The Sin of False Pretense

I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every false way
Psalm 119:104

 

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for those who are mature, who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:13-14

 

 

 

Today I want to speak in regards to the topic of False Pretenses

First of all, just so we can begin on the same page, let me define what false pretenses are according to the Bible:

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments.
Proverbs 23:7-8

In this context, we learn of a man who encourages his company to enjoy the abundance of food he has, all the while despising him in his heart. It also teaches us, that because we have ingested this man’s delicacies that he begrudgingly shared with us, we will not be able to keep it down anyway.

We can sometimes sense that hesitation in others such as family, friends, and yes, even other believers while still growing in grace and a knowledge of the truth.

A parallel context could just as easily be applied to someone who offers their service to some ministry halfheartedly.

Or even to a person who promises to contribute financially to an endeavor but does so begrudgingly.

 

Scripture tells us in various places:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
2 Corinthians 9:7

 

 

The Holy Spirit searches out the deep things and knows as well as makes known the truth of our hearts to us.

If you walk closely with the Spirit, you will also be able to discern whether someone’s heart is truly with you and for you, or if they harbor hatred and malice towards you, but also, he will reveal your true intentions and motives and feelings towards others as well.

 

 

There are those who rejoice at the failure and shortcomings of others.

But Scripture tells us that we all have faults and failures of our own and are in need of the Savior just as much as anyone else.

Therefore:

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them
Proverbs 24:18

This isn’t saying to avoid harboring hatred so the Lord can punish another. That would be a perverse way that some have actually interpreted what this verse means. But, the true heart of this verse is instead speaking to keep you from becoming like your enemies who harbor hatred in their hearts and rejoice when others stumble.

 

This is why it goes on to tell us:

Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for there will be no future for the evil man; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Proverbs 24:19-20

The wicked man who rejects the Savior and the Word of truth will surely be cut off for all eternity. There is no question about it. But if we are filled with the Spirit of God and the love of God as we profess, then that should cause us to be very concern for the eternal salvation of all including even those who despise us and despitefully use us, which is why our Lord Jesus corrected and admonished His followers saying:

You have heard that it was said, “you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

If you only greet your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even pagans do the same?
Matthew 5:43-47

 

 

 Since the Lord has paid the punishment that we all deserved for every wicked motive, thought, word, and deed we’ve done, and has perfected us in the sight of God by His grace through what He alone has accomplished, He then calls us to walk into that new identity as newly created people worthy of such grace in the last verse where he instructs his followers:

Therefore you are to be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

Perfection in this context is not sinless or without fault, but it means someone who has committed to the sanctification process who is continually recognizing their shortcomings and willing to both address them and repent from those ways.

In our own strength, surely this would be an impossible task, but if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then His indwelling Spirit will give you the strength and wisdom necessary to carry out the righteous life that is pleasing to God. And He will place different people around you in every season of your life who are willing to walk with you and help you to grow in this these areas more and more each day.

 

Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners,” to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of his visitation.
1 Peter 2:11-12

 

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Word to the …….

Let the wise hear and increase in learning. Let those with understanding receive guidance
Proverbs 1:5

I cannot think unless I have been thought,
Nor can I speak unless I have been spoken.
I cannot teach except as I am taught,
Or break the bread except as I am broken.
O Mind behind the mind through which I seek,
O Light within the light by which I see,
O Word beneath the words with which I speak,
O founding, unfound Wisdom, finding me,
O sounding Song whose depth is sounding me,
O Memory of time, reminding me,
My Ground of Being, always grounding me,
My Maker’s Bounding Line, defining me,
Come, hidden Wisdom, come with all you bring,
Come to me now, disguised as everything.

by Malcolm Guite

 

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

If you are wise,
you are wise for yourself;

if you scoff,
you alone will bear it.
Proverbs 9:9-12

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

 

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? Part 1

The debate about whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas has been raging for centuries. There are equally sincere and committed Christians on both sides of the issue, each with multiple reasons why or why not Christmas should be celebrated in Christian homes. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give clear direction as to whether Christmas is a holiday to be celebrated by Christians? 

First, let’s look at the reasons why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism. Searching for reliable information on this topic is difficult because the origins of many of our traditions are so obscure that sources often contradict one another. Bells, candles, holly, and yuletide decorations are mentioned in the history of pagan worship, but the use of such in one’s home certainly does not indicate a return to paganism.

While there are definitely pagan roots to some traditions, there are many more traditions associated with the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Savior of the world in Bethlehem. Bells are played to ring out the joyous news, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world (John 1:4-9), a star is placed on the top of a Christmas tree to remember the Star of Bethlehem, and gifts are exchanged to remind us of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus, the greatest gift of God to mankind.

Another argument against Christmas, especially having a Christmas tree, is that the Bible forbids bringing trees into our homes and decorating them. The passage often cited is Jeremiah 10:1-16, but this passage refers to cutting down trees, chiseling the wood to make an idol, and then decorating the idol with silver and gold for the purpose of bowing down before it to worship it (see also Isaiah 44:9-18). The passage in Jeremiah cannot be taken out of its context and used to make a legitimate argument against Christmas trees.

Christians who choose to ignore Christmas point to the fact that the Bible doesn’t give us the date of Christ’s birth, which is certainly true. December 25th may not be even close to the time Jesus was born, and arguments on both sides are legion, some relating to climate in Israel, the practices of shepherds in winter, and the dates of Roman census-taking. None of these points are without a certain amount of conjecture, which brings us back to the fact that the Bible doesn’t tell us when Jesus was born. Some see this as proof positive that God didn’t want us to celebrate the birth, while others see the Bible’s silence on the issue as tacit approval.

Some Christians say that since the world celebrates Christmas, although it is becoming more and more politically correct to refer to it as “the holidays” Christians should avoid it. But that is the same argument made by false religions that deny Christ altogether, as well as cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny His deity. Those Christians who do celebrate Christmas often see the occasion as an opportunity to proclaim Christ as “the reason for the season” among the nations and to those trapped in false religions.

As we have seen, there is no legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate Christmas. At the same time, there is no biblical mandate to celebrate it, either. In the end, of course, whether or not to celebrate Christmas is a personal decision. Whatever Christians decide to do regarding Christmas, their views should not be used as a club with which to beat down or denigrate those with opposing views, nor should either view be used as a badge of honor inducing pride over celebrating or not celebrating. As in all things, we seek wisdom from Him who gives it liberally to all who ask (James 1:5) and accept one another in Christian love and grace, regardless of our views on Christmas.

 

Trust JESUS!

 

 

 

Special thanks to gotquestions.org

 

Faith Vs Fear

Faith and fear cannot exist together. Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as being “certain of what we do not see.” It is an absolute belief that God is constantly working behind the scenes in every area of our lives, even when there is no tangible evidence to support that fact. On the other hand, fear, simply stated, is unbelief or weak belief. As unbelief gains the upper hand in our thoughts, fear takes hold of our emotions. Our deliverance from fear and worry is based on faith, which is the very opposite of unbelief. We need to understand that faith is not something that we can produce in ourselves. Faith is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) and is described as a fruit (or characteristic) which is produced in our lives by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The Christian’s faith is a confident assurance in a God who loves us, who knows our thoughts and cares about our deepest needs. That faith continues to grow as we study the Bible and learn the attributes of His amazing character. The more we learn about God, the more we can see Him working in our lives and the stronger our faith grows.

A growing faith is what we desire to have and what God desires to produce in us. But how, in day-to-day life, can we develop a faith that conquers our fears? The Bible says:

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”
Romans 10:17

The careful study of God’s Word is of primary importance in developing a strong faith. God wants us to know Him and completely rely on His direction in our lives. It’s through the hearing, reading and meditation in the Scriptures that we begin to experience a strong, confident faith that excludes worry and fear. Spending time in prayer and quiet worship develops a relationship with our heavenly Father that sees us through even the darkest of nights. In the Psalms we see a picture of David, who, like us, experienced times of fear. Psalm 56:3 reveals his faith with these words: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 119 is filled with verses expressing the way in which David treasured God’s Word: “I seek you with all my heart” (v. 10); “I meditate on your precepts” (v. 15); “I have hidden your word in my heart” (v. 11). These are revealing words which speak wisdom to us today.

God is kind and understanding toward our weaknesses, but He requires us to go forward in faith, and the Bible is clear that faith does not mature and strengthen without trials. Adversity is God’s most effective tool to develop a strong faith. That pattern is evident in Scripture. God takes each one of us through fearful situations, and as we learn to obey God’s Word and allow it to saturate our thoughts, we find each trial becomes a stepping stone to a stronger and deeper faith. It gives us that ability to say, “He sustained me in the past, He’ll carry me through today and He’ll uphold me in the future!” God worked this way in David’s life. When David volunteered to fight against Goliath, he said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37). David knew the God who had sustained him through dangerous situations in the past. He had seen and experienced God’s power and protection in his life, and this developed within him a fearless faith.

The Word of God is rich with promises for us to take hold of and claim for ourselves. When we face financial trouble, Philippians 4:19 tells us, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” If we are anxious about a future decision, Psalm 32:8 reminds us that God will “instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” In sickness we can remember that Romans 5:3says, “Tribulation works patience.” If someone turns against us, we can be comforted by the words in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us who can be against us!” Throughout life we will continue to face various trials that would cause us fear, but God assures us that we can know a calm peace through every situation, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” which He has promised will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Romans 1:17
Habakkuk 2:4
Galatians 3:11
Hebrews 10:38

The righteous shall live by faith!

Trust JESUS!

Special thanks to Gotquestions.org

Friedrich Schwartz – O Sacred Heart

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

 

 

What Does the Bible say about Household Salvation?

 

Household salvation is the idea that whole families or households are saved at once. The saving of the entire family is accomplished through the faith of the leader of the family. If the father or the head of the home declares himself to be a Christian, then he presides over a Christian household—the members of his family are Christian by default, based on the decision of their father/husband. According to the concept of household salvation, God saves the entire family unit, not just the individual expressing faith.



A proper understanding of the Bible’s teaching on household salvation must begin with knowing what the Bible teaches about salvation in general. We know that there is only one way of salvation, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ (
Matthew 7:13-14John 6:67-6814:6Acts 4:12Ephesians 2:8). We also know that the command to believe is directed to individuals and the act of believing is a personal action. Thus, salvation can only come to an individual who personally believes in Christ. Believing in Christ is not something that a father can do for a son or daughter. The fact that one member of a family or household believes does not guarantee that the rest will also believe.

Jesus Himself indicates that the gospel often divides families. In 
Matthew 10:34-36 Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” These words completely undermine the concept of household salvation. 

If people are saved as individuals, then how are we to interpret those passages in the Bible that seem to contain a promise of household salvation? How can we reconcile the need for individuals to believe in order to be saved and verses like 
Acts 11:14? In that passage, Cornelius is promised that his household would be saved. First of all, as with any passage of Scripture, we must consider the genre or type of book in which it occurs. In this case it is found in Acts, an historical narrative of actual events. A principle concerning biblical history is that no one event can be automatically assumed to apply in every situation. For example, Samson tore the city gates off of Gaza and carried them up a hill (Judges 16:3), but this doesn’t mean that, if we grow our hair long, we will be able to perform similar feats of strength. In Acts 11, the fact that God promised Cornelius that his whole household would be saved does not mean the same promise applies universally to all households across all time. In other words, Acts 11:14 was a specific promise to a specific person at a specific point in time. We must be careful about interpreting such promises as universal; they should not be separated from their historical settings.

Second, how God fulfilled His promise to Cornelius is important. In 
Acts 10 Cornelius welcomes Peter into his home and says, “We are all here” (Acts 10:33). In other words, Cornelius’ entire household was gathered to hear everything that Peter would preach. All of them heard the gospel, and all of them responded. Everyone in Cornelius’s household believed and was baptized (Acts 11:15-18). This is exactly what God had promised. The household of Cornelius was not saved because Cornelius believed but because they believed.

Another passage that carries the promise of household salvation is 
Acts 16:31. Here the Philippian jailer asks Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The missionaries respond, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Again, this promise is given to a specific individual in a specific context; however, this one contains an additional promise that is clearly universal and spans all time periods and contexts. That promise is not one of household salvation but is entirely consistent with every other verse in the Bible that speaks of salvation. It is the promise that if you believe in the Lord Jesus “you will be saved.”Also, salvation came to the jailer’s household as the result of their hearing the Word of God and individually responding in faith: Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house” (Acts 16:32). The whole family heard the gospel. They were all saved, just as God had promised, but their salvation was not due to their being a part of the jailer’s household; they were saved because they believed the gospel for themselves.

A third verse in the New Testament that some use to teach household salvation is 
1 Corinthians 7:14: “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” This verse seems to teach that an unbelieving spouse can be saved on the basis of his or her spouse’s faith in Christ. It also seems to say that their children will be holy before the Lord because one of their parents is saved. But that conclusion would be inconsistent with the overall teaching of Scripture. In this context the word sanctified is not referring to salvation or being made holy before God. Instead, it refers to the sanctity of the marriage relationship itself. Paul taught that Christians should not be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). The fear of some in the church was that, since they were married to unbelievers, they were living in sin; their marriage was ‘unholy’ and their children from that union were illegitimate. Paul allays their fears: believers who are already married to an unbeliever should remain married as long as the unbeliever consents to stay married. They should not seek a divorce; their marriage relationship is sanctified (holy or set apart in God’s eyes) based upon the faith of the believing spouse. Likewise, the children of their marriage are legitimate in the sight of God.

The fact that 
1 Corinthians 7:14 is not speaking of household salvation is clearly seen in the question Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 7:16: “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” If household salvation were true, then the wife would already be saved (on the basis of the husband’s salvation); Paul would not need to refer to a future time of salvation for her.

The Bible does not promise household salvation. But that does not mean that a godly father or mother does not have a profound spiritual influence on the children in that family. The leader of a household sets the course for the family in many ways, including spiritually. We should earnestly hope, pray, and work for the salvation of our families. There are many times when the God of Abraham also becomes the God of Sarah, and then of Isaac, and then of Jacob. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Though grace does not run in the blood, and regeneration is not of blood nor of birth, yet doth it very frequently . . . happen that God, by means of one of a household, draws the rest to himself. He calls an individual, and then uses him to be a sort of spiritual decoy to bring the rest of the family into the gospel net.”

The sense of immediacy in the sharing of our faith is only realized in acknowledging the short brief breath of our physical existence in light of eternity and the necessity for reconciliation to our God from whom we’ve been estranged.


Trust JESUS!
(as your personal  Savior)
He loves you and gave Himself for you!

Special Thanks to Gotquestions.org

 

The Mahatma Ghandi Movie (1982)

If Christians could fully grasp some of Mahatma Ghandi’s practical insights on the teachings of Jesus Christ, the power of our witness and testimony to the truth would be unmatched in all the world.

On the other hand, if Mahatma Ghandi could’ve fully grasped the biblical view of the scriptural Jesus Christ – that more than being just a good moral teacher, He was and is the very Son of God, not only would Ghandi have changed the world in the profound way just as he did through the demonstrations of his life, but he could’ve done so for an eternal prize to the glory of the living God!

 

Ghandi (1982)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SRbHnfYHaI

 

 

Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:3

 

Trust JESUS!