Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord nor of me his prisoner – 2nd Timothy 1:8-14 – 03/18/2016

Thank you for clicking on our page for the Pauline epistle which is called 2nd Timothy, the letter is authored by the apostle Paul to Timothy who was in the Ephesian church. This is called a Pastoral Epistle and gives many doctrines that we still use in both church structure and also for choosing leaders in the church. For other bible studies on other epistles please see our main epistle page or for others in 2nd Timothy please click on this link.

2nd Timothy 1:8 (ESV) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eight of the first chapter of Second Timothy.

V8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

Paul had just finished (in the last article) describing a spirit of power, love and sound mind and now Paul moves on to courage and encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord. We have it easy these days in following Jesus as Christianity is an established religion of nearly 2000 years but back then he was following someone who the critics stated was crucified.

It is quite a common emotion to be ashamed of the gospel as the Christian message does not always follow the patterns of this world and often times it is very contrary to the standards of this world. It is not a popular message but a lifesaving one. It was a message so important that Paul was willing to have his liberty stripped from him in order to save souls.

When we become Christians we should not expect our lives to be easy, often times we will be tried and James tells us that we should count it all joy…

James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We have to get away from our “Western Christianity” that promotes the message that if life is hard then you are not doing your faith correctly. We have lost our edge and become as comfortable in the world as Lot was when he pitched his tent near Sodom. Let’s be honest here and ask “who does rejoice when they have stresses and trials? Yes we can sometimes cause our own issues and trials but we should not expect life to be easy.

Paul sees his imprisonment in a way that shows his heart, he is not the prisoner of Rome, of the ruling authorities but of “his prisoner” and this is the mark of a man who has his life immersed in his mission. If he is jailed he is jailed for the Lord, if he is free he is free for the Lord and if that wasn’t enough he invites Timothy to take a share in that ministry. Who would apply for that ministry post? With the knowledge that your mentor is in jail and you are invited to follow the same path and that would be a good application question – Would you do it?

V9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

And this is why you do it…Paul was sitting there incarcerated due to a “holy calling” and he submitted to the purpose of God and was submissive to the grace of God also. So with God on his side should he be in such difficulty? Well he was! Just because someone is working in the will of God does not mean there will not be difficulties, sometimes God’s grace is what sees us through the difficulties.

I love this because here was Paul, and if you were not looking at his situation through “theological glasses” you would see him as a political prisoner, he was a prisoner of Rome, the largest empire of man at that time. If he was talking of power and might then people would automatically think of those who held the earthly power, however God allows people power for a season and as we know the Sun has set on the Roman Empire, let’s look at what the bible says about earthly power…

Romans 13:1 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

We all have our opinions regarding Governments, Parliaments and ruling people such as Prime Ministers and Presidents and to air them here would only cause discord, however we are called to be subject to the governing authorities as God is the one who gives authority. Whilst I may not agree with policy decisions I trust God who knows how it will pan out. Paul also sees this by stating that this power is fleeting compared to the power of Jesus Christ who has been there since the beginning.

V10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

We all have a common savior in Jesus Christ, we have responded to a call in our hearts. Jesus came to manifest light unto the world and Jesus told us this would be the case…

John 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Jesus abolished death! He came to reconcile man to God and be that spotless lamb without blemish that would replace the Passover lamb. Death is not death anymore, there is hope through Christ Jesus that we can be saved and rejoined in communion with a loving Father God I don’t see death as the sting I once did but merely a matriculation to glory. Yes I certainly will miss the ones who have touched my heart down here but apart from a mission to have as many souls as the Lord will allow me to join me, this world holds very little for me now.

Paul goes on to say this is why he was appointed a preacher, to tell that good news, that gospel! He considers it a privilege and not a course for shame; he is honored to suffer for the sake of the gospel. I just wish that I had that resolve because in all honesty I am keen to be through trials as quickly as possible and I do wonder in hindsight what valuable lessons I could have learned if I had just been patient. He calls himself three titles which he is more than worthy…

  • Preacher – Think of the sermons he has taught, the lessons he has shown people face to face and the advocate he has been for Jesus Christ.
  • Apostle – The churches he has been a messenger to (apostolos in Greek also means messenger) and has planted.
  • Teacher – Paul was given the task, despite his Jewish pedigree of being the “Teacher to the Nations/Gentiles” and we are reading fruit of that in his epistles to strengthen others.

This is why Paul was content to suffer, because he understood the majesty and honor due to the person he served. We have to realize who it is we are serving but we have to also be as committed as Paul who was committed to serving him with everything he had until the day that he would see him. (Paul calls it that Day) and this may be a question you can ask yourself… Are you all in? Do you serve the Lord with all that you have? Or Are you going through the motions? If the answer is less favorable than you would like then it is not a situation that cannot be remedied, I would suggest discussing with your Pastor or leaders how you could use your gifts more. I don’t teach at the church I attend so I use my gift for teaching on this blog, there may be more than one way to be of use to the Lord.

V13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Just as it is important to know WHO we are serving it is just as vitally important to know your doctrine (know the sound words) as we are all called to be faithful to the truth. We are to follow that pattern, to hold fast in the midst of friction, it will require inner strength as well as a firm footing in the doctrinal truths that you already know, to give you an example in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church…

Ephesians 4:11 (ESV) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

I see this in the church today where sketchy doctrines become popular that has precious little biblical basis but they are accepted because people who are trusted endorse them. I worry and wish to keep myself and my family (and those the Lord has allowed be to be Spiritual mentors to) free from being tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine.

Paul states that Timothy must follow his example in sound teaching and Paul is not being proud when he states this but merely giving a tangible example of someone he can relate to, we all have folks that we trust for doctrine and Paul advises Timothy to remain faithful and guard that good deposit within us by the Holy Spirit and God has supplied that helper and he desires from us more than we can do on our own and is it good to be obedient and rely on the help that we are given.

Lord willing, in our next article in Second Timothy we will look at how Paul gives a good example of what he is teaching Timothy by giving examples of faithful and unfaithful men in the faith. It truly is a challenging study from an introspective point of view. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

TTE Advent Calendar Day Four – December 4th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Four – Dec 4th

The LORD shall be from the line of Abraham

Thank you for reading our fourth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

In the last few days we have looked at the claims of the Messiah Jesus Christ and certain prophecies that show him to be the Messiah that was foretold in the Old Testament. In previous blog articles we looked at the claims that he would be born of a woman, born in Bethlehem and also born of a virgin. Today we look at the claim that he would be from the line of Abraham.

This is foretold in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis chapter twelve; lets read from verse one…

Genesis 12:1 (ESV) Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God makes a promise to Abram (as he was known then) and God is truth. Can you imagine being Abram, with a name that means “father of many” and here he was advanced in years with no children. (God, in Genesis 17 changes his name to Abraham “father of many nations”) Such was the man’s doubt that his wife Sarai and he did not initially believe when they were promised a son. They tried to do Gods work for them and Sarai gave her Egyptian maidservant Hagar (Genesis 16) and another nation was born through Ismael. (I will touch on this in a few minutes)

I have always been blessed by the story of Abram/Abraham, he had to literally be told to go by God and leave his father’s house. He was at least in his 8th decade (verse 4) when he was told this. He was to go with his wife to a land that was to be shown to him. At this point he still resided in Ur of the Chaldees.

Talk about the ultimate mission’s trip! God says “go but I am not telling you where!” for me that is the ultimate leap of faith. Would you do likewise?

He is told “I will make you a great nation” not just a big family but a great nation. God promises that the name of Abraham will be great. Today we still talk about Abraham in three of the religions of the world.

Judaism talks of Abraham as the father of the faith, and through him came the children of Israel. This is also addressed in many of the epistles as the Jews had faith in their status as Abraham’s children above all else.

Christianity recognizes that the Messiah came through Abraham (the point of this article) It does not discount the Jewish history but sees it fulfilled through Jesus of Nazareth.

Islam sees Abraham as the father of their faith also, but through the lineage of Ishmael. (Remember that other people)

Abraham is a big deal as you can see. We read “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” and this is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to heaven; he will bless both the Jews who believe and also the Gentiles. The Gentiles shall be justified by faith. We read that in Galatians 3:8-9…

Galatians 3:8 (ESV) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

God speaks to Abraham for the second time

Genesis 22:15 (ESV) And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.

Abraham waits so long for a son, he was 100 years old. Imagine waiting for 25 years on a promise. He watches the boy grow into a young boy and he is asked of God to sacrifice his son. I can’t imagine this in my wildest of dreams but look at the faith of a man who will trust God in the face of a direction I am sure he did not want to do and a path he cannot see the way out of. I have to say that I doubt I would do likewise.

Isaac appears in this story like a sacrifice and God knew the heart of Abraham and knew that he would follow God and his promises. In that same way we see the fathers heart and i know God was thinking ahead to the time where he would offer his own son as a sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

Confirmation in the New Testament

God confirms this to us in the first verse of the first book of the New Testament through the pen of Matthew.

Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

That is how important that this is true and accurate. People who cast doubt on the trustworthiness of the bible will cast doubts on the following categories…

1) Genesis
2) Prophecies
3) genealogies

In all three areas the Bible has proven itself time after time. In many cases historians verify the biblical account by such means as archaeology and historical evidence to back up the claims of the Bible. In many cases these scientists have no theological reason to prove the bible correct.

God in his wisdom decided to take the time to insert this genealogy into Matthew’s gospel in order to validate this prophecy. We also see further validation of this in the Epistle to the Roman church.

Paul’s validation of the gospel of Jesus

Simply being being a “Son of Abraham” is not enough to get you into heaven. Look at what Paul writes to the church In Rome…

Romans 9:1 (ESV) I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

That is heavy stuff huh? Paul would accursed himself in order to save his brothers. That is the heart of an evangelist.

Just like Paul’s brethren, you too can be in communion with Christ.  My prayer is this article is the beginning of a new life in Jesus. I hope that you are challenged by this apologetic article and begin to examine the claims of the prophecies of the messiah. 

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Thanksgiving week – Day four – my extended family

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Thanksgiving week – Day four – my extended family

Psalm 107:1 (ESV) Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

As you may have noticed, the last few days I have been posting reasons that I am thankful on this thanksgiving week. On Monday I posted about my daughter, on Tuesday I posted about my wife, yesterday I posted about my faith in Jesus Christ. Today I wish to be thankful for extended family.

Thanksgiving is a time to get round the table and have fun and fellowship with those who you love, in my case what normally happens is that we all converge on a member of my eternal family’s house, (We all live within 20 miles of each other so it is easy to do so) spend several hours together, eat a lot, watch a little football and have fun as a family.

The external family I am speaking of is my wife’s brothers, their families and her mother. This year the shindig is at the Mother in laws house, but we are having some family sickness so we may or may not be there. This is sad to say the least. I am hoping that this is not the case and we are able to do so, but I have a nephew with a low immune system who is very susceptible to getting infections and in his case it would require a visit to the hospital, so you can understand my concern.

I am grateful to them as they have emancipated me into the family with much love and kindness. I am grateful to the LORD for the love and support they provide, especially to my wife.

Getting used to the concept of an extended family

My wife has always did the “big family” thing, my parents, not so much, they did celebrate New Year’s by socializing with other folks and we did visit relations from time to time, but in Scotland we so not celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas was usually done with just my parents (I don’t think I have ever celebrated a Christmas meal with my brother and his family) so it was a bit of a culture change coming over here.

As extended families go, I certainly have been blessed, there are quite the mix of people, different humours, different temperaments, in my case a different culture, but deep down they are good people, we tick each other off sometimes but deep down there is love there. I know that in most instances that I would back them up and they would have my back also.

Memories

I have only been a part of that family for a short time, married 9 years to my wife but there are just some things that you do, I have memories of rescuing folks from things that have happened and being rescued myself. I have accounted these times as a blessing to the LORD the times I have been able to help and serve and also the times that we had that I have been served.

Thanksgiving

As stated before, in my country we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving and I was asked earlier this week “What do we call Thanksgiving in Scotland?” I answered as best I could so my reply was “Thursday”.

I am of course being flippant, but despite knowing very little about the day itself and why we celebrate it, I am thankful for the ability to come together (whether it is just with my wife and daughter or if it done with the extended family) I will count it as reason to praise him.

Misery lacks company

I hope that if you don’t have a place to go this thanksgiving that someone reaches out to you, my hope is that everyone is surrounded by family and friends and folks that love them. If you know someone who is going to be alone and you have enough to share (let’s face it, many of us have more than enough) then pull an extra seat at your table for that person.

James talks about this in his epistle…

James 1:27 (ESV) Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Get those who have no-one and show them the love of Jesus. Be that example of Christ’s love, which is more powerful to someone who is alone than the best orated and smoothly delivered sermon.

Actions like that back up what you are preaching is also what you are living. This is intentional Christianity, not just meeting a need but bringing Christ front and center in your service.

Be thankful in the small things

Don’t focus on the bickering, the fights or whatever will steal your joy from that day. Focus on the laughing, the sounds of the kids chasing each other and the positive memories. Also be thankful for the LORD, who created the harvest. This is the day that the LORD has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

This article is a series on being thankful. LORD willing I hope to do one every day this week. Other blogs in this series include:

Day one – My daughter
Day two – My wife
Day three – My faith

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

They knew God but did not honor him

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They knew God but did not honor him.

Romans 1:18 (ESV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

People’s perception of the wrath of God

Who all likes talking about the wrath of God? (watches as no-one’s hand is raised!) Doesn’t “sell well” in today’s consumer driven, drive through; reap the blessings but to hang with the curses Christianity that we have here in quite a few Christian blogs and websites. It is a tough topic and no mistake, but it is integral to the gospel message and here is why.

In order for Jesus sacrifice to make sense, we have to have a God that has been grieved enough by the sin of the world to want to rectify the situation. You see, people’s perception of the wrath of God is all wrong! God hates the sin and desires that all would come to his saving grace. You see, we deserve the wrath of God because of “sin” what we do not deserve is Gods amazing grace.

The “benevolent dictator”

Failure to acknowledge this fact will have God as a “benevolent dictator” allowing us to be on this planet long enough so that we can accumulate enough sin so he can nuke us! Sounds ridiculous huh? This line of thinking is not scriptural and does not follow logical theological patterns. The wrath of God is always completely righteous.

Only God can judge me

As we see in the text God’s wrath is “revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” which does clarify what is being said above. If you set yourself against God then expect him to allow you to reap what you sew. I find it laughable when I read T-Shirts and tattoos that state “Only God can judge me” I feel like asking “do you really know what you are challenging God to do?”

If you are thinking this sounds unfair, well actually it is perfectly fair. The driver in whether the wrath of God comes down upon you is believe it or not you! You have the option of choosing to be on Gods side or not. You can choose a life of unrighteousness by Gods standards and live by your own standards that should you not change you will end up getting the eternity that you have asked for.

Ungodliness versus Unrighteousness

So why did he say ungodliness and unrighteousness? Well it deals with two distinct sins, ungodliness is man’s offenses concerning God and unrighteousness deals with man’s sins towards everyone else. You can be without God and still be seen as righteous in the world’s eyes. The question you have to ask is who’s judgment do you trust more?

They suppressed the truth, if you try to cover up, defame, lie about or otherwise pervert people away from God, and then this one is for you. This is for all of the evolutionists who try to contort the creation account in order to elevate man’s wisdom and try to cloud man’s thoughts towards the truth that is written in the Holy Scriptures.

The sad truth about what they know

Paul goes on to say that “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” this is tragic as they knew God but failed to glorify him, therefore they have the knowledge and really have no absolution from excuse. We tried to pervert, re-size God, and make him fit into what we needed him to fit into. This carries onto verse 23 where we turn God into what the Greek work “Eikon” (Where we get our modern day Icon) where they reduced God to an image of what they wanted him to be. They were not thankful for all that he had done, ungrateful and “professing to become wise they became fools”. The wisdom of God far supersedes anything that man could come up with.

I liken this to a desperate man, when I have been desperate I usually get scammed or do something foolish (almost always with money) which is why we have tried to elevate our thinking beyond God and why so many houses of Academia try to “dumb down” theological thinkers. It is happening today dear Christian. If you read a Creation/Evolution debate, the Evolutionist will always attack the intelligence of the Creationist first.

What does God do?

Well God allows them to go after the lusts of their heart. In the same way he allowed Israel to elect a king even although he knew it was going to lead to heartache, he is not that benevolent dictator that I spoke about earlier. If we are insistent on going a certain way, perhaps God will allow us to go through our consequences before delivering us.

By going after the lusts of their hearts they are inviting their own consequences. Anyone see a parallel with today? They are going after impurity, dishonoring their bodies and served the created rather than the creator. A horrible situation that sounds like my life in reverse. If you are reading this and are still in your sin or are thinking of walking away from God, please take this passage as a warning. I have been there! See my testimony page, I have been circling the drain many times and God has pulled me out of the toilet bowl.

Paul was surrounded by this writing from the city of Corinth where lusts, vile passions and basically whatever your heart’s desire was, you could get it there. They gave up the truth for the lie, notice Paul advises there is only one truth, by the same token they gave themselves up for the lie, the lie of idolatry.

I am hoping that this Bible study was fruitful for you and I pray that you share, like or comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Division isn’t just long!

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Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

I love the apostle Peter, I suffer from the same “foot in mouth” syndrome that he did. As he grew in his Christian faith he became a dynamic ambassador for Jesus Christ. I pray that for myself also.

Time and time again, Christians fall into a trap that is set by the evil one sets (see verse above) in military terms it is called “divide and conquer” it is a well known military technique and begins as follows.

Step one – Confusion

Cause confusion, cause a diversion, pepper it with good stuff, step back and watch the chaos ensue. This is done in warfare by the enemy flanking, reducing visibility by means of a smoke bomb or canister that will disorientate and then the aggressor will fire from the new position making the victim think they are firing on their side and fire alongside not realizing they are harming rather than helping.

Step two – divide

At this point he victim is in disarray, radio chatter forecasts that the enemy is everywhere and the best chance of getting someone back alive is to scatter into either individual formations or at the very least smaller formations to increase the targets and to make it harder for the enemy to prevail (theory being that multiple targets are harder to catch that a formation of “sitting ducks”)

Step three – conquer

Like most plans borne out of panic, they have decreased the chances of survival, instead of increasing the targets, the confusers are able to take out the remaining victims out one by one due to out numbering and seeing the direction they are fleeing to. Eventually it turns into a huge game of “British Bulldog” with a company searching for the “strongest” one of the company who by this time is weak. Defeat ensues.

What is this to me?

We are at war dear Christian! 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that the devil will do what I have stated above, he will attempt to cause confusion, he will send in people that call themselves pastors, teach against the word of God, teach the word of God in error and lead people astray.

I am not talking “minor theological issues” such as do we do one cup communion versus little cups, or interpretational issues that have formed little quirks in peoples beliefs. I am talking about Pastors who are leading the people who are seeking Gods word astray to heathenistic, man made ideas that are contrary to the word of God.

Like the above introduction, they will state that they are on the side of the LORD. They will walk like a duck and talk like a duck, however they cause harm rather than help. They quite often introduce Jesus + something else. Regrettably these movements will be popular as they will focus on giving entertainment as opposed to the whole counsel of God. They will be very religious but not relational. This is fertile ground for the adversary as he can move onto step two.

They are easy to divide having no root in the word of God. They split from the flock, go it alone and are in a worse situation than before. Eventually they fall out of fellowship (even the bad one they chose for themselves) and become as the world.

I pray for the church

The devil will do this on a grander scale with churches. I go to a church that “benefitted” from a church split. There is nothing more harmful for koinonia of believers than toxicity of previous hurt stemming from an in amicable break up from a previous church. Regrettably, even in a Christian setting, controversy is far more able to breed than forgiveness.

This is the Devils playground. The fires of pride will be stoked and unless the heat is taken from it, I know that it will cause fragmentation and division. I have seen churches split over minor disagreements, I know a church in Glasgow that was Presbyterian in denomination, and they split from their Pastor and moved in next door with the Baptists, horrible situation and proof that even although we are forgiven, we are still fallen men and women.

I am not advising us to unite in the face of heretical doctrines; I am however stating that we should not seek to be quarrelsome, looking to divide at the drop of a hat. (Really what I am trying to say is summed up wonderfully in 2 Timothy chapter 2)

Learn from my mistakes

How do I know this, I lived this! Be careful dear Christian! If you are in a church that doesn’t teach the Bible first and last and teach it well, then get out of there. I wish that when I was younger I head read an article like this. I was young, impetuous, proud and thought I knew better.

I started by having a little Jesus and the World, thought I could get the % right! Boy was I wrong, I church-hopped, escaped accountability, hid the fact that I was slipping away from Jesus and the things of the LORD. Eventually I did not return, the hangovers became more frequent on a Sunday morning and in my opinion it just wasn’t worth the effort. I had no grounding, no roots, hadn’t read the Bible in months and eventually I walked out of a church door for the last time in a long time.

I had no beef with God; I just wanted what i wanted. I didn’t see myself at war with God. Just apathetic towards him and the blessings I had. I had to learn many slow, hard lessons before I came back, humbled, no longer proud and willing to listen this time!

My prayer for you as you read this is that you become broken, if you know someone that needs to read this then please forward it to them. I came back to God a different person. My prayer is that this article will help someone turn to God.

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

God bless and TGBTG
TTE