A Good Soldier

Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 7:44 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Were it Not for Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 2 (NIV84).

Be Strong

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are like soldiers in an army, only this is a spiritual army, i.e. it is God’s army comprised of Christ’s followers, his body – the church. Our commanding officer is Jesus Christ. Thus, we need to have singleness of purpose and mission in following Jesus and his word, and to not allow ourselves to get entangled in the affairs of this earthly life. In other words, we are not to allow ourselves to get caught up or twisted with the things of this world, i.e. with its culture – philosophies, values, practices, behaviors, principles, and/or beliefs, etc. The Bible instructs us to come out from the world and to be separate (different), and to touch no unclean thing, for there is no fellowship between light and darkness (See 2 Co. 6:14-18; cf. Jas. 4:4-1-10; 1 Jn. 2:15-17). For, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” ~ 1 Jn. 2:17

We are in a spiritual battle. Daily we must put on our spiritual armor – faith, truth, the word of God, righteousness, our salvation, the gospel, and prayer (See Eph. 6:10-20). We have an enemy whose goal it is to completely destroy our individual lives and testimony for Christ, and the life of the church, whether from within or without; whether through severe persecution or through a great deception. Most assuredly he does not want the gospel to go forth, so he will do all within his power to stop it. So, we need to have on our spiritual armor so that we can fight off his attacks, and so we can respond correctly to false doctrine, deception and/or persecution; persecution which is aimed at those who are holding firmly to the foundation of the prophets and the apostles and to the truths of God’s word.

Our enemy will do everything he can to try to get us to compromise our faith and to accept teaching which is false, diluted, and made comfortable for the listeners, and which has multiple seats of authority over it, not one of them Christ. He will try to convince us that serving the Lord Jesus with singleness of mind and purpose is not normal and that we need to engross ourselves in the culture. He will try to convince us that there is truth in numbers, and thus we should go the direction nearly everyone else is headed. Yet, if that direction is away from truth and toward what is false, then what have we gained? If the direction is away from following Christ to following after man (flesh), then what have we gained? Such a move will only block (hinder) people from coming in through the true gate, Jesus Christ. And, many will be lost for eternity.

As One Approved

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

There has been a major shift (move) in doctrinal position, practice and beliefs that has taken place in evangelical Christianity in recent years here in America, and perhaps in other countries, as well. The shift has been away from the foundation of the prophets and the apostles, i.e. away from the foundational teachings of Christ’s word, and toward following after the visions, mission, philosophies and values of this sinful world, i.e. that of human beings. Many within the church have forsaken the truth to follow after lies. They easily believe what sounds good to their ears without checking it out against the word of truth. If it has scripture contained within it, they assume it is truth, when in many cases it is not. Although my experiential knowledge of this shift has largely been localized, from what I read, this has spread like gangrene across the country, and maybe even across the world.

This shift, though, is not just away from scripture to follow after humans and humanistic teachings, but it is a force that has exerted itself from the top down – the force being Satan and his powers of darkness, which he exerted upon the top of the “food chain” in evangelical Christianity, and it has moved its way down through the ranks. This is HUGE! It is global and it is widespread! And, it is turning much of today’s church toward eastern religion, mysticism and the blending of religions all into one global religion, i.e. this is the ultimate goal.

Little by little lies, deceptions and manipulations of scripture have worked their way into the church via this dark force and going down through the “food chain.” These things were introduced quietly, subtly and cleverly so as to largely go unnoticed. As the church embraced the first offering, more was introduced, and then more and more, until the church, for the most part, barely resembles the body of Christ anymore. Some call this movement Emergent, while others call it Emerging. “Emerging” means: “newly created or noticed and growing in strength or popularity: becoming widely known or established” (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emerging). “Emergent” means: “arising unexpectedly; newly formed; rising out of something” (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emergent). Whatever name you give it, the result is the same. It is a move away from the truth of God’s word to following the teachings and philosophies and values of humans. It is spreading like gangrene, and it is VERY DANGEROUS because it is destroying the church from within and it is teaching a different gospel than the one taught by the apostles.

One possible resource is: http://www.gotquestions.org/emerging-church-emergent.html

Flee and Pursue

22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

So, we must make sure we are not getting caught up in all of this and that we are not being led astray away from truth to what is false. We need to be diligent in correctly handling the word of truth, not that we will always get everything 100% right, but that we will have discerning spirits and we will make it important to test everything we hear and are beginning to believe against the truths of scripture to make sure we are not following what is false. We must make sure we are standing on the word of truth and that we are not defending what is of man, and what is false, because we didn’t take the time to carefully examine it against the word of truth. Just because it sounds good and looks good does not mean it is good. It may be rotten to the core but disguised to look and sound right. We need to pray, test, and then we need to rid ourselves of all that is dishonoring to God.

There is a common thought among those who are following after this emerging (changing) church, which makes itself culturally relevant, and with regard to those who are serving as good soldiers of Jesus Christ with singleness of devotion, desiring to please their commanding officer, and who are workmen who make it their goal to correctly, though not perfectly, handle the word of truth. They accuse them of being Pharisees, legalists, intolerant, bigots, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, and of operating in the flesh instead of in the Spirit. Yet, for those who are truly serving their Lord Jesus with this singleness of devotion, nothing could be further from the truth. They know more than anyone else that if it were not for the grace of God in their lives that they would be wandering aimlessly, going nowhere, and following humans and the flesh, for truly those who follow the teachings of humans over the teachings of scripture are the ones who are operating in the flesh of man.

So, this is an encouragement for all of us to flee the evil desires of our youth and to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. So, again, I encourage you to test everything you hear against the word of truth and that you not follow some teaching just because it sounds good. Be diligent in serving your commanding officer with single-mindedness of devotion and purpose and make it your goal to correctly handle the word of truth and to take your stand on the truth of God’s word. This is war! Satan is playing for keeps. And, his goal is to turn us away from truth and to get us to buy into the lies. So, we need our spiritual armor daily in place so that we can fight off Satan’s attacks against our lives, against the gospel of Jesus Christ, and against the word of truth, so that we do not fall into Satan’s trap and become captive to doing his will.

Were it Not for Grace / Larnelle Harris

Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I’d be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace
Ro 1:16 ¶ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Ga 3:12 And the law is not of faith:

Ro 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;