27 November 2011
21 November 2011
There’s a story about Raynald III, a fourteenth-century duke in what is now Belgium. Grossly overweight, Raynald was commonly called by his Latin nickname, Crassus, which means “fat.” After a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Raynald but did not kill him. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in the castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room. This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of normal size, and none of the windows or the door was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter. When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, he had a ready answer: “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.” .....History tells us that Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined he died within a year. . . a prisoner of his own appetite.
This may sound comical, but it's a sad reminder to the reality of so many people today....they love their sin so much they are clueless to the tragic outcome that lies ahead, a world that is blinded by the sin that binds their hands in Hell! Steve Farrar sums up the terrible price of sin "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you're willing to pay.” Church family sin is so powerful ...it has the power to destroy families, marriages, churches and many nations. This is why it’s important to understand the truth that Paul is telling us in the letter! The world wants to suck you back in...but Christ is sanctifying you not to! [like a tug of war].....because of His finishing work on the cross, the genuine Christian has freedom and victory over the tug of war of sin! “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Rom 6:6.
This doesn’t mean we are exempt from the temptation or the reality of sin in our lives ...Positionally we are no longer slaves to sin according to Romans chapter six; but this must be worked out in the believer’s practical living from the point of conversion. As John MacArthur said “there can be no holiness or maturity in a life where sin runs unchecked.” and Paul gives a pretty clear in your face detailed list of things that should be dead or not evident in the life of the believer! From the point of your conversion in Christ these are the things that should not be evident in your life! Look at what Paul writes in (v5) He’s opening sentence is giving us an understanding to the importance of what’s about to be said.......“put off” this literally means “kill” or “to put to death” some translations say “consider the members of your earthly body as dead...”We are to kill [put to death] the sin..... by bringing ourselves under submission to the Spirit-filled new character found in the Gospel. Jesus spoke very clearly on this issue [meaning sin] “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Matt 5:29-30. This doesn’t mean we literally start cutting parts from bodies! Thinking that this will stop the sin! Centuries ago in England if a Pick-pocket was caught and convicted, his or her right hand was cut off. If that person was caught again, their left hand would suffer the same fate. There was once a pickpocket who lost both hands and continued his occupation with his teeth! Physical dismemberment cannot change the heart! Sin pierces the heart as Jesus and Paul says here in this portion of scripture! We are to discard evil practices as literally cutting them off from our lives. BUT! Realizing, the battle of sin is common for all believers! As Paul wrote chapter 7 to the Roman believers, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Rom 7:24-25. Sin is a continuous battle we all face on a day by day....minute by minute basis....but we don’t need to feel defeated! Why? Paul knew where his life was hidden.....were he found grace, peace and victory! This why he started with the word “therefore” referring to what was previously said in (v1-v4) Therefore since you have been purchased...declared righteous and set apart by the Gospel we are to cut the ties of our sinful patterns that we formally lived according to (v5-v11). Paul groups these sinful practices into THREE CATEGORIES!
THE FIRST CATAGORY (V5) – SINS OF A SEXUAL NATURE:
1. Sexual immorality – Greek word “porneia” from which we get the English word “pornography”. Every kind of sexual sin, prostitution; images; any sexual relations whither visual or physical!
2. Impurity – indecent- explicit imagination, speech, a deed of a sensual heart or filthy mind
3. Lust - unrestrained appetite for sexual things; passion that makes you do foolish things...e.g. internet, adult magazines, night clubs and so on.....
4. Evil desires - desire for something that is forbidden to you, self serving and self satisfying or a gluttonous lust. A prime example of this nature is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans! “For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Rom 1:26-28
5. Greed - the desire to have more, but it is almost always used in connection with someone in a position of power using their position to get sex from someone. Boss/ co-worker etc. And all of these were IDOLATROUS, which would have been a big deal for the hearers because all Christians – whether from a Jewish background or Gentile – knew that God has no toleration for idolatry! Remember when you’re fulfilling the desires of your flesh....what you’re ultimately doing is.... committing idolatry on the very One [the Saviour] who told you and me to put these things to death [to kill it]! Why? As John MacArthur said .....”When people sin, it is at its basis their doing what they desire. Rather than what God desires. That is, in essence, to worship themselves instead of God, and that is idolatry.”
The Apostle Paul is telling the church that we must kill these passions of the flesh that world so desperately want you to embrace with open arms! This is a command not a request! Why do I say that....but what we read in (v6-v7) Paul wrote these sobering words in Rom 2:5 “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.”
THE SECOND CATAGORY (V8-V9) COMES TO THE SINS OF ANGER:
Paul says “Put off” instead of put to death! It’s like taking off your dirty cloths at the end of a busy or hard day at work! We are to discard the filthy, tattered rags of their old life! What are we to discard....?
• Anger – literally wrath, but a wrath that has the intent of bringing public judgment on others or a resentful bitterness that has an unsettled heart of an anger person.
• Rage – a quick temper; responding badly, unexpectedly...sudden outburst of anger......There is no place for this in the life of Christian! James wrote we are to be “slow to anger...for the anger of a man does not achieve righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20
• Malice – spitefulness; being ill-willed toward someone; doing what you can to hurt them...unkind words!
• Slander – slandering someone; wilfully destroying their character...talking about person or persons behind their back with someone else.
• Filthy language – abusive speech; made up word that means “filthy talk.” It is the kind of talk that leads to filthy action against someone
• Do not lie – don’t lie; literally, “STOP lying” What is Paul saying!.......When a believer lies they are imitating Satan [the father of lies] , and not their Heavenly Father!
AND FINALLY THE THIRD CATAGORY THE SINS OF DISCRIMINATION (V11)
• Greek or Jew: both thought everyone else was a different race of people and both looked down their noses at all of the people that were clearly of a different race.
• Circumcised or uncircumcised: the distinction that was the most obvious between these two groups
• Barbarian: the Greek name for everyone that didn’t speak Greek.
• Scythian: the rowdiest, smelliest, most dangerous of hillbilly types
• Slave: 1/3 of all people were slaves/ freedom was what all slaves wanted and could earn through years of hard labor and favor from their masters
• Free: many freed slaves looked down their noses at slaves hoping to earn their freedom.
You have a new life in Christ, so live like it! Pursue God and LIVE DIFFERENT! Christ Jesus came to sinners.....wretched lost people! NOT good people. No one is good in this room, outside this room.... apart from Christ and His sustaining grace found in the Gospel. Christ knows you are going to fail on your own. Christ knows the power of sin over His creation. Christ knows the battle you're going to face each and every day....That’s why He went to the cross to save the perishing....to save the dying! We are full in Him and we are to put to death the flesh that wants to continue in the passions before you were saved. The chains have been broken....we can put these things to death by kicking it to the curb!
As Paul writes we are to put on the “new man” who is renewed! “Renewed” describes a new quality of that never before existed...just as a baby is born complete but immature without understanding. We are new [born again] babies who are capable of growing in the knowledge of Him as He conforms us more and more into the image of His blessed Son (v10). But in order to grow we have to put to death the passions and the desires of our old nature! As Peter said as new born babies desiring the pure milk of the word!
So how do we have victory over these kinds of sins that plague our fleshly desires? The simple answer to that question is..........Stop feeding it....starve it to death and you can leave those prison walls! Do not feed anger or resentment....do not cater to sexual lust or covetousness...When you discard something you need to fill it with something else! So Fill or saturate your life in the living water found in the Word of God! As Paul said “......whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Phil 4:8. Put to death those things that lead to death and eternal torment and embrace the truth found in forgiving blood of Jesus Christ! My only question for you this morning is and it ties in with last week! Are you still embracing the things that lead to His righteous wrath? Or are you embraced the unlimited grace that flows from Emmanuel’s veins Put to death this world and begin living for Him as a new creation found in the Gospel that saves to the uttermost! SDG
16 November 2011
The Christian life is very much like a marriage! You bonded together by God....It’s a commitment that lasts the remainder of your earthly life...It’s a life empting of one’s selfishness through submission to one another...It’s a life that is built on trust, honor and most of all love that God supplies....It’s a life that completely changes the way you use to live before you were married. The Christian life is very similar to gift of marriage! But.....How quickly we are to break the vows we made as we live in a world that wants us to divorce the very One [Jesus Christ] the Saviour [the Groom] who came to save our wretched lives [the bride] through the gift of salvation. So that we can embrace this world and all its pleasures. It boils down to this one question! Do I love this world more than Jesus? Before you answer that question.... take this test with me keeping in mind what makes you more upset!
• A soul lost in Hell....or a scratch on your new car?
• You’re missing the worship service....or missing a day’s work?
• A sermon 10 minutes too long...or lunch half hour late?
• A church not growing...or your garden not growing?
• The church work being neglected...or housework neglected?
• Missing a good bible study...or your favourite TV show?
• The millions who do not know Christ...or your inability to keep up with your neighbours?
• The cry of the multitude for bread...or your desire for another piece of German chocolate cake?
• Your children late for Sunday school and Church...or late for school?
Which really disturbs you most? The answer to those questions will determine what you the love most! Who are you divorcing in your life? Is it the world or Jesus? Because! We must never forget what Christ did in order for us to divorce this world and all it has to offer. “who gave himself [Jesus] for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age....” Gal 1:4. We need to understand that Christians are of Christ’s kingdom and not this world. This is not our home and we sometimes constantly need to be reminded of this wonderful truth!
Paul wrote these words “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Eph 2:6....The Apostle John said “we have overcome this world through Jesus Christ” 1 John 5:4-5. The Hebrew writer said “we are strangers and exiles on the earth” Heb 11:13
Our Christian purchased lives, require us to have a proper perspective of this world. Our Christian lives require us to live in such a way that we are always focusing Heavenward. Everything I want and need is found in Him and all I want is Him. But this is a daily battle for [everyone, including myself] This world is always working 24 hour a day 7 days a week, tempting us all to focus on self and the things that bring us pleasure over Christ and His sufficient work found in His death and resurrection. R.C Sproul said "We can serve Satan, the interests of this world, or we can serve the Living God & be servants of Christ." What’s it going to be? Him or this world? This is why Paul continues in his letter reminding the church about who is and should be supreme in our lives CHRIST! Satan hates this and he will do whatever it takes to see as many people go to Hell and he also desires to see the testimonies of the faithful crushed underfoot. This why we must be vigilant and sober in a perverse and fallen generation! This is why we must be living Heavenward and not for this world.
Look at (v1a) “if then you been raised with Christ..” Let’s stop there for a minute! “If” is better translated “since” which speaks of something already done [past-tense]. Referring to our resurrection.....which is an accomplished fact? So since we have been raised with Christ through the Gospel that saves, we enter into this at the point of conversion! “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me” Gal 2:20. This is the reality in which we must wake up to each and every day! This is our victory song. (Col 2:13; and 2:20-21). This present world doesn’t control us and we need stop thinking it does! Christ has broken that chain by His death and resurrection. We need to keep our minds focused on Christ at all times. This is the only path in which we are to take....not through the things mentioned earlier in Paul’s letter
• False philosophy
• Doctrines of men
We have been raised with Christ and we are to daily remind ourselves of this wonderful truth. Why? Because we will be able to seek the things above more clearly!
Look at (v1b) “seeking those things which are above...” Let’s stop there! “Seeking” in this text is a continuous action, an ambition, one’s attitude. It’s the same continues action that Jesus said in His sermon on the mount! “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matt 6:33. All our choices and decisions we make here on this earth should done with Heaven in view of our earthly responses. “seek His kingdom” Making right choices because we are children of His kingdom and everything should be done with this in mind. John MacArthur said in his commentary on this passage.......“To be preoccupied with Heaven is to be preoccupied with the One who reigns there and His purposes, plans, provisions, and power. It is also to view things, people, and events of this world through His eyes and with an eternal perspective.” If we look at everything through a here and now as the world wants us too.....we lose focus of what’s most important. Which is Christ first and foremost and secondly the blessed gospel that saves to the uttermost....So “seek” here in this text literally means “keep seeking”
What are we to keep seeking? “Those things which are above” (v1b-v2) This is that inner disposition [character or by nature] that we are to have daily...minute by minute! What does it look like to set your mind on the things above? There was example a came across in my study! About a man who recently played catch with his dog named Bozie....“After spending forty-five minutes tossing the ball for Bozie, he came to the conclusion that when she dies an autopsy will reveal she has a tennis ball for a brain! Bozie sleeps with her tennis ball, carries it to her water dish, and she can find it wherever it is thrown. Her mind is constantly set on the tennis ball.” This story tells us that we are to regard the things of Heaven in the same way! So let me ask you! If they did an autopsy on your brain this morning what would they discover? A worldly perspective or a Heavenly perspective? The Bible says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21. Paul is reminding us that we are God’s possessions for His glory and we are to seek and pursue the things that are above.
Where! Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. (v1c) again let’s stop there! This is a statement we tend to read over so quickly...but we need to stop and read this carefully. We have already been told that we have been raised with Christ! We have already been told to keep seeking the things of Heaven! Because this of this wonderful truth about our Lord and Saviour “He is seated at the right hand of God” this is a place of honor and majesty. This is a place of extreme privilege and divine authority. When we picture Christ seating down at the right of the father, this tells us that redemption has been completed in the Son. When you look into In the Old Testament we always see the Priests job was never done. Why? Because they were always sacrificing animals as an offering to God for the sins of the people, and if you took a look inside the tabernacle you find a piece of furniture missing! A chair.The sacrifice the Levites did on behave of the people..... was a foretaste of what Christ would complete on the cross once and for all. How do we know this is true? He is seated at the right hand of God in all His glory and splendour. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” Heb 10:12. When you come to passages like this you really need stop and praise His name for such a great love He has for sinners.
Look what Paul writes next (v3) “for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” “Death” refers to the death to self at the point of salvation. “If any man is in Christ.....he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor 5:17. Your penalty of sin has been paid for and you are dead to sin so don’t let sin reign over you! Remember the wages of sin is?........................Death. This is exactly what the world wants you to do ....this is exactly what Satan wants you to do! Though sins presence and power still affect us, but understand this! It cannot condemn us! Why? Our death and new birth is hidden in Christ! That’s the gospel truth. “Hidden” gives the idea of protection from spiritual foes...enemies. The blessing of salvation is that we find rest and security because our lives are hidden in Christ It’s like the T-Shirt with the arrow that says “I’m with Him” and it points to the person beside you! The Christian is hidden in Christ and nothing can separate that love and hope we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. Who are hidden? “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30. Those who are truly born again through repentance and faith in Christ alone! If this is you? You are hidden in his protective arms .....That’s a great comfort especially when we are faced with so much whether they are good or bad! No matter what has happened or what will happen we are hidden in Jesus our Lord!
Paul puts the icing to the cake.... to bring this point home! Look at (v4) “when Christ is revealed” is referring to His second coming! John paints the scene for us in Revelation 19:11-16...“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” When He is revealed in His second coming so will we! The King of Kings will be accompanied by the saints [Christians]
This portion of Paul’s letter should motivate, stimulate or confirm what we always knew to be true. That we are to look this life differently more and more each day to live vertically and not horizontally! Our lives are completely full and hidden in Christ and we are to look at his world through eyes of the new birth not the old self!
• Live for Christ
• Proclaim the good news of the Gospel
• Walk in holiness
• Deny this world and the lies they are trying to sell
• Keep focusing on the prize which is Christ
• Never look down because all it leads to is ........doubt and despair!
My only question is! Who are you divorcing in your life?....... Is it the world or Jesus?
07 November 2011
Legalism by definition is..... the attempt of self-atonement for the purpose of self-glorification and ends up in self-worship. A legalist is anyone who behaves as if he can win favor with God through his own personal performance. Basically legalism in a nut shell is..... an attempt to earn your salvation by contributing your works to the work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. In others works, it's a "Christ-plus" message. This is something that has plagued the church for centuries........Why do I say that? We can see throughout the New Testament this happening all over the place; especially in the church! A prime example of this found in scripture is in Acts 15:1. "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." There is hree things legalism leads a life to........First, legalism ultimately is a joyless life....because you live by this critical lifestyle that is so demanding because you need to win God’s favour all the time. Second, legalism demands uniformity......when you find legalism you will find people who dress the same way and use the same speech, posture, and manners......sometimes even the same facial expressions......it’s almost cultish. Third, legalism produces a surface faith.......because its adherents emphasize the things which are not really important....which leaves one to a shallow self righteousness, which has damnable consequences. Charles Swindoll said these words about legalism.....“You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately... yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur.” Paul Tripp said “Human legalism leads to human self-righteousness. Human self-righteousness denies the need for the saving, enabling grace of Christ. Human righteousness embraces the cruelest of Satan's lies, that a person can be righteous by keeping the law. If that were true, there would have been no need for the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.” The Pharisee’s were prime examples of a legalism and it has continued to permeate throughout church history!
• How dare you heal this man on the Sabbath?
• How dare you eat with unclean people?
• How dare you sit with sinners?
• How dare you?
We still see this happening around us today in different ways! Especially in the Roman Catholic circles......works based salvation...their Worship of Mary. In the United Church of Canada, The Salvation Army....with their works based salvation. Seventh Day Adventist with their special dietary foods and their Saturday worship. Even in some Baptist circles...especially down in the East Coast with their KJV only churches. But! It comes down to this underlining truth! A wrong view of God and a twisted understanding of scripture. A major unawareness or ignorance to the truth of the Gospel message. I don’t say these things to make myself feel big......but until my last breath I will warn and expose anyone who does not hold to the true Gospel. Why? Remember what Paul said to the church of Galatia? “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Gal 1:8-9.......And as we have seen over the past few weeks! We know that Christ is the only way to find freedom over life and death. [The supremacy of Christ found in the Gospel]. Paul reminds the church and us that we are free and complete in Christ alone! (2:6-15)......This is the Gospel promise! We have been freed from the bondage of sin, legalism, regulations made by the traditions of men which is empty and worthless. Look at what Paul writes next........ (2:v16-v23) Paul mentions things like.......
• Food & drink......as seen in (Leviticus 11)
• Special feasts....... as seen in (Leviticus 25)
• New moon celebrations....... found in (Num 28:11-14)
• The Sabbath...... as told in (Exodus 20:9-11)
What is Paul saying? These Jewish religious festivals are not important or never where important? No......These laws were given to mark Israel as God’s distinct people and to discourage them from intermingling with surrounding nations. What Paul is saying is......For example! We no longer celebrate the Sabbath, because we worship on the Lord’s Day! This is the first day of the week. (Rev 1:10). In Luke 24:1-3 it says “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Sunday is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! (John 20). Another example of why these are not central anymore! Jesus [Himself] specifically said when it came to the matter of food or drink “thus he declared all food is clean!” (Mark 7).
We need to embrace and realize that when Christ came, He fulfilled them all! The Gospel is complete in Christ. That’s why Paul said “these are the shadow of things to come....” (v17) The word “shadow” is where we get the English word for “photograph” As John MacArthur said “a shadow has no reality; the reality is what makes the shadow. Jesus Christ is the reality to which the shadows pointed.” Which means.......all the rituals of the Law in the Old Testament were like a negative or a picture. They were just pictures of Christ.....Now that Christ has come, we have the reality and we don’t need the picture anymore. So my question is......Why should we go back and look at a picture? This is what the religious where trying to make Gentile Christians do! When we are forced to keep traditions and rituals in order to find favour with God, all its doing is separating us further from His grace found in the complete work of the cross. A prime example is Paul as he pours his heart out in the third chapter of Philippians (Phil 3:1-15).......Legalism only leads to one thing and that is a dead end! Why? Because we are trying to be righteous in our own strength....we are trying to win His favour or His love by our duty! Look at what else Paul warns the church about.......(v18). Asceticism means..... One who retires from the customary business of life, and devotes himself to the duties of piety and devotion; a hermit.......a monk type lifestyle! It’s a self righteous humility that Paul is saying! I deny myself certain things because I’m trying to please God! It’s a self-abasement. Which in reality it’s a false humility or a bogus humility it’s fake! It’s what we would call today “spiritual snobs”.......Sadly this delusion leads them to the worship of angels? .......But the bible is very clear about the worship of angels! Jesus said "'.....You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Matt 4:10. The apostle John was rebuked for this very thing.....by an angel “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." Rev 22:8-9. See, to worship angels is to deny the truth that Jesus is not our mediator between God and man...which is clearly found in (1 Tim 2:5).
Not only did they worship angels! They believed by their self humility that they received special revelation or visions from God which ultimately it brings you into a [so-called] higher level of spirituality. And in order to find true salvation! They needed have those special visions as well! [Jesus plus message]. But the sad reality is that..... it was never real [truthful] (v18c) “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” . A prime example...... Joseph Smith in his visions when he translated the twisted tail found in the Book of Mormon. Oral Roberts when he said Jesus told him to build the City of Faith Medical and Research Center........Which by the way went bankrupt in 8 years after the built was finished in 1981.
Let me ask you! Why do you think people who are void of the Spirit seek after such people or such practices?They fear they are missing something! The glue that holds their salvation together. They need something else to make their salvation seem real! Go to your Heresy Christian book store and see for yourself the books written on a higher power of spiritual living or mystical experiences! This is what the false teachers were spewing out their mouths! We see it all the time in North America! It’s that I have entered into that deeper stage of spirituality [whatever that is] This is a false teaching and should be rebuked right away! Because this form of so-called Gospel truth is a lie from the pit of Hell.....and sadly we have had this warning for the past 2000 years.
2 Peter 2:1-3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."
The root problem of all this can be found in (v19) It’s entirely a man centered gospel and not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because....“he or she has lost their connection to the Head” Who is the Head? The answer can be found back in chapter one (1:v18)........Christ is the head! Our death in Christ has freed us from “elemental spirits” the demonic powers of this world. Paul has sounded a clear warning calling us the true church to look at things as they really are! (v20-v23). There is an article that Royal Robbins [a professional mountain climber] wrote for Sports Illustrated about seeing things as they are! “If we are keenly alert and aware of the rock and what we are doing on it, if we are honest with ourselves and our capabilities and weaknesses, if we avoid committing ourselves beyond what we know is safe, then we will climb safely. For climbing is an exercise in reality. He who sees it clearly is on safe ground, regardless of his experience or skill. But he who sees reality as he would like it to be, may have his illusions rudely stripped from his eyes when the ground comes up fast.”
The reality is this! In Him we have been made full......but we can lose the benefits of that fullness very easily.....but being deceived into..... Legalism.....self righteousness and mysticism. We do not have to follow this path in order to win God to find salvation. This unspiritual and puffed up way of thinking leads a person to believe in themselves over Christ. Which is a false profession leading to God’s pure wrath and judgement for all eternity? As I said in my title.....”Legalism can be lethal” This form of worship or lifestyle is nothing more than broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Remember what Jeremiah wrote....“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13.....As Horatius Bonar said “The gospel is the proclamation of free love; the revelation of the boundless charity of God. Nothing less than this will suit our world; nothing else is so likely to touch the heart, to go down to the lowest depths of depraved humanity, as the assurance that the sinner has been loved - loved by God, loved with a righteous love, loved with a free love that makes no bargain as to merit, or fitness, or goodness.” The Gospel is complete in Christ and we must hold fast to Christ in whom we have been made complete.