The Coming Judgment on America

31. May 2015 16:47 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

 Image result for lgbt american flag

 

The Coming Judgment on America

 

It is June 1st and in just a matter of days the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will make a landmark decision that will affect every state in America. This will be the second time in America’s history that 9 individual judges will make a decision of such magnitude.

 

In January 1973 the SCOTUS ruled in a 7–2 vote that under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment it extended to a woman the right to have an abortion. As a result the ANNUAL ABORTION STATISTICS in America are insane. In 2011, approximately 1.06 million abortions took place in the U.S. From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S. Forty-three years later the 53 million mark of murdered babies have been broken. Regardless to this ungodly decision the SCOTUS will make another such monumental decision in a matter of days.

 

America is on the brink of becoming the second nation on planet Earth that will redefine marriage. In recent weeks Ireland, a primarily Catholic nation, voted to legally redefine marriage and make acceptable same sex marriages. This is a direct assault against God. IF the SCOTUS redefines what marriage is it will have a domino effect on every aspect of our society. We already clearly see the battles throughout our nation but what many people are ignoring is the spiritual warfare that is raging in our country. This is why I believe there is a “Coming Judgment on America”.

 

The spiritual warfare has been rampant from church after church compromising on what the Bible says about marriage. Preachers, pastors, and even scholarly theologians are seeking to change what God has said about this subject. Christians from every sector of this nation are continually compromising their faith and denying the authority of Scripture in effort to redefine not only what marriage is but also if same sex relations are sinful or not.

 

So why would someone believe that judgment would be coming to America because of this decision? Let’s turn to the Scriptures.

The Bible is clear that when wicked people are leading a nation the righteous grieve:

When the wicked rise, men hide themselves. ~ Proverbs 28:12

When the wicked rise, men hide themselves. ~ Proverbs 28:28

When a wicked man rules, people groan. ~ Proverbs 29:2

 

America is fast becoming a nation that is building up God’s wrath. In Scripture the nation of Israel also became such a nation and God sent a prophet.

 

Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the Lord , They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him. Where will you be stricken again, As you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick And the whole heart is faint. ~ Isaiah 1: 4 & 5

 

Hear the word of the Lord , You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah. "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the Lord . "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. ~ Isaiah 1: 10 & 11

 

Therefore the Lord God of hosts, The Mighty One of Israel, declares, "Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries And avenge Myself on My foes. "I will also turn My hand against you, And will smelt away your dross as with lye And will remove all your alloy. ~ Isaiah 1: 24 &25

 

Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions. ~ Isaiah 10:1

 

One only has to look in Scripture to see how God dealt with the Twin Cities of sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. These cities were allowed to function for a considerable amount of time before God judge them.

 

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. ~ Genesis 19: 24 & 25

 

There is only one hope for America. The good news is that America can avoid this judgment. My prayer is that current SCOTUS, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will make the only righteous decision acceptable to God and that is NOT redefining marriage. Even if they make the right decision America still has severely sinned against God. In order for God’s blessing to reign instead of God’s judgment America as a nation must do some specific things.

 

Restoring America

#1 Return back to the Bible. ~ Nehemiah 8

 

#2 Confess our sins. ~ Nehemiah 9

 

#3 Trust in God. ~ Nehemiah 9: 32 & 33 "Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness, Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You, Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.”However, You are just in all that has come upon us; For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.

 

#4 Turn from Evil and keep God’s Commandments. II Kings 17: 13 – 20

It is my prayer that America will turn back to God and trust in the hope of the Gospel. America can now only avoid judgment by becoming a nation that is no longer a slave to her sin but to God.

 

So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. ~ Galatians 4: 3 – 7

 

 

Blessings SDG

Should Christians Smoke Marijuana?

28. May 2015 09:11 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

1 Peter 5:8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil,

prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Image result for should Christian smoke marijuana

Recently I have had a couple of conversations with those who profess a relationship with Jesus Christ and the idea of these believers smoking marijuana. Is smoking this drug something that ought to be practiced by Christians?

 

  

I believe the Word of God has a lot to say about one who has been called out of darkness into the marvelous and glorious light of Jesus Christ.

 

The Believers Lifestyle

Lets first ask the question; is smoking marijuana consistent in the life of a Believer? Clearly smoking marijuana is not consistent with anything the Word of God tells us about the Christian lifestyle. The Bible says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), smoking marijuana deadens of our minds and causes the smoker to be lightheaded & inattentive. We are to be sober-minded about the devil’s schemes (1 Peter 5:8–9), not so stoned trying to forget about the cares of this world. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), not to be “baked/blasted/wasted by what is undeniably a harmful drug”.

The Christian must remember that we “have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), not “with perishable things like silver or gold . . . but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19). Jesus Christ has bought us with His own life, Christ has delighted to create in us something entirely new, therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). By indwelling us with His Spirit, He has given us new life therefore because we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

 

Susceptibility to Deception

We must also be keenly aware of the biblical principle regards our susceptibility to deception. In light of us being fallible creatures who are prone to delusion, we need be reminded that we are the objects of God’s intense affection, His enemies are our enemies. This includes THE enemy, the Devil, the father of lies (John 8:44). Believers follow the apostolic exhortations to remain sober-minded and alert (1 Corinthians 15:34;1 Thessalonians 5:4-8;2 Timothy 4:5;1 Peter 1:13;4:7;5:8) are designed to remind us that we must be vigilant against the wiles/schemes of the Devil (Ephesians 6: 10-13; 1 Peter 5:8), who seeks to ensnare us through deception. Sobriety is also important for prayer (1 Peter 4:7), as is obedience to God (Isaiah 1:10-17).

In summary, the Bible teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” & the believer can’t do this under the influence of marijuana (Titus 2:12).

 

Is Smoking Weed/Marijuana a Sin?

The Bible commands us not to allow our bodies to become “mastered” by anything. “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Is smoking weed a sin? Although the Bible does not address marijuana directly, it does discuss other mind-altering drugs. Specifically, the Bible addresses the use of drugs in the book of Galatians:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

(Galatians 5:19-21)

“So, where are the drugs mentioned in this verse? Actually, the word translated "sorcery" is the Greek word pharmakeia, from which we get the English word "pharmacy." The primary meaning is "the use or the administering of drugs" (usually associated with sorcery or idolatry)”. Since this verse comes from a list of things that, if practiced, would preclude one from heaven, this should be a reasonably strong suggestion that the Christian should not practice drug use. The book of Revelation also lists drug use as one of the things for which the unrepentant will suffer the wrath of God.

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

(Revelation 21:8)

Marijuana is a Herb?

Most people use as a argument that marijuana is a herb and that God created herbs so marijuana is ok to smoke. Well let’s explore that thought.

First where does the Bible say that at? Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (KJV)

Throughout this post I have been using the NASB version of the Bible so how does it read?     Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

Well is it plant or is it herb? How about some definitions? The Hebrew word here is “‛eśeb” “עשׂב” which means green plant. The English definition for herb is in general use, herbs are any plants used for food, flavoring, medicine, or perfume. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs refer to the leafy green parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), while a "spice" is a product from another part of the plant (usually dried), including seeds, berries, bark, roots and fruits. Herbs can be perennials such as thyme or lavender, biennials such as parsley, or annuals like basil. Perennial herbs can be shrubs such as rosemary, etc, etc.

Many, many Christians try to make the argument that God created the herbs (marijuana) for us Marijuana smokers are especially fond of the King James version, since it uses the word "herb". However as already made clear herb have the general meaning of "plant," with the root word having the meaning "green." The verse clearly talks about fruit trees, indicating that the real meaning of the verse is about edible plants.  So, the verse makes it clear that God created the plants for us for eating. It doesn't say anything about smoking them!

Marijuana the “Sacared Herb”

I believe it is clear God did create all these green plants from the ground or shall I say herbs. But, what about marijuana? Did God also create this plant? Yes. The question becomes does God want us to use this plant by smoking it and getting high with it? I think that has been answered above in this posting.

Historically herbs are used in many religions. “For example, the nine herbs charm in Anglo-Saxon paganism, neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves, bael (Aegele marmelos) leaves, holy basil or tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), turmeric or "haldi" (Curcuma longa), and cannabis in Hinduism. Rastafari also consider cannabis to be a holy plant.”

“Siberian shamans also used herbs for spiritual purposes. Plants may be used to induce spiritual experiences for rites of passage, such as vision quests in some Native American cultures. The Cherokee Native Americans use both white sage andcedar for spiritual cleansing and smudging.”

I pray that every believer notices that only pagan false religions have uses for marijuana to enlighten the mind or to ease the mind. These practices should not be named amoung those who follow the Triune God of Scripture.

 

Finally I would like to conclude with this thought. EVERYTHING that has been made by God is good, and that this includes marijuana when it is used in the fashion God created it. Again, Everything God created is good. Poisonous mushrooms are good for breaking down dead wood, but bad for eating. Hemp is good for making rope, but bad for smoking. The key here for the believer is doing what pleases our God.

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking (or smoking marijuana), but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

(Romans 14: 17 & 18)

Beloved do what is acceptable to God.

 

 

Blessings SDG

America: A Nation in Need of Prayer

28. April 2015 21:01 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

America: A Nation in Need of Prayer

Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

 

America is indeed a nation in total confusion. I’ll make mention for the sake of prayer the #BaltimoreRiots & protests. Praying that God will bring peace and cilivility. Then this past weekend the Earth shook with a 7.8 earthquake. The #NepalEarthquake is literally a land shooken at it’s core. Thousands have lost their lives and many families are broken if not totally lost. Please keep these issuses in prayer.

I think just as important if not more important is the #MarriageSCOTUS that has began here in America. Four states; Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan take there cases into the highest court of the land. Nine justices will either make American a nation that supports LGBTQ marriages or a nation that supports 1man and 1woman marriages.

Those nine justices are: John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice, Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice, Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., Associate Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, Elena Kagan, Associate Justice. I ask that you keep them in prayer. Some believe they have already made their decisions but I believe the Word of God. Proverbs 21:1, 3 The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.

I have been listening to the arguments today and several things bother me. In this post I will be brief but one thing that was continually repeated was that although for thousands of years there has never been a society or a entire nation that has fully endorsed LGBTQ lifestyle on a national basis until now. These Scriptures come to mind:

1 Timothy 4:1-3 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

This is where I have to agree with those who are seeking to redefine what marriage is. Our current society is growing more and more wicked by the day. But unlike the world we as believers who follow the Lord Jesus Christ have hope. Let us cry out in prayer Maranatha!

The early church faced much persecution, and life for a Christian under Roman rule was not easy. The Romans required everyone to declare that Caesar was god. The early Christians knew that there is only one God and one Lord—Jesus Christ—and in all good conscience they could not call Caesar “Lord,” so the Romans looked upon them as traitors, persecuted them, and put them to death.

Living under those adverse conditions, the believers’ morale was lifted by the hope of the coming of the Lord. “Maranatha!” became the common greeting of the oppressed believers, replacing the Jewish greeting Shalom (“peace”). The followers of Jesus knew there would be no peace because Jesus had told them so (Matthew 10:34; Luke 12:51). But they also knew the Lord would be returning to set up His kingdom, and from that truth they drew great comfort. They were constantly reminding and being reminded that the Lord is coming (Luke 21:28;Revelation 22:12).

I ask that you pray two things: 1) Psalms 82 Pray through this Psalm on behalf of the nine judges listed above. 2) Pray Maranatha! Our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. In these days He is our only hope.

Where Do YOU Stand?

5. June 2014 02:45 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

 

Where Do YOU Stand?


Exodus 32:26
then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is for the Lord , come to me!"

The words of the song written and performed by Rev. Timothy Wright seem quite fitting for the Church today.

I want to know (Where do you stand)
Who's on the Lord's side 
I want to know (Where do you stand)
Who's on the Lord's side 
Where do you stand! Who's on the Lord's side
Come on, come on, I'm on the Lord's side!

STAND UP! The singer will sing and the congregation will stand to their feet shouting, I'M ON THE LORD'S SIDE! But that's because that's a song and no Biblical foundation or conviction is being ask of those driven by emotion to stand.

So Church WHERE do YOU Stand when it comes to the practice of homosexuality and marriage? WHERE do YOU Stand? I want to know who's on the Lord side now.

The Church is in either disillusion or deception. Recently there have been some major shifts inside the Body of Christ. It seems that more and more Churches are "at this moment they hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up." And if they don't "then whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire Daniel 3:5-6." This is exactly what's taking place. The more the Church bows in worship the more ignorant God's people become and in the words of Hosea the prophet, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children Hosea 4:6." Americas’ soon fate.

Recent Developments
So what are some of those recent developments?

First Matthew Vines has a new book out called "God and the Gay Christian". This book is a continual twisting of Scripture from his YouTube video he did a couple years ago (http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript/).

Second SBC Pastor Danny Cortez 
has changed his position on homosexuality & and marriage, watch the video:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WqYvkVqVLFo

The SBC meets for their yearly convention beginning this Monday June 9, 2014 and this issue must be addressed.

If you’re looking for some great resources let me suggest a few:
1) Dr. Michel Brown has two books:
"A Queer Thing Happened to America" & "Can You be Gay and Christian"

2) Dr. James White "Same Sex Controversy, The: Defending and Clarifying the Bible's Message About Homosexuality" along with "Gay Christianity” Debated with Dr White and Justin Lee dialogue  on the subject (http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2013/05/22/gay-christianity-debated/)

Where Do I Stand?
So here is my actually stance on this "hot" topic defined in 3 points.

1) Redefining Marriage
2) Redefining Sin
3) Redefining the Gospel

Redefining Marriage
Surprise SURPRISE I do not support a ban on gay marriage. I support marriage as defined in the Bible from creation to the present day. In Genesis 2 God brought Eve to Adam, in Mark 10:6-9 Jesus said, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  F or this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together let no man separate."

This is marriage and anything else is a perversion. I don't support underage marriages, Polyamory marriages, polygamy marriages, & most certainly I do not support human-animal marriages. Now before you say that last one is a little far fetch; well this year 2014 a man in California, Paul Horner has legally married his dog, mac. The wedding ceremony was conducted by father McHale.  Yep! Oh and by the way I don't support any form of LGBT marriages.

Redefining Sin
The Bible is clear "All unrighteousness is sin" (1 John 5:17) but what today's culture is doing is re-classifying homosexuality and lesbianism out of the class of unrighteousness and in a whole new category.

 

The question has been asked can you be gay and Christian? I believe this answers the question and delivers the gospel at the same time. 1 John 3:4-6

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

If we redefine what sin is then we must redefine the Gospel.

Redefining the Gospel

This is the Gospel. Jesus Christ was sent into this world to be born of a virgin that He might be sinless, that He might be born under the law, to keep the very law that you and I break day after day, after day. The perfect, sinless, Son of God has perfectly met all the requirements of God’s law, and is ready to give His righteousness to us that we would have a perfect standing before God. That He went to a cross; there He was lifted up to die. There upon that cross, the sins of everyone who would believe in Him were transferred to Him. And Him who knew no sin God made to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. That the great exchange of the cross. That’s the Gospel.

 

If you change what is sin you change God’s intended purpose for sending Jesus into the world.

 

Final Thoughts

1 Corinthians 6:9-12 

 9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

 

Driven By the Gospel

25. May 2014 06:08 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Driven by the Gospel

 
As a associate minister at the Church I belong to I'm not the regular preacher. Therefore I don't do any consistent expositions of books of the Bible or even certain sections of the Bible. I have basically two themes all my preaching is geared toward and that is the "Glory of God" & the Gospel. You can also find my ministry philosophy (posted to the right) also in every sermon which is to be God-Honoring, Christ-Centered, & Saturated with the Gospel.

This Sunday I get to do all these things. I've been invited to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ at the Promise of Eternal Life where pastor Alcus Smith is the pastor.

 

 

 

This week I'm praying to do this from Philippians 1:27. I've come to the realization that many of those who proclaim to be Christian lives are driven by success, money, fame, status, recognition, and the list goes on and on. My hope is to persuade the believers to live lives driven by the Gospel. This was Paul's consistent theme as he wrote to the Church at Philipi from his cell in Rome.

This is also my hope to all who read this post. One of the things I like to do is share things I have read in preparation that won't make the cut into my sermon notes on my blog and here's a couple.

Barnes - there is a way of living which is appropriate to the gospel, or which is such as the gospel requires. There is something which the gospel would secure as its proper fruits in all our conduct, and by which our lives should be regulated. It would distinguish us from the frivolous, and from those who seek honor and wealth as their supreme object. If all Christians were under the influence of the gospel, there would be something in their dress, temper, conversation, and aims, which would distinguish them from others.

Clarke - Striving together] συναθλουντες. Wrestling together, not in contention with each other, but in union against the enemies of the Gospel faith-the doctrine of Christ crucified, and freedom from all Mosaic rites and ceremonies, as well as from sin and perdition, through his passion and sacrifice.

Gill - with one mind, or "soul"; either signifying the same as before, or else that they should be of one judgment in the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel, and abide therein; which is necessary to their harmonious walk and conversation together, as citizens of Zion.

Keith Krell - To live your life as a citizen “worthy15 of the gospel of Christ” means to represent Christ in all you say and do. The term “worthy” (axios) pictures weighing something on the scales. The idea is that your manner of life should weigh as much as the gospel you claim to be committed to.16 People are not nearly as interested in discussing absolute, objective truth claims. People are even less interested in discussing theology or philosophy, but most people are interested in the practical questions of how to live.

Piper - The Vision of God in the Gospel
So what is the vision of God in the gospel? It is the portrayal of Jesus Christ as the radiance of the glory of God, so that his person and his work have infinite value.

One of the anchor Scriptures in Philippians 1 is verse 20
Philippians 1:20
according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Paul says that he doesn't want to be put to shame on ANYTHING! So Paul how do we as believers do that?

Easy, "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" ~ Philippians 1:27

This has got to become the internal drive of every believer and I simply hope and pray that I will faithfully convey this message.

Rev. E. L. Smith
SDG

Put Sin to Death

26. April 2014 18:34 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Put Sin to Death

Resurrection Sunday 2014 has come and gone and I’ve been thinking how I and other Christians’ can live continually in light of Christ Resurrection. When I look at Jesus dying on the cross and bearing our sin I then begin to think about our remaining war on sin. As believers we must be active in the practice of “Putting Sin to Death”.

 

John Owen gives some insights on the subject.

 

“Sin also carries on its war by entangling the affections and drawing them into an alliance against the mind. Grace may be enthroned in the mind, but if sin controls the affections, it has seized a fort from which it will continually assault the soul. Hence, as we shall see, mortification is chiefly directed to take place upon the affections.”
John Owen, Sin and Temptation

 

“The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin.”
John Owen, The Mortification of Sin

 

“Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
John Owen, Overcoming Sin and Temptation

 

“The mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies, that it may not have life and power to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh, is the constant duty of believers.”
John Owen, Overcoming Sin and Temptation

 

I highly encourage these two works by John Owen called Overcoming Sin and Temptation & The Mortification of Sin. Lastly I would like to help in the efforts of Putting Sin to Death  with this Biblical Prescription.


Biblical Prescription for Putting Sin to Death

Here is a practical Biblical prescription for Putting Sin to Death

1) Abstain from lust

James 1:14-15

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

 

1 Peter 2:11

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul – Peter doesn’t give a long drawn out 12 step plan. The Word of God says abstain or STOP!

2) Don't give place to sin

Romans 13:14b

Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. – Provision means to make accommodations for or make room for. Don’t make room in your life for people or things that will bring you into sin. Don’t give Agag life, cut him off at the neck. Don’t give the Amalekites NO room in your life.


3) Mediate on God's Word

Psalm 119:11

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Colossians 3:16

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.


4) Pray (watch and pray) (pray without ceasing) A life of prayer must become a daily discipline.

5) Discipline Life

1 Corinthian 9: 23 – 27
Philippians 2:12b-13

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

*It is the power of the Holy Spirit working in US living out righteousness*

 

6) Put on Christ!

The final dose in this prescription is to put on Christ Romans 13:14a

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ

Conclusion
2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Prayer – Proverbs 28:13
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

What Is Christianity? The Life of God in the Soul of Man

12. February 2014 18:29 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
 
I learned about a man this evening by the name of Henry Scougal. Henry Scougal (1650-1678) was a Scottish Anglican theologian, minister and author. He was the second son of Patrick Scougal and Margaret Wemys. His father was Bishop of Aberdeen for more than 20 years. From his youth, Scougal spent his free hours in reading, meditation and prayer.
 
Scougal wrote a small booklet called, “The Life of God in the Soul of Man”. This book was originally written to a friend to seek to explain Christianity. This small thoughtful book on Christianity had to impact this friends’ life. So far as I can tell there is no record of the impact of how the friend was impacted but there is a record of this books impact on the great evangelist by the name of George Whitefield.
 
 Whitefield said, “I really wanted to know God and be assured of salvation, but even strict discipline didn't seem to help. God showed me (in Scougal’s writings) that I must be born again.” Scougal wrote that Christianity is not about external duties to perform, nor is it an emotion or feeling one has. He defines true religion as the union of the soul with God, a partaker of the divine nature, or in the apostle's words, “Christ in you, the hope of glory."
 
This small booklet has been really thought provoking. I have desired to highlight two sections from the book. Read:
 
WHAT RELIGION IS
But certainly religion is quite another thing, and they who are acquainted with it will entertain far different thoughts, and disdain all those shadows and false imitations of it. They know by experience that true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle’s phrase, “It is Christ formed within us.”—Briefly, I know not how the nature of religion can be more fully expressed, than by calling it a Divine Life: and under these terms I shall discourse of it, showing first, how it is called a life; and then, how it is termed divine.
 
OUR SAVIOUR'S CONSTANT DEVOTION
Another instance of his love to God was his delight in conversing with him by prayer, which made him frequently retire himself from the world, and, with the greatest devotion and pleasure, spend whole nights in that heavenly exercise, though he had not sins to confess, and but few secular interests to pray for; which, alas! are almost the only things that are wont to drive us to our devotions. Nay, we may say his whole life was a kind of prayer; a constant course of communion with God: if the sacrifice was not always offering, yet was the fire still kept alive; nor was ever the blessed Jesus surprised with that dulness, or tepidity of spirit, which we must many times wrestle with before we can be fit for the exercise of devotion.
 
My question to you is, are you a Christian? If your reply is yes then I ask what you are basing your reasoning upon. Is it your union with Christ? Is there a clear outer conformity to Jesus Christ because of the work of God in your soul? Is there a fire inside of you drawing you to commune in prayer with God?
 
I pray that you will think deeply and meditate upon these thoughts from Henry Scougal about what it really means to be a Christian. Just like the title of his book, being a Christian can be summed up as “The Life of God in the Soul of Man”.
 
 
 
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
 
Colossians 1:28-29
 
 
 
 

The Truth About Limited Atonement

8. December 2013 19:14 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

The Truth About Limited Atonement

 

Exodus 12:7; 12-14

Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.

 

 

Before we begin this conversation on the atonement lets define exactly what it means. According to the Holman Bible dictionary the meaning of Atonement is the reconciliation that was associated with sacrificial offerings to remove the effects of sin and in the New Testament, refers specifically to the reconciliation between God and humanity effected by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In the Old Testament Primarily in the Old Testament, atonement refers to the process God established whereby humans could make an offering to God to restore fellowship with God.

 

As I address the atonement this will be the logical direction of thought I will be using. Whoever you are you not only have a view of the atonement but you believe in some form of a limited atonement. The only thing that complicates the issue is the phrase “limited”, to whom is the atonement is limited to? This is why many have sought out to use different language instead of limited. Some people prefer to use terms like “particular redemption,” “definite redemption,” or “intentional atonement.”  John MacArthur uses the term “Actual Atonement” when teaching on this subject. The bottom line fact is this; Jesus death on the cross actually satisfies the just penalty for sin before a holy God.

 

The problem arises that some believe that the atonement is for all people and not limited to a specific group of people. The problem comes from a misunderstanding of selective passages ripped out of context from their original meaning. Most people read in their own personal systematic belief system in selective passages that contain phrases like all will be saved or the passages that state Jesus died for the world, etc. So let’s carefully yet briefly look from a Biblical standpoint at this subject of exactly to whom was the atonement actually offered for.

 

I believe the subject is quite clear Ephesians 5:25 Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for Her, emphasis *Her*. In Jesus High Priestly prayer He Himself prays a minimum of 40 times not for the world but specifically for those who would believe in Him, namely the elect. In John 17 Jesus uses words like they, them, their, and those to identify that He wasn’t praying for the entire world because He was only sent to those the Father specifically gave Him. Jesus pronounced His official mission statement by saying in Luke 19:10:

 

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5: 31-32)

 

But what about all of those *all* passages or those that use the phrase “world”, just what about those?  This misunderstanding of certain passages has most people in the Church thinking that Jesus died for everyone potentially and no one actually until they find it within themselves to believe. To say that Jesus just died for everybody potentially, is sort of like evangelizing by telling dead men to rise up and follow Jesus but dead men can’t walk. It is border line heretical to teach that Jesus died for everybody potentially and no one actually. The actualizing of the atonement does NOT depend upon the sinner but the Holy Spirit of God actualizes the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the behalf of God’s chosen. The Bible clearly teaches that the atonement is limited in its extent to those whom God chooses and whom God saves.

 

The words “world” and “all” needs to be qualified in every passage you come to. I arrive at this conclusion based upon Jesus prayer in John 17. For time sake I will not quote the entire prayer but make emphasis on verses 13 – 19.

 

13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

 

If Jesus limited His mission of whom He was sent and just hours before He would go to the Cross He limited His prayer for whom He would die, it should be made clear that His atonement also was “limited”, “particular”, “definite”, and “intentional”. Shall I dare say “actual”, actual for those to whom the Father sent Him to which He would redeem.

 

This brief posting will not clear up the entire discussion but what I pray it will do is give purposeful discussion upon this subject.

 

I conclude with a thought from the Prince of Preachers himself C. H. Spurgeon:

"That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards, some of those very men should be punished for the same sins which Christ had already atoned for, seems to me, to be the most marvelous monstrosity that ever could have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, aye, to the god of the Thugs, or the most diabolical heathen demons!

 

"God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the Just and Wise."

 

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

SDG

 

A Passionate Pursuit for God’s Glory

3. December 2013 00:14 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Ezekiel 10:19

When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.

 

Jonathan Edwards is much like Ezekiel in that he had a vision and glimpse of the glory of God. Jonathan Edwards is known as the greatest preacher, philosopher, and theologian in the history of America. Edwards was passionate in his pursuit to live a life that glorified God. That passion was fueled by what we now know as his 70 Resolutions.

 

Jonathan Edwards read through these resolutions once a week throughout his life time from the age of 19 and every year at the end of the year I also read through these resolutions. I read them because they refuel my passion for God, they force me to rethink and Test myself to see if I are in the faith; examine yourselves! 2 Corinthians 13:5.  Come and journey with me as I read through and mediate on these resolutions.

 

You don’t get further than Edwards’s preamble that you are forced to stop and think.

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him, by His grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.

 

Just for a moment think of this statement, “I am unable to do anything without God’s help”. This needs to be a constant reminder in every believers life because For in Him we live and move and exist (Acts 17:28) all because of God. Here is where I look at myself and my own life and examine am I totally depending upon God and not upon myself.

 

Today I want to mediate on just the first and second of seventy resolutions.

1.       Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

 

2.      Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.

 

This is where I believe my life verse was birthed, 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God. Edwards said he would do whatever he thought, “to be most to the glory of God”. Whether at my job or with my wife, or talking with my children I want to do it in a fashion that first and foremost will glorify God and God alone. When I deal with love ones or I deal with my neighbor I deal with them in a manner that most glorifies God. This thought alone satisfies my soul.

 

Like Edwards I need to be focused on doing whatever “I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general…to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.”

 

I can’t lose this passion but I realized I’ve failed at this one. It’s time to plant my feet in the ground and make some changes. The Apostle Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”, this I believe was the thrust behind Edwards thoughts.

 

I am “Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things”. In other words I need to do whatever it takes no matter how creative I need be in order to structure my life that it glorifies my God. Join me in a continuing pursuit of God’s glory.

 

Every time I read these resolutions I see a much needed work of grace that is needed to be done in my life but I return to the preamble, “I do humbly entreat Him, by His grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake”. I concluded this morning praying that this is the word of the Lord to Edward saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. By God’s grace and by His power I am resolved in a passionate pursuit for God’s glory.

 

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:31

 

The Dire Need for Expository Preaching Pt. 3

23. November 2013 04:05 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

The Dire Need for Expository Preaching Pt. 3

 

Warning Preach Expositional!

I can’t continue with challenging the state of preaching without offering a remedy.

 

So here are the how to’s of Expositional Preaching.

First off; Preaching an expository message involves far more than standing in the pulpit and reviewing the high points, details, and components unearthed through research. Neither a word study nor a running commentary on a passage is, in itself, an expository sermon. An expository sermon does more than simply explain the grammatical structure of a passage and the meanings of its words…. The task of the expository preacher is to take the mass of raw data from the text and bridge the gap between exegesis and exposition. ~ John MacArthur

 

Let’s now talk from exegesis to exposition.

Exegesis is never an end in itself. Its purposes are never fully realized until it begins to take into account the problems of transferring what has been learned from the text over to the waiting Church. To put it more bluntly, exegesis must come to terms with the audience as well as with what the author meant by the words he used.

Walter C. Kaiser

 

Tom Pennington, pastor of Country Side Bible Church, offers these seven very practical and helpful steps in doing your exegetical work.

1.       Identify the Theme

2.      Analyze the Syntax

3.      Survey the Historical Context

4.      Analyze the Key Words

5.      Establish the Theological Context

6.      Consult the Commentaries

7.      Meditate on the Passage

 

Expository preaching begins with exegesis and ends with exposition; both are crucial.

One author illustrates the relationship between exegesis and exposition this way: “The exegete is like a diver bringing up pearls from the ocean bed; an expositor is like the jeweler who arrays them in orderly fashion and in proper relation to each other.”

(Rediscovering Expository Preaching, p.17)

 

Without exegesis a sermon is merely a speech; without exposition the message will be only a technical collection of grammatical and historical details. ~ Tom Pennington

 

Now here are some six simple steps to moving from your exegetical work to exposition. This is A Summary of the Process is taken from Tom Pennington’s (Preaching with Purpose)

1.       Writing the proposition

2.      Structuring the message

3.      Building the body

4.      Creating logical flow

5.      Writing Intros and Conclusions

6.      Formatting your notes

 

The task of the expository preacher is to take the mass of raw data from the text and bridge the gap between exegesis and exposition. ~ John MacArthur

 

One of the things that I have learned is that the work of an expositor is it’s a very hard job. This is probably why not many men are expositors. One of the biggest rebuttals I often get is that this process is a man made, modern day system, and it’s not Biblical. This is simply a false accusation. In the Old Testament for example we have Ezra in Nehemiah 8 giving exposition. Jesus gave several expositional sermons. His most famous sermon “The Sermon the Mount” is a exposition of the Law of God. Then in Luke 4 He gives an exposition on Isaiah 61 and in Luke 24 Jesus also gave a historical Old Testament exposition. Also in the book of Acts On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and expounded Joel 2:28-32, Psalm 16:8-11, and Psalm 110:1 as they related to the day’s events and the recent crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. (http://www.9marks.org/answers/do-we-see-examples-expositional-preaching-bible)

 

Please note that not all expositional preaching is going to look the same but at its core it is the same. A prime example is the Prince of Preachers himself, Charles H. Spurgeon. Many don’t regard him as an expositor but he indeed was. In my personal opinion he defined expository preaching in England. What this goes to show us is that depending on how God gifts men their styles may different. There are three basics categories that summarize expository preaching in how it can be done.

 

1. Topical Expositional Preaching

2. Textual/Thematic Expositional Preaching

3. Systematic/Sequential Expository Preaching

 

Preaching is essentially a personal encounter, in which the preacher's will is making a claim through the truth upon the will of the hearer. If there is no summons, there is no sermon.

                                                                                                           ~ John A. Broadus

 

“Be natural; forget yourself; be so absorbed in what you are doing and in the realization of the presence of God, and in the glory and the greatness of the Truth that you are preaching . . . that you forget yourself completely . . . . Self is the greatest enemy of the preacher, more so than the case of any other man in society. And the only way to deal with self is to be so taken up with, and so enraptured by, the glory of what you are doing, that you forget yourself altogether.”

~ Martin Lloyd-Jones

 

Lastly find yourself submitting underneath an expository ministry. Read every book you can on expository preaching. Then listen and read expository sermons. For me I remind myself that every sermon is to be God-Honoring, Christ-Centered, and Gospel Saturated. This keeps me expositional in my preaching and in my teaching.

 

May it also keep you preaching Coram Deo Soli Deo Gloria.

 

1 Peter 4:11

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God…so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

About Edward L. Smith

My ministry philosophy would consist of these essentials—a High View of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, Expository Preaching, Sound Doctrine, Personal Holiness, and a Biblical view of spiritual authority. All ministries must be God-Honoring, Christ-Centered, & Gospel Saturated. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

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