En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘righteous’

Fit To Be Used by Ray C. Stedman

Posted by Scott on November 24, 2009

by Ray C. Stedman

2 Timothy 2:20-26

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).

Those with pure hearts are not sinless saints; they are not holier-than-thous who have never done anything wrong. They are not the kind of people who look down their noses at everyone else who gets into trouble. No, the word pure would be better translated “cleansed,” past tense–those with a cleansed heart, those who have already known what it is to be where you are. They do not put you down; they encourage you. They say, “I know how you feel. I’ve been there too, but God picked me up. I know what it means to lay hold of His great, forgiving love.” So one of the necessities of being used of God is that you keep company with those who are aiming in the same direction.

I had an occasion to spend a day at Vacaville Penitentiary. I had not been there before. It was a most remarkable experience to see Christian friends working in the prison as salt within a corrupt society. It was a rainy day, and no one was out in the yard. Everyone was in the halls, so it was like going into a high school that had just been let out for lunch. Among the inmates of that overcrowded prison, a Christian group is maintaining a testimony that is keeping that prison away from violence, acting as salt to preserve it in the midst of a very explosive situation.

In the chapel I sat next to a man who had been a murderer–a murderer several times. He had been one of the roughest, fiercest convicts in the prison system. He had stabbed several people while he was in prison, and he was a member of the gang that tried to rule the prison, a vicious loner who would not hesitate to take a human life. Yet God had reached him. Now he is the most gentle-spirited, gracious fellow, a teacher of the other prisoners, instructing them in the truth of God.

I met with others who had been rapists, murderers, and child abusers, men whose lives were changed, who were now listening to and rejoicing in the Scriptures. I asked the leader of the group what it was that most disappointed him in his work. Without hesitating he said, “it is those who are so dramatically changed here but who lose all they have gained when they get out”. I asked why that happened. “Because they go back to the same old crowd,” he said. We are not made to live alone. We are made to live with others; we need the support of others. Those who surround themselves with a non-Christian view of life and non-Christian friends are almost certain to go back at last into that way of thinking and living. So if we want to be used of God, the apostle urges us to seek the companionship of those of like mind.

Lord, grant me the strength to say no to the things I must and yes to the things that I should, that You may find me usable in Your hand, a vessel fit for the Master’s use.

For the complete message by the late Ray C. Stedman go to Ray Stedman.

Scott Bailey 2009

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Serious Holiness in an Unholy World!

Posted by Scott on September 23, 2008

God takes worship towards Him from us very seriously.  The Israelites found this out some 2500 years ago.  In Malachi 3:16-18 God is stating His promise to return to His people if we will return to Him in unabashed holiness before Him.

Malachi 3:6, “I am the Lord, I do not change”.

God does not like to be cheated, lied to, lied about, or talked badly about from anyone.  Today we have many inside and outside the church that think God is an old man with a hearing and seeing problem.  However, I testify to you today that God is no old man with a hearing or seeing problem.  He is seeing and hearing everything we do for Him and against Him.  Rest assured, our heavenly Father will not be mocked.

16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

 17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. [a] I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.   Malachi 3:16-18

What is God calling us to do today?  “Repent of wickedness, habitual sinful life styles, filthy minds and mouths, our prideful attitudes, money hungry habits, our spoiled selfishness, and the theft of what is rightfully His.”  His calling is to return to Him in holiness, purity, righteousness, and all godliness.  God will return to us in favor if we will return to Him in holiness.  God is looking for us to honor Him with our very best, not our rags.  He wants us to serve Him with our very best, not what is left over. 

The Lord has promised mercy for those that remain solidly pure and holy before Him as we walk this land today.  This is a time of great defection from the ways of God and towards a philosophy of man centered salvation.  God has always preserved a remnant that will stoke the fires of holiness for His chosen people.  In these final days, we will witness a return from the few to holiness and purity.  As that desire planted long ago is stirred into a raging inferno of godliness in the midst of a vile and crooked land.

Even as the judgement and wrath of God falls down upon our country and people around us, God’s protection will be magnified even more.  Those caught up in desparate turmoil will wonder how and why we come through unscathed.  The testimony of the saints will find greater opportunities to be exposed. 

As Ezekial 18:1-32 tells of the contract between God’s holy people who will live verses the wicked who will die…7 points emerge for the righteous men of God to observe:

The righteous man….

1….does not worship idols!  The righteous man lives each moment of every day to honor and glorify God with his all.  Money, cars, houses, vacations, loose women, Vegas, clothes, retirement plans, jobs, businesses, travelling, sports, etc…..anything that can become an idol, the righteous man forces himself to be focused on God.

2….is not an adulterer!  He does not sleep around with other women other than his wife.  This is that simple.  The righteous man is a one woman man with eyes and heart for his wife only.

3….is merciful in all things.  The righteous man is merciful is the way he extends credit to people.  He does not take advantage of people especially the poor.  He acts with dignity and integrity at all times with people.  He exudes grace upon the people he deals with.

4….does not rob from the poor.  He seeks to feed and cloth the poor if financially capable.  His heart has sympathy or empathy for those with less than him.  He does not seek out to take from them as easy prey.

5….when capable and asked to loan something to someone, he does so without interest.  The righteous man does not loan money to his brother and charge him interest…he extends grace to his brother in need without charging him into the poor house. 

6….is honest and fair when passing judgement on someone.  The righteous man looks at the entire circumstances, listens to the person and renders a judgement based on the truth and wisdom given to him.  The righteous man has a gift called discernment empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to sift through what is being said to see what is really being done.

7….faithfully obeys the commands or decrees of his God.  The righteous man is like a well trained soldier receiving his commands from his General and carrying them out without wavering.

As our times get grossly worse the holy ones of God will become even more obvious to all those around.  As God draws us to Himself the desire in our hearts to be holy will become stronger.  I can sense that in my own life and many of those around me.  God takes His hand and places it upon my head and turns me in the direction He desires….that direction is towards Him.  

In this time of great apostasy us men need to remember a few things:

1. Be careful not to live closely to the world’s ways.  Yes, we live here, but we are to be a strange people.  We are to be looked upon like we are aliens from another planet.  Living too closely to the world will alter our minds to thinking like the world and ultimately killing our zest for Christ and a life of holiness.

2. Commit to serve God and Him alone.  Choose truth over philosophical lies of this worldly system.  This takes commitment like you have never experienced. 

As Thomas Watson has written, “Hypocrites are good only out of worldly designs.  They embrace the gospel for secular advantage and these will in time fall away.” 

This commitment to serving God starts within our family first.  We have a living breathing mission field within our home’s walls, yet, we usually neglect it in order to travel to some foreign land (nothing wrong with foreign missionaries).  When we arrive in heaven before our Lord He will not mention at first the ministry outside our home….He will address our success or failure within our home.  It is important to Him that we nurture, teach, and father our children in the ways of God.  Living out the holiness we are called to live before their young eyes.  They will know us warts and all, but they need to an example of their heavenly Father shining through towards them daily.

3. Be sincere in our faith in Jesus Christ.  Speak the truth, but also live it out before the world.

4. Love the Lord with the same kind of love that held Him on the cross.  This is a love that carries the believer beyond the fear of death and is the deliverer of true life.  The love mentioned here is a love that is not deterred by suffering if it will honor and glorify God.

5. Harden our hearts towards evil and wicked desires.  The devil will throw out “reproaches” in our path.  These are temptations that are to draw us in. 

Thomas Watson puts it this way:  “Reproaches are but assulae crusis, splinters of the cross.”

These failed temptations or reproaches upon the believer are as “crowns around our heads”.  Remember it is far better that men condemn us for holy and righteous than to have God damn us to hell for being wicked and vile like the unbelieving world.

6. Become a solid wall of grace.  This is an exciting grace that is contagious to other believers around us.  This type of grace is firm yet on the truth, but gracious in its delivery to others.

Men, we have only two real choices in this short life on earth:

Godliness or Worldliness

Which one will we choose.  As Joshua stated in 24:15:

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

The calling is clear, but will you choose to serve the Lord?

Great 2 part message on the holiness of God by Pastor Paul Washer (enjoy)!

(c) Scott Bailey 2008

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“Not to Destruction, but to Salvation”

Posted by Scott on September 12, 2008

by Albert Mohler, Jr.

The most senior California bishops of the Episcopal Church came out in favor of same-sex marriage in the state on Wednesday.  The bishops then called on voters to defeat Proposition 8 — the constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

From the statement released by the bishops:

As Episcopal Bishops of California, we are moved to urge voters to vote “No” on Proposition 8.  Jesus calls us to love rather than hate, to give rather than to receive, to live into hope rather than fear.  On Tuesday, November 4th, voters in California will be given the opportunity to vote for or against Proposition 8, which would amend the state’s constitution to reserve marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Since the California Supreme Court’s ruling in May that civil marriage should be provided to all of the state’s citizens whether the genders of the couple are different or the same, faithful gays and lesbians have entered into marriage as the principle way in which they show their love, devotion and life-long commitment to each other.  Furthermore, marriage provides these couples the same legal rights and protections that heterosexual couples take for granted.

Proposition 8 would reverse the court’s decision and withdraw a right given.  Proponents of Proposition 8 have suggested that this amendment to the Constitution would protect marriage.  We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage.  Rather, the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy are enhanced for all by providing this right to gay and straight alike.  Society is strengthened when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.

The sweeping statement represented an unconditional support for same-sex marriage.  In one of the most revealing sections of the statement, the bishops celebrated the fact that the decision handed down by the California Supreme Court meant that “faithful gays and lesbians have entered into marriage as the principle way in which they show their love, devotion and life-long commitment to each other.”

The use of the term “faithful gays and lesbians” indicates that the bishops see active homosexual relationships as fully moral and thus to be celebrated.  They offered enthusiasm about the display of love, devotion, and commitment among homosexual couples.

“Society is strengthened,” they argue, “when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.”

Note that the bishops simply refer to “two people who love each other.”  Why two?  Once marriage is transformed from the union of a man and a woman into a union without respect to gender — and on the claim that marriage is a “fundamental right” — how can the number two be anything but arbitrary?

Tellingly, the bishops offered no substantial biblical or theological defense of their statement.  Instead, the bishops relied upon generalized language about “the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy.”  They added that these should be celebrated and affirmed “to gay and straight alike.”  The Bible contains absolutely no generalized affirmation of monogamy.  Indeed, the Bible commands monogamy in marriage, defined without question as the union of a man and a woman.  The “Christian values” the bishops cite in favor of their support of same-sex marriage are aberrant abstractions from the biblical text, from the Christian tradition, and from the moral witness of the church.

The church is not to respect what the Bible clearly identifies as sin.  Furthermore, some loves are explicitly prohibited within the Scripture.  The bishops stood to endorse activities and relationships that every previous generation of Christians had understood to be sin.  No previous generation has been confused about the issue of gender with respect to marriage.  The bishops announced their defiant stance against Scripture, tradition, and the practices and beliefs of most Christians worldwide — including most within their own Anglican Communion.

In the majestic language of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, a prayer offered at the consecration of a bishop includes these words:  “Mercifully behold this thy servant, now called to the Work and Ministry of a Bishop; and so adorn him with innocency of life, that, both by word and deed, he may faithfully serve thee in this Office, to the glory of thy Name, and the edifying and well-governing of thy Church; through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Spirit, world without end.  Amen.”

Later, a prayer calls upon the Lord to grant the bishop grace to “use the authority given him, not to destruction, but to salvation; not to hurt, but to help: so that, as a wise and faithful servant, giving to thy family their portion in due season, he may at last be received into everlasting joy.”

Those beautiful words, “not to destruction, but to salvation,” take on a deadly significance in the case of these bishops.  They are leading their own church to destruction, and encouraging in the larger society what the Bible condemns as sin.  These are shepherds who are leading their own flocks right off a cliff.

 

My two cents worth is that these Bishops are nothing more than lip servicing their faith.  It is not embedded deep into their hearts.  These could be described as the ones that on the day of judgement come before Christ and say,

“Lord, Lord we performed miracles in Your name and did all these good works in Your name.”  Jesus will simply tell them, “depart from me, I never knew you.” 

This day is coming folks…the warnings are out there, but the people do not want to hear it, however, it is the duty of the pastors, preachers, Bishops, and teachers to tell the truth from God’s word and not be swayed by public opinion, public wants or what they say they need.  Helping them to live further in their sin by making it ceremonially “ok” is not a Christian act.

Scott Bailey 2008

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A Pastor Believes in hell-Alert the Media!!!!

Posted by Scott on September 10, 2008

Written by Albert Mohler Jr.

Hell just emerged as an issue in Election 2008, and the campaign now enters a zone where politics and theology collide.

The catalyst for this emergence of eternal punishment as an issue is a “Belief Watch” column in this week’s edition of Newsweek magazine.  In “A Religious-Right Revival,” Lisa Miller suggests that the nomination of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for Vice President represents a resurgence of the so-called “Religious Right.”

There is something to this argument, of course, given Gov. Palin’s record and positions on key controversial issues.  Her pro-life credentials, even taken alone, would be enough to encourage many evangelical Christians, as the response to her nomination now demonstrates.

But what makes Lisa Miller’s article most interesting has nothing directly to do with abortion, marriage, or any social issue.  The most interesting (and revealing) part of her article is a sentence that does not refer to her campaign, nor to her role as Governor, but to her church:

The senior pastor of that church, in sermons that circulated online before they were taken down last week, preaches hell for anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus.

In the event a reader might miss that sentence, the magazine put the words, “The senior pastor of Palin’s church preaches hellfire for anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus” in large type in both print and electronic editions.  In other words, these words are intended to catch a reader’s eye as newsworthy — an attention grabber.

Miller went on to explain that the fact that her pastor preaches such a message “puts her squarely in the tradition of the old-school religious right.”

Of course, belief in hell as the just punishment of the impenitent is part and parcel of historic biblical Christianity.  Taken at face value, the belief that “anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus” faces the verdict of hell is as normative as any other Christian belief.

There is no way to read the New Testament without encountering the very clear message about the reality of hell.  “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” Jesus warned.  “Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” [Matthew 10:28].

True, there are those who have denied both the reality of hell and the exclusivity of the Gospel.  Some attempt to deny that those who do not believe in Christ will spend eternity in hell.  Nevertheless, even those who propose doctrinal theories such as universalism and inclusivism (or those who promote annihilationism with reference to hell) must admit that their position does not represent what most Christians throughout the centuries have believed — or believe now.  We should be concerned that these theories may be spreading in influence, but it should hardly be surprising to find that an evangelical pastor preaches historic Christianity.

What this article in Newsweek represents is the absolute confidence that discovering people who believe that those who do not believe in Christ will go to hell is supposed to be shocking.

So we find in Sarah Palin’s pastor an evangelical who believes in hell and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means of escaping hell.  In other words, he is an evangelical preaching like an evangelical.  Alert the media.

_________________________

See my articles “Hell Under Fire,” Parts One and Two, and my chapter in the book, Hell Under Fire.

See also my review of Richard Florida’s new book, Who’s Your City, at The Reading List, here.

Join us today for “Ask Anything Wednesday” on The Albert Mohler Program.

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The “Seeker-Sensitive Gospel” Leads Men Straight to Hell!

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2008

Paul washer addressing this disease sweeping through our churches today in this great video.

 

 

Mark Kielar-FBC Boyton Beach Florida makes a great case against the “Seeker Sensitive” church movement.

“Ah, we’re just reaching the culture… Don’t be so legalistic!” – It’s the cry from those who believe that being conformed to the world instead of being transformed by the renewing of our mind actually helps God.

Many of the proponents of “seeker” friendly mentality hold this issue to be a little matter of dispute between those who hold to sound doctrine and those who would rather tickle ears for a season than have men’s souls saved for eternity. The apostle Paul, himself, disagreed with these people, though. He said if anyone including angels from Heaven presents any other Gospel than the one you’ve initially received from the apostles of God and Jesus Christ, let him be anathema (the strongest curse one could give)! Mark Kielar explains why the message will never be able to cater to unbelief because the very message of the Gospel is “Repent AND Believe.”

 

 

 

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Regeneration and Self-Denial!

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2008

Well spoken words by Paul Washer.

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God is the Gospel!

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2008

This is a great book I would recommend to anyone wanting to know what the real gospel is rather than what the church has watered down over the past 175 years.

Most people, when they ponder what it means to be loved by God, think of the things that God does for us. John Piper writes that what is most loving about God is not his making much of us, but his enabling us, at great cost to himself, to enjoy making much of him forever.

God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6

This book is a cry from the heart of John Piper. He is pleading that God himself, as revealed in Christ’s death and resurrection, is the ultimate and greatest gift of the gospel.

None of Christ’s gospel deeds and none of our gospel blessings are good news except as means of seeing and savoring the glory of Christ. Forgiveness is good news because it opens the way to the enjoyment of God himself. Justification is good news because it wins access to the presence and pleasures of God himself. Eternal life is good news because it becomes the everlasting enjoyment of Christ.

All God’s gifts are loving only to the degree that they lead us to God himself. That is what God’s love is: his commitment to do everything necessary (most painfully the death of his only Son) to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying—namely, himself.

Saturated with Scripture, centered on the cross, and seriously joyful, this book leads us to satisfaction for the deep hungers of the soul. It touches us at the root of life where practical transformation gets its daily power. It awakens our longing for Christ and opens our eyes to his beauty.

Piper writes for the soul-thirsty who have turned away empty and in desperation from the mirage of methodology. He invites us to slow down and drink from a deeper spring. “This is eternal life,” Jesus said, “that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” This is what makes the gospel—and this book—good news.

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Examine Yourself-Are You Really Saved?

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2008

Another great video and message from Pastor Paul Washer.  We must examine ourselves.  Will God find us living for Him will all we have or will He find us only giving Him a token portion of our life on Sunday’s?  What was your salvation experience like?  Is repentance a part of your salvation?  Do you renew that repentance daily?  Listen closely to what Paul is saying.  Paul preaches hard, but he is speaking truth from God’s word.  The message of salvation is too serious to handle delicately and dancing around the har truths that must be spoken.  Paul handles the issue with tremendous love.

 

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The Narrow Gate!

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2008

Great video by Pastor Paul Washer!

 

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Decisional-Regeneration is Psychological Manipulation!

Posted by Scott on May 29, 2008

This is a great video by Paul Washer on the manipulation done in today’s church invitation system at the end of services.  Watch and listen closely…great stuff!

“That’s what the cults do.” – Paul Washer

“Many people think that because they prayed a prayer, walked an aisle once in their life, and/or raised their hand when all the heads are bowed because their “autonomous” emotions convinced them to at a certain point in time that they are saved even though they live as worldly and carnal as everyone else in the world. My question is “When do we just start saying that if a person continues in unbelief, worldliness, and carnality regardless of what they did at a point in time then the are unbelieving, a worldling, and carnal? Do we really need votes that much as to forsake their soul?” We need preachers like Paul Washer; not politicians behind pulpits.”

 

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