Blessing Can Become a Curse

The Spiritual Perils of Earthly Success

Article by Marshall Segal Staff writer, desiringGod.org

Some of the darkest, most irresistible temptations come in the wake of blessing. As we enjoy some provision or breakthrough or triumph, whether in life, or work, or ministry, our spiritual defenses often come down. We might coast. We may begin neglecting disciplines and relationships that have kept us close to and dependent on Jesus.

Suffering, by comparison, often has the opposite effect. Suffering simultaneously raises our defenses (vigilance), and brings us to our knees (humility). Suffering disabuses us of self-reliance, and removes the luster of earthly pleasures and indulgences. Suffering often makes spiritual and eternal reality more vivid and tangible, putting the urgency of earthly life in greater perspective and focus.

“Some of the darkest, most irresistible temptations come in the wake of blessing.”

But blessing, ironically, can dull our spiritual senses and deplete our spiritual resolves. And it can open us to new and subtle temptations. Powerful men fall into this trap over the histories of Scripture. King David, for instance, defeated his tens of thousands with a heart like God’s, only then to crumble before another man’s wife while he enjoyed the comforts and spoils of his victories. The adversity and vulnerability of caves drew the best out of him, while the luxury of his palace exposed the worst.

Another king’s fall, however, provides a uniquely enlightening (and cautionary) map to failure in the midst of blessing.

Illusion of Strength

As Daniel 4 begins, our spiritual alarms should be sounding loudly: “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace” (Daniel 4:4). Nebuchadnezzar had himself witnessed God rescue three men from a raging furnace, leading the proud king to humble himself and worship God (Daniel 3:28–29). Such an experience should have produced an enduring awe and vigilance against his former arrogance, but instead we find the king lounging in complacency, allowing the luxuries of his kingdom to feed and stroke his pride. So God attempts to shake his soul awake with a dream (Daniel 4:5).

No magician or astrologer could make sense of the terrifying dream — a giant, beautiful, and fruitful tree suddenly being cut down. And so, Nebuchadnazzer calls Daniel, who had interpreted his dreams before (Daniel 2:30). This new dream is too intense and unsettling, even for Daniel (Daniel 4:19). He warns the king, “It is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth” (Daniel 4:22). You will be chopped down. You will be driven from your throne and home. You will lose your sanity, bending down to eat grass like an animal (Daniel 4:1625). And this disastrous madness will plague you for years.

Nebuchadnezzar had been richly blessed, with wealth and power beyond anyone in the world at that time, and yet blessing had become for him a curse. “Therefore, O king,” Daniel pleads, “let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity” (Daniel 4:27).

How Not to Respond to Blessing

King Nebuchadnezzar had been humbled twice already and confessed to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings” (Daniel 2:47). With all that he now knew and had seen, as he lounged at ease in his home, how would he respond to this new and more severe warning? As he walked along the roof of his palace several months later, he marveled to himself,

Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty? (Daniel 4:30)

If you want a recipe for how not to respond to blessing and success, look no further than the blindness and foolishness of this man’s pride. The ingredients are warnings to each of us for days when God prospers the work of our hands.

Pride

Is not this great Babylon, which I have built . . .

Pride receives the blessing of God as something earned and deserved. Like Nebuchadnezzar, it looks out on the family we have, the work we have, the reputation and influence we have, the ministry we have, and quietly says to itself, Look what I have built. Pride inflames arrogance and coddles insecurity. “Of course God would give you all of this. How could he not? Look how strategic, articulate, hard-working, and charismatic you are.”

Humility sees any progress or provision, any success or expertise, for what it really is: a gift. “A person cannot receive even one thing,” John the Baptist wisely says, “unless it is given him from heaven” (John 3:27James 1:17). Not one thing. Nothing good you have or do is ultimately owing to you, but to God.

SELF-RELIANCE

Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power . . .

Self-reliance receives the blessing of God as proof of our own strength and ability. The sinful impulse certainly overlaps with (and is rooted in) pride, but notice how it peeks out in the king’s words: by my mighty power. He doesn’t merely take credit, but boasts in himself — not just my power, but my mighty power. He has seen God, with his own eyes, save three men from a blazing furnace, and yet he’s still flaunting the pitifully little he can do.

Those who have tasted the grace of God in Jesus, however, develop an allergy to boasting. When blessing comes, they say instead, with Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10). They work hard, but credit God. “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:71 Chronicles 29:14).

SELF-INDULGENCE

Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence . . .

“Humility sees any progress or provision, any success or expertise, for what it really is: a gift.”TweetShare on Facebook

Self-indulgence receives the blessing of God as a warrant for selfishness. When Nebuchadnezzar looks out on Babylon, he sees a royal residence — a place of comfort and satisfaction for the king, for himself. He sees his whole world as a means of fulfilling his own cravings. We have watched this kind of mindset corrupt and ruin ministry after ministry, haven’t we? How many pastors or leaders have risen in prominence, and eventually taken advantage of their influence to serve themselves (losing their reputations in the process)?

Grace, on the other hand, receives blessing as an opportunity for love. “As each has received a gift,” Peter charges the blessed, “use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Paul also writes, “You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). The humble learn to follow Jesus, who used his power and position to lift others up, even when that meant lowering himself “to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). In Christ, God blesses us so that we are equipped and motivated to bless others (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).

VAINGLORY

Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?

Vainglory receives the blessing of God and bows to worship self. Nebuchadnezzar looked out on what God had given — what God had enabled to be built and to prosper — and he mistook it all for his own glory. While the wise sang, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1), the king also stopped to marvel: “Look how majestic I am.” A later king would be struck dead for the same sin (Acts 12:23).

We might think Nebuchadnezzar a strange and tragic anomaly if we had not tasted the same temptation at some point in our family, job, or ministry. If we had not gloated to ourselves over this achievement or that possession, over this good deed or that wise word. How often have we, whether we would ever say it out loud, stopped to bask for a moment in the false sense of our own majesty?

Again, grace does worship, but it never worships self, and never has any illusions of its own majesty. Grace gladly sings, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1). The godly serve and work and love “by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

So, whether you eat or drink, succeed or fail, experience abundance or need, do all — and receive all — to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Refuse the foolish seduction that felled King Nebuchadnezzar, and enjoy the satisfying and fulfilling reward of knowing that all we have, and all we do, is from God, through God, and to God.

Marshall Segal (@marshallsegal) is a writer and managing editor at desiringGod.org. He’s the author of Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness & Dating. He graduated from Bethlehem College & Seminary. He and his wife, Faye, have two children and live in Minneapolis.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/blessing-can-become-a-curse

How To Be Full Of Heaven?

are you full of heaven

February 19, 2021Author: Nehemiah Zion

Being full of heaven means to walk in the fullness of God’s blessings. Your heart cannot be full of heaven until you are emptied of hell.

Our hearts cannot be full of faith unless we are first emptied of fear, pride and sin. To receive of God’s fullness, we need to be emptied of all our self. Not I, but Christ be formed in me.

The young man was full of pride and could not empty himself for Christ. His heart was full of sorrow because he loved his wealth more than God.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:22)

Ananias and Sapphira’ hearts was filled with deceit and lies. Another victim(s) of loving money more than God, despite being in a time when great wonders were happening.

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Acts 5:3)

Cain was full of jealousy and anger against Abel. When we are full of bitterness and anger, it shows. Evil natures cannot be suppressed when we give room for it in our hearts. It will eventually manifest.

But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell (Genesis 4:5).

When their hearts were full of sin, they ended up manifesting its effects.

What are you full of dear believer?

How can we be full of Heaven?

1. Fullness of the Father (Ephesians 3:19)
2. Be filled with the Spirit (Acts 4:8)
3. Walk in the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13)
4. Abound in the joy of the Lord (Psalms 16:11)
5. Fullness of faith (Acts 11:24)

Emptied of His glory, God became a man. To walk in earth in ridicule and shame. Jesus won the victory we needed; all we need is to stay faithful till the end. Maranatha, Praise God and Amen.

Seven Reasons Why Church Leaders Abuse People

By Dr. James Scott, Jr. -March 11, 2021

abuse

Seven Reasons Why Church Leaders Abuse People

It’s easy to throw stones at all the things that aren’t so good about the internet and social media, but we don’t nearly as often hear about the wonderful things that also come from using technology to connect with others.

Like, for example, being able to connect with some terrific people you otherwise would never meet!

Just recently, one of those terrific people I’ve recently met through social media reached out to me about the topic of why church leaders abuse people. This fellow is a devoted Christian, a sharp guy who has seen abuse happen by church leaders, and is concerned about it. He leads a ministry that has a popular website, and wanted to talk about why leaders abuse others and see how his website might be able to do something on the topic.

I pointed out to my friend that, like any other problem, it’s important to identify the root cause(s) of a problem in order to effectively address or resolve it. First, we started with this premise: When God calls a godly man, who meets His biblical standard, and follows the biblical model for church and ministry, then the fruit of that will not be someone who purposely hurts others. So our discussion turned to the question of why church leaders abuse other people, and here are seven key reasons we discussed:

1. The practice of sin; the presence of evil. Where there are patterns of abuse, there is the practice of sin.

2. Wrong people in the ministry. More than 1,700 pastors quit each month. We tend to automatically think it’s because these ministers have burned out, etc., but several of the pastors who quit should never have been ordained and in vocational ministry in the first place. That’s because some of them do not meet the biblical qualifications to be pastors; for others who do, many go into ministry inadequately equipped, some who even have never been personally discipled. New attention needs to be given to churches and denominations about their examination process for those they are ordaining into ministry.

3. Wrong method of how we structure a church. Many churches today are structured in such a way as to place all “power” into the hands of a single individual, usually a senior pastor. Instead of structuring a church by biblical example, with a plurality of elders, many churches are structured as if they are a pastor’s personal fiefdom. Instead of elders or deacons, we have “management teams” who serve at the whim of a charismatic or controlling pastor, with little to no accountability to others. This kind of power position is a breeding ground for abuse.

4. Corruption from a broad-based addiction to leadership. Leadership, leadership, leadership. That’s almost all you hear about in church leadership circles. What leadership books are you reading? What leadership conferences are you attending? How many new leaders are you developing? And sadly, much (most?) of what is written about leadership, and taught at church conferences as leadership, are business leadership models and principles, NOT biblical teaching about servant leadership. One outcome is many church leaders would rather spend their time with other church leaders than with the flock they’re supposed to be shepherding. When you adopt a worldly model, you’ll be working from the flesh, not walking, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. That’s why many of today’s leadership structures in the church are based on the pastor as CEO and leading an “organization,” not a structure of an under-shepherd serving the family of God. This corruption of leadership is also a breeding ground for abuse, as CEO pastors see church members as volunteers there to accomplish their vision. To get them to do that, manipulation, control, and other abuse can occur.

5. Pride. So many who “mentor” ministers teach church leaders to create their own platforms and promote it broadly and constantly. That makes “being a leader” about pursuing and achieving “success.” Using people to achieve that often results in abuse.

6. Sin. This isn’t the practice of sin, which was the first item mentioned, this is that occasional fall that any and all of us can have in our lives. A pastor can become so over-worked, under-rested, and under-appreciated he could snap at someone or otherwise exercise poor decision-making. This can be rectified quickly with confession and repentance, and usually isn’t an ongoing problem unless the minister fails to fix the things in his life that led him to this momentarily lapse in sin.

7. Mental health issues. Just like the general population, many ministers struggle with mental health issues, from things as simple as temperament weaknesses and dealing with stress, to working from patterns of irrational thinking or developing habits of cognitive distortions. These can lead to conflict and, if not handled properly, may lead to abuse. Also like the general population, a sizable percentage of ministers say they do suffer, or have suffered, from a diagnosed mental illness. These can include anything from narcissistic tendencies, depression, and chronic anxiety, to bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. If a minister doesn’t receive appropriate treatment for a mental illness, his illness could contribute to inappropriate treatment of others.

There are other reasons why church leaders abuse people, these are some of the primary reasons. When you identify a root cause to a problem, you can then identify some of the ways to fix a problem. For the issues shared above, some things to do to fix some of these issues include:

  • The personal holiness of those who claim to be called to church leadership of any kind. Have they been discipled, trained, and equipped? Is their covenant relationship with Jesus Christ authentic and mature enough to move into ministry?
  • So the assessment process for licensure or ordination of ministerial candidates must be explored and addressed.
  • How churches are structured must be explored and addressed.
  • How to address falls (not a practice) of sin must be learned.
  • The plight of leadership addiction must be addressed in the church. We must change what it means to be a leader in the church.
  • Whether there are mental health issues or illness needs to be identified and treated.
  • All Christians need to be discipled to spiritual maturity.

Just as there are other causes for church leaders abusing people, there is more to be done to resolve such issues as well. Abuse of any kind, by anyone, anywhere is not acceptable, but it certainly must never be tolerated in the church among church leaders. We need to look closely at why some church leaders abuse people, and take every necessary action to stop the abuse, see to healing of the abused, aim for restoration and discipleship of the leader, and be proactive in preventing any opportunity for abuse to occur in the church by its leaders.

This article originally appeared here.

Dr. James Scott, Jr., is a minister, former church planter, Christian clinical therapist, certified Personal Trainer, and author. He currently serves as Founder and President of Scott Free Clinic, an international parachurch ministry. Follow him at ScottFreeClinic.org.

Giving People the Whole Gospel

 

June 23, 2019 by John MacArthur

I trust that all of us, upon hearing what we will hear tonight from the Word of God, will shape our future evangelism and gospel testimony around these truths. If I could title what I want to say to you tonight I would call it “Gospel Honesty. Gospel Honesty.” And by saying that, I am acknowledging to you that I believe there is dishonesty in preaching the full message of the gospel. So I want us to talk about gospel honesty.

Gospel ministry, evangelism, demands honesty. It demands that we tell sinners the whole truth, not part of it, but all of it. And this kind of gospel honesty is the only acceptable ministry as far as our Lord is concerned; anything less than this falls short of our calling. And the truth is, honestly, that the gospel is both glorious and dangerous. It is eternally enriching, and it is eternally ruining. The gospel has the power to compound joys everlastingly and to compound sorrows everlastingly. The gospel will escalate pure pleasure forever or escalate pure pain forever. After hearing the gospel with a measure of understanding, no sinner is the same – no, not in time, and certainly not in eternity.

Exposure to the gospel makes sinners better or it makes them worse; doesn’t leave them the same. No one who understands the gospel and its claims and its commands remains the same in time or in eternity. This truth is laid out for us in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 by the apostle Paul. He says in verse 14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” In other words, preaching the gospel compounds death as it compounds life; no one is left the same.

In the book of Hebrews, the familiar words of chapter 10 all of us know very well. “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment” – reject the gospel, go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of gospel truth, and what you should expect is a terrifying judgment – “and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

If you’ve heard the gospel and reject the gospel, you will have a severer punishment. So the gospel leaves no one the same; you’re either better or worse, not the same. Our Lord address this in Matthew 11. So let me ask you to turn in your Bible to Matthew chapter 11, and I want us to follow His thought starting in verse 15.

Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This is a call to listen. This is a call to be alert. It is not the only place that that call is given. Chapter 13, “He who has ears, let him hear,” verse 9. Chapter 13, “He who has ears, let him hear,” verse 43. And it appears many times, as we will remember, in Revelation 2 and 3. It is a call to the seriousness of what is about to be said. And if we are those who preach the gospel and we are the ones responsible for bringing people from the nations to Christ, we need to know what our Lord expects of us as we enter this task. “Listen to this,” that’s what our Lord is saying.

Now our Lord was a missionary, the consummate Missionary. He had a heart for the lost; He wept over them. He brought them the truth; He offered them the gospel of salvation. He did it with love, compassion, tenderness, and kindness. He told them to believe the Scripture. He told them to believe the prophets. He told them to believe John the Baptist who had said of Him, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” And He told them to believe Him. Not only the Old Testament, not only the prophets, not only John the Baptist, but to believe His words concerning Himself.

The previous ten chapters of Matthew provide revelation that clearly tells us who He was: the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, the King, the only Savior, the only Redeemer. Ten chapters are laid out by Matthew under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to make it crystal clear who Jesus Christ is. And there’s a crescendo at the end of that tenth chapter where He says, “You must receive Me.” Verse 32 of chapter 10, “Whoever confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who’s in heaven.” After ten chapters of revelation concerning His identity, He calls for an open confession such as we heard tonight in baptism.

Then He warns, “Whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father.” And He lays out the reality that there’s a price to pay for this, because there will be division in a family. “He didn’t come to bring peace, He came to bring a sword. Set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”

And then He said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who doesn’t take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life will, for My sake, find it.” So this is the call at the end of the ten chapters to embrace Him, to embrace Him even if it cost you everything – all your relationships and all your life.

As we come into chapters 11 and 12, we have recorded the responses to these opening ten chapters. We will see, were we read through chapters 11 and 12, and even into chapter 13, that there were a number of responses. In the early part of chapter 11 one response is doubt. Another response in the early part of chapter 11 is confusion or perplexity. And when you come into chapter 12, we find there are a few other responses: superficial amazement, a kind of fascination with miracles, the rejection, which progresses even to blasphemy.

But in our passage, starting in verse 16, we find the most common form of unbelief. I suppose we could just sum it up by saying it is a kind of cynical disinterest or indifference. After all that has been revealed about our Lord, all that He Himself put on display for the people of Israel, there was doubt, and there was perplexity, and there was amazement, and there was fascination; but in the end, that nation rejected Him, and blasphemed Him, and called for His death. But for most people, there wasn’t that kind of vicious blasphemous hatred of Jesus that showed up in Jerusalem when He was driven to the cross.

The most common form of unbelief is just disinterest, indifference. And our Lord makes that clear starting in verse 16. In traditional rabbinical fashion He speaks in figures of speech. “But to what shall I compare this generation?” This is the most common form of rabbinic teaching, the most common form of teaching in all of Jewish literature: metaphor, simile, illustration, figure of speech. In this case we could even call it a parable.

And so, our Lord makes up a story, as He did so often. “What shall I compare this generation to? What describes this generation best?” Well, He says, “It is like children sitting in the marketplace, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you didn’t dance; we sang a dirge,’ – or a funeral song – ‘and you didn’t mourn.’” He says, “This generation is like children, children who are hanging around the open marketplace.” That would be the square in the center of every little village and town where various goods were sold at periodic times during the week.

But for the rest of the time it was like the city park, and it was the convenient playground for neighborhood children. It’s the agora, like a public park open to everybody when vacant. And Jesus sees in this open space little children playing games. And children’s games inevitably mirror adult games, don’t they, or adult events, or adult social significant events. So these children are playing games really designed to follow the two most dramatic events in all of social life: a funeral and a wedding.

The kids are playing funeral, and they’re playing wedding. Somebody is the dead body. Some people are the mourners. Some people may be the bearers of that body. There’s maybe some weeping, and they’re playing funeral. And they’re also playing wedding. And somebody’s the bride and somebody’s the groom, and somebody is the best man and somebody is the maid of honor, and everybody has a role to play.

Wedding is a glad game. And so, we read that, “We played the flute for you; you didn’t dance.” The wedding game called for a flute, a musical instrument because of joy, and it called for dancing. They also played the funeral game, and that called for a dirge and mourning, “But you didn’t follow that, you didn’t mourn.” In both cases what we see is stubborn indifference.

By the way, this is the only biblical reference to children’s games. But this is intended to illustrate that stubborn perversity of human sinful nature. It isn’t that they are hostile, it isn’t that they are vicious, it is that they don’t want to play.

How is He applying this? Verses 18 and 19: “John came neither eating nor drinking,” – he came in funeral mode – “and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking,” – He came in wedding mode – “and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” These are peevish children.

Jesus came in a wedding fashion, John came in a funeral fashion. Think about that in verse 18: “John came neither eating nor drinking.” He had virtually no interaction with society. We know what characterized him, you can go back to chapter 3 and read it. He ate locusts and wild honey, and he lived in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness, no social life, isolated; and his message was repentance. It was a doomsday message: “Repent or die.” He says things like, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” And our Lord said, “You didn’t want to enter into John’s game, you didn’t want to be a part of that. Rather, you said about Him, ‘He has a demon. He’s demon-possessed. He’s deranged, He’s a mental case.’” So instead of repentance there was ridicule.

On the other hand, Jesus was the very opposite. He didn’t live in the wilderness, He went from village to village, to village, to village. He spent His entire childhood until He became an adult and began His public ministry in the town of Nazareth, sitting at the table every day of His life with the family and the community. We find Him eating many times in many places with many different groups of people. He’s in the middle of everything, because it’s a time for joy. His message does touch on the note of repentance, but it’s much more that, “The Messiah is here.” It’s time for joy.

Go back two chapters to chapter 9 and verse 14. “The disciples of John” – who’s in funeral mode – “come to Jesus’ disciples, and to Jesus, and ask ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?’” If your message is constantly repentance or doom, you’re in a sad mode, and fasting belongs to that.

Jesus responded in verse 15: “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast.” This is wedding time; this is celebration time; this is the time for life and joy. But what did they say about Him? Verse 19, “They said, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”

They rejected John the Baptist and his message of repentance. They rejected Jesus and His message of kingdom salvation. They rejected repentance and they rejected faith in the Son of God. So they basically do what sinners always do; they create an excuse for their indifference, for their diffidence, for their indifference, one that justifies them. They are too righteous to stoop, to buy the message of John the Baptist; he’s demon-possessed. And they are also too righteous to listen to this man named Jesus because He is sinful. He is a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners. This is sort of the common response to Jesus: “He doesn’t come up to my standards.”

Our Lord’s immediate response is axiomatic, it is a truism, it is a self-evident reality. He says, bottom of verse 19, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Or as it says in Luke 7:35, “Wisdom is vindicated by her children.” What does that mean? What it means is true wisdom will show up in what it produces. Corrupt human wisdom produces corrupt deeds, such as the very false accusations of the people against John and Jesus. But on the other hand, the true wisdom from on high, the wisdom that John was preaching and Jesus was preaching produced righteous people who repent and believe; and wisdom is thus vindicated.

In James chapter 3, this is laid out a little more in detail, verse 13, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior in his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.” If you are truly wise, if you have received wisdom, it’ll show up in your deeds. “If you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. The wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Wisdom shows up in its children; the children are virtues. Wisdom shows up in deeds, virtuous deeds. Divine wisdom will be vindicated. The ultimate verdict on the gospel – listen – the ultimate verdict on the gospel is not made by its rejectors. The ultimate verdict on the gospel is made by those who receive it and demonstrate its truthfulness in their repentance, in their faith, and in the fruit of those things. Impenitent and unbelieving, self-righteous sinners create reasons to reject. They even mock the gospel like the peevish children who won’t join the game.

Now when that message is rejected, when that message is refused, as it is most of the time – we all know that – what did our Lord do? When the message of repentance and faith was rejected, what did He do? Was that disappointing to Him? How did He handle that? I’ll tell you what He didn’t do. He didn’t change the message, and He didn’t change the method; He just pronounced devastating judgment.

In fact, at this very incident there’s a significant turning point. A line is drawn here. There’s a huge divide in the ministry of Jesus at this very point. All the way up from the beginning of the gospel of Matthew to the nineteenth verse there has been gentleness and compassion. But starting in verse 20, everything changes.

“Then He began to denounce.” This is required by gospel honesty. This very incident launches a new approach, a great divide, a new direction in our Lord’s ministry. “Then He began to denounce.” Some would translate it “revile,” some “reproach.” It’s a very, very strong term for holy anger that bears judgment.

This is where that compassion that we’re so used to seeing is replaced by fury. And the target? “He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done,” the cities in which most of His dunamis, acts of power were done. It’s not the buildings and it’s not the institutions of the cities, it’s the people. So this is a divine denunciation of the people who were exposed to Him and His power, because, verse 20 says, “they did not repent.” They did not repent, and obviously they did not believe.

“To whom much is given, much is required.” The amount of exposure to the Lord and to the gospel to divine truth aggravates their guilt. It’s what I was saying earlier: no one is ever left the same. If you reject the gospel, guilt is aggravated, punishment is escalated. And if you continually reject the Savior and the gospel day after day, after day, after day, month after month, after month, the aggravation is exponential. The greater the gospel exposure, the greater the knowledge of the reality of Christ and His words and works, the greater the guilt. And the greater the guilt, the greater the punishment.

So we read in verse 21, “Woe to you, Chorazin!” – that’s a word for damnation, cursing, wrath – “Woe to you, Bethsaida!” two cities whose inhabitants had been exposed to the gospel. They had been exposed to the gospel again and again, and again, and again. The words of our Lord here should have terrified them the way the words of Jonah terrified Nineveh, so that the whole city repented.

But these people do not repent, and so doom is pronounced on them: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And nevertheless I say to you it’ll be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.”

He pronounces curses on Chorazin, about two-and-a-half miles north of Capernaum. Today it is extinct. He pronounces a curse on Bethsaida, also little northwest of Capernaum; the home of Philip and Andrew and Peter. This area is Galilee. This area is really just very near Capernaum, which really for much of our Lord’s Galilean ministry was ground zero. They saw many miracles. John at the end of his gospel in chapter 20, and again in chapter 21, verse 25, says that He did so many miracles that they couldn’t even write them all down. These are highly favored populations of people, and are our Lord says, “If the miracles they saw had occurred in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” Sackcloth and ashes are symbols of humiliation and sorrow and mourning and repentance.

Chorazin and Bethsaida are to be judged more severely because of more exposure to the Son of God. Privilege brings responsibility. Increased privilege brings increased responsibility. What was happening in Chorazin and Bethsaida was the message of Christ was producing death to death to death to death, compounding degrees of punishment in hell. That’s why verse 22 says, “It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than you.”

Tyre and Sidon never heard the gospel. You might think that because these two cities heard the gospel, that was an advantage. No, just the opposite, just the opposite. Tyre and Sidon were idolatrous, full of Baal worship, immorality, wickedness, pride. They were worthy of judgment and damnation, and it came. You can read about in Ezekiel 26 to 28, Isaiah 23. And prophets like Amos and Joel and Jeremiah pronounced judgment on those two coastal cities: Tyre and Sidon.

They hadn’t been totally destroyed, because in Matthew 15:21 it says Jesus visited them. But our Lord says, “If the miracles that had been done in Chorazin and Bethsaida had been done there, they would have repented.” So Chorazin and Bethsaida, granted so much more privilege than their rejection, received so much more punishment. And that is to say there are degrees of punishment in hell.

Then in verse 23 and 24 He adds a second illustration: “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades”; – or hell in this case – “for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” Which is worse, to be a sodomite, trying to rape angels, or be a religious Jew in Capernaum rejecting Jesus Christ? Hell is hotter for the religious Jew who rejected Jesus Christ than it is for a sodomite who tried to rape angels; because judgment is connected to how much revelation you have received.

Capernaum exceeded Chorazin and Bethsaida in privilege. There were more of our Lord’s miracles done in Capernaum even than those other two towns. Sodom exceeded Tyre and Sidon in wickedness. Tyre and Sidon were wicked, but they’re still around even today, or remnants of them. They were around in our Lord’s time. Not so, Sodom. God buried Sodom under fire and brimstone for their homosexual perversion. In the judgment it will be worse for the people in Capernaum, who saw Jesus, heard Jesus, witnessed the miracles and rejected Him, than it will be for the inhabitants of Sodom.

This is gospel honesty. This is gospel honesty. This is not what people talk about, even Christian people when they present Christ. They avoid this. But this is gospel honesty, of how much severer punishment shall he be thought worthy who tramples underfoot the blood of the covenant, who rejects the cross.

There is no evidence that these towns ridiculed Jesus; they were just impenitent. They were just unbelieving, they were indifferent. Oh, yeah, they were amazed by His teaching, they were amazed by His miracles. They were impressed by His works and His words. They were religious, they were respectable, they were self-righteous; but they were unmoved. Respectable people, respectable religious people exposed to the truth of Jesus Christ and the gospel will receive the severest punishment in hell. That is gospel honesty. It’ll be worse for them than sodomites.

So gospel honesty up to this point demands a compelling warning, doesn’t it. It demands a compelling warning. Yes, it demands a compassionate plea; and the compassionate plea was there in verses 16 to 19, and the compelling warning was there in verses 20 to 24.

There’s something else that comes next in gospel honesty; it’s in verse 25. Let’s call it a confident, a confident doctrine. Was Jesus grieved over this unbelief? Of course. Did He weep over it? Of course. Was He disappointed? Of course. Did He feel like Isaiah, “How long, O Lord, will I do this and they reject?” Of course.

But notice verse 25: “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.’” Now wait a minute. Is that the response to the rejection of the gospel that we would have expected? Is that what we would expect? Is that how you respond when you’re confronted with indifference? Do you immediately praise God? Do you say, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants”?

What is our Lord saying here? He’s saying this, that “I can praise the Father even when the gospel is rejected and compounds judgment, because salvation is totally an act of God.” This is the glorious confidence of the Son in the sovereignty of the Father. “I praise You, Father.”

I know in ministry you get discouraged, and you’re endeavoring to tell people the gospel and you become discouraged. If you’re going to be gospel honest, you’re going to tell them, “Look, you’re now in deeper trouble than you were before you heard this. And every time you hear it again and reject, you’re compounding your eternal punishment.” Realizing the horror of that, can you also turn immediately to worship and say, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You’ve hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants”?

That verse begins at that time, right there in the middle of that reality, at the very moment when Jesus was facing this typical response of sinners – no repentance, no faith; typical of the nation of Israel, typical of the world. He is not defeated, He is not discouraged, He is confident, because salvation is in the purpose and plan of the Father. “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” And isn’t it rather obvious that if You are the Lord of heaven and earth, You are in charge. If You are the sovereign Creator, sustainer, ruler, and consummator of all that exists, You are in charge.

Praise is the response of our Lord Jesus when the gospel is rejected. He’s done all He can do. He has made a gracious offer, they didn’t want to play, so He pronounced damnation on them. If the wooing grace and mercy and love of the gospel invitation didn’t move their hearts, and the threat of increased guilt and eternal punishment didn’t move their hearts, He can still praise God, that God has hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to nēpios, sucklings, nursing babies, those who are helpless.

This sounds a lot like what Paul’s talking about in 1 Corinthians 1 where he says, verse 18, “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” And then down in verse 26, He says, “For consider your calling, brethren, there were not many wise according to the flesh,” – not the wise and intelligent – “not many mighty, not many noble”; – and then this; why? – “because God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”

It’s not the wise and the intelligent that believe, it’s the ones God has chosen. Why? Why did God reveal this only to those He chose? Verse 26, “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. It was well-pleasing in Your sight.”

Why was God so pleased to elect people to salvation? Ephesians 1: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace.” Why did He choose? For His own glory’s sake. “I praise You, Father, because this was pleasing in Your sight, because it gave all glory to You,” all glory to the Father.

And then He adds in verse 27, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.” Jesus said in John 6, “No man comes to Me unless the Father draws him.” Every person who comes to salvation is a love gift from the Father to the Son, chosen before the foundation of the world, name written down in the Book of Life, drawn by the Father and given to the Son.

“All things have been handed to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone” – listen to this – “to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” The Father saves whom He will, and the Son, in perfect agreement with the Father, reveals Him to whom He will.

Even in the middle of your ministry where you pour out your heart to sinners, and you give them gospel honesty, you talk about the need to repent and believe. And when they reject that and you warn them about inevitable judgment and the escalation of that judgment, the more they know and the more they reject, and they still are indifferent, they still have no interest; you turn to this confident reality that all whom the Father has chosen will come. They will be love gifts from the Father to the Son. The Son will receive them, the Son will keep them, John 6, “He will lose none. He will raise them all at the last day.”

Salvation, repentance, and faith in the gospel is entirely dependent upon the will and purpose and plan of the Father and the work and will of the Son. Martin Luther said, “Here the bottom falls out of all merit, all powers and abilities of reason, or the free will men dream of, and it all counts nothing before God.” He must do everything. That’s why we always triumph, right?

But notice this final portion here in chapter 11. With firm, perfect understanding of the doctrine of divine sovereignty, as only the Lord Himself would have, with a true understanding of the salvation of the elect, the Lord does an amazing thing: He gives a final invitation. And notice what He says in verse 28: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” How could He say that? But He says it with no hesitation at all, no caveat, no explanation, no self-conscious fear of contradiction as if there is some kind of antipathy between sovereign election and human responsibility; the Lord gives an invitation.

Gospel honesty makes a merciful, gracious plea. Gospel honesty pronounces severe compounded judgment on rejectors. Gospel honesty rests comforted in the divine sovereignty of God. But gospel honesty also makes an open offer. We don’t know who the elect are. So our Lord says, “Come to Me, all.” His perfect understanding of sovereign election did not restrain the offer. “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, I’ll give you rest.”

But to whom did that offer come? Please note: all who are weary and heavy-laden, all who are weary and heavy-laden. They’re the ones that will respond. Crushed under the load of the law, crushed under the weight of sin, buried under guilt and fear with no relief, our Lord’s offer of rest is to them what they desire.

We’re not talking about the self-righteous anymore. We’re not talking about the wise and the intelligent, and we’re not talking about the religious, the self-satisfied, peevish children. We’re talking about desperate people now, those who have exhausted all human resources. And gospel honesty also says, “Look, the offer of eternal salvation is to anyone crushed under the weight of sin and guilt and fear of judgment, anyone being pounded by the Spirit of God who is convicting of righteousness and judgment and sin. To those, I say come, all of you crushed under the weight of sin, and I’ll give you rest, salvation rest, salvation rest.”

And He describes that rest in verse 29: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” May have been that when Jesus was a carpenter He made a lot of yokes. Here He is saying, “Come to Me, and I’ll give you rest.” You say, “Well, wait a minute. If He’s going to give us rest, what’s His yoke about?” Well, “Take My yoke upon you.” What does that mean? You are put in a place where somebody else controls you. That’s what a yoke was.

So you are confessing Jesus as Lord, and you are submitting to Him as His slave. “Come and acknowledge Me as your Lord. Come and acknowledge Me as your teacher and learn from Me. Be My slave, My doulos, and My mathētēs, My student. And you’re going to love this relationship, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Well, we’ve said a lot. I think you get the picture. Gospel honesty extends mercy when it is rejected. Gospel honesty warns about the compounding severity of eternal judgment on those who hear the truth and reject it. Gospel honesty rests in God’s sovereign purpose. And then at the same time, gospel honesty calls to all crushed under the weight of sin to come to Christ. This is the fullness of an honest gospel. It has a compassionate plea, it has a compelling warning, it has a confident doctrine, but it also has a comforting promise; and we can offer to sinners.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/82-12/giving-people-the-whole-gospel

VIDEO Christian sex ‘sins’ melt down on TV’s ‘Bachelorette’ – Fornication And Jesus’ Love

Christian sex ‘sins’ melt down on TV’s ‘Bachelorette’

‘Dude, choose a woman who loves Christ the way you do. Period’

 

Luke Parker and Hannah Brown enjoy a helicopter ride together (Instagram /Luke Parker)

Luke Parker and Hannah Brown enjoy a helicopter ride together (Instagram /Luke Parker)

Millions of Christians across America and the world are familiar with the Bible’s warning against having sex outside of marriage, and now that conflict has sparked a meltdown on “The Bachelorette” TV show and spilled into real life.

The stance by one Christian suitor, 24-year-old Luke Parker, to wait until marriage to have sex got him tossed out of contention by Hannah Brown, who rolled her eyes numerous times when Parker objected to the “Fantasy Suites” portion of the program.

It’s not that Brown wasn’t attracted to “LukeP” as he’s called on the air.

“The closest thing to love at first sight was probably with you,” the Alabama native admitted during Parker’s final episode.

But when it came to the possibility of Ms. Brown having sex with numerous partners, that’s where Parker drew the line.

“I don’t believe that’s something you should be doing,” he said, “and I just want to make sure you’re not going to be, you know, sexually intimate with, you know, the other relationships here.”

“Guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage, pride is a sin, too, and I feel like this is like a pride thing,” Brown responded. “I feel like I’ve finally gotten clarity on you and I do not want you to be my husband.”

After Parker asked if he could have a moment, Brown dropped a bombshell on him, saying she did, in fact, already have sex in a windmill twice with fellow contestant Peter Weber.

“I have had sex and, like, Jesus still loves me,” she declared.

The lovers’ spat continued off the air, on the internet, with the couple engaging in a fierce war of words over what constitutes sin, and how Christians should respond.

“The difference in how we view sin is seen in the response,” Parker indicated. “I’m weeping at mine and you’re laughing at yours. All sin stings. My heart hurts for both of us.”

Brown responded: “time and time again Jesus loved and ate with ‘sinners’ who laughed. And time and time again he rebuked ‘saints’ that judged. Where do you fall Luke? #TheBachelorette.”

Luke replied: “There is a difference between eating with sinners who laugh and sinners who laugh at their sin. Sin is the very thing that put Jesus on the cross and that’s not a laughing matter.”

Brown wasn’t through, though, as she alluded to a conversation Parker had with another kicked-off contestant, Garrett Powell: “I have never said that I find my sin funny. I’m not going to [be] lectured on appropriate emotional responses by a guy who threw deli meat in a guy’s lap.”

Parker then addressed the sexual encounter in the windmill.

“Your tweets about the windmill and the wood were enough, it’s not about the action it’s about the response. If you want to talk about it, you know how to get ahold of me.”

On Instagram, Parker admitted it hurt his heart that Hannah “felt I was shaming her.”

In our conversation my heart was never to judge or condemn Hannah. I was simply making a decision for myself on what I expected in our relationship, our conversations and our beliefs led me to believe we were on the same page about sex. For me it was never about getting a rose, it was always about finding a wife who would choose me everyday just as I would choose her everyday.

As for my time on the show I made mistakes and no I’m not perfect (crazy right) I didn’t totally behave as the man I want to be and I did not represent Christ the way I thought I was prepared to and that has broken me.

This journey has taught me so much and for that I am grateful but the greatest gift I have received is a compassion for those who love the world and it’s ways. My desire is to put the Father first above all things and share the truth that he has given to us all. Thank you everyone for the prayers always remember speak truth and rid yourself of all hate, let compassion drive your words. Stay tuned.

Some comments from viewers online include:

  • “Stick to your guns. [Wait for] sex until you’re married. She is crazy anyways.”
  • “Boy still can’t fully take responsibility for how crappy he is.”
  • “I just don’t think this environment/setting was for you. I mean, how could someone not have controlling behaviors when a girl their dating is dating 30 other guys. I think the the guys who DON’T CARE that Hannah is mindlessly sleeping around/jumping naked is more concerning to me, than a man who finds it concerning and worth talking about? Clearly the TV show made you look like some narcissist. But I don’t think you are. I think @alabamahannah is just an airhead who uses grace as an excuse to have 0 control and overreacted. Her Bible quotes were her interpretation of the Bible. Any who. *Not a Luke fan but even more so not a Hannah fan. She slept with a guy she had no feelings for … (she never told peter she loved him …) I mean it’s worth being a little concerned about if you’re wanting to propose to someone within a week.”
  • “Why is everyone confusing the words judgement and discernment. Obviously you have a standard you want to live by and it’s not unreasonable to desire a wife with those same standards and desires. Hannah doesn’t have a true relationship with Jesus. Because Christ says that ‘those who love me obey my commands.’ Dude … choose a woman who loves Christ the way you do. Period.”

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeKovacsNews

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/christian-sex-sins-melt-down-on-tvs-bachelorette/


 

Michael Brown takes on controversy surrounding reality show’s pair of contestants

The headline announced, “‘Bachelorette’ star sends contestant home after sex before marriage spat, feud spills into Twitter.” Yes, “Sparks flew Monday night on the Fantasy Suites week episode of ‘The Bachelorette’ between star Hannah Brown and Luke Parker.” The sparks were flying over the issue of pre-marital sex.

Both Brown and Parker claim to be committed Christians, but for Parker, sex was to be saved for marriage. Not so for Brown, who told Parker she had had sex with another show contestant, not once, but twice. “I have had sex” she said, “and, like, Jesus still loves me.”

To be candid, I’ve never watched “The Bachelorette” (or “The Bachelor”), and I know nothing of Brown and Parker, other than what I’ve written here.

But I do know Jesus. And I do know the Scriptures. And the Word of God makes perfectly clear that sexual intimacy is a special gift for a husband and wife alone. Period.

To have sex before wedlock is called fornication. To have sex outside of wedlock is called adultery. And both are expressly forbidden in Scripture. Sex is too sacred to be squandered and abused and misused. It is for the marital bed alone.

But what of Brown’s statement, “Jesus still loves me”?

She’s absolutely right. He still does. He loves us when we sin, even repeatedly.

He loves us when we’re immoral. And when we’re proud. And when we’re greedy. And when we’re hateful.

Yes, He still loves us, even when we sin.

But that doesn’t mean He is pleased with us when we sin. That doesn’t mean He looks the other way. That doesn’t mean we haven’t grieved Him. And that doesn’t mean He will not discipline us in His love.

In fact, Jesus spoke so strongly against sexual immorality that He said we should take radical steps to prevent it in our lives, emphasizing that those steps would be far less costly than going to hell (Matthew 5:27-30).

Paul also gave warnings in the strongest terms, writing, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. … For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3–6).

The book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, has this to say about who will enter the eternal, heavenly Jerusalem and who will not: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:14–15).

Willfully practicing sin is terribly costly.

Again, it’s true that Jesus still loves us, even when we sin. And it’s true that, one way or another, we sin every day, either in thought or word or deed. Even if we don’t sin consciously, we still fall short of loving our neighbor perfectly, even on our very best day.

But Jesus loves us enough that He calls us out of our sin, rebukes us for our persistent and willful sin and warns us of the consequences of sin.

Hannah Brown said to Luke Parker, “Guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage; pride is a sin, too, and I feel like this is like a pride thing.”

And that, somehow, was justification in her eyes for having sex outside of wedlock. To paraphrase, “Well, I feel you’re bring proud, which is just as bad as having sex out of wedlock. So, if you can be proud, I can have sex.”

What she has sadly forgotten is that sex is sacred and that sin destroys. And that Jesus came to save us from our sins so that, from here on, we could live the rest of our lives in obedience to God.

The Lord does forgive us, freely and completely, laying down His life to save us from judgment and destruction. But salvation comes with requirements. God requires us to be holy.

As Paul wrote, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18–20).

I pray Hannah Brown would take this to heart. In fact, I pray that each and everyone of us would take it to heart. We can’t let anything rob us of walking in the beauty of holiness.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/the-bachelorette-fornication-and-jesus-love/

Itching To Talk Nonsense!

by Paul

Arkansasturnoftune

(Charles Spurgeon)

“To the Law and to the Testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

Take care never to impute the vain follies of your imagination to the Holy Spirit. I have seen the Spirit of God shamefully dishonored by people–I hope they were insane–who have said that they have had this and that revealed to them.

For some years there has not been a single week in which I have not been pestered with the revelations of hypocrites or maniacs. Semi-lunatics are very fond of coming with “messages from the Lord” to me. It may spare them some trouble if I tell them once for all that I will have none of their stupid messages!

Never think that events are revealed to you by God–or you may come to be like those idiots who dare impute their blatant follies to the Holy Spirit. If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense–then trace it to the devil, and not to the Spirit of God!

Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us, is in the Word of God already. He adds nothing to the Bible, and never will. Let people who have revelations of this, that, and the other thing–go to bed, and wake up in their senses. I only wish they would follow Scripture and no longer insult the Holy Spirit by laying their nonsense at His door!

“A prophet who presumes to speak in My name anything I have not commanded him to say . . . must be put to death!” Deuteronomy 18:20

“The prophets are prophesying lies in My name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds!” Jeremiah 14:14

“Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: Hear the Word of the LORD!” Ezekiel 13:2

https://thegospelvideoblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/itching-to-talk-nonsense/