“Make Your Calling Sure” is an article written by Michael Pearl. Please read it. Here’s the link:
Carnal minded Christians mind the things of the flesh. So, are these “Christians” real Christians? Are they double-minded? Are they unlearned? Are they unstable? At the very best, a carnal Christian is an unlearned babe in Christ and should not remain so. Why?
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans8:7)
Read the Parable of The Sower: Matthew 13:18-23
I used Sword Searcher to find what A.W. Tozer had to say about this. Here is a piece from his writing, “How To Try The Spirits”:
“Christless Christianity sounds contradictory but it exists as a real phenomenon in our day. Much that is being done in Christ’s name is false to Christ in that it is conceived by the flesh, incorporates fleshly methods, and seeks fleshly ends. Christ is mentioned from time to time in the same way and for the same reason that a self-seeking politician mentions Lincoln and the flag, to provide a sacred front for carnal activities and to deceive the simplehearted listeners. This giveaway is that Christ is not central: He is not all and in all.”
How to Try the Spirits–A. W. Tozer
THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’s souls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.
Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.
Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (1Thessalonians 5:21) . “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1John 4:1) . “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
From this it is plain not only that there shall be false spirits abroad, endangering our Christian lives, but that they may be identified and known for what they are. And of course once we become aware of their identity and learn their tricks their power to harm us is gone. “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird” (Proverbs 1:17)
It is my intention to set forth here a method by which we may test the spirits and prove all things religious and moral that come to us or are brought or offered to us by anyone. And while dealing with these matters we should keep in mind that not all religious vagaries are the work of Satan. The human mind is capable of plenty of mischief without any help from the devil. Some persons have a positive genius for getting confused, and will mistake illusion for reality in broad daylight with the Bible open before them. Peter had such in mind when he wrote, “Our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2Peter 3:15-16).
It is unlikely that the confirmed apostles of confusion will read what is written here or that they would profit much if they did; but there are many sensible Christians who have been led astray but are humble enough to admit their mistakes and are now ready to return unto the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. These may be rescued from false paths. More important still, there are undoubtedly large numbers of persons who have not left the true way but who want a rule by which they can test everything and by which they may prove the quality of Christian teaching and experience as they come in contact with them day after day throughout their busy lives. For such as these I make available here a little secret by which I have tested my own spiritual experiences and religious impulses for many years.
Briefly stated the test is this: This new doctrine, this new religious habit, this new view of truth, this new spiritual experience how has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to God, Christ, the Holy Scriptures, self, other Christians, the world and sin. By this sevenfold test we may prove everything religious and know beyond a doubt whether it is of God or not. By the fruit of the tree we know the kind of tree it is. So we have but to ask about any doctrine or experience, What is this doing to me? and we know immediately whether it is from above or from below.
1) One vital test of all religious experience is how it affects our relation to God, our concept of God and our attitude toward Him. God being who He is must always be the supreme arbiter of all things religious. The universe came into existence as a medium through which the Creator might show forth His perfections to all moral and intellectual beings: “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8). “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
The health and balance of the universe require that in all things God should be magnified. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.” God acts only for His glory and whatever comes from Him must be to His own high honor. Any doctrine, any experience that serves to magnify Him is likely to be inspired by Him. Conversely, anything that veils His glory or makes Him appear less wonderful is sure to be of the flesh or the devil.
The heart of man is like a musical instrument and may be played upon by the Holy Spirit, by an evil spirit or by the spirit of man himself. Religious emotions are very much the same, no matter who the player may be. Many enjoyable feelings may be aroused within the soul by low or even idolatrous worship. The nun who kneels “breathless with adoration” before an image of the Virgin is having a genuine religious experience. She feels love, awe and reverence, all enjoyable emotions, as certainly as if she were adoring God. The mystical experiences of Hindus and Sufis cannot be brushed aside as mere pretense. Neither dare we dismiss the high religious flights of spiritists and other occultists as imagination. These may have and sometimes do have genuine encounters with something or someone beyond themselves. In the same manner Christians are sometimes led into emotional experiences that are beyond their power to comprehend. I have met such and they have inquired eagerly whether or not their experience was of God.
The big test is, What has this done to my relationship to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? If this new view of truth-this new encounter with spiritual things-has made me love God more, if it has magnified Him in my eyes, if it has purified my concept of His being and caused Him to appear more wonderful than before, then I may conclude that I have not wandered astray into the pleasant but dangerous and forbidden paths of error.
2. The next test is: How has this new experience affected my attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ? Whatever place present-day religion may give to Christ, God gives Him top place in earth and in heaven. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” spoke the voice of God from heaven concerning our Lord Jesus. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, declared: “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Again Peter said of Him, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) . The whole book of Hebrews is devoted to the idea that Christ is above all others. He is shown to be above Aaron and Moses, and even the angels are called to fall down and worship Him. Paul says that He is the image of the invisible God, that in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily and that in all things He must have the preeminence. But time would fail me to tell of the glory accorded Him by prophets, patriarchs, apostles, saints, elders, psalmists, kings and seraphim. He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. He is our hope, our life, our all and all, now and forevermore.
All this being true, it is clear that He must stand at the center of all true doctrine, all acceptable practice and all genuine Christian experience. Anything that makes Him less than God has declared Him to be is delusion pure and simple and must be rejected, no matter how delightful or how satisfying it may for the time seem to be.
Christless Christianity sounds contradictory but it exists as a real phenomenon in our day. Much that is being done in Christ’s name is false to Christ in that it is conceived by the flesh, incorporates fleshly methods, and seeks fleshly ends. Christ is mentioned from time to time in the same way and for the same reason that a self-seeking politician mentions Lincoln and the flag, to provide a sacred front for carnal activities and to deceive the simplehearted listeners. This giveaway is that Christ is not central: He is not all and in all.
Again, there are psychic experiences that thrill the seeker and lead him to believe that he has indeed met the Lord and been carried to the third heaven; but the true nature of the phenomenon is discovered later when the face of Christ begins to fade from the victim’s consciousness and he comes to depend more and more upon emotional jags as a proof of his spirituality.
If on the other hand the new experience tends to make Christ indispensable, if it takes our interest off our feeling and places it in Christ, we are on the right track. Whatever makes Christ dear to us is pretty sure to be from God.
3. Another revealing test of the soundness of religious experience is, How does it affect my attitude toward the Holy Scriptures? Did this new experience, this new view of truth, spring out of the Word of God itself or was it the result of some stimulus that lay outside the Bible? Tender-hearted Christians often become victims of strong psychological pressure applied intentionally or innocently by someone’s personal testimony, or by a colorful story told by a fervent preacher who may speak with prophetic finality but who has not checked his story with the facts nor tested the soundness of his conclusions by the Word of God.
Whatever originates outside the Scriptures should for that very reason be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them. If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in the Scriptures. “To the word and to the testimony” must always be the last and final proof.
Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with a lot of caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Over the last half-century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among the truths that were to be revealed in the last days. To be sure, say the advocates of this latter-daylight theory, Augustine did not know, Luther did not, John Knox, Wesley, Finney and Spurgeon did not understand this; but greater light has now shined upon God’s people and we of these last days have the advantage of fuller revelation. We should not question the new doctrine nor draw back from this advanced experience. The Lord is getting His Bride ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. We should all yield to this new movement of the Spirit. So they tell us.
The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite. Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning. Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence. You cannot help him and he surely cannot help you.
Granted, however, that the Scriptures may not always be clear and that there are differences of interpretation among equally sincere men, this test will furnish all the proof needed of anything religious, viz., What does it do to my love for and appreciation of the Scriptures?
While true power lies not in the letter of the text but in the Spirit that inspired it, we should never underestimate the value of the letter. The text of truth has the same relation to truth as the honeycomb has to honey. One serves as a receptacle for the other. But there the analogy ends. The honey can be removed from the comb, but the Spirit of truth cannot and does not operate apart from the letter of the Holy Scriptures.
For this reason a growing acquaintance with the Holy Spirit will always mean an increasing love for the Bible. The Scriptures are in print what Christ is in person. The inspired Word is like a faithful portrait of Christ. But again the figure breaks down. Christ is in the Bible as no one can be in a mere portrait, for the Bible is a book of holy ideas and the eternal Word of the Father can and does dwell in the thought He has Himself inspired. Thoughts are things, and the thoughts of the Holy Scriptures form a lofty temple for the dwelling place of God.
From this it follows naturally that a true lover of God will be also a lover of His Word. Anything that comes to us from the God of the Word will deepen our love for the Word of God. This follows logically, but we have confirmation by a witness vastly more trustworthy than logic, viz., the concerted testimony of a great army of witnesses living and dead. These declare with one voice that their love for the Scriptures intensified as their faith mounted and their obedience became consistent and joyous.
If the new doctrine, the influence of that new teacher, the new emotional experience fills my heart with an avid hunger to meditate in the Scriptures day and night. I have every reason to believe that God has spoken to my soul and that my experience is genuine. Conversely, if my love for the Scriptures has cooled even a little, if my eagerness to eat and drink of the inspired Word has abated by as much as one degree, I should humbly admit that I have missed God’s signal somewhere and frankly backtrack until I find the true way once more.
4. Again, we can prove the quality of religious experience by its effect on the self-life.
The Holy Spirit and the fallen human self are diametrically opposed to each other. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit . . . . Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:5,7).
Before the Spirit of God can work creatively in our hearts He must condemn and slay the “flesh” within us; that is, He must have our full consent to displace our natural self with the Person of Christ. This displacement is carefully explained in Romans 6-8. When the seeking Christian has gone through the crucifying experience described in chapters 6 and 7 he enters into the broad, free regions of chapter 8. There self is dethroned and Christ is enthroned forever.
In the light of this it is not hard to see why the Christian’s attitude toward self is such an excellent test of the validity of his religious experiences. Most of the great masters of the deeper life, such as Fenelon. Molinos, John of the Cross, Madame Guyon and a host, of others, have warned against pseudo-religious experiences that provide much carnal enjoyment but feel the flesh and puff up the heart with self-love.
A good rule is this: If this experience has served to humble me and make me little and vile in my own eyes it is of God; but if it has given me a feeling of self-satisfaction it is false and should be dismissed as emanating from self or the devil. Nothing that comes from God will minister to my pride or self-congratulation. If I am tempted to be complacent and to feel superior because I have had a remarkable vision or an advanced spiritual experience, I should go at once to my knees and repent of the whole thing. I have fallen a victim to the enemy.
5. Our relation to and our attitude toward our fellow Christians is another accurate test of religious experience.
Sometimes an earnest Christian will, after some remarkable spiritual encounter, withdraw himself from his fellow believers and develop a spirit of faultfinding. He may be honestly convinced that his experience is superior, that he is now in an advanced state of grace, and that the hoi polloi in the church where he attends are but a mixed multitude and he alone a true son of Israel. He may struggle to be patient with these religious worldlings, but his soft language and condescending smile reveal his true opinion of them-and of himself. This is a dangerous state of mind, and the more dangerous because it can justify itself by the facts. The brother has had a remarkable experience; he has received some wonderful light on the Scriptures; he has entered into a joyous land unknown to him before. And it may easily be true that the professed Christians with whom he is acquainted are worldly and dull and without spiritual enthusiasm. It is not that he is mistaken in his facts that proves him to be in error, but that his reaction to the facts is of the flesh. His new spirituality has made him less charitable.
The Lady Julian tells us in her quaint English how true Christian grace affects our attitude toward others: “For of all things the beholding and loving of the Maker maketh the soul to seem less in his own sight, and most filleth him with reverent dread and true meekness; with plenty of charity to his fellow Christians.” Any religious experience that fails to deepen our love for our fellow Christians may safely be written off as spurious.
The Apostle John makes love for our fellow Christians to be a test of true faith. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him” (1John 3:18-19). Again he says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1John 4:7-8).
As we grow in grace we grow in love toward all God’s people. “Every one that loveth him that begot loveth him also that is begotten of him” (1John 5:1) . This means simply that if we love God we will love His children. All true Christian experience will deepen our love for other Christians.
Therefore we conclude that whatever tends to separate us in person or in heart from our fellow Christians is not of God, but is of the flesh or of the devil. And conversely, whatever causes us to love the children of God is likely to be of God. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
6. Another certain test of the source of religious experience is this: Note how it affects our relation to and our attitude toward the world.
By “the world” I do not mean, of course, the beautiful order of nature which God has created for the enjoyment of mankind. Neither do I mean the world of lost men in the sense used by our Lord when He said, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). Certainly any true touch of God in the soul will deepen our appreciation of the beauties of nature and intensify our love for the lost. I refer here to something else altogether.
Let an apostle say it for us: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1John 2:16-17) .
This is the world by which we may test the spirits. It is the world of carnal enjoyments, of godless pleasures, of the pursuit of earthly riches and reputation and sinful happiness. It carries on without Christ, following the counsel of the ungodly and being animated by the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2) . Its religion is a form of godliness, without power, which has a name to live but is dead. It is, in short, unregenerate human society romping on its way to hell, the exact opposite of the true Church of God, which is a society of regenerate souls going soberly but joyfully on their way to heaven.
Any real work of God in our heart will tend to unfit us for the world’s fellowship. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1John 2:15). “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:140. It may be stated unequivocally that any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit. Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil and this regardless of how much purring its leaders may do about “accepting Christ” or “letting God run your business.”
7. The last test of the genuineness of Christian experience is what it does to our attitude toward sin.
The operations of grace within the heart of a believing man will turn that heart away from sin and toward holiness. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13) .
I do not see how it could be plainer. The same grace that saves teaches that saved man inwardly, and its teaching is both negative and positive. Negatively it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Positively it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly right in this present world.
The man of honest heart will find no difficulty here. He has but to check his own bent to discover whether he is concerned about sin in his life more or less since the supposed work of grace was done. Anything that weakens his hatred of sin may be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour and to his own soul. Whatever makes holiness more attractive and sin more intolerable may be accepted as genuine. “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:4-5).
Jesus warned, “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect.” These words describe our day too well to be coincidental. In the hope that the “elect” may profit by them I have set forth these tests. The result is in the hand of God. (Source: Sword Searcher–Version 126.96.36.199–Deluxe Library version 8.3 Essential Works of A. W. Tozer 06.29 How to Try the Spirits)
NOTE: This (the above) answers the question, “If who we are spiritually and physically/mentally (attitudes, demeanor and/or the way we live our lives) comes from only two sources, one being of the adversary (the devil) and the other the Spirit of God, then how does the flesh, the human mind or the human spirit fit in? A.W. Tozer said,
“…[N]ot all religious vagaries are the work of Satan. The human mind is capable of plenty of mischief without any help from the devil. Some persons have a positive genius for getting confused, and will mistake illusion for reality in broad daylight with the Bible open before them. Peter had such in mind when he wrote, “Our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2Peter 3:15-16).
The human mind, the fleshly mind, the carnal mind–the human spirit–must choose when God brings the choice before us. “…[C]hoose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Joshua 24:15)
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Paul Washer makes reference to this verse when he says, “The need for speaking clearly about sin is acute since we live in a generation born in sin and captivated by it.” (Source: http://www.heartcrymissionary.com/heartcry-magazine-archive/post/making-much-of-sin)
John Piper states this about Psalm 51:5: “…The adultery, the lying, and the murder were all just symptoms of a larger, deeper problem. David was evil at his core, and he’d been that way since birth, even before birth. …” (Source: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-old-me-made-new)
From the two (above) quotes, this teaching would have to be summarized by stating that sin is imputed to all who are born into this world; in other words, all are guilty before God at birth, even before birth. This directly opposes other scriptures:
“…The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father…” Ezekiel 18:20
“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God .” Romans 14:12
“…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
“…Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:9
If the world’s most horrific criminal raped a whore or prostitute and she conceived, her baby’s God-given spirit is as pure as the source (God) from which it came. The (above) claims of John Piper and Paul Washer are, at best, part of an illusion (implies a false ascribing of reality based on what one believes) which took strong, world-wide root during the Reformation. It is a mirage so many Christians “see” and adhere to. Those never questioning their doctrines should ask themselves what is it that has made them so satisfied with what they’ve been taught. Searching and obeying the scriptures is a must for knowing who God is and staying away from strong delusions.
Please do not get offended with what has been said on this page. I hope that you will read and study a very helpful chapter–Chapter One— of the book by Alfred T. Overstreet, “Are Men Born Sinners?” (If you do read it, I’m sure I’ll hear from you, one way or the other.)
Before this post begins, I have a disclaimer for the reader: Years ago I would be prompted to write because of happenings close to home. It very seldom seemed to do any good. For years now, I have not been motivated that way. Then, on the other hand, I do pass on, mostly in written form, things I see that I believe would help those seeking the truth and those losing their confidence and hope in Jesus. So, don’t get offended, I’m not speaking to you, as a stand-alone individual; but I am talking to the body of Jesus Christ, which is composed of individual members. Therefore, if a member of the body of Christ is suffering, it affects the whole body–the whole body suffers.
The Light On The Inside And The Light On The Outside
“Let your light so shine before men…” –Matthew 5:6a
“…[T]hat they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:6b
It is often said, as a defense (a justification?) that God looks on the heart and not the outward appearance, when the “issue”–it certainly is an issue– is brought up about how Christians should dress. But, I’m going to disappoint the reader: I am not going to discuss that at this time. It isn’t because I’m afraid to, I assure you but I will make reference to this verse:
“…[T]he life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…” –Galatians 2:20
What Is In The Heart Is Seen Outwardly
A tree is known by its’ fruit. The fruit is only obtainable when it can be seen. How else can it be harvested? One can know nothing about trees and have seen apples only in a grocery store and when an apple tree with its’ fruit on it is seen, the tree then is easily understood to be an apple tree.
A lit candle can be seen when it is not covered. If the light of a Christian is not hid then his fruit can be seen, shared and partaken of, which glorifies our Father in heaven. By the fruit–love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance–of the indwelling Spirit we are known.
As Christians, the life we live in the flesh is lived by the faith of the Son of God.
What About Hypocrites?
Certainly there are hypocrites among us and they most assuredly can be identified but using verses as found in Matthew 23:28 where it says, “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity”, does not mean that we cannot know who is saved and who isn’t. For instance, if a pastor says he doesn’t know if one of his flock is saved or not–that only the individual, God and the devil knows–then he himself is admitting that he does not have the spiritual discernment he should have and is making such declarations thinking that his congregation is as “unknowing”–should I dare to say, “ignorant”?–as he is. The Bible says,
” And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” –1st Thessalonians 5:12 and 13
If we’re to know those who are over us then it certainly stands that pastors ought to “know” the individuals in their flock.
So, why even bring up the hypocrite problem? Because that is what it is–a problem. This problem is being brought up for mindful consideration. Hypocrites think that they aren’t known. It may be, in certain situations, that the hypocrite is getting by with their false identity; if so, the end result still is, “Depart from me…I never knew you.” (Read Matthew 7:21-23.)
I know for a fact that, in times past, I could have been seen as one living life as a hypocrite, simply because I knew I wasn’t heeding the warnings in the New Testament and yet, I didn’t want to be thought of as a double-minded person or a hypocrite. I began to realize that it was my double-mindedness that was causing me to slowly and deceptively drift farther and farther away from His righteousness. I began to see that this rebellion was placing me in danger of being given over to a reprobate mind. I saw that I needed to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and quit making provisions for the flesh. (Romans 13:14) Now here, we can get into all sorts of thoughts and “beliefs” but I’ll stick to this paragraph’s particular focus, “The Warnings In The New Testament” (Click to buy a book on the subject). One of the warnings the Bible gives is found in Hebrews 3:6 where it says, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” I knew that I was not holding fast “the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope” and I also thought that no one else knew. But, of course, God knew. My wife knew but she never called me “double-minded” or a hypocrite. She knew I was in trouble and prayed for me–thank God. And probably, a few others knew and prayed for me, too. I was one with a candle almost out, just barely flickering, with very little life left, and still, I didn’t want anyone to know. I was suffering, causing damage to the body of Christ. I all but let go of my confidence in Jesus; so much so that I could no longer rejoice in my hope in Him.
Just know that I’ve been there. I have struggled, griped, slipped, stumbled and fell and drug my feet with all kinds of excuses. I know that I probably caused some of the same sufferings (damages) in others close to me by my being so bare of His righteousness.
But! Through the mercies, patience, kindness and love of my Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the prayers of the saints in my life, I have been brought back and I rejoice that, through Him, my confidence in Him and again, I emphasize, provided by Him, has made me to want to draw closer and closer to Him. Yes, I want to know more about my Lord.
Through Him and by Him all things are possible–there’s no other way.
Let’s continue to pray for one another.
Longsuffering / Patience And Endurance
The Greek word, “hupomenō” (Strong’s number, G5278), pronounced “hoop-om-en’-o”, is the same Greek word that is translated into English words, “patience”, “patient”, “endureth” and “endure” as well as a few other words. The Greek word for longsuffering is “makrothumia” (Strong’s number, G3115) and is pronounced, “mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah”. If you look up how this word (G3115) was translated in the KJV Bible, you will find that is was also translated, “patience”. The point is that “longsuffering”, “endurance” and “patience” mean the same thing when thinking about these words as a fruit of the Spirit.
When the Bible speaks of what charity is and what it does, it includes that it “endureth all things”–ALL things. This does not mean to just put up with any particular situation or circumstance; it means to endure it with patience–longsuffering. In other words, griping, complaining and getting frustrated and bent all out of shape has no place in a Christian’s life if he is to run the race as is spoken of in the first two verses of chapter 12 in the book of Hebrews:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (verse 2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What comes next is difficult to add but I cannot leave it out because it is fairly common among professing Christians, as was true with me.
Speaking with a grouchy tone to anyone is not becoming of a child of God. I know. Again, I’ve been there and done that. When life seems hard and weariness and anger sets in, pay attention to what happens: Words are spoken to a spouse, children and others with tones of a grouch, from a soul of bitterness and/or hatefulness. Beware, lest one’s deeds, especially this one, be known by observing people, who will say that if this is what being a Christian is all about, I don’t want no part of it.
Run the race with patience and let us leave these petty obstacles behind.
But What About My Past?
It is certainly true that there are those who will hold our past over our heads. Our joy, which is of the Lord Jesus, gives us a mind of peace and helps us to see such people as to who they are and this then helps us to have the Godly desire to pray for them. I hope this video helps:
My wife thought of the following scripture this morning and it sums up this post very well:
The Second Epistle of Peter – Chapter One
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Let us continue to pray for one another.
America is falling because of spiritual whoredom. David Wilkerson preached this years ago. This message has been all but totally ignored. “Babylon is still the spirit of this world–it is the mystery of iniquity, the mother of all spiritual adultery.” Christendom remains in “the modern-day slavery to the spirit of this age”, and refuses to leave Babylon, which is “the harlot church! It is a church within the church – a visible body existing with [the] invisible body of Christ!”
Read the sermon for more and / or listen to it:
At this point I should say that I believe America does have true believers within its borders. Of course, but this doesn’t justify this nation being identified as a Christian nation nor has it had this qualification ever in its past. There are two types of Christians–those who will follow the Lord Jesus Christ and those who will not. Those who do not include those who reject Him, even if it includes our so-called “Christian Founding Fathers”, who were mostly Deists. “If the nation owes much to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is also indebted to Deism, a movement of reason and equality that influenced the Founding Fathers to embrace liberal political ideals remarkable for their time.” (Source for this quote: https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Founding-Fathers-Deism-and-Christianity-1272214) A humanist writes that his view is that deism is much like humanism. Read “The United States As A Christian Nation” for a little more input on just who our founding fathers were.
To be continued…
I’ll swap gears and put it into low range and bring it down to an individual’s level of understandings. (I’m actually picking up where I left off–it is now August 21st, 2019.) After all, the true church, as well as the false church, are comprised of individual members. It is way past time that the member should face the fact that lies can be held dear to the heart if self-chosen (willful) ignorance of God’s Word exists. For instance, here is an example of a great lack in understanding the truth of a certain matter:
Who Is God–The Controller of Everything?
“God is in control.” How many times have we heard that statement? I ask, “What does one mean when they say, ‘God is in control'”? Is it meant that whatever happens in this life is God’s will–that everything that happens is orchestrated by Him? If this understanding is part of who we believe God to be then how can Jesus ever justifiably tell anyone to depart from Him? If this understanding is how we identify God then in times of trouble how can we do anything other than accuse God for our sufferings, always and continually questioning God for all the bad things seen and experienced? A result of this crooked way of belief is that it does away with personal responsibilities concerning choices made. What’s left? Living a life of accusing others, including God, for everything that goes wrong is what’s left. We even get to the place where we hate those, including God, who pose a threat to our way of thinking. Accusing God should always be a warning but whoring around after other gods–false teachings, etc.– is the evidence witnessed in such people. The sickening fact is that so many church-goers live out this “understanding” because that is what they’ve been taught to believe. Why not turn to the Bible for instruction and acknowledge that most can and have been deceived by spiritual pimps? It is time to know whether or not we’re participating in such spiritual whoredom!
God is who he says He is. Who He says He is can be found in His Word, the Bible. God is the Almighty. There is none greater than He. Know Him and be blessed.