Monday, March 14, 2011

At war with God?....are you sure?

Paul commands us to call out false teaching and goes on to give us the specific purpose for the command. The purpose of this command is love from a pure heart. Isn't that amazing; and completely contradictory of the world view? The world will tell us that it isn't loving to call someone to the carpet for something, let alone someone that is seemingly trying to do good. Question: What is loving about leading people astray whether it is intentional or not? If I unknowingly give someone wrong directions that leads them to an extremely dangerous part of the city on a Saturday night are they in any less danger because I didn't mean to do it? Maybe I sincerely thought I was giving them the right directions; or maybe I intentionally wanted to mislead them. In the broad scheme of things; does it matter how they got there? Are they in any less danger one way or the other? Of course not. When we look at it from a vantage point like that, it is a little easier to get our mind around the fact that we warn and rebuke false teaching out of love. LOVE WARNS!

1Timothy 1:5-7 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

Verse 7 reminds me of an exchange I had with someone a while back. They were of the mind that we need to call Jesus by His Aramaic Name or we are not really saved. This person insisted on using Hebrew words and following Jewish tradition. This person was clearly deceived from the fact that Jesus freed all those that trust in Him from the Law. The Word couldn't be any more clear that there is no longer Jew or Greek, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. This person was very sincere in their belief, but they were sincerely wrong. They were just as verse 7 says, “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.”

Galatians 3:26-28 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Paul also makes it clear what the Law is for. Have you ever wondered what the Law is for? A logical question is, “if we are no longer under the Law and we can't come close to following the Law any way, what is the point of the Law?

First, the Law is not made for the righteous if you are perfect, the Law is NOT for you. If you aren't perfect the Law is for you; unless you have been made righteous through Faith in Jesus Christ; in which case, if you have been born-again, you will no longer be able to practice from the list Paul gives here:

1Timothy 1:8-9a But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for...

Here is the list that the Law is for:

-the lawless
-the insubordinate (which means not submitting to authority)
-the ungodly
-the unholy
-the profane
-sodomites (men who practice homosexuality)

Two quick thoughts on the list Paul just gave us.

One-our society loves to put focus on homosexuality and what the Bible says about it has kept people from being saved (whether they are homosexuals or not). It is important to note the entire list. Practicing homosexuality is no greater or less sin than heterosexual fornication; but it is sin. This list includes all of us! There is none of us who is any less guilty than the next. If we die in our sin we are all equally condemned.

Two-just in case you do not consider yourself in the same boat as the rest of us; Paul wraps up this list with this:

1Timothy 1:10b-11 , and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, you will still be named among those listed above. Does that mean those that do belong to Jesus Christ have never committed fornication, homosexuality, lies, murders, etc.....OF COURSE NOT! The question isn't are you sinful? The question is, is practicing sin part of your past or present? When you are born-again you will not deliberately continue in sin. You will instead be able to make a statement like Paul did here:

1Timothy 1:12-15 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Isn't that glorious! Paul concludes this statement by making the point that he was shown mercy so the rest of mankind would know the patience of Our Creator. That we would see in Paul a man that was more evil than most people could ever be, yet God saved him any way.

1Timothy 1:16-17 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

If you are reading this and you are thinking, “yea, but you don't know the things I've done. God could never save me.”

I would leave you with this:

God has never and never will lie. He has promised forgiveness, redemption and eternal life for ALL that will trust in Him and repent of there sin. To repent means to turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus Christ with a broken heart, broken over your sin, crying out, “Lord, me merciful to me a sinner.”

The Law is the School Master leading you to the Cross. The Law exposes your sin leaving you helpless and looking for The Savior.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

If you are too prideful to surrender to Christ, then there is nothing for you except the Law by which you will be Judged; however, if you are humbled by this Truth, there is Good News for you. You are not beyond hope, you can place your hope, faith and trust in the King of kings...Jesus Christ.

James 4:4-10 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

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