy and assurance as Christians; the early church turned to Sunday as their day of rest and worship. Though the Apostle Paul gathered with the Jews on the Sabbath to preach to them and reason with them, gradually Christians began to gather on Sunday, the first day of the week, to hear the preaching of God’s Word. Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:1-2.
I encourage you to read through Paul’s short Epistle to the Galatians and see how utterly worthless the ceremonial law of God with its feasts, sabbaths and holy day observances are to the Christian. As you read through all of Paul’s Epistles, it becomes obvious that the chief opposition to the Gospel Paul preached came from the Judaizers who wanted to put the early Christians back under the bondage of the ceremonial law, which was but a picture of Christ who would come and be the total fulfillment of that law.
The Judaizers are still at work today attempting to bring Christians under these laws. Galatians 5:1 challenges us to “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”