Monday, May 6, 2013

GET SERIOUS!! - PART TWO

Having complete the first half of this study as we looked at passages in JOHN’s Gospel (JOHN 14; 15) and other Scriptures, examining the source of our love, joy and peace, we now proceed in looking at another aspect of this study by considering the gravity of the cost for our salvation through Jesus Christ and Him crucified . . .

Where was there any frivolous activity in the Garden of Gethsemane when our precious LORD shed His blood, sweat and tears, crying out to the Father for the terrible terror that was before Him, kneeling in fervent prayer under the shadow of that coming Cross?

Where were the fun times when the LORD had His head covered in a sack and then mercilessly beaten with rods by cruel Roman soldiers?

Where were the light-hearted escapades when the LORD was tortured by the Romans with the Cat O’ Nine Tails that was so vicious in shredding flesh from bone, that the victims often died from being disemboweled!?

Where were the good times when the LORD hung on that Cross for six long hours, bearing upon His pure and righteous and holy Soul the entirety of the human race’s sin and all that results from sin (the sorrows, the pain, the sickness and corruption) and the wrathful judgment of Almighty God upon His own Son Who was our sin-bearer?

Oh, certainly there was and is profound joy and reassuring love and peace at the Resurrection of the LORD and His visitations of 40 days with His beloved brethren!

Yet that was and is based things spiritual, and not the carnal activities that bring ‘pseudo-joy’ to the church of today. Today, it seems that the professing church seeks out ‘spiritual’ entertainment and happiness rather than spiritual edification and the genuine joy of JESUS.

Let’s hear what an old time preacher has to say about this . . . Entertaining the Church by A.W. Tozer.

In my regular reading of the Word, I came to the epistle of Paul to Titus, and there in the 2nd chapter I noticed something very pertinent.

In the midst of Paul’s exhortation of the saints under the care of their pastor Titus, the apostle speaks of the need for sober mindedness and sobriety among the saints there: for the aged men as well as the aged women, for the younger women and the young men as well – basically a need for sobriety for everyone in the church.

One could refer to this as being of a ‘serious mind’. I believe this is a great need for the church today; we need to get serious about our faith. We need to get serious about obeying the Word of God, and just as serious in our proclamation of the Gospel and in making disciples!

Professing Christians today seem sadly cavalier about the Holy Bible – picking and choosing what they believe and discarding the rest; what about prayer and prayer meetings? I remember once someone showed up for prayer meeting at my place. They said (much to my dismay) that they “didn’t have anything better to do, so they thought they’d show up for prayer meeting”!?!

How many of professing Christians are able to share the Gospel effectively or even see a need to do so? Where are the elder saints that can come alongside of young believers in need to the spiritual ‘TLC’ of discipleship, helping them to learn the Word of God and applying it to their lives, and conduct in saintly living?

YES, SOBRIETY, SERIOUSNESS IS SOMETHING DESPERATELY NEEDED IN THE CHURCH TODAY!

So let’s examine what Paul instructed to Titus and his congregation:

TITUS 1:1-4 
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

The Greek word for “sober” in vs. 2 is nephaleos and it means, “to be sober, circumspect, temperate, abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use; of things free from all wine, as vessels, offerings” One could justifiably add abstaining from any influences that would cloud the mind and impair sober judgment in the matters of life.

The elder women, according to Paul were to do likewise and he supplements this with “behavior that is befitting holiness” The younger women were to be taught sobriety as well and here this word in the Greek is sophronizo and it refers to “of sound mind, to discipline or correct, to teach to be sober; to restore to one’s senses, to moderate, control, curb, disciple, to hold to one’s duty, to admonish, exhort earnestly”.
TITUS 1:6-7
6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

Here the word for “sober minded” is closely related to the previous word; the Greek word employed here is sophreneo and it means, “to be of sound mind, moderate, to be in right mind, be sober minded, soberly, to exercise self control, to put a moderate estimate upon one’s self; think of one’s self soberly; to curb one’s passions."

TITUS 1:11-13
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Here again the Greek word used is closely related to the previous two and it is sophronos and its definition is as follows: “with sound mind, moderately, soberly, temperately, discreetly”. This is especially important in the light of vs.13 where it speaks of “the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”.

We know that our LORD is coming back and we know the times and the seasons, but not the day or hour – and so we are always admonished to be ready, praying and watching for His coming again (MARK 13: 32-37):
LUKE 21:34-36
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Being prepared and ready spiritually for our LORD’s RETURN is something that should be uppermost in our hearts and our service and ministry unto the LORD should reflect this with a kind of fervent urgency (not hectic or panic driven, but with a serious mind, dedicated to the cause of Christ).
We should be taking our lives for Christ very seriously, guarding our hearts and protecting them from infiltration of influences by the enemy that would seek to bring us to a state of unfruitfulness.

For more on this, please check out another article on FROM The MIND Of FIRE A Scenario of Four Seeds.

The enemy likewise understands the true nature of this world that it is a battlefront – not a play ground – between good and evil; and in such warfare we must be sober, far more sober than any soldier on any earthly battlefield with bombs and bullets blazing all about him.
1 THESS 5:8
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

1 PETER 5:8-9
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.


You will note something else of great importance in this chapter of Titus that seems associated closely with soberness and that is the word “sound”. It appears three times in this chapter and a total of five times in this letter (TITUS 1:9,13; 2:1,2,8).

TITUS 2:1
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

The first time it appears in chapter Two is in regards to sound doctrine and it means “to have sound health, be well (in body); figuratively, to be uncorrupt (true in doctrine); be in health (safe and) sound, (be) whole (-some); of Christians whose opinions are free from any mixture of error; of one who keeps the graces and is strong.”

So we see that a sound and sober mind is at least partly, and dare I say a great deal involves sound doctrine, that is the teaching of the Word of God without any impurities, falsehoods or errors, no doctrines or traditions of human (or otherwise) origin.
This same word is used in the second verse as well:
TITUS 2:2
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

To have such purity and free of any taint or marring in regards to our faith and love and patience; the word for faith is well known, that is pistis and it refers to “moral conviction (of religious truth or truthfulness of God or religious teacher); especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in system of religious (Gospel) truth itself; assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity*.

"The conviction of truth if anything, belief in the New Testament of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. A) Relating to God – 1) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. B) Relating to Christ – 1) A strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God. C) The religious beliefs of Christians. D) Belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same.

* - Fidelity, faithfulness – the character of one who can be relied upon.”

Then this word “sound” appears again in verse 8:

TITUS 2:8
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

This word is very similar to the previous one, that being hygius and it means, “healthy in body; figuratively true (in doctrine); sound, whole.
1. Sound: a. of a man who is sound in body.
2. to make one whole, i.e. restore him to health.
3. Metaphorically, teaching which does not deviate from the truth.”

The word “speech” in the Greek is logos, and this refers to “something said, including the thought, by implication, a topic or subject of discourse; also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension . . . the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ), doctrine, preaching, reason, treatise…”

“Sound speech” therefore not only has to do with teaching of doctrine and maintaining the wholesomeness and truth of such doctrine, never deviating from the truth but also in the common speech of every day conversation, that we ought always to speak the truth in every matter, and especially in spiritual matters where the Gospel and the Word of God are concerned.

Such should be the purity of our speech that even our enemies who will certainly scrutinize every word we speak will not be able to condemn us in any way, but rather be ashamed, even as our LORD Himself stated:

MATTHEW 5: 10-12
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Elsewhere Paul admonished the saints regarding “sound words”:

2 TIMOTHY 1:12-14
12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

I pray that we all (myself included) will prayerfully examine our lives and scrutinize them in the light of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to determine if and where we need to make any changes in our attitudes, conduct and lifestyle and determine to obtain and keep an attitude of seriousness where the things of God are concerned and like our LORD Jesus, even at so young an age of thirteen, that we in fact will “be about [our] Father’s business” as our number one priority (MATT 6:33).

We live every day of this temporary life in the light of eternity where our labors will be judged by our LORD and SAVIOR and so, the urgency and vital importance of our mission is plain.

We cannot presume upon time and our life here on this Earth; we may be called home tomorrow or the LORD may return and take us there at the Rapture of the Church – are we ready for that trial at the bema seat of Christ.

1 PETER 4:7
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

In closing, let me offer you one last article from The RED PILL Consortium that deals with our LIVING IN LINEAR ASSUMPTIONS

May the Grace of the LORD Jesus Christ be with us all, as we grow in this grace and the knowledge of Him – the Holy LAMB of God and LION of the Tribe of JUDAH! Amen!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

GET SERIOUS!! - PART ONE

In the Gospel of John the LORD Jesus Christ said,
JOHN 15:11
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

And in the previous chapter, the LORD said this,
JOHN 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Again in the Gospel of John the LORD spoke of His love for us:
JOHN 15:9-10
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

With such joy, peace and love, the Christian ought to never feel the burdens of life the way that the lost do; they should never feel beneath the trials and circumstances that this fallen world is prone to; they should never live a defeated life, believing the lies that they will never be free of besetting sins and strongholds that the enemy has snared them in. . . isn’t that right? Or is it?

We all know Christians today who live life very much like this; perhaps even we ourselves have experienced, or are experiencing such things? Where then is this peace? Where is this joy and love? Why are we not experiencing these things in the face of trials and tribulations when the Word of God clearly indicates that such is the legacy for all of God’s children?

I think there are a number of factors, most of which involve the verses just cited, but then there is another aspect that I will get to a bit later. First of all, let’s take a closer look at those Scriptures found in John’s Gospel.

The LORD spoke of His joy remaining in us, not departing from us, but remaining (He says this twice in vs. 11) and not only will it remain, but that it would be full! Why don’t we experience this? Note that this is HIS joy in us at the first, not our own; then as a result of His joy in us, we obtain such joy. This isn’t something we have to ‘drum up’ ourselves, or psyche ourselves up by telling ourselves repeatedly that “God loves me”.

A bit earlier the LORD spoke of His love for us, and if ever there is cause for joy sublime, it is the sure knowledge of the LOVE OF GOD for us! We acknowledge that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” but why aren’t we experiencing this love?


In the book of Jude it states:
JUDE 1:21
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

It’s logical to assume that if we are to “keep ourselves” in the love of God, then it’s likewise possible to ‘not keep ourselves’ or allow ourselves to drift from experiencing this love, and how can this happen? Let’s return to John’s Gospel and look again what the LORD says about His love . . .

The LORD tells us that as the Father loves the Son – and how pure and powerful and holy and complete and all encompassing is that love! How supreme and sublime – it is the brilliant sun light that outshines all other glimmerings of human love! And in the same way, the Son loves us (vs. 9)! INCREDIBLE!!

The LORD told us that if we keep His commandments we shall abide in His love just as the LORD Himself kept the Father’s commandments and abides in His love. Is this some sort of ratification by the Son for a brand of legalism? Are we to seek approval and love from God based on obeying some laws?

Not in the sense that we might assume; the LORD is the only One to ever fulfill the Law of God (MATT 5:16-18) and that all of us sinners have failed to keep the Law (ROM 3:20) but there is the law of Christ for us:
ROMANS 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
See also: ROM 7:4,25; 10:4; GAL 2:16,21; 3:13,21; 5:4; 6:2; PHIL 3:9.

And as John also reminds us in his epistle:

1 JOHN 5:2-4
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

It’s really quite simple if we ask ourselves this question, Who is easier to obey? Someone who merely has authority over us, or someone that loves us so much that they died for us? If our love is the motivation for obeying the commands of the LORD, then indeed, such commandments are “not grievous” at all. That word in the Greek implies “weighty, burdensome, heavy” or we might say “a bummer, a drag”. Obeying someone you love wholeheartedly isn’t going to be a drag!

JOHN 14:22-24
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

Note that it’s the ones that the LORD will reveal (“manifest”) Himself to are the ones that love Him and keep (obey) His words.

This Divine love was initiated by God when He sent His promise of the coming One, the Messiah as early as the Garden of Eden when after the fall of Adam, God pronounced judgments, but then also the promise of redemption via “the seed of the woman” (GEN 3:15) and throughout the Scriptures by the Word of the LORD proclaimed by the prophets of God and ultimately with the arrival of the Messiah Himself, and the Supreme Sacrificial Atonement He accomplished by dying on the Cross for all of our sins . . .
1 JOHN 4:18-19
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Because of the truth, that God loved us first, we who have received the salvation of the LORD Jesus Christ, then reciprocate that love, and then this love relationship is reinforced as we remain in the love of God, and that is simply by abiding in Him (review JOHN 15 in its entirety for “abiding” in context) and this is done as we obey Him – by reading, understanding and following Him in humble obedience to His Word.

Then we are “keeping ourselves in the love of God” and we are able to experience God’s love. It’s not that God doesn’t love us already until we obey Him, for God Himself is love; but it’s only as we abide with and in Him that we experience this love.

It’s even the same in the human dimension: I know for a fact that my parents love me, but I live in Arizona, and they are in New York. Being separated as we are, I cannot experience their love. Certainly there are phone calls and email and letters, but it’s not until we abide together that I can share the love relationship between parents and child.


If we aren’t obedient to the LORD, we aren’t abiding; we are separated by our sin of disobedience and are not “walking in the light” so fellowship is broken. Yet if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and then we are “walking in the light” and obedient to the truth; then there is that blessed fellowship of love, joy and peace (see ISAIAH 59:2; 1 JOHN 1:6-7,9).

Then there is this peace that is mentioned in John’s Gospel:

Just before mentioning this peace, (and just as with the love and the joy, this is HIS peace that He is giving to us, and not some kind of peace of mind of our own or the peace of the world) He speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter (parakletos in the Greek, or one who comes along side of to assist, to lend aid, to direct and counsel) and if we yield to the Holy Spirit and follow Him, the peace of God will follow.


Please note that before peace can be experienced, the grace of God must first be administered to the soul. You will note in all the greetings of Paul, he addresses the saints with “grace and peace be unto you” and its always in this order to demonstrate the truth that we cannot have peace with God until we come to Him and receive grace and the forgiveness of sin:

ROMANS 5:1-2
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And once we are at peace with God, no longer at enmity because of our sins against Him (see ROMANS 5:6-11), we can then experience the peace of God!

PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I believe because so many that profess Christ are not experiencing these things, that there is a tendency to resort to unspiritual means of obtaining a kind of manufactured (but not genuine) joy that is akin to mere happiness and ‘fun times’ They focus on thinking and speaking only positive things, that will never admit to sickness or hardships or sorrow, that ‘put on a happy face’ while inside their hearts are crushed. They are living in a kind of spiritual ‘denial’. It’s the same kind of psyche job as that old New Age mantra, “In every way and in every day things are getting better, and better and better.”

Then there are those who are all about fun and games; they go from one activity to another, from movies, to social outings of putt-putt golf or bowling, to pot lucks, to Christian concerts, Christian comedians and other events. Such activities that are really just ‘clean fun’ but have no real spiritual substance, but are frivolous and empty (something that the Bible calls “vain” or “vanity”). Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not at all saying Christians can’t have a good time, because I love having such experiences with my fellow saints. But that is not our focus, and that is not what we are called to as the saints of God.

This brings me to this other aspect I mentioned earlier and that will be picked up in Part Two of this study!