Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Liberalism: Good or Evil?

Basically, the term liberal describes a good and noble quality of life to be sought after.  A liberal person is a kind, loving generous person who spends his life and his substances reaching out to the needy, personally doing what he can to meet their needs. 

Elsewhere on this website under the categories  Liberalism and Separation you will be warned how this good and desirable quality of life has been corrupted by Satan and how it can be misunderstood and  misused and become a wicked and dangerous  religious and political philosophy to be eschewed and rejected.

But in this message we will consider the good and proper use of this term  as we consider this Proverbs 11:24-31 passage before us. 

We begin with an eternal, divine principle before us in verse 24.  Read it from the Bible as I paraphrase it for you.  There is a divine principle at work that when one scatters and shares his own personal resources: that is, his money, time, energy and possessions with those in need who have no ability to reciprocate, God sees to it that  he is well rewarded;  whereas, those who selfishly ignore the plight of the poor  tend  to lose what they have and become poor  themselves.

This principle is repeated in verses 25 and 26 and throughout the Bible.  Galatians 6:9-10 teaches us. “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” 

Note in verse 26 that if those in need have the ability to pay for the  commodity needed; then it is not evil for the owner to sell it   to the one in need.  Of course, it would be wrong to take advantage of the needy by over-charging him.

Returning to Proverbs 11  note that  verse 27 promises that those who seek the good of others  experience the favor and blessing of God.  On the other hand, those who seek to take advantage of others in need, will sooner or later pay for their sins.  God has His way of carrying out vengeance.  Romans 12:19

Verse 28 continues this theme by warning the rich that if we trust in our riches, we will eventually come to need.  Jesus gives an example of this in His story found in Luke 12:15-21  of the fall of the rich man who trusted in his riches. Read it and be warned. 

Verse 28 not only warns us of the danger of living for ourselves;  but in contrast, it also encourages us that if we are living a righteous life, that is living for Christ in His strength,  we will flourish.  On the other hand, all our efforts of  self-righteousness to attain Heaven  are as stinking, filthy rags in His sight. Isaiah  64:6.  Only Christ’s righteousness imputed to the believer, makes one fit to enter Heaven. Read Romans 4.

Verse 29 warns those self-centered, stubborn, rebellious souls that if they continue in that direction, they will inherit the wind and end up with nothing but constant trouble. At very best, they will end up serving those who chose the wisdom of God.

In contrast to a self-centered life, verse 30 challenges and encourages us to live for others. As we help others physically, the greatest blessing we can be to them is to share the Gospel with them so that they become trees of life bearing fruit for the glory of God.  Those who live such selfless lives are considered wise according to God’s standards.  God not only blesses Christians eternally in Heaven, but often in this life we experience the material blessings of God.  

By God’s grace,  my wife and I each came to Christ as children and have lived our lives for him.  As I write this, I have just completed fifty-five years as a pastor.  Now approaching our eighties we continue to rejoice in God’s blessing on our lives, both physically and materially.  Life for us has been one grand adventure.  All of this- and Heaven too. What more could we ask?

Verse 31 concludes Proverbs 11.  with the thought that as we Christians who have lived for Christ are rewarded with blessings now and throughout eternity; so the wicked will eventually experience the consequences of their selfish, God-hating lives; not only in this life on earth but in Hell also.

I urge you to make the right decision concerning Christ. Receive Him now as Saviour and Lord and live your life for others and for God’s  glory. You will experience His blessing now and eternally.  The alternative is a wasted life of sorrow on this earth and throughout eternity.

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August 21, 2012 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Liberalism: Good or Evil?

Doxology of Praise

We conclude our study of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans with a doxology of praise to God  in Romans 16:25-27.   In this doxology we see:

  1. The Gospel which establishes us in The Faith
  2. The Mystery which establishes in The Faith  and
  3. God who establishes us in The Faith

In this doxology is the answer to how we can be established or settled in The Faith and avoid being misled by false teachers.

THE GOSPEL WHICH ESTABLISHES

 

Paul repeatedly refers to the Gospel as HIS Gospel.  Romans 16:25, 2:16,

II Timothy 2:8.  I Thessalonians 1:5   It was Paul’s Gospel in that after his conversion on the Road to Damascus, God had personally taught it to him in his three years  sojourn with God in the Arabian desert which he referred to in Galatians 1:15-18

That Gospel is the Gospel which Paul explains in detail in this Epistle to the Romans which we are concluding after 46 messages in this study. In this study we have explored Justification and Sanctification and Assurance of salvation. If you are still confused or uncertain, I encourage you to go over this series carefully and prayerfully.

Don’t be confused concerning the Gospel. Don’t base your understanding of the Gospel on the Old Testament. The Old Testament is filled with important spiritual truth for Christians and I have preached through many  parts of it for years.  Though it foreshadows and illustrates the Gospel repeatedly and throughout the Old Testament,  it does not spell out and explain the Gospel in detail.

Don’t base your understanding of the Gospel on the Book of Acts.   It also is filled with spiritual truth for Christians, but it does not give a detailed, organized explanation of the Gospel.

Don’t base your understanding of the Gospel by reading the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.   These four Gospels are filled with four accounts of important Gospel truth concerning the life, death and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus. These truths are foundational and  essential  for the seeker of salvation, as well as for the Christian follower of Christ.   We must have a knowledge and an understanding of the four Gospels, especially the Gospel of John before we are ready to study Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.

But it’s not until we read and study Paul’s Epistle to the Romans that we are given a complete understanding of the doctrine of salvation; including the doctrine of sins’s curse on the entire human race;  (including you and me), the doctrine of Justification,  the doctrine of  Sanctification and the doctrine of Glorification.

It’s only as we have an understanding of the  doctrine of Salvation as found in Paul’s Epistles; primarily his Epistle to the Romans, that we experience assurance and begn the process of spiritaul maturity.  If you base it on anything but Paul’s Epistles,  you will go away confused.  This is the Gospel that establishes us in the Faith, Paul declares in  Romans 16:25.

THE MYSTERY WHICH ESTABLISHES

 

Romans 16:25 also refers to the Gospel as the mystery which was not clearly unfolded in the Old Testament, nor even in the Gospels.  The privilege to unfold it and explain it  was given to Paul in his Epistle to the Romans and in his other Epistles

For example in Ephesians 5:22-32  Paul compares  our salvation to a spiritual marriage with Christ.  Jesus in the upper room the evening before His crucifixion hinted to it in John 15:1-11 and 17:23, but Paul unfolded it.  Ephesians 1:11-23,  Galatians 1:11-24,  Colossians 1:25-29.

 

 

 

GOD WHO ESTABLISHES

 

 

Romans 16:27 concludes this Epistle with the truth that it is God Himself who establishes us in the Gospel.  He alone is all wise, we see in Colossians 2:3-4

He alone is glorified in His creation. Psalm 19:1-6

He alone is glorified in Jesus. John 17:4

He alone is glorified in His Church, the product of His salvation.

Ephesians 1:12  and 3:20-21

My prayer is that you be saved through faith in Christ and glorify Him with your life.  With that,  we have concluded our study of Romans.  May God be glorified.

August 9, 2012 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Doxology of Praise

War on Poverty

Three times the Scriptures record Jesus’ matter of fact statement concerning the poor. “The poor you have with you always.” Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8.   No matter what we do as individuals or as a church or as a nation in our “war on poverty”,  there will always be a segment of human society that remains poor and  destitute.   What are we to do about it?  Wring our hands and feel guilty about the food we eat and the clothes we wear and the cars we drive and the homes in which we live?  I don’t think so.

As a pastor for fifty-five years I have dealt with the poor in every church I pastored. I have repeatedly answered the phone to listen to enraged scam artists shout at me to  try to make me feel guilty because I will not get in my car and drive downtown to meet them at a particular location and bring them $50.00 or more  to help them in their destitute situation.   Usually their stories are all somewhat similar.

Throughout my ministry in every church I have pastored, I have visited the poor in the communities, sharing the Gospel with them and inviting them to church. As I have visited them in their homes, often I had no place to sit for every chair was sticky with food or other kinds of filth.  I have been in homes in both Pennsylvania and New Mexico  where young mothers with their little children were living in absolute filth with human and animal feces and broken glass on the floor.  When our three children were small, often we picked up two or three of these school aged children in our car to take them to Sunday School and church with us. When we got home, we had to bathe our children to get rid of the fleas that had jumped into their hair.

I have talked to husbands and fathers of these children about getting a job and they have rejected seeking work for fear of losing their welfare checks.

Several years ago, a couple visited our church and after the service stood outside   the front door hitting up the church members for money. After rebuking them for begging,  I later that day visited this couple in their apartment and talked with them about their need.  I noted they were both chain smokers and had plenty of canned  sodas and junk food.   I took time to show them that they were wasting their limited money and talked to them about cleaning up and going to a particular establishment  that was presently hiring.  I shared the Gospel and prayed  with them and then gave them $20. from my pocket. That week they followed my advice and applied for jobs.  Both of them were hired.  They continued coming to church for a few weeks and then quit coming. Last I heard, they were both still working at that job.  Nevertheless, I had done what I could for them, both spiritually and materially.

We live in a strongly divided nation of Democrats and Republicans with Libertarians scattered in the mix.  The name Democrat is taken from the fact we are a democracy, that is, the rule of the people.   The name Republican comes from the fact that we are constitutionally a republic, ruled by laws.  At this crucial stage in our nation’s history, the choice before us at the polls is the question do we want mob rule by the people?  We’ve seen that recently in the mobs who riot in the streets in opposition to business and Wall Street and also in the rioting in Europe  The ultimate question before us is, Do we want the rule of the people, which is ultimately mob rule  and  the despotic rule of Socialism or do we desire to be the Republic under the rule of law, as defined in our Constitution?

The question at the polls is not who has the most concern and who  will do the most for the poor and needy. Both parties have that concern.  The question for us is do we want to go down the road of mob rule and fiscal irresponsibility as we continue to go trillions of dollars deeper into debt such as we have never known in the history of our Republic. With that debt we are seeing the devaluation of our dollar such as we have never seen before.  With the devaluation of our dollar has come inflation, financial hardship and further poverty on our aged and on all who live on a fixed income.  The question for me is a “no brainer”.

We are a sin-sick nation.  A large segment of our society wants to attempt to remove God from our national life.  Our political direction and our only hope for the future lies in the hands of Christians.  II Chronicles 7:14 applied not only to Israel, but it applies to God’s people today. “If My people which are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”  Our decision at the polls will determine the America we leave to our children and to our grand children  for generations to come.

August 6, 2012 Posted by | America | Comments Off on War on Poverty

Sober Warnings

Paul concludes his epistle  in Romans 16:17-20 with a sober warning of the danger of those false teachers who would by their beautiful,  pious sounding and uplifting-sounding  messages draw us away from the Truth of God’s Word.  All these are deceitful servants of Satan.  In verse 20  we read of how God is using us to bruise and crush Satan under our feet.  This reminds us of that first promise God made to Satan in Genesis 3:14-15 of how He would bruise and crush and eternally destroy Satan one day. We long for that day when sin and Satan will be forever forgotten.

False preachers are  not in the ministry to serve Christ, but rather to take advantage of their churches and earn a comfortable living and  live a  lavish lifestyle.  Romans 16:18 warns us.

May we value and guard our precious Faith,  our precious Salvation.  II Peter 1:1

We have a precious Saviour.  I Peter 2:7

We are saved by faith in the precious shed blood of Jesus. I Peter 1:18-19

As Christians, we enjoy a precious unity made possible by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 4:3-16,  Psalm 133

We feed on His precious Word and are blessed. II Peter 1:4,19-21.

These are the precious Gifts of God we are to guard.  That’s what the warfare of Ephesians 6 is all about.  It is a spiritual warfare against Satan and the influences of his deepening  evil world-system today.  Paul’s preaching included this warning. to the Ephesian Church in Acts 20:28-31.  We Christians today need to take heed to these repeated warnings in every generation. We ignore this warfare to our own peril.

WHO ARE OUR ENEMIES?

Today it is fashionable for Christians to look back on the Fundamentalist Movement of the first half of the 20th century that fought the battles against  Theological Liberalism and brand such Fundamentalists   as being negative and judgmental.  They believe they have progressed beyond such negativity and that all that is needed is a positive preaching from the pulpit.

This fight against error has been fought down through the centuries and it is needed more than ever before in our present day of immorality, theological error, confusion and unbelief.   The Apostle Paul warned young Timothy over two thousand years ago in II Timothy 3:13 that from generation to generation evil men would grow worse and worse, that the  apostacy would grow deeper and deeper until Christ returns.  He reminded him that his only protection would be the Holy Scriptures which he had known from childhood.

Note  Paul’s repeated warnings  to “stand fast”  in God’s Word. I Corinthians 16:13,    Philippians 1:27 and 4:1,  I Thessalonians 3:8  and II Thessalonians 2:15

In this message, I warn you of the dangerous people, movements and influences which would attempt to  rob you of your precious Gift of salvation.  In II Corinthians 11:13-15 Paul warned then and the warning is just as relevant today. The Apostle John also warned of this danger in his short, one chapter  Epistle of II  John  verses 7-11.

Our enemies are people, movements and influences  espousing another Christ. They are under the curse of God, according to Galatians 1:6-9. Other warnings are found in II Corinthians 11:13-15 and II John 7-11.

Satan himself is known as the accuser of the brethren in Revelation 12:10.

Not only Satan, but those who reject God’s Word are by default Satan’s servants.  Notice, for  example in II Timothy 4:14-15,   a man by the name of Alexander was an enemy of God and of God’s people.

WHO ARE NOT OUR ENEMIES?

 

Our enemies are not fellow Christians who have honest differences of opinion and interpretations of Scripture, as long as they adhere to the Fundamental doctrines of the Christian Faith:  the verbal, plenary, inerrant inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, His virgin birth,  atonement for sin through faith alone in the shed blood of Christ and   Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead.  These are absolutely essential to being a Christian.  No other Christ can save us. Galatians 1:6-9.

We are to endeavor to guard that unity in Christ with fellow believers with  whom we have honest differences of opinion on lesser matters of understanding Scriptural interpretation and church polity. Read Ephesians 4:3,13, and I Corinthians 1:10-18.

Let us learn to distinguish the enemy (those in Satan’s army)  from Christians with whom we have honest differences of opinion on many matters.  Let us receive them as brothers and sisters in Christ, but not to doubtful disputations. Romans 14:1.

WHY ARE THE ENEMIES OF CHRIST DANGEROUS? 

 

They are deceptive. II Corinthians 11:13-15

They are divisive. Acts 20:29-30

They are debased. II Peter 2:14,19.

They are hirelings.  They are in the ministry just for the money with no heart for the people. John 10:12-13

We learn in II Timothy 3:1-8, 13, that as we approach the end of the Church Age just before Christ returns the apostasy grows deeper and more deceptive and thus more dangerous.

HOW DO THEY OPERATE?

 

They use good words and preach impressive messages that draw in the people.  II Timothy 4:1-4

Don’t be impressed with impressive sermons.

Don’t be charmed by charming personalities.

Beware of preachers who always make you feel good about yourself and never make you feel uncomfortable.

Remember false preachers are skilled at making merchandise of you.

II Peter 2:1-3

False preachers are hirelings, just in it for the money. John 10:12-13

Watch your own heart if God’s Truth makes you angry.

Be  warned,  be clothed in the armour of God  described in Ephesians 6.  and stand fast in The Faith;  making progress in the battle against the growing darkness of Satan’s Kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 

August 4, 2012 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Sober Warnings