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Folly of the Godless

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Opening Thoughts

If I was a betting man, I would lay a lot of money on the table betting on how many people will call this post judgmental or condemning and consider quoting the first few verses of Matthew 7 at me (chiefly the first one, and maybe verse 2 if they are feeling particularly plucky). It would be almost foolish to bet against me, though. Since I am not a betting man, though, you can put your anti-gambling rhetoric back into the closet.

Some of you might recognize this title being the same as Psalm 53. That just happens to be the Psalm I wish to bring up, amongst some others. Chiefly this post only really aims to reflect some nascent thoughts I have on this – as well as the others taken together – and not really much else. Still, there is the matter of the above proposed bet (it really is tempting to make it, though).

The Milk

I am calling this section “The Milk” for a particular reason. Not that this topic is a basic one, as I don’t believe it to be, but that my thoughts on it are basic. Soft, easy to digest, and generally tasty straight from the source (we don’t use homogenized/pasteurized (man’s doctrine) Milk in this House).

Without further ado…

Psalm 53 – This psalm really brings to light not our sin-nature (to claim such a nature is to claim God made us imperfect, I will address that later) but our free-will rejection of God. Because of this, as a whole, we are guilty of rebellion against not just our Creator, but our Lord and Savior. The promise in this, though, is that He awaits for us with open arms to return to Him.

Psalm 52 – Those who boast in evil will be destroyed as the righteous look on, those who trust in God will be spared. Those looking to take the “Cafeteria Christian” car on the train to heaven should beware.

Psalm 50 – God is the righteous judge who will judge everyone (whether or not you believe in Him). True Believers will not be rebuked for keeping His word (not out of legalism or some mystical idea, but true devotion to it for the sake of pleasing God). The wicked, however, will be rebuked.

Psalm 51, Matthew 12:31-32, and Luke 13:1-5 – God desires repentance. He wants us to approach Him with a ‘broken and contrite heart’; those who reject God do not repent because they refuse to believe they are wrong.

Genesis 1:26-31 and Genesis 3:1-7 – Not only were we created as perfect beings, we were giving free will, making us free moral agents, able to accept or reject God. There is no such thing as a ‘sin-nature’ because such a nature goes against His word. God does not create junk or imperfect beings. The angels too were created as such, and this is how one can choose to deceive himself and 1/3 of the heavenly host into rebelling against God. Why then, is sin so prevalent in the world? Because Adam and Eve brought it in with their own rebellion against God. With sin all around us, and sin being easier to keep than righteousness, is it any wonder our world is in such a state?

2 Timothy 3:1-9 – These are the traits of the ungodly. People who claim to believe in God but live as if He doesn’t exist.

Psalm 36 – God accepts no wickedness. There is hope, though, as He is merciful. Repent and ye shall be saved.

John 14:15-17 – The world does not receive God or His Helper (the Holy Spirit) because they reject Him, and such rejection blinds them to His presence, love, and most importantly, mercy.

Closing Remarks

I might have more later on.

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Biblical Churches Start With A Biblical Structure

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I’m sure I’m going to create a lot of controversy over this, but I’m going to forge ahead because I think it’s time I started to try and address this more cohesively.

First and foremost, there is no question as to the intended gender restrictions God put in place. No where in Scripture is there ever talked about a female elder. Yes, there was one female prophet, but only because there was no man who would step up and say “Yes, I’ll be Your mouthpiece, Lord.” The men of her time should have been deeply shamed. As men, God entrusted us with physical strength, decisiveness, and other leadership traits. As men, we have been entrusted with the defense (spiritual and physical) of not only our households but our churches and nations. Men today should be ashamed when their church, community, and country are in need of such Godly leadership and women have to step up to fill in the gap. Today our heads have been so polluted by the liberal garbage the popular culture spits out were willing to accept it as normal to have women in the non-traditional roles they are in today. The most damning are those in so-called pastoral roles in churches who thought it more important to satisfy man than it was to satisfy God by allowing women to assume the role of pastor/elder in their respective churches. Where are the manly-men of God? How can any congregation claim to be biblical, with true men of God in them, and have a woman being their undersheperd? I don’t mean to say God won’t speak through women. Look at the New Testament. There were definitely women in active, ministerial roles (Priscilla with her husband, Pheobe, and possibly more not mentioned). They were not, however, ordained elders or deacons. The new Testament, in several spots, clearly defines the role of elder and deacon as roles for men.

The qualifications for elder are outlined clearly in Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
1 Timothy 3:1-7:

  1. Verse 2
    • Blameless
    • Husband of one wife
    • temperate
    • sober-minded
    • of good behavior
    • hospitable
    • able to teach
  2. Verse 3
    • not given to wine
    • not violent
    • not greedy for money
    • gentle
    • not quarrelsome
    • not covetous
  3. Verse 4
    • Rules his own house well
    • His children in submission with all reverence
  4. Verse 6
    • not a novice
  5. Verse 7
    • Must have a good testimony amongst non-believers

The male pronoun is used by God through Paul very purposefully. Today’s compromise by those who call themselves churches is unbelievable and should be unconscionable to those who Believe. I have no qualms in telling such groups they are wrong and are operating outside of God’s standards. It is both part of my duty as a fellow believer to show my Brother or Sister where they are wrong and to continue to love them regardless. As much as so-called “enlightened” man would like to say it is okay, it just doesn’t line up with God’s word and His standard is the only one to live by – especially those calling themselves disciples of Christ. Also, further evidence of male-leadership is established in the Old Testament and the establishment of the Levitical order. From Aaron on down all the priests were to be male. Not once does it talk of a female priestess.

That isn’t all, though. In the case of deacons (which were instituted early on in the church, see Acts 6 for more details, though I will touch on the chapter briefly in a moment) Paul continues writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the following.
1 Timothy 3:8-13

  1. Verse 8
    • reverent
    • not double-tongued
    • not given to much wine
    • not greedy for money
  2. Verse 9
    • holding to the faith with a pure conscious
  3. Verse 10
    • Tested
    • found blameless
  4. Verse 11, which also gives qualifications for a deacon’s wife
    • reverent wife
    • not slanderers
    • temperate
    • faithful in all things
  5. Verse 12
    • the husband of one wife
    • rule their children and houses well

Now the issue here isn’t gender, it is clear that seven men were chosen and anointed by God. The issue I wish to discuss is both the plurality (in other words, more than one) and also the deacon’s assigned role. As Acts 6 starts out, we see a Church in which the disciples of Christ are growing in number, and as they do, real and specific needs come to the attention of the elders (namely the 12 apostles, those chosen by Christ Himself). That is, the resources of the church were not being handled with any sort of fairness. Not surprising given the combination of people and money. God already foresaw this and through the Holy Spirit, the elders directed the people in what was to be done. The choosing of 7 men whom would be prayed over and anointed. There was no panicked rush, but a calm directing. The job of the deacons then is now as it was then: meeting the physical needs of fellow believers using the resources of the church. They didn’t sit on a board and direct the affairs of the elders (the Holy Spirit, God, and Jesus did that just well without man’s influence), and it certainly wasn’t their job to hire a new elder when one retired/died/etc.

Please don’t take this to mean women shouldn’t be involved in ministry. The book of Acts does refer to Pheobe as a deaconess, but there is no indication she was an anointed deacon. The word deacon has several meanings in the New Testament, the basic meaning though is “servant” and this is clearly how Pheobe is being referred to. Certainly there would be more than one verse talking of Pheobe if God had anointed a woman to serve as He had anointed Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas. There is also the case of Priscilla and her husband who are described as a husband and wife working in ministry with one another. As I’ve discussed in an earlier blog post, there is no doubt that Priscilla’s husband was the head of their household.

In essence, the basic structure of the Church is thus:
God/Jesus/Holy Spirit as it’s head.
Male elders as the mouthpiece of God.
Male deacons as the hands and feet of Christ.
Congregation as the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 5:22-34 is also a picture of the structure of the Church and not just the household.

Such a structure isn’t optional, and your grandfather’s church not doing it that way is not an excuse for you to not being willing to conform yourself to His will. Your grandfather will answer his maker for his own self, and you for your own self. Don’t let the false traditions of man keep you from having the commandments of God not only written on your heart but lived out in your life.

It isn’t legalism to keep God’s standards if you do so out of a desire to please Him. It is legalism if you’re only keeping His commandments to say you are keeping them.

Crossing Lines

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In our daily walk with Christ, we will encounter people, situations, ideals, and laws which will leave us wondering, sometimes with our head spinning, what it all means and what can or should we do about the situation. Some respond with zeal, some with apathy, some embrace while others reject almost all the time though it’s about our will and what we want versus what God’s will is and what He wants. You could say that there should be a balance between our will and God’s, but that’s unbiblical. All through Scripture we are shown we are to lay aside our own will, desires, and wants and give ourselves wholly over to Him, trusting that He will take care of our needs without any input from us. When we speak or act, it should always be in response to the Holy Spirit and never on our own (regardless if it involves overt ministry or your ‘day job’). There are ways of doing things both tactfully and effectively, and there are certain lines we should never cross, though if we are truly given over to His will that won’t be an issue. Until then, here are some lessons I’ve learned.

  1. Being a married man does not give you justification for being a tyrant. Ephesians 5:22-33 is not a license to be a tyrant but is a guide on how to treat your wives and more than that, it is a final teaching on the structure of His Church. God is at the head, the male spouse is the head-of-household, an ordained minister to his family, with his wife by his side. Not underfoot. Not at the head. At his side. As we are co-heirs with Christ, and the Church is His Bride, so too our wives need to be treated with dignity, respect, and understanding. The submission of wives talked about here isn’t forceful. Just as we are to willingly submit to the LORD in all matters, so to wives to their husbands. Just like we can discuss things with God all day long, in the end the decision is His and His alone. Anything that crosses the line into disrespect of your spouse, I believe, is not only hurtful to the spouse but I believe it to be a sin against God Himself.
  2. In my search on how to run a business in a way that honors God, I cam across many verses that spoke of not standing in the way of sin. The message was clear, I believe, but I’m still lost (and waiting to for guidance) on the application. Obviously we are tasked with carrying forth the Gospel (good news) of Jesus’ death and resurrection, by which salvation is made possible, and in the U.S. – a country not only founded on Christian principles but I believe ordained by the Lord Himself (though having definitely fallen out of favor in the last 20+ years) – we are in a unique position to influence our laws and leaders like no nation before (though some seem to try and emulate to some degree). There are definitely things happening in this nation that are a complete abomination before the LORD (homosexuality, murders (abortion in particular), rapes, theft, idolatry, etc.). Where do we draw the line, though? We definitely need to remain outspoken about these activities as they are sins, but how do we do so not only in love but while also leaving free choice up to each individual? After all, we cannot stand their place as Christ stood in ours. Those who are unbelievers already stand in judgment for rebellion against the Almighty. We also know that, just because something is against the law it won’t stop those who have set it in their hearts to do such things, either. What does one do aside from proclaiming the Truth, prayer over those living lives of sin (ourselves included, unless you can say before God honestly and truthfully you’ve made it to a mostly sinless life (and according to Scripture, it is possible), and fasting for God’s mercy? I’m personally very conflicted on this right now.
  3. Avoid being prideful. Proverbs 16:18 really says it better than I could: “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” If you look through all Scripture, it’s easy to see pride at the root of every other sin imaginable. Think about that for a moment.

I thought I had more, but the above list pretty neatly covers just about anything. There is no reason to lose our testimony or witness because we stepped outside of God’s will. There is also nothing wrong in admitting when we ourselves are in the wrong and have crossed any lines into not being like Christ. There are definitely times when we need to get mad and, like Christ, chase the sin out of our homes. There are times when we’ll have to tell it like it is and call a spade a spade because there is just nothing else to call it. The rest of the time we really do need to express more fully Christ’s love for everyone and His desire for all to be saved should also be ours. That won’t happen, though, if His Word is not written on our hearts as much as some of us have imprinted His Word in our minds. Don’t cross any lines you don’t need to, remembering to show love to all, and wipe the dust off of your feet for anyone who won’t listen. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

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