Love Exposes Sources of Division

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.  For your obedience is come abroad unto all. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.  And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Romans 16:17-20  (KJB)

This is not dealing with the “love” the world professes; love and accept everybody, approving of all that they do – you know the verse most like to use, “Judge not, lest you be judged”.

The verses from Romans are dealing with division caused by those who are in ministry for power, popularity, and profit.  Love confronts evil of division; it never tolerates it; especially within the Body of Christ.

Some thoughts on this matter:

*There are people in some churches, or even who seek out churches where they can cause division; by teaching false doctrines, by the error of Balaam, ie., causing others to fall, etc..
*The one who teaches the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, and who labors for God and the people of God, and the ministry is not the source of division. The ones who come in trying to bring in heresies, and division are truly the dividers
* Unwillingness to be taught, false teaching, hatred envy, going outside God’s guidelines causes division in the local Church. An unwillingness to cooperate with godly leadership; a malicious, slanderous spirit and tongue are sources of division. The loving leader will expose, and correct those who are trouble makers within the Church.
*Do that which is good in the local Church. Be wise toward evil, its way and its harm.
*Grace is the element that sets Christianity apart from world religions.

Teaching a Young Pastor

“But you speak the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, discretion, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.  Servants to be obedient unto their own masters, to please well in all; not answering again; not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.”  Titus 2:1-15

REFERENCES: 1 Timothy 2:9; 4:12; 1 Peter 3:3; 5:3; Ephesians 5:24; 6:24; Nehemiah 5:9; Matthew 5:16; Luke 3:6; Romans 5:15; Acts 24:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28

They Watched Him

Jesus had a way, His way of aggravating the religious crowd of His day.  That religion was steeped in legalism, and little mercy or grace.  It seemed they knew nothing about grace for their people; but allowed much, with loopholes around some of their traditions for themselves.

When the disciples with Jesus were walking through a field of grain, and they were scooping their fingers through the heads freeing the grains seeds from the tops, rolling the grain in their hands to free the good from the chaff, then blowing the chaff away with a strong breath; and they were doing it on the sabbath day [Saturday]; then, the scribes and Pharisees considered that a violation of the sabbath.

On another sabbath day Jesus had entered a synagogue to worship, and there was a man there with a withered right hand.  The Pharisees and the scribes watched Jesus to see what He would do.  Our verse today…

“And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him.” Luke 6:7  (KJB)

They watched Him with ill intent.  They watched Him to bring harm.  They watched Him to eventually kill Him.  Why?  They hated Him, His life, His teaching, and probably His boldness and authority with which He spoke.  He put religion on notice as well.

Those who follow Jesus, are faithful to Him, and His teaching- His doctrine will be watched too.  Sometimes for the same reasons as those who were watching Jesus. What are we to do?  Live faithfully for Christ.  Put Him on daily (Romans 13:12;  Galatians 3:27;  Ephesians 4:24; 6:11) all the things of Christ Jesus.  Do not fear; be faithful.

I will leave with you a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary on Luke 6:7…

“Among those who were the hearers of Christ’s excellent doctrine, and the eye-witnesses of his glorious miracles, there were some who came with no other design than to pick quarrels with him, Luk_6:7. The scribes and Pharisees would not, as became generous adversaries, give him fair warning that, if he did heal on the sabbath day, they would construe it into a violation of the fourth commandment, which they ought in honour and justice to have done, because it was a case without precedent (none having ever cured as he did), but they basely watched him, as the lion does his prey, whether he would heal on the sabbath day, that they might find an accusation against him, and surprise him with a prosecution.” From the MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

He Preached With Authority

“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:31-32 (KJB)

Speaking of Jesus of course; He spoke amazing things.  His doctrine [teaching] was with power and authority which is probably a redundancy, but for strength and clarity it is repeated.

I pray that I will grow so in love with the Lord Jesus and His word and walk [live] in the fullness of His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] that I too will have that authority.  I do not desire it for myself, but for His name’s sake; and that others might come to know Him as their own personal Lord and Savior.  I pray this for every pastor, every man and woman of God, and every youth who has given their lives to Him.

Let us grow in the Spirit and power of Christ our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

I Do Not Like the New Testament Either…

 

Just as with the Old Testament I do not like; there are elements of the New Testament I do not like as well. It tells us of the Sacrifice we needed to have. The very fact of Jesus dying for me repulses the humanity in me. It offends the flesh, the human pride, the helplessness of man for his salvation.

Yes, there are things about the Old and New Testaments that I do not like. However, just because I do not like them does not negate the evidence and fact of their being truth without any error, perfect, infallible, and inerrant. It does not take away from the basis of the word of God being “given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.”

I read the Scriptures, not because I like it, but because I need it.

This too is from 2013 while studying the New Testament; Loving the Scriptures is a grace God has given to me.

Be Strengthened

Be Strengthened

Colossians 1:11

“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness…”  (KJB)

There are times when our strength just seems to fade away. It comes after work, play, and sometimes sickness. We need renewing of that strength, and many times can find it in a nights rest, or maybe just a few minutes rest.

We are all really in need of spiritual strength. This is something we cannot get just by an overnight rest, sleep. It is what we find in God. True Spiritual strength comes only from God. He created all things. He is the strength that we need.

In our own strength, when it comes to walking with the Lord, we will come up short. The prophet Zechariah wrote,

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6b).

We will look at the three words mentioned in our text, and the result of walking with God in His strength. Those words are; 1) Strengthened, 2) All might, 3) Glorious power, and 4) the results of walking in His power “longsuffering, patience, and joy.

I. IN A WORLD WHERE THERE IS MUCH WRONG DOCTRINE, ATTACKS ON CHRIST, AND THE CHURCH WE NEED GOD’S STRENGTH.

A. The world is against all that is godly and righteous, and seeks to get even Christians to except and approve all that is not godly or right.

1. Errant doctrine is not godly or right
2. Any doctrine that points away from the one true God is basically godless and even demonic.

“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Cor. 10:20-21).

B. We cannot stand in our own strength; if we try we will fail and fail hard.
C. There must be a source of power and strength which is above us, beyond anything we could ever imagine, and which will not only sustain us but embolden and empower us.

D. We need the strength of God and by faith in Christ Jesus we are the recipients of His power.
1. The Greek word for the word strength here is “dunamoo” which means ‘enable’, and from it comes the word “dynamite” and we here are the receivers of this strength.
2. We are not able until we are enabled by the power of God.

II. THERE IS NO POWER GREATER THAN THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.

A. From our Father comes the “strengthened with ‘all might” mentioned next in our verse.
1. This word too is similar, in Greek, as the former one, but is different in that it comes from the source of ‘All might’, that word is ‘dunamis’, and means; “force; specifically miraculous power : – ability, abundance, meaning, might, miracle, power, strength, violence, mighty work.” (From Strongs of e-Sword; editing deleted parenthesis).
2. We can think about dynamite as a very powerful source for working and accomplishing good things, and it can be used for things not so good.
3. The power of God is nothing but good.

B. For people of our day the word nuclear would be more fitting to describe the power of God.

1. Now the people of the Bible days did not have dynamite, but these words is where our word for dynamite came from.
2. They used the word describing a great source of power; greater than anything else they could imagine.

C. Our God and Father of this awesome power desires for us to walk in His strength and power.

III. COMING FROM GOD THIS ‘MIGHT’ COMES IN GLORIOUS POWER, AND BRINGS GLORY TO THE GIVER.

A. If we walk in our own power God will not be glorified.
B. This “glorious power” is the action part of the power we are looking at.

1. It is, in fact, the power that is glorious and will bring glory to God in and through the works we do in His power.
2. God’s power is glorious and He receives glory by that power at work in you and me.

C. The Greek word for this is ‘kratos’; “According to the might of his glory (kata to kratos tēs doxēs autou). Kratos is old word for perfect strength (cf. krateō, kratilos). In N.T. it is applied only to God. Here his might is accompanied by glory (Shekinah).” From Robertson’s Word Pictures @ e-Sword.

D. If we desire to walk in His glory and every Christian does, the knowledge or our own personal weakness, and of God’s power will motivate us to walk with Him.

IV. THE RESULTS OF WALKING/LIVING IN THE GLORIOUS POWER OF GOD OUR FATHER AND SAVIOR.

A. There will be an attitude of “patience”.
1. Here the word means “constancy – long enduring patience”.
2. It is a cheerful patience.
B. There will be an attitude of “longsuffering”, another form of patience.
1. Longanimity, forbearance, fortitude – tolerating and putting up with others insolence, and such.
2. That does not mean you do not try to correct them.

C. There will be a heart of joy – a cheerfulness, and calm delight, which cannot be taken from you.

1. It is certain that Jesus wanted His followers to have a life of joy. Abundant joy is ours in Him. Here are a few of Jesus’s words on joy,

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11 (KJV);

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” John 16:20-22 (KJV);

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24 (KJV);

“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13 (KJV).

2. Notice in these verses that Jesus wants His joy to “Remain” in us; that our joy might be full; that there will be times of sorrow, but that the sorrow will be “turned into joy”; that there is a joy that “no man taketh from you”; we can ask in prayer, “and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”; and last we see that that we might have His “joy fulfilled in themselves [us]”.

Remaining joy;
Sustaining joy;
Securing joy;
Fulfilling joy.

D. This ‘longsuffering’, ‘patience’, and ‘joy’ is impossible to have in our own strength.

1. It is possible only by trusting in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross of Calvary, His death, burial and resurrection.
2. Once you have called on His name for salvation you will desire to walk with Him and this is when you will we walking in His glorious power.
3. This is when you will be able to stand against false teaching, false teachers, and be able to confront the culture in which we live.

SUMMARY –

I. WE MUST BE RECIPIENTS OF THE POWER OF GOD – WE ARE NEEDY OF IT.
II. IT IS ONLY BY THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF GOD THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE AND EXPERIENCE VICTORY.
III. WE WILL WALK AND LIVE IN THE GLORIOUS POWER OF GOD, AND BY DOING SO WILL GLORIFY OUR GOD AND SAVIOR.
IV. THE RESULTS OF WALKING IN HIS GLORIOUS POWER WILL BE ENDURING PATIENCE, PUTTING UP WITH OTHERS, AND JOY WHICH IS FULL AND ABUNDANT.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preached at CLBC on 9/24/06

The Tormented

There are many tormented people in the world today. Some seem to be intelligent individuals, educated, wealthy, or maybe middle class, or poor who are tormented by their lives, and living.

These folks do things that are beyond themselves, that cause harm to family, friends, neighbors; even to themselves that a otherwise sane individual would not do. We send them to doctors who specialize in this sort of thing, yet these people are still tormented.

Jesus dealt with these people, and spoke to them, and in our case today delivers this man from his torment:

“And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.” Mark 1:23-27 (KJV)

This man was demon possessed. Controlled by another being. He needed peace, and only Jesus could give it. Tormented souls need Jesus the Christ to set them free, and give them peace. Peace with God (Romans 5:1).

Are you a tormented soul? Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Call on His name, and He will save you.

The Good News of the Kingdom of God

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’  Now as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.’  And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him.  And when He had gone a little further thence, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.  And straightway He called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him.  And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught.  And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”  Mark 1:14-22

Judging Righteous Judgment

“My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill Me?’…
…’I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  ~Jesus (John 7:16-24)

Words for Christian Living 060513

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”  Romans 16:17-20 (KJV)

We, as Christians are told to “Love one another”.  As you can see in Paul’s writing above we are also to “Mark them which cause divisions… contrary to the doctrine”.  This surely means the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Anyone, therefore, who would cause division and offenses or a departure from the gospel is to be marked.  That would mean not to even fellowship with such an individual.  Also see Galations  5:14-15.

The ones whom Paul speaks of is most certainly false teachers, teaching things which distract from the gospel of Christ. Are there false teachers teaching a false gospel today?  Most certainly.  Any teaching which distracts from the glory of God through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is a false gospel.

-Tim A. Blankenship

In the Days of Itching Ears

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”  2 Timothy 4:1-5 (KJV)

With the apostle Paul believing that his life and ministry was nearing an end he leaves a challenge with the young Timothy.  That challenge is “Preach the word…” and with it the purpose of preaching is given.  The preacher is to be ready to preach at a moments notice.  The culture and society we live in today needs the preacher to be ready.  It is fast moving.  Quickly moving toward disaster.

Paul speaks of a time when there will be teachers which will preach and teach things that will tickle the itching ears of those who do not want to hear the truth.  We are living in such a time.  People are willing to believe the fables of the time; but reject the truth, even to the point of hatred toward one God, who has a Son who died for the sinners of the world.

“Reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering (Patience) and doctrine”.  Confronting sin in God’s people, rebuking it and then teaching the people how to live for the Lord.  That is so needed in the lives of Christians today.

-T.A.

Do not Neglect the Gift

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”  1 Timothy 4:14-16 (KJV)

Without getting into a speal about the gift given, this verse deals with the idea of teaching doctrine; it is at least one of  the things.  Is doctrine important in the Christian life?  Most certainly.  However, I see that there are many younger pastors and preachers who are neglecting to teach the teachings of Scripture to their people; the people they lead.

How important is doctrine? “…For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”  It is very important for the sanctification of ourselves, and the people.

-T.A.

Day 11 – The Doom of Balaam

The prophet of God was to be faithful to God, God’s Word, and to God’s people.  The prophet of God was to speak the truth, speak what God said, and on the immediate surface of things it almost seems that Balaam was faithful in those things.  However,  What was he doing going with the enemy of God, and God’s people anyway?  There is a clue itself.  If we listen to the arguments of our day; it might go something like this; “Well! We need to join with them, identify with them, know their desires, likes and dislikes if we are going to win them to Christ.”

What it ultimately comes down to is are we going to serve God and be faithful to Him; or are we going to serve mammon [material gain, popularity] and people’s approval?  Balaam does not want to “rock the boat”.

My reading today consisted of Numbers 24 – 36.  We are told in Numbers 24;

“And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.”  Numbers 24:25 (KJV)

We are not told precisely what Balaam has done but we see the  results when in chapter 25 we have the evidence of his fine demonic labors.

“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.”(v. 1ff).

There was a man in Israel’s camp who saw the tragedy unfolding and became bold, courageous and filled with righteous indignation;

“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.”  25:6-8

The Moabites had joined with the Midianites to destroy Israel.  Balaam had failed to curse Israel as Balak had wished; but he did leave them a means to curse Israel.  It seems that Balaam may have seen a weakness in some of Israel’s people, so he suggested to king Balak of infiltration with their debauchery in idol worship; and profaning the people of God and violating the laws of God.  He is no prophet of God at all who shows the enemy of God the weaknesses of God’s people to cause their downfall.

In the end Balaam and five kings of Midian are killed by an army of 12,000 Israelite men (31:8).  In verse 16 we are told that it was Balaam who caused the “trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor”;

“Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.” Numbers 31:16

The New Testament gives three verses dealing with the “prophet” Balaam,

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” 2 Peter 2:15
“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 11
“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”  Revelation 2:14

Woe be to the pastor, preacher, evangelists, and any believer who follows the way of Balaam, who runs greedily after the error of Balaam; or holds the doctrine of Balaam, casting a stumbling block before the children of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

B F & M – Salvation

Living in this world we  often hear people ask the question, “What do we need salvation from?”  As mentioned in the previous post concerning our Statement of Faith on “Man” we do believe that man is a fallen being; meaning that we have fallen out of fellowship with our Creator, and therefore, we are a condemned race.  We need the salvation which only our Creator can provide us.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning Salvation:

“IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.”

Let me try and clarify the meaning of “Justification”.  It is the act of God declaring righteousness on the believer.  It is the same as God’s declaring us as “Saints”.  It is certainly undeserved on our part.  It is God’s declaration and the placing of the righteousness of Jesus Christ on us.  Jesus Himself taking our unrighteousness while on the cross and putting it to death at His death.

It is truly a marvelous salvation.

-T.A.

B F & M – God – The Holy Spirit

There seems to be many professing Christians who are not seeing the Trinity of God in Scriptures.  The teaching is clearly revealed throughout the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit is the one that many want to leave out of the picture.  They only see Him as a power, an influence, but not a person of the Godhead, or the final person of the Trinity.

We Baptists believe in the Trinity, because it is a doctrine of Scripture.  Many will say, “That word ‘trinity’ is nowhere used and the Bible”, and they would be correct, yet the idea is clearly presented as I declared in an earlier post.  The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all at work “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1-3); the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are again clearly seen at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3).

The following is from our Statement of Faith concerning the Holy Spirit:

“C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.”

It was by the Spirit of God, also known as the Holy Spirit, that we have Holy Scripture and by these we can know God, His Son Jesus, and the power of the Spirit.  It is because of the Spirit that we are “Sealed until the day of redemption”,

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV).

Without the Holy Spirit of God moving there is no one who would ever be saved and delivered from sin and its temptations.  Jesus was dependent upon the Holy Spirit.  It was the Spirit who led Him into the wilderness and strengthened Him for those 40 days and nights.  It is by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we know we are the children of God.

“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”  Romans 8:9b (NKJV).

The Spirit of Christ is, of course, the Holy Spirit.  It is also the Holy Spirit who equips Christians to serve the Lord Jesus.  He points all to Christ, glorifying Him and Him alone.  He does not call attention to Himself, but to Christ.  We can know that anytime anyone is magnifying the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their lives they are completely out of line with Scripture, and out of fellowship with God.

We as Baptists have often been accused of neglecting the work of the Holy Spirit, but that is not really the case.  We see Him as being quietly, peaceably, behind the scenes glorifying our Savior, giving us power to live for the honor and glory of Jesus, and calling no attention to ourselves, but Jesus alone.

-T.A.

B F & M – God: The Son

One of the very basic doctrines of Baptists is the belief and Biblical teaching of the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Bible is quite clear on this teaching, and it is clear from much of Jesus’s own words.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning Jesus Christ:

“B. God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.”

Jesus was with the Father in the creation of all that is.  It is even said of Jesus, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” John 1:3 (KJV).  Then, again in Colossians the apostle Paul wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.”  Colossians 1:16-17 (KJV).

When you follow the ministry of Jesus through the Gospels you see much more than a man.  You see God who became flesh; “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NKJV).  We see Him changing water to wine (John 2); we find Him walking on the water (John 6:15-21);  we see Him feeding five thousand people with only “five barley loaves  and two small fish” (John 6:1-14);  we also, see Him stilling a storm on the sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27).  That is only a small number of the mighty things which Jesus did as the Son of God, God become flesh as He walked among men.  Only God can do these mighty things.

Jesus, also claimed deity for Himself. “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.  Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbat, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”  John 5:17-18 (NKJV).  There are many who will admit that Jesus is the Son of God, but will not confess that He is indeed God incarnate.  If indeed He is the Son of God, that in itself declares He is God.

It is in Jesus Christ alone by which we are saved.

-T.A.

The Widow’s Gift

38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: 40 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.  42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.   Mark 12:38-44 (KJV)

This sounds similar to many of the religious leaders, preachers on television who promise great dividends for sending in their offerings.  They are really nothing short on theives [wolves] in sheeps clothing.  They love the greetings of the people; they really love the offerings of the people.  What they love most  is approval, and the adulation of the crowds.

Lest someone judge me for making this judgment let me say this.  Jesus is the one who is making this judgment.  You need not worry about my “judgment” it is His which will hold muster in the end.

The boastfulness and arrogance of the religious leaders is astounding.  As a matter of fact it makes Jesus sick.  These love to have all the attention focused upon them.  They like the service they do simply because it gives them notoriety and privilege.  They will take the homes of the widows without remorse, and plead for the widow to continue to give unto the end.

A widow woman comes and cast “Two mites” into the “treasury”.  It seems this was all that she had, and Jesus gives her more adulation than those who gave from their wealth.  This woman gave all she had, the wealthy gave only a portion of what they had.  It does not matter how much you give as long as you give it all to the Lord.  If the Lord has it all you will guard what you have left and use it wisely for God’s glory.  Does God have all that you hold in your possession?  Does He have you?

Tim A. Blankenship

Baptists Are Drifting…

The word “Drift” according to the MERRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY means “to float or be driven along by wind, waves or currents 2: to pile up under the force of the wind or water”

The following is an email from Ben Stratton from the Landmark Southern Baptist list:

Baptists Are Drifting From the New Testament Pattern in Doctrine and Polity

Some Baptists are drifting from these orders because they are failing to teach believers to “observe all things whatsoever” Christ has commanded.  Luke tells us that the first church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.”
The New Testament records that believers were accepted into church members by baptism. . . Scriptural baptism is the door into the visible Church of God.  A believer coming from another denomination must be baptized to be a member of a Baptist church.  The proper way to enter a building is through the door.  Baptism symbolizes identification  with a (the) faith.  It is important that one believe in Christ; it is also important what ones believes about Christ.

Administering the Lord’s Supper to non-Baptists is also a departure from the New Testament pattern.  The Lord’s Supper is a family affair and is to be partaken by those of the same faith and order and in good regular standing with the church.  The New Testament substantiates this stand.

Being liberal may make one popular with man, but adherence to the scripture will make you popular with God.  Let us as Baptists join with Jeremiah in seeking the old paths of doctrine, polity, and morality.  J.V. Bottoms, Sr.

(J.V. Bottoms, Sr. was the longtime pastor of the Green Street Missionary Baptist Church in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.  He was the first person to graduate from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary once blacks were allowed to attend there.  The above quote appeared in the American Baptist” newspaper in 1978.  This paper was the official organ of the General Association of Black Baptists in Kentucky.  It is interesting to note that in the 1970’s many of the black Baptist churches in Louisville were much more doctrinally sound than their white counterparts. )

Are Southern Baptists drifting? In many ways we are. We are drifting away from sound doctrine concerning Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Leadership qualifications, and away from church discipline.
We are drifting toward a crashing falls of destruction, and God will use others who are still standing for the truth, holiness, and glorifying the name of Jesus.

Let’s stand on Jesus and the Scriptures, expose the vile and wicked acts, and language of those who would lead others astray.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sensual Division

“Remember the words…by the apostles… How they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” Jude 18-19 (NKJV).

A continual warning, and caveat’ to stand your ground, be faithful, follow the teachings of the apostles, etc.; is much needed, but too many of our minds can become redundant. We need to be encouraged by the words of Jude and the words of any preacher who is teaching us to stand guard over our heart, and against the teachings and teachers which would lead us away from the truth.

These apostates are actually haters of God; yet use the name of God to have their way in Christian circles. Jude in no way is saying to us that all true teachers of God’s Word are infallible, but that they will be faithful to proclaiming the truth of God. We can all make mistakes. It seems that we, in our humanity are almost prone to make one now and then, just to remind us that we are still, in fact, fallen creatures; who have been redeemed by the perfect Savior.

However, these apostate heretics, are those who purposely teach doctrines contrary to God and His Word to draw a following for themselves, put their fleeced flocks money in their own pockets, and live in lavish homes, and estates. Now, before any one flies off the proverbial handle, let me add that there is nothing wrong with having or gaining wealth; as long as it has been done by hard work and labor; without taking advantage of the weak; and God is given all the glory for it. God gives wealth to enable those with it to be stewards and help the weak; and that includes the widow, the orphan, the poor, and downtrodden. These take no thought of others, however. The lavish homes and estates are almost their personal trademarks.

They are “sensual”, and that can be greedy, filled with lusts; and lusts can be for anything including power, position, popularity, and pomp. When the truth is not proclaimed, the one proclaiming that which is contrary to the truth are the dividers. That is something we always need to remember.

One of the teachings which is popular among many churches and pastors is the teaching about sex, using Scripture, but using the most lewd, crude, and shocking forms of “language” that can be heard today. “It’s part of our culture” those using it say. “They will not listen unless we speak that way”, they continue. We are always to speak the language which will glorify our Lord, and His language is not lewd, crude, or “shock jock” style. The Bible deals with sexual matters many times, but always treating it with respect, and even mystery; and so should those who are supposedly trying to teach people. In many cases using sensual language which inspires lust, rather than genuine love; they destroy the purity of God’s Word and its teaching. These are sensual dividers.

These types of talks draw the crowds; just as motor crosses, NASCAR, boxing, wrestling and the Olympics. Little for the glory of God is done in any of the these events. They are for some to make money, and others to spend and or lose it. It may be popular, but popular does not make it holy or right.

Many times, when the one who comes in exposing the lies for what they are, they are always the one who is accused of causing division. It is the one’s who are teaching and preaching the lies who are the dividers. The division-makers do not have the Spirit of God, and if not dealt with by the truth, and with firmness, will themselves be inhabitants of hell. They must be confronted, and given the opportunity of repentance, and finding genuine peace with God.

Be strong in the faith. Grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Confront and hate the evil, and expose it. Love the good, and the godly. Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is It All About Bread???

The Pharisees and Sadducees were a constant heartache to our Lord. As they were supposed to be the religious leaders of Israel during this time they were filled with doubts, unbelief, jealousy, and condemnation of any and all; including our Lord; who were not “letter for letter” correct to their own understanding. Many of these men hated Jesus, very few loved Him.

After dealing with the Pharisees concerning signs (vv. 1-4) Jesus will deal with the disciples concerning their faith, give them warning concerning evil doctrine, and hypocrisy.

“And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:5-12 (KJV)

The disciples must have had their attention diverted by physical need concerning Jesus’s caveat concerning the “leaven of the Pharisees”. It had not been so long ago that they had witnessed the power of the Lord when He took 5 loaves of bread and two small fish, and fed a multitude of 5000 men, plus women and children (14:13-21), then later fed 4000 men, plus women and children with seven loaves a “a few little fishes” (15:32-38). They had forgotten to bring food with them, except for one loaf (Mark 8:14), and they assume that Jesus is speaking of bread.

He speaks of “Leaven”. Of course, leaven is used in bread. It is, however, used to puff up, fluff up, and stuff up. It gives baked goods a fuller appearance than they would have without it. It is my belief that every time there is mention of “leaven” in Scripture, it is as a symbol of hindrance, sin, or evil. Hindrance because when the children of Israel were leaving Egypt they were commanded to prepare bread without leaven (Exodus 12:15-20). They were going to be leaving Egypt very quickly, therefore no time could be taken to allow bread to rise, thus they would have been in rebellion to even have it in their homes. Leaven also represents false doctrine, and hypocrisy (clouds without rain in a time of drought).

There are many professing Christians in our day who do not believe we need to be concerned about doctrine; whether it be right or wrong; just believe something. Anything is okay as long as you sincerely believe something; even if it is that your dog is the reincarnation of Geronimo. Jesus, however, gives an earnest warning to His disciples to “Take heed and beware of the leaven [doctrine] of the Pharisees. It is also a warning of hypocrisy. There is glaring hypocrisy in the Pharisees; requiring things of the people they lead, and give themselves loopholes around their own laws. False doctrine, and hypocrisy seem to go together.

Jesus’s warning is for all Christians of all ages, because we fall into a gross pit of oozing manure when we fall into false teaching and hypocrisy. Very often a pit that is very hard to get out of, or be rescued from.

It is not all about bread. It is not all about physical needs; Jesus meets those needs daily. It is a warning of being sure the doctrine is right and they life is right with God. This means much of the responsibility for remaining correct in what we believe and how we live lays on our own shoulders, and the Spirit of God within us. We can do this by staying true to the Lord in the reading, study, and meditation upon His Word; spending time with Him in prayer – walking with Him daily; faithful attendance to our local church as often as the door is open; and to faithfully serve the Lord by loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves by giving of ourselves in serving others when possible, and sometimes when it gets in our way.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Grace Into Lewdness

“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 4 (NKJV).

Yes! This is the same verse as yesterday’s. However it seems prudent to deal a little more on that part of the verse which is in bold print.

It is sad that there seems to be a growing number of professing Bible teachers who call themselves or have been called “Free Gracers”. Grace is free from our loving God and Savior, however, the fact of its being free to us does not give us freedom to live without control. That is usually what is meant by those who believe in “Free Grace”. It is usually meant that when you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, or they would just say Savior, then you have the “Liberty of conscience, or spirit” to live as you so please.

In affect, they turn the “grace of God into lewdness”, and the idea of Christian liberty is taken beyond what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is; there is liberty”. We are free in Christ.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:12-18 (KJV)

The freedom which we have in Jesus Christ is not freedom to live as we please, but freedom from the law of condemnation, and freedom to live for Christ and unbound by sin. Before salvation we were servants of sin. Having Jesus as our Lord and Savior unbinds us from sin, then, to serve our Lord Jesus, and to live in the way that will glorify His precious and holy name.

It is not in the heart of a child of God to continue in disobedient, rebellious sin against our Lord. Jesus is Lord of the true believer, the true child of God. If the heart of the individual professing Jesus as Savior is not prone to glorify God by living for Him, then, that heart is not redeemed, and needs Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The heart of the truly saved individual desires to live in such a fashion that Jesus’s name will be glorified in their life. It is not given to the disobedience of sin.

The teacher who teaches such heresy is not a teacher of God, but is one of those who has come in “unnoticed” or “Unawares”. Take heed to what every teacher, who is teaching, teaches. Use the spiritual discernment which the Spirit of God gives you, along side the Word of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Accuser Sent Away

“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.” Genesis 21:9-21 (KJV)

Hear the words of the apostle Paul concerning this event:

“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” Galations 4:22-30 (KJV).

Abraham and Sarah had gathered the whole family to celebrate the weaning of Isaac. It was at this celebration that the heart and attitude of Ishmael is seen for what it is. He had the belief that he would be the promised son, the heir of all that was Abraham’s; that is what is implied by this story. The child named laughter relating to at least three different forms of laughter; 1) Sarah’s laugh of unbelief or frustration; 2) Abraham’s laugh of “I can’t wait”; and 3) Ishmael’s laughter of mockery, and a fourth would be and is certainly the meaning “laughter of joy” which was the expression of both Abraham and Sarah at the fulfillment of the promise.

The mother’s heart of Sarah could not endure the mockery; which was most likely inspired by Hagar, and done by Ishmael; and realized they both would need to leave – Hagar and son Ishmael. Ishmael would have been at least sixteen years of age at this point in his life, and here he is as a sixteen year old mocking at least a two year old boy. The age of Ishmael can be determined by seeing the age of Abraham at the time of the boy’s birth [Ishmael’s] which was 86 (Genesis 16:16) then Abraham’s age at the time of Isaac’s birth (21:5) 100, then if Isaac was two years of age at the time of his weaning that would make Ishmael 16. Once before Sarah had became angry with Hagar, mostly from jealousy, because Hagar was expecting by Sarah’s husband (Genesis 16:5-16), Sarah had probably flogged her, or beat her, threatening her, and Hagar fled; and at that time the LORD appeared to her, told her to return, and submit to Sarah as her head; and God promised to make from the son [Ishmael] a nation. At no time had Hagar been given the promise of receiving the inheritance of Abraham, nor would her son. She had received a promise from the LORD, which is seen in verses 10 – 12 of chapter 16.

There is no doubt that Ishmael is an adversary. He is, however, an evidence that we reap what we sow. Because of a lack of patience, of failing to wait on the LORD’s time and place, Sarah convinced Abraham to go against the promise, by supposedly hurrying it along. One thing we all can learn is that God’s promise is not averted, or aborted because of our sinful, impatient behavior. Thus, Hagar becomes a symbol of the condemnation, and bondage of the law. Hagar as a bond woman gives birth contrary to the promise, and according to the understood law the first born was to be heir to the inheritance of the father. The son of promise [Isaac] was God’s heir to the promises of God. We are not being wise when we try to help God fulfill His promises through weak, fleshly, human efforts and means. Only the flesh can be glorified in such case; and not the LORD.

Is Paul the apostle telling us that the Law [Ten Commandments] is of the flesh? God gave them to Moses. Does that answer the question? If any man or woman, boy or girl could keep the law, fulfilling the will of the LORD for their lives, then they would have much to boast of; however, the law condemns us in the flesh, because none can keep it to the letter; only Jesus could, and did.

Isaac is a portrait of the Christ; who is Jesus; and that is seen as he is a son of promise. Jesus is the anti-type, because He is the fulfillment of the portrait. A picture, or portrait is not the real thing, but only an image of the real thing. If you have a picture of your child, or grandchild and the live child standing beside you which would you choose, if you had to make a choice between the two? You would choose the real, living child standing beside you. The picture is good for when they are away to remind us of their being, and person, their love and warmth.

Hagar is part of the “allegory” which gives bondage, because she was a bond woman put in the place of promise; but that was not to be. Sarah is part of the “allegory” which represents Jerusalem and the promise; “Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband” Isaiah 54:1 as quoted in Galations by Paul.

Abraham is instructed to listen to his wife; “Listen to her voice”. This casting out is a God thing though may not be understood, by Hagar, Ishmael, or their descendants; and many others. Remember this: God is just in doing whatever He chooses concerning His people and His creation; to accomplish and bring about His purposes and will.

We must note that Abraham did not just send Hagar and Ishmael out without food and water leaving them at the mercy of the elements. He gave her freedom, and she could go where she pleased; her life was at the mercy of the LORD. That is far better than being at the mercy men.

Hagar finds herself without water and fearful for her son. She thinks Ishmael is going to die of thirst. This is a trial of faith for Hagar. Doesn’t she remember the promise of before, when Sarah has ran her away, because of her impudence, and disobedience? The LORD appears to her again, and reminds her; “fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.” (vv. 17-18). The LORD had not forsaken her, but was going to fulfill His promise to her. God never breaks His Word. Even when we sin He still keeps His promises.

We know; and all too well how this promise has been fulfilled. The descendants of Ishmael still hate and persecute the children of the promise. Ishmael the accuser, the one who hates the promised child of Abraham. Paul’s words of this matter,

“For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:3-8 (KJV)

They are the children of Abraham, but according to flesh. Isaac is the child of promise, and all who will believe by faith, in the Living Promise of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

False Doctrine

“Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Matthew 13:33 (KJV).

We come now to the matter of the “Leaven”. I see what others say when they see it as a symbol of good within the church, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of Scripture. Leaven, in every case in Scripture, Old and New Testaments, is seen as a symbol of evil. There is not one instance where it is seen as a symbol of a good growth of puffiness. In Exodus 12:15-19 the children of Israel in preparing to leave Egypt baked bread without leaven, they needed to be more concerned with the urgency of leaving rather than waiting on the dough to rise. Leaven puffs up. Some have taken Leviticus 23:17, and taught that this is a picture of the leaven being good. If we would understand the significance of this offering we would see this bread represents the one offering it, a redeemed individual, who being redeemed is still touched by sin and still dealing with sin, yet received by God. The leaven in verse 33 represents false doctrine.

Let’s back up for a moment and look at the beginning of this verse. Jesus is still dealing with the kingdom of heaven, and notice the “woman”. The woman represents false religion; she could even be represented by Jezebel who was the wife and queen of Ahab. A woman is seen as false religion in the Revelation, as the woman riding the beast (Revelation 17:3-6). The doctrine and teaching of Jezebel is seen in Jesus’s letter to the church of Thyatira (Revelation 2:20-23). I do not know the specific reason a woman is used to represent false doctrine, and deception. It just seems to go back to Jezebel who was a very wicked, godless, self-aggrandizing woman. The woman in this parable is guilty of secretly placing leaven in “three measures of meal”, and leaven once it gets into bread dough it permeates the whole batch of dough.

Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Jesus was referring to their legalism and false doctrine that had bound them in their sins and iniquities. Paul the apostle warns of the dangers of letting iniquity/sin stay and permeate a congregation in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7 “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”. Since Paul says “Ye are unleavened”, then it must be that the “New lump” he is referring to is a lump of bread dough without leaven.

The modern day religion called Christianity is overwhelmed with a numerical growth. This growth is often done by entertainment, showmanship, salesmanship, and a “fire under the altar” (Read 1 Kings 18).  False doctrine is often associated with much of the aforementioned.  I know that there will be some who read this or hear this that are going to think or say, “Tim doesn’t believe in growing a church.” That is not what I am saying. I want to let God build His Church. Let us who are His children, the children of His kingdom planted in this world, proclaim the gospel as we have been commissioned, as we have been called, but let’s leave the saving to His hands, and the power of His spirit.

Christianity is also getting deeper and deeper into heretical teachings. When we have a document signed by good and godly men calling for the gathering of Evangelicals and Catholics for unity, and the Catholic church has announced anathema upon the gospel of Jesus Christ – saved by grace alone, through faith alone – then how could we ever join hands with someone who hates the pure gospel of Christ? There are those in Evangelical circles, also, who teach a wimpy Jesus dying on the cross, defeated by the devil on the cross, and that is not belief in the cross of Jesus; when the truth of the matter is that Jesus won the battle for sin, death, and hell, and put the devil in his place by His death on the cross. The devil never touched Jesus in His death. He was smitten by God, His own Father (Isaiah 53:4). He paid the sin debt which was owed to His Father by you and me.

It is leaven that puffs up. Read 1 Corinthians 4:18-19; 5:2, 6-8; 8:1. Puffing up is usually evidence of pride. There can be no pride in the true Church of our God. We humbly bow before Him in worship. We have nothing to boast of except that our salvation is the work of God. We boast of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan, hates the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and fears her when she is on her knees, in humility before her Lord. He is, however, still at work sending in the tares amongst the wheat, planted in this world, trying to gain a foothold, and strangle the witness, testimony, and power of the Christian. Sure there is growth in many churches across our land, ie., the USA; but do we care so much about numbers in our churches that we would forsake the truth, holy living, and our fellowship with the Lord Himself, just to receive recognition from others? Are we willing to forsake the essential doctrines of the faith to draw a crowd? We better deal with those who are teaching wrong, and deal with them quickly. If we don’t we lead ourselves to destruction.

Jesus desires that all the lost be saved, and His Church to grow, but only as it rest in Him. She [the Church] cannot have genuine, solid spiritual growth except through the Lord Jesus. Satan is at work to infiltrate, ensnare, and bring the works of Christ to nothing.

The kingdom of heaven grows in every individual who knows, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet, numerically, it can grow in pretense and hypocrisy. False growth is hypocritical and deceiving – to self, and others. It may have the appearance of God’s blessing, but actually be far from God’s blessing, causing the lost, condemned world to have no recourse from hell.

False doctrine destroys unity, while those who teach false doctrine talk of uniformity – you give up the truth and we will have unity – and accuse those who stand for truth as the ones who cause disunity. There can be no unity, except it be by the Biblical doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the doctrines of Christ Himself. False doctrine “puffs up”. It gives the appearance of something which is not there. It is deceptive and always detracts from Jesus and the truth.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Letter From a Director of Missions

The following is the monthly letter our Barry County Southern Baptist Associational Director of Missions, Jerry L. Williams, wrote for the Monthly Newsletter. I pray you will hear his heart.

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is read, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:31-32)

“I do not believe that our Lord contradicts Himself in His Word, do you?

‘I also believe that when His word states, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright…” that that is referring to when the wine is fermenting.’

‘I am sharing this because it seems that today there are some ministers in SBC and MBC that believes it is alright to drink alcoholic beverages. I never thought that we would hae to deal with this issue in Southern Baptist life, but I guess I was wrong.

Now I know that there are some in our churches that probably drink and think nothing of it, but that doesn’t make it right and I feel that they are wrong in doing it. Look at what he alcohol industry has done to the lives of so many; deaths, ruined families, homes, marrigaes and on and on I could write.

The Acts 29 and Emerging Church movement claims to be “theologically conservative and culturally liberal.” Alcohol, Acts 29 and the Missouri Baptist Convention…, below is an excerpt from the St. Louis Post Dispatch:’

“As Tolliver (MBC Interim Executive Director) was speaking, another group of pastors gathered at a lake house a couple of miles away, drinking Red stripe and Fat Tire beer, watching football and talking shop: the influence of music in their worship services, their inner-city social justice efforts, the challenge of having so many new babies in their congregations.”

“The young men are part of Acts 29, a network of more than 100 emerging churches across the country that have a conservative theology but a more liberal take on some aspects of the culture than do traditional Southern Baptists. The group’s focus is on starting more new churches. The Journey in south St. Louis is one such church, and there are others in the State — St. Charles, Eureka, Hannibal, Columbia and Ozark.

Our MBC Executive Board met last Dec. 10, 2007 in part to discuss their concerns about alcohol use and alcohol-based evangelism strategies within the greater Missouori Baptist family. They concluded by taking significant action on the issue.

In an historic move members of the board voted by a nearly 3-1 margin to cut off state convention Cooperative Program support to Acts 29 Network churches/church plants in Missouri. The vote does not impact MBC churches who, on their own are assisting Acts 29 churches.

The controversy over Acts 29 began when one church, the Journey, started holding regular discussion sessions in a bar where some participants drank alcohol. The “Theology at the Bottle Works” (the name of the bar).

I agree with Roger Moran when he stated, ‘One of the most dangerous and deceptive movements to infiltrate the ranks of Southern Baptist life has been the Emerging/Emergent Church Movement”.

I will be bringing a message this month at our worker’s conference dealing with this issue. May we as Barry County Southern Baptist stand firm on our doctrine, the Word of God, and the teaching of abstinence when it comes to the use of alcohol beverages.

My we send our number of messengers to this years MBC in October and stand with our State Executive Board Members and what they did in Dec. 2007. Let’s go and vote with them to hold the line on this movement within our convention.”

Bro. Jerry

The Barry County Southern Baptist Association has sent a letter to the Executive Board of the MBC voicing the approval of their December 2007 actions.  We do fully support this action of the Board, and will continue to do so.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Waters Cover the Sea

The Fourth Promise

 

I have written a little bit on this previously in the article on the third woe.

In chapter 2:12-14 I wrote of verse 14, “There is a prize in these verses. ‘For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea’. The leaders and rulers of Babylon sought to build a great kingdom by the shedding of blood, and taking what belonged to others, and often at the expense of their lives. There is a Kingdom coming in which there will be no war, but only peace. The peace of God that passes all understanding. Notice the vastness of this “knowledge of the glory”; it is “as the waters cover the sea”. How much do the waters cover the sea? The sea is water, thus this filling with the knowledge of the glory covers the whole realm of the Kingdom. All the bloodshed, and such will have been done away. Jesus Christ will reign supremely. The knowledge of His glory will fill the earth.”

For the remainder of this article I want to place here the quotes from two Study Bibles. The first will be the MacArthur Study Bible New Kings James Version; and the other is Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible.

“2:14 filled. In contrast to the self-exaltation of the Chaldeans, whose efforts come to naught, God promised that the whole earth would recognize His glory at the establishment of His millennial kingdom (cf. Num. 14:21; Ps. 72:19; Is. 6:3; 11:9).” MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1320

“2:14. God’s future kingdom on earth will feature a reign of righteousness (see Is. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-5). All humanity on the renewed earth will know the Lord and live in accordance with His will. The structures of human systems, adequate as they are for the present, will fall under God’s judgment because they encourage a spirit of independence from Him. knowledge: What Satan fraudulently promised in Gen. 3:5, God will deliver. The glory of the LORD speaks of the full manifestation of His person, significance, presence, and wonder. The true knowledge of God in the time of His kingdom on earth will be like the waters–all embracing, inescapable, and fully enveloping.” Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible p.1523.

Loving the appearing of the Lord, we long for and expect His soon return in setting up His kingdom on the earth. It will be a wonderful and glorious kingdom where we will receive the knowledge of the LORD. That knowledge will be full. Longing for that day.

 

Israel’s Backsliding

Israel’s Backsliding

God is loving, merciful and gracious. He has been with the northern kingdom of Israel, and with the southern kingdom of Judah. In His love, and His pursuit of His people, the rebellion, coldness, disobedience, and rebellion continue.

It is a shame that those who call themselves the people of God cannot see that they have departed from Him. They are a backsliden people. Hear the words of the prophet from God:

“The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: ‘Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.” Jeremiah 3:6-7 (NKJV).

The sin of Israel was their turning away from their worship of God alone, and they had started developing patterns consistent with pagan worshippers of false gods, even including their worship to false gods in their supposed worship to God. God has given very careful guidance in the true worship of Him. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”, and that means the worship of God, YHWH [YaHWeH] alone. To include others is to destroy true worship of the one true God.

They in effect have worshipped demons, rather than God;

“They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot…” Leviticus 17:7 (NKJV).

Paul writing to the Corinthians says,

“Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:18-20 (NKJV).

Worship directed to a Jesus who is not God is a false worship. Worship directed to anyone or anything that is not God is false worship.

Israel has sinned in their worship. It appears that there is more and more people who call themselves Christian who are also sinning in their worship. Their rebellion, disobedience, and adultery toward God must be repented of, seeking God’s forgiveness.

God has said to Israel, “Return to Me”. His call to the Church is the same; “Return to Me”. Be backsliding no more and return to God, and the holy and right worship through the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Just Faith

The Third Promise

“Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV).

The first promise is found in 1:5, the second promise is in 2:3. I have already written on those. The first has to do with God doing a work, “Which you would not believe, though it were told you.” The second of a vision for an appointed time, and “Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry”. When God gets ready to carry out the message and intent of His Word it will not tarry.

Our promise number three is a short one but so powerful. It deals with “Faith”. The first thing I see is concerning the “Proud”. According to Proverbs 6:16 & 17 “A proud look” is one of the seven things which God hates. It seems that the reason for that is; where there is a person full of themselves there is no room for God. Pride can lead to a multitude of sins.

QUESTION – Who are the “Just”? The word “Just” is often used as a synonym for “Righteous” or “Righteousness”. The “Just” are all those who have been declared just by the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is said of Noah that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Noah had done nothing to deserve that favor. He was numbered among the wicked before the flood. God had seen that all mankind was wicked, but… One man, Noah, and his family were saved from the deluge by grace. God, by delivering Noah, has declared him “Just”.

Who are the “Just”? Those whom God chooses as His own. Because of God’s grace He chose Noah to build an ark and by doing that provided salvation for all mankind. In the New Testament is written, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Titus 3:5 (NKJV).

Looking now at the phrase, “Shall live”. The implication is strongly made that those who are “Just” shall live. They shall live evidently by a certain way, and that way we will look at in just a moment. If we are declared “Just” by the living God, through His Son Jesus Christ and His payment for our sin on the cross, there must be something which happens to the believing individual. They “Shall live”. That in itself would be good enough to cause us to have joy and peace well up in our heart and soul, and that is great, however, there is more here than a simple emotional feeling. It is life that glorifies Jesus Christ, and magnifies the Father, and His Word.

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36 (NKJV).

Everlasting life is the gift of God to all who will believe – that is an action word – and believe solely in Jesus for salvation. When we come to believe in Jesus He gives us faith. There is the word that makes this the promise it ought to be. We are told in the New Testament, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV).

That certain way the “Just shall live” is “by his faith”. If you are a female it would be “by her faith”. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. The apostle Paul also wrote by the Spirit of God;

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV).

It would seem that the one’s who have turned toward Jesus Christ and trusted His finished work on the cross, His death, burial and resurrection, and believe He is coming again have been given faith by God, and by that faith He gives us the means of living the life of grace He has called and equipped us to live.

It would also seem to me that anyone who teaches that you can be saved, and continue living a life contrary to Christ, His Word, and the Father is going to have a very hard time facing the Lord in eternity. The Third Promise is; “The just shall live by his faith”. This verse is found in Romans 1:17 as well. It is a New Testament principle, and practice. Believing Jesus, and living by the faith He gives us says we will live the life he has prepared for us beforehand; and by faith “We should walk in them”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Whited Sepulchre

THE WHITED SEPULCHRE

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:27-28 (KJV)

The verses quoted are the words of Jesus to an unbelieving, hard-hearted, rebellious group of religious leaders known to Jesus as “Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites”. The words quoted are the seventh of eight “Woes” which Jesus himself voices against them. The scribes, the Pharisees, the hypocrites were the ones who were always condemning others. They basically had no good word to say about anyone, except themselves, and I would imagine if one of them violated their normal routine they would also be condemned.

The “Whited” is speaking of a whitewash which was often used for temporary covering. It was temporary only because it washed away in the rain. It only gave the appearance of being something it wasn’t. They purposely whitewashed the sepulchres to have them clearly marked, so as not to touch them and thus, defile themselves making themselves cermonially unclean.

Jesus likens them to these “Whited sepulchres”. The way they paraded themselves around as being the epitome of holiness and righteousness, and before God they have the stench of hell, the putridness of dead men’s decaying flesh and bones. This reminds me of the “Untempered mortar” of Ezekiel’s prophecy, “Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it; To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 13:10-16 (KJV). Just as the false prophets of Ezekiel’s day were suring up the hopes of their people with promises, but not dealing with their sin, so too were the religious leaders of Jesus’s day offering a false hope in perfection, and the keeping of manmade ordinances, which they themselves were not practicing. The untempered mortar of which Ezekiel speaks is like a white wash substance to fill the cracks in the wall, but with no holding ability, to only be washed away with the rains.

Jesus speaks at the beginning of this discourse saying, “Whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (23:3). Jesus does not say a word about not obeying, but saying do what they teach and say. Just don’t practice their hypocrisy of saying and not doing.

Legalism is rules that are always made for someone else. It has no practical application for the one proclaiming it, or they have provided for themselves ways to bypass and get around it. They had made for themselves “Loopholes” to get around these rules of tradition, and in some cases of written law. Jesus condemns the actions of the hypocrites who boasted of their own good deeds, and by their own acts made it impossible for anyone else to actually believe.

Legalism is the denying of the power of God alone to save and adding to it the works of law, tradition, ritual, or sacraments. It has absolutely nothing to do with the call of the pastor, preacher, teacher, and God’s Word calling God’s people to live holy, righteous, temperate, lives of labor for the glory of the Lord. One is not a whited sepulchre when they too are walking in the Word of God, and following the practices of holiness, etc..

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The True Source of the Power

The True Source of the Power

“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:28-30 (KJV)

The prophet Zechariah wrote, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6). It is sad that the ones who were responsible for the spiritual leadership of Israel were blind to the power of God when He was walking in their midst. When Jesus was walking with us on this earth He was the source and giver of power to cast out demons. Jesus lived in the power of the Spirit of God. He was and is the bodily manifestation of the power and presence of God.

Jesus overpowered the influence of the devil in the fourth chapter of Matthew. He bound the strong man, and spoiled his house. Jesus would not yield nor seek shortcuts around the will of the Father for his life.

There are still people who cannot see God as being benevolent, all powerful, all knowing, and all present. They equate Him as being an evil tyrant. They are the ones who are calling good evil, and evil good. God cannot be truly benevolent unless He is also all powerful, all knowing and all present. These same people are the ones who continue to reject Jesus and equate His power to evil as well. If you are not with Him you are against Him. If you gather not with Him you are scattering abroad.

Anyone who claims to believe in a god who created the world, but this god is not omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, as well as immutable does not believe in the true God who created the world from nothing. The God who created all things spoke it into existence. With the power of His Word it all came to be. With the power of His Word all evil will be put to its end.

When we see the words and life of Jesus we see the life of the Father, the Creator in Him. Jesus demonstrated that He was/is the power of God on earth, among men, by His power to bind Satan and his demons. Some want to say, but He died by the hand of the devil on the cross. It was not by the hand of the devil that He died on the cross. It was by the hand of His own Father, and He laid His own life down, humbled before His Father and God.

The religious leaders rather then drawing people to God, and the Son were pushing people away with their hard heartedness, their cold indifference and legalism; and the blindness of the heart. Let us never allow our hearts to grow hard, coldly indifferent, becoming blind and legalistic in the teaching of regeneration and justification.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Devil Against Himself???

Accusation – The Devil Against Himself

“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.” Matthew 12:25-27 (KJV)

What the Pharisees would have us believe is that the works of Jesus was the works of the devil. The works the Lord performed were works against the devil and all evil. Satan working against himself would be self-destructive. That is what is called civil war. Warring against oneself.

The devil can do things in counterfeit, but he never copies for good. A counterfeit is for the purpose of deceit, leading away from the true and the good. The devil himself is called as, “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Someone once asked me, “Can Satan heal?” My answer, “He can give the appearance of healing.” The woman who asked me this did not like my answer, and her and her husband never returned to our church. They had been going to so called “medical spiritist” and things like this. Those are tools of the devil, and it is connected to voodoo, and witchcraft. “Can Satan heal?” My answer to that question is still the same. He gives the appearance of healing, a counterfeit. The devil counterfeits to try and destroy the work of Christ with deceptive workers and their lies as well.

Satan will not do anything to destroy himself, or his legions of demons. Most of the counterfeit work he does is to call attention to himself. Like Jesus says, “If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself…”, and a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. The counterfeit work of the devil is to deceive, and attempt to destroy the works of God, even the child of God. Satan hates God and anyone who believes/trust in Him, and lives for Him.

The accusation the Pharisees bring is basically self defeating. If Jesus is casting out demons by Satan’s power, then, by whom are the Jewish exorcists casting them out? There is an example of Jewish exorcists casting out, or attempting to cast out demons, in Acts 19:13-17. “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Acts 19:13-17 (KJV). We never see Jesus, His disciples, or apostles, using means of “exorcism” of demons. Everytime Jesus cast out demons He simply commanded them to leave. His disciples, and apostles much the same. There is no ritual or form for casting our demons. It is by the power of Christ Jesus and His Word they must leave. The gospel of Jesus Christ – the death of Jesus on the cross, His burial, and the resurrection is the power to rid a soul of demons. Where Jesus is in residence, the devil or his demons cannot remain.

Because these religious leaders were accusing Jesus of Satanic power they themselves would be judged by their own exorcists for their accusations. The house of the devil will one day be destroyed, and it will be by the hand of the One who does not deceive, counterfeit, or lie; but is just, honest and true.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

It Will Not Tarry…

THE SECOND PROMISE

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV).

 

Habakkuk is seeing a vision of God. He has had many a question. God wants to reassure the prophet that what He has told him will come to pass just as He has said. He must wait for it. It will come, and it will not tarry.

How many times do we grow impatient for the way of the Lord? We know He has promised something and we wonder, “When?” We even lose hope for a while, and we try to intervene, and then, that may end up delaying the promise because of our unbelief, or at least when it seems longer in coming we feel we are the cause of delay. We must learn and know God has an appointed time for every event. One day it will occur just as He has promised.

 

Think of God’s promise to Abraham for a son. For many long years he and Sarah waited, yet no son. Until, one day Sarah had this “brilliant” idea. “Why don’t you sleep with my servant girl, have a baby by her and fulfill God’s will for us”. Believe it or not Abraham conceded and they had a son. This was not in accord with the promise of God. Any time we try and jump ahead of God we bring trouble on ourselves.

God’s vision is for an appointed time. God will fulfill His promises. The following is a quote from my study of the first four verses of chapter two:

“Verse three tells the prophet that the vision God has given has an appointed time. It may seem as though it is being delayed, but it has a time of its own – by God. When its time comes it will not delay. It will not ‘tarry’. When God’s time for carrying out His promises come; they will be fulfilled, and to the letter. There are many who because, the rapture of the Church, or the glorious appearing of our Savior has not yet occurred think it is not literal, or that it has already happened. It will happen – in God’s time (His appointed time), and it has not happened yet. It will, and will not tarry. This is just as a means of illustrating, but it does make the point – God’s Word will be fulfilled completely.”

 

The Lord is merciful and gracious. That is something for which all people should be grateful. When God does judge sin He judges it completely. He will not leave any of it. When He judged the earth the first time by flood every soul of man was destroyed, except for eight. Except for those on the ark every flying fowl died, and every walking fowl. Every beast of the field. It was tragic to say the least, but God will not tolerate sin.

That same thing is true in His people. The word He has spoken will come to pass. He judged the Nation of Israel and Judah. They had turned their back on Him, worshipped other gods, lived in iniquity, and offered children in the fire. His promise is, “Write the vision… For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”. Note the emphasis put within this promise of the fulfillment of this Word from God. It is an appointed time – God’s time not ours. At its appointed time it shall speak, and then, no one will call it a “Lie”. This is an assurance of the truth of God’s Word. Though it may seem long in coming, “Wait for it” – in other words with enduring patience keep on living your faith (“But the just shall live by his faith”). Just because the promise seems long in coming does not give us license to live in rebellion against God and His Word. It should be motivation to live by faith. Again the assurance is given “It will surely come”. The fulfillment of God’s promise; both for cleansing judgment and for renewing. And, once again, the assurance that it does not “Tarry”. It will be at God’s “appointed time” – no sooner, no later.

 

Many of God’s promises that have not yet been fulfilled for Israel will yet be fulfilled. Yet, there are many who want to continue to tell us that God is finished with Israel as a Nation, and that these promises are for the “New Israel” meaning the Church. These promises to Israel the Nation will be fulfilled. They are not just spiritual promise, but literal physical promises of returning to the land of promise. Of a literal King who will forever sit on the throne in Jerusalem. Those promises will come, and they will not tarry. It will come in God’s appointed time. In the meantime keep living by the faith God has given you.

The greatest promise of all is the return of Jesus Christ.  Before He died on the cross for the sins of the world Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…” (John 14:3).  On the cross He took the sins of the world, the sins of mankind upon Himself, became sin for us, was judged by His Father, enduring the wrath of sin that belonged to you and me, dying, forsaken by His Father, victorious over the enemy, was buried carrying our sins as far away as east is from west, and casting them into the deepest parts of the sea.  He then, after three days, rose bodily from the grave, then forty days later was seen ascending into the clouds, and those who witnessed were told, “…This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11).  When He comes He will not tarry.  Even so, Come Lord Jesus. 

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Allegiance, License, and Legalism

ALLEGIANCE, LICENSE, AND LEGALISM

Matthew 5:17-20

We hear quite often that since Christ came, died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, and we put our trust and faith in Him we can live without the law. That seems to be growing in popularity. Let me add here that there are sins which the law of God does not directly address, but they are sins. When you live in a society where the drinking of alcoholic beverage is more than tolerated, but almost admired, and when you are encouraged to drink it when you are watching the television through the commercials, then, it is time to stand and say this is wicked, vile, and evil. When the society we live in practically worships sexuality, and indecent, adulterous, promiscuous sexual conduct; then, it is also time to declare to the world and society that pornography is wicked, and rebellion against God.

There are those in Christian circles who say to us, “We are free in Christ”. I would be the first to admit our freedom in Christ. However, that term freedom in Christ is too often taken our of the Biblical context. It has absolutely nothing to do with ‘Freedom to sin’; it has everything to do with living Christ like, holy, righteous, undefiled lives; it is, in fact, the “Freedom to live for Christ”. Being no longer against Him, but with Him how can any child of God believe that freedom to be freedom to live in absolut rebellion to His holiness.

Do we discount the law, especially because according to Jesus He did not come to destroy them, but to fulfill them? Did He fulfill them? Yes!!! Does that means we are unaccountable to the law?

Let me give the definition of the three basic words of our title. They all will be addressed in this message

 

ANTINO’MIAN

, a. [Gr. against, and law.] Against law; pertaining to the Antinomians.

ANTINO’MIAN

, n. One of a sect who maintain, that, under the gospel dispensation, the law is of no use or obligation; or who hold doctrines which supersede the necessity of good works and a virtuous life. This sect originated with John Agricola about the year 1538. OLD WEBSTER DICTIONARY e-Sword.

ALLE’GIANCE

 

, n. [L. alligo, of ad and ligo, to bind. See Liege and League.]

The tie or obligation of a subject to his Prince or government; the duty of fidelity to a king, government or state. Every native or citizen owes allegiance to the government under which he is born. This is called natural or implied allegiance, which arises from the connection of a person with the society in which he is born, and his duty to be a faithful subject, independent of any express promise. Express allegiance, is that obligation which proceeds from an express promise, or oath of fidelity.

Local or temporary allegiance is due from an alien to the government or state in which he resides. OLD WEBSTER DICTIONARY From e-Sword.

Legalism

 

Strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to the religious or moral code. THE MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

The reason I use the word ‘antinomian’ above is because that is the word which best describes the lawless. The ones who want us to believe that we are above the law, because we have been saved through faith in Jesus.

If we are Christian, ie., ‘Christlike’, then we must behave like Jesus. That would mean fulfilling the law. He tells us, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.” We must put on a DEFINITE SPIRITUAL ALLEGIANCE to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Law and the Prophets is clearly the Old Testament Scriptures. It is the only Scriptures the people of Jesus’s day and the apostles had to read. It was the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah’s prophecy Jesus read from the day He declared Himself as having come. We often on certain occasions Pledge Allegiance to our Flag – the flag of the United States of America. When we talk of pledging allegiance to our Lord, we get to thinking it too costly. We owe fidelity to our King – King Jesus and His government. We were born under His government, thus, allegiance is owed to Him. When we received the covenant of salvation and baptism we pledged our allegiance to Him and His laws.

Jesus continues, then, by saying, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (NKJV). These laws are for the moral good of our society. It seems to be also, that, though there are not direct applications to certain aspects of sin having to do with certain societies, there is still an application of the morality God’s law establishes. Anything that is harmful to our fellow human being, fitting into the final six of the Ten Commandments, would be a violation of the law. There are some who will tell us, “If it is not directly named and forbiden by the law, then we cannot call it sin”. There are many sins not directly mentioned or named and forbidden in the Bible. Consider for example, pornography, gambling, beverage alcohol, and though it is mentioned in the Bible as sin this one is often overlooked, and that is gluttony. We live in a society which practically endorses these behaviors, yet they are clearly harmful to all those who practice them. The first three mentioned can and do destroy peoples homes; spouses, children, jobs; now someone please tell me I am being legalistic because of my concern for the destruction of homes and families. It is sin to destroy your home, because of your participation in these acts; thus I have no problem calling them sin. Does the fact of Jesus fulfilling the law mean that the law is disabled?

Jesus says, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Are we saved by the obedience to the law? Paul the apostle wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV). The law has been fulfilled, thus it lives in our changed hearts and lives. Our desire is no longer to follow the passions of lust, ie., the lusts and passions of the sinful world. We are free to follow the passions of Jesus. Jesus’s passion was to die for our sins. He calls His followers to “Take up your cross, and follow Me”. When He took up His cross it led to His death. Our cross leads to our death to sin; not to bask or relish in sins supposed, and short lived pleasures.

The words of Jesus in finishing this on the law are these; “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” v. 20 (NKJV). I have previously written of Matthew 23:3 where Jesus tells his listeners to do what they teach, but do not follow their works. These religious leaders were hypocrites. A hypocrite is an individual who pretends to be what they are not. There are far too many of these in churches today, because the local congregations have grown lax in thier discipleship, teaching and training, doctrine, and law of God, and the prophets. We applaud the works of people rather than the work of Christ. We fail to correct false teaching, and allow it to grow into a cancerous, disgusting, putrid, stink. We have failed to see the nation of Israel as our example; especially for the individual Christian. Every action of the nation of Israel and their departure from God can happen to the individual Christian. Just as God has chastised the Nation, and continues to do so; He also will discipline the individual who runs astray from God, His Word, His law, and the prophets; and away from God’s will.

The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was a self-earned righteousness. Their self-righteousness was a stench in the nasal passages of God (See Isaiah 64:6). They only supposed they had reached the level of the righteous God, but actually had failed, and prided themselves in their greatness. That shows you and I the truth of what the apostle Paul said to the church of Ephesus, “…Not of works, lest anyone should boast”. The only righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees is the righteousness which God ascribes to us; and that is the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, which we receive when we have by faith been transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Without His righteousness there is no entering the kingdom of heaven.

Allegiance to Jesus Christ should be our only allegiance with eternal gain, and realize that our allegiance to our Nation is for the purpose of ascribing the worth of Jesus Christ in all that we do. The only license we have from God is by faith through Christ to live for Him, to glorify Him, to show forth the name of Jesus in all our work, and play. The life of the Christian is not “License” to sin, but license to live for Christ. As Christians we are to promote and encourage a life of holiness, righteousness, justice, and walk humbly with our Lord (See Micah 6:8); and as teachers and leaders of such; practice these things ourselves. Not to earn salvation, but because of salvation. Let me reemphasize that legalism is requiring more for salvation than grace. It is not legalism to expect, to teach, and require holiness in the people who follow Jesus. Much of the charges of legalism that is being thrown around today is only further license to sin in the name of “Freedom” or “Liberty” in the name of Christ. We are called to call harmful acts of behavior SIN. I say that any action which does not glorify Jesus Christ is an act of sin. I am in great need, and have received that grace which I need for life and living. How about you?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Works

The King’s Works

 

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Matthew 12:22-24 (KJV)

The man could not see, nor could he speak. It is highly probable that this man could not hear as well. Scripture tells us he was “Possessed with a devil [demon]”. Now we live in a sophistcated society which tries to deny the spiritual in many ways. There are people who see “ghosts”, who see “spirits” and all kinds of certain phenomena, but the thought of demons seems to elude people. Many refuse to see evil as it is often seen.

Whether this man who was brought to Jesus and possessed by the demon had been made mute and blind by the demon is not seen. At any rate when Jesus heals the one possessed he is no longer possessed. He had been shunned because of his condition. Unable, because of strict religious ceremonial laws to attend worship at the temple. Jesus simply heals the man.

Due to Jesus doing this miracle many began to see Him as “the son of David”. This title is a Biblical title for the Messiah. The long awaited promised son of David who would come and deliver God’s people from their sins.

Upon hearing the people saying, “Is this the son of David?” the Pharisees react without grace, without mercy, and begin condemning Jesus. They are blind to the works which Jesus has done and is doing. His works are evidence of who He is. Old Testament Scriptures tell of the Messiah/King doing mighty deeds. The question arose partly from doubt because of Jesus’s position in life – “Acquainted with grief” (Isaiah53:3), and the Pharisees and all religious leaders had no confidence that their Messiah could be suffering or be acquainted with grief. They missed the parts where God speaks of the Suffering Savior, by appointing those verses to themselves, rather than to He who was to come. They saw only one coming of the Messiah, and appointed these miracles of Jesus to acts of the devil. Thus they put themselves in the precarious situation of eternal condemnation. They would take the triumphant Scriptures and appoint them only to the coming of a ruling conquering King, thereby, missing the point of the coming suffering servant, dying for the sins of the world.

In rejecting His works they rejected their king. By rejecting Jesus and His works they condemn themselves by giving Satan the glory for these marvelous works (v. 27). They were more concerned with preserving their traditional laws, and especially their own interpretation of the laws, than they were with meeting the needs of the people. When the preservation of traditional interpretation of the law becomes more important than the saving of a soul, that is when we open ourselves to judgment, and being rejected by our Lord. We must always stand on the truth of the gospel, and stand for it. Without the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, ie., the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; we have no salvation.

These religious leaders were blinded by jealousy, rage, and just an out and out blindness for the truth, in order that Jesus might fulfill the very word of God, and glorify the Father, and provide salvation to a lost world.

When we appoint the works of God and His Son Jesus Christ as works of Satan we put ourselves in the spot of condemnation. No true child of God – follower of Jesus Christ – is going to be condemned; so no true child of God is going to equate the works of Christ to that of the devil. It is sad that people who seem to know the Scriptures will often twist them, or distort them to come to their own interpretation, and in their interpretation miss the whole picture of the Scriptures. The picture is of Jesus; the person is Jesus. John the Revelator wrote by the Spirit, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10b).

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The King Withdraws

The King Withdraws

 

“But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Matthew 12:15-21 (KJV)

Jesus knowing the conspiracy going on among the religious leaders thought it wise to withdraw from the area, because He knew it was not the right time for His death. There were, however a great multitude of people who followed him, and this because they were fascinated with His gift of miracles. Jesus was not leaving because He was fearful, but knew full well He needed to be out of the reach of the vile and tormented hearts of the religious leaders.

We are told that, “He healed them all”. It seems that it was speaking of only those who were in the multitudes following. There was still multitudes of people through out all Israel who were not healed of their sicknesses and infirmities.

There are other points in the gospels where Jesus speaks to silence the desire to tell others of Him. Here is one of them. The reasons for the commandment of silence are probably numerous. One which might be so is that of being God’s will and timing is of the utmost importance. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus could not be done in haste, but it must be done in order. Jesus’s sole priority is to do the will of His Father, and it would be done. In one place Jesus told a healed leper, “See that you tell no one…” (Matthew 8:4); in Matthew 16:20 Jesus tells His disciples, “…that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.” After healing a deaf mute in Mark 7:36 we are told, “Then He commanded them that they should tell no one…”. For the most part it seems that this was so the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Jesus took great care to see that God’s Word was fulfilled to the letter. Some might see this as personal manipulation on Jesus’s part, it is not manipulation, but rather living it out to its fulness. He desires that His followers – disciples – have that same living out of the Word of God in our lives.

He gives us the reason for this commandment of not telling when He says, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…”. God’s glory and God’s Word are very important to God and His Son Jesus. The Psalmist wrote, “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” Psalm 138:2b (NKJV). The Psalmist also wrote, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89. Someone has said, “God said it; I believe it; so that settles it”. I think this way, “God said it; that settles it; and that is still true whether I believe it or not”.

Let’s examine what is meant by the prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 42:1-4, and is quoted here in Matthew. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy as the Servant/Messiah. His coming the first time was not going to be like what the religious leaders had believed. They were expecting a politician, a general of war, a deliverer from Roman government. Jesus, as the fulfillment of this prophecy was quiet, peaceable, gentle, meek, etc. As the prophecy says, “He shall not strive, nor cry, neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.” That is not to say that people did not hear His teachings and preaching; many heard but did not believe. He did not try to stir up a revolution or force His power on any. As a matter of fact there is evidence that many tried to come to Him and force Him to be their king (John 6:15). There is coming a time when Jesus will rule and reign as King on the earth, but the time has not yet come.

Of the “bruised reed” and the “smoking flax”, The MacArthur Study Bible notes,

12:20 bruised reed…smoking flax. The reed was used by shepherds to fashion a small musical instrument. Once cracked or worn, it was useless. A smoldering wick was also useless for giving light. These represent people who are deemed useless by the world. Christ’s work was to restore and rekindle such people, not to ‘break’ them or ‘quench’ them. This speaks of His tender compassion toward the lowliest of the lost. He came not to gather the strong for a revolution, but to show mercy to the weak. Cf. 1 Cor. 1:26-29.” From p. 1414 New King James Version edition of The MacArthur Study Bible.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came the first time to give His life as a payment for the sins of mankind. He paid that debt in full. He will return a second time to take vengeance on those who deny Him, and the world will be once and for all delivered of all evil. The name of Jesus is the name in which all people and nations, tribes and tongues can put their faith and trust. The whole world can find peace in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Wonderful Love of God

The Wonderful Love of God

There are far too many times I have heard of people, even Christians, saying; “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament”, or they say; “People of the Old Testament were saved differently than the people of the New Testament time.” My usual response to that is; “That just isn’t so”.

In reading in the book of Genesis we find that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD”. He did not earn his salvation it was by grace (Genesis 6:8). We find again in Genesis, “And he [Abram, ie., Abraham] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). That same phrase is used to assure us that Abraham was not saved by works but by grace in Romans 4:1-4.

In looking in the book of Jeremiah the prophet proclaims the love or our God and Savior:

“They say, ‘if a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; ‘Yet return to Me,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:1 (NKJV).

The prophet likens the people of Israel and Judah to a wife who has committed many adulteries, and abominations against her Husband who is God. According to law, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, it was an unclean act for a man to have his previously divorced, remarried, divorced and to take her back to himself. It was considered a defilement of the promised land. God, though, seeing the uncleanness of His people calls them to repent and return to Him. Despite the fact of their many acts of treachery, adultery and spiritual adultery, their murder of small children and elderly people; God says, “I still love you. Return to Me.’

That is the grace of God displayed in the Old Testament. Saved and restored by God’s amazing and wonderful love and grace.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Though It Be Told You…

THE FIRST PROMISE

Habakkuk 1:5

“ Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”

We have read and written a little of the five “Woes” of Habakkuk, and they are pronouncements of judgment against Babylon. They are not woes against Judah. The promises are for Judah, but this first one is probably not in the way one would hope.

Remember the prophet was questioning how God could use an unholy people to judge the people of God who were supposed to be holy.

We sometimes do not understand why there is such wickedness in the world and why such bad things happen to “good people”, while it seems that the wicked go without judgment, pain or sorrow. Some of them, as far as the things of the world are concerned have all their hearts could ever desire. My thought on that is – remember this will be the only place they can enjoy their life unless they come to faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They then, will be paying throughout all eternity.

When God’s people turn a disobedient ear to His Word and His messengers, ie., the prophets, then He will open the gates to let evil men, nations and influences come in and be a thorn in the sides of His people. When was the last time you turned a deaf ear to the Word of the Lord or His prophet? Has things changed since that time? Has it been for the better or the worse? I would imagine it was for the worse.

One problem I see with many Christians today is they are crying out to see the mighty hand of God; to see a mighty move of God; and they are not seeing it. He is working. He is moving. He is first of all calling those who say they know Him to be bold in their faith and convictions. He is calling us to stand bravely for Christ in a wicked world that is sliding into Hell and that slippery slope is getting more and more slippery, and they are sliding with great speed into the dungeon of death everlasting.

Those who hate God and His Son Jesus are called upon to “Behold… and regard, and wonder marvelously”. What do the unbeliever’s see in us? Do they see faith, hope, and love; or do they see bitterness, anger, wrath, malice, filthy mouths, lying lips, sowing of discord among brethren, etc.?

The first promise we hear is that God is going to work a work in those who hate God’s people. That God is going to work a work in His own people, even, which will be hard to believe, because it is so marvelous. That work will be the bringing of “Woes” upon them, and using them to accomplish His purposes in God’s people. That work will be worked in God’s people as well.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Law Fulfilled (2)

THE LAW FULFILLED (II)

The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31 (KJV).

In this article we will look at the “second” which Jesus speaks of, and has to do with the final six of the Ten Commandments.

The fifth commandment, which is the first commandment in our relationships with our fellowman is, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Ex 20:12 (KJV). If you will notice this is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it (Eph. 6:2). The strength of a good society begins in the families of that society. If mothers and fathers are not respected, revered, honored, and obeyed, then that home will not be strong. If a complete society is full of dishonored parents, then that society will fall. Honoring our parents will bring respect for other people and strengthen other homes and societies. Remember, there is the promise of long life to those who “Honor your father and mother”.

The sixth commandment is, “Thou shalt not kill.” Ex 20:13 (KJV). That is the shortest one yet, but is greatly needed. One who “Love(s) thy neighbor as thyself” will not commit the act of murder. This is not a commandment against protecting one’s own life or possessions. It means, to commit no murder. The act of premeditated murder, where it is plotted and planned and even setting a “trap” to kill someone. That is the act that is forbidden here. Of course, the child of God would not desire to even take the life of anyone whether in an act against our own person, a family member or a neighbor.

This commandment does not take away the God-given right to government for sentencing and carrying out the sentence of death for a murderous or criminal offense which calls for the death penalty. Basically, this law holds the utmost respect for all human life. It should be applied to the SCNT, and abortion controversy. If we are to err let us err on the side of LIFE. SEE ALSO Matthew 5:21-22.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Ex 20:14 (KJV), is the seventh commandment, and it to has to do with our relationship with our fellowman. Adultery, of course, is speaking of what is called today as, “Having an affair”. One married individual with another married individual who are not married to one another, and it could be adultery also, if one is not married and the other is. Would you want your wife sleeping with another man, or with a woman? Would you want your husband sleeping with another woman, or a man? The act of adultery is actually the act of a thief as well (Proverbs 6:20-35). God desires that we hold sexuality in very high regard. It is cheapened when marriage is given to homosexuality, polygamy, and what ever else could follow. See what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28.

“Thou shalt not steal.” Ex 20:15 (KJV). All of these commandments show that there is to be respect for individual rights given by Holy God. The right of parents to be honored and respected. The right to a life without fear of someone else taking it away. The right to have a good, solid, godly home where husband and wife trust one another, and there are no others, and this one the right to one’s own property. It also teaches to respect personal property. If you take something belonging to someone else, you have no respect for the rights of others. Others have worked hard to get what they have. They have earned the income which gave them the power to purchase that thing that you steal. You have no right to it. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Would you want something that you have worked so hard for to be stolen from you? Of course not. Neither does your neighbor. Who is your neighbor? Anyone you meet or know, and those you do not know.

The next commandment has to do with how you speak of others – your neighbor. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Ex 20:16 (KJV). How many times have the reputations of others been damaged, by knowingly false information, given by someone out to destroy them? You may think, “Well, I would never do that”. Really!!! Have you ever told a story you had heard on anyone, and it was nothing but gossip. Even if it is true, it is sometimes best to not pass on a story you have heard of someone. Not only can it destroy the person whom the story is about, but it could also come back on you. The question I have asked of the others carries over here as well. Would you like someone to tell a story on you? A person can be a “False witness” even in telling a true story, by the wrong intention of the heart. When Christ is in the heart, and reigns supremely these laws are written there with great desire to obey them for His honor and glory.

The final commandment is, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” Ex 20:17 (KJV). In the New Testament “Covetousness” is called idolatry (Col. 3:5). Basically, this could be called the capstone of all the commandments. It is certain that if your heart is on other things, it is certainly not on God alone, thus, breaking the first four commandments, and it is not right with your fellowman, because you want what she/he has. Jealousy, envy, whatever you want to call it is there, and you care nothing for your neighbor. This command has to do with being satisfied with your own. Look at these admonitions from God’s Word – “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 (KJV). “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil 4:11 (KJV). “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 1 Tim 6:7-8 (KJV).

The Law of God written in our hearts just as God declared to the prophets. See Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26. Without Jesus death on the cross the Law condemns us, because we are powerless to obey these laws, but with Jesus as our Savior He abides in us thus fulfilling the law in our lives. Glory be to Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

One Greater Than the Sabbath

Greater Than the Sabbath

“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Matthew 12:1-8 (KJV).

It seems that there are several times in the gospels where Jesus is doing something on the Sabbath day. In doing so He gains the attention of the religious leaders, where He evidently doesn’t in His teaching and preaching, or in the miracles that he does. These religious leaders believe in the Sabbath day celebrations, and worship. It is odd, but it was for their violations of the Sabbaths that Israel went into Babylonian captivity. At least that was one partial reason. They were in Babyonian captivity one year for each Sabbath which had been violated. This includes the sabbaths of the land, jubilees, and other (Read Leviticus 26). There is much said about Israel profaning the holy things in Ezekiel 20 – 23. One of those holy things is the Sabbaths of the LORD. When the LORD is speaking to them, warning them of the the dangers of disobedience He told them, “I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scater you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.” Leviticus 26:32-34 (KJV). This warning was carried out according to Jeremiah the prophet, “…To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil three score and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:21.

It could be because of the past that these Jewish leaders had taken such a strong stance on the sabbath. Not a good excuse or reason. It is nothing short of blindness. They are really not so concerned with the keeping of the sabbath day or special sabbaths as they are their power and authority. They were more concerned with popularity, than truth. The reason I make that judgment is because Jesus Himself told them they were blind, and in the above passage they seem to be unfamiliar with the Scriptures they are so fond of. They had the written truth, were familiar with the truth, but when the Truth was standing before them, they knew Him not.

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” How can religious leaders be telling the Creator that it is unlawful to walk through a field on the sabbath day, “harvesting and eating” grain? It is a very foolish effort on their part. Being the Creator He is greater than the sabbath day. He is the greatest rest. When we know Him we rest from our foolish attempts at righteousness, and rest in His righteousness alone.

Jesus is accused of profaning the sabbath and it happened many times. He dealt with His accusers justly, and with righteous judgment, and for the good of the people. The accusations of profaning the sabbath day was more rejection; and had no merit. The “righteous-guilty” are really the one’s who are first to condemn those who are really most righteous. Despite overwhelming evidence these self-righteous men continue to be bound by the one Jesus called their father.

Many of the people who came to Jesus, the multitudes who were fed of the five thousand and the four thousand, would later turn from Him. Many seek to follow wonders and signs, then, reject the Lord. To ask the Lord for signs in order to believe is not faith.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Key Commandment

A KEY COMMANDMENT

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Ex 20:17 (KJV).

This one final commandment is a KEY COMMANDMENT, because it will have an affect on all the others.

Covetousness is the heart of envy, greed, and lust. Marriages are ruined, friendships are wrecked, and even churches have been destroyed because of this “little” sin of coveting. It is not so “Little”. It will affect your actions toward the rest of the commandments.

COVETING IS THE SECRET SIN – no one can see this sin, or knows you commit it; except God and yourself.

There are some Bible examples of covetous behavior. Achan, when the Israelites conquered Jericho, saw a nice garment, some silver and gold, and took it, even after hearing the commandment of the Lord not to do so. Because of this disobedience Israel failed in its attempt to conquer Ai, and people of Israel died (See Joshua 7). There is also king David; as he was walking upon the roof top of his palace he viewed an attractive woman bathing, and he coveted her. Someone put it like this – HE SAW HER, HE SENT FOR HER, HE SINNED WITH HER. Because of this action of covetousness, it is very clear that he broke all the others, and he murdered the husband of the woman (See 2 Samuel 11:1-5ff.). Another one is Ahab, the vineyard thief; Naboth had a vineyard which Ahab coveted, and with the designing aid of his deceiving queen clearly broke the ninth commandment with false witnesses, and murdered Naboth to get the thing he longed for.

WHY THIS IS A KEY COMMANDMENT. James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 (KJV). Get that, “Guilty of all”. Now that can be said of all the others too, but here, I hope you can see why it is important to realize that covetousness is a seed of evil, that breeds evil, and leads to the decay of the whole law in the hearts of people.

According to the book of Colossians it is Idolatry to covet. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5 (KJV). Even the book of Ephesians backs this up by saying, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). Note that Paul has written there, “Nor covetous man, who is an idolater…” O, the sad thing is there are many, many, too many people who live for the grasping and holding on of things, or people, or positions, or power; do I need to go on. I think you get the point.

If this commandment is broken, then there is absolutely no value left in any of the others, for the one who is coveting. If she/he can get what they want by falsely accusing another they will do it. If they can get it by fraud in the company they work for (stealing), they will, by all means possible. If he/she sees another person they desire, married or not, they will do what ever to get them. They will not stop at murder to get someone out of the way to obtain their goal. Certainly by these things there will be no way they are honoring their father or mother, and most sure have nothing to do with God who created them.

COVETOUSNESS LEADS TO ENVY, ANGER, MALICE, GOSSIP, ETC.. The goal of gossip is always to try and show one’s self better than the one who is being talked about.

LET’S SEE WHAT JESUS SAID, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV). Again Jesus says, ” Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt 6:31-34 (KJV). Now if this is not a word for those who covet things and such, I am mistaken about the whole issue, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:21 (KJV). If your heart is on the things of the world, that is your treasure. However, if your heart is on the Lord and His righteousness and glory, that is your treasure. If you are going to covet; covet the godly things, that will glorify the Savior.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

J.R. Graves – 1820

J.R. Graves was born in Vermont in 1820. In 1841 he moved south and united with the Mount Freedom Baptist Church in Jessamine County, Kentucky. In May of 1842 Graves was ordained by this church. What is interesting is that three years before J.R. Graves joined this church, they voted on two doctrinal questions related to landmarkism. The below quote is from S. J. Conkwright’s 1923 “History of the Churches of Boone’s Creek Baptist Association” , under the Mount Freedom Baptist Church section on page 98.

“In January, 1838, on a motion made by Joseph Minter, the following two questions were put to a vote.
1st Query: Is it right that a member of this church should commune with any other church that is not of the same faith and order? Answer: No.”
“2nd Query: Is it right for this church to receive a member’s baptism valid that was baptized by another society, that is not of the same faith and order with us? Answer: In the negative.”

This is just one more historical example that proves that the vast majority of Baptists in the south, as well as the north, rejected alien immersion and open communion long before J.R. Graves published the Cotton Grove Resolutions in 1851. The idea that Graves invented the doctrines of Landmarkism is proved once again to be false. A special thanks to Bro. Jim Duvall for finding this important quote – http://www.geocitie s.com/baptist_ documents/ ky.jessamine. mt.freedm. bc.html

Email post by Ben Stratton Landmark Southern Baptist Group List.