Category Archives: Responsibilities as Believers: Sound Doctrine

Leadership In Christ: Our Responsibilities As Teachers and Hearers of the word

                          TEACHING, LEADING AND HEARING

” Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”  1 Timothy 4:16

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5

What and to whom are we leading people, as we follow Christ? Are we leading them to a “spiritual life,” to reconciliation with friends and family; to wisdom through the Bible; to brotherhood; to our own charismatic personality; to temporal success, power, and happiness; to signs and wonders – or are we leading people to Jesus Christ? If we lead people to anything other than complete surrender before the cross of Jesus Christ, to the acceptance of His blood as atonement for sin, and then to a new life of love, mercy, holiness, and obedience to God, then our leadership…is in vain.

Jesus makes it clear to his followers before he ascends to Heaven exactly how we are supposed to lead. We are to go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us. My purpose with this study is to examine as many scriptures as possible which specifically address the importance of sound, Jesus-centered teaching. Both teaching and hearing the word of God come with great responsibilities. Teachers must be careful to teach what is right and true before God because they are judged severely (James 3:1). Likewise, hearers must test and approve the words – and the spirit – they receive in light of scripture. So, as believers, we are all called to know the word – whether as a teacher or listener – and really, if the body of Christ is functioning properly, we should all be both teachers and hearers. Our God is a consuming fire, so let us teach, correct, rebuke and exhort each other with the holiness, love, mercy, and truth, which comes only from the Living God and His eternal, unchanging word (2 Timothy 3:16). Heaven and Earth will pass away but His words will never, ever pass away (Matthew 24:35, 1 Peter 1:23-25).

One of the scriptures which has most impacted my journey with Christ is 1 Corinthians 2:2, where Paul, after the Corinthians were divided by all kinds of “contentions” including arguments over whether they followed Paul or Apollos, boldly proclaimed, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” He went on to state that his preaching was not about him, for he came to them not with eloquence or great wisdom, but in weakness and in fear and with much trembling so that his message would not rely on men’s wisdom but on God’s power (1 Corinthians 1:17, and 2:1-5).

Paul’s statement in the passage above is the very essence of sound doctrine: preach Christ crucified, and all that the cross means, and do so in weakness and in fear, and with the power and confidence of the Holy Spirit and NOT in the strength of our personalities. In Acts 20:24-35, Paul states that his life was worth nothing to him other than that he finish with joy the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace. He warns us to keep watch over ourselves and over the flock which the Holy Spirit has given us to oversee. We are shepherds of his church and we were all purchased with his blood.

In that passage, Paul warns us that savage wolves will arise from within the flock, and will try and destroy it by distorting the truth and drawing disciples away after them. Therefore, we are to vigorously and diligently testify to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to ensure that those we influence are not pulled away by hollow and deceptive philosophies, which rely on the wisdom and traditions of men (Colossians 2:8), or on the excitement and lust of unbiblical spiritual experiences.

If we do not waiver from the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified we will be in lonely – but good company. We should all be willing to make that blessed trade, because, as Peter says, all men are like grass, and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fade…but the word of the Lord endures forever (1 Peter 1:24-25).

20 “…That in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21

In Romans 1:5, Paul states that the reason he received grace and apostleship was to call the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. He does not say that he was called by God to heal the sick, to prophecy over the brethren, or to perform signs and wonders. In fact, Paul actually takes pleasure in his weaknesses and infirmities (sickness) because he knows that when he is weak, God is strong (2 Corinthians 12:5-10 KJV). The purpose for the calling of this great apostle was to teach and preach obedience to the loving commands of Jesus – and Paul fulfilled this purpose by both his words and his actions. He made a point of emphasizing the importance of living what he preached. (Romans 15:17, 1 Corinthians 4:16-17).

In 1 Corinthians 3:3-15, Paul states that, as God’s workers we need to lay a foundation of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ only. The point of this scripture(as the point of 1 Corinthians 2:2), is to make sure that the only thing we never neglect to preach is Jesus Christ crucified for sin, for he is the foundation of everything. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-15, Paul again emphasizes that it is the Gospel upon which we are to take our stand. It is the Gospel that saves us and we must hold firmly to that simple yet powerful message. Therefore, Paul constantly teaches what he – and we – must continue preaching: the truth about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to pay for our sin.

In 2 Corinthians 4:2-5, Paul states that he does not use deception or distort the word. Instead, he sets forth the truth about Jesus plainly. Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of Christ. Paul then emphasizes that he does not preach himself, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and himself and his brothers as servants for Jesus’ sake. The focus of all teaching must be strictly on Jesus Christ and not on any worldly principles. He goes on to state that teachers are called to demolish every argument and pretension, which sets itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

In 2 Corinthians 11:10-13, Paul states that the Corinthians are putting up with foolish teaching and Paul is jealous for them with a godly jealousy. He states that, just as Eve was deceived by the serpents cunning, the minds of the people have somehow been led astray from their sincere and pure devotion to Christ. He then states that, if anyone comes to them and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus Paul preached, or if they receive a different Spirit than the one they received from Paul or a different Gospel from the one they accepted, they put up with it easily enough. Paul is disgusted by both the Corinthians and the false teachers, and he states that the men who preach a different gospel are false apostles, deceitful workmen masquerading as apostles of Christ. No wonder he says, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light and thus, it is not surprising that his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. However, Paul notes, their ends will be what their actions deserve.

Unfortunately, angels of light masquerading as apostles seem to be quite common these days, with very few well known pastors preaching the cross, repentance, love, self-control, humility, and obedience. Instead, disorderly, bizarre, and unbiblical signs and wonders reign, and prosperity is boldly and ignorantly considered godliness. We are hearing what our itching ears want to hear rather, than the true, humbling gospel message. It is equally as disappointing that the flock does not know the word well enough to perceive the fact that so many of the things going on in their “churches” have nothing to do with Jesus or the word. Like the Bereans of Acts 17:11, we are all to receive and examine the words we hear from all of our teachers – regardless of their fame or reputation – and test them against the unchanging scriptures to make certain that every single word we hear is true.

When Paul goes to Galatia, he finds much the same thing that he found in Corinth. He is astonished that the Galatians are turning to a different gospel, which isn’t really a gospel at all. Some imposters were throwing the Galatians into confusion and were trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. Paul emphasizes twice that if even an angel preaches a different Gospel than the one Paul preached to them, may they be eternally condemned (Galatians 1). Teaching right doctrine, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a matter of eternal life and eternal death. May we never preach anything but the truth of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection for sin, and may we be very careful regarding the things we approve of, lest we lead others astray and so condemn ourselves (Romans 14:22).

In Ephesians 5:3-7, Paul discusses sin and how no immoral or impure person has any inheritance with God. The key verse in this passage is verse 5, which applies directly to all who teach. Paul states that no one should deceive the people with empty words, for it is because of sins such as obscenity, greed, and sexual immorality, that God’s wrath comes on the disobedient. Clearly Paul is stating that all those who choose to teach have a great responsibility to avoid watering down sin and thereby leading God’s children to Hell by being afraid to speak the truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16, states that some believers will be pastors and teachers in order to prepare God’s people for works of service and to grow them into maturity. Maturity in Christ is important because it keeps the people from being “blown here and there by every wind of doctrine.” Thus, the calling of teachers is very serious and very clear – preach the truth of the gospel in order to, among other things, protect His precious sheep from the ferocious wolves that teach false and destructive heresies. Because the calling of teacher comes with such great responsibilities, James 3:1 says, not many of us should presume to be masters because those who do so will be judged more strictly.

Colossians 2:18-19, states that we should not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels to disqualify us for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what they have seen and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 1 Timothy 1:3-5, also states that we should not put up with men who teach false doctrines or who devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These people promote controversies rather than God’s work. The goal of this teaching is love, yet some have wandered away from the good message and have turned to meaningless talk. These people want to teach, but they don’t know what they are talking about and what they so confidently affirm. The above are two excellent scriptures which all of us can use to test the teachers and teachings we are hearing. If they do not line up with those scriptures, then they are not from God.

In 1 Timothy 4:1-7, Paul tells us that the Spirit has stated that, in later days people will abandon their faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Therefore, it is our responsibility to point out the lies of legalism, the prosperity doctrine, false signs and wonders, and hyper-grace. We are to have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales. Instead, we are simply to devote ourselves to the scriptures. As noted at the beginning of this article, in 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul implores us to watch our life and doctrine closely, and to persevere in them, because in doing so we will save both our hearers and ourselves.

In 1 Timothy 6:3-5, Paul states that, if anyone teaches false doctrine and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words which results in envy and constant strife. In 1 Timothy 6:20-21, Paul tells us to guard what has been entrusted to our care. We are to turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called science, which some have professed and in doing so have wandered from the faith. In 2 Timothy 1:13-14, Paul states that, what we have heard from him, keep as the pattern of sound teaching with faith and love in Christ Jesus. We are to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to us with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul tells Timothy to show himself a workman approved by God, who studies the scriptures for himself, does not need to be ashamed – and most importantly, rightly divides the word of truth. This verse is important because it emphasizes the fact that we all need to… very carefully and very wisely, study and share the scriptures. We must make sure that what we teach lines up, not with what we have seen or heard from other men, but with the teachings of Jesus and with the apostles…lest we be found wanting. We can only do this if we ourselves become workmen, studying the scriptures carefully and frequently, asking the Holy Spirit to teach us as we devote our time and our hearts to the everlasting word of truth(John 14:26).

In 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Paul implores us to continue in what we have learned and on that of which we have become convinced. He tells us to focus on scripture because it is, inspired by God and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

While books and the words of men are interesting, if their doctrines do not line up perfectly with scripture, we should throw them out. Only scripture is inspired by God, while men and their wisdom will fade away….

In 2 Timothy 4:2-5, Paul tells us to preach the word and to be prepared in and out of season to correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, but instead, to suit their own desires will gather around themselves a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and will instead turn aside to myths. But we are to keep our head in all situations, endure hardships, and do the work of an evangelist discharging all the duties of our ministry. I believe Paul’s primary point in this passage is that if we preach the word and are prepared through the word (and the word only) to correct, rebuke, encourage with scripture, then we will never be teaching or preaching in vain. At the end, like Paul, we want to be able to say that we have fought the good fight, that we have finished the race, and that we have kept the faith.

In Titus 1:7-11, we are told that overseers who are entrusted with God’s work must be blameless and must love what is good. They must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught. False teachers must be silenced for they teach things they ought not teach and they do so for dishonest gain. Again, the message is clear. We are not to dabble in teachings and preaching that are not clearly in line with scripture. It is also highly relevant to determine whether or not the people we are listening to are making large sums of money preaching what the people’s itching ears want to hear instead of the true, pure, Gospel. The message of the Jesus – sin, repentance, forgiveness, love (and taking up our cross daily) doesn’t seem to draw the money and crowds quite like prosperity preaching, and seeing people getting “slain in the spirit,” soaking in prayer or barking and/or laughing uncontrollably on the floor do.

Titus 2:1-15, goes in more detail about what is required of a teacher. Titus states that, those who instruct must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. They are to teach temperance, self-control, reverence, purity, kindness and all manner of honorable behavior. All teachings must show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech which cannot be condemned so that those who oppose the teachers may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say. Furthermore, the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men, and it teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live lives self-controlled, upright and godly while we wait for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior. Jesus Christ gave Himself for all of us, to redeem us from wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, and who are eager to do what is good. We are to encourage and rebuke with all authority and we should not let anyone despise us.

Titus 3:9-10, says to avoid foolish controversies and arguments and quarrels about the law because they are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person twice and then have nothing to do with them. This passage is clearly stating that anyone who is dividing the church by arguing about irrelevant controversies that are not in accord with the word of God should be warned and then, as verse 10 teaches, “Reject a divisive man after a first and second admonition.”

Hebrews 5:14-61, states that solid scriptural food/teaching is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us all leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death.

2 Peter 2:1-3, states that there will be false teachers among us who will secretly introduce destructive heresies. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit the people with stories that they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them and their destruction has not been sleeping. When examining many modern churches today, they seem to have an endless supply of these types of teachers. In spiritual lust, their flock craves false stories about angels and demons and heavenly creatures all while ignoring the doctrines of repentance, self-control, obedience and love.

In 2 Peter 3:15-18, Peter tells the church that Paul’s letters contain many things that are hard to understand and which ignorant people distort, as they do other scriptures, to their own destruction. We are told to be on our guard so that we might not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from our secure position. Instead we are to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. By focusing on scripture in its raw, unadulterated form, we will never have to worry about slipping into false teachings and heresies.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-15, Paul warns the church to not let anyone deceive them in any way because the secret power of lawlessness is already at work. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. He states that men perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God is going to send a powerful delusion to those who do not love the truth. They will believe the lie and all will be condemned who would not believe the truth but who have instead delighted in wickedness. He then advises the Thessalonian church to stand firm and to hold onto the teachings passed on to them by word of mouth or by letter.

In all the above scriptures, believers are told to be very careful that they preach only that which is in agreement with sound doctrine. According to Paul, that means that Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the primary piece of theology that must be taught. The foundation of all teaching must be the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ(John 1:1-18 is an excellent place to start). Those who choose to teach or lead are held to a very high standard of accountability before God. Those who have been entrusted with a flock must be very, very careful not to waiver to the right or to the left of the pure Gospel message.

Like the Bereans, all believers are called to know and understand the scriptures so that we are able to separate good teachers from bad teachers, and sound doctrine from man-centered lies. We are to be workmen who are not ashamed and who correctly handle the word of truth (2Timothy 2:15). We are not to seek signs and wonders, because as Jesus said, a wicked generation seeks after a miraculous sign (Matthew 12:38-42; 16:1-4), and as Paul says, we are to fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Instead, we are called to seek Jesus Christ Himself – not as our culture or our friends define him, but as he truly is in his word. Any image, teaching or prophecy that does not clearly line up with the eternal scripture must be rejected. Unfortunately, Paul notes that many “believers” don’t really want or even like the truth, but instead prefer satisfying their spiritual lust in seeking counterfeit miracles and signs instead of Jesus Christ, and because of that they will perish. Let all of us be on guard for such things, and demand that whoever preaches, teaches loving obedience to the words of Jesus and to the words of His apostles, as we wait, not for wealth, riches, health or happiness in this life, but for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:13-14, 17‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Harry Ironside on the meaning of repentance

What Exactly is the Gospel?

Favorite Scriptures #4: God Chose the Weak and Foolish Things of the World (1 Corinthians 1:17-25)

Teachers, Preachers and Mammon: Money and the Ministry

Portraits of Jesus Christ in the word: Who Exactly is our God?

The Written Word: What Did Jesus, The Apostles, and the Psalmists say about the Eternal Written word of God?

Ecumenicism: Praying With People from Other Religions

Catholicism and the Worship of Mary

Advertisements

PRAYER: How To Approach God and What To Expect From Him

                   PRAYER: How to approach Our Great God, And what to Expect From Him

 

 

 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” James 4:3

21 “And (Job) said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. ” Job 1:21-22

 

 

 As I read the word slowly and with great deliberation, I find that prayer, as taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles, bears little resemblance to the “name it and claim it” prayers (and attitudes) being widely taught today. With great frequency I hear self-proclaimed evangelists and teachers instructing the body to sow their financial seed to God (via their ministry) and then to tell God, in no uncertain terms, exactly what material “blessings” they want in return from Him – placing their order with God for goods, services, and health if you will. They are then instructed to wait on God to deliver…and if He doesn’t, well then it is their own fault for not having enough faith.

I have found the above method of prayer to be patently and outrageously false when tested in the refining furnace of scripture, given to us freely and graciously by our precious Lord. My hope is that we will all learn to pray, not as petulant children demanding money and a new car from our father, but as trusting and obedient sons and daughters, praying humbly and with great reverence to the one who know us and adores us. This attitude is perfectly illustrated by Paul in 2 Corinthians.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul states that Jesus Himself allowed a messenger from Satan to torment him, lest he become proud regarding his intimacy with and knowledge of God. Paul begs the Lord to remove this thorn in his flesh, pleading with Jesus three times…but Jesus Christ, who made Paul and knew with great precision what was best for him, said…no. His grace was sufficient to get Paul through all of the tribulations of this short life, despite constant and extreme suffering.

In the above referenced passage, Paul isn’t asking Jesus for material blessings, or for respect amongst his peers. He isn’t even requesting that his basic needs be met, since that was a continual struggle for him. (See, 2 Corinthians 11:22-33). Instead he was simply asking that Satan not be allowed to constantly torment him. This seems like an easy request with an obvious answer, right? Well, actually no. Our Great and Loving God, who made all things and who knows all things, declined to remove this painful trial from the life of His beloved apostle. Similarly, when Jesus was in Gethsemane, awaiting torture, humiliation, and a long slow death, He asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him. The Father refused to change His plan for saving mankind, despite the fact that Jesus had already lived 33 perfect years of love and obedience on this earth.

What stands out to me about the prayer in Gethsemane is the fact that Jesus, who was Himself, God incarnate, didn’t demand that His Father save Him from the abuses and degradations to come. While He felt the freedom to ask His Father for anything…He ended the prayer with a beautiful picture of surrender and trust “…Yet not my will but yours be done.” Jesus knew that what He wanted at that moment in time might not be right in the eyes of His Father. So rather then make a demand or give an ultimatum, He simply submitted His own perfect will to the One whom He knew loved both Him and the world with an everlasting love.

Today, a prayer like the one by Jesus Christ in Gethsemane would be considered by many leaders to be weak and faithless…but in the reality of a life hidden in the arms of a loving and Omnipotent God, it is strong and powerful. Instead of demanding a certain result from God, the prayer of Jesus places the outcome fully in the hands of God no matter the short-term cost. Jesus, unlike us, doesn’t need a specific result to be at a place of complete peace and trust with His Father. The result of our own (my own included) prayers should, as Jesus exemplified, be fully submitted to God with absolutely no secret strings attached, and as Job so eloquently stated in the midst of total destruction, whether God gives or takes away…blessed be His name! (Job 1:21-22).

In Luke 11, when one of His disciples asked Jesus to teach them all how to pray, Jesus taught them what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. Two simple and oft overlooked parts of this passage, which speak deeply to my heart about what my disposition towards God should be as I approach Him in prayer are:

Thy will be done…”- meaning, not what I want God, but what You want and know is good, true, and right since you, and not me, are the God who knit me together in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139), and made this glorious universe for me to enjoy.

I also love the part of this great prayer where Jesus says, “…give us this day our daily bread….” He didn’t teach us to ask the Father to make us wealthy and successful so that we can impress our friends, neighbors, coworkers and fellow believers – and so that we won’t have to worry about our retirement. No. Jesus wants us to have to depend on Him every single day, lest the temporary riches and comforts of this world deceive our hearts and draw them away from the Living God. (See, Parable of the Rich Fool, Luke 12:13-21, and the Parable of the Sower, Luke 8:4-15).

In Luke 11:5-13, just after teaching the disciples how to pray, Jesus goes on to tell them that their Father in heaven wants them to have good things, just like any earthly father would. He then encourages them to ask, seek, and knock, for everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds, and to anyone who knocks the door will be opened to them. But what whispers to my heart from this passage, with gentle but strong conviction, is the last verse, which after stating clearly that the Father does give good things to those who ask, then goes on to define exactly what those good things are in His eyes. In Verse 13, Jesus says, If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus seems to assume that true believers, meaning those like Paul and the disciples, who really love Him in the deep places of their hearts, and are seeking His eternal kingdom, will ask for…. not a big bonus check, a new car, or favor and respect among men, but instead will request more of the Holy Spirit of the Living God. Ouch. That’s not exactly what we typically ask for here in the western church…and sadly, that is not what we are taught to ask for. We are told to sow a big seed so that we are blessed with more seed to sow back in to the pastor’s ministry. And why don’t we, if we truly love Him, receive the material blessings we seek so earnestly in prayer? James the brother of Jesus says it perfectly. In James 4:3, he says: “When you ask you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Double ouch.

How many times, when praying for what we think we want or need from God, ask for more of the true Holy Spirit? Sometimes perhaps – yet Jesus seems to assume that we, as His disciples, will ask for it constantly, since it is the greatest gift that He has left for us on this earth. If we follow many of the well-known pastors and teachers of today, we are taught to ask for wealth, temporal success, creativity and children who are world-changers, along with a false “Holy Spirit” who is disorderly and often manifests himself in a fashion similar to the demons Jesus cast out and sent back to hell during His ministry. Yet here in the word, Jesus assumes that we, His beloved sheep, will simply want more of Him and His eternal kingdom, rather than the fading and deceiving pleasures of this ill world.

Luke 1 is another excellent example of how God relates to us in His unadulterated sovereignty. In the first half of this chapter, Luke makes it clear that Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth are honorable people in the eyes of God. They are righteous because, as verse 6 says, they walk in all of the commands and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. Since Sarah is barren, and they are both very old, it is easy to assume that they have prayed to have children for decades, with no success. Then one day, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah in the temple and tells him that he will finally have a son. Apparently, seeing this mighty angel of God in person wasn’t enough to convince Zechariah that what Gabriel said was true because he asks for another sign. Because of his unbelief, Gabriel prevents Zechariah from speaking until the baby, John the Baptist, is born.

Since God wanted Sarah and Zechariah to have a child, it WAS going to happen, regardless of whether they named it and claimed it. Their faith was completely irrelevant to God’s purpose being accomplished. They could have screamed at God, reciting His promises to them in Psalms and Proverbs, all day long…but that would have been of no effect. Instead, God saw the devotion of their hearts to Him, as reflected in their lives…and He gave them what they always desired but never thought they could ever have. In all things, His sovereignty and goodness will prevail. It just seems to take a long time…and in this particular case, it was almost a lifetime.

Similarly, if Jesus wanted Paul to have a thorn in His flesh, then it WAS going to remain, tormenting Paul as He saw fit, no matter how many times he begged God to remove it. Yet Paul, like Jesus in Gethsemane, accepted the final, painful decision of God, and instead of accusing God of wrong doing, he instead chose to glory in his weakness…for he knew with great certainty, that where he was weak, God was strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). May we all seek the eternal riches of Jesus Christ through His precious Holy Spirit, rather than the temporary comforts of this dark and dying world.

EPILOGUE

I am, without a doubt, a foolish man, who has expended much time and energy chasing the lies of this world. As I have, in failure and brokenness, turned my eyes and heart to the Jesus Christ of the Bible as fully as I am able, I have learned to pray for people, in every situation – not that they would be blessed, be healed or have temporal success. I simply pray that the Holy Spirit would pour Himself into their circumstances, and would draw, with His mighty power, all those involved closer to Jesus Christ, as He truly is in the word…because really, nothing else matters. Nothing. Eternity and eternity alone is what matters, because once that door to heaven closes…it can never, ever be opened. I encourage anyone who reads this to consider eternal things and only eternal things, as they pray, teach and share life with those they love, for what is seen truly is temporary, but what is unseen…is eternal.

Intimacy with and dependence upon Jesus Christ, and only Jesus Christ, should be the sole goal of our prayers as we walk this path towards eternity.

***EXCELLENT BONUS SCRIPTURE FROM DANIEL 3 ***

14″ Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego knew that God could do anything – even save them from being thrown into a furnace by an angry king. But they didn’t demand that God deliver them…and they didn’t even, by their “positive confession,” attempt to save themselves through the power of their words (aka the occultic law of attraction). They simply declared, with great boldness, the absolute power of the One and Only God in the presence of their angry enemies – and in the face of a horrible death. Yet That was enough for them. They trusted the one who made them and loved them. They let God be God and they were His humble and faithful servants…even unto a fiery death. May it be the same for all of us.

Whether the Lord Gives or Takes Away, Blessed Be His Name!

Does God Always Answer our Prayers?

The Loving Discipline of the Lord

HELL AND THE WRATH OF GOD ALMIGHTY

                                                    HELL AND THE WRATH OF GOD:

                                                      The Reality of What is Coming

 

11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.”  Revelation 19:11-16

43″ And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”                Mark 9:43-44

 

 

For many professing believers, including a large number of well-known pastors and teachers, hell and the wrath of God are considered to be unnecessary, “negative” doctrines. They are, however, clear and horrific realities, and they are absolutely critical for understanding our wicked enemy and the one who loves us and redeemed us from eternal torment with his own blood.

Teaching about the winepress of the fury and fierceness of the wrath of God doesn’t exactly bring the young and upwardly mobile into church, and it certainly doesn’t increase book sales. Some popular pastors and Christian authors are now taking this selective Bible belief one step further, and are actually denying that hell (and the lake of fire) exists, or postulate that it is simply a place of emotional and spiritual separation from God. To them the lake of fire is simply a metaphor for a permanently depressed state where God is absent…but the Bible, including Jesus Christ Himself, says otherwise. If the fierceness and fury of God’s wrath is coming…and it is…then I certainly want to know about it, and I want those I care for to know about it as well.

Jesus spoke of a place called hell frequently, and often in very specific terms. Jesus and the Apostles also spoke very clearly about the vengeance of God, which is coming with unmitigated fury on those who reject Him (see, Revelation 19:11-21, some of which is posted above and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). I believe that these doctrines must be taught clearly and frequently, and every believer MUST understand them, because they set forth, in stark terms, the reality of what happens to those who reject the love of the one and only God, who willingly gave Himself up for humanity as a sin offering…cold, naked and in agony, on a rough wooden cross. My hope is that by studying the scriptures relating to these important biblical doctrines, we will all be encouraged to turn further away from the lies and pretensions of this world and to instead urgently heed the call of Jesus and the Apostles to share the glorious message of salvation through the blood of Christ, with all of those we know and love.

It is impossible to truly understand what exactly Jesus Christ did for us by stepping off of His heavenly throne (See, Ezekiel 1:25-28) and becoming a man, unless we understand what He was saving us from. Jesus lived 33 dirty, sweaty years full of rejection and pain…because He loves us, and because He does not want us to go to the horrible place called hell, prepared for Satan and the angels who hated and rejected both Him. If we choose to reject this great salvation, which Jesus has freely and gladly achieved for us, then we are choosing to follow the prince of this world…and we will join him at death in a place of both darkness and fire, where the worm never dies and the fire is never, ever quenched.

Below I will summarize the many verses on hell and the wrath of God, which are found in the New Testament.

In Matthew 3:7-12, John the Baptist, when discussing the Pharisees and Sadducees, refers to them as a brood of vipers and specifically mentions the wrath of God, which is coming on the unrepentant. John then states that the axe is at the root of the tree, and every tree, which does not bear good fruit, will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

This passage almost certainly refers to the fire of Revelation 19:20, 20:10, and 21:8. In Revelation 20:10, the Apostle John specifically states that those who are thrown into the lake of fire will be tormented day and night forever.” The quotation in the previous sentence clearly destroys the “annihilationist” theory of many Christians today, whose minds cannot accept the fact that a loving God would allow people to be tormented forever. Hell is of course, difficult for any human to truly comprehend – it certainly is for me. However, the eternal destiny of man is a decision that only God, the One who made all things, can make, and it is a dangerous thing to ignore or reject His clear statements on hell because we don’t like or fully understand them. We (meaning myself, too) so willingly, substitute our own wisdom and judgment for the unfathomable wisdom and understanding of the one and only God. We do so…at our own peril.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus specifically declares that those who call their brothers a fool, are in danger of the fire of hell.

In Matthew 5:27-29, when discussing adultery and lust, Jesus states that if one cannot control himself, he should pluck his eyes out and throw them away, for it is better to enter life blind than to have your whole body cast into hell.

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus states that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.

In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus tells a crowd to watch out for false prophets. He states that we will know false prophets by their fruit, and that every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and be thrown in the fire.

In what is generally considered Jesus’ greatest extended teaching, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-8, referenced above), Jesus mentions hell four different times, emphasizing that it is a very real, a very hot and a very horrible place where He doesn’t want anyone to go.

In Matthew 8:5-13, a centurion comes to Jesus begging Him to heal his servant. Jesus says that He will come to his house in order to heal the man. However, the centurion, who is obviously not a Jew, tells Jesus that he is unworthy to have Him come into his house so if Jesus will just speak a word of healing, the servant will be healed. Jesus, amazed by this man’s faith heals the servant and then states that, many who are sons of the kingdom (Jews) will be thrown into hell for unbelief, while many who are not Jews and who come from all over the world, will live and dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Matthew 10:26-31, Jesus tells the twelve disciples not to fear those who can kill only the body, but instead to fear God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell.

In Matthew 13:24-33, Jesus tells the parable of the weeds, noting that the weeds sown amongst the wheat will at the time of harvest, be gathered, tied in bundles, and cast into the fire. The wheat will then be harvested and will be placed in the safety of the landowner’s barn.

In verses 36-43, Jesus explains the above parable to His disciples, stating that, as the weeds are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be at the end of this world. Those who do evil will be thrown into a fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This parable and its explanation by Jesus also establishes, with a great deal of certainty, that the doctrine of annihilationism is false. The unsaved are not simply extinguished unto death, but instead they will experience “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” which means that they will suffer greatly in what is described by Jesus many, many times, as fire. The scripture below describes hell in the same terms as well.

In Matthew 13:47-50, Jesus, for the third time in the same conversation, mentions hell. He states that the kingdom of Heaven is like a net filled with fish. Once on shore, the good and the bad fish are separated. So it shall be at the end of age when the angels come and separate the evil from the righteous. The evil will be thrown into the fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells Peter that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.

In Matthew 18:6-9, Jesus teaches His disciples about the dangers of sin and warns them of the evil temptations to come. He then instructs them that if any part of their body causes them to sin, they should cut it off and throw it away for it is far better to live this life blind and maimed than to be cast into hell forever.

In Matthew 23:1-33, Jesus details the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees to a crowd, and then in verse 33 asks them how such men can escape the judgment of hell.

In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus tells the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servant. He makes it clear that the servant who is faithful at the time of the master’s return will be saved, but the servant who does not anticipate the master’s return, and tries to see how much he can get away with while the master is gone, will be appointed to hell with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Anyone who believes that salvation is one magic prayer said at any age should take a close look at the above passage, along with Luke 18:21-35 and all of Luke chapter 25. I would also suggest reading the scriptures laid out in my prior writing on grace and obedience. The word is clear: a saving faith is far more than reciting certain words, or making an intellectual decision. It is a deep belief in one’s heart, which, over time, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, leads to fruit…fruit that will last, for the glory of God the Father (Acts 26:20; Romans 10:8-11; James 2:14-26; John 15:1-8).

In Matthew 25:30, at the end of the parable of the talents, Jesus tells the unprofitable servant (the one who is given a talent but did not use it to benefit the master) that he will be thrown into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This is another one of the many parables of Jesus, which specifically states that hell is not a place where your soul is simply extinguished. It lives on for eternity, and it does so in utter darkness and torment.

In Matthew 25:31-46, the very next passage, Jesus tells the crowd about the Day of Judgment. At the time of judgment, Jesus says that He will separate the sheep from the goats. In verse 41, He tells the goats that they are going to an “everlasting fire” prepared for the Devil and his angels. Then, in verse 46, He states that those who do not love Him will go into “everlasting punishment.” 

These are two more scriptures that directly contradict annihilationism, and establish the fact that in hell, there is no escape, and there is no hope of death…but the soul lives on in a place of everlasting punishment.

***Mark 9:42-50***, is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible on the reality and severity of hell. In this passage, Jesus tells His disciples that if their right hand causes them to sin, they should cut it off and throw it away because, like the similar passages in Matthew, it is better to be maimed in this life then to have both hands and be sent to hell, where the fire is never quenched. Jesus then goes on to quote Isaiah 66:24, three separate times, when He tells His disciples to flee from sin, because in hell, where those who live in unrepentant sin go, the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched. 

43″ And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”  Mark 9:43-48

Regarding the foolishness of annihilationism, this might be the most convincing passage, since Jesus Himself, quoting from the Old Testament, states that in hell, the worm never dies and the fire is never, ever quenched.

In Luke 12:4-7, Jesus tells a large crowd exactly how much God loves them and that even the hairs on their heads are numbered. He also warns the people not to fear those who can kill the body, but after that can do no more. Instead, they should fear Him who after death has the power to cast them into hell.

Luke 16:19-31, is the story of the rich man and Lazarus, which may be the most definitive passage on both the nature of hell and the deceitfulness of riches. It is no mistake that hell and wealth are tied together in this parable. According to this passage, not only is the soul alive in hell suffering great agony and torment, but once there, no one can ever escape.

In this story, Jesus tells the Pharisees about an unnamed rich man who lived in great affluence, and was obviously far too enamored with his luxurious existence to be concerned with the things of God. However, Lazarus, a poor beggar who would have loved even the scraps off the rich man’s table and who had dogs lick his wounds since there was no one to care for his physical needs, died and went to be with Abraham in paradise. There he dwelt with God and the patriarchs forever.

What is most interesting to me about this story is how it illustrates just how hard it is for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. The rich are often so deceived with the luxuries they have on the earth, that they never really give their hearts to God. (See, Mark 10:24 KJV). Jesus hammers that point home in finishing the parable by stating that, even if someone came back from the dead to warn the rich man’s brothers about the deceitfulness of riches and the reality of hell, they would not listen to them. That is the power unto hell that earthly wealth has.

On the contrary, poor, hungry, and sick Lazarus chose not to curse God and die, but instead chose to love and trust Him despite his afflictions. Lazarus had less than nothing, yet he trusted in a loving God. The rich man had everything, yet chose to ignore God. One went to be with God forever, and the other was sentenced to dwell in the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels forever. This is a reality that we should not be ashamed of nor fear sharing with those we love who are deceived by the enticing comforts of wealth.

In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus tells the parable of a nobleman who entrusted his servants with money to invest while he was going to be away on a long journey where he was hoping to receive a kingdom. This man’s subjects hated him and tried to keep him from becoming king. After being made king, the man returned home from his journey…and he had all of his enemies executed in front of him.

This parable is analogous to what is happening on earth now (and back then), and it also explains what will happen at the end of time. While the world despises Jesus as He truly is in the scriptures, Revelation 19:11-21 states, in no uncertain terms, that one day Jesus Christ will return – and with a vengeance, destroying all of his enemies forever with the breath of His mouth.

The parable of the vineyard and the vinedresser in Luke 20:9-19, is similar in theme. The owner of the vineyard, whose servants and son were murdered by the greedy vinedressers, comes and kills the vinedressers, and states that the stone that the builders rejected has become a cornerstone and whoever that stone falls on will be crushed to powder.

In Romans 1:18-32, Paul teaches that the wrath of God is coming on those who suppress the truth through ungodliness and sin, because every single person ever created will have a chance to see and know God and His eternal power and deity through the glory of creation (see also, Psalms 19:19 and Acts 17:24-28). This passage then goes on to describe the things worthy of God’s wrath such as lust, idolatry, homosexuality, and ungodliness.

In Romans 2:5-9, Paul states that, because of the hardness of men’s hearts, they are storing up for themselves treasures of wrath on the Day of Judgment. On that day, the judgment of God will be revealed, and for those who do not obey the truth there will be tribulation and anguish.

In Galatians 6:7-9, Paul informs us that we must not deceive ourselves by living in sin. God is not mocked, and if we sow to our flesh we will reap corruption. But if we sow to the spirit we will, by the spirit, reap life everlasting.

In Ephesians 5:3-6, Paul states that, because of sins such as sexual immorality, greed, and idolatry, the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. Colossians 3:5-6 says almost exactly the same thing: that because of sexual immorality and idolatry to name a few, God’s wrath is coming on those who disobey Him.

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, reminds us that if we turn from our idols to Jesus, we will be saved from the wrath to come. For as 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-10, exhorts us to be patient in persecution and tribulation, because such an attitude is evidence of our righteousness. For God will repay with tribulation those who trouble us, and He will give us rest when He is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels and flaming fire to take vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey Him. They shall be punished with eternal destruction, isolated from the presence of the Lord.

In Hebrews 10:26-31, Paul teaches that, if we continue to sin after we have received knowledge of the truth, we should only have a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which devours the enemies of God. Paul goes on to state that, if we reject God after knowing Him, we deserve severe punishment for trampling the Son of God, who sacrificed Himself for us, under our feet. It is a dreadful thing to fall to the hands of the living God. I do believe that once we are truly saved, salvation cannot be lost, so God is either talking about those who know about God but reject him, or true believers who are carnal but make it in as one escaping through the flames per 1 Corinthians 3:15.

In 2 Peter 2 (the whole chapter), Peter teaches that false prophets, like the angels who rebelled against God, will be cast into hell where they will remain captive, in chains, in the gloom of darkness until final judgment. This entire chapter talks about hell and judgment, mostly in the context of false prophets, but Peter also mentions that those who walk after the flesh and despise authority will also inherit hell. In this chapter Peter  teaches, as Paul did in Hebrews 10, that those who know the way of truth but again become entangled in sin, are in danger of the fire of hell, and it would have been better for them if they had never known the way of righteousness. (See my comment on Heb. 10 in the previous paragraph)

2 Peter 3:7 -12, states that the heavens and the earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and the destruction of the ungodly. Yet the clock continues to tick because God is long-suffering, and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Jude 1:5-13, is a powerful reminder to all of us that if we remain in our sin we will suffer the same fate as those who did not believe in God while they were in Egypt, and those who behaved wickedly in Sodom and Gomorrah. Jude specifically states that those places serve as an example to us of the punishment of eternal fire, which we will receive if we live in wickedness.

In chapter Jude 1:13, hell is described as the blackness of darkness. In Jude 1:21-22, Jude encourages all believers to remain in the love of God while we wait for the return of Jesus, having compassion on some, and with fear “pulling others out of the fire.”

Clearly Jude, the brother of Jesus, considers hell to be a very real place, and that place is full of eternal darkness and fire. I’m not sure how fire and darkness go together, but I can tell you this – I believe God, and what He says is true even if our brains cannot comprehend it. Please…may we all take hell seriously, and even if we must suffer short term embarrassment, let us seek to save those we love from its flames by sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ, who redeemed us all from the flames with blood, sweat and pain. To Him be the glory, now and forever….amen.

In Revelation 6:17, we are taught that a great day of wrath is coming. Revelation chapters 6, 8, 9, and 16 go into great detail about the horrific events that will come upon the world before Jesus’ final return in victory, which is laid out beautifully in Revelation 19:11-21.

In Revelation 14:9-12, we are told in very clear terms, that whoever takes the mark of the beast and worships him shall drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out in full strength from the cup of God’s anger. Those who take the mark of the beast will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lord and His angels…and the smoke of their torment will ascend forever and ever, and they shall have no rest day or night.

9 “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-12

No matter who you are, no matter what prayers you have said, and no matter what you believe about grace, if you take the mark of the beast you ARE going to into the lake of fire where you WILL be tormented day and night forever. The above passage also makes it abundantly clear that the lake of fire is not the permanent extinguishing of the soul. It is a real place where you will be in unrelenting torment…with no opportunity for rest, and with no chance of escape.

In Revelation 19:20, we are told that the beast and the false prophet of Revelation are thrown alive into a lake of fire that burns with brimstone.

In Revelation 20:7-14, the devil, after being let loose for a time at the end of the millennial reign, will be cast into the lake of fire where he will be tormented day and night forever. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will also be cast in the lake of fire. This is called the second death.

Again, the doctrine of annihilationism is proven completely false via clear scripture, because, according to Revelation 20, when the Lord brings His final judgment on mankind, those who do not love Him will be cast into a lake of fire, where they will be tormented day and night…forever.

In Revelation 21:1-8, the beauty of the new Heaven and the new earth are described, and Jesus declares that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, and those who overcome(by believing per 1 John 5:5), shall become His children, and will inherit all things. But the cowardly, the sorcerers, the unbelieving, the sexually immoral, the idolaters, and the liars shall have their portion in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (see also, Revelation 22:14-15).

According to the scriptures, The fury of God Almighty’s wrath is coming on those who disobey Him. Not only will they suffer torment on this earth during the reign of the antichrist, when all men will be greatly afflicted, but they will also suffer the pain of burning brimstone and sulfur in the lake of fire…forever. The reality of the above scriptures, especially those spoken by Jesus, should prompt all of us to seek out those we love, and to risk looking like a fool in order to share with them the saving message of Jesus Christ. There is not one person on this earth that I want to go to hell. So I pray that the Lord will give me the strength and the courage to reach out to the people around me with gentleness, love and confidence in order to speak the piercing truth of Jesus Christ, so that perhaps some, even one, might be spared from the horrid place called hell…where the worm never dies and the fire is never, ever quenched.

Additional Verses:

Several additional verses that refer to hell are: Psalm 6:5 (in hell who will give God thanks, David asks); Psalm 11:5-6 (upon the wicked He will rain coals of fire and brimstone, and a burning wind); Psalm 21:8-11 (the Lord will discover those who hate Him, and when He returns He will make them as a fiery oven, and will swallow them up in His wrath, and fire will devour them), and also, Psalm 49:1-17 (Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches will waste away in hell), and Psalm 55:23 (God will cast the wicked into the pit of destruction).

Fortunately, those who love Jesus Christ, have heaven…..Heaven: Your Best Life…Later Part 2

See, also:

Piercing the Darkness: Preaching the Gospel in Key West, Florida

Boldly Preach the Gospel, With no Shame or Fear

Confronting Sin: Snatching those we love from the flames

The Written Word: What Did Jesus, The Apostles, and the Psalmists say about the Eternal Written word of God?

The Beauty and Power of The Written Word of God

THE WRITTEN WORD: WHAT DID JESUS, THE APOSTLES, AND THE PSALMISTS SAY ABOUT THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD?

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:12-13

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away….” Luke 21:33

 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”. Psalm 119:11

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope”  Romans 15:4

 

Many times I have felt the razor-sharp blade of scripture pierce my deceitful heart. It has served to expose and excise wickedness and vanity, and it has sliced the chains of sin and oppression off of my weary soul. It has exposed the lusts of my flesh, and it has lifted my spirit and set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm (Psalm 40). The written word, given to man by God himself, is life, truth and power, and as 1 Peter 1:25-26 says, men and their glory will fade away and die like grass under a scorching sun, but the word of the Lord will endure forever….

Unfortunately, there is a trend in many “Christian”circles to minimize and even denigrate the written word of God, and to replace it with what is called “new wine” or simply a new, fresh word from God. These alleged new revelations are supposedly straight from the mouth of God, and are considered to be equal to or actually superior to scripture. Now who could ever question that?? I have heard it said by these charlatans that scripture is for the past, but their new revelations are for today. This clearly contradicts everything that Jesus, Paul, Peter and the Psalmists said about the eternal nature of scripture.

Unlike the holy scriptures, which were inspired by God himself (2 Timothy 3:15-17), the people pouring out this new wine did not walk and talk with Jesus; they did not hear Him preach and teach for 3 years; they did not travel broken and dusty roads with Him, and they did not watch Him suffer, die, and rise again – nor did Jesus appear to them, as he did to Paul, in blazing light, blinding and humbling them until they understood the true nature of God’s calling…that everything is a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. Yet these deceivers act as if their words have the same inherent power and value as scripture, which of course allows them to gain the fame, wealth, legitimacy and authority that they are really seeking.  Not surprisingly, their new revelations rarely line up with the written word of God…yet there is just enough Christian language mixed in to fool those who don’t truly know and love the truth. Because the clever and brilliantly deceptive prophecies we are hearing and reading about emanate from the foolish and greedy heart of man rather then God…they will fade away like grass and burn, along with   those who speak them( 2 Peter 2:1-19, Jude 1:3-7, Revelation 21:6-8, and Revelation 22:15).

Every sermon we hear, every video we watch, and every word we speak must line up clearly with the unchanging word of God in order to be true, right, edifying and just in the sight of the one and only God, who lives and reigns in Heaven and by whom we will one day be judged. I am going to go through New Testament scriptures and several Psalms, which define or discuss the written word of God, which we are all called to eat, drink, and breathe as we follow God into eternity…

Matthew 4:1-4 One of the most instructive passages about the power and purpose of the written Word of God is contained in the beginning of Matthew 4, where Jesus is starving after fasting for forty (40) days in the desert. He is approached by Satan who offers Him bread. Jesus, filled with strength, not from food or any temporal thing, but by the Spirit of the living God, tells Satan that man does not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Even in a moment of what had to have been absolute physical agony, Jesus fixed His eyes on the eternal, and He spoke unchanging truth. The word of God is true, everlasting food which will never run out and which will never spoil. When tempted, Jesus did not come up with some wise and pithy new saying with which to battle Satan. Instead, each time He was tempted, He wielded the unchanging Word of God, and He wielded it as a sharp sword. We must do the same as we face the lies and temptations of the evil one in our lives.

Matthew 13:1-23 In the parable of the sower, the “seed” that is sowed per verse 19, is the word of God (see also Luke 8:11). The word, placed deep in our hearts, is what grows and bears fruit to the glory of God the Father (John 15) …if we do not allow the troubles and cares of this foolish, temporary world to pollute the soil of our hearts. We are all called to truly study and know the written word in order to make sure that our soil is good and fertile, lest the deceiver come and snatch away the seed through fear, the cares and troubles of this world, or the desire for wealth. If our seed grows deep roots, not only will we bear fruit above ground, but we will also be able to withstand the trials and tribulations that will come on all those who truly know and love Jesus Christ.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and Earth will pass away, but the word of God will never ever pass away.

Mark 2:1-3 When the crowds of people gathered around Jesus, before He healed them or did anything else, He preached the word.

Luke 8:19-21 When Jesus was told by a certain crowd that His mother and brothers were outside looking for Him, Jesus said that His mother and His brothers are those who hear the word of God and obey it.

This clearly sets forth the fact that those who want to become a part of God’s eternal family must both hear and practice the word of God. Saying a little prayer of belief doesn’t cut it. Obedience, not as works, but because we truly know and love Jesus Christ and have made Him the Lord of our life, is what counts. The flesh counts for nothing while the spirit counts for everything.

John 1:1-18 There is both a written word and living Word, and while this writing is focusing on the written word, it is important to understand that Jesus Christ is the living Word. The living Word and the written word are inseparable, and they bring life and light to all who pursue them.

John 4:46-53 A nobleman came to Jesus to have his child healed. Unlike most people, this man did not need signs and wonders to believe Jesus (verse 48). Jesus spoke a word to this man that his son would live, and the man believed that what Jesus said was true, and he went on his way – and sure enough, his child was healed at the exact moment that Jesus spoke.

We must also develop such a simple and beautiful faith, that when we read the words of Jesus and His apostles, we receive them, believe them, and obey them without doubt or fear.

John 6:63, Jesus says that the Spirit that gives life and the flesh profits nothing. He then goes on to state that the words He speaks are “spirit and life.”

This verse epitomizes what the God who made all things (see John 1:1-18) thinks of the written Word…they are spirit and they are life from Heaven. If we truly want to find life on this earth we will relentlessly study the words of Jesus.

John 6:68 Peter tells Jesus that He(Jesus) has the words of eternal life…and indeed He does.

John 8:31-32 Jesus told some of His followers that if they remain in His word, they are truly His disciples. By obeying His word, they will remain in the truth, and the truth will set them free.

Jesus Himself is telling all of us that His words are truth and that they lead to freedom – yet we all so willingly and lazily leave the word on our bedside table and pick up “Christian” books written by men or waste our time on watching sports. (Jesus thankfully, says college football is worth it though 🙂  ). The point of this isn’t legalism. The point is to fill our hearts more frequently with that which is eternal, so that we are prepared for both the troubles to come on this planet, and the joy we will feel when we stand face-to-face with Jesus.

John 8:42-43 Jesus tells some of the Jews who are questioning Him that if God were truly their Father, then they would love Jesus because they would recognize that He came from God. Yet they did not understand Jesus because they cannot bear to hear His word, which is truth.

It is heartbreaking to see how so many mega churches today gloss over the hard yet saving words of Jesus in order to focus on positive, happy scriptures(which they twist to preach financial prosperity and temporal success) along with their own unbiblical revelations. All of this simply feeds the flesh of the attendees – along with the bank accounts and pride of the pastors. The tough yet life giving words of Jesus (and Paul) are necessary to save the souls of men, rather than simply medicating them temporarily with the words their flesh longs to hear. Since Jesus boldly rebuked the Pharisees, so we should rebuke and turn away from all of those leaders who don’t truly cherish the word of God in full, but simply use God to build false, temporal kingdoms for themselves.

John 8:51 Jesus says that if a man keeps His word, that man will never taste death.

John 8:55 Jesus states that He knows the Father and He keeps His word.

Even Jesus, while on this planet, was subject to the word and diligently obeyed it.

John 14:23-26 In this beautiful and deeply moving passage, Jesus says that if a man truly loves Him he will keep His commands (which are His words), and if he obey His commands, then the Father will also love him and they will both come and make their homes with him. Conversely, he who does not love Jesus does not keep His words, and the words of Jesus come directly from the Father. Jesus then goes on to state that, once He is back in Heaven with His Father, He will send us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things.

This is a very powerful passage because it tells us in clear language how we can know if we truly love Jesus – by obeying His commands. Jesus reiterates this point by saying that we cannot possibly love Him if we do not obey His commands. And the glorious benefit of obeying His commands is that both He and the Father God, the Ancient of Days, who is one with Jesus, will come and make their homes with…me??…small, simple and foolish me!! What a wonderful God we serve.

John 15:3 Jesus tells His disciples that they already clean because of the word that Jesus has spoken to them.

The word cleanses our souls, washing it clean (see also, Ephesians 5:25-27, which instructs husbands to love their wives by, among other things, washing them with the word).

John 15:7 Jesus tells His disciples that if they remain in Him and His words remain in them, they can ask whatever they wish and it shall be given to them.

Often in America, our selfish minds focus on the second part of this passage, and not the first part. If we truly remain in Jesus and His words remain in us, then the things that we ask of Him will be in accordance with His will, and He will do them.

John 17:6-8 Jesus tells the Father that the men who were given to Him by the Father have kept His word and that they believed that Jesus was from the Father because Jesus gave them the words which the Father had given to Him, and they received those words.

This passage emphasizes the importance of accepting all of the words that come from Jesus no matter how harsh they seem, if we truly want to be His disciples. Many followers abandoned Jesus when He said that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood because they didn’t understand that Jesus was making a spiritual metaphor (John 6:53-65). We must trust the words of Jesus at all times and in all things, even if they don’t make sense to our flesh. That is why Jesus sent us the Spirit to teach us all things (John 14:26). We must ask the Spirit to help us understand the words that don’t make sense, and to help us live the words that do make sense but are impossible to achieve without the Spirit doing the work.

John 17:14-19 When speaking to the Father about the disciples, and noting that they were not of this world just as Jesus was not of this world, Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” Then Jesus prays that they, like Jesus, may be sanctified by the truth.

All of mankind searches for truth, but according to the one and only God, absolute and perfect truth is found in one place, His word, which we all have easy access to via computer, our telephones, and bookstores. Let us fill ourselves with this truth. I strongly believe that when we stand before Jesus at the end of days, much will be required of us, because unlike all previous generations, much (the easily accessible word) was given to us all.

Acts 17:11 In this passage Luke notes that the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians because, not only did they receive the word with great eagerness, but they also took the time and exerted the effort to test even the words of the great Paul with the scriptures to see if they were true.

We all MUST do the same thing with every single word we hear from a teacher or pastor.

In Acts 20:17-32 As Paul is leaving the Ephesians elders on his march toward certain death, he warns them about false teachers who will rise up from amongst the brothers, and he commend them to God…and to the word.

This passage is interesting, because Paul does not just commend them to God in prayer but he also reminds them that God has given them a tool to use in order to stay on the path toward Jesus, and that tool, which is also a sword, is the word.

In Romans 10:5-17, Paul states that the word is near us, it is in our mouths and is in our hearts. This is the word of faith which we all preach. He then goes on to state that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead then we will be saved. For it is with the heart that one believes unto righteousness and it is with the mouth that confession is made unto salvation. For the scriptures says that whoever believes in Him will not be ashamed.

This passage defines what it means to be saved more clearly than any other section or verse that I have ever seen. I love that Paul says that the word is all around the Roman brothers – it is near them, in their mouths, and in their hearts. He then defines salvation by stating that if we confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead, and if we are not afraid to speak this in public, then we will be saved. We should not be ashamed of either the written or the living Word if we truly believe deep within our hearts that Jesus is Lord. If we really believe that the God of Heaven of Earth stepped off His throne to come down to this Earth in order to live and then die for us in such a brutal fashion, and if we have made Him Lord of our lives, we will not be ashamed to proclaim His name as He leads us by His Holy Spirit into eternity.

Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

The truth and power of the written word of God gives us comfort, knowing that in this life will have trouble…but not in the next one, since Jesus Christ has overcome the world.

2 Corinthians 4:1-7 Since we have a ministry through God’s mercy, we must not lose heart. For we have renounced the secret things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but expressing the truth honorably to every man and before the sight of God -for God has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. I love how Paul wraps up this passage in verses 5-7, when he makes it clear that we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as servants for Jesus’ sake (listen up mega church pastors and evangelists!).

This passage emphasizes the need for preaching the word of God clearly and truthfully, without trying to manipulate people in order to obtain power and money. The whole point of preaching the word is to lift up Jesus Christ as Lord, and all who teach and preach, as humble servants.

Ephesians 6:17 We are to take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

Philippians 2:12-16 Paul instructs the believers to work out their salvation with fear and trembling and to be blameless in this wicked generation, holding out the word of life to others, so that Paul may rejoice with them on the day of Christ.

We are all called to hold out the word of life to the people God puts in front of us. Otherwise, they will indeed taste eternal death. We must all know this word, and pray that the Holy Spirit will give us the boldness to declare it with gentleness and power through the Holy Spirit. There is no other life other then that which is in Christ Jesus, whom he has revealed to us through His eternal word.

Colossians 1:4-6 Paul states that he has heard about the faith and love of the Colossian believers, which has sprung up in them from the hope which is laid up for them in Heaven and which they have learned about through the word of the truth, which is the Gospel. Paul says that his word, which has come to all the world, does not fail to bring forth fruit.

Paul emphasized that “hope” is found in the word of truth, which is the Gospel of Christ, and he states that, if we share it with others, it will bear fruit. And as Jesus said in John 15, He wants all of us to bear fruit to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians 1:24-25 Paul states that his sufferings and servant hood for the church are his commission from God – which is to fulfill the word of God.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in your 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.

What a beautiful passage this is, instructing us all on how to handle the word, and describing the peace, gentleness and truth that will flow out of it if we truly clothe ourselves with it.

1 Thessalonians 1:8 Paul commends the Thessalonians for having a reputation for spreading the word of the Lord everywhere they travel.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, and he told them that he thanked God that, when they received the word of God from him, they accepted it, not as the word of men but as it truly is, the word of God, which effectively works in those who believe.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for him and his companions that the word of the Lord may quickly spread and be glorified just as it was amongst them.

1 Timothy 4:13-16 Paul exhorts Timothy to give careful attention to reading, exhortation, and doctrine (understanding of the word). He is told to be careful in both his life and his doctrine, for in doing so he will save both himself and his hearers.

Clearly, this passage is stating that being lazy, careless and selfish with the word can cost both our hearers and ourselves our souls. God’s words are what they are. We should never, ever manipulate them for our own benefit.

1 Timothy 5:17 Timothy is told to honor the elders, and especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. Paul considers those who work hard studying the word, holding it out to others, and ensuring that that the truth is not polluted or corrupted, as honorable and worthy of respect. Truth is very important to Paul, as it was to Jesus, and that is why the Bereans were commended in Acts 17. All of us must do this as well in order to avoid being deceived.

It is sad how many times I have heard believers say that we should not worry about doctrine, but should simply focus on how nice, happy and forgiving Jesus is. Jesus is love, but He is also power, and one day He will pour out His wrath without mercy on those who have rejected Him as He truly is. He will come with an iron scepter (See Revelation 19:11-end) crushing his foes. Never forget who Jesus is… He is love….but He is also a wrathful avenger who, in the proper season, will show no mercy.

1 Timothy 6:3-4 Anyone who does not consent to the word of our Lord Jesus Christ and Godly doctrine is conceited and knows nothing.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who needs not be ashamed, and who rightly divides the word of truth.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 Paul states that, since childhood, Timothy has known the Holy scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation with a faith that is in Jesus. He then states that all scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be complete, and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 Timothy is charged by Paul before God and Jesus Christ, to preach the word and to be ready to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all patience and teaching. For a time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but will gather around themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn to myths. This is exactly what is going on today, as we see in teachings spreading all over the country and in popular books such as the “Circle Maker,” where a man takes a stand against God, demanding that God give him exactly what he wants – and how he wants it. This is pure foolishness and rebellion, and is completely contrary to sound doctrine. However, that is exactly why men love it. It does not require us to take up our cross and to follow Jesus in humility, gentleness, and obedience. Instead, we tell God what we want and if He doesn’t give it to us, then He really isn’t a good God. That is why Satan often slips in and does give us what our flesh wants, so that our eyes stay off of sound doctrine, and instead, focus and remain on ourselves.

Titus 1:1-3 Paul tells Titus that the knowledge of the truth leads to Godliness, not to power and temporal success. He also emphasizes that God’s word has been revealed to mankind through preaching.

Today, we actually have Bibles in our homes, on our computers, and on our phones, yet we rarely read them. In those days, people gladly travelled from town to town on foot, carrying the letters of Paul and the other apostles from one church to another, eagerly sharing the word of truth with the brothers. Those letters were truly were considered the words of God and the people were hungry for them and they were precious to them. Are they precious to us?

Titus 1:7-9 An overseer in Christ must be blameless, not a drunkard or greedy, but holding firmly to the trustworthy word so that he may exhort others with sound doctrine and convince those who oppose him.

Titus 2:3-8 We should all be reverent, self-controlled, and obedient in all things so that the word of God may not be dishonored.

If we claim to be followers of Christ, and we love the word, we must be very careful with our lives lest we dishonor the word of God by our actions.

Hebrews 4:12-13 As I noted in the introduction to this writing, the word of the Lord truly is a sharp double-edged sword which lays bare everything before the one to whom we must all give an account.

***I often find that people react to the word of truth with defensiveness and pride since it often contradicts the western way of life and the upper-middle class Christianity that so many of us enjoy. However, God already sees the deep things of the heart and I would much rather be pierced with the truth now while I am on this earth so that I can repent and change my ways, then wait until I stand naked before the living God who sees and knows every single thing, and be told that I rejected the truth in order to live a more comfortable and respectable life on this planet. May we all hold our lives up to the mirror that is the word, and ask the Holy Spirit to show us every single action and belief that we need to change so that we can honor God in all things while there is still time.

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed by the word of God so that the things that are seen are not made out of things that are visible.

This passage shows just how powerful the word of God is – it was spoken and everything we have ever seen or known came into existence. Incidentally, Satan will be defeated – not by a sword – but by the very breath of God’s mouth (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

James 1:16-18 The Father of lights brought us forth with the word of truth that we should be the first fruits of His creatures.

James 1:21-2 Lay aside all wickedness and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your soul. Be doers of the word and not just hearers – those who do the word will be blessed in all of their deeds.

1 Peter 1:22-25 Since your soul has been purified by obedience to the truth through the Spirit, love one another deeply from the heart, for we have all been born again, not from perishable seed, but by imperishable seed through the word of God, which lives and abides forever. For all men are like grass and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of God endures forever.

I often wonder why I waste so much time on things that are going to burn, such as sports and HGTV, when there is a book that holds words that will remain forever. I don’t want to read this book out of guilt, but I want to read it because I want to know this great and wonderful God who lives and reigns and who made a beautiful earth for me to enjoy. This same God came down from his throne in heaven and died brutally on a cross so that I could live and be with Him…in His home…forever.

1 Peter 2:1-3 Desire the pure milk of the word, because by it we grow in Christ.

1 Peter 2:7-8 Jesus is precious to those who believe, but to those who are disobedient they stumble because they are disobedient to the word to which they were appointed.

Peter is stating that we are ALL called to obey the word, yet most of the world ignores it.

2 Peter 1:16-21 Here, Peter reminds us that he himself was on the mount of transfiguration, and heard the voice of the Father, speaking of His son…but the scriptures are even more certain than those words:

 “16For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

 

2 Peter 3:5-7 Scoffers who come in the last days will question the truth of God, willingly ignoring the fact that by the word of God, the heavens, the earth and the waters were formed. And by that same word the heavens and earth are being reserved for fire…reserved for the Day of Judgment and the destruction of the ungodly.

Peter is stating that, while the words of God created the earth and everything in it, that very same word will come and destroy those who reject God and His words.

1 John 2:3-6 We know that we truly know God if we keep His word and if we keep His word, we will have the love of God perfected in us. On the contrary, whoever claims to know Jesus, but does not keep His word is a liar and the truth is not in him.

Do we really love Jesus or do we just say that we love Him? If we truly love Him with our heart and not just our mouths…then we will obey His words with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit

Revelation 3:7-13 Only two of the seven churches are commended by Jesus in Revelation 2 and 3. The one that receives the most praise is Philadelphia, and they are commended for keeping His word and for not denying His name.

If we, today, have a hard time keeping God’s word and being unashamed of His name when we have everything, how will we do when we face trials and persecutions? All of us should ask the Holy Spirit that question, and we should plead with Him to transform our hearts.

Revelation 6:9-11 Under the alter in Heaven, John saw those slain for the word of God and for the testimony they held. They were given a white robe symbolizing cleanliness before God. In Revelation 20:4-5, John saw those same people who, as it turns out, were beheaded for their witness of Jesus and the word of God. They refused to worship the beast and his image and thus, Jesus raised them to eternal life where they will reign with Christ for a thousand years.

The true testimony of Jesus is what we are all called to give…and despite the cost to us on this earth someday, we will receive an eternal reward in Heaven at the end of days, which can never perish, spoil or fade away.

Psalm 1:1-3 David teaches us to meditate on the law of the Lord day and night. If we do so, we will be like a fruit-bearing tree planted by the rivers of water…and all we do shall prosper. Conversely, the contemplatives and christian mystics are now teaching believers to clear their minds of everything and/or vainly repeat spiritual phrases over and over again in direct contradiction to Matthew 6:7. (Psalm 63:6 says to meditate on God; Psalm 77:12 says to meditate on His great deeds; Psalm 119:15, 23,48,97,99, and 148 say to meditate on His precepts). No where does the word tell us to clear our minds and meditate on nothing. The Hindus and Buddhists(transcendental meditation) do recommend and practice these techniques, in order to be in touch with their favorite demons, masquerading as gods.

I have written about Psalm 1 before, since the Lord used it to awaken me from the dead many years ago. If we do not worry about what others are doing, and we do not listen to the words of men, but instead meditate on the law of God day and night, we will prosper and flourish like a tree planted by a river…and the written word of God is that river, which feeds and refreshes us day after day after day.

Psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Psalm 19:7-11  7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Psalm 33:4,6  For the word of the Lord is right…By the word of the Lord were the heavens made.

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will O my God, thy law is within my heart.

Psalm 119 This is a powerful 176 verse Psalm that spends most of its words describing the beauty, power, and value of the written word of God. The most well known passage is perhaps verses 9-11, which states something to the effect of, how can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to God’s word. I have treasured the word in my heart that I might not sin against God. Psalm 119 goes on to describe the written word of God as pure and true, as a lamp, and as more valuable than fine silver and gold.

EPILOGUE

I personally, have had both the wealth of the world and the treasures of God at one time or another, and at this point in life, having only the treasures found in the Word (Living and written), I will take that over the temporary  treasures of this dying planet any day. May we all seek the face of God relentlessly, not in books or through the words of men, but in the gift of the written word, given to us by the hands and mouth of God himself.

***Below is an article I recently wrote, after much study, on the Bible version controversy. Sadly, I wrote 90% of this blog before I figured it out. Please check it out below:

The Bible Version Controversy: A Brief History of the War Over God’s Written Word

Favorite Scriptures #2: Meditate On the word of God Day and Night (Psalms 1:1-3)

Leadership In Christ: Responsibilities of Teachers, Leaders and Hearers of the word

Portraits of Jesus Christ in the word: Who Exactly is our God?

Preach The Word, and Do Not Be Ashamed of Jesus Christ

Prayer: How to Approach God and What to Expect From Him