Monday, November 14, 2011

Taught to be Teachable

The other day I ran into someone I had not seen in a long time and they asked me this question, “What is God teaching you?” It is one of those questions that can easily be blown off if you speak fluent “Christianese.” Personally I didn’t know how to respond because of the vast measure of what God has been teaching me. As I left I thought of this, in order to be taught, you must be teachable.

It is a simple statement for sure, but gives way to another question, what makes you teachable? The fact that God is gracious enough to teach us anything is overwhelming to think about, but in order to grasp the lessons of God; we must be a humble pupil. For the humble student who admits their inadequacy is the student who will learn the most. But the student who professes prominence, is the student has learned nothing at all.

Proverbs26:12 says, “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” The person who believes knowledge is king is just a jester in his own court. For knowledge is nothing without the wisdom of how to use it. The Lord has graciously given us the knowledge of his word, but if it does not produce humility, it is meaningless. Why? Because it was never applied, for when we apply the wisdom of God we not only see the inadequacy of ourselves but the insurmountable grace that God has given to us, as he saves us and sanctifies us.

Psalm 86:11 speaks directly to this, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I many walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” This is the end result of all that God teaches us. Not to flaunt our biblical knowledge towards others but to be awestruck by the person of God. Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” Why do we fear? Because we are humbled.

So when asked the question, “What is God teaching us” we don’t reach into the recess of our knowledge, but rather we dig into the area of which we have been most humbled. Thus true wisdom is the admission of a humble inadequacy before a holy God. But why are we humbled and why do we fear? Because we love Him who first loved us.

The one who is only the teacher and never the pupil, the one who is always convicting and never convicted, and the one who always has the answer and never has a question is the one displaying his lack of love for the great Teacher. But the one who is always the pupil, always convicted, always questioning, and always admits when wrong, is the one who loves the teacher. May we never forget the humble fear we are to have before our holy God. For it is love that abounds when the teacher teaches, and the student listens, and is humbled by the lesson.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Garden's Only Victor

It began in a garden. The cool of the day was upon the righteous man, and perfection lay about him. He walked in harmony with God and was gifted all of creation and a perfect wife. This was truly paradise and there was nothing a man could desire more. Then on that cataclysmic day he was shown something he never knew when he and his bride were confronted with the desire to know good and evil. It was on this cool perfect day that the eternal fate of all men hung upon temptation of one man.

Yet the temptation was not fought, and they fell prey to its siren call and in an instant their pure hearts became as black as tar. They forsook a relationship with the one true God, to be a “god” themselves. Their desire for God was replaced with a desire for self. They had seen good, but now evil had become their brother and the serpent their father. Their perfection had been traded for damnation. Their harmony had been traded for war. Their love of God been traded for hatred for their Creator. They were tempted in a garden, and their failure damned the souls of every generation. They were cast from that garden, defeated and terrified. And God pronounced his judgment upon them all.

To the serpent, the devil himself, he said. Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." The Enemy knew that God’s words were true, and through the next 5,000 years he would roam the earth and learn of the coming Messiah which he saw create the universe. The words of God would echo in his mind yet all he would hear would be “you shall bruise him, you shall bruise him.” And he knew that the “Him” was God himself. Thus he worked to devastate his coming.

He fought the generations that would be his lineage, and even sought to have Christ himself killed upon his birth. For he did not want Him to make it to the cross. Yet as Christ grew up and at the age of thirty his ministry began. Yet the devil had a ministry of his own, to keep the cross from occurring. Yet after three years, there was still no failure or fault found in the God/man Jesus Christ. And the enemy knew that if he was going to be crushed, he would seek to make the bruise issued to him by God himself as painful and as torturous as possible. To keep Christ from the cross, he would put all of his evil attention and power upon the one who came to save the souls of many.

It ended in a garden. The public ministry of Jesus Christ had come to a close. There were to be no more healings, no more teachings to thousands, but one final command to obey. To die. Christ had just finished teaching the disciples and led the last legitimate Passover of all time. They had broken the bread, and drank the cup the first time and communed with God at their side. This was the only communion that took place which foreshadowed the cross, for in but a few hours the ransom for sins would be paid through his death.

Both Christ, and Satan saw the ordained time upon them, and Satan had asked for permission to sift the disciples like wheat in Luke 22:31. Though addressed to Peter the “you” is plural signifying he intended to do so to them all. In John 16:32 32 "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” Though Peter fought these words, this struck the disciples to a point of sorrow for they knew the words of the Lord to be true. Upon this, Christ, let them into the inner sanctum of his relationship with the Father, and prayed for His glorification and for their deliverance from the trial that awaited.

They left the upper room and walked in the night to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was more than likely a private Garden, for the disciples came here often with Jesus to escape the crowds and rest. It was a place to find retreat in the lushness of the olive trees that grew upon the mount, and isolation for prayer. It would have been lit only by the stars and the moon, and being Spring, the trees would be in bloom and the night air crisp. But Christ did not come here to hide from the public, rather he came here to be found. He knew Judas was currently plotting against him, and he knew he would find Christ in the garden.

Thus the hour had begun. The hour that would include his arrest, trial, beatings, crucifixion and the forsaking of His father was upon him. It was the most important hour in eternity and as the Christ entered into the Garden, so did the enemy, to tempt him for the last time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

5 Marks of Spiritual Stability: Part III-V: - Unbreakable Faith, Unending Prayer, Undeniable Peace

Concluded From Part II...

3. Unbreakable Faith

Paul is writing his brethren knowing that the trials were increasing. The Phillipian Church was poor and battered. They had received their wave of persecution, but they saw another coming. At the time Paul wrote this Nero sat on the throne, and his hatred for Christians grew and the flame of his rampage was burning more brightly.

Christians were considered the lowest of the low. They were to be treated less than slaves, thus finding work was near impossible. They became impoverished economically because they were cut off from the society, and their lives were considered more worthless than dogs. In the remaining years of Nero’s reign, he would tie Christians to large timbers and cover them with tar. He would then have them burned alive to light his sinful parties while having other Christians torn apart by dogs for his guests amusement.

This is what they would be anxious over, yet as Paul so eloquently stated, “Rejoice in the Lord,” thus stating that the joy of the Lord outweighs the persecution despite hunger and economic hindrance, as well as a humiliating death.

Thus when he says, be anxious for nothing. The Nothing he is referring to is pain in life and pain in death. This is NOTHING in light of eternity, and therefore he called them to have an UNBREAKABLE FAITH. A faith that does not flinch in the faith of adversity.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

The term merimnao refers to “Worry” or “concern.” And thus is the cause for anxiety. Sleep is to be lost, the heart palpitates, and panic takes the place of peace.

Today anxiety is a disorder. It is a chemical imbalance that can require both psychological and medicinal treatment. But both are both mystical and dangerous. The world cannot escape the plague of anxiety for it’s origin IS the World. However Christians have adopted a worldly response to anxiety through psychology and mystical mediation.

Christian yoga has been on the rise and infiltrated the church. The center for Christian Yoga states it “simply allows us to combine these two essential goals: becoming physically healthy and spiritually healthy. We become more spiritually healthy through the yoga practice by calming our minds and quieting ourselves to the point that we can tune out the world's frequency and tune into God's frequency.

Well I think these quasi-Christians need to get their heads out of the Himalayas and into the Bible. God’s frequency is not found in contorting your body to look like an antenna on a television, but through steadfast Worship, Humility, and Faith. Let me give you the Bibles call to worry and anxiety. STOP BEING ANXIOUS. Don’t be anxious for anything. Why? Because there is nothing to be anxious about? Why? BECAUSE CHRIST IS ON THE THRONE and he sovereignly controls all things.

Anxiety is a result from an adulterated view of the Sovereignty of God. Selfishly the Christian sees Christs teaching on worry as a fabrication or a lie all-together.

Luke 12:24-25 24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 "And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?

The man who says “Well…He didn’t know about my job at that time.” Is merely disguising and justifying his anxiety by distorting what Christ said.

Luke 21:34 "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

Note that Christ equally lays out worrying as just as wasteful as drunkenness and wasting your life away. It’s efforts are fruitless and steal away the joy the Lord provided in his son Jesus Christ.

In Short, we are to be anxious for nothing because there is nothing to be anxious about. Anxiety is pointless. It appears to be the “Release” for emotion, but merely shakes the faith we are to stand firmly upon.

The lack of anxiety shows an unbreakable faith in the sovereignty of God. It displays that we truly do believe Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

It reveals the confidence that all those things occur for God’s glory and our sanctification. Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Thus, when the world strikes, we remember our immutable sovereign God whose plans are higher than ours and whose work within our lives requires the trials that we battle in. And we strike back in full force in spiritual stability with and unbreakable faith laid on the foundation of Christ alone. And therefore are anxious for nothing.

4. Unending Prayer

The question arises though. “If we are not to be anxious then what are we to do with the things we were anxious about?” Paul clearly stated that we are to be anxious for nothing, however he continues on to say…

Philippians 4:6 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Note the IN EVERYTHING. Thus, all the things that can cause anxiety are dealt with in the same way as the things that bring you joy. This “Everything” includes joy and pain, persecution and victory, and Suffering and sanctification.

The Command lies in gnorizo. It means that we are to make known to him everything and disclose everything before him. It is in the present tense denoting that this is a consistent act in our life, and not a one time thing.

Specifically it is speaking of consistently and always letting our requests be made known to God. That word “let” struck me. The first thought I had was, why would I not want to present these requests to God. However, I realized I do that when I seek to deal with it apart from God, and therefore have a misplaced view of Him.

Anxiety occupies your mind. It scatters your thinking and distorts the truth, and in the believer is produced through lack of faith and prayer to the Lord.This is foolishness, for we clearly see that our Sovereign God desires that we bring that which plagues us before him. And when don’t, it reveals our lack of trust in His power and person.

Therefore, Paul exhorts the Philippians to bring their requests of alleviation of tragedy and the desire for spiritual triumph before the Lord and to lay bare their hearts before him in prayer. I love that this is a command. Again, we have a glorious command to bring the Lord that which can plague our soul and seek refuge in Him. And he hears and responds.

This is done through unending prayer. It is made manifest in constant communion with God. We are to develop a habitual prayer life, and here it specifically speaks of our requests. Paul uses two prepositional phrases here. The First is “by prayer and supplication.” And the other is “with thanksgiving.”

Prayer and Supplication deals with 2 words. The First “Prayer”proseuche refers to prayer in general sense, where supplication” ordeesis, refers to a specific prayer of need. Paul makes very clear here, Pray and be specific. In other words don’t just pray general prayers. True the Lord knows exactly what the situation is, however laying bare your requests before the Lord means you are laying yourself bare before the Lord.

Unceasing prayer is a consistent acknowledgement of our absolute inability and desperate need before a holy God. Because we are a Christian does not lend us the right to entreaty God any different than we did the first time.

What was your first prayer? It was the prayer for salvation.

It was on that day that we saw the depravity of our black heart and the offense it was in the presence of a holy God. We were struck dumb by the punishment met with the swift judgment of eternal Hell. It was the first time we saw that our father was the devil himself and Christ was coming to crush he and us for eternity. And out of faith given to us through the grace of the righteous judge we fell prostrate before him and beseeched of him to stop and acknowledged him as the one true God. We repented of our treachery and sin and laid bare before him. But the hand that we saw coming to crush us was reaching out to save us from the abyss of sin and depravity.

Upon this salvation of which Christ alone can give, we prayed in petition and thanksgiving, whose product was tearful joy, for we received that which we never deserved. Life. A life that grows in the conformity of Christ, and a life that ends in eternal glorification in sinless perfection.

Our prayers today should be no different than the first. Paul states that our prayer should be WITH thanksgiving. Why? Because we are to never forget the payment Christ made on the cross to make our eternal life and prayer possible. We should always approach the throne in thankfulness, never asking for more pain, yet if it comes, we know who it is coming from. The one who reached out with his saving hand, and transformed us from enemies to sons.

Our prayer should be unending and our petition should always be in conjunction with the Lord’s Will. Spiritual Stability is sustained through prayer no matter how hard the trial or how weary the saint. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

5. Undeniable Peace

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Paul sets up an equation of peace. Rejoicing in the Lord + Christlike Humility + Unbreakable Faith + Thankful Prayer = absolute Peace.

We speak of peace in terms of war. However the world has never truly been at peace, because nobody ever trusts one another.However, Paul makes clear that this is the peace of God. Therefore it is not only trustworthy, but bears all the attributes of God. It is everywhere, it is never ending, it is true, and it is secure.

And why does it surpass all understanding? Because nothing compares to it. The peace the world speaks of is a fantasy, it is but a mere truce between people. But the PEACE OF GOD IS A BARRICADE. The vilest of enemies cannot penetrate its barriers, and when they seek to attack, they see an unwaivering confidence and humility in the one on the other side. For despite the bloodied blows, peace remains in the Hearts and minds of those in Christ Jesus.

The terms hearts and minds refer to the entire person not just two separate parts. It is in the mind that thought occurs, It is the mind that knows the truth of Christ’s sovereignty and power, and it is in the heart that a zealous passion spills, clinging to the truth.

Note this. Peace is a Barricade that guards, however it is not WHAT is the barricade but WHO is it. It is Jesus Christ, for we are IN him. When we are IN Christ nothing can penetrate, and the things which once plaugued us with anxiety mean nothing. For we have an unwavering confidence that Christ will always do what is best for his Children. Even if it means death.

For our peace was found at Salvation Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Our Spiritual Stability rests upon Christ alone, and when we go outside of his throne-room and seek to deal with the enemy alone, we will always fail and fall prey to our anxious ways.

Yet although this peace prevails and guards, at time we treat it as a revolving door. This occurs when we see the peace originating from ourselves and therefore place ourselves as the author of our own salvation.

Christ did not save us so we would be unstable. Rather he did, so that we can stand firm in the face of adversity, and not flinch as the spiritual tsunamis seek to engulf us. For we are protected, forever, and stable in Christ alone. Who Loves us.

In 1660 John Bunyan was sent to prison for preaching without a license, however this was a ploy by the Anglican church to get the influential preacher away from the people. They sought to sway him towards their faith yet he replied, “You release me today and I’ll preach tomorrow.” A three month sentence turned into a 12 year stay in Bedford prison. During this time he wove shoelaces and preached to an imprisoned congregation of about sixty parishioners to support his family. In his possession were two books, John Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the Bible. In addition he had a violin he made out of tin, a flute he made from a chair leg and an unlimited supply of pen and paper. His lived in his cell where the door was not locked and his denial of the faith would lead to a swift release to his wife and Children. Yet he did not flinch in the fall prey to this demonic chant nor was he anxious for his family. For his peace was with God, and he understood the depth of his love. Bunyan writes,

“These words, the faith of this, God loves me, will support thee in the midst of what dangers may assault thee. And this is that which is meant, when we are exhorted to rejoice in the Lord (Phil 3:1), to make our boast in the Lord (Psa 44:8); to triumph in Christ (2 Cor 2:14); and to set the Lord always before our face (Psa 16:8). For he that can do this thing stedfastly, cannot be overcome. For in God there is more than can be in the world, either to help or hinder; wherefore if God be my helper, if God loves me, if Christ be my redeemer, and has bestowed his love that passeth knowledge upon me, who can be against me? (Heb 13:6, Rom 8:31) and if they be against me, what disadvantage reap I thereby; since even all this also, worketh for my good? This is improving the love of God and of Christ for my advantage.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

5 Marks of Spiritual Stability: Part II - Unwavering Humility

Continued from Part I...
2. Unwavering Humility

Philippians 4:5 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

Amidst the Command for Unceasing Worship, He calls them to retain an unwavering Humility. This is a command however, not for our benefit alone but that of others. As the pressure of persecution rises Paul knows that men can scatter, and unity be a distant memory, thus he calls back into play that which he previously stated.

Philippians 2:3-5 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

It is this spirit of Humility that must be made manifest in times of trial. When Paul says, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men” another way to put it, is “make known to all men your reasonableness.” It refers to the consideration of others over self, and abdicates ones own constitution. Some have translated it “big heartedness” referring to a genuine care, concern and consideration for others.

This is also a command. (ginosko)means to come to know or recognize. Yet it is in the aorist passive 3rd person. Meaning that it is not for us to know, but for others to consistently personally know the humility and forbearance of Christ through you.

Note this. To the body of believers, it promotes Unity and stability when all are humbling themselves to each other. To the World, it promotes the gospel. True humility in the world stands out like a ketchup stain on a white shirt. The world cannot miss it, for the action of humility redefines their definition and causes them to examine Christ.Therefore what is the testimony to our fellow believers and the world? Is is A humility drenched in vanity or a humility drenched in Christ?

THE LORD IS NEAR. – This is not referring to the approaching return of Christ as it is the immanence of his presence. Paul is reminding them that the Lord is always with them. He is the one who gives them courage in the face of adversity and fortitude when asked for the source of their good-will. He is near, for he is indwelling you.

This again is another radical encouragement for the stability of the believer, the immanence of Christ. When they display humility to the World and others, the Lord is near. When the brother responds in loving-kindness the Lord is near. And when the world responds with its fist, the Lord is Near. Spiritual stability is found in the believer who retains his humility at all costs despite the present conditions of life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

5 Marks of Spiritual Stability: Part I - Unceasing Worship

Being anxious has become an art form. It has been mastered by every walk of life and has become a contemporary topic that is encouraged as a coping mechanism in times of uncertainty. It is a familiar friend who encourages us to fixate our gaze upon the coming events of life with trepidation. It encourages us to have sleepless nights plagued by haunting questions that loom in our minds. And when we seek to flee from it, it deceptively connives us into thinking more upon our need to escape it and therefore has won our focus upon it.

However, anxiety is a deceitful foe of our own invention that rears its ugly head from our own hearts. It is a mirror of the state of our soul and reveals the true focus of our person. Yet it is not to be suppressed but annihilated. It is not to be called upon but cut from our core. We are to be anxious for nothing. It should be a term we know of, but to not know personally, and be deaf to its piercing call. For our joy lies not in it, but in the savior who redeemed us from its sinful clutches.

Philippians 4:4-7 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The church of Philippi was a church forged from the roots of paganism. It was infested with Greek and Roman culture and never had enough Jews to be able to have a synagogue. Yet within this city a church was planted and filled with all classes of people. In Acts 16 we see Lydia, a wealthy woman whom came to Christ and whose home was used for the church. In the same chapter we see the Roman centurion whose citizenship to Rome was radically altered to citizenship in heaven upon an earthquake and the testimony of the gospel. Thus, the joy of the salvation of his entire family is etched into the pages of Scripture as a testimony that salvation is cross cultural and can pierce the most wretched of hearts. The church was thus filled with slaves and soldiers, wealthy and the poor, and Jew and Greek. It was a testimony of the how Christ can unite, and knit together, a people for himself of which the world cries to separate. Their citizenship in heaven transcends the color of their skin, the money in their pocket, or the paganism of which they were born. For all were saved by grace.

Paul writes to the poorest of all the churches at the end of his two-year imprisonment in Rome. They knew of his dedication to Christ through his imprisonment in Phillipi and saw first hand the physical repercussions of his beatings in their hometown. However, they were also being dealt the blow of persecution and death of which was far from its peak.

Leading up to Chapter 4 Paul spoke of his love of the work of Christ upon their lives, the supremacy of Christ in preaching, the call for Christ to be premier in all things, the humility of Christ himself upon the cross, and the sanctification Christ provides through faithful obedience to His Word. We know with absolute certainty that Christ was on the mind of Paul. He was the first and the last, the chancellor of the faith, the monarch of heaven, the centrifuge of righteousness, and the epicenter of joy. Paul knew the effects of sin all to well, yet it was a mere piece of straw compared to the infinite delight found in Christ Jesus. Thus, his cry to the church of Philipi was to remember Christ and rejoice in Christ alone, despite the afflictions of the depraved planet.

Thus amidst this strife Paul echoed a gift from Christ. Spiritual Stability.Despite the onslaught of hate upon the redeemed, Christ offered a way to stand firm.

Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

5 Marks of Spiritual Stability

1. Unceasing Worship

Philippians 4:4 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Rejoice. Paul uses this term 8 times in Philippians and 25 times in all of his writings. It is the constant cry of his ministry to not suppress the souls response to Christ which is joy. It is not a selfish declaration of vain works, but a focused worship upon the one who breathed eternal life into the lungs of dead and depraved men.

The word Rejoice, (Kairete), is an imperative present active, meaning that it is a command for the redeemed to always be rejoicing. In what? IN THE LORD! (Kairete en kurio) REJOICE IN THE LORD. It is not the rejoice of self promotion or vain Glory but rather the Christ, the only son of God. The deceitful cry of the world clammers for us to rejoice in our personal accolades and to follow our own heart. And in churches across the globe we are called to give ourselves a spiritual pat on the back and rejoice for our choice of Christ and of life.

But Paul brings his call to rejoicing to the crescendo. Rejoicing in Christ's immutable person, his sovereign power, and his saving Grace. Christ is the supreme focus and not self.

In Addition this Rejoicing is commanded to Never Cease. Rejoice in the Lord, ALWAYS! Always means always. (Pantote) At all times. Never Ceasing. Thus, in times of heartache, affliction, persecution, temptation, and strife, Christ is always to be worshipped, and that worship is the product of joy in Christ. It is the unceasing worship of him that smashes the scales of adversity, and refines the sanctification of the humble.

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He says Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! This is the final time he mentions this term in the epistle and you can tell how important joy is to him. He hammers home this command of joy, for in his own life it destroyed his vanity and generated a boasting, a worship, that is in Christ alone.

It is a detriment to delineate the commands of Scripture, yet some seek to say they are not a list of do’s and don’ts. This is done to elevate self over Savior out of a fear of legalism. However they are a righteous list! Remember this is not your Mom or boss giving you a list of chores to do, but rather the creator of the universe commanding you for your protection from evil and sanctification of Christ.

Far too often do we take the commands of the Word and take affront to their call, but we are not rebellious 10-year olds, we are children of the most high God. And this is a command for joy! It is not a command for lament but joy in the victory of Christ over sin, and His resurrection from the dead.

This is not a worship to merely drown out the clanging gong of persecution, but in spite of it. Paul knew of the sinister forces that plagued the church and knew of his brethrens dealings with it. And thus he commands their UNCEASING Worship of a Holy God. This was not a new command for the soldiers of Christ, but rather one that has comforted and dominated the hearts of the followers of the one true God.

Isaiah 41:15-16 15 "Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. 16 "You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Trials and adversity have struck every man who has walked this earth, and the answer has always been the same. Rejoice in the Lord, and never cease. Paul understood full well what the Philippians were up against, for he tasted his own blood in their pagan city. Thus he pillages the hearts of fear of man, and directs them to a love of Christ. He has thus reminded them of the power and sovereignty of our Savior, and thus reminds them that despite how hare the world hits you, it never surpasses the greatness, glory, and sovereignty of Christ alone. For Unceasing Worship is a Fruit of the stable Christian.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


He is placed at the helm of the controversy. His exploits and his message is released to a wanting public craving to understand that which consistently confuses them. He is described as a carpenter born in a ratty town and at thirty took the world by storm while being a god who began to establish his kingdom on a broken planet. He came to die for the sins of all men and earnestly sits on the edge of his throne waiting for them to see his image on a cross, or his face on the wall of a friend, and anticipates their choice of him so that he can fill his eternal kingdom with people who need to be loved and comforted. Yet through his divine love he has opened the treasure trove of grace to those who don't understand or have even heard of his name, and by the shear wonder of the creator of a praying mantis they enter into the eternal bliss of his abode to forever serve the one who saved them without their knowledge from a mythical place called hell. His Jesus. And Jesus Christ hates him.

Paul writes, in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully."

Rampant paganism infects every crevice of the globe. It festers in the gutters of our communities the history books of our schools and seeps into the cracks of the walls of the church making its way to the pulpit. And Jesus Christ hates this. Where it is as prominent as a musk ox at a baby shower. He hates it. And where it is as deceptive as Faberge egg with a misleading tactile balance
. He hates it because Christ is a holy God with a holy message and requires a holy response. Thus he hates all false testimonies, for even the slightest distortion of his person is the gravest of errors and the presentation of another, and not Christ alone.
The pagan Jesus is just as an affront to the one true Christ as Buddha or Muhammad. He is just as powerful as the block of wood which was graven his image. He is a fairy tale, a lie, and the gateway drug to a libertine life and eternal hell. And yet again. Jesus Christ hates him for he is the most high God whose holiness screams perfection, pronounced sovereignty, and damns the treachery of his false counter-part. He is a jealous God who hates sin.

Is this astonishing to think about? The hatred of Christ. Rather, it is something far too neglected from the pulpits and contemporary pockets of evangelicalism. The holiness of God is exchanged for a misrepresentation of the person and message of Christ. This maligned focus on the "love" of Christ, blurs the wondrous truth in the lens of the Christians camera by establishing man-centered elements generated to woo the seeker and justify the sin of the man in the pew and the pulpit.

When we neglect to understand what Christ hates, we repudiate that which he loves. As his soldiers in battle we are to hate the sin and the foe which seeks to defile and defame the name above all names. We are to hate the evil that once ruled over us and our sinister former father who sought to lead us to hell with an inoculated smile on our face.
Yet because of his person and his hatred of sin, Christ broke the shackles of the enemy and crushed the table on which our ransom was due, and what is our response?
Do we justify slight sin? Do we rest on elementary teachings which abase us from a responsibility of sin? Do we generate a Jesus who is our homeboy or fall prostrate before the creator of the universe?
Dear Reader. You must ask yourself this question before you continue. Do you understand what it is to hate? It is the cry for the redeemed in Christ to hate sin. To plow into battle out of hatred of the foe and unwavering love for our general. It is to battle as warriors against deception and lies that seek to taint our great Savior's name. It is thoughtful hate, emotional hate, knowledgeable hate and a separating hate which declines the a-moral cry of a sin-soaked world to yield to ones own constitution. We are to know what it is to hate.
What does Jesus hate?
Proverbs 6:16-19 "There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers."

Haughty Eyes
Jesus hates pride. Pride is the desire to elevate self over God. This is the starting and ending point for all sin. It arrives when one worships the creature rather than the creator and seeks to usurp the authority and standards God decreed to his creation. In the garden man fell because of it, at the foot of Sinai men were killed because of it, and at the cross Christ was killed because of it. Christ hates pride because it diverts the attention and glory due to him.

Yet many have sought to use Christ as the mascot for their "ministry" which proclaims their spiritual affluence and cultural relativity. Many have sought to mute the call to righteousness proclaimed from the throne of holy God and generated their own exegesis of it. Yet you cannot clasp your hands over the snout of a roaring lion. You cannot temper the deafening blow of a nuclear blast. And certainly you cannot escape the fury and thunderous voice of Christ at judgment.
Psalm 101:5 states, "Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure."
The haughty eyes declare a finite view of God and a elevated view of self yet they will not stand.
Yet this is the Jesus that is proclaimed by the so-called saints. It is a Jesus who lacks in majesty, a Jesus that can be approached in flip-flops and a Mr. Potato head grin. This cavalier attitude will not stand before the king for despite all one does to generate a mutual Jesus, he cannot and will not taint the King.

A Lying Tongue
Jesus hates liars. One lying for self servitude paints a corrupt picture to fill his head with pride and his wallet with cash. His palatial house is built upon a Jello-mold luring people in to rob them of the truth. The liar destroys the truth through the misrepresentation of Christ. He is a loving God who saves all. He is a kind God who has no power over evil. He is a subservient God who is here for you. Lies! A distortion and disregard for the truth. Pastors across the globe lie to themselves and the sheep on an easy-believism which saves you into the local country club with the cross on the door. The deceptive lips of the liar are met with a quivering toungue seeking to taste the innocence of their prey.
Jesus hates it, why? Because he does not lie, and he abhors all that is evil.
Titus 1:2 "in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,"

Hands that Shed Innocent Blood
Jesus hates murder. When Pride deepens it seeks self glory above all else, including human life. They see those created in the image of God as human Dixie cups and take no care in their disposal. This occurs when there is a lack of control over anger, and the heart is corrupted in vanity. They search out their victim and kill for the momentary joy of carnal delight as their victims warm blood covers their flesh. Yet as it cools they seek another victim of momentary pleasure and submerge themselves in the hunt. Yet this is not just in the physical death, for the battle lies in the mind as well. Christ says upon the mount in Matthew 5:21-22 21 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother,"
Unrighteous anger leads to the facade of justifiable wickedness. But is this only aligned to physical death? No.
The wicked see the innocent as living stepping stones whose gentile nature is a vehicle to their own agenda. This seeps its way into the church when pastors see themselves as spiritual stock-traders willing to disdain the sheep to build the foyer in "Me Community Church." They have shaved the hair from their wolfish bodies and tattooed themselves to resemble a sheep. They make their way to the front of the barn on Sunday mornings appearing loving yet behind closed doors he rips the flesh from their bones. Why? For personal triumph. As the saying goes, "Outlast your critics." True words, yet many wish to feast on them. For they have a soft smile on their face, but an anger that will obliterate even the slightest of opposition of an innocent obstacle.

A Heart that Devises Wicked Plans
Jesus hates Deception. Wicked men have the goal and existentially establish it as righteous and therefore anything will do to arrive upon the pedestal. They will skewer anyone who gets in their path and connive and steal their way to their earthly kingdom. Jesus Christ hates this. He hates the treachery of the mans hearts. He hates the wiles of them getting there, and he hates the outcome of sinful devices. For Christ came with the utmost mission. The cross. His thirty-three years of earthly life were fixated upon an hour. It is within that hour that the wicked plans of man would come to fruition and their hatred upon the Creator of the galaxies and generator of righteousness would be poured. Yet although he knew he would be the blunt of the accusations of injustice and the culmination of wicked deception his love was for the Father and his people.
He walked head-on into the wicked plans of man, but was not deceived. Because although it was the finger of man that pronounced the death of Christ, it was the finger of God that pronounced the death of sin.
The cross displayed both the unrighteous hate of man upon the Lord, and the Lords righteous hate of man's sin upon the Savior. Both were displayed yet only one was glorious. Despite the device of the evil, it will never make the Lord flinch. Job 5:12-13, states, "He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd, So that their hands cannot attain success. He captures the wise by their own shrewdness, And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted."

Feet that Run to Evil
Jesus hates the love of evil. The delights of a man's heart reveal the delights of a man's soul. As the progression of hate continues we see how once man deceives himself, he sets himself up for opportunity. Yet this hypocrisy can be veiled or unveiled. To begin with, there are those who glory in their sin. There is nothing to be hidden. The coldness of their heart is revealed in their affront to righteousness. The bumper sticker that screams the abasement to the living God and the desire for all that repulses him reveals the heart of the driver. Yet the veiled heart reveals the truth of the heart of the man deceiving himself then others. He takes delight when the cashier gives him extra change and considers it a fortuitous joy to find pornography in a public restroom. When sin rings its bell, he salivates as one of Pavlov's dogs. He is at the ready to embrace it yet deceives the innocent around him into thinking he is a pillar of righteousness.

Jesus hates this. He abhors it and desires nothing more to destroy the offense to him. Romans 12:9 "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good."

A False Witness who promotes familial chaos
Jesus hates dissension. The pride of the dissenter seeks to serve himself in his own sin by generating chaos amongst the family. His mission is clear - To destroy the church. He etches his dissension on the body like a hoodlum carves his name on a public mirror. He distorts the image of truth with swift fashion to build frustration and madness on his deprave campaign. He will lie in the face of his grandmother and appear to have honey dripping off his lips. He will skillfully gossip and make it appear as concern rather than a deceptive blow to his conquest. He never considers the cost as the broken hearts and bodies of the saints pile up below his feet. He inhales the stench of sin and it smells sweeter than the aroma of righteousness. Up is Down. Left is Right. Black is White. And though his backward mind directs him, he understands the thinking of his victims. Therefore he maligns the truth with what appears mild error, and builds his forces by rallying the goats in sheep clothing.

His dissension knows how to devastate and recruit the undiscerning. Charles Spurgeon said, "Discernment is not the difference between right and Wrong. It is the difference between right and almost right." The dissenter knows that, and Jesus Christ hates it.
Christ loves his children. He protects his redeemed and is a jealous God. He has the utmost hatred for dissension and gossip. He is a God who hates evil.

There are many who claim to know the true Christ. They divert the gaze from the cross onto self, they malign the truth with the indoctrination of worldly pleasure. They create a convoy to distort the truth of who Christ is and call it evangelicalism. Jesus hates it.
Why does Jesus hate with an infinite hatred? Because he loves with an infinite love? He does not just kind of hate, or love a lot. It is infinite. His hate will thrust the soul of a son of Satan to the furthest place from his throne, and his love will sandblast the most wretched of sin and cling eternally to the soul he purified.

The question is this. Do you hate as God Hates? Do you love as God loves? If you answer yes, then your complacent heart has revealed your mediocre view of God almighty for he loves and hates infinitely. Yet we are to ever grow in the likeness of him and earnestly grow in our hatred of sin and our love of Christ. The more you love Christ, the more you hate evil.

May the Jesus we proclaim be the Jesus who sits on the throne interceding for us as we read this now, and not the impostor the pulpits seek to sell in order to buy their congregations. May we be a zealous people who never rest in our craving of Christ, and never cease from a loving obedience to Him.
Jesus hates many things yet if you are saved he loves you. But don't fall into the trap of denial. May you not seek to cause dissension in your own heart and think that just because Jesus loves you he doesn't hate the sin you commit.
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