Archive for the ‘spiritual warfare’ Category

I had heard about this book through twitter and facebook post and hadn’t really given much thought to it. Trevin’s review has sparked my interest enough to motivate myself to check it out. Here are Trevin’s thoughts ………………

Ever wonder how a committed unbeliever would feel in your church service?

Have you ever given thought to how evangelicals are viewed by those outside the church?

How many of your friends disagree with you politically? Theologically?

In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church (Metropolitan, 2010) tells the story of Gina Welch. The book gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of Thomas Road Baptist Church (the church Jerry Falwell pastored) through the eyes of an atheistic, secularist, liberal young woman.

Welch faked a conversion experience, got baptized, and spent two years at Thomas Road. (She even participated in evangelism on a mission trip.) During this time, she kept a detailed journal of her experience, which she has now turned into a book that chronicles her journey into evangelical America.

If you’re like me, your first reaction upon hearing about a book like this is to roll your eyes and think, Oh great! An exposé of evangelicals from someone who deliberately engaged in deceptive practices in order to show up evangelical hypocrisy. That was my initial reaction. But after reading a number of reviews, I was intrigued enough to pick up the book. I was pleasantly surprised by Welch’s portrayal of evangelicals, and I was riveted by her account. While I abhor the deceit that grounds this book, I recommend that evangelicals read it for a number of reasons. READ THE REST HERE

Mr. Wax also had the opportunity to interview Gina Welch….. Read that here

The thought that has consumed me since reading these articles (and I assume will increase after reading the book), is what would she have written had she picked my church? What would she see, what would be her view of not only Christians but more importantly how would she view Jesus? My initial thoughts are we cannot base an overall general opinion of Christianity by visiting one local body of believers can we? I’m sure this happens all the time, hence the decline of church attendance and memberships in recent years. My hope and prayer is that when people visit our church or any church for that matter, they don’t see us, they see Jesus.  

More to come……

From our freinds At Wretched Radio
Churches divide over carpet color, building additions and budgets. In the meantime, our fellow church members are going to hell by the boatload.

A.W. Tozer said, “It is my opinion that tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by accepting Christ, and they have not been saved.

D. James Kennedy said, “The vast majority of people who are members of churches in America today are not Christians. I say that without the slightest contradiction. I base it on empirical evidence of twenty-four years of examining thousands of people.

Friend, we argue over so many petty things. May I suggest we have lost sight of the most important debate of all, “What is salvation?” My theology teaches that salvation happens when a man repents and places his trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

I would like to present thirteen ways that we have re-defined how a person becomes a true convert. Have we done this intentionally? Certainly not. We have simply created lingo that has a grain of truth in Scripture, but it is so open to interpretation that the un-converted understand it in ways that lead to false conversions.

  1. Make Jesus your Lord and Savior. We cannot make Jesus our Lord and Savior, He is our Lord and Savior. We are living in rebellion to Him and He commands us to repent and trust Him.
  2. Ask Jesus into your heart. Does Jesus come into our hearts? Yes He does. The question is, “How does He get in there?” It is not by simply asking Him in; it is by repentance and faith.
  3. Just believe in Jesus. The demons believe and they tremble. We must repent and trust.
  4. You have a God-shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it. We have far more than a hole that needs to be filled so we can feel complete; we have a wretched, deceitful, sinful heart that needs cleansing. Repentance and faith applies the blood of the lamb for that cleansing.
  5. Accept Jesus. Whoa. We need to accept Jesus? This is entirely backward. We need Jesus to accept us–and He will, if we repent and trust.
  6. Make a decision for Jesus. Decisional regeneration puts man in the driver’s seat of salvation. When we repent and trust, Jesus decides to save us. That puts Him in the driver’s seat…where He demands.
  7. It is easy to believe. While the formula of repentance and faith sounds simple, a complete surrendering of self in repentance is anything but easy. It’s hard.
  8. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. The only promises for the convert are trials, temptation and persecution. If that is how you define a wonderful life, fine. Otherwise we must command all men everywhere to repent and trust.
  9. Come to Jesus just as you are. We should come to Jesus just as the sinners we are, but He also expects a broken heart and contrite spirit demonstrated in repentance and faith.
  10. Come to Jesus and you will receive forgiveness of sins and ________________ (fill in the blank with money, health, a healed marriage). Jesus didn’t promise healed marriages; in fact He promised broken homes because we would divide when one member repents and trusts.
  11. Come to Jesus and experience love, joy, peace. Do we get the fruit of the Spirit upon conversion? Yes. But if we come seeking the gifts and not the giver, we will receive neither. Instead, we must repent and trust.
  12. Jesus is the missing piece. Um, no, the God of the universe is not the missing piece, He demands that He is the center of our lives when we repent and trust.
  13. Jesus is better than fame and fortune. That is an understatement, and frankly, it is insulting. Saying Jesus is better than money is like saying that a steak dinner is better than eating a dung hill. He defies comparison and we trivialize the Son of God. Instead, we should be pleading with all men everywhere to repent and trust.

If I showed up at your door with a can of grapefruit juice and a roll of paper towels and offered to change your oil, you would say, “No thanks.” If we wouldn’t let someone mess with our car using the wrong method, why do we allow the Gospel to be presented so ambiguously?

Would you let a doctor operate on your child who was “sort of” accurate? The salvation of men is far more important than an appendix.

I beg you to consider how you share the Gospel. You and I know what we are talking about when we use these phrases, but do the unregenerate? Is it possible that we have so many backsliders today because they never slid forward in the first place? Is it because they were never told that they must repent and trust?

If we are willing to debate shag verse plush in the fellowship hall, shouldn’t we be more concerned about an issue that has eternal consequences?

This has been a source of confusion for me. Anytime I bring it up I get different responses so I’m beginning to doubt there is an answer that will satisfy me. Of all the different arguments I’ve heard, I tend to agree with Dr.McMahon’s explaination the most. I thought I’d post it here and maybe start a discussion on the topic of “legalism vs holiness”.  If nothing else I would just like to hear where you stand on the subject, and if it’s a struggle for you as well…………enjoy.

There is a dilemma in the Christian church today which, by no means, will be cleared up easily. It is characterized by people who state things like, “We are a New Testament church,” or “We do not need the Law anymore because we are under grace.” Or, “People who keep the Law are Legalists.” If you have said things like these in the past, this tract is for you. We are going to look at the difference between what it means to be legalistic, and what it means to be obedient. There is a wide gulf between the two. But it seems many people have fallen short of what both of these mean.

There is an argument in the 21sth century church that goes like this: Jesus came to fulfill the Law, thus, we do not need to keep the Law. The idea continues as such: And we do not need to keep the Law because we are under the grace of Christ; we cannot earn salvation for ourselves in any way, so the Old Testament is invalid for rules of life and practice. As a matter of fact, there are many people who would throw out the Sermon on the Mount because Jesus expounds on the Law in that instance. They would place everything which alluded to or stated the Law in any way, out with the garbage. They do not give a satisfactory answer why God, in His providence, allowed the Old Testament to be included in our Bible since it deals with the Law. They are adamant that they do not need it, but cannot give a good answer to “why”. These people feel that observance to the Law, in any way, is an act of Legalism. And they do not want to become the church of Galatia again. So they have flown to grace, and thrown away the Law.

To define Legalism in a Biblical way would be to say “any person who takes the Law and uses it in a way which would merit salvation“. Legalism is an attempt at salvation. Yet, we often hear the term used like this, “Oh, those people are Legalists.” The Puritans were often stereotyped in this way. They were so forceful in bringing forth the meaning of the Law, that they were deemed legalists, and then subtitled puritanical. But if we really understand the definition above, then we find that people who follow the Law of God in a way which does not see it adding to the meritorious work of Jesus Christ and His cross are not Legalists. Legalists, by definition, would be saying that the Law helps us to gain salvation. This was the problem with the Judiaizers. They thought that by keeping the Law, plus believing in the work of Christ, made a person saved. In Galatians 5:3, Paul says, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by Law; you have fallen from grace.” There were some who thought that being circumcised helped in salvation. But Paul says that the moment you add anything to the work of Christ, then you have fallen from grace. Christ’s work alone justifies the ungodly (Gal. 2:16; 3:11-13, 24; 6:13-14). (Sola Christus-Christ alone.) Read the Rest Here.

Rom 7:1Or do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to those who know the law–that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? Rom 7:2For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Rom 7:3Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Rom 7:4Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. Rom 7:5For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. Rom 7:6But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Rom 7:7What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” Rom 7:8But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. Rom 7:9I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. Rom 7:10The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. Rom 7:11For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. Rom 7:12So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Rom 7:13Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. Rom 7:14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. Rom 7:15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Rom 7:16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. Rom 7:17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Rom 7:18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Rom 7:19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Rom 7:20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Rom 7:21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. Rom 7:22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, Rom 7:23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Rom 7:24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom 7:25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

 Thank God for Pastor’s like John Piper!!!!!

I received this e-mail this morning from my friend Jeremy Strang (Time2Stand). I thought it was pretty awesome and thought I ‘d share it with you guys.

 

“These days we have, and continuously are, abandoning the preaching of Spirit led men of the past.  Therefore, I have decided to revisit George Whitefield.  This quote is also quoted in the soon to be released book, Christian – a dangerous title to claim.”

 

       “Give me leave to ask you, in the presence of God, whether you know the time, and if you do not know exactly the time, do you know there was a time, when God wrote bitter things against you, when the arrows of the Almighty were within you?  Was ever the remembrance of your sins grievous to you?  Was the burden of your sins intolerable to your thoughts?  Did you ever see that God’s wrath might justly fall upon you, on account of your actual transgressions against God?  Were you ever in all your life sorry for your sins?  Could you ever say, My sins are gone over my head as a burden too heavy for me to bear?  Did you ever experience any such thing as this?  Did ever any such thing as this pass between God and you soul?  If not, for Jesus Christ’s sake, do not call yourselves Christians; you may speak peace to your hearts, but there is no peace.  May the Lord awaken you, may the Lord convert you, may the Lord give you peace, if it be his will, before you go home!”

            “When the sinner is first awakened, he begins to wonder – How came I to be so wicked?  The Spirit of God then strikes in, and shows that he has no good thing in him by nature; then he sees that he is altogether gone out of the way, that he is altogether become abominable, and the poor creature is made to lie down at the foot of the throne of God, and to acknowledge that God would be just to damn him, just to cut him off, though he never had committed one actual sin in his life.  Did you ever feel and experience this, any of you – to justify God in your damnation – to own that you are by nature children of wrath, and that God may justly cut you off, though you never actually had offended him in all your life?  If you were ever truly convicted, if your hearts were ever truly cut, if self were truly taken out of you, you would be made to see and feel this.  And if you have never felt the weight of original sin, do not call yourselves Christians.  I am verily persuaded original sin is the greatest burden of a true convert; this ever grieves the regenerate soul, the sanctified soul.  The indwelling of sin in the heart is the burden of a converted person; it is the burden of a true Christian.  He continually cries out, ‘O! who will deliver me from this body of death’, this indwelling corruption in my heart?  This is that which disturbs a poor soul most.  And, therefore, if you never felt this inward corruption, if you never saw that God might justly curse you for it, indeed, my dear friends, you may speak peace to your hearts, but I fear nay, I know, there is no true peace.”

            “Further: before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must not only be troubled for the sins of your life, the sin of your nature, but likewise for the sins of your best duties and performances.  When a poor soul is somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord, then the poor creature, being born under the covenant of works, flies directly to a covenant of works again.  And as Adam and Eve hid themselves among the trees of the garden, and sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness, so the poor sinner, when awakened, flies to his duties and to his performances, to hid himself from God, and goes to patch up a righteousness of his own.  Says he, I will be mighty good now – I will reform – I will do all I can; and then certainly Jesus Christ will have mercy on me.  But before you can speak peace to your heart, you must be brought to see that God may damn you for the best prayer you ever put up; you must be brought to see that all your duties – all your righteousness – as the prophet elegantly expresses it – put them all together, are so far from recommending you to God, are so far from being any motive and inducement to God to have mercy on your poor soul, that he will see them to be filthy rags, a menstruous cloth – that God hates them, and cannot away with them, if you bring them to him in order to recommend you to his favour.  My dear friends, what is there in our performances to recommend us unto God?  Our persons are in an unjustified state by nature:  ‘They that are in the flesh cannot please God.’  You may do things materially good, but you cannot do a thing formally and rightly good; because nature cannot act above itself.  It is impossible that a man who is unconverted can act for the glory of God; he cannot do anything in faith, and ‘whatsoever is not of faith is sin’.”

            “Our best duties are as so many splendid sins.  Before you can speak peace in your heart, you must not only be made sick of your original and actual sin, but you must be made sick of your righteousness, of all your duties and performances.  There must be a deep conviction before you can be brought out of your self-righteousness, you cannot come to Jesus Christ.”

            “But then, before you can speak peace to your souls, there is one particular sin you must be greatly troubled for, and yet I fear there are few of you think what it is; it is the reigning, the damning sin of the Christian world, and yet the Christian world seldom or never think of it.  And pray what is that?  It is what most of you think you are not guilty of – and that is, the sin of unbelief.”

            “I appeal to your own hearts, if you would not think me uncharitable, if I doubted whether any of you believed in Christ; and yet, I fear upon examination, we should find that most of you have not so much faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the devil himself.  I am persuaded the devil believes more of the Bible than most of us do.”[1]

 

“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”[2]

 

            “Most of you, if you examine your hearts, must confess that God never yet spoke peace to you; you are children of the devil, if Christ is not in you, if God has not spoken peace to your heart.  Poor soul!  What a cursed condition are you in.  I would not be in your case for ten thousand, thousand worlds.  Why?  You are just hanging over hell.  What peace can you have when God is your enemy, when the wrath of God is abiding upon your poor soul?  Awake, then, you that are sleeping in a false peace, awake, ye carnal professors, ye hypocrites that go to church, receive the sacrament, read your Bibles, and never felt the power of God upon your hearts; you that are formal professors, you that are baptized heathens; awake, awake, and do not rest on the bottom.  Blame me not for addressing myself to you; indeed, it is out of love to your souls.  I see you are lingering in your Sodom, and wanting to stay there; but I come to you as the angel did to Lot, to take you by the hand.  Come away, my dear brethren – fly, fly, fly for your lives to Jesus Christ, fly to a bleeding God, fly to a throne of grace; and beg of God to break your hearts, beg of God to convince you of your actual sins, beg of God to convince you of your original sin, beg of God to convince you of your self-righteousness – beg of God to give you faith, and to enable you to close with Jesus Christ.  O you that are secure, I must be a son of thunder to you, and O that God may awaken you, though it be with thunder; it is out of love, indeed, that I speak to you .  I know by sad experience what it is to be lulled asleep with a false peace; long was I lulled asleep, long did I think myself a Christian, when I knew nothing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I went perhaps farther than many of you do; I used to fast twice a-week, I used to pray sometimes nine times a-day, I used to receive the sacrament constantly every Lord’s-day; and yet I knew nothing of Jesus Christ in my heart, I knew not that I must be a new creature – I knew nothing of inward religion in my soul.

            I hope God does not intend to let me preach in vain; I hope God will reach some of your precious souls, and awaken some of you out of your carnal security; I hope there are some who are willing to come to Christ, and beginning to think that they have been building upon a false foundation.”[3]

 

~ George Whitefield ~

 Just to shed a little more light on the situation and to maybe get some advice from you guy’s, I want to expand on what’s going on. The person I’m referring to is not a “friend” per say, but he is a brother in Christ. He is very respected in the Christian hip-hop community and a pastor of a church he helped plant. I have had the oppurtunity to sit and talk with him about the things of God in my living room. I have no doubt, even after his transgression (of which I do not know the whole story), that he is in fact a part of the fellowship of believers. Having said that I wanted to share some thoughts I had yesterday at work. I kept wondering to myself if a good tree could in fact produce bad fruit? I thought about the hundreds, if not thousands of youth that could be impacted, in a negative way, by this revelation because of his influence. I wondered why this situation has grieved my spirit. Is it wrong, that if this had been someone, say like Joel Osteen, my reaction would be different?

 I am praying for him and his family, and I hope that after much time and reconciliation that he can be restored into the full fellowship of his family and church. And I hope that somehow, someway God would be glorified in it all.

Please feel free to comment. I may need to be rebuked for something I said, if so let me know.