No Excuses

Every Mouth Stopped

Romans 3:9-20

Nature loudly proclaims that there is a Maker of all this creation. The very fact of the order of our universe declares an intelligence must have designed it all. It could not work with such precision otherwise. I write this to say that because of this no one who is has an excuse before God. If man has only the law of nature, and a conscience that teaches him right from wrong – a law in his heart – and that we, as human beings are to worship God we are responsible, and unless we believe God we shall perish.

There is, however, a greater responsibility upon those who have the written revelation of God. The Law, the Scriptures, the Word of God tells us what nature and conscience do, but also much more. We have previously seen that those without law (the written revelation) shall perish without law, and those with the law shall be judged [or perish] in the law (2:12). There are none who are guiltless. The only hope for any in repentance from sin to God for His righteousness.

IN READING THE SCRIPTURES; GOD LEAVES US NO DOUBT THAT SIN IS UNIVERSAL. (v. 9). “…Both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin…”

Is the Jew better than the pagan Gentile? Is the religious better than the Non-religious? Is the moral individual better than the immoral individual? NO! Not as far as sin and its condemnation is concerned.

In the previous chapters we have seen every level of humanity, and that we are all without excuse before God. Contrary to what any legalist may say, the Law offers no hope; it only shows us death.

WITHOUT THE REDEMPTION OF JESUS CHRIST THE WHOLE INNER BEING OF MAN IS CONTROLLED BY SIN (vv. 10-12). The mind, the heart and the will of unredeemed mankind are all under the control of sin. It is the inner being that affects the way we live our lives.

With the unredeemed mind we have no “Understanding” of God”, “…There is none that understandeth.” With the unredeemed heart, “There is none that seeketh after God”. With the unredeemed will of man, there is “None that doeth good”.

Are we to understand by the phrase “None that doeth good” that no lost, unredeemed person ever does anything good? No! It means that he/she does no good that glorifies the Lord. Nothing good that is done by an unredeemed person will affect God’s judgment of them for their good.

No one seeks God, except God seeks them first. No one has “understanding” of God until God gives them that understanding. It is all by grace, and none of you or I. God Himself, receives the glory.

The word “Righteous” means God’s standard. That is the standard we must meet if we are to gain God’s approval. That righteousness is not obtainable in ourselves. It is only obtained through faith in Jesus Christ.

The words “No, not one” is mentioned twice in three verses – ten and twelve. God says, that there is absolutely “No one” who meets His standard for righteousness. In order for us to please God we must see as He sees. We must see that sin is a stench in His nostrils. It offends His sense of holiness and purity. We most certainly must see that it separates us from Him. If we have trouble seeing the devastation sin causes in human relations and in the creation, then, there is no fellowship with God.

THESE VERSES SHOW THAT WE ARE ALL CONDEMNED FROM THE TOP OF OUR HEAD TO OUR TIPS OF OUR TOES (vv. 13-18). The mouth as all know is part of the head. The throat is the area that provides air for the ability to make sounds, and swallow food (I could not forget that part on food). Paul says that the throat of depraved man “Is an open sepulchre”, “an open tomb”. The sepulchre or tomb was a place for the buried dead. Unredeemed man is incapable of speaking words of life.

There is deceit from their tongues. Lying is a common practice of people who do not know God. Sad to say it is of some professing Christians too. If your heart is indulged in your own way, then, your words will show your own way. These will be the main mode of communication. No words will glorify the Lord. Your mouth will speaks words of life or words of death.

Christians must maintain a close fellowship with the Lord, and on a daily basis. We are to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh. No Christian can walk in the Spirit if they do not maintain a daily fellowship with God in prayer, Bible reading and study, walking with God His way.

Speaking of the feet Paul says, “Their feet are swift to shed blood”. This is because of an unredeemed heart, mind and will. Paul has a positive thing to say of the feet of those who preach the gospel (Rom. 10:25).

The real reason “…feet are swift to shed blood” is because, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” When nations, kings, rulers, citizens, and believers in Christ no longer fear God there will be no more respect for life, and Human life in particular. The love of God has been abused, misused, and misunderstood. “God is love”, but He also hates sin and will judge it. Because, God is love, He judges sin. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).

ALL “WHO ARE UNDER THE LAW”, EVERY MOUTH STOPPED, AND “ALL THE WORLD… GUILTY” (vv. 19-20). Every man, woman, boy and girl is responsible to God for their sin. The Gentile people of the world (all who are not Hebrew” are responsible and worthy of death because they have the law of conscience and of nature. Both of these are a law declaring a holy, righteous, and all powerful God who is worthy of worship and praise. The conscience and nature condemns us.

The written law given to the Jews, was and is a clear revelation of God to man; to show man’s need for God. This written law also condemns us. It has no life of its own to save or deliver us from sin.

Let’s say your family physician tell you one day, and some of you have experienced this, “You have cancer”, and then, he tells you, “I am only your family physician, I am not a specialist, nor a surgeon”. This doctor is performing the work of the law. He cannot help you, but he will point you toward the one who can – the surgeon or specialist.

Doctor Law says, “You have sin in your life. I can’t help you, but Doctor Grace can.”

This law; written, nature, or conscience declares the righteousness of God. Because of sin we are cut off from God. Because of law we are made knowledgeable of this eternal separation.

No one has an excuse for sin. There is no amount of good deeds, religious ritual, or moral behavior that can gain God’s favor. We have God’s favor by His grace through faith. No work, but God’s work is sufficient to deliver us.

The law stops every mouth from saying, ‘I am good enough. Look at what I have done. I have been faithful in church attendance, and Sunday School. I never beat my wife or cheated my neighbor. My good deeds will out weigh my bad ones.” Jesus, Himself will say to you in that day, “I never knew you; depart from me ye worker of iniquity”.

You and I have absolutely nothing which God wants, except faith in Him. He gives us that too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

That the Earth May Know

That The Earth May Know…
1 Kings 8:1-61

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: that He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:54-61 (KJV)

Prayer was given by Solomon in veres 15-53, a prayer of dedication for the Temple. The above verses are a blessing on the people, and what is required of them.

The ultimate responsibility of the people of God, Israel, is found in verse 6o “….That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” That is the desire of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and through those who are Christians; through the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

The Christian’s life lived is to show forth to the world that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. We do that through the Spirit of Christ Jesus who is in us. Our lives are to be a continuing, growing testimony of the glory and power of God. Is it?

When the Church ceases to fear God; we cease to fear sin. When we have ceased to fear sin, then we have adopted the gods of the world around us, and there is no differentiation between the two. Then, the people of the earth have no motivation to fear God, or to know Him.

Corrected By Your Own Sins

In our world today we hear parents saying things like, “I want the best for my children”, or “I will do whatever I can to protect them from harm”, while at the same time let them live in immorality. Even letting the “Make up their own minds concerning morality or religion.” Parents putting their daughters on birth control pills, so they will not get pregnant is one good example of what I refer. Another is the new vaccine which supposedly protects young girls from getting a cancer which can only be contracted by sexual intercourse prematurely. That is another example.

One of the things I have noticed about God is that He does not prevent us from sinning, in most situations. He does let our sin cause us grief and sorrow.

Therefore do parents do their children good by trying to protect them from means that should teach them responsibility.? It is my belief that it is harmful to their eternal well being to try and protect them from the means that could be used to bring them to God, or to become right in fellowship with Him

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled?  The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.  Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.  Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor; or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”  Jeremiah 2:14-19 (KJV)

God is not as concerned for our physical health or wealth as He is our holiness. He despises sin and wickedness. He despises even more His own people turning away from Him. When we look to other means for safety, such as the people in the prophet’s day were doing in “Take(ing) the road to Egypt…” and “…the road to Assyria” we have turned from the Lord our God.

God is greatly grieved when His own people turn from Him to serve other gods, which are not gods, but only stone, wood, metal, or flesh. Why would the people of God do such a thing? One of the things that was prevalent in Jeremiah’s day was they had grown comfortable, wealthy, fat, and satisfied with themselves. They had the attitude, “We can never fall. We are a God blessed nation. We have the temple of God, and He will never let anything happen to it”.

I look around our Nation today, and I see much of that same attitude. Even though there is the imminent threat of terrorists infusion, bombings, and destruction we still are not trusting our Lord. We have placed more confidence in our economy, our bank account, our government, but where is our faith in God?

Since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 we have been under the merciful hand of God. Our Nation has not been attacked within our borders since that time. Is that because of our great government, our President, our wonderful Congress, and Senate? No way. It is due to the mercy and grace of God. However, that mercy and grace protecting us from terrorists attack will be removed. It has been the hand of God. He has been calling us back to Himself, and giving time for others to come to Him. That time may soon be over, then we will see the worst of terrorism.

Our own wickedness, our own backslidings will correct us. God gave a message to the two and one half tribes of Israel who were to settle on the East side of Jordan. After telling they they were to go and give aid to their brethren who were going to settle on the West side, He said through Moses,

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”  Numbers 32:23 (KJV)

If your life is filled with fear; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are trusting in things, or government for security; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are looking to any thing other than to God; your own sins will correct you. If you are His He will make you holy, and He will do whatever it takes to make you so.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Day 16 – Me and My House

Reading the fourteen chapters I read today left me a little bit bewildered, because there is so much to think about when it comes to writing and what there is to post.  As I sat down to write I was not sure of what to post here at Fire and Hammer; and then I believe I saw the way this was to go.

My reading consisted of Joshua 23 – 24 and Judges 1 – 12.  In Joshua his life is coming to an end and he offers a challenge to the people he is leading;

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

I know, I know a very familiar verse to every Christian; at least it should be.  However, I think I see it a bit differently now after reading it this time.  I noticed that Joshua puts the responsibility of their obedience upon their shoulders.  I guess I knew that previously, but it seemed more pronounced today.  Hear the conversation between Joshua and the people,

“And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.’  And the people said unto Joshua, ‘Nay; but we will serve the LORD.’  And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’  ‘Now therefore put away, said he, ‘the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.'”  vv. 19-23

God demands that His people be holy.  Joshua gave them the truth of God and His Word, and they said we will be responsible.  “We are willing to suffer the consequences of our disobedience when we do so”, “We are witnesses” of this.

We then enter the book of Judges, read of Joshua’s death, and how the people anger the LORD through their worship of foreign gods; which actually begins by departing from GOD.  Disobedience is the first step of departure from GOD;

“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19

The chariots would have appeared to them to be like a military tank to a man on foot in today’s army.  Yet, I must ask, What of God and faith in Him?  Is that not how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down?  Is that not how the waters of the Red Sea parted?  What about the water from the Rock?  The Manna from heaven?  Then we read,

“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, ‘I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.   And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?  Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” 2:1-3

So now, because of their absence of trust in the LORD, their departure from Him to other gods; GOD leaves the enemy in their midst to act as “thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”  We as Christians can sit back and judge them and ask these questions concerning their faith; but what about our own.  When it comes to holiness are there things in our hearts and lives that separate us from the blessing of God?

Our holiness is, of course, through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is His holiness, His righteousness, in which we must rest; however, we too have a responsibility to obedience in “… faith which worketh by love.” (Galations 5:6).

Grow in faith and love toward Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Where There is Liberty

Where There is Liberty

2 Corinthians 3:17

References – Gal. 2:4; 5:1, 13;  John 8:32;  James 1:25;  Isaiah 61:2;

1.  The Spirit blinds eyes of rebellion (3:14-15).
2.  The Spirit is the veil that hides the fading glory of the Old covenant (3:13, 15)
3.  The Spirit is the means of the liberty of the soul (3:16).

I.  THERE IS LIBERTY, FREEDOM, IN CHRIST THROUGH THE SPIRIT.

II.  THERE IS LIBERTY FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN AND DEATH.

III.  THERE IS LIBERTY FROM THE CONDEMNATION OF THE LAW (Gal. 2:4).

IV.   THERE IS LIBERTY WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS (Gal. 5:1).

V.  WHERE THERE IS LIBERTY THERE IS RESPONSIBILITY (Gal. 5:13).

Summary –
i.  True freedom comes only in yeilding one’s life to Jesus Christ as Master and Lord.
ii.  True freedom liberates from sin’s bondage and death.
iii.  There is liberty in the faith of Jesus Christ.
iv.  True freedom gives liberty to make clear, godly, righteous decisions.

-T.A.

Sunday morning sermon points preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church July 03, 2011.

The Spirit Of The Family

Galations 6:1

OUTLINE –

I.  BRETHREN ACCORDING TO THE FAITH.

II.  OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD BRETHREN CAUGHT IN TRANSGRESSION.

III.  THE TRANSGRESSION IS AN ACT AGAINST GOD AND HIS LAW.

IV.  A WORD FOR THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE.

V.  RESTORATION IS THE GOAL OF CORRECTION.

VI.  SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS AT THE HEART OF CORRECTION/RESTORATION.

VII.  LOOKING ATTENTIVELY AT ONE’S SELF IN CORRECTING/RESTORING A FALLEN BROTHER.

VIII.  BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO BE TEMPTED.

I refer to the family of God.  Those who are in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Families have problems.  Marriages of Biblical as well as non-biblical couples have problems, yet many times work things out or learn to live with each other in love.  The same is also true within the church – the Body of Christ.  Sadly some cannot, or don’t want to work things out.

The Christian family cannot do anything except love one another, as we have been given commandment; by our Lord Himself (John 13:34-35).

The Spirit of God’s family is His Spirit.  His Spirit gives live, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (Keep an eye on this word), temperance…  How God’s family treats one another goes a long way in the way we deal with our neighbor, work associates, or ones we might consider “enemy”.  We have no enemy but Satan, and he is the enemy of every human being.

BRETHREN ACCORDING TO THE FAITH.  There are three ways in which humanity can be called brethren.  The first is by being a part of creation some have a tendency of calling us all brethren because we are of the human race; but if that were the case, then we not be “brethren” with all created things.  That would be okay with the pantheists I guess.  Secondly, we are brethren with those who are born into our physical family.  Thirdly we are brethren when we are born again in faith through Jesus Christ.  Now there are probably other ways to be called “brethren”, but I will not consider any of those.

As brethren/family through Christ we have been born again.  Raised from death in sin to life in the crucified, buried, and risen Christ.  Called to be the brethren of Jesus Christ Himself.  He being our Elder Brother (Hebrews 2:11-13).

OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD BRETHREN CAUGHT IN TRANSGRESSION.  Every Christian has died to sin and its power; but none are sinless in this world.  The seed of Christ in us never sins (1 John 3:9-10).  The flesh in which we labor to overcome sins, must be forgiven and cleansed, changed through the sanctification of God’s Spirit.  We experience sin through the “lust of the flesh’, ‘lust of the eyes’, and ‘ the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).

This must be dealing with sin which has trapped, and holds the brethren, as he lingers within it.  A follower of Jesus Christ can become blinded by rationalizing.  It is often because we get away from daily prayer, daily Bible study and reading, church attendance/worship and living in the disobedience of it all; stuck in the mud pits of sin.

We must all be aware of sins entrapment.  It can grab, and hold you by a lingering, overbearing doubt, fear, lust.  It can bite or sting you through a simple luxury.  It can be as subtle as a slithering serpent.

THE TRANSGRESSION IS AN ACT AGAINST GOD.  Sin is transgression of God’s Law (1 John 3:4).  The law is a “schoolmaster” to bring us to Christ (3:24).  By the law we learn we transgress God’s law – we are incapable of obedience to it for the glorifying of God – thus “falling short of the glory of God”.

All mankind has transgressed the law of God making us sinners – transgressors.  Unworthy of God’s love, mercy and grace.

It is sad to say, but sometimes, even the Christian willfully transgresses the law of God, and by their sin offend others.  This is probably the “fault” or transgression of which Paul refers.  O, God be merciful to the child which willfully disobeys and send a loving member of the family for correction and restoration.

A WORD FOR THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE.  Shows there are levels of Christian growth.  The apostle speaks to this when he says to the Corinthian church, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1).  The apostle Peter even addresses this when he states, “…As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

We cannot and should not expect new born Christians to suddenly become mature.  Growing is a process, and is a good and godly thing.  It will require prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and witness.  It will also involve trials, suffering, testing – and none that are really pleasant to prove their faith.

RESTORATION IS THE GOAL OF CORRECTION.  How a piece of wood furniture is restored.  First of all it is taken apart piece by piece; then each part is sanded and prepared for finishing; then if needed new bolts, screws, biscuits replace the old; and last new varnish, laquer, or other finish is brushed or rolled onto the wood restoring and renewing the surface.

Sometimes a fallen brother or sister needs the loving, mentoring/discipling of another brother or sister to guide them back into fellowship with the church.  It is tough love that corrects and restores one loved.  It is not love at all to let a brother or sister continue in sin without correction; anymore than it would be for a parent to allow a child to continue doing something that would hurt them.

SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS AT THE HEART OF CORRECTION/RESTORATION.  Jesus spoke of meekness, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  Meekness is not weakness – it is strength or power, authority under control.  Two of the meekest men who ever lived are Jesus and Moses (Matthew 11:29;  Numbers 12:3).

As one who knows and is aware of the weakness of the flesh; meekness serves as a means of godly wisdom with understanding of one’s own redemption story.  One’s knowing from whence he/she came.  Pulled, snatched from the burning, the cesspools, pits of fear, despair, doubt, destruction, sin and condemnation.

Meekness can be seen in Presidents, kings, potentates, teachers, pastors, preachers, or leaders from most walks of life; as they take off their “garments” of leadership, and put on a tool belt: for more than political promoting picture ops.  Simply remembering our “roots”.  Putting ourselves on equal/level ground with the “overtaken” brethren.

LOOKING ATTENTIVELY AT ONE’S SELF IN CORRECTING/RESTORING A FALLEN BROTHER.  Knowing your own weakness to sin will help you to mercifully deal with brethren.  The Christian who says, “This would never happen to me”, is in for a big disappointment somewhere down the road of their lives.

Correcting is showing/teaching the errors or wrong as well as teaching the right, and without further condemnation.  Usually, the fallen brethren are feeling guilt, shame, and don’t quite know how to deal with what they have done, or are still doing.  A loving example, “considering yourself”, in their presence could be all that is necessary to bring them back.

BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO BE TEMPTED.  Jesus was tempted, but not unto sin.  Temptation is not sin.  James writes, “…Every man[everyone] is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).  We are drawn away by our lust, our ungodly desire.  Temptation only becomes sin if it is not quickly dealt with and terminated.

Temptation can be so subtle, quiet, and deceptive.  “I am not happy in my current marriage” says a wife and mother to her friend, “so, I am leaving my husband for Joe who I am happy being around”.  “God wants me to be happy”.  Temptation comes in the form of obtaining happiness, wealth, things, even health outside God’s law, grace and provisions.

It helps each of us to know and confess our own weaknesses.  It could be a proclivity toward lying.  It could also be love for the luxurious.  It could be an almost overbearing desire for wealth; or the sin of greed.  What about gossip, talebearing, or a froward (trouble making) attitude and lifestyle.  There are so many; far too many, but each individual must deal with them accurately and adequately.

All sins were dealt with by Jesus and the Father on His cross.  The Spirit of the Family is the Spirit of God given to all who believe that Jesus is the Christ Son of the Living God.  Believing that Jesus is God [Immanuel] come in flesh.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Please note:  This message will be preached in Carr Lane Baptist Church in two parts – Sunday morning and Sunday evening.

You Are Responsible

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…” Jude 20 (NKJV).

Jude, clearly is writing to Christian brethren by the statement, “But you, beloved…” The “Beloved” is the clearest that it could be. He has been and is warning the brethren to guard our hearts and minds concerning what we hear taught.

It is often too easy to blame others when and if we get bad teaching, such as comes from apostate, heretical teachers. It is, however, every Christians responsibility to stand guard on their own hearts and lives concerning what they put into their minds. If we go astray after hearing false teaching, there is really no one to blame but ourselves.

The apostate’s will give an accounting of what they have done, what they have taught, and then, they will be cast into eternal darkness, unless they have previously repented, received the true Jesus, and their is eternal fruit in their lives and living.

Jude is about to end his letter to the Christians to whom he is writing, and ends with words of encouragement, and exhortation. We Christians of today need these powerful words as well. They are for Christians of every culture, century, and millennium. With these words he encourages us to “build up yourselves in your most holy faith”. It is individual’s responsibility to feed, tend, care, and grow in the faith. In the end there will be no one to blame for our slouchy, lazy, shoddy, and weak life; but ourselves.

It is our own personal responsibility to see that we sit under the teaching of teachers who will build up Jesus Christ, magnify the cross of Jesus, and when I say the “Cross of Jesus” I refer to His death, burial, and resurrection – The cross of Jesus speaks of His redemptive, imputational, work on that tree as He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is our own personal responsibility to see that we not depend on teachers, and their teaching, but that we discover for ourselves the revelation of God and His Word. Good teachers will teach you how to study the Word of God for yourself, and encourage and motivate you to do so. It is a bad and sad teacher who would tell you to depend on his/her teaching alone, and that you can have no understanding apart from them and their teaching.

Our own, individual study and reading of the Word of God is a necessity if we do not want to be led astray. There are ample living and dead examples of bad teachers; even heretical teachers who caused the death of many people, because they had been led astray. Each one of those people will give an individual accounting before God one day of why they listened and followed such a teacher and their teaching.

A better, and clearer understanding of Scriptures will come through study, and “Praying in the Holy Spirit…” This praying is a genuine, sincere, dedicated prayer that is the same as praying “In the name of Jesus”. When you pray in the Spirit and the name of Jesus you pray for things which will bring honor and glory to His name. You ask for things that He would ask. You seek for those things that He is seeking. You keep on knocking at the door for the things He keeps knocking at the door. Praying in the Holy Spirit is God honoring, Christ glorifying, and never contrary to the will of God.

Along this same line of thought the apostle Peter wrote, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NKJV). It is our personal responsibility to grow in faith, and to become more like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just as no one can be delivered from sin for you, thus, can no one do your study, and heart and mind preparations for you. How you grow is dependent upon what you eat.

Grow in Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Married to a Backslider

Married To A Backslider

 

There has been many a father and mother who pleaded and pleaded with their children to return home, after they have ran away from home. Some children, after reaching the mid to late teen years, begin feeling they can run their lives without someone “telling me what to do”, and so they run away. It is sometimes by the deceptive words of a “friend” or an older individual persuades them to do so. These are heart breaking for every loving parent.

Questions like; “Where did I go wrong?”, “What could we have done different?”, “Why is this happening now?”, and feelings of being a failure with your family hit hard. Since I have never experienced the sorrow of a runaway child, I really don’t know all the questions asked, or the pain that it causes. I have known a family or two where the runaway scenario has happened.

You could call their leaving home, “Backsliding”. That is what has happened in the life of the divided nations of Israel and Judah. Israel left home and began worshipping golden calves in Dan and Bethel, set up by their first king Jereboam. The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines “Backslide” as “To lapse morally or in religious practice”. That, in my opinion, is a gross understatement.

Before we go on let’s hear the Word of the LORD from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Return, O backsliding children,’ says the LORD; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:14-15 (NKJV).

What does God mean by “Backsliding”? It is the act of treachery, turning away from God, His Word, and sliding on a slippery slope to one’s lowest point. God is not pleased when His people turn their backs on Him and then, offer Him sacrifices which do not come from a heart of devotion and praise. Sacrifices offered with a backslidden heart are a stench in heaven and the nostrils of God.

Why people say that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament is beyond me. The means of salvation is by grace through faith. The Old Testament people were saved looking forward to the cross of Christ; shown in all the blood sacrifices offered with a clean motive, and the people from the cross forward are saved by looking back to the cross of Christ by faith.

This word from God through his prophet Jeremiah is given to His backslidden people. It is not to the heathen, unredeemed, but to the people of Israel and Judah. This says to us that God’s people do go astray. We do get out of the will of God, but God will spare no grace to pursue us, pleading with us to get us back into our personal walk with Him; in more complete agreement with Him; at peace with Him. The backslidden child of God is not at peace with God. The backslider is not even at peace with himself/herself. They want their own way, and they are going to have their way. Even if that way leads to the “pigpen”. Remember the Prodigal son of Luke 15:11-32. The father’s love seen for a rebellious son who had wanted to do things his way returns to the loving father, after realizing his own desperate plight. The writer of Proverbs says of the backslider, “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.” Proverbs 14:14 (NKJV).

It doesn’t matter what the child of God has done you have a loving Father who is pleading for you to return to His fellowship and enjoy the peace, comfort, love and joy that is found only in the presence and power of God. Don’t take this wrongly. This is not an invitation to do evil and wrong. We have been freed from such arrogance, and pride. Because we drag the carcass (Isaiah 5:18 ) of the flesh around with us, we have not laid it down yet, it is still a battle we face everyday.

For too long the nations had had shepherds who were “devouring their sheep”, and not teaching them the truth, or leading them in the true ways of God. They were self seeking. Read Jeremiah 23:1-2ff. The responsibility of the shepherd of people is an awesome responsibility. Those who preach, teach, and minister the word of God, are especially on notice to take great care in what they say, teach and preach. It seems quite clear that the priest, and other shepherds of Israel had gravely failed to lead in the way of God and His righteousness, grace and justification.

God now says to Israel and Judah, “I will give you shepherds according to My heart…” These will not be after the heart of man, but the heart of God. The true shepherd of God needs to know the heart of God. We learn that through His Word, prayer, and service for His glory.

The Christian of our day (2008 ) is living in times of great opportunity. Let us be devoted, committed, and crucified with Christ; being so will not allow us to backslide away from where God desires us to be, and that is with Him. Let us walk in His Spirit, His Word, and do things using His methods. Whether some want to admit it or not there are some methods that are being used to “Reach people for Christ” which are not after God’s heart. You know them. They give more glory to the program, the actors, the performers, the stunts, the numbers of people who are drawn to these events, and even to the numbers of “decisions”, than they do to the Lord for whom they are presumably there.

O, backsliding children God pleads for your return, “Return, O backsliding children…”

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Corrected By Your Own Sins

Your Own Sin and Wickedness Will Correct You

In our world today we hear parents saying things like, “I want the best for my children”, or “I will do whatever I can to protect them from harm”, while at the same time let them live in immorality. Parents putting their daughters on birth control pills, so they will not get pregnant is one good example of what I refer. Another is the new vaccine which supposedly protects young girls from getting a cancer which can only be contracted by sexual intercourse prematurely. That is another example.

One of the things I have noticed about God is that He does not prevent us from sinning, in most situations. He does let our sin cause us grief and sorrow.

Therefore do parents do their children good by trying to protect them from means that should teach them responsibility.? It is my belief that it is harmful to their eternal well being to try and protect them from the means that could be used to bring them to God, or to become right in fellowship with Him

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered? The young lions roared at him, and growled; They made his land waste; His cities are burned, without inhabitant. Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. Have you not brought this on yourself,in that you have forsaken the LORD your God when He led you in the way? And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria to drink the waters of the River? Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19 (NKJV).

God is not as concerned for our physical health or wealth as He is our holiness. He despises sin and wickedness. He despises even more His own people turning away from Him. When we look to other means for safety, such as the people in the prophet’s day were doing in “Take(ing) the road to Egypt…” and “…the road to Assyria” we have turned from the Lord our God.

God is greatly grieved when His own people turn from Him to serve other gods, which are not gods, but only stone, wood, metal, or flesh. Why would the people of God do such a thing? One of the things that was prevalent in Jeremiah’s day was they had grown comfortable, wealthy, fat, and satisfied with themselves. They had the attitude, “We can never fall. We are a God blessed nation. We have the temple of God, and He will never let anything happen to it”.

I look around our Nation today, and I see much of that same attitude. Even though there is the imminent threat of terrorists infusion, bombings, and destruction we still are not trusting our Lord. We have placed more confidence in our economy, our bank account, our government, but where is our faith in God?

Since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 we have been under the merciful hand of God. Our Nation has not been attacked within our borders since that time. Is that because of our great government, our President, our wonderful Congress, and Senate? No way. It is due to the mercy and grace of God. However, that mercy and grace protecting us from terrorists attack will be removed. It has been the hand of God. He has been calling us back to Himself, and giving time for others to come to Him. That time may soon be over, then we will see the worst of terrorism.

Our own wickedness, our own backslidings will correct us. God gave a message to the two and one half tribes of Israel who were to settle on the East side of Jordan. After telling they they were to go and give aid to their brethren who were going to settle on the West side, He said through Moses,

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 (NKJV)

If your life is filled with fear; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are trusting in things for security; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are looking to any thing other than to God; your own sins will correct you. If you are His He will make you holy, and He will do whatever it takes to make you so.

-by Tim A. Blankenship