Saturday, April 29, 2017

JEWELS From The GOSPEL Of JOHN: WANTING A DEBATE - JOHN 4:7-10,19-24

 The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.

In our dealings with this terribly lost world of blind souls, who cannot recognize truth on their own, we are often confronted with arguments and barriers. It is job #1 for the enemy to keep them in a blinded state, so that the Light of the LORD will remain unseen by them (2 COR 4:4). It is job #1 for us saints, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb by the grace (unmerited favor) of God, to declare the gospel, prayerfully seeking God's touch upon them (2 COR 5:20-21), that they may perceive the love of God for them (1 JOHN 3:16).

JOHN 4:7-10
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Samaritan. The very word was disdained by pure bred Jews who looked upon these 'half-breeds' with contempt. These were Jews who were abducted and brought as slaves to Assyria (approximately 720 B.C.E.), where they eventually intermarried with the natives. This affected them socially, culturally and religiously and when they returned to the land (Samaria) they maintained much of their ways - much to the hatred of their Jewish neighbors, who would travel far out of their way in journeying from Galilee to Judea (or vice-versa), just to avoid going through Samaria.

Not so with the LORD Jesus: ". . . He must needs go through Samaria." And not just any place in that land, but into the very city of Sychar, a place possibly named so by contempt of the Jews to allude to "drunkenness" and, or "falseness" because the Samaritans were given over (to what the Jews believed to be) idolatry. And Jesus "must needs go through" - because He was on a mission.

Yet when He comes to the well, wearied with His long journey and thirsty- this Man asks a Samaritan woman for some water. She came to the well as that hour (around noon) and not in the relative coolness of the morning, quite probably because she was something of an outcast, and not welcome to the well by other women, who (correctly) perceived her as a 'loose woman' (see vs. 17-18). 


Yet this woman carries with her the cultural barrier between Jews and Samaritans; she questions why Jesus is even speaking with her, much less wanting to receive water from her. Yet the LORD would not be put off by her rebuff. He speaks to her of "living water" - that is, of Himself (JOHN 7:37-38). He beckons her to go and get her husband, and when she confesses that she has no husband, the LORD commends her for her honesty, declaring that she had previously had five husbands, and the one she was with was 'shacking up' with her. This is when she says:
JOHN 4:19-24
19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The shift from cultural and social barriers now turns at the direction of this woman to a religious one. This was no doubt, a long standing controversy and generational contention between Jews and Samaritans. She challenges Jesus on the location for true worship: Mount Gerazim, where the Samaritans contend that Abraham offered up Isaac (GEN 22) or Jerusalem - the location of long held conviction and historical veracity of Jewish worship. It seems an 'either/or' answer is what this woman sought of Jesus; not unlike the answer which the Herodians asked of Him concerning paying taxes to Caesar (MARK 12:13-14). Yet the LORD was not about to get cornered by such a question.
His answer to this woman was the same kind as with the Herodians: Neither the option of Jerusalem or Mt. Gerazim (A or B) was chosen, but C: the truth!

The revelation of God's truth and plan of salvation came from the Word of God Himself (HEB 1:1-8); the written Word was then entrusted to the Jewish nation (ROM 3:2) - salvation indeed is "of the Jews (vs. 22)" in that sense, but like the Samaritans, the children of this world (EPH 2:2-3), the tares planted by Satan (MATT 13:26-28, 38-39), the deceivers and false teachers (2 PET 2:1; 2 TIM 3:13) today want to blend in just a bit of truth with their do-it-yourself-religion, and the latest incarnation of this is the Emergent Church Movement or Emergence Christianity. It is abomination in the sight of God! In another article FROM The MIND of FIRE, I wrote concerning the pollution of God's Truth and Way of salvation:
"In EXOD 20:25 it states:
And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

"The LORD Jesus Christ is referred to as 'the ROCK' in scripture, as well as that 'stone cut without hands'. I find it interesting then, that if any sacrifice is made on an altar of stone, its not to be of hewn (cut) stone, but natural; in other words any changing of the rock's appearance through human effort would pollute it and any sacrifice offered upon it.

"God will not accept any human design, imagination, efforts in works or elaborate religious creations in regards to the justification He Himself provides for the salvation of mankind!" And might I add He will not tolerate those who would make 'another Jesus' (2 COR 11:4) seeking to change the true and living LORD.
"In NUM 25:1-11 There is an account where Israel committed whoredoms with the pagan nation of Moab (this seduction was performed by the counsels of Balaam, who advised Balak to have the Moabite women go into the camp of Israel and lure their men); in the throes of erotic passions, the Moabite women would bring out their idols, and they would pay homage to these false gods.

This wasn't even done under cover of darkness, nor behind the backs of Moses and Aaron; note vs. 6:
And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Because of this, a plague from the LORD broke out among the children of Israel, but it was suddenly stopped. How? Did they have an ecumenical meeting with Baalpeor and the leadership of that nation? Did they have a consensus and seek out common beliefs so that they could dialogue and come to a mutually agreeable belief system whereby they could join together and form a peaceful religious association so that they might better their world?
No! Read in vs. 7-8:
And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.

Harsh action? Cruel punishment? An unjust deed?

Listen to what the LORD had to say about this!
NUM 25:10-13
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
Because one man had the zeal, the love for, and awesome reverence for the LORD and His Holy Name, he took it upon himself to stand up for righteousness and bring a stop to the whoredoms and spiritual adultery that had infested the camp of Israel! He slew those who were guilty of High Treason against the LORD GOD Almighty, Creator and Judge of all the Earth! For that, the plague ceased at the command of the LORD, and He blessed Phinehas!"

Getting back to Samaria now, let's see how the LORD deals with this situation:
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Spiritual worship must be in accordance with truth as found in God's Word; not according to experiential subjectivity or 'what feels right, or good' as is the case with New Age style worship or meditation or contemplative prayer.
There are so many that when confronted with biblical truth say, "Well I believe . . . " and go on and explain their belief system based on their own understanding, information and a hodge-podge smorgasbord of pseudo-spiritual suppositions and dogma. Yet what sort of foundation is this? It is based on self and not Scripture, on one's own thinking rather than the Mind of God as so revealed in the Holy Bible.

Even so-called Christians tend toward subjectivism and will believe this about the Bible, and that, but refuse to believe this or that about the Bible - and as it has been said before: If you pick and choose what you will believe and won't believe about the Bible, then it's not the Bible you truly believe, but yourself!

If truth is sacrificed, specifically the objective truth as found exclusively in the Holy Bible, then worship is vain (MARK 7:7; MATT 6:7) and any relationship with God is unobtainable (ISAIAH 59:1-3).

In our dealings with the lost, we must stay on point, not allow distractions or deflections; our chiefest desire is to lead them to the God of Truth, leading them in the Way of righteousness, and introduce them to the Author of Life (JOHN 14:6). We must not merely point them in the right direction and bid them 'go' but experience the Way, the Truth and the Life for ourselves, daily, and bid them 'come' and 'follow me as I follow Christ' (1 COR 11:1).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Another Smoke Signal: ESCAPE FROM GRAY WORLD

GENESIS 1:1-4
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

The LORD God created all things, and made the Earth from its prior condition of formlessness and darkness. He began with the introduction of light, which in His eyes was good. Light is always good and useful, particularly where darkness reigns. It reveals, exposes, illuminates and dispels the unknown, the mysterious, the unfathomable and brings clarity and understanding. Light enables discernment.

God then divided the light from the darkness; these were distinct from one another, in complete contrast, without similarities or commonalities at all.

The same can be applied to the spiritual dimension as with the physical dimension. It is the light of God's Word that brings clarity (EPH 5:13), understanding and discernment (HEB 4:12; HEB 5:12,14). If any claim to have these things, but denies God's Word, they truly have no light in them whatsoever:

ISAIAH 8:19-20
19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? 20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them
.


We live in a GRAY WORLD, but truth be told, this condition of 'grayness' began ever since Satan challenged the plain and abundantly clear Word of God. God told Adam that the day that they ate of the forbidden fruit, in that day they would surely die.
Yet Satan opposed that directive from Deity and deceived them by saying "you shall NOT surely die."

He proved himself to be a menace by muddying up the crystal clear water of God's Word. The distinction between truth and lies has been obfuscated ever since those early days and today we can find little evidence in society of stark, bold, clean-cut and objective, absolute truth. Such things are frowned upon, considered "politically incorrect" and "objectionable".

Ecumenical and Emergent proponents view absolute and objective truth as a misnomer for aggressive and close-minded arrogance which is promoted by 'bibliolaters' or those who, they claim, place too high a regard on the Bible and revere this book to the point of worship.

Ecumenism has absorbed some form of Christianity (with just a trace of biblical truth, albeit twisted) to create a world without clarity, without absolutes or certainty, a world of polite, political correctness, where the objective is a kind of spiritual/religious uniformitarianism - a palatable blandness that is heavy on the experiential and light on objective truth.

And anyones experience is just as valid as any other - as are perspectives of such that hold to this uniformitarianism. Everyone is right and no one is wrong (except those who believe in absolutes); all is truth (except for THE Truth, JOHN 14:6) and nothing is wrong. Thus in this GRAY WORLD, it's impossible to make any mistakes, to say nothing of committing 'sin'.

By diluting the Word of God with more and more modern translations, and even more so, these perilous paraphrases of the Bible, people are being weaned from the truth of the Scriptures. And they are gleaning spiritual 'truths' from novels and films, rather than from the pages of Holy Writ!
By the Emergence Movement, people are being taught to question the authoritative, inspired Scripture and persuaded that truth is indeed relative. Thus this world is getting more and more gray all the time.


The Hegelian dialectic is a process being used by the forces of this world to take polar opposites (thesis and anti-thesis) and bringing them together and fusing them into a paren-thesis - from light and dark - to become gray.

The other factor being added into the mix is pantheism - the idea that "all is God, and God is all" and so we merely have to identify with the Deity already within us. Such a view is Eastern in its philosophy and religious persuasion, but it has found its way into the West via Yoga, TM, and more recently, contemplative spirituality. 


In this Gray World, there are no clear compass directions - "north" may not be north. "Can we really understand what it means to head south"? In this world, to be lost and asking questions with an air of blatant uncertainty is something to be admired. To express certitude to tantamount to blasphemy and something to be shunned; certainly disapproved of. 

Where truth is sacrificed, justice will soon be placed on the same altar of relativism.

Truth is not something to be possessed, but to be sought after as we 'spiritually evolve' to higher understanding of the vulgar expressions that the prophets of the Bible declared - these 'gray people' genuinely believe that they have greater and deeper understanding than any prophet or apostle - even the LORD Jesus Himself - because in this spiritual evolution which enables them to comprehend more than all previous generations. Yet in their eyes, this spiritual evolution will continue but never enable them to come to the full knowledge of anything remotely identifiable as absolute truth:

2 TIM 3:5-8
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Such grayness will make truth that is meant to be seen and understood anemic, tepid, ineffectual at leading people to the Author of Truth - and rather, this 'anything goes' grayness will lead to, and in fact already has led to spiritual anarchy, iniquity, lawlessness:

2 THESS 2:7
7 For the mystery of iniquity [lawlessness] doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.


The only way to escape this GRAY WORLD is by cleaving tenaciously to the inspired Word of God, to know the truth it teaches, and most of all, its Author - the LORD Jesus Christ.

For more on this and closely related issues, I recommend this video entitled, The CHAIR (about 76 mins total time) by Frank Peretti, well known for his novels such as these two books, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness: