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Archive for August, 2010

And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:23

Here’s the scene: King David is dead and his son Solomon, at age sixteen, is the rookie king. Adonijah, Solomon’s half brother has just been executed by Solomon, and Joab, King David’s formal general is running scared. And he should be. As David lie on his deathbed, Joab had joined forces with Adonijah in his failed coup d’état. But even before his death, David warned Solomon of what a scoundrel Joab was and that a wise man should have him killed.

Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace. 1 Kings 2:5-6

In fear, Joab runs to the Tabernacle.

So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the Lord, and took hold of the horns of the altar. And King Solomon was told, “Joab has fled to the tabernacle of the Lord; there he is, by the altar.” Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 1 Kings 2:28-29

Two Things…

The first thing that jumps out of the text is why King David allowed so much insubordination in his general. If Joab was so horrific a general (and he was), why didn’t David just have him executed? The answer is scandalous: Joab had dirt on David. In addition to Nathan the prophet and Bathsheba; Joab was the only one who knew about David’s plot to kill Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband). While it is true David had confessed his sin to the Lord, his dirty little secret from the world had consequences, essentially leading to the deaths of Abner, Amasa, and his own son Absalom. There is a powerful lesson for all believers in that.

Depart From Me

The other lesson is for the non-believer: in times of trouble evil men cannot cling to a faith they do not have. Even in First Peter 2:16, the writer asserts that believers are not to use their liberties as a cloak for vice. In other words, no one can unrepentive-ly do whatever they like Monday through Saturday and then crawl into the confessional on Sunday and claim sanctuary. For this reason every believer should examine themselves, or more accurately submit themselves to God’s examination, to see if they are truly in the Kingdom of God or merely clinging to the horns of the altar. Joab discovered too late that the church is no sanctuary for the unrepented soul. Let no one make the same mistake.


 

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God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable. I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; For You shall inherit all nations. Psalm 82:1-8

Justice in Generally

According to Merriam-Webster, justice is the maintenance or administration of what is believed to be fair and equitable as it pertains to reward or punishment. Realize that the definition implies that appropriate justice goes beyond the particular issue for which we are seeking justice. So, when we want justice for that guy who cuts us off in traffic and flips us the bird, a righteous arbitrator must consider each and every time you [and he] have done similarly and chastise all parties. That’s what real justice looks like and anything short of that is a perversion of what justice is–justice for one, by definition, must be just for all. That should compel us to ponder, as justice is being doled out, do we really want to be held accountable too? It is for this reason a wise person should pursue mercy over justice.

Social Justice

As we think in terms of justice beyond that which affects us personally, the waters begin muddy. Social justice is hard to define and harder still to execute primarily because as a global society we cannot agree what the words ‘just’ or ‘fair’ or ‘equal’ mean. To make matters worse, the further one travels down the social-justice road, the more it begins to resemble the social-ism road. Should property and wealth be shared equitably with the whole world? You should find comfort in knowing that that decision is not yours to make.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own…For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 1 Corinthians 6:19 and Colossians 1:16

Answer this simple question, “Can a person borrow his neighbor’s lawnmower and then legally give it away?”

The answer is of course, ‘No,’ he can’t. Therefore, since everything belongs to God; including our own bodies, is it not selfishly presumptuous to suppose we can give away that which does not rightfully belong to us unless the Owner directs us to do so? The very truth of the matter is that the maintenance and administration of social justice is God’s concern. Our concern is to be in agreement with the Creator and to be compliant to His directives. We give as His Holy Spirit guides us to give.

“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

Hopefully that gives you peace. Our calling is to be obedient—period.

The Social Justice Problem

The question for the church is not whether or not we mete out social justice; the Father in His word is precise in His mandate to care for the poor and the needy. Therefore the issue, as it pertains to the Christian, is one of priority over practice. Lest we forget, every believer’s first calling is to share the Gospel message and facilitate the making of Christian disciples. Social justice always takes a back seat to the Good News.

Don’t Freak Out

Understand what I am saying. It’s true in my car (and probably yours as well), that wherever the front seat goes, the back seat goes too. Do you get the picture? Where the Gospel goes, so goes justice! But we should never, ever fail to remember that one has priority over the other. When social justice travels alone, we promote the task of making folks more comfortable over God’s will, which is to keep them from unknowingly waltzing into hell. When that occurs it’s not love, nor is it the Good News.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Read the verse again. What’s God’s will? That none should perish.

Does This Mean…?

Does this mean that a Christian can’t simply give a homeless guy on the street a few bucks without sharing a Gospel message with him? After all, in those situations, it’s not practical to do more. Can’t my Christian deed stand alone; won’t my actions serve to draw this person closer to Christ?

A Good Deed Only Draws People to Christ if They Know You Are a Christian

Is it really asking too much to hand a person a Gospel tract with your gift? Is it really to difficult to tell a soul that Jesus loves them or to ask to pray over them? Is it really unreasonable to inquire if the recipient knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The most awful thing they could do is decline your offer.


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All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Where Godly Men Seek

I am baffled by the phenomenon known as the Global Leadership Summit; more specifically as to why Godly men and women would seek counsel and recommendation from the ungodly; i.e. those who do not profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I submit to you that we are being deceived when we look towards secular achievement and conclude that we could prosper accordingly if we emulate their practices. The truth is that we might, but that doesn’t make it right. If prosperity does it occur, it is temporary at best.

Consider the words of the Psalmist:

The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them. He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity.” Psalm 10:4-6

Now consider these quotes accredited to three of last year’s GLS speakers:

  • “Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you. ” Jim Collins, nationally acclaimed business thinker
  • “Control your own destiny or someone else will….The team with the best players wins. ” Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO, General Electric
  • “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people…will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.” Daniel H. Pink, Business Thinker and Former White House speech writer

Do these remarks line-up with God’s word?

Christianity 101

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit…For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:1, 5-8

Romans 8 makes it extremely clear:  followers of Jesus Christ are called to walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. The passage goes on to tell us why — those who walk according to the flesh are carnally minded; they operate in a manner to gratify their own lusts and appetites. The Bible tells us quite directly that this behavior makes them God’s enemy.

Read the passage again!

A Christian who emulates the ways of any person who is not guided by the Holy Spirit cannot please God. Knowing this, are you absolutely sure you want to adopt any of these worldly techniques for your personal spiritual development or bring any of these ideas back to your church? If you do, you do not have an appropriate understanding of what it means to fear the Lord.

Worldly Counsel is No Counsel

As a Christian, would you go to a worldly neighbor for marriage counseling? Would you seek the guidance of the ungodly on how to raise your children? Of course not! By definition, Christians operate, or should operate, in obedience to the Lord, allowing themselves to be guided by His Holy Spirit. To do otherwise is to sin; to miss the divine and holy mark the Lord had intended us to hit. To receive and carry out any practice that is not God-inspired is to set one’s self up for disaster, regardless of the fact that there might be seasonal prosperity.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Is There a Lack of Qualified Christian Leaders?

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

No, there is not a lack of qualified Christian leaders. The trap is that we too often buy into the ‘bigger and better’ philosophy the world shoves down our throats. “It’s working for them,” we surmise, “and God doesn’t seem to care.”

While it might be true that it is working for the them, the reality is that God does care and it would serve the Christian well to remember that there is a huge difference between what God allows and what God blesses. The bottom line is that God hates it. We must also be careful to avoid false teachers, the likes of say a Rob Bell, who is deceived and preaches a false gospel.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:7-9

What Am I Saying

If you are a godly man or woman and if you attended the recent Global Leadership Summit, and if you glean and adhere to the advice of the ungodly, you have been deceived and in due time you will harvest a crop you did not realize you had sown. And while your salvation is not necessarily in jeopardy, you are serving to undermine that which the Lord would have you and others do. You are quenching the good work of the Holy Spirit and are in effect showing your brothers and sister in Christ that it is ok to do as the world does.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.  1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

Does the Global Leadership Summit do anything right? Absolutely! They host and gave voice to several wonderful Christian leaders. My prayer is that next year they would omit worldly teachings in order to make room for, and focus upon the sound biblical wisdom given by inspiration of God that is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that Christians may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

  1. What do these verses say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. What is our only recourse?

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