What is a disciple?

What is a disciple?Disciple Making Church-background

Little Tommy was doing very badly in math. His parents had tried everything; tutors, flash cards, special learning centers, everything they could think of. Finally, in a last ditch effort, they enrolled him in the local Catholic School.

After the first day, little Tommy came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn’t kiss his mother hello, but instead went straight to his room and started studying. When his mother went up to check, she found books and papers spread out all over the room and Tommy hard at work.

To her further amazement, the minute he finished dinner he marched back to his room without a word and hit the books as hard as before.

This went on day after day, for the entire first term until Tommy finally brought home his report card. He quietly laid it on the table, went on up to his room, and hit the books. With some trepidation, his mom looked at it, but to her surprise and relief, little Tommy had an “A” in math.

Unable to contain her curiosity any longer, she went up to his room and asked “Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?” Tommy shook his head. “Well then,” she continued, “was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms, WHAT was it?”

Tommy just looked at her and said, “On the first day of school, when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they weren’t fooling around.”

You see, Tommy developed a COMMITMENT that changed his life! The funny part is that we all know Tommy’s commitment was based on a misunderstanding. Tommy was a learner, but not a disciple. His work was good – by man’s standards – but his motive was all wrong.

Commitment is like faith in several ways. Like faith, the object or reason for your commitment is what determines how significant it is. Like faith, commitment can be based on the wrong motivation. And like faith, commitment is important, and must be focused on Christ if it to have any value.

From the Homan Bible Dictionary: “In the Greek world the word “disciple” normally referred to an adherent of a particular teacher or religious/philosophical school. It was the task of the disciple to learn, study, and pass along the sayings and teachings of the master. Disciples of the rabbis could select their teachers.

One can assume that Jesus used traditional rabbinic teaching techniques (question and answer, discussion, memorization) to instruct His disciples. In many respects Jesus differed from the rabbis. He called His disciples, saying, “Follow me”. He taught more as a bearer of divine revelation than a link in the chain of Jewish tradition.”

Disciples of Christ are called by Him – they haven’t chosen Him.

It’s the Heart of the matter

Here’s the unpleasant reality – behavior doesn’t necessarily reveal the heart. Tommy’s mother wanted him to do better in math. But no parent would want his child to have Tommy’s motivation as the reason for the proper behavior. That funny story points out a major problem in many people’s lives: they make major commitments based on misconceptions, we do the right thing for the wrong reason. When circumstances get difficult, the false premise of our commitment causes it to crumble. Like a house built on sand. Our boy Tommy probably lost his zeal for math after a few semesters. He may have found out the truth about the “guy nailed to the plus sign”.

What does the Bible say about those who would be Christ’s disciples? In Luke 14: 25 – 27 “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” This is a standard traditional rabbis and other teachers did not require. But we Christians are to love Christ more than we love our Earthly family.

Matthew 28:16 – 20 The Great Commission: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This word, “teach” is the Greek word “math-ayt-yoo’-o“ (verse 19) or “didasko” (verse 20), both of which mean to disciple or instruct. One thing of interest here: Christ is telling His disciples to “teach all nations” – yet He is not telling each disciple to teach all nations. The church must evangelize and disciple the whole world, but only God Himself can tell you and I where and how we are to “go and teach”. It’s obvious that not every disciple can go to all nations. But the church can!

Luke 6:46 “why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” The Lord wants us to realize that our words must be backed up by our actions. We aren’t the first generation to live at odds with our professed beliefs. And the world is watching us, to see if we live on Monday in accordance to our “Amens” on Sunday.

Matthew 22:37 – 40 The Greatest Commandment: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

If we are Christ’s disciples, we will love Him with the right motive and that love with be evident to others. If we don’t obey Him in the things that we know are His will, how can we claim to be His disciples?

Consider marriage, the most serious, sacred commitment one person can make to another person – created to give mankind a glimpse of Christ’s commitment to the church. Yet many marriages end in divorce and so often the reason – more properly, the excuse – is irreconcilable differences. Many people get married with prenuptial agreements in place. Plans already made and documented, detailing who gets what WHEN they divorce. These folk are planning to fail. Many people get married not realizing God is the author of the institution – whether they believe in Him or not. They get married thinking they are going to be able to change their mate into their own image. They get married thinking their own faults will be overlooked but they won’t overlook their mate’s. All of these misconceptions lead to unrealized expectations and frustrations. And failure. The sacred commitment is abandoned. One’s view of marriage reveals one’s view of God. This happens in the church as often as outside the church. By people focused on self, not Christ

The American Heritage Dictionary defines commitment as “A pledge to do. The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person.” Why is it that our “pledge” to cherish until death often fails? Do we let the state of our emotions rule our intellect, creating irreconcilable differences where the Lord intended complimentary strengths and weaknesses? Many do, and the “life-long” commitment is abandoned.

Commitment Isn’t Enough

You recall the case of three teenagers, named Hananiah, to Mishael, and Azariah. The king ordered all his people to worship an idol and these boys were committed to their God – not his – so they refused. The king had the boys brought before him and told them to bow down to the idol or be burned to death in the furnace. These teenagers, you know them as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Nebuchadnezzar was committed. He threw the boys into the furnace. But God had a plan working that the king could not see and did not anticipate, one that ultimately changed his plans to line up with God’s.

Mere commitment might have let them comply with Nebuchadnezzar because of irreconcilable differences between their religion and life itself. They could have rationalized this one compromise, because commitments are made to be broken. But their commitment had been left behind; they had surrendered their rights – abandoned their lives – to God and could not go back. Regardless of the outcome. The young men went beyond commitment – they were disciples. That’s the line that we must cross – leaving the future to God, obeying Him despite the consequences. Because we know Him and trust Him.

Abandoned to God

The American Heritage Dictionary defines abandon as “To surrender one’s right; give up entirely. To yield oneself completely.”

Commitment is good, but in our language today, it implies too much ongoing effort on our part. It is too often bound up in circumstances that shift as sand on the beach during a hurricane. As such, commitment falls short, leaving us free to re-evaluate our decision and change it as circumstances warrant. The call of Christ is for you and me to yield completely – no turning back. And commitment cannot take us as far as Christ would have us go in our walk. Like going to Europe – you can drive yourself to the airport, but you will have to trust completely in the airplane and its crew to get you across the ocean.

When a pastor calls upon you to make a commitment for Christ, he better be telling you to abandon your life to Christ. A former pastor of mine said, “God didn’t invade planet Earth to change your life, He came to kill you!” Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) You cannot accept His gift of salvation on your terms – with an escape clause or an opportunity to bail out if times get tough. Life in Christ is complete – on His terms. With His unconditional love, Christ calls us to an unconditional surrender. Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20” I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Nobody who was ever crucified lived. And there’s no turning back. Is your commitment strong enough to ensure you will never turn back? Mine isn’t and neither is yours. We’re men, our will is insufficient. As Dirty Harry puts it, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

This is standard Jesus set with His own life. Philippians 2:6-8 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Yes, Christ was committed – perfectly. And there’s the rub – our commitments, and the efforts to keep them, are imperfect.

What was so special about the death of Christ that goes beyond commitment? He was arrested and dragged all over town during the dead of night, repeatedly beaten and mocked through six separate trails. Whipped 39 times with a whip of leather with knots holding bits of bone or balls of lead. Romans had scourging down to science, bringing the victim as close to death as possible. The balls bruised, the leather thongs cut open the bruises. Continued beating tore into muscles, tearing them such that bleeding flesh hung in quivering ribbons. Arteries, veins and muscles were torn open, at times even entrails were laid bare. Normally, a victim would faint after two and half minutes.

How many of us would find a way out of a commitment before we got to the whip? And He had yet to face the cross. And we deserve that death; He didn’t.

Mel Gibson’s movie did not exaggerate the cruelty of the suffering Christ submitted Himself to.

Prior to His arrest, Christ prayed “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Then He was led away, beaten, and nailed to the cross.

Abandon: “To surrender one’s right; give up entirely. To yield oneself completely.” Not my will, but His. This is the standard, the call of Christ to men.

Who Holds the Future?

Professional athletes are committed. They work hard, give of themselves and perform amazing physical feats. But how often do contract disputes, injuries, personal issues get in the way of their commitment? As remarkable as your favorite football player is on the field, his efforts fall short of perfection. Since Troy Aikman could not predict the future nor control the aging of his own body, his relationship with the Dallas Cowboys ended a year or two earlier than he planned. In spite of his passionate commitment to play baseball, Daryl Strawberry’s unplanned drug addiction was more powerful. These athletes are wonderfully talented, but they cannot control what is yet to come.

Your marriage will never be what you expected. No matter how hard you work, it’s a commitment that you may not be able to keep. Your life will never turn out how your planned it. Because we are not in control and cannot see the future, sacred relationships must be marked – controlled – by something that will not change. Something outside yourself, that is true whether you agree with it or not, is true whether you know about it or not. God’s Word is true, will never fail, will never change. Everything crafted by man will fail, will change.

He calls you and me to walk in obedience as sons of the most high King of kings. He says if we love Him we will obey His teachings. We should be able to say, “I’m abandoned to the One who love me and gave Himself that I might have life eternal.” So great a gift – all the world’s riches could not buy it. Such a small price for me to pay – not to earn it, but to demonstrate that He’s given it to me – obey the perfect will of my Father in heaven, rather than my myopic, self destructive will. And He promises peace and joy – something the whole lost world is dying for and cannot deliver. How could we refuse?

No Turning Back

When Hernando Cortez landed his Spanish fleet on the shores of Mexico in the spring of 1519, he considered his mission too critical to quit. So when the difficulties in the New World proved to be more than his crews envisioned, he ordered them to burn the ships that brought them the new world – and could take them back to Spain. It may be that he had heard the legend of a Greek general who torched his ships so his army would not be tempted to retreat in the heat of the battle. Whatever his reason, Cortez took the commitment he and his men had made and turned it into being completely yielded. No turning back – abandoned to the mission.

Why does this matter?

Everyone wants to live a life that matters. Every godly man wants to leave a godly legacy. What does it take to do so?

Consider Goodyear, Rockefeller, Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Macy, Gould, Crane, Astor. Names you know. In 1886 some of the East Coast’s most prominent millionaires purchased a coastal island near Georgia for a hunting preserve and winter family retreat. Members of the exclusive, clannish Jekyll Island Club, they controlled one-sixth of the world’s wealth, forging together an alliance that virtually controlled America’s corporations and government. As an example, in one of the elegant private rooms of the secluded Jekyll Island Clubhouse, top government officials hammered out the first draft of the Federal Reserve Act.

The first transcontinental telephone call was initiated from the Jekyll Island Clubhouse to President Woodrow Wilson in Washington and Alexander Graham Bell in New York. J. P. Morgan twice financed the teetering United States government, staving off federal bankruptcy. The Jekyll Island Club was the absolute highest form of a temporal kingdom. These men were committed – devoted – to worldly success and had achieved it!

Though they once commanded one-sixth of the world’s wealth, these power brokers have two things in common with every other man of their era: All their plans have come and gone, and they are all dead.

Today, the Jekyll Island Club is history. Curious visitors wander among a half-dozen restored buildings scattered around the grounds. The overgrown weeds, the peeling paint, the shattered glass – all vividly illustrate the futility of man-made kingdoms. Except those restored for tourists, the posh winter “cottages” lay in ruin, representing the final destiny of all the kingdoms of man.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). All the benefits of prosperity are temporal. All the risks of prosperity are eternal. Tread lightly in temporal kingdoms, for all our plans will come to an end, and then we die. The only profit that matters is an eternal one. Are you spending your wealth for Earthly pleasures or are you sending it ahead to heaven by building the kingdom of God?

What are you committed to? If your commitment is to reform your flesh – compelling yourself to bigger and better things – your focus is on the wrong target and you will fail. Your commitment, if you are to succeed, must be in Christ – plus nothing. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” “Be anxious for nothing …” Not “Me first!” Where’s your focus? Your commitment? Want success in the battle over your sinful flesh? “Walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

Commitment? Go farther. Mere commitment won’t take you where Christ calls you to go. You want success in your walk with the Savior and your marriage? Deny – abandon – yourself to a higher calling. Are you willing to answer His call? Want to leave a godly legacy? The legacy you leave will be the legacy you live. You don’t build a legacy in the last six months of your life. As the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt one stone at a time, your godly legacy will be built one day, one decision, at a time. You can’t microwave it, buy it from L.L. Bean, or fake it. Live for Christ! Walk in the spirit and you will fulfill His plan for your life. Only at the end of such a life will you or I have the legacy we yearn to leave for our children and grand children.

In 1994, a team of Christians arrived in Stravopol, Russia to distribute Bibles. A local resident recalled seeing Bibles in an old warehouse – they had been confiscated in the 1930s when Stalin was persecuting the church. Amazingly, the Bibles were still there!

Among those who showed up to load them into trucks was a young agnostic student who was simply looking to earn some easy money. But he soon slipped away from the job with a Bible he had stolen. Some time later, a fellow worker found him in a corner, weeping. Out of the hundreds of Bibles, he had stolen one that bore the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. Persecuted for her faith, she had no doubt prayed for her family often. God used that woman’s Bible – preserved for 60 years – to convict her young grandson of his sins.

Romans 10:17 – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It is the Word of God that convicts people of their sin and brings them to Godly repentance. We must know this or else we will fear failure about our ability to witness and evangelize adequately.

Want success that matters? I do. Abandon yourself to Christ and let Him direct your work, use your wealth, and secure your future. There is hope in none other and in Him alone is there eternal security.

Is Homosexuality a Choice?

Those who hold to a secular, humanistic worldview have a penchant for being inconsistent. However, they are normally consistently inconsistent. Their answers have to change to suit their sinful lifestyles, and when the answers provide or offer tolerance to all (except for true believers), those answers have to change again just like the faulty science or research they want to appeal to in order to try and prove why they are the way they are.

One question that is often asked though is, “When did YOU choose to be heterosexual or homosexual?” They ask what they feel is the perfect question knowing that the answer given will quantify their own sin, grant them the right to be intolerant towards true Christians, and free themselves from the bonds of the laws of God.

So, let’s look at this question. When did I choose my sexual orientation? The question itself is wrong and is completely predicated on the removal of God from the equation.

If we are but a mere by-product of millions of years of evolution, then there would certainly be no “choices” in aspects of life such as sexual orientation and morality. Instead, my DNA or genes would influence who I was. It would then have an impact on my upbringing, environment, education, government, home life, etc., etc. The reason is because Darwinian evolution believes in the continued improvement and betterment of the species of animal known as man.

Thus, if I am merely an animal and one that is continuously evolving, I would be forced to accept that whether I was good or bad would be based on my DNA. This is why Hitler believed he was right to exterminate all peoples that he did not like. He was living out his beliefs.

It is this reason why Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood can operate with impunity in the wanton murder of millions of babies in the mother’s womb. They are acting out the logical conclusions of their belief. Evolution makes us better and abortion simply weeds out the weak and inconsequential in their minds.

Therefore, if I am but an evolutionary blip, then I cannot choose. I could no more choose who I want to have sex with than what morals I wanted to practice. In other words, if my evolutionary genes did not offer me the ability to make moral choices, I could kill with no conscience, or assault another person, and should have the freedom to do so.

After all, we do not kill animals that use their base instincts to kill or assault another animal, so why should we do this with human animals? There must be a level of consistency if we are going to apply evolutionary beliefs and still say that how I live or who I sleep with is not a choice.

However, there is another option. The option has a name and He is God. He alone is God and He will not give His glory to another. He demands worship and praise from all of creation, including man. This is the only God of the Bible.

This belief found in the pages of Scripture approaches the creation of man, not from the aspect of evolution, but from the aspect that God is Who He says He is and that He did what He says He did.

This belief is to be reflected in every aspect of every person who has ever lived. Sadly, sin entered the equation when Adam willfully and deliberately disobeyed God. When sin entered the world, it was passed to all of Adam & Eve’s children and their descendants.

Everything that God made in the beginning was good and with no imperfections. Even Satan was created as Lucifer and he was the highest of all the angelic beings. He worshiped at the foot of the throne of God and sang the praises of God. But pride entered his heart and he was cast from heaven.

He fell to earth and chose to deceive humanity into thinking they could be like God and know good and evil. Everything that God made Satan has tried over and over to make an evil counterpart. For example, God created marriage between one man and one woman until death parts them, but Satan quickly introduced polygamy, sex with children, bestiality, living together outside of marriage and homosexuality, and then persuaded mankind that these would be just as acceptable as long as they were simply committed to a “loving” relationship.

While DNA continues to grow weaker and more diluted from one generation to another, the one constant is that sin remains. It totally engulfs a person and makes them slaves to their depraved nature.

In one sense, man does not choose to make wise and good decisions because he is at enmity with God. Thus a person who practices sin is simply living out what is in their heart. A person can be just as sinful as a heterosexual as a person can be who is a homosexual. Satan seeks to persuade mankind that evolution is the answer and that God’s laws are not the moral basis of how the world is run.

However, there are morals and there are absolutes. God did not create but two genders – male and female. Not man, but God created the institution of marriage, thus He alone has the right to set the rules – one man and one woman for life. Not man, but God created government, thus He alone has the right to demand the rules be honored and obeyed.

In conclusion, this brings us back to the question of when did I choose my sexual orientation. I did not choose because there is nothing to choose. God who sets the rules made me a male. Therefore, He did the choosing for me. He instilled in my heart the desire to marry a woman who would be my companion.

The “choice” that I have is whether I am going to honor the God who created me and live according to what He made me, OR, I can disobey, dishonor, and show my hatred for the Creator by living in a way that evidences my rebellion. Males are designed by God to be the counterpart to females. God did not create males to have sexual relationships with other males, nor did He create females to have sexual relationships with other females.

Further, God did not create man to live outside the boundary of His laws. This means that God established the morals. We do not kill because God said do not kill. We do not commit adultery because God said do not commit adultery. We do not steal because God said do not steal.

As a human being, I am created in the image of God. I am NOT a by-product of evolution or an evolutionary process. I am NOT free to live any way that I want in opposition to God without being willing to pay the price for my sin and folly. I am bound by my conscience that was placed in me by God. I am bound by His laws because God is the giver of all that pertains to morality. I cannot and would not have any morals apart from God giving them because the theory of evolution does not lean towards the production of morality. Morals cannot appear out of thin air, there must be an Originator.

So, to answer from a Biblical perspective – when did I choose my sexual orientation? I did not choose because God made me a male. This means I am hardwired in every way to respond to a female. God does not make mistakes. If a male wants to respond to another male, or a female to a female, or a human to an animal, they can do so, but not because God created them to do so, but because Satan who hates mankind, and hates God even more, has duped mankind into believing that we were born in a certain way and that we do not have to obey God.

Therefore, the real question that must be answered has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but is about God. A person in the LGBT community can try to use this question to prove who they are, but they can only do so by appealing to evolution and not God.

The real questions that humanity faces are really about God. Is He real or is He but a figment of a deluded segment of mankind? If He is real, then His laws are just as real and we are bound to obey them or pay the price.

If He is but a figment, then I fear for the world because rape, assault, murder, and sexual perversions will continue and grow worse. Man left to himself will never be good because evolution does not permit man to be good. It requires him to do whatever is necessary to fulfill the mantra of the survival of the fittest.

So, here are the “choices” each reader has to make. Do you obey God or do you obey Satan? Do you believe you are here through random mutations and thus incapable of choosing either your morality or your sexual orientation, or do you believe that God created you in the very image of God?

To be consistent, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot believe in God and believe in evolution. You cannot obey God and obey Satan. You cannot be a good moral person and be a person who holds to no absolute truths. You cannot be a follower of Christ and be a person who willfully breaks His laws.

If you realize in any way that you have hope in something that provides no hope, then I have some additional information that you might like to read.

Before time began, God purposed in Himself that He would provide a means of restoring fellowship with fallen man. He desires to have fellowship just as He did with Adam and Eve in the garden, but He cannot stand to look upon sin. In addition, He told Adam and Eve that if they sinned, they would surely die.

This created a dilemma. How could a holy God look upon sinful man and have that fellowship restored? The answer is so simple that even a child can come to the point where they believe in the truth of God’s Word.

When the time was right (Galatians 4:4), God the Son laid aside His glory and took upon Himself human flesh and became a man (Philippians 2). Coming to this earth, He lived a perfect, sinless life. He did not sin, nor could He sin. John the Baptist saw Him coming across the hills of Judea and said, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

This means that Jesus Christ was willing to fulfill the law in its entirety and to also be the substitutionary atonement for our sins. In order to be able to face God, this substitution means that something or somebody had to die in our place and atone for the wrath of God. So, Jesus Christ went to the cross of Calvary and there took our sin upon Himself and suffered the entire wrath of God so that we do not have to do so if we but confess and repent of our sin while placing our faith in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:21 sums up the wonder of this message. “For our sake (humans) He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him (Jesus Christ – God the Son) we (humans) might become the righteousness of God.” What is a further wonder is that the Bible states clearly that WHOEVER wants to come to Christ may come. He will make you a brand new creation and you will no longer be a slave to your sin.

If you have any further questions, feel free to email me at Love4Liberia@gmail.com and I would be willing to provide additional answers from God’s holy and infallible Book, the Bible.

Truth and Error

Truth and error

Near Truth:  Departing from what God has said is serious. quote-a-rusty-nail-placed-near-a-faithful-compass-will-sway-it-from-the-truth-and-wreck-the-argosy-walter-scott-166220

God’s Truth: Genesis 2:16 – 17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The temptation: Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Near Truth: Genesis 3:2 – 3 “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

Consequence: Genesis 3:16 – 19 & 22 – 24 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return…. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Lesson: That which sounds like Truth may not be. If one simple Truth (Do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil) cannot be held in a more perfect mind than we have, how much more need do we have than Adam and Eve to study the Word of God in order to not depart from it? We have been given much more Truth and have a great need for the Holy Spirit to teach us.

 

Pragmatism: Doing God’s work our way can be dangerous, methods do matter.

God’s way: Numbers 4:14 – 15 “And they (Aaron and his sons) shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basins, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers’ skins, and put to the staves of it. And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.”

Man’s way: 2 Samuel 6:2 – 4, 6 -7 “And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. … And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

Consequence: Departure from God’s clear instruction can kill a man.

Lesson: Focusing on “what works” is not normally the right thing to do. We know not what the future holds, therefore we know not “what works”. Man vainly imagines what is good and strives to acheive it. God tells us to obey Him and trust Him for the results.

 

Carelessness.

God’s way: Exodus 28:40 – 43 “And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.”

Man’s way: Numbers 3:2 – 4 “And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office. And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.”

Consequence: Negligence of God’s clear instruction can kill a man.

Lesson: God does not depend on any man or group of men. If we are careless with our charge, He will use others.

(Note: I am not, in these two examples, advocating that Christians should adhere to Levitical requirements; merely pointing out that God is serious about telling us what He requires.)

 

Doctrine: Compromising on God’s established teachings is evil.

God’s way: Ephesians 2:13 – 22 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Man’s way: Galatians 2:11 – 14 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Consequence: Polluting God’s doctrine with traditions of men will be noticed.

Lesson: Our public reputation and ego are of no consideration to God. His teachings – His doctrine – will be taught correctly or the false teacher will (sooner or later) be disciplined.

 

Summary: The Scriptures are full of instruction from God to us – as individuals and as a church. Being cavalier with our personal walk or public service is sin. Each man should humbly submit himself to the Holy Spirit of God for instruction and discipline, and be on guard to not let his heart become hard. It is the nature of deception for the one being deceived to be ignorant of his condition. Do not trust yourself. Submit to God. Study His Word. Fellowship with others who are serious about their walk with the Redeemer of your soul.

“Evolution vs. God” by Ray Comfort

Evolution_vs._God You may have heard the rumblings on the internet that atheists are aghast at Ray Comfort’s newest film, Evolution vs. God. Their weeping and gnashing of teeth comes with good reason for Ray kicks out the legs of their worldview with one simple question, “Can you show me evidence for Darwinian evolution that I do not have to accept by faith?” This film takes professing evolutionary experts and their students to task by causing them to admit that the evolutionary theory is not provable by operational science. It demonstrates that evolutionary theory, at its heart, is really nothing more than a concerted effort to cause man to reject the knowledge of God that he already has so that he may pursue the sinful desires of his flesh. I highly encourage DefCon readers to take the time to watch this film, then go to www.evolutionvsgod.com and help support getting this film into the hands of university students across the country.