Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Lies Religious Tradition Taught us: All things Work together for our good.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.                 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV 
13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

  We've begun a new series of study, examining the lies religious tradition taught us. Teachings that have been taught so long and so often they've become ingrained into our thinking. They've actually become strongholds in our minds. To even think they are wrong becomes almost heretical to consider.

 So far we've exposed the lies that God makes people sick or is the author of disease. That God is the creator of storms of natural disasters. Today, I want to dismantle a stronghold that has been a staple in traditional circles. The idea that all things work together for our good.

 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

 This passage has been cited by traditional religious leaders during times of crisis, disease, and tragedy. Had a bad day? Remember all things work for our good. The hard question we must ask is this, do all things really work for our good?

 Are all things working together for the good of the Believer? Is the sex trafficking industry working for our good? Is the child molestation we've seen carried out at the hand of Catholic priests or the sexual abuse perpetrated by some youth ministers working for good? How about terrorists flying a plane filled with innocent passengers into a building? Is that working together for our good?

 If all things work for our good what about satan? Are the demonic forces opposing the cause of Christ working for our good? How about when the tempter comes with his alluring to sin, adultery, drug addiction or porn addiction, are these working for our good? How does that conversation go between husband and wife? 

 "Honey, it's ok if I commit adultery. By sleeping with this other person, we know all things work together for our good."

 I don't know about you, but I don't know any wives who would agree with this. I hope you're seeing the absurdity of thinking the enemy is working for our good. If the enemy isn't working for our good, what does that mean in light of Romans 8? It's not that the Word is mistaken, it means we've mistakenly interpreted it. 

 Think if all things work for good what do we do with these passages?

27 nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27 NKJV

Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 MEV

 Why instruct me as a Believer to not give the enemy a place if all things work for our good anyway? Why command us to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil if all things work for our good? If all things work for our good why am I resisting anything?

 These verses reveal to us that, this all things work for our good interpretation is incorrect. It is a mistaken interpretation because what so many do is they lift this passage out of its setting and quote it out of context and assign it to be some sort of response to any situation that's negative and isn't easily explainable.

 Verses removed from their settings and context all leave us with a con. A wrong view. It creates misunderstanding and confusion in our midst. 

 Now let's be clear, even though this idea that all things work for our good is not the accurate and correct interpretation of this passage there is still a truth we can see in Scripture. We see it in the life of Joseph. God can take any situation and bring about some good.

 For instance, say a young person rebelled and went astray but while incarcerated, some minister volunteers shared the Gospel and the young person got saved. God didn't ordain the rebellion, the criminal activity, or the sentence. He just saw a situation and turned it to some good. 

 Victims of abuse, assault, violation of their bodies, after a time of healing and restoration and ministry of the love of God can come to a place of wholeness. Afterward, God can use their experience, that is they can relate to other victims and help bring healing to them. You can see that God didn't "mean it for good" that they were violated. 

 It was an abominable act. It was something that God hates and is a sin He died to pay the price for. What He can do is use a situation that was wholly of the wicked one and this fallen world and bring some good out of what the enemy meant for destruction. 

 So what does this passage actually mean? In context look at it.

26 Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:26-29 MEV

 In context, we see a this passage fits an entire narrative. It speaks of prayer, pursuing His purposes and plans and living out our identity. It doesn't paint a picture of why a child was hit by a car while walking in the street. The Revised Standard Version translates this passage the most accurate for what it is intending to say.

28 We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 RSV

 Again this passage in context references prayer, Spirit-led and directed prayer. This translation shows it clearer, in every circumstance when we are following God's plans and purposes He is working for our good. This passage is not saying God is causing and creating circumstances and then working them to our good. 

 In summation, Romans 8 is not a passage that explains why evil exists. It is not saying all events in life work for our good in and of themselves. It is not the response we give when a loved one dies prematurely or experiences a tragedy. Famine, wars, disaster, rape, murder, and disease are attributes of a fallen and fractured creation. They are also the handiwork of the defeated enemy who goes about deceiving men. They are not designed or destined to work for our good in some mysterious way. 

 Yet amid these terrible things, God can, when we purpose with Him in Spirit-directed prayer, turn things for our good. He can take what the enemy meant for destruction and turn it around for good. God can take any hand the enemy or this fallen world deals and come out winning. God is always Good so we can always trust Him.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Lies Religious Tradition Taught Us: God is the sender of storms and disasters

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5 KJV
13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've begun a new series exposing and uprooting the lies traditional religion has taught us. Ideas taught for so long they've become a stronghold in our thinking. In our last study, we pulled down the stronghold that God is the author of sickness and disease. 

 Today, it seemed good to tear down the stronghold of thinking God is the author, the sender of storms and "natural disasters." The tsunamis, the volcanic eruptions, the hurricanes, the earthquakes, where do they come from? Why are they here? Natural science explains why earthquakes happen, what makes a hurricane. Tradition though says God authors them or sends them to punish or to judge sins. 

 Disasters and destruction and storms and tsunamis are sadly a part of life in this fallen world. We see earthquakes or tornados strike certain geographic regions more than others. Is it because God did it? That's what religious tradition claims.

 Why? They hold to some hyper sovereignty view that God controls all facets of life on the planet. A storm popped up somewhere? God must have designed and designated it. I've seen Christian books trying to answer questions about God and they declared God is controlling the planet, so yes He is the root of disaster.

 What do I think of this? Truthfully, it doesn't matter what I think, but what God's Word actually says. To be transparent though, I think that kind of teaching is hogwash. It cannot be supported by Scripture. The Word actually informs us that this is a fallen world, a fractured creation. That's why we see "natural" disasters. 

Jesus view of disasters

 How did Jesus view disasters? Did He celebrate and bless them as the handiwork of God? Never. Jesus is perfect theology. What does that mean? Jesus was a perfect representative of the Father. His words were perfect for all the situations He encountered. 

 You see Jesus often ministered principles that were for the Nation of Israel under the Old Covenant. Other times He spoke of truths of the New Covenant to come. Where people get mixed up is assuming all His words only applied to the Jews or all His words apply to the Church today. We must rightly divide His words. 

 What many fail to see is the amazing love and wisdom Jesus demonstrated. At times Jesus speaks of the sacrificial system and the Law governing this. At other times He speaks of eternal security for the believer. In all He spoke we must not just see them as mere commandments that need to be obeyed or else. 

 Jesus' words reveal the Father's heart. What we see in all of Jesus' words, is God's heart for humanity. He is about restoring relationships. He is about establishing healthy boundaries. He's about being sincere with God. He's about us knowing our God as a Father not a taskmaster. Now see how Jesus views disasters.

 In Luke, we see an event that transpired. A tower collapsed, what is Jesus response?  For those who preach God uses disasters to judge people, this account doesn't support that conclusion. Jesus showed those present that all humanity is equally guilty. This is good news because it showed all are guilty, no one is special or acceptable by their own doing or goodness. We all need a Savior.

 In this tragic event, we don't see Jesus assigning blame to God. He didn't assign blame to the people's sin or wrongdoing. It's a fallen world. What about storms and weather conditions? What is Jesus' response?

 In Mark 4, Jesus encounters a storm. What do we see here? Jesus arises and rebukes the wind and tells the waves to be calm. If God sent the storm and Jesus rebuked the storm, then Jesus is rebuking His Father's work. Jesus said a kingdom divided against itself will not stand. So Obviously Jesus couldn't be rebuking His Father's work. So the storm wasn't from God.

 This gives us insight into the dominion and authority the Church has on this Earth. We can take authority over these disasters. Even if we don't see the full manifestation of storms dissipating or quakes ceasing, we can still reveal the heart of the Father. We can bring relief and supplies to all those affected. 

 What have we seen today? This is a fallen fractured creation. God is still God, and He is Good. 

 God is a Good Father. He isn't the author or creator of storms, tsunamis or floods. God isn't ordaining disaster and death. God isn't sending tornados or raging fires to judge or punish any nation or city. God is the giver of life not the taker of it. His Goodness is running after mankind to reveal the heart of a Good God who loves with an everlasting, unconditional love, who gives the gift of eternal life, and restores and brings healing and wholeness, not death and destruction.

 In summation, storms and disasters aren't from God. God is Good all the time. God has revealed Himself in the person of the Son. Jesus perfectly represented His Father here on Earth. He went about doing good, healing and bringing hope and restoration. He's a Good God. 
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Monday, November 11, 2019

Lies Religious Tradition taught us: God is the Author of Sickness and Disease.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2 Timothy 3:5 KJV

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We're beginning a new series of study, unraveling and exposing the lies religious tradition taught us. Lies we've been subjected to while sitting under the teaching of those who've also been captured and indoctrinated by religious traditional ideas. Lies we've heard for so long it almost appears blasphemous to even entertain the idea that they're wrong. 

 Lies such as God wants you poor and poverty-stricken. Or that God kills people. Lies religious tradition has perpetuated for years and years and have become strongholds in the minds of so many. 

 How do we find freedom from these lies? How do we bring down these strongholds? The answer is simple. God's Word, rightly divided and understood in context. 

 I want to begin this study dispelling one of the biggest lies religious tradition pushes on the Church. The concept that God is the author of sickness and disease. Let's look at the life of Jesus to see if this concept has any truth.

 Jesus is God. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. Jesus said of Himself that He only came to do the will of God. Jesus said He only does what He sees the Father do. So we can clearly see Jesus is only doing God's will. Jesus then is the will of God in action

 Look then at Peter's words summarizing Christ's work.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

 Look at what Peter just said. Jesus only went about doing good and healing. Jesus testified of Himself He only did what God wanted. I don't see spreading sickness or sending disease as part of this work.

 What we do see is Peter outlining God's work through Jesus. This passage reveals what Jesus went about doing, only good. It reveals how many God wants to heal, all. It reveals who the oppressor is, the enemy, the devil. Take note of how the New Covenant defines oppression.

 The New Covenant tells us one major expression of oppression is sickness and disease. This is important to note for the purpose of this study. Look at Isaiah in the Old Testament and what he prophesied. 
14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. 15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Isaiah 54:14-15 KJV

 Isaiah reveals that God declares oppression may come but not from God. Peter tells us oppression is sickness and disease. We see it clearly God telling us sickness and disease are never from Him. To say otherwise is to defame God's character. 

 Yea but what about the Old Covenant? We see people sick and afflicted and it said God did it. To respond to these objections, we must rightly divide the Word of God by Covenant and the timing of the Finished Work.

 You see to religion, it seems the Cross didn't change anything. The way they pray to God is the same way the children of Israel prayed. If they miss it, they ask for God to give them a clean heart, something He already did by virtue of the new birth. They see God's judgment falling in the Old and say so it is today. No, my friend, the Cross changed everything.

 Let's also explain the judgment of God. I know under Grace, judgment seems counter to who God is. The problem is we haven't read the entire Bible. Or rather we haven't paid much attention to it. All throughout the Old, we catch glimpses of the heart of God.

 He doesn't ever want to send judgment. Yet because the Finished Work hasn't happened He had no choice in order to deal with the sins and wickedness of the people. This doesn't change who God is or always has been. He has always been Good and merciful and kind and loving.

 We must understand the condition of the Earth because of the fall of mankind. Everything negative has its roots in this event. You'll find satan and Adam's transgression at the heart of all bad things on Earth. What do I mean?

 When Adam fell, this creation became fractured and fallen. Viruses and bacteria entered in that cause sickness and disease. The enemy also came to bring destruction at every opportunity. This is key. So when you see God speaking of curses and destruction that accompany disobedience or breaking the Old Covenant Law, what God was doing was not bringing or ordaining or authoring the destruction. 

 What God was doing was revealing the consequences of actions taken. What He was doing was revealing what was already out there because of the original fall and when you align with that disobedience you experience destruction. God was more like a weather forecaster, not the one making the conditions. 

 It's like the weatherman telling you if you go outside today you will get wet. You decide to go outside and then get wet. Do you blame the forecaster or yourself? Tradition has blamed the forecaster, so to speak,  not realizing all He did was reveal what was already out there.

 Look at Miriam, Moses' sister. What happened to her? Tradition says God made her sick with leprosy. Is that right? No! She chose to reject Moses' wife and question Moses' position, that is she chose discord.  God was angry at this and it says He departed. There is your answer.

 The "rain" was always out there. She chose to ignore the forecaster and went outside. Results? She got wet if you will. The key here was the phrase He departed, God didn't make her leperous. He departed, that is His protecting hand was temporaily moved, God didn't put leprosy on her, or even allow it. He allowed what Miriam allowed by her choices. Thankfully, this was temporary and she repented and she was delivered. Now under the New Covenant, we have something better. 

 Under Grace, Jesus bore the curse. He took upon Himself all the wrath, punishment for sins and transgressions, and bore all sickness and disease in His own body on the tree. Now we are made whole because of the Finished Work. Because of the Cross, He gave us authority over sin, sickness, disease and poverty and any curse. The enemy was defeated and he is under our feet!

 The true Good News is that God is always Good. The simple truth is the enemy is always bad. God is not the afflicter, not the oppressor, not the One bringing evil, destruction, tragedy, tribulation or trials. He isn't the author of harm, hurt or torment or trauma. He is the healer and the One who makes whole. Jesus bore all our sickness and disease and it's His great pleasure to bring healing and wholeness to all who simply believe it and receive it.

 In summation, allow the Word to wash away the lies of religion. Let the Love of God and His truth pull down strongholds in your mind. God is Good and not the author of bad. Embrace this radically Gracious and Good Father. 
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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Eternal Security: What about Judas Iscariot?

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:30 NLT

Whenever the truth of eternal security begins to be explored you will find many objections raised. It's always this way when the Good News is espoused. Tradition can't grasp the concept that God is a Good God. They can't wrap their minds around the truth that God is a loving, and merciful Father, who is always good. 

 When the eternal security of the believer is taught, one objection that many bring up is what about Judas? Judas was a follower of Jesus. Did he not work signs and wonders in Christ's name as the other's had? Wasn't he separated unto ministry as the other disciples? Yet he betrayed Jesus. 

 So the objection goes, Judas was a Christian and minister of the Gospel and yet he fell away, sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. He surely is proof enough a believer can fall away. A believer can renounce Christ, and be lost. Judas is all the proof we need.

 The first problem with this objection is it is not coming from a place of understanding the New Covenant. When Jesus walked the Earth, He was still abiding in the Old Covenant. Jesus' death and resurrection and ascension and coming Holy Spirit ushered in the New Covenant in its fullness. My point? Judas, nor any of the other disciples and followers of Christ were born again. 

 To understand what I am saying, we need to look again at what it means to be born again. When one receives Jesus, they become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). They are now the Righteousness of God in Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:21). The Spirit of God comes and dwells within them (1 Corinthians 3:16). They are accepted by God (Ephesians 1:6). They are sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). They are forgiven of all their sins forever (Ephesians 1:7). They are now the children of God (1 John 3:1). All of this occurs at the New Birth.

 So here is the million-dollar question, was all this possible under the Old Covenant? Any reasonable, honest minded person can clearly see no this was not possible under the Old. First, how was forgiveness of sins obtained under the Old? Truth is the sins of the people weren't forgiven once for all time under the Old. They were merely covered or atoned for once a year by the high priest. 

 The once for all forgiveness Christ's death purchased is exclusive to the New Covenant. Secondly, the Spirit never dwelled within those under the Old Covenant. The Spirit would fall on individuals for works of service to God. 

 If there was no Spirit of God given to indwell those under the Old how could they be born again? Scripture affirms that the Holy Spirit would only come after Christ was glorified. 
39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39 NKJV

 So it stands clear to the reasonable minded, that before the Cross and resurrection there was no way possible for anyone to be born again. So the concept of saying Judas was a born again believer who then lost his salvation is false. Judas was a Jew abiding under the Old Covenant and not a New Covenant born again child of God. 

 Under the Old, the children of Israel were known as God servants. In the New Covenant, those who've received Jesus are the Children of God. There is a major difference between a servant and a son. This difference is enough to show there is a distinction between Old and New. Yet with all these truths some still try to use Judas as the one person they claim lost his salvation.

 That's just disingenuous and more so coming from a place of Biblical ignorance and not the truth. However, some may concede that Judas wasn't born again in the strictest New Testament sense. However, they cite Judas as proof of how someone who has walked with Jesus can walk away later.

 Again a poor example to try and upend what Jesus fully accomplished on the Cross, that is the eternal security of the believer. Why? Because Judas never had a heart for the ministry of Jesus.

 Judas loved his fellow Israelites, that's not in question. So of course when Jesus commissioned all the disciples to work miracles in His name, it is possible Judas could've been used this way. However, Judas was under pride and not love for the World. 

 What do I mean pride? 
Likewise you younger ones, submit yourselves to the elders. Yes, all of you be submissive one to another and clothe yourselves with humility, because
“God resists the proud,
    but gives grace to the humble.”  1 Peter 5:5 MEV

God declares that He resists the proud but gives Grace to the humble. Why? The prideful want to do things there way and not God's. They don't see their need. They have it all together, it's the rest of us that don't. Judas didn't want the type of kingdom Jesus did. He wanted the yoke of Roman tyranny off the necks of the Israelites. He wanted deliverance for the Nation of Israel not the salvation of the World.

 What always accompanies pride is self-righteousness. After Judas betrayed Jesus what was his response to his sin? Judas went forth and hanged himself. Peter and Judas both sinned greatly that day. Yet we see two distinct and different responses. Peter wept bitterly, and after Jesus arose He sought the Lord. Judas punished his own sin instead of allowing Jesus to deal with the sin. Judas hung for his sins, not accepting the truth that Jesus would hang for all mankind's sins that day. 

 So, back to the objection, is Judas a good objection to the eternal security view? Absolutely not. The truth is we who've received Jesus are secure forever.

 Jesus is for us not against us. Jesus is faithful when we are faithless. When we seem to try and distance ourselves through our actions He is right there with us putting us back on the right path. No matter how many times we fail or falter or fall, Jesus is always there encouraging us, reminding us of who we are, and bringing hope to hopelessness. We are forever secure in His loving hands.

 The eternal security of the believer is part and parcel of the Finished Work of Christ. He forgave us once for all time. He sanctified and set us apart once forever. He sealed us with the Holy Spirit as the guarantee we will be saved forever. His perfect shed blood purchased perfectly our eternal redemption, eternal not temporal, and not conditioned on our conduct or faithfulness. 

 In summation, rejoice in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You who've received Jesus are forever saved. You who've trusted in Christ are forever secure in His hand. No matter how far you've fallen Jesus is there bringing help, healing, hope, and restoration. Forget the objections tradition ruled Christians form and fashion designed to usher in eternal insecurity and hopelessness to the believer. Embrace His Grace, and rest in this uninterrupted eternally secure salvation. 
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