Proverbs 19: God’s answer to Anger, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

46 mins · 

 

God’s Answer To Anger
Proverbs 19

How many of you ever get angry? Well, I want to speak to you today about God’s answer to anger. Look at Proverbs 19:11-12. “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favor is as dew upon the grass.”
First, sudden anger is to be controlled. If you pride yourself in having a short fuse, be careful. The Bible has a lot to say about you. Some people say, “Well, I’m Irish, it just runs in my family.” Or, “I’m red-headed, and red heads are known for the hair trigger anger.”
Then they’ll say, “Oh, don’t worry, it only lasts a little while.” Yeah, so does a tornado! But they’re cleaning up the wreckage for months or years. 
Let’s see what the Bible says about getting angry in a hurry. Our text says, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger.” In other words, a wise man doesn’t fly off the handle. Proverbs 14:17 says, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly.” In other words, you are a fool if you get angry quickly. You say, “Don’t call me a fool!” I didn’t: God did. 
Proverbs 15:18 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife; but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”
Proverbs 25:8 says, “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame.” If you put your mouth in action before you brain is in gear, you’re not going to be able to finish what you’ve started!
Proverbs 29:20 says, “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” In other words, you’ll have to improve to be a fool. 
When you are quick to anger, there is so much you’re going to lose. You can lose your job, your friends, your children, your wife, your health, etc. You may even lose a few teeth! You can also lose your testimony.
Sudden anger is to be controlled. How? First of all, you have to confess. A lot of folks don’t like to admit that they get angry. They’ll say, “I AM NOT MAD!!!”
By the way, if you repress it rather than confess it, it will do you all kinds of damage. You may say that you’re not angry, but your stomach is keeping the score. 
When you get angry, adrenaline begins to pump into your blood stream and your blood pressure rises. Then your muscles get tense and ready to fight or take flight, or both. Your hands get sweaty, your eyes dilate, etc. 
When these feelings start, confess them to the Lord, don’t repress them. But not only confess: consider. Consider what’s making you upset. Look at Proverbs 14:29. “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding.”
Confess it, consider it, and then control it. You say, “I can’t control it.” Yes, you can. You and your wife can be having a family discussion that can be heard about two blocks away and the phone will ring. You say, “Hellooo.” You can turn it on and turn it off at will! 
Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterward.” 
When you feel that first blast of anger, confess it, consider it, and control it.
Sudden anger is to be controlled. Next, sinful anger is to be condemned. Why do we defer anger and why are we slow to wrath? It’s so we can find out if it’s righteous anger or sinful anger. If it’s sinful anger, it’s to be condemned, it’s to be dealt with harshly, it’s to be repented of. Unjustified anger is not weakness, it’s wickedness. There’s one thing God won’t accept for sin and that’s an alibi.
Sinful anger is anger without a cause. Jesus said that if we’re angry at a brother without a cause, we’re in danger of hell fire.
Many times anger is not from what someone has done. It’s from our own frustrations, or our own lack of peace with God. But not only is anger without a cause sinful anger, so is anger that’s centered in a person rather than anger that’s centered on an offence. 
If you have anger that makes you hate a person rather than to hate what that person has done, that’s sinful anger. Sinful anger desires revenge. Sinful anger is stored up in the heart. Sinful anger has an unforgiving spirit that refuses to forgive. 
Sinful anger must be repented of because God won’t accept an alibi. Sudden anger is to be controlled, sinful anger is to be condemned, and stubborn anger is to be conquered. 
Proverbs 19:11 says, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” It’s a great victory when we learn to forgive and get over it. But some people don’t seem to be able to do that. You’re not to be conquered by anger: God wants you to be victorious. 
Take a look at Ephesians 4:26. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” When you let the sun go down upon your wrath, that’s stubborn anger. You live with your anger. 
Husbands and wives get into an argument. Rather than forgiving one another, they go to bed back to back. When you do that, you open the door for old Slewfoot. You’re saying, “Devil, come in and wreck my home.” You have given the devil a place. Verse 27 says, “Neither give place to the devil.”
The devil is always waiting to come in, and it’s that stubborn anger that becomes his campground. When you let the sun go down on your wrath, the devil has six steps that he’ll destroy you with.
Look at verse 31. “Let all bitterness (1), and wrath (2), and anger (3), and clamor (4), and evil speaking (5), be put away from you, with all malice (6).” Those are the six steps. Six is the number of man. When you let the sun go down on your wrath, sudden anger becomes stubborn anger.
Bitterness is what comes when someone does you wrong or you think they’ve done you wrong. Hebrews calls this a root of bitterness. When you try to pull up a dandelion, you just pull the top off. But you haven’t dealt with the problem because the root is still down there. 
Bitterness comes after you’ve been hurt and you think your rights have been trampled on, or you’ve been overlooked. You think you have justified anger and that’s what the Bible calls bitterness. 
Step two is wrath. It comes from a Greek word which means “hot.” You get all hot and bothered about it. There’s a slow burn inside you. Your bitterness turns to burning. When you’re smoldering; that’s an ugly feeling, isn’t it? 
Bitterness becomes smoldering, but then it becomes anger. Wrath is on the inside, but anger is on the outside. Those smoldering rags now burst into flame. 
Anger is followed by clamor, which carries the idea of being vocal and loud. When people get angry, their voice starts to rise. 
When you start getting loud, your clamor turns to evil speaking. When you hear yourself getting loud, then you start to say things you don’t really mean. You start to slander the other person. You say, “I hate you! I wish you’d never been born!” Etc. You’re on a roll and the devil says, “Yeah, and tell them this, too!” You say things you don’t really mean, but you verbalize them because bitterness turned to burning, and burning turned to anger, and anger turned to clamor, and clamor turned to evil speaking. But then the evil speaking turns to malice. That’s when you want to hurt somebody. You’ll either hurt them with your fists or you’ll hurt them in some other way. 
That’s when a mother slaps a child. That’s when a husband will abuse a wife or vice versa. That’s when somebody goes for a gun. And the devil is in the corner grinning….and you’re the one who opened the door and let him in. You gave place to the devil because you let the sun go down on your wrath. 
Sudden anger is to be controlled so you can have a chance to think it through. Sinful anger is to be controlled immediately. Stubborn anger is to be conquered. 
How do you conquer it? First, you have to recognize it. You have to trace it back and ask, “Why am I so angry?” You have to find out where that root of bitterness is. Taking the tops off isn’t going to cut it. You have to get down to the root of the matter. 
Recognize it, admit is, and confess it. Secondly, repent. This verse says to put it away from you. Are you willing to put it away? God’s not going to do it for you. The word repent means to change direction or to change your mind. You have to choose against it. 
Next repudiate the devil. You gave him a place; now kick him out! You say, “Devil you no longer have a place in my life, so get out in the name of Jesus! I gave you a place, but now I’m taking it back.” When you do that, the blood of Jesus will cleanse that place.  
The Bible says that when you submit to God, you can resist the devil and he must (what?) flee! 
Next, rely. Rely on the Holy Spirit of God. Verse 30 tells us, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Verse 32 says that He will give you the power to “Be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
We’d better get into the Book of Proverbs and into the Book of Ephesians and learn how to deal with stubborn anger. Some of you have been angry for a long time. You’ve been feeding a grudge for a long time. It’s not worth it. 
Sudden anger is to be controlled, sinful anger is to be condemned, stubborn anger is to be conquered, and sanctified anger is to be channeled.  
Verse 26 tells us to “Be angry…” But it says, “Be angry and sin not.” There is an anger that’s not a sinful anger at all. If it was sinful, then Jesus was a sinner because He was moved with anger. 
Look at Mark 13:1-6. “And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.” 
You can be moved with anger because Jesus was angry, but without sin. You can be good and mad! As a matter of fact, if some things don’t move you to anger, then there’s something wrong with you! 
What moved Jesus to anger? It was the attitude of the Pharisees toward this poor paralyzed man. The problem the Pharisees had with Jesus was not theological….it was personal. Jesus was upsetting their apple cart! Before this, the people had been bragging on them, and looking up to them, and following them, etc. They held all the key places and so forth. But now the crowds were following after Jesus and they were filled with rotten envy. They were filled with selfishness and pride and didn’t care about people who were hurting. 
Sometimes it’s love that makes us angry. When we see people who are made in the image of God being destroyed, it should make us angry. 
Abraham Lincoln went down to the slave market in New Orleans. He saw a beautiful black girl being auctioned off. He felt a righteous indignation coming up in him. He told a friend, “That’s wrong! One of these days, if I have a chance to hit it, I’m going to hit it hard!” His was a righteous anger.
Martin Luther said, “When I’m angry, I pray better and I preach better.” 
There was a little half-pint preacher who barely weighed a hundred pounds who said, “When I get angry, I weigh a ton!”
Doesn’t the killing of little babies make you mad? Jesus never got angry when somebody harmed Him. You’ll never find Jesus retaliating. He didn’t even get angry when they nailed Him to the cross. But He was moved with a righteous anger when He saw other people being misused and abused. 
Righteous anger doesn’t get angry at the person, but at the injustice. It doesn’t get angry at the sinner, but at the sin. You can love the sinner and still be angry at their sin. You know how I know? Because I get angry at me and I love my wife’s husband! 
The reason you get angry with yourself is because you love yourself. Love is what motivated Jesus. Godly anger is not getting even with somebody; it’s a righteous indignation that doesn’t sin. Godly anger comes at the right time, it’s expressed in the right way, and it’s aimed at the right thing. Righteous anger is to be channeled. 
When we get angry at the injustices we see, we need to do something about it instead of just talking about it. You say, “That’s what we pay you for, pastor. We’re behind you right down to the last drop of your blood!”
When people are righteously angry, that’s worth more than all the laws on the books. We get angry at the right time, for the right reason, for the right things, and in the right way.
Sudden anger is to be controlled, sinful anger is to be condemned, stubborn anger is to be conquered, and sanctified anger is to be channeled. 
Proverbs 19:12 says, “The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favor is as dew upon the grass.”
The King of kings is Jesus. He’s the Lion of the tribe of Judah. You can face His wrath if you want to, or you can have His favor if you want to. You can be saved today and not have to face the King’s wrath. You can be saved by receiving Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. You’re not going to be able to conquer anger or anything else until you have Christ on the inside. 
It’s not victory over the devil that you need; it’s the Victor over the devil that you need. Whatever you’re filled with is what spills out when you’re jostled. That’s what I call Seven-Up theology. A bottle of Seven-Up can look so cool, calm and collected, but just shake it up and see what happens.
If you’re filled with Jesus, then when you’re jostled, Jesus will spill out. But you need to be saved and to have every sin forgiven. To be saved means that Jesus now lives in your heart. To be saved means that when you die you’ll go to Heaven. Are you saved?

Larry V. Young

 

Gary Flynt shared Larry V. Young‘s post.

1 min · 

 
 
 

Larry V. Young

11 hrs · 

 

WND EXCLUSIVEJONATHAN CAHN CALLS OUT OBAMA, GIVES CHARGE TO TRUMPMessianic rabbi stuns at Inaugural Prayer Breakfast

Jonathan Cahn (Official Site)·Friday, January 27, 2017

His last speech at the annual gathering in the nation’s capital was called “the most important speech given in modern American history.”

But the tone could not have been more different when Jonathan Cahn returned to the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast, held just before Donald J. Trump succeeded Barack Obama as commander in chief. The messianic rabbi, whom some have called “America’s Prophet” and the author of sensational bestsellers, including the new devotional “The Book Of Mysteries,” hailed the rise of Trump as an example of God’s will.

Warning the audience his message would be “true” rather than “politically correct,” Cahn reminded them it is God who decides who rules nations and empires.

“We’ve come from every part of this land to stand before the Almighty, before whom kings and kingdoms rise and fall, and nations ascend and descend, Who alone remains the same yesterday, today and forever,” he intoned.

The Bible teacher presented a grim image of the Obama era and spoke of the remarkable victory of the new president as a sign of God’s hand in the affairs of men.

“America stood at the threshold,” he said. “In the face of an election that threatened to establish for ages the edicts of apostasy and the ways of godlessness, and an open war against the people and gospel of God. And then there was Donald Trump. There had never been a candidate like him. Whatever it was that one was never supposed to do while running for president, he did them all.”

Cahn’s remarks were met with applause and laughter. But after all, what else could explain Trump’s unprecedented victory except for God?

“Poll after poll foretold a sure Democratic victory if not a landslide,” Cahn said. “The Democrats prepared for victory. The Republicans prepared for defeat … but then something happened. And nobody was sure what exactly what. The election took a strange turn and whatever everybody was sure couldn’t happen, happened. The media was in shock. The Democrats were in shock. Obama was in shock. The Republicans were in shock. Obama was in shock. And it appears Donald Trump couldn’t believe it happened, either.

“But as it was written in ancient times, it is no less true to this day: ‘As high as the heavens are above the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts.’ And as we can bear witness today in the city of Washington, on January 20, 2017, with God, nothing, shall be, impossible.”

Cahn framed Trump’s triumph as part of a continuing national drama that has defined America’s history, the same struggle between faith and apostasy that shaped the history of Israel. He spoke of Israel and the United States as the only nations in history founded “solely for the glory of God.”

Cahn cited John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who prophesied if America followed the ways of God, the Lord would “command a blessing” upon a people who were to be “as a city upon a hill.”

Indeed, explained Cahn, that is precisely what happened.

“Those who came to these shores four centuries ago dedicated the new civilization to God and consecrated it to His will and purposes,” Cahn said. “America was to be a city on a hill, a holy commonwealth. Its first governments were established in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God. Its public school system was founded for the purpose of teaching the Word of God. And as Winthrop had prophesied, God had commanded a blessing. America would become the most blessed, the most powerful and the most prosperous nation the world had ever seen, a praise and glory in the earth.”

Yet as with ancient Israel, America turned away from God, said Cahn, driving “Him out of our culture, out of our government, out of our lives and [banning] Him from our public squares.”

Instead of honoring the God of Israel, Cahn charged, America honored the idols of “carnality and gain, and gods of materialism and licentiousness.” 

The administration of Barack Obama, said Cahn, was the culmination of this process.

“In the past years eight years, America’s spiritual fall and moral descent has both deepened and accelerated,” he said. “The present administration has led this nation to champion the killing of the unborn, and not only within its own borders, but in that of other nations across the world. The present administration has labored to strike down the standards and order ordained by God concerning man and woman and marriage, not only within these borders, but around the world.”

Speaking directly to Obama, in the last hour of his presidency, Cahn asked the outgoing president: “If you overturn the edicts of God, should you be surprised that your own edicts will now be overturned? And if you strike down the precepts of God, will not your own precepts be struck down?”

“Under the [Obama] administration,” Cahn said, “relations between the United States and Israel have been brought to their lowest point in the history of the two nations. And the administration’s parting gift to the Jewish nation was to abandon it at the United Nations, to allow and even foster a resolution declaring that Israel’s ancient holy city Jerusalem, belonged not to Israel, but was, quote, ‘Palestinian territory.’ In this way too, the present administration was waging war against the Word of God.”

Given all this, Cahn suggested it is not surprising God “intervened” to essentially nullify Obama’s entire legacy. Yet this does not mean America is saved. The election is not the answer, Cahn said, but a window in which the answer can come. America is being given a chance.

“In the days of Israel’s apostasy, when the people were warring against His ways, God extended His mercy,” the rabbi explained. “He gave the people time to repent. So too, in the days of our apostasy, God is giving us a time to repent.”

Thus, the Trump administration should not be regarded as an unmitigated triumph. Instead, Cahn showed, it is a charge and a challenge laid before both the nation and the new chief executive. It is for American believers to fulfill what is commanded in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – to seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways. And it is for Donald Trump, a man who has not lived the life of a believer, to now become a vessel for God.

Cahn gave a charge to the new president.

“As you are lifted up to become the most powerful man on earth, remember always that it is the Almighty who lifts up kings to the throne, and the Almighty who removes them,” Cahn said to Trump. “Your authority comes not from man but from God, the King above all kings. Therefore, submit your life to His authority, and by His authority you shall lead. Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

“Your life has been a vessel of your will. Now it must become the vessel of His will and His purposes. Walk in His footsteps, seek His righteousness, and follow the leading of His voice.

“Uphold His ways, and you shall be upheld. Keep His Word and you shall be kept. Give honor to His name, above all names, and your name shall be honored. Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. If you do this, and you will arise, and you will shine, and the glory of the Lord will rise upon you.”

Such words may seem strange to those who seek secular explanations for political events. Yet after a year when nearly every political expert, every experienced strategist and every established institution was confounded and discredited, Americans are more open than ever to the simple truth at the heart of America’s destiny. If Americans repent and seek revival, God will answer their prayers, he said.

After all, the rabbi suggested, he already has. Just look at who is in the White House today. 

“What was it that all the experts and pollsters missed?” Cahn asked. “The answer was 3,000 years old: ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.’

“For the power of prayer is stronger than kingdoms. And God is faithful. And His promises are true.”

11 Chronicles 7:14, America Needs Healing, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

55 mins · 

 

America Needs Healing
II Chronicles 7:14

Take a look at II Chronicles 7:14. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
America needs healing. There are many examples of that, but I will discuss two. Anyone who calls homosexuality a sin, is pounced upon today. They’re called ignorant, bigoted, and homophobic for simply agreeing with the Bible. The Bible, God’s Word, calls homosexuality a sin. But we have come to a place in America where the chief sin is to call sin sin. 
If you preach against sin today, you’re told that you’re full of hate. If you preach against abortion, you’re told that you’re interfering with people’s personal lives, or that you’re trying to force your views on other people, or that you’re mixing religion with politics. 
If you try to get involved with civic life, you’re told to stay out because you’re a Christian. If you believe the Bible, you’re referred to as a fundamentalist. The church gets very little respect today. We brought that on ourselves because we have become savorless salt. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, “If the salt has lost its savor, it is good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.”
In the past, even those who didn’t agree with the church, still respected the church for its morality. But now they have plays on Broadway that depict Jesus as a homosexual who has sexual liaisons with His disciples. This is being funded with your tax dollars. And we’re told that if we say anything against it, we don’t believe in freedom of speech. I mean, these people speak about freedom of speech as though they fought at Valley Forge!
We, as a nation, are sick. We’re ripe for the judgment of God and we’re in serious trouble. And the judgment of God may come in ways we haven’t dreamed of. 
There several things I want you to notice about this text. It wasn’t a promise given to America; it was a promise given to Israel. But if you find the principle that applies to anything that was said in the old days, you just have to ask, “What did it mean then, how does it apply now, and how does it apply to me personally?” We’re not doing violence to this text if we apply its principles today. 
First, I want you to notice the people God has. He says, “If my people….” Sometimes we get into this thing of saying, “If only television would clean its act up……if only we could shut Planned Parenthood down…..if only we could shut the pornographers down…..if only the drug pushers were incarcerated……if only the liquor dealers could be shut down…..if only we could stop the casinos from being built……if only they would do right, etc.”
God doesn’t say that. God says, “If my people….” We’ve put the “if” in the wrong place. If God does send revival, He won’t route it through Washington! Our deliverance is going to arrive on Airforce One! It’s almost as if we’re saying, “If we could get our man in the White House, if we could get our people in Congress, if we could get our judges on the Supreme Court, then we could have revival. But even if we could get all that done, it wouldn’t bring revival. Only God can bring revival, and He won’t do it through the political process. The political process can reflect revival, but it can never bring revival. God said, “If my people….” That’s the first thing I want you to see. Revival doesn’t begin in the statehouse; it begins in the church house, and in my house, and in your house.
But there’s not only the people God has; there’s also the pride God hates. God says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves…” God hates pride. Proverbs 6:16-19 tells seven things that God hates. Number one on the list is pride.
It was pride that made the devil the devil. It was pride that corrupted the human race. Why do you think Eve ate the forbidden fruit? Do you think she wanted another piece of fruit to eat? She was in a garden filled with fruit! Satan lied to her and told her that if she’d eat that forbidden fruit she’d be as God. That’s pride. 
Every time you see a hospital you can say, “Pride did this.” Every time you see a mental hospital you can say, “Pride did this.” Every time you hear about a murder you can say, “Pride did that.” Every time you hear about a rape you can say, “Pride did that.” Every time you hear about a broken home you can say, “Pride did that.”
Had there been no pride, there would’ve been no sin. Had there been no sin, there’d be none of these other things. Pride is the root of all sin. We reek with pride in America today. We worship at the shrines of our computers and we sing praises to the Dow Jones!
I hear people pray, “Lord, make us humble.” I don’t pray that prayer. I don’t want God to humble me because He has ways of doing it that I know I won’t enjoy! I do want to be humble, but I have a choice to humble myself before God. I Corinthians 11:31 says that if we judge ourselves we won’t be judged. 
Many of us are trying to save face when that’s the thing we need to lose! We dress up and come to church and sing and smile while haughty, unbent and unbroken. We don’t want to confess our sin. We’re all guilty of self-preservation and a lack of genuine humility before God. James 4: 6 says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.”
How would you like to have God as an adversary? Not only would He not come to help you; but how would you like for Him to resist you? If you’re full of pride, that’s what’s going to happen. He resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Grace is the desire and the ability to do the will of God. 
There are the people God has, and the pride God hates, but then there is the prayer God hears. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven.” The phrase “seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways” is a description of the prayer God hears. 
God doesn’t hear every prayer. Sometimes we use prayer as a smokescreen to try to hide our sin. But I want you to understand that prayer without repentance is dangerous. It infuriates God. An unrepentant prayer makes God angry. Listen to Psalm 80:4. “O Lord God of hosts, how long will thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?” It would be better not to pray than to pray and make God angry!
Prayer that doesn’t seek God’s face and turn from its wicked ways is not only ineffectual, it stirs God’s anger. Most of us are seeking God’s hand instead of God’s face. Revival is when God turns His face toward us. Revival is the smile of God. 
We’re always praying, “God do something! God change the situation in Washington! God stop the murder of our children in the schools or in the abortion chambers. God stop the defiling of our girls with teenage pregnancy. God, do something!” In other words, we want God’s hand.
What we need is God’s face. We’re asking God to do something when He’s already doing something……..He’s judging. You say, “Will God judge America?” Friend, God is judging America! We’re under judgment right now! Pick up the newspaper. Read, look and see the filth, the pillage, the hate, the riots, the tears! Is it going to take oceans of blood and rivers of tears to get us to turn?
Do you know how God’s judging America? He’s just taking down the hedge. Satan has always been out there just trying to get in. The only reason we have the modicum of peace that we still have is because God hasn’t completely removed the hedge. If God completely takes down His hedge of protection, Hell will have a holiday!
Satan is trying to get through to this nation, to this church, and to your home. We need to seek God’s face. And the way we seek God’s face is to turn from our wicked ways. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Habakkuk 1:13 says, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…” So the way to seek God’s face is to turn from your wicked ways. 
We want God to bless us, but we say, “God, bless us anyhow…..God bless us in spite of our sin. We’re not going to repent and get right with you, but since you’re a loving God, bless us anyhow.” Friend, God sent me here to tell you that He’s not going to do it! Prayer is not a smokescreen where you can hide your sin.  
When Israel came against tiny Ai after conquering mighty Jericho, they were ignominiously defeated. Joshua fell on His face to seek God about it. But God said, “Joshua, what are you doing there on your face? There is sin in the camp. Don’t be down there with your face in the dirt wallowing to me when there’s sin in the camp of Israel.” And until Joshua purged that sin out, God’s face was turned away from His people. And when God’s face was turned against His people, they were defeated. 
There’s the people God has, there’s the pride God hates, there’s the prayer God hears, and finally, there is the promise God honors. “…..then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
When is “then”? “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways…”
We’re not going to have revival until we seek His face. I want to have revival for America, but that’s not a high enough motive. I want to have revival for my grandchildren’s sake….but that’s still not a high enough motive. Until we are consumed with the glory of God, we’re not going to get our prayers answered. Not for America’s sake, not for our family’s sake, but for Jesus’ sake. 
Peter Marshal, who used to be the chaplain for the U.S. Senate said, “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. May it ever be understood that our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else. … To the extent that America honors Thee, wilt Thou bless America, and keep her true as Thou has kept her free, and make her good as Thou has made her rich.”

(Church prayer time.)

Psalm 78: The Generation to come and the America of Tomorrow, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

The Generation To Come And The America Of Tomorrow
Psalm 78

Please find Psalm 78. I am not only concerned about the America of today, I’m concerned about the generation to come. What will America be like a few years from now if Jesus decides to tarry? I don’t believe He will, but what if? I would rather leave my children and grandchildren a nation of great godly principles than to leave them a nation of great wealth which will be squandered in a godless society. Psalm 78:1-7 says, “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generations to come might know them, even the children which should be born, who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”
The American dream was placed in the hearts and minds of our founding fathers by Almighty God. America didn’t just happen; it was the gift of Almighty God. But the American dream is quickly becoming a nightmare.
God had delivered Israel from the chains of slavery. He brought them into a good land and gave them the law and the Lord. They disobeyed the law and defied the Lord and judgment came to them. Now Asaph, the psalmist, is giving instruction to the nation Israel.
There is a great parallel between Israel of old and the America of today. The first thing I want you to know is this: we need to review our history. Verse 4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.” In other words, we need to show our children what God has done. Verse 5 says, “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children.” In other words, “Israel, review your history.”
Dad, you have been appointed of God to be a teacher of history. If we don’t teach the generation to come, we cut ourselves off from our roots. We have always been just one generation away from paganism.
I hear parents say, “I’m not going to force my views upon my children. I will let them decide for themselves.” If you have said that, you’re a French fry short of a Happy Meal! If you don’t teach them, the world is going to teach them, their teachers are going to teach them, their companions are going to teach them, the media is going to teach them, and MTV is going to teach them.
Humanist educators have the generation to come in their minds at all times. I’m going to quote a professor of educational psychiatry at Harvard University. “Every child in America, entering school at the age of 5, is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural Being, toward the sovereignty of his nation as a separate entity.”
Then he said, “It is up to you teachers to make all these sick children well by creating the international child of the future.” And you’re sitting around saying, “I’m not going to influence my children; I’m just going to let them make up their own minds.”
There is a systematic seduction of children today. Humanism sounds so good because it sounds like humanitarianism. But the name has been changed to protect the guilty!
Fathers, God holds you accountable to be a teacher of history. Our faith is to go from father, to son, to grandson. “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children.”
What is the history of America? The revisionists have tried to take it away from us. On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. It was a declaration of independence from earthly, despotic powers; but it was also a declaration of dependence upon Almighty God. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator…” They believed in creation, but you can’t even teach creation in public schools today. “Endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…” Our Constitution was written in the light of this declaration. But notice how the Declaration closes. “With a firm reliance upon the protection of Divine Providence.” That’s just a synonym for Almighty God! “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.”
It was declaration of independence from Great Britton, but it was a declaration of dependence upon Almighty God.
In 1778, James Madison, who was the architect of our federal constitution, said, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it; we have staked the future on the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves, according to the Ten Commandments of God.” But now you can’t even post the Ten Commandments on the classroom wall!
On April 30th, in his inaugural address, George Washington said, “My fervent supplication to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the council of nations, and whose Providential aid can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes.” He’s just saying, “We can’t do it without God.” But then he went on to say, “We should be no less persuaded, that the propitious smile of Heaven can never be expected upon nations that disregard the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” George Washington said, “Without God, it won’t be done!”
In December of 1820, Daniel Webster said, “Let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers brought hither their veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, labored in its hope; they sought to incorporate and to infuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political and literary.”
Our forefathers never thought of saying that we don’t need God in our government, or our education!
On July 4th, 1821, John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of this American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
The revisionists of history don’t want that taught to our children. But dads, you are to be the teachers of history.
On July 8th, 1845, President Andrew Jackson said, “The Bible is the Rock upon which our republic rests.”
In March of 1931, the U.S. Congress adopted The Star Spangled Banner as our national anthem. The fourth stanza says, “Praise the power that has made and preserved us a nation, then conquer we must when our cause it is just, and this be our motto, in God is our trust.”
In 1952, the year I was born, Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas said, “We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.”
In June 1954, the year Becky was born, Congress adopted the phrase Under God to be added to the Pledge of Allegiance.
In July of 1956, by joint resolution, Congress adopted the bill providing that the motto of the United States be In God We Trust.
In our national hymn the anthem says, “Our father’s God to Thee, author of liberty, to Thee we sing, long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light, protect us by Thy might, great God our King.”
Never say that America doesn’t have a king. We have presidents we can vote in or out, but we have a King we didn’t vote in and can’t vote out! We can deny Him and turn our backs on Him, but He’s still the King.
Our founding fathers rightly believed in the separation of church and state…..in other words there would be no national denomination……but they never believed in the separation of God from government!
How many of our children today know the things I’ve just talked about? Many of them are abysmally ignorant of these things. And according to the Bible, you fathers are to teach these things to your children. You may need to go to the library and learn these things yourself, but when you do, teach them to your children.
Not only do we need to teach our national history, we need to write down our own spiritual family history. Get the members of your family to write their testimony and put them in a book. Wouldn’t that be an amazing heirloom to pass down to future generations?
Booth Wilkinson imagines a family reunion. Imagine that the father and mother are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They are in the place of honor and the children and grandchildren are there to honor them. That couple loves each other more than they did at the beginning and they’re teasing and flirting with one another.
The next generation is there….the Baby Boomers. And their children are there….the ones who are in their teens and early 20’s.
When those who are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary were growing up, there weren’t any televisions. Few people ever travelled on an airplane. Not all of them had automobiles. They got their information through newspapers and an occasional book.
Then the Boomers came along. They weren’t raised with the shopping malls, or with computers, or with cell phones; however, the television and the space race came along. It gave you this sense that you were entering into a new era. You watched I Love Lucy, Fathers Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, etc. You might have enjoyed a transistor radio.
What about your kids? They watch MTV, HBO (Hell’s Box Office!), where nudity, profanity, homosexuality and vanity comes piped right into your living room. Your children talk with total strangers on computers on all kinds of subjects. They have been immersed in rock music. They have been “sexually liberated.” They live in a drug culture with a very weak commitment to Jesus Christ. God is laughed at and ridiculed by some in this generation.
What about the generation to come????
You need to study the history of your nation. You need to study the history of your family. You also need to know the history of your church. If churches get away from their history, the fruit will wither and die.
Also, pay attention to the history of the individual as well. Don’t think that your child has to have a PhD in sin before they can get saved. It is normal and natural for little children to come to Christ when they’re raised in a Christian home. When they get saved, write it down. Rejoice over it. Every year, not only let them have a natural birthday, but a supernatural birthday. “This is the day you got saved! Let’s celebrate and thank God!”
The devil wants to get us away from our heritage. God wants us to review our history. Our text says, “We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.”
Not only do we need to review our history; we need to renew our memory. It is so easy to forget. Verses 7-11 say, “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God. The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; and forgat his works, and his wonders that he had showed them.”
It is so easy to forget the blessings of Almighty God. Ephraim was the dominant tribe. They were the strongest and the most numerous, but they were defeated. They had excellent military equipment….they were carrying their bows. They were defeated because they forgot.
America is suffering from spiritual amnesia. We have those who want to rewrite our history. There are three memory killers and Ephraim suffered from all three….and so does America.
First, there is the lust of the flesh. Look at verse 17. “And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the Most High in the wilderness.” America is provoking God.
Verses 18-20 say, “And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people?”
Rather than thanking God for His blessings, they want more and more. This is the lust of the flesh. America suffers from an erosion of spiritual virtues and values. We have sexual permissiveness and the blatant parading of sexual perversion. We have the continued and casual disposal of the unborn and unwanted. We’re seeing the breakup of the family, the obsession of self and pleasure, and the numbing of conscience with drugs. We are rolling in luxury, and reveling in excesses, and reeling in drunkenness, and rotting in morals.
Not only did the lust of the flesh cause Ephraim to forget, there was also the lure of the world. Look at verses 40-42. “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.” How quickly we forget. We need to renew our memory.
But God is God! How can they limit the Holy One of Israel? How can anyone put a governor on God? The word “limited” is the word we get our word “horizon” from. They horizoned God.
When I’m flying, I see a great circle around me called the horizon. These people were saying, “God, you stay in here. Don’t get beyond what we can see.” We’ve done the same thing in America. We say, “God, stay inside that circle.”
So, in our schools, chastity is out and sex education and birth control for teens is in. The Ten Commandments are out and metal detectors are in. We need to renew our memory!
But not only did they forget because of the lust of the flesh, and the lure of the world, but because of the lies of the devil. Look at verse 58. “For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.”
They forgot the one true God who founded them as a nation and are now worshipping false gods.
Peter Jones wrote a book called The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back. I’m going to read a quotation from that book. “Have you asked yourself any of the following questions? Why is homosexuality on the rise with great moral fervor and in the name of democracy? Why is feminism such a powerful force today? Why is feminist spirituality making such inroads into Christianity? Why is abortion a vital part of the feminist manifesto? Is ecology just a natural concern about the survival of the planet? Or, does it, too, have a religious agenda? Why is the work ethic no longer working? Why is multi-culturalism and political correctness so important on many college campuses? Are these seemingly disconnected issues related in any way to the New Age Movement? Why are numerous New Age spiritual techniques for healing, peace of mind and self-knowledge being publicized so vigorously in the media, utilized more and more in the business world and the armed forces? The real question is this: Are these apparent disconnect issues really a part of a coherent pagan ideology, poised to impose its religious belief system on the New World Order; the Age of Aquarius century?”
We need to wake up and review our history and renew our memory. But then, we need to reclaim our legacy. Look at verses 59-61. “When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: so that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; and delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.”
America will become a molded crust in history’s garbage can. Not only is God our only hope; He is our biggest threat! The nation that was born in 1776 must be born again or we will join the graveyard of the nations!
What about the generation to come? What about the America of tomorrow? What will it be like if we fail to turn to God? What will it be like if this generation doesn’t rise up and say, “Enough is enough!”
In WWII there were some French who were taken captive by the Germans. The Germans took the French and made them work in a munitions factory building bombs. They knew that the bombs they were building would be dropped on their own French brothers and sisters. But when the German Luftwaffe would drop those bombs they would just go “bloop” instead of explode. Some of the German experts got hold of these bombs to find out why they weren’t exploding. When they dismantled the bomb, they found a note inside of every one of them. The French had built in a malfunction and the note said, “We are doing the best we can with what we’ve got where we are every chance we get!”
I am only one man, but I want to do the best I can with what I’ve got where I am every chance I get! If we all do that, we can change this nation. There are enough Christians in America that, if they would wake up and do right, and review their history, and renew their memory, they can reclaim America.
Now America won’t save you or get you to Heaven. It would be a terrible thing for you to live in a God-blessed land and go to Hell. You need Jesus Christ. You need to be saved. If we need God in America, how much more do you need Him in your heart? You need to be born again. If you’re not saved, come and let me lead you in a prayer where you can invite Jesus to be your personal Savior and Lord.

1 Peter 5, The Shepherd and His Sheep, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

2 hrs · 

 

The Shepherd And His Sheep
I Peter 5

Take a look at I Peter 5:1-4. “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
Peter is addressing the early church which was going through some tough times. These people knew a lot about sheep, so he’s using an illustration they can relate to. He says that God’s children are like sheep.
If God’s people are like sheep, then the church is like a flock. The pastor is the shepherd of the flock. Jesus is the chief Shepherd to whom the shepherd of the flock will have to give an account one day.
Folks, it isn’t a compliment that God calls us sheep! A sheep is wayward. A sheep is dumb! Have you ever seen a trained sheep? Sheep get lost. I Peter 2:25 says, “You were as sheep going astray…” Isaiah said, “All we like sheep have gone astray…”
People, like sheep, will nibble here and browse there until they get lost and can’t find their way back to the sheepfold. Like it or not, God characterizes us as dumb sheep. We need the sheepfold, we need the shepherd, and we certainly need the chief Shepherd. When sheep get lost, they just keep going. They don’t come back.
Have you ever tried to get rid of a cat? You can take him out in the country and he’ll find his way back. There are famous stories of how dogs get back home from clear across the country. A horse can find the barn again. But a sheep gets lost and stays lost. 
Not only is a sheep wayward, a sheep is weak. They have no way to protect themselves. A horse can run, a mule can kick, a cat can scratch, a dog can bite, and you know what a skunk can do! But the Bible says, “As a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. We are led as lambs to the slaughter…” That’s the weakness of a sheep.
But a sheep is also worthwhile. He’s a valued animal. The Lord values us. A man can profit from a sheep. It gives wool, and milk and meat. 
A sheep’s not like a dog or a hog; the sheep is a clean animal. We are God’s saints. We’ve been born again of the Spirit of God. And since we’re like sheep, we’re worth something even though we’re weak and wandering. The Lord loves His sheep and gathers them together in His sheepfold…the church. 
Sheep aren’t to go off on their own: they are to be part of a flock. And God gives a shepherd to that flock to keep the sheep congregating together. 
Sometimes you’ll hear someone say, “I’m a Christian who loves the Shepherd (talking about the chief Shepherd), but I just don’t want to be part of a church.” That’s a good way for a sheep to get devoured!
There are many things out there that would love to devour the sheep. Look at I Peter 5:8. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”
God wants us to be in the protection of a flock with a shepherd looking over us. If you try to be a Lone Ranger sheep, you’re going to get into trouble!
There are wolves that would devour the flock and there are thieves that will steal the sheep. So the Lord, because of our weakness and waywardness, but also because of our worth, has put us in a sheepfold with a shepherd to lead us.
The pastor is the shepherd. One of the good things about preaching through the Bible book by book and verse by verse is that you can’t skip over the hard parts. Now we come to a verse that doesn’t talk to you; it talks to me. But I have to preach it anyway. So now you’ll hear a sermon by the pastor to the pastor. But you need to listen anyway because verse 3 says that I’m to be an example to the flock. All of us have some kind of flock over which we are the shepherd.
Your flock may be your family, your Sunday school class, your friends at school, your employees, etc. All of us have some sphere of influence and all of us need to be spiritual leaders.
First, I want you to notice the role of the pastor. Look at I Peter 5:1-2. “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”
I want you to underscore the words “elder,” “feed,” and “oversight.” Those three words describe the role of the pastor. The word “elder” and “bishop” are used interchangeably in the Bible. Read Acts 20 sometime and you will see these words being used interchangeably to describe the same office. 
The pastor is to be a man of maturity. That’s what the word “elder” means. It doesn’t have anything to do with old age. The word “elder” doesn’t mean “elderly.” It refers to one with maturity and wisdom. 
The pastor is also to be a man of ministry. He is to feed the flock and he is to guard the flock. In Acts 20 Paul said, “After my departure, many grievous wolves will come in, not sparing the flock.” Peter gives us the same warning about lions in I Peter 5:8. 
The pastor knows that the devil is going to try to harm the flock, and divide the flock, and discourage the flock, and devour the flock. There are those who will try to steal the sheep, and fleece the sheep, and lead the sheep astray. The pastor has to be vigilant over those who would try to harm his sheep. A pastor is to be very protective over his sheep.
Not only is he to guard the flock; he is to guide the flock. A shepherd leads. In John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and the follow me.” The pastor guides the flock. 
Sometimes people get the idea that a church is a democracy, but they didn’t get that idea out of the Bible. A church is not a democracy; it is a theocracy. It’s led by God who calls shepherds to oversee His flock. The Chief Shepherd calls under shepherds to lead his flock.
There are churches today where the pastor is not the leader. They say, “All you sheep that want to graze over here say, ‘Baa, baa.’ And all you sheep that want to graze over there say, ‘Baa, baa’” That’s not leadership!
If a pastor is a man of God, you are to follow him. If he’s not, you’re to fire him! When the man of God get a word from God about what the people of God are to do, then they are to do it! Jesus says, “My sheep follow me.”
Not only is the pastor to guard the flock and guide the flock, he is to grow the flock. It is not the pastor’s job to reproduce sheep. Some church may not be growing so they say, “We need to hire a great soul-winning pastor.” No, that’s not what they need. Yes, the pastor is to be a soul-winner. He’s to be an example of a soul-winner. But that’s not the way you grow a church. The way to grow a church is for the man of God to stand behind the pulpit of God and open the Word of God and preach it with the Spirit of God! The purpose of that is to build up the saints of God in the Spirit of God. Healthy sheep will reproduce!
Many of you are here in this auditorium today because one of our healthy sheep went out and reproduced himself or herself. Many of you are here because, in obedience to the Lord, I went out as an example to the flock and won you to the Lord.
So what is my job as the pastor of this church? I am to guard the flock, I am to guide the flock, and I am to grow the flock by feeding the flock the Word of God. That takes time! And you must see to it…..even demand that your pastor have his time alone with God. That’s why the early Christians said, “It is not meet that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. We must give ourselves to the ministry of the word and to prayer.”
There is he to be a man of maturity, and a man of ministry; he is to be a man of management. He’s not only an elder; he’s a bishop. 
A bishop is not some super clergyman whose job it is to move other pastors around from church to church. The word “episcopos” means “oversight.” The pastor is to have oversight, or to guide the affairs of the church. You’ll never find a church being run by committees in the Bible. God ordains elders and appoints bishops and gives leaders to churches. 
We have a godly bunch of people on our Administrative Committee here in this church. But make no mistake, if they start to go in the wrong direction, I will step in! They are a helping arm to the pastor. They don’t run the church; they serve the church. But God’s churches are pastor-led churches. They are to be men of maturity, men of ministry and men of management. We are to be elders, pastors and bishops. That’s the role of a pastor and churches that are growing have that kind of leadership. 
There’s not only the role of the pastor; there is the responsibility of the pastor. “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.”
First, he is to have the right ministry, which is to feed the flock. He must be a preacher of the Word. No matter what else he does, if he doesn’t do this, he’s going to be an ignominious failure. And the man of God can’t preach about things he doesn’t know about himself. 
In verse 1 Peter says that He has seen the suffering and glimpsed the glory of Christ. Every preacher had better know something of the crucifixion and the coronation of Jesus Christ.
Not only am I to have the right ministry, I’m to have the right motivation. Verse 2 says that the man of God is to take oversight of the church. How? Peter says that it’s not to be by constraint, but willingly. It’s not to be filthy lucre, but a ready mind.
I am not to preach begrudgingly, but willingly. I’m not in the ministry because my mother wanted me to do this or because some group of people wanted me to do this. Every true preacher must have the knowledge that God put him into this ministry.
I’m infinitely glad that God called me to preach. You need to come to a place where you love and trust God so much that you, in essence, sign your name to a blank contract and ask God to fill it in. Without grudging you say, “God, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.”
I came to that place in my life. I had no idea that God would call me to preach. I was the least likely person to become a preacher, and everyone who knew me would agree with that statement. But somehow, God put a germ of a thought into my heart and mind that He wanted me to preach. I questioned God about this because I didn’t come from this kind of background. No one in my family was even a Christian, let alone in the ministry! 
This thought kept getting stronger and stronger until finally I said, “God, if you don’t want me to preach, you’d better tell me!” I finally understood that this is what He wanted me to do, so I made it public. I’ve never regretted it. 
But not only am I to do this willingly; I am to do it eagerly……or with “a ready mind.” I feel sorry for people who hate their work. The happiest time of my life is when I’m doing what I’m doing right now. Do you think I do this because you pay me? Not hardly! I couldn’t even be your pastor if I didn’t have other sources of income. When I entered the ministry, I walked away from a job that paid many times the amount you pay me in order to make $75.00 per week. In order to preach where God wanted me to preach, I’ve turned down other ministry jobs where my travel expense check was more than my annual salary here. I’m just grateful you take care of my necessities. The Bible says that you should! I Timothy 5:17-18 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.”
A pastor is to have his needs met so he can give himself to the ministry of the Word of God. But money should never be his motivation. He’s not a hireling. The Bible says, “The hireling fleeth, but the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
Folks, I have paid for the privilege of preaching! I have preached in jails, I’ve preached on street corners and in city parks, I’ve preached in jungles, on beaches, in slums…..not for possessions, not for position, not for popularity, not for praise of men, but for Jesus!
The pastor ought to know that God has called him, he ought to do his job willingly and he should do it eagerly. Not only should he have the right ministry and the right motive; he ought to have the right manner. Verse 3 says, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.”
The pastor is to be a strong leader, but not a dictator. He’s a fellow servant. By the way, in verse 1 Peter calls himself “a fellow elder.” If he was the first pope, he sure didn’t know it! He didn’t consider himself the prince of the church: he saw himself as a fellow servant of Jesus Christ. The flock doesn’t belong to the pastor; it belongs to the chief Shepherd. We are to be an example of what we preach. 
He has no right to ask you to be a soul-winner if he’s not a soul-winner. He has no right to ask you to give if he doesn’t give. He has no right to ask you to life a pure, separated, godly life if he doesn’t live that way. He has no right to ask you to pray if he doesn’t pray. He’s to be an example.
Don’t get the idea that God requires certain things out of me because I’m the pastor, but He doesn’t require those things out of you. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have any confidence in a man who would leave one church and go to another one for more money.” If that’s his motivation, he’s a hireling and shouldn’t be in the ministry. But by the same token, you have no business going from one place of employment to another for more money. What’s the matter? Aren’t you going to say, “Amen!” now that the shoe’s on the other foot?
It took just as much of the blood of Christ to save you as it did me. Your question should be, “Does Jesus want me to go to that other job?” not, “Does that other job pay more money?”
You may move from Arlington to some other place, but remember, you have a job in this church. You may be a Sunday school teacher, or a song leader, or whatever. But your boss says, “I want you to move to another city and I’ll pay you $10,000 more per year.” You say, “That settles it!” NO THAT DOESN’T SETTLE IT!!! 
I’m sick and tired of corporations moving men around like checkers on a checkerboard without thinking of their families, their homes, their schools, their churches, and everything else they’re breaking up!
It’s time you sought the will of God and what He wants you to do! A pastor is to live this way, and he is to be an example to his flock. 
The pastor leads by serving…..but he’s a leader nonetheless. We need to see that we are his sheep. We need to see that we’re wayward, that we’re weak, but that we have worth. God put us into flocks (churches) so we could be led and preserved. In His goodness, God has given us a shepherd and He has equipped him. We are to follow that man. 
When we start living by God’s plan and obeying God’s commands, we’ll see churches being what God intended for them to be. But there’s not only the role of the pastor and the responsibilities of the pastor; there is the reward of the pastor. Verse 4 says, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
Knowing that the chief Shepherd is coming back keeps me properly motivated. One day I will have to face Him and say, “Lord, here’s what I’ve done with the flock you gave me.” He has warned me that there are those who are out to get His flock and that I’m not to allow that to happen. 
The Head of the church doesn’t live in Nashville or Rome; He lives in Heaven. I love our denomination, but I serve Jesus. I don’t have to give an account to Nashville, or any committee, or anybody else. I will give my account to Jesus!
I hope you pray for your shepherd every day, because I need the strength and the wisdom to care for the flock.
Are you one of His sheep? If not, you can be today. You say, “Brother Gary, I know I’m saved.” Okay. Do you have a flock? Have you come into His church? Are you submitted to an under-shepherd? Are you under the authority of a New Testament, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church? You need to be….and you need to be today. Would you come during the invitation?

1 Peter 3:18-22 The Conquering Christ, Paster Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

51 mins · 

 

The Conquering Christ
I Peter 3

Take a look at I Peter 3:18-22. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
Jesus is alive! His death was the death of death. He won a victory in that tomb! Peter is talking to some folks who are suffering through some tough times. Our timeless truth for today is that Christ is raised from the dead. This is a truth that science can’t explain, that history can’t repeat, and that time can’t erode away.
I want you to see four things about the conquering Christ today. First, there is His victorious atonement. Verse 18 says “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” Jesus suffered like no man has ever suffered. He suffered deep in His soul. In Gethsemane He said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.” The weight of that mental anguish bore down on Him and He lived His whole life in the shadow of the cross.
Have you ever thought about the agony of anticipation? Have you ever known that you were going to have to do something that was distasteful or hurtful? Psalm 88:15 says, “I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up…” Every thorn Jesus saw on a rose bush reminded Him of the crown of thorns He would wear. Every piece of rough timber in Joseph’s carpenter shop reminded Him of that cross. Every time He drove a nail with a hammer it reminded Him that these would one day bind Him to a cross. Jesus lived in soulish anguish anticipating His cross.
But not only did He suffer in mentally, He suffered physically. John 19:1 simply says, “They scourged Him.” In a scourging, they would stretch a man’s arms between two pillars, or tie his hands to a rope and pull it through a single ring on a pole till only his tiptoes were touching the ground. They stripped them of their clothing. A man would have a whip with a wooden handle on one end. Out of that handle were strips of leather which had pieces of bone, or sharp metal attached to it. 
The men who did the scourging were experts. They would lash their victims and as they pulled back, pieces of flesh would be torn away. They tried to remove as much flesh as they could without killing their victims. Historians tell us that if a man could move at all after a scourging, he crawled away instead of walking away.
After they had reduced Jesus’ flesh to ribbons, they took Him to Pilate’s judgment hall. There the soldiers made sport of Him. They put a purple robe on Him and stuck a wilted reed in His hands for scepter. They wove a crown of thorns and pushed it into His brow. They blindfolded him and played what they called The Game of Kings. 
Corresponding to the Jewish Passover, the Romans had the feast of Saturnalia. In this feast they would mock a king. If they didn’t have a real king to do it with, they would make a man of straw and buffet him around. But this time they had a very special prisoner who called himself the King of the Jews. 
After they had blindfolded Him, they began to shove Him from one soldier to another. Every soldier He was shoved to would smite Him and say, “If you’re a prophet, then tell us who smote you!” Another soldier would yank the beard out of His cheeks. Isaiah tells us He was disfigured so badly that He was no longer recognizable as a man. Some of the soldiers would spit on Him while others would beat Him with clubs. When the Bible says that they smote Him with reeds, don’t think they were hitting Him with something fragile. It was basically a bamboo club. They would bruise the Lord Jesus and drive those thorns deeper into His brow. 
Blood was running from His nose, His teeth were loosened, His temples were pierced, His face was swollen, His body was flayed open, and it would have been hard to tell whether it was a man or an animal that had been stripped of its skin. 
No wonder Christ couldn’t bear that cross. They took Him to a place called Calvary and stretched him out on that hellish torture machine called a cross. They took iron nails and tried to hit the median nerve which would send flashing pain up His arms and into His torso.
They weren’t interested in merely killing a man; they wanted Him to suffer so as to be an example to everybody else. Execution on a cross was to strike terror into the hearts of everyone who was thinking about rebelling against Rome.
Once he was fixed to the cross with His arms at a 90 degree angle, they would lift Him up and let the cross thud into a hole. Now His arms were at a 65 degree angle which put all of His weight on the chest cavity. In order to keep His legs from flaying around, they took spikes and drove them through his feet. With His weight on His chest, it was almost impossible to breathe. He would have to push up on those spikes in His feet to get a breath. 
When He got a breath, He would release the tension on his feet because the pain was so bad from the spikes. Then that suffocating feeling would return to His chest. He would push up again…all the while scraping his flayed open back against that rough cross…and get another breath. Soon, shock takes over. Fever rages through His body. Cramps, dizziness, thirst, nausea, spasms, convulsions, bones out of joint…..it’s all happening to Jesus.
He suffered mentally, He suffered physically, and He suffered spiritually. He died alone on that cross. From eternity past, He had been in fellowship with the Father. Now, He is the object of the Father’s scorn and wrath. All the sins of the centuries are now on the back of Christ. The One who had never known sin, has become sin for us that He might bring us to God. And what is the suffering for sin? It is spiritual death.
This is not the separation of the soul from the body, but the separation of the soul from God. God is of purer eyes than to behold sin. He now turns His face away from His Son and Jesus feels the presence of God leave Him. That’s when He cries out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
There, suspended between heaven and earth, forsaken by God and despised by men, was the Lamb of God. He died for us and we died in Him. He died in our place. But not only did He die vicariously, He died victoriously. His death was the death of death. What seemed to be Satan’s greatest victory is his greatest defeat.
The envious elders looked at Jesus and said, “He’s dead.” The proud Pharisees looked at Jesus and said, “He’s dead.” The sneering Sadducees looked at Jesus and said, “He’s dead.” The delighted demons looked at Jesus and said, “He’s dead.” And He was dead. The One who had said, “I AM,” now looks to be, “I WAS.” The light of the world has gone out.
But there’s not only His victorious atonement; there is His victorious announcement. Let’s see what happens while His body is dead. Verse 18 says, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
His Spirit is given life again. On the cross He had said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit.” His body was put into that cold, clammy tomb. His body was restrained, but His Spirit was released. And with that Spirit He went on a preaching mission. Verse 19 says that with this “quickened” or “living” Spirit He went and preached to the spirits in prison. Who’s that? And what did He preach? Is He giving people who had died a second chance to be saved? NO! The Bible says, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.” There is no second chance after death.
Is he telling angels that they can be saved? No, angels can’t be saved. So who are these spirits in prison? Let’s let Peter tells us. Look at II Peter 2:4. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” 
There is a certain class of angels who are chained in a pit called tartaroo. The Bible translates that word into “hell.” They are being held there until the time of the fulfillment of God’s judgment. They are in prison. 
The Spirit of the Lord descends into the lower parts of the earth to preach to these captives. And the word “preach” here is not in the form of the word which means to evangelize. It’s the form which means, “to proclaim a victory.”
When a Roman general would win a victory, he would have a runner go ahead of him and proclaim that the victory had been won. Jesus is doing that. There are some fallen angels loose in the world today which we call demons. But there are some fallen angels that are not loose. They are in chains in tartaroo waiting for the judgment. It is to them that Jesus went and proclaimed this victory.
You say, “I don’t understand the point of all this.” Peter is saying that Jesus is preaching to people who are suffering….who have been victimized by the devil. In a moment, He will tell them, “Your adversary the devil, goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Peter says, “I want you to know that Jesus has been victorious.”
Paul told us in Philippians 2:10 that there’s coming a time when “Every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus.” Then he says that knees in heaven will bow, knees on earth will bow, and that knees under the earth shall bow. Christ has won the victory in Heaven above, in Earth beneath, and in Hell below. There is no place His victory isn’t complete.
Jesus stripped the one who had the power of death, and even in the caverns of Hell they know about His victory. Even they shall confess that Jesus is Lord.
We see Jesus in His victorious atonement and we see Jesus in His victorious announcement. He says, “Spirits in prison, it’s over…..it’s finished.”
I also want you to see His victorious achievement. As a result of everything we’ve talked about, we can be saved. Look at I Peter 3:20-21. “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Peter is talking about salvation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter gives two illustrations. The first has to do with Noah’s ark, and the other has to do with baptism. Both Noah’s ark and baptism illustrate salvation. 
Peter talks about these angels whose sins were connected to the days of Noah and say, “This reminds me of salvation through Noah’s ark.” That ark was a picture of Jesus Christ. God was going to judge the world in Noah’s day. Their sins were connected to these fallen angels and others who had caused this world to become a stench in the nostrils of God. So God decides to judge and cleanse this world and start over again with Noah and his family.
God told Noah to build an ark to some very exacting specifications. Then He said, “I want you to pitch it within and without.” Everywhere else in the Bible that word “pitch” is translated “atonement.” God is saying, “Noah, I want you to put atonement in the inside and outside of that ark.”
What did the water represent? It represented judgment. But not one drop of judgment could come through God’s atonement. Do you see the picture? As long as Noah was safe inside that ark, which represents Jesus, not one drop of judgment could get to him.
There’s only one door in that ark. God said, “Noah, come into the ark.” He didn’t say, “Go into the ark.” When He said, “Come into the ark,” that means God was already in there. He’s saying, “Come in here where I am.” He’s not saying, “You go in there and I will stay out here.” Since God is in the ark, Noah’s not going down unless God goes down. In other words, that ark can’t sink!
And when Noah came into the ark, God shut the door. Again, this is a picture of salvation. The Bible says that after we believe in Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Not only did God shut the water out; He shut Noah in. That’s why we are so secure in Christ.
Some people think you can be saved and lost again. I guess they think Noah and his family were outside the ark holding on and hoping they didn’t fall off! No! Noah and his family were locked safely inside. Noah may have fallen down many times in the ark, but he never fell out of the ark. 
People who don’t believe in the security of the believer have the idea that one day they might make it into heaven, and when they do, they will shut the door behind them and say, “Whew, I made it! Now I’m secure!” Friend, if you’re not secure down here, you won’t be secure in Heaven. We just read about some angels who fell from Heaven! Our security is not in a place, it’s in a Person who’s name is Jesus! Either you are in that ark, or you are out of the ark.
Our text says that Noah was saved by water. How could he be saved by the water that almost killed everybody? It all depends on your relationship to the ark. If you’re in the ark, the ark saves you. If you’re outside the ark, the water condemns you.
The water represents the judgment of God. That judgment either saves you or condemns you. That same judgment fell on Jesus. If you let what happened to Jesus become your ark of safety, then that judgment will bear you up. But if you refuse what happened to Jesus, that judgment will be used to condemn you. It all depends on your relationship to the ark. You will either sail over the judgment, or you will sink under the judgment.
Peter starts out talking about angels. That reminds him of the ark. The ark reminds him of the water. The water reminds him of baptism. And he says, “Baptism doth also now save us.” Then he says, “Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh…” 
Friend, you can be baptized so many times that the tadpoles have your social security number, but it still won’t save you if all that happens is your skin gets wet! You are not saved by baptism, or by what some people call baptismal regeneration.
You say, “But it says right here that baptism saves us.” Yes, but what kind of baptism? The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the only kind of baptism that can save you….not water baptism. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is what places you in the body of Christ (the ark). The Bible refers to the process wherein we are placed into the body of Christ, Spirit baptism. 
As Baptists, we believe in immersion baptism because that’s the only kind of water baptism the Bible teaches. Baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Look at Romans 6:4-5. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”
Why did I get immersed after I got saved? Because that was my funeral. That water was my liquid tomb. I went under just like the people in Noah’s day went under if they weren’t inside that ark. The old, dirty, sinful Gary Flynt is dead and buried. He’s underneath the water of judgment. And the only mourner at my funeral was the devil. He hated to see me die because he had depended so much on me.
But I was buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and I was raised in the likeness of His resurrection. If you’ve been saved, you need to be baptized. You say, “Oh, it doesn’t make that much difference if I get baptized.” Who are you to say that what Jesus has commanded doesn’t make much difference?
Don’t you know that the devil would love to get the picture of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection out of the church? It pictures Christ’s victorious achievement.
But He also had His victorious attainment. Verse 22 speaks of our Savior, “…who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” There is no area where His victory is not complete. 
Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried by sin far away. Rising He justified freely forever, and one day He’s coming, oh, glorious day!

1 Peter 3: How does God Forgive Sin, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

7 mins · 

 

How Does God Forgive Sin?
I Peter 3

Take a look at I Peter 3:18. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…”
Our timeless truth for tough times today comes in the form of a question: How Does God Forgive Sin?
Suppose somebody comes up and punches you in the nose. You decide to be big-hearted about it and say, “I forgive you.” And suppose the offender says, “You don’t need to forgive me because I’ve already forgiven myself.” And suppose there is a third person who sees this whole thing and he says, “Fellows, you don’t have to worry about who’s going to forgive who, because I forgive both of you.” But what does that guy have to do with it? He didn’t get punched in the nose!
The only one who can forgive anything is the person who was punched in the nose, right? We need to understand who it is that can forgive sin. Sin is an affront to God, and He is the One who needs to forgive sin.
There’s a bunch of psychological garbage floating around today where people say, “I want you to know that I’ve forgiven myself.” You can’t forgive yourself! Your sin is against God!
But we have another group of people who say that all we need is to be affirmed. It’s the “I’m ok, you’re ok” crowd. But how can I affirm two people when one has punched the other in the nose? God has been offended because all sin is against God. God is the One who has to forgive us.
So how does God forgive sin? I Peter 3:18 tells us. There are 4 things I want you to see about the sacrifice of Calvary. First, it was a substitutionary sacrifice. I Peter 3:18 tells us that the Just suffered for the unjust. The word “for” means “in the place of.” Christ took our place. We are the sinners. We are sinners by birth, by choice and by practice.
We are sinners, but God is holy. And God will never let one half of one sin go unpunished. But God loves us, so He’s faced with a problem. How can He love the sinner and at the same time punish sin? He can do it with a substitutionary sacrifice. He can do it through someone who takes that punishment on our behalf. It has to be a person who is righteous enough to become our substitute. It must be Someone who has never known sin. Of course, the only One who can do that is the Son of God. He didn’t just die for us; He died instead of us. 
God told His people, who were being held captive in Egypt, “I am going to judge sin. I will slay the firstborn in every home as a judgment upon sin. But I want you to take a male lamb…a firstling of the flock…without spot or blemish, and kill it. Take the blood and put it on the lentils and doorposts of your house.”
When God passed through the land that night, if He saw the blood, He passed over. Inside that house was a sinner, but the blood of an innocent lamb had been applied to that house. That lamb had become a substitute.
At the exact time Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, special herdsmen from Bethlehem were bringing special lambs to the temple on Mt. Moriah. The priests begin to examine those lambs to see if they were perfect….to see if they were without spot or blemish. They would look at the hooves, the skin, inside the mouth, under the eyelids, etc.
Have you ever wondered why the Gospels deal so heavily with the last week of Jesus’ life? His ministry had lasted over three years, yet one third of the Gospels is given to the last week of His life…..and most of that to the last three days! Why? It was during that time that the Son of God was being examined. The Pharisees examined Him, the Sadducees examined Him, Herod examined Him, the civil leaders examined Him, etc. They had to say, “Never a man spake like this man.” Pontius Pilate had to say, “I find no fault in Him.”
No blemishes were found. Then the priests started to sharpen their lethal knives so they could cut the throats of these Passover lambs. At the exact time….3 o’clock in the afternoon…when those priests pulled back the chins of those little lambs and cut their throats, God’s Lamb bowed His head and said, “It is finished.”
Both lambs were sacrificed on Mt. Moriah, where centuries before, God told Abraham, “I will provide myself a lamb.” He didn’t say, “I will provide a lamb for myself,” He said, “I will provide myself a lamb.” And God did provide Himself as a lamb. And when He said, “It is finished,” He was saying, “Priests, you can go home now. We don’t need you anymore.”
The Old Testament Levitical system is finished. God’s Lamb has fulfilled it all. He is the Just who provided Himself for the unjust. His blood has been applied to our hearts by faith, just as the blood had been applied to those doorposts so long ago. Therefore God’s judgment passes over us.
Did Peter have all this in mind when he wrote this? Go back and look at I Peter 1:18-19. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Do you remember Barabbas? He was a rebel, a thief and a murderer who had been sentenced to death by crucifixion for his crimes. And Pilate, who didn’t have the backbone to let an innocent man go on his own, came up with a scheme. He told the people, “You have this just man, Jesus, and this unjust man, Barabbas before you. My custom is to release any prisoner you want at this time of year. Who do you want: Jesus or Barabbas?” They said, “Barabbas.”
Then he said, “What shall I do with Jesus? They said, “Let him be crucified.” They chose a murdering thief over an innocent man. They chose the unjust over the Just. 
A Roman soldier goes to the cell of Barabbas. He’s lying there quivering on the straw with terror and hatred and sin written on his face. The guard says, “Come!” Barabbas sobs and says, “No, no, not now! I don’t want to go!” The guard says, “Barabbas, you can quit your sniveling. You’re the luckiest man I know. You’re not going to die.”
The guard tells Barabbas about the howling mob and how they chose Christ to be crucified in his place. He says, “Barabbas, you’re a free man, but I want to show you something. Do you see that man over on that hill? Do you see those three crosses? The middle one was yours. But that Man is dying in your place.”
What a picture God has given us in the Gospels of the Just dying for the unjust. You say, “That doesn’t apply to me because I’m not a thief.” Oh, yes, you are! If you haven’t given you heart to God, then you are an unjust steward. If you breathe God’s air, and walk in His sunshine, and walk on His green earth, but you haven’t given God the glory that belongs to Him, then you are a thief!
You say, “But I’m not a murderer!” Yes, you are. You helped to murder the Son of God. Your sin is the nails that held Him to that cross. Your hard heart is the hammer that drove those nails in. 
Rembrandt painted a picture of the crucifixion. If you look closely, you’ll see that Rembrandt painted his own face on one of the figures standing by the cross. He realized what we all need to realize….that we were there when they crucified our Lord.
You say, “But I’m not a rebel.” Yes, you are. Christ is Lord. If you’ve never made Him your Lord, then you are rebelling against the very reason He created you. 
But not only was Jesus a substitutionary sacrifice; He was a suffering sacrifice. Verse 18 says that He suffered for our sins. No song writer, nor poet, nor artist can ever depict the suffering of Christ. The only way you can ever remotely understand His suffering is for the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you.
Only the damned in Hell can even begin to know the suffering He endured on that cross. If you don’t allow Him to be your substitute, you will experience a Calvary of your own. You’ll experience Hell yourself because you refused to allow Jesus to be your substitute. Sin causes suffering! Sin demands payment, and that payment is suffering. 
Not only is Jesus our substitutionary sacrifice and our suffering sacrifice; He is our settled sacrifice. Verse 18 says, “He has once suffered for sins…” When He died on that cross He said, “It is finished.” It’s just one word in Greek teleo or tetolesti
Back in those days, if the judge determined that a man was guilty, he would write out his sentence on a piece of paper called a certificate of debt. On one side was the crime he committed, and on the other side was the penalty his crime had incurred. That paper would be nailed next to his prison door. Anybody passing by could see why he was there and what he must pay for his crime.
When his debt had been paid, they would write “tetolesti” across that paper. That means, “paid in full.” They would take that certificate of debt off the door, roll it up and give it to the man. This was his proof that the demands of the law had been met. He had suffered. He had paid the debt in full and it was never to be brought up against him again. 
That’s what Christ did on the cross. He paid my sin debt in full with the silver of His tears and the gold of His blood. He has redeemed me. He has suffered in my place and it is finished!
Now I can carry that certificate in my hand….the Bible. It is stamped with the crimson blood of the Son of God and it says that my sin debt is paid in full! Amen?
Some people have the idea that they can be saved and lost again. But if you could ever be lost after being saved (you can’t), then you could never be saved again. You say, “Why not?” Well, in order for you to be saved, Christ would have to die again. But Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” If it doesn’t last forever, then you had a defective offering! There isn’t going to be another! Jesus died once and for all! Hebrews 10:12 says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
If you really understood what you have through the blood of Christ, you’d never stop praising God! But not only was it a substitutionary sacrifice, and a suffering sacrifice, and a settled sacrifice; it’s a sufficient sacrifice. Verse 18 says, “That he might bring us to God….”
That’s the whole purpose of it! Our sin has offended God and it has separated us from God. The word “bring” has to do with someone who is an introducer…..who introduces you into the presence of a king. You don’t just waltz in and say, “What’s up, king?” You certainly won’t come into the presence of God that way! Jesus is our Introducer. He brings us to God. Do you remember when Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by me?
Just try to get into the Oval Office at the White House without an introducer and see what happens! Just try to climb over the White House fence and see what happens! We’ve had a few try it in recent years, so you should know what happens!
Someone with authority has to bring you in. But it would be ten thousand times ten thousand times easier for you to get into the White House than it would for you to walk into the throne room of a holy God without Christ to bring you in! Only Jesus brings us to God.
Have you been trying to get into Heaven some other way? It will never work, my friend. Why don’t you let Jesus bring you in today?

1 Peter 3, A Word for Wives and a Help for Husbands, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

4 hrs · 

 

A Word For Wives and a Help For Husbands
I Peter 3

Take a look at I Peter 3:1-7. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
I want you to listen to a Dear Abby column that appeared in the papers a few years ago. Still Married Fiancé Has Pregnant Bride Worried: Dear Abby, I’ve lived with my fiancé for six months. We’re planning to marry and I’m expecting a baby in four months. We love each other very much and everything would be ideal, except he is only legally separated from his wife. She has their two children and is living with her boyfriend. She has filed for a divorce, but that’s where it stands. They had a written agreement that he would pay for the wedding and she would pay for the divorce. She says that she doesn’t have the money. She gets welfare, child support, plus a lot of other help from her boyfriend. I have a good job, but everything is so high these days that it’s hard to make ends meet, let alone save anything. I’m not worried that they might have a reconciliation because they both agreed that their marriage was a joke from the start. Don’t tell me to leave him, because he is my whole world. Can I do anything to force her to pay for the divorce?” Signed: Almost a Mrs.
“Dear Almost, No. I hope you realize that your whole world is a man who went into marriage expecting it to fail, had two children in this marriage that he says was a joke from the start, then started a second family with you while still married to somebody else. Since you seem to be the only one in this three-ringed circus whose in a hurry for them to get a divorce, it appears that the only way to get it is to pay for it yourself.”
Friends, this lady is going to pay for a whole lot more than a divorce! The sad thing is that a story like this is hardly newsworthy anymore!
In the first part of our text, Peter talks about how wives are to behave in tough times. Some wives have it tough because they’re married to a man who doesn’t know the Lord. What’s a wife to do when she finds herself married to an unsaved man? Well, like we said last week, she’s not to leave him. Look at I Corinthians 7:13. “And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”
She wasn’t supposed to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever in the first place, but now that she is, she’s not to leave him. If you’re a saved person and marry an unsaved person, you’ve placed yourself in a situation that is headed for trouble. You’re a child of God and they are a child of the devil. Now you have the devil for a father-in-law! You talk about in-law problems!
But what if you disobeyed God’s Word and got married to them anyway? Or, what if you were both lost and you got saved after you got married and your spouse didn’t? Either way, you’re not to leave. I Corinthians 7:14 says, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”
When it uses the word “sanctified,” that doesn’t mean they are saved. Nobody can be saved for someone else. But when one of the partners gets saved, it means that God now sees this as a “set apart” genuine marriage and the children are not considered to be born out of wedlock. In this case, she is not to leave him. 
Now, the husband may refuse to stay with her after she gets saved. Look at verses 15-16. “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”
In other words, the power of God is to be so present in your life that the evil in him won’t overcome you. To the contrary, the good in you is to overcome him. That’s why you’re not to leave him. 
But you’re not to lecture him, either. No one has ever been nagged into the kingdom of heaven! She can witness to him, but she’s not to lecture him. Don’t try to be your husband’s conscience! A man always fights his conscience.
You’re not to leave him, you’re not to lecture him, and you’re not to lord it over him. You’re not to say, “Well, I’m a Christian and you’re not, so I’m not going to obey you anymore. I’m going to obey the Lord.” That would be a terrible mistake and you would be disobeying the Lord because His Word says that you are to be in subjection to him.
What you are to do is to love him to Jesus. How? Peter shows us three things that need to be in the heart of every Christian woman…..not just one who has an unsaved husband. 
First, there is to be an attitude of submission. If you submit without the proper attitude, you haven’t submitted at all. 
You say, “Why should I submit to him?” Because God says so. You say, “But I’m not inferior to him.” Of course you’re not. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male no female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” But that doesn’t take away God’s chain of command.
Equality is not sameness. I Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I would have you to know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
You know very well that Jesus is not inferior to the Father. And just as the Son and the Father are equal, the wife and the husband are equal. But God the Son is in submission to God the Father. The wife is to be in submission to her husband. There’s no inferiority involved in this. This is the way marriage was ordained of God to work. There is to be an attitude of submission.
Some of you women may be thinking, “If I don’t rebel against him or lecture him, he’ll get away with murder! He needs me to keep him straight!” I want you to listen to what Ruth Graham said: “It’s my job to love my husband; it’s God’s job to make him good.”
If you try to play the part of the Holy Spirit, or the part of conscience in your husband, he will fight you.
But not only is there to be an attitude of submission, there is to be an adornment of serenity. I Peter 3:3-4 says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Peter is telling you ladies how to be perpetually beautiful. And if you’re wise, you’ll listen to what he says about how to be beautiful.
Some people have misinterpreted this text to say that women ought not to be outwardly beautiful. They say that she shouldn’t fix her hair, or put on jewelry, etc. But that doesn’t have anything to do with this. As a matter of fact, it’s absurd! Just look at the text. It says, “…not the plaiting of hair…” Okay, so you’re not to fix your hair. Then it says, “…not the wearing of gold…” Okay, according to your interpretation they are not to wear gold. Then it says, “….not the putting on of clothes…” Okay, she’s not to wear clothes according to your interpretation! Wrong! When you get saved, you’re not to run around naked!
He’s not saying that you shouldn’t fix your hair. He’s saying that your hair is not to be the secret of your beauty. That’s not to be the source of attractiveness to your husband. I can prove that God is not against outward beauty. Look at verse 6. “Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
Sarah was a looker! She was one of the most beautiful women in all of the Bible. When she was 80 years old, men were still trying to date her and take her away from her husband! One king tried to get her into his harem when she was 80…..and they hadn’t even invented Botox yet! 
He’s not talking about being outwardly beautiful. Here’s what he is saying: if you’re depending on your outward beauty to keep your husband, you’re fighting a losing battle. In spite of all the creams and paints, the sags and wrinkles are still going to come.
I’m not trying to ruin your day. If you’ll listen, you’ll see that I’m trying to help you. No matter how beautiful you are, if that’s what keeps your husband, then you’re painting yourself into a corner. There’s a new bevy of beauties coming every year. Your beauty is fading. Someone said, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes plum to the bone! Beauty fades, but ugly holds its own!”
If that’s what you’re depending on, you’re in trouble. I’m not saying that you’re not to make yourself beautiful. I’ve already made that clear. But Peter says you need something that’s not corruptible. What is it that’s perpetually and increasingly beautiful? “The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” It’s that inward serenity that’s going to make you more beautiful. When a lady is beautiful on the inside, it makes her more beautiful on the outside.
What does it mean when it says, “A meek and quiet spirit?” It doesn’t mean that you’re to be mousey, or Wanda Wallflower. If God has given you a vivacious spirit, don’t try to squelch that. This just means that you are to have inner peace and a teachable spirit. You will never have that serenity if you have a rebellious spirit. That rebellious spirit will begin to show around the corners of your eyes and mouth and you’ll begin to lose that natural beauty as you become inwardly ugly.
There is to be an attitude of submission, and adornment of serenity and an activity of service. Verse 6 says that Sarah called Abraham, lord. That means that she served him. From the very beginning God said, “It is not good that a man should be alone. I will make an help meet for him.” She is to help fill up that part of him that’s missing.
A man has a rib missing and he needs to get it back! You are to complete your husband. You are to be his completer….not his competitor. You are to meet his physical needs, his psychological needs and his professional needs. He’s to be stronger because of you. There is to be this activity of service in your heart and life.
Are these things true about you? Some women say, “My husband is so anti-God and anti-church and he doesn’t like me being a Christian. I come home and try to preach sermons to him but he’s not interested. I’ve made notes on your sermons and bought books for him to read. I try to tell him how bad he’s doing, but it just doesn’t seem to make any difference. I’ll say, Boy, you should have heard the preacher today. He was sure preaching to you! Our kids need a Christian daddy and I need a Christian husband, but you just lay around on Sunday and read the sports page, and watch TV, and drink beer. You should do right and made us happy!”
Do you know what he’s going to say? “Next Sunday, you don’t need to go down there and listen to Brother Gary. I’m sick of it!”
But when he sees a wife that comes home with an attitude of submission, an adornment of serenity and an activity of service, do you know what he’s going to say? He’s going to say, “I don’t know what they’re teaching you down there at that church, but I want you to go get some more of it!”
Some men may be so mean that they even rebel when you’re doing everything right. But those men are rebelling because they’re under conviction. For the first time, he’s seeing his life in stark contrast to your godly life. What she lives is preaching a sermon to him rather than what she’s saying. He’ll try to pull you down to make himself feel better. 
Even if he says, “You can’t go to church anymore,” you’re to keep on showing the beauty of Jesus. That will put so much pressure on him that after a while he’ll ask you about the hope that’s in you. He’ll say, “What makes you different?” That’s when you’ll be able to give him the Gospel.
Look at verse 7. “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
Peter tells us three things that wise husbands will give to their wives. First, is consideration. “Dwell with them according to knowledge.” The word “knowledge” means “understanding.” He’s to have knowledge of her. Most husbands don’t understand their wives, therefore they’re not considerate of their wives. You say, “How do I get this knowledge?” You have to be available…you have to give time. In order to give time, you have to plan time and take time. 
Men are conquest oriented. A man likes to achieve. He likes to buy something, build something, do something, or achieve something. This is true even in marriage. Before marriage, he dates according to knowledge. He studies her. He knows what will melt her butter. He knows what will make her happy and he tries to do it. Why? Because there’s a conquest here. He’s trying to win her hand. And after that’s over, he says, “That’s done. Now what do I do?” There’s an old expression that asks, “Why chase a street car after you’ve already caught it?”
He’ll just move on to a new conquest now. He gets a new car. He studies the owner’s manual. He’ll get a new lawn mower and study that. But he doesn’t “dwell” with his wife according to knowledge. 
In order to know what makes her tick, you have to learn. In order to learn, you have to listen. Men and women think differently. Men think out of one side of their brain and women think out of the other side. While a man is logically figuring things out, she’s already arrived at the conclusion. It’s called a woman’s intuition. She’ll say, “I don’t think we should do that.” He’ll say, “Why?” She’ll say, “I just don’t think we should.” He’ll say, “That’s no reason!” But she’ll say, “I don’t think we should.” And the aggravating thing about it is that she’s usually right! (Show video.)
Guys have to learn to listen with their hearts, not their ears. You’re trying to be logical while she’s being emotional. Women need to give their husbands the opportunity to express themselves logically, because that’s the gift God’s given to them. But the husband owes his wife consideration and he needs to dwell with her according to knowledge. 
Not only do you owe her consideration; you owe her courtesy. Peter says we’re to “give honor to the wife as the weaker vessel.” The word “honor” was translated earlier in this Book as “precious” when it was dealing with the blood of Christ. Your wife is to be precious to you. The kind of honor you’re to give her is akin to the reverence you have for the precious blood of Christ.
You say, “But she’s weak.” So are you. The women’s libbers say, “We want to be equal to men.” I say, “Why step down?” God has put woman on a pedestal and she’s to be honored.
How do you give honor to your wife? You say, “I brag on her and tell her she’s beautiful.” But if all you do is brag on her physical beauty, do you realize what a threat that is to her? Beauty isn’t going to last forever.
What if she has a Supreme Court figure…….no appeal? She’s going to think, “Yeah, as soon as someone more beautiful comes along, he’ll love her.” But if you respect her for her character….her meek and quiet spirit….then why don’t you praise her for that? Give her honor for her faithfulness. Give her honor for the way she manages the household, including the children. This meets a need that she has. If you don’t meet that need, you’re defrauding her. You’re not giving her the honor that she’s worthy of and that she craves.
A wife should ask herself, “Do I love my husband enough to live for him?” A husband should ask himself, “Do I love my wife enough to die for her?”
The Bible never commands a husband to rule his wife. The Bible does command the wife to be in subjection to her husband, but the husband is never to use the Bible as a club. It wouldn’t be true submission anyway…..it would be coerced submission.
Submission has to be voluntary. You have to love her into submission. How does Christ love the church? Does He coerce us into submitting to Him? If He did, there’d be a lot of changes in this auditorium this morning! There are a lot of things in your life that Christ doesn’t want there! But how does He bring about change in us? By loving us. And why do we love Him? Because He first loved us. The Bible commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.
How did Christ love the church? Sacrificially. Our assignment from God is to make our wives radiantly beautiful Christians. We owe her courtesy. We are to give honor and appreciation. 
But we’re not just to give consideration and courtesy; we’re to give communion. The word “dwell” in verse 7 is only used one time in the New Testament. It means living together as one. A marriage isn’t a duet; it’s a holy trio. It’s a man, a woman, and Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Wherever two are, there I am in the midst of them.” He also said, “If any two of you will agree as touching anything, then your prayers will be heard.”
The reason husbands and wives aren’t getting their prayers answered is because they’re not dwelling together in communion. It’s the husband’s responsibility to see that there is spiritual communion. He’s the pastor in the home.
Peter says that we’re heirs together of the grace of life. The grace of life is marriage, and marriage is the grace of life. It’s the cherry on top! Your home ought to be the happiest place on earth….the nearest thing to heaven on earth!
You say, “Our home isn’t that way.” Well, if the bottom is falling out, you’d better examine the foundation! A home will never be what it ought to be until you turn from Dear Abby to Saint Peter and Paul and Jesus! Find out what Jesus says about building a real home. 
Do you want to set your home on a solid foundation today?

1 Peter 1&2: Timeless Truths for Tough Times, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

36 mins · 

 

Timeless Truths For Tough Times
I Peter 1 & 2

Take a look at I Peter 1:22-2:2. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”
When hurricane Katrina developed, there was all kinds of warning that it was going to be a monstrous storm. Many people boarded up their windows and stacked sand bags and did everything they could to get ready for the storm, only to watch it wash away their homes and their businesses and their dreams.
These are tough times and it seems that one wave of evil right after another beats against our existence as Christians. Its times like these that we need a place to stand and something solid to stand on. That “thing” is the Word of God. You may tremble on the Rock, but the Rock will never tremble under you!
Peter lived at the beginning of an age where there were tough times, and we live at the end of an age during perilous times. Yet, we have the Word of God to see us through. 
First, Peter teaches us that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. In I Peter 1:10-11 he said, “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: seeing what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
Centuries ago, the Old Testament prophets looked forward and saw the sufferings and the glory of Christ. They saw His first coming and His second coming. They saw His crucifixion and His coronation. They saw His cross and His crown.
How could they see these things so long ago? Verse 11 says that the Spirit of Christ was in them. They weren’t writing down the word of man; they were writing the Word of God. Peter says in his second book that “…holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Paul said in II Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The Scriptures are the very breath of God. And since God is infallible, the Bible is infallible.
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the scriptures. In other words, we believe in a word for word inspiration. God didn’t just give the thoughts; He gave the very words to use. Some people try to say, “Oh, it’s not the words that matter….it’s just the thought behind the words.” Folks, you can’t have thoughts without words any more than you can have mathematics without numbers! If you change the numbers, you change the result. If you change the words, you change the thought.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Yes, God used human personalities to pen His words. Yes, He molded and shaped the lives of these men who wrote the Scriptures. I’m sure God didn’t give His word by some mechanical dictation, but the finished product is a word for word inspired Book. Every word of that Book has proceeded out of the mouth of God.
When we say that we believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, that means that we believe in the “full” or “complete” inspiration of the Scriptures. Some parts are not more inspired than others. Sure, if I were shipwrecked on a desert island, I would rather have the Book of Romans than I would the Book of II Chronicles, but that doesn’t mean that II Chronicles is any less inspired than the Book of Romans. 
You say, “Why make such a big point over this?” Because we are living in days where there is a battle over the Bible. If you don’t believe that you have an infallible Bible, then you’re going to be swept away by the storm that’s coming.
J. Sidlow Baxter said, “The biggest division between Christians is no longer between one denomination and another, but between those who accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God and those who do not.”
We do have the inspired Word of God today. But it’s also the inexhaustible Word of God. Look at verse 11. “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”
After the prophets wrote the Scriptures down, they had to search, and scrutinize, and study, and pray over what they had written!
The Bible is inexhaustible. The more you search and pray over it, the more you find.
The very first time I preached a sermon, I thought I had enough material to last for two hours. In 15 minutes, I was done! The thought began to grip me as I went to my first pastorate, “I’ve got to preach to these people 3 time per week for 52 weeks out of the year! What if I run out of material? Do I just start over an preach it again?”
But do you know what my fear is today? My fear is that I won’t live long enough to preach it all! I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface yet, and I’ve been preaching for nearly 40 years!
R.A. Torrey said, “Many men of strongest intellect, of marvelous power of penetration, of broadest culture, have given a lifetime for the study of the Bible, and no man who has ever really studied it has ever dreamed of saying he has gotten to the bottom of the Book! New light is constantly breaking forth from the Word of God. The fact that it has proved itself unfathomable for these centuries is positive proof that in it are hidden the infinite treasures of the wisdom of God. And no scholar worth his salt would ever say that he’s mastered the Bible.”
As I have studied this Bible for nearly 40 years, I’m not finding hidden flaws; I’m finding hidden beauties! Even to a man like the Apostle Paul, to whom the Lord Himself appeared in a vision, a man who was mighty in intellect and spirit said in Romans 11:33-34, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?”
Thank God for the inexhaustible Word of God. These Old Testament prophets searched the Scriptures. Jesus has commanded us to do the same thing. Are you searching the Bible? Or do you just casually and carelessly read the Word of God?
Not only is the Bible the infallible Word of God, not only is it the inexhaustible Word of God; it is the incorruptible Word of God. I Peter 1:23-25 says, “….being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever…”
Everything in the universe has within it the seeds of decay. No matter how beautiful or glorious something is, it’s decaying and passing away. But “….the Word of the Lord endureth forever!”
In the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., you’ll find the clock that we set all of our time pieces to. This clock is in a near perfect vacuum. It rests on pylons that go deep into the earth to keep it from vibration. It is electronically wound every 28 seconds. It’s a very fine chronometer, but it still gets out of time. Every 6 months it varies by about 1/50,000th of a second. So, they have to reset the clock. They have a telescope that they point at a fixed star. In that telescope are some crosshairs…..not made of human hair because they’re too wide. They’re made of a spider’s web. And at a fixed moment that star crosses those crosshairs, and they set this clock by God’s clock!
But not only do our clocks run down; the universe is running down. One day, even those stars will fade. But Jesus says that not one jot nor tittle will pass from God’s Word. Heaven and earth will pass away, but not the Word of God. Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever, O Lord, thy Word is settled in heaven.” Thank God for His incorruptible Word!
The Bible is also the indestructible Word of God. The last part of verse 23 talks about “…the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” The Word of God has no seeds of decay within it, but many men have tried to murder the message. They have burned it, they’ve passed laws against it, they’ve scorned and ridiculed it, but they haven’t been able to get rid of it!
The Roman Emperor Diocletian hated Christians. He knew that the Christian’s strength was in the Word of God, so he demanded that all copies of the Word of God be destroyed. He rounded up what he thought were all the copies of the Word of God and had them burned. He burned the very last copy himself and had a monument erected over the site. Chiseled in to the side of that monument was an inscription that said, “The name of Christian is extinguished.” Is that true? Does anybody here have a copy of the Bible?
People have ridiculed the Bible, cults have twisted it, humanists have ignored it……but the Bible will withstand all of that. Conservative Christians have sinned against it by not studying it, nor believing it, nor practicing it. 
But there is a subtle attack against the Word of God in these last days. The Reader’s Digest published a condensed version of the Bible. They condensed the Old Testament by 50%! They condensed the New Testament by 25%! They’ve taken out what they considered to be dull passages, or redundant passages, or superfluous passages, or confusing passages. But whether they meant it that way or not, this is a diabolical attack on the Word of God!
Interestingly, they left out of their condensed version Revelation 22:18-19 which says, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life…”
I have no problem with someone copying a portion of the Scripture and distributing it as such. If they want to copy the Gospel according to John and hand it to someone and say, “Here’s the Gospel of John,” I have no problem with that. But when they have the unmitigated gall to edit the Word of God by leaving out passages, or changing passages, or casting doubt on passages of Scripture……no matter how sincere they may be…..I’d hate to be in their shoes when they have to give an account to God for what they’ve done to His Word!
Thank God it is the indestructible Word of God! The corpse of the Bible has outlived its pallbearers! It is infallible, it is inexhaustible, it is incorruptible, it is indestructible and it is the indispensable Word of God. Verse 25 says, “….but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” The Bible is what we preach. Without it, we close the doors of the church. It is indispensable. 
It’s indispensable for salvation. Verse 23 says, “….being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” We are conceived by the Word of God. You were born into your mother’s womb by the seed of life, but if you’re saved, you were born again by an incorruptible seed.
All my forefathers have died because they came from a long line of corruptible people. Every moment you live, you corrupt….you die a little more. We’re born of corruptible seed. But a divine, incorruptible seed has come into my life….and because that seed is incorruptible…..I will never die.
The only thing you can be saved by is the Word of God. This Book is indispensable. Some people say, “I just want to live my life in such a way that people will see my life and want to be saved.” You’re full of arrogant pride! People are not saved by your life! They’re saved by His death! There is no life without this seed. You have to sow this seed….you have to share the Word of God.
It’s indispensable for salvation, but also it’s indispensable for sanctification. We are cleansed by the Word. Verse 22 says, “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…” Sanctification means being made like Jesus.
It’s indispensable for salvation because we’re conceived by the Word. It’s indispensable for sanctification because we’re cleansed by the Word. When Jesus was praying for us He said, “Sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy word is truth.”
The Bible speaks of the washing of regeneration by the Word of God. Jesus said, “You are clean by the word which I have spoken unto you.” This Book is a powerful detergent in your life!
As the world comes apart at the seams all around you, as you are surrounded by all kinds of temptations, how are you going to stay pure? There is no way apart from the Word of God! If you don’t know the Truth, how are you going to obey it? And if you don’t obey it, how are you going to be pure?
The Word of God is indispensable for salvation and sanctification, but it’s also indispensable for sustenance. I Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Do you want to grow? If so, you’d better get into the Word of God!
Some people don’t make a lot of sense to me. Suppose you come to me and say, “Brother Gary, I just don’t understand the Bible, but I’m so weak! I don’t have any energy. I can hardly get one leg in front of the other in the morning. I’m short of breath. My hands are trembling. My eyes are blurred. I’m just so weak!”
I’d say, “Man, you’re in bad shape. What’s wrong with you? Have you been eating regularly?” And you say, “No, I don’t eat at all. Oh, I eat a little on Sunday morning, but that’s all. What do you reckon is wrong with me, preacher? I feel so sick.”
If you don’t eat physically, you know what’s going to happen. But people come and say, “Brother Gary, I don’t know why I’m such a weak Christian.” I do! You aren’t feeding on the Word of God! Peter said, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”
How do you expect to be strong if you don’t nourish yourself on the Word of God? Some of you come to church on Sunday morning and get a little thimble full of milk and spill it on the way out! And you wonder why you aren’t growing!
One of the marks of a newborn babe is his desire for milk. Have you ever watched a newborn come into the world? The first thing you see is that mouth working with that sucking action. That’s their way of saying, “I want milk!” I’ve never heard a baby say, “Boy, I wish you’d change the wallpaper in this room.” 
The word “sincere” refers to the pure, unadulterated Word of God. Some of you are carrying perverted Bibles. 
We are conceived by the Word of God, we’re cleansed by the Word of God, and we are completed by the Word of God. You grow as you feed on the Word of God. 
These may be tough times, but this is God’s timeless truth!

Ephesians 4: One Hope, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Gary Flynt

22 mins · 

 

One Hope
Ephesians 4

 

Take a look at Ephesians 4:4-6. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”  
Last week our subject was “One God.” This week our subject is “One Hope.” Sometimes it’s called the Blessed Hope. This refers to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We can all see that there’s a stirring today. We’ve never seen a world situation like what we see today. Our enemies are now nuclear capable and along with ISIS, they are spewing threats towards America. Many are beginning to ask, “Is there any hope?”
Years ago, a submarine sank off the coast of Massachusetts. It didn’t have a name; it was just called S-4. It was rammed by another ship and went to the bottom. They sent a dive down in one of those old fashioned diving suits. He got up close to that submarine to see if he could detect any signs of life. When he placed his ear against the hull, he could hear a tapping sound. He recognized it as Morse code. The sailors inside were asking, “Is there any hope?”
That’s what the world wants to know: Is there any hope? For some, there is no hope right now. They don’t know the Bible. Hopelessness is the saddest word in the English language.
But then there are those who aren’t without hope, but what they have is a false hope. A good illustration of a false hope is the first week of a diet! We think it’s going to happen, but it doesn’t.
Then there is an uncertain hope. We don’t know if it’s going to happen or not. But when the Bible says that there is one hope, what does that mean? The word “hope” here doesn’t mean “maybe” or “perhaps.” It’s not a wish; it’s a rock-ribbed certainty based on the Word of God. Hope is faith in the future tense.
The great hope of the church is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible calls this the Blessed Hope. Titus 2:13 says, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” This isn’t a grey gloom; it’s a bright future! There is not a single pessimistic note in the New Testament after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Why is the Second Coming a blessed hope? Well, let me put it in shorthand. We will be with the Lord Jesus Christ….and we’ll be like Him!
It’s not only a blessed hope, it’s a purifying hope. Look at I John 3:2-3. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
There are some things we can’t be dogmatic about: “…it doth not yet appear what we shall be…” We don’t know what our resurrection body is going to be like. But we know “…when he shall appear, we shall be like him…” That’s something we can be bulldogmatic about! We will be like Him! Psalm 17:15 says, “I shall be satisfied when I awaken with Thy likeness.” If you have that hope in you, you will walk in purity knowing that Jesus could come back at any moment.
A hydroelectric dam was going to be built in New England. They told the people that when they built the dam, it would form a lake in the valley. There was a little village that was going to be covered by this lake. They told the people in this village, “You can continue to live here while we’re building the dam, but when it’s complete, you will have to move out because this whole area will be flooded.”
It was a beautiful little village. The people took pride in their yards and in their homes. But when they heard this news, they stayed, but their houses and yards began to deteriorate. You know why. There was no hope. Why fix up your house if you know it’s going to be destroyed in a short time and you have to move out?
That’s why some people are letting their lives run down and deteriorate. They have no hope. But if you know that Jesus is coming back, “…every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
This is a blessed hope, a purifying hope and an encouraging hope. People today are asking, “Will there be a new world order? Will there be a lasting peace?” Diplomats keep huddling together trying to come up with some sort of peace plan. I can promise you that no hope will come from that. But a new world order is coming.
Men are going to beat their plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. The lion and the lamb are going to lay down together. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as waters that cover the sea.
Who are the key players? Look at Revelation 12. The first key player is Wonder Woman. Look at verse 1. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” 
The second key player is the deadly dragon. Look at verse 3. “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon…”
Look at verse 5. “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron…” The third key player is the conquering Child. 
Verse 7 says, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon…” The fourth player is the awesome angel. 
Revelation 13:1 says, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea…” Player 5 is the brutal beast.
These 5 players are the ones who’ll bring about the New World Order. Who is Wonder Woman? Go back to Revelation 12:1-2. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” Wonder Woman is the nation of Israel. This was prophesied back in Genesis 37:9. Do you remember the vision that Joseph had? “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”
This is a prophecy of Israel, who brought the Messiah into the world. Hebrews 2:16 says, “For verily, he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” Hebrews 7:14 says, “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah…” 
This woman is Israel and the Bible says that she is a wonder. The word “wonder” means “sign.” If you want to know what God is doing in the world, keep your eyes on Israel. Israel is God’s sign to the nations. They are the people and the land of destiny. If you want to know about the New World Order, then recognize that the Jew is God’s yardstick concerning what He’s going to do in the future.
What about the deadly dragon? Look at Revelation 12:3-4. “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”
The dragon is Satan himself. Revelation 20:2 says, “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”
A dragon is a flying serpent. The seven heads speak of the perfectly devilish wisdom of Satan. The horns and crowns speak of his earthly power. The color red speaks of his murderous ways and cruelty. One third of the stars refers to the angels who rebelled and fell with Satan. We call them demons now.
You say, “That’s a lot of demons!” Yes, but they’re outnumbered 2 to 1. But the twofold purpose of this hellish army is to oppose Christ and to oppose Israel. Revelation 12:13 says, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.”
Why are the Jews being persecuted? The dragon hates the woman because she brought forth the man child. But he’s not able to destroy the woman nor the child. You need to learn that Israel will never be destroyed! 
In Psalm 89, God is talking about King David. But look at Psalm 89:27 “Also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth.” Now he’s gone beyond David and looks upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verses 28-30. “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children, forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments.” Who are the seed of David? The Jewish nation. And they have forsaken God’s law and they haven’t walked in God’s judgments. So God says in verse 31, “If they break by statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.” This prophecy has certainly come true.
But God goes on to say in verses 33-37, “Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.”
The devil hates the Jewish nation, but he can’t destroy it. God prophesied that the Jews would be disobedient, that the Jews would be dispersed, that the Jews would be discredited, but that they would never be destroyed. 
The King of Egypt couldn’t diminish her. The Red Sea couldn’t drown her. Jonah’s whale couldn’t digest her. The fiery furnace couldn’t consume her. The gallows of Haman could hang her. The nations can’t assimilate her, and dictators can’t annihilate her!
Israel has known unspeakable persecution under Pharaoh, under Nebuchadnezzar, under Alexander the Great, under Nero, under the Turks, under Hitler, under Stalin, under the Arab nations, and yes, under Obama. But God will stand for His ancient people of Israel. You can’t destroy Israel any more than you could remove God from His throne! Look at Jeremiah 31:35-36. “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation.”
In other words, God says, “If you can find what this earth is resting on, then I’ll cast off Israel.”
Not only is there Wonder Woman and the deadly dragon; there is the conquering Child. Revelation 12:5 says, “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” There’s your New World Order.
This child is the Lord Jesus Christ. The babe of Bethlehem is going to rule the world. How many times have you prayed, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, the will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Do you think Jesus would have taught us to pray that prayer if He didn’t mean to fulfill it? 
Psalm 2:9 says, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Revelation 19:15 says, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” One day soon, this child is coming as King of kings and Lord of lords!
The next player is the awesome angel. Revelation 12:7-9 says, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not; neither was their place found anymore in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
One day war will even come to Heaven. That helps us to understand why there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Sin first found its lodging in Heaven. There was a rebellion. Sin is older than mankind. It first appeared when pride showed up in Satan.
Satan was the anointed cherub stationed at the throne of God. But he was banished from his place of authority. He became the accuser of the brethren. But while he is the prosecuting attorney, Jesus is our defense attorney who pleads His blood.
But there’s coming a time when Michael will cast Satan completely out of Heaven forever. It will occur during the middle of the Great Tribulation. That’s when all hell will break loose on this earth.
Satan is on his way down. First, he’ll be cast down to the earth. Then he’ll be cast into the lowest hell. If you’re following him, you’re a loser!
Jude 9 says that Michael is the archangel. This special angel has the job of watching over Israel. Daniel 12:1 says, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.”
Michael is the mightiest angel in the universe! And his job is to watch over Israel. Michael will stand up because of the awesome things that are happening. Daniel 12 tells us that this will be a time of trouble like the world has never seen. It’s known as the Great Tribulation. And when Michael stands up, he’ll deliver the Jews out of that great tribulation.
Michael is also associated with the rapture of the church. I Thessalonians 4:16 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel.” That’s Michael. He’s going to tell the prince of the power of the air, “Make way for the saints! They’re going to Heaven!”
The folks at the Pentagon don’t understand this. The White House doesn’t have a clue who the real players are in the New World Order. But we know! The key players are Wonder Woman, a deadly dragon, a conquering Child, and an awesome angel.
But there’s a 5th player which is seen in Revelation 13:1. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
This is the devil’s messiah. He’s the man of sin known as the antichrist. He’ll come out of the sea. What does that mean? Revelation 17:15 tells us that the sea represents nations and people. In other words, the antichrist will come out of the nations in chaos.
Europe has been federated in our lifetime. The Bible teaches that it’s out of a federated Europe….out of the old Roman Empire….that a beast will come. The word “beast” doesn’t refer to his appearance; it refers to his character. He’s going to be a global charmer. He’ll be witty, and charming, and handsome, and persuasive…….but he’s coming in the power of Satan himself.
This New World Order will occur after the saints are raptured into Heaven. It will come when Israel is delivered and sees her Messiah. It will come when the dragon is cast into Hell. It will come when the conquering Child sits on the throne of His father, David. He will rule with a rod of iron.
All I can say is, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
If I didn’t know Jesus, I’d be the world’s biggest pessimist. But I do know Jesus, and I know that He is our One Hope. Would you put your trust in Him today?

Romans 10: Faith, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

Faith: What It Is And How To Have It
Romans 10

The Book of Romans tells us more about the grace of God than any other book. If you make an acrostic out of the word grace you can understand its meaning: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. In other words, when Christ died in agony and blood on the cross, He provided all of God’s riches to us. But faith lays hold of what grace provides. Without faith there is no way you can acquire the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8 says it: “For by grace are ye saved through faith…” You can also make an acrostic out of faith: Forsaking All I Trust Him.
When I put my hand of faith in God’s hand of grace…..that’s salvation. Faith receives what grace provides. Grace is God’s ability, but faith is man’s responsibility. Unless we believe, the death of Christ does us no good whatsoever.
Do you want to be saved? Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you want our prayers answered? Mark 11:24 says, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Do you want to overcome the world? I John 5:4 says, “….this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Faith is the medium of exchange in the kingdom of Heaven. That’s why Jesus said, “Be it unto you according to your faith.”
Paul has been talking about grace, but now he changes over to the subject of faith. Look at Romans 10:17-21. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
A lack of faith is not weakness; it is wickedness. No one who does not believe can ever say they cannot believe, because the Lord has dealt to every man a measure of faith. Unbelief is a sin. I John 5:10 says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” Unbelief is a slander against the character of God.
Unbelief led to the original sin in the Garden of Eden. Unbelief locked the doors to the Promised Land to the children of Israel and caused them to wander in the wilderness. Unbelief is what sends people to Hell. Jesus said in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
When Jesus was in His hometown of Nazareth it says in Matthew 13:58, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” The Sovereign God limited Himself because of their unbelief!
Unbelief doesn’t come out of the head. People don’t have intellectual problems with Jesus. Unbelief comes out of the heart. Hebrews 3:12 says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief…”
Romans 1:17 tells us: “….the just shall live by faith.” We don’t live the Christian life by striving or trying, but by trusting.
I want us to see what true, biblical faith is. First, there is the object of faith. What do you place your trust in? Sometimes people will say, “Just believe.” That’s just positive thinking. Positive thinking is not faith. Hoping for the best is not faith. Giving it your best is not faith. Faith is no better than its object.
The object of biblical faith is Almighty God. Look at Romans 10:11. “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” The object of your faith is Almighty God.
Sometimes you will hear people say, “Faith can move mountains.” That is not true. It is God who moves mountains. Jesus said in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.”
They tell salesmen and athletes, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” That’s not true. If you try to live your life that way, you’re going to become incredibly discouraged. And after a while Satan will start telling you, “You really don’t have what it takes.” Friend, your faith is no greater than the object of your faith.
Weak faith in God is better than strong faith in anything else. It’s not the size of your faith: it’s the object of your faith that counts!
Almost everybody in the Bible who got a blessing from God had a weak faith. There were a few who had a strong faith, but most of them had a weak faith.
There was a man who had a son who was demon-possessed. He came to Jesus and said, “Master, if you can do anything for my boy, please do it.” Jesus said in Mark 9:23, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” In verse 24 the man said, “….Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Have you ever been there? We all have!
It’s not the quality of our faith; it’s the object of our faith that counts. Hebrews 12:2 says that we’re to be “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” Look away from everything else and look unto Jesus. Don’t look to others, look to Jesus. Don’t look at yourself, look to Jesus. Don’t look at circumstances, look to Jesus. Don’t look at Satan, look to Jesus.
If the object of your faith is God, then the ambition of your heart ought to be to know Him. The more you know Him, the more faith you will have. Psalm 9:10 says, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee…” Daniel 11:32 says, “…..the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”
There is not only the object of your faith; there is also the origin of your faith. The object of your faith is God, but the origin of real faith is the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Go back to verse 14. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?….” Romans 10:8 says, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is the word of faith….”
If the origin of faith is the Word of God, then you must hear Him. You must know the Word of God. If you pray outside the will of God, you’re not going to get your prayer answered by God. In order to pray in the will of God, you have to know the Word of God.
Where does this faith come from? You don’t generate faith. You don’t just grit your teeth and say, “I’m going to believe.” According to verse 17, faith cometh by hearing the Word of God. It comes from outside of you. You don’t work faith up…..it comes down.
In II Peter 1:1 Peter talks about those who “….have obtained like precious faith….” Philippians 1:29 says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Belief is given to you. God enables you to believe. First, you must hear from God and God must enable you to believe. Faith isn’t a leap in the dark; it’s a step in the light. But without the Word of God, you have no basis for faith.
We have TV preachers today who tell you to name it and claim it. That is absolutely absurd! You can’t claim anything unless God names it. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Hebrews 11:1 gives us the description of faith. It says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” When the Bible uses the word “hope” it’s talking about bedrock assurance based on the Word of God. The Second Coming of Jesus is called the Blessed Hope. It’s not called the Blessed Maybe! The Bible calls hope the anchor of the soul. Well, you don’t drop your anchor in a chunk of cloud bank! You drop your anchor in something that is rock solid.
This verse also talks about the “substance” of things hoped for. In other words, it’s the title deed of what we’re hoping for. The object of faith is God. The origin of faith is the Word of God. And if you don’t hear God, you’ll never have biblical faith. I may bring you the Word of God as I preach, but I’m just the messenger boy. It’s God’s Word, not my word, that’s going to bring faith to your heart.
When you see the word “word” in verse 17, it is not the Greek word Logos: it is the Greek word rhema. You have the Logos in your hand…..the Bible. But a rhema is the communication of the Logos. You can hear every word I speak today and not have faith. You have to hear God. My job is not to get you to understand some sermon outline: my job is to get you to listen to God. You must hear Jesus say to you, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
Thirdly, I want you to understand the objective of our faith. Is faith a currency that you can spend on whatever you want? Can you say, “Well, I have faith, so I want a bigger house?” Or, “I have faith, so I’m going to get well?” No! Faith is not a way to have man’s will done in Heaven: it’s God’s way of getting His will done on Earth.
Romans 10:15 says, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” The preacher is to be sent. The preacher doesn’t originate his own message. I don’t sit in my study and think, “What do I want these folks to know?” No! I am the messenger boy that God sends and says, “Go tell them this.”
God’s not your servant so that you can get anything you want. You are God’s servant. You say, “Are you telling me that I’m hemmed up by the will of God?” Yep. And it’s like telling a minnow that he’s hemmed up by the Atlantic Ocean!
The will of God doesn’t mean fewer blessings for you; it means more blessings for you. But the objective of faith is that the Word that God sends will have its effect through us. I John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
How do we know His will? We know His will by knowing His Word. How do we know His Word? We know His Word by knowing His person. The object of faith is God Himself. The origin of faith is the Word of God. The objective of faith is the will of God. And if you’re not interested in the will of God, then you can forget about faith!
If the object of faith is God, then get to know God. If the origin of faith is the Word of God, then listen to God. If the objective of faith is the will of God, then submit to God. God doesn’t give His faith to rebels! Learn to trust God and let God stay in control.
Finally, what is the operation of faith? The operation of faith is to obey God. If you say that you believe God but you don’t obey God, then you don’t really believe Him. Faith is belief with legs on it.
If we believe it’s because God has enabled us to believe. But if we don’t believe, we’re the ones who’re held responsible. Look at verses 17-18. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” Now skip down to verse 21. “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
They have not all obeyed the Gospel. You must obey the Gospel. God says that they are a disobedient people. The word “gainsaying” means obstinate. God is stretching out His hand, but they wouldn’t believe. They refused. They not only disobeyed, but they are obstinate. They parade the Word of God past the judgment bar of their minds. They make a jury of themselves and they say, “No, I’m not going to obey that.”
Friend, the operation of faith is obedience. You aren’t saved by faith and works; you’re saved by a faith that works. If it doesn’t change your life and make you a different person and cause you to obey the Word of God, then don’t tell me you’re going to Heaven! A faith without works is dead. That’s what James tells us.
You’re not saved because of your works; you work because you’re saved. God stretches forth His hand….and people say, “No” to Him. They are a disobedient and gainsaying people. They have not all obeyed the Gospel. But when you believe, you obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
The object of faith is God: know Him. The origin of faith is the Word of God: hear Him. The objective of faith is the will of God: yield to Him. The operation of faith is to obey God: say, “Yes, Lord.”
Faith is the gift of God. Does that mean that you will automatically believe? No. Breathing is a gift of God. God gives me lungs and God gives me air, but I can smother if I want to.
God gives you His Word and God gives you His Spirit…….but then He says, “Whosoever will may come.” He says, “All day long have I stretched out my hand to a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
It’s time for you to trust this great God for the gift of salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” Put your hand of faith in God’s hand of grace. That’s salvation.

Totally Abondoned to the Gospel, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

6 hrs · 

 

Totally Abandoned To The Gospel
Romans 1:14-16

Take a look at Romans 1:14-16. “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 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.”
There are three “I am” statements here. In verse 14 he says, “I am debtor…” In verse 15 he says, “I am ready…” And in verse 16 he says, “I am not ashamed…” If you put those 3 “I am” statements together, you will see what motivated the Apostle Paul. 
By the time Paul died, there was a church in every city in the Western Empire. It was because of a man who said, “I am debtor, I am ready, and I am not ashamed.”
Paul said, “You follow me as I follow Christ.” When Paul met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, he asked Him two questions: “Who are you and what would you have me to do?” You need to ask those two questions of Jesus, also. Get the answer from Him and follow His directions and you will know why you were created. 
First, Paul says, “I am debtor.” Paul was faithful to the obligations of the Gospel. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “You are not your own; you are bought with a price.” Do you see yourself as a debtor to Jesus? You say, “I thought salvation was free.” It is, but don’t we also sing, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.” I am a debtor to the One who hung in agony and blood at Calvary. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” And I’m not talking about trying to pay for your salvation. You can’t pay for your salvation. “I cannot work my soul to save, that work my Savior’s done. But I will work like any slave for the love of God’s dear Son.” Won’t you? Do you see yourself as a debtor to the Savior?
We are also debtors to the heroes of the past. Paul was there during the stoning of Stephen. Paul came under conviction as he was holding the clothes of the first Christian martyr. Paul had a debt to this Stephen that he had helped to kill. And we are only here today because of those heroes of the faith that suffered, bled and died for the faith. Don’t you think we owe them something? 
We owe those who founded this church. I believe this church was founded in about 1905 or thereabouts. It didn’t just happen by magic! Where did the seat that you’re sitting on come from? Who put those light bulbs up there? Who hung these projectors? Who put the carpet under your feet? Who printed the bulletin you have in your hand? Who takes out the trash? Who sweeps the floors? Who did all these things for you?
This church is here because of the vision, the faith, the sweat, the tears and the sacrifice of others who came before you. Do you think you’re here to just sit, soak and sour? We are debtors to those who’ve gone before us. 
Paul says, “I am debtor to the Greek and the Barbarian, the wise and the ignorant, the up and out and the down and out, the rich and the poor, the old and the young. Why? Because everyone needs to know Jesus. Do you believe that? I hope you do.
Jesus said, “Freely you have received; freely give.” Everyone around you, including you, have committed sins that are punishable by death. But you have been pardoned, and you have the pardon in your pocket for everyone who doesn’t know Christ. How will you feel when the clods fall on the casket of your next door neighbor, or your mother, or your brother……and you never told them about Jesus? 
Paul says, “I’ve been saved by the grace of God and I am debtor. Jesus paid it all, and all to Him I owe!” We need a compassion for lost people. We are an island of blessing in an ocean of need. 
Not only is Paul a debtor, but in verse 15 he says, “I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Not only was Paul faithful to the obligations of the Gospel, he was flexible for the opportunities of the Gospel. Because you are a debtor, you have to be ready. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.” Do you know what made Paul such a great witness? He was also part of the evidence. Is there a quality in you that would provoke your neighbor into spiritual jealousy? 
Are you ready to live for Christ? You’re not ready to live for Christ if you’re not ready to die for Christ. Paul said, “I die daily.” He said, “I count not my life dear to myself.” Are you ready to die for Jesus? Paul was.
Right near the Roman Forum you can go down into the Marmertine Prison. There is a hole in the roof where you can lower food down. There are no windows to let the light in. Excrement would be all over the floor. This is where they held Paul. 
The guard comes and say, “Let’s go, Paul.” He says, “Where are we going?” He says, “You know where we’re going. They’re going to take off your head.” I can see this little hump-backed Jew whose body had been beaten and scarred and pickled in the Mediterranean, walking with that guard, dragging his chains with him. The guard says, “You don’t look frightened.” Paul said, “I’m not.” The guard says, “Why not?” Paul says, “This is nothing new to me. I die daily.” The guard says, “Are you humming a song?” Paul say, “I guess I was humming.” The guard says, “What is that song?” Paul says, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!” In just a few moments Paul did see Jesus face to face.
Ready to live, ready to die and ready to go. Are you ready to go? If Jesus said, “I want you to be a preacher of the Gospel,” or “I want you to be a missionary,” or I want you to do this thing or that thing,” would you be ready to go? If He speaks to you today, are you ready to say, “Yes, Lord.” 
One of the greatest missionaries who ever lived was a man by the name of David Livingstone. He said, “Send me where you will, but go with me. Lay any burden on my heart, but sustain me. Sever any tie but the one that binds my heart to Thee.”
Are you ready to go? Or, are you ready to stay? Sometimes it takes more grace to stay, and pray, and support, and give, than it does to go. But if God sends you to the mission field, are you ready to stay there also? Paul said in verse 15, “So, as much as in me is, I’m ready…” Ready to live, ready to die, ready to go, and ready to stay. Now you know what made Paul the great man that he was.
Thirdly, Paul was fearless toward the opposition to the Gospel. There was much opposition to the Gospel of Christ….just like there is today. But Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”
There were many reasons why he could have been fearful or intimidated or ashamed. The Gospel was identified with a poor, Jewish carpenter who’d been crucified. Can you imagine Paul going to Rome with all its imperial might and power and saying, “I want to tell you about a Jew?” Rome had no appreciation for the Jew…especially if it wasn’t one of the mighty philosophers of the time….and especially not for a Carpenter who’d been crucified. Rome had subjugated the land of Judea. This was a Gospel coming out of Judea, not Rome.  
The Christians of that day were not the big shots. Paul had to say to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 1:26, “You see your calling, brethren, not many mighty, not many noble are called.” The Christians were the off-scouring of the earth in that day. Paul himself was a prisoner…..but he didn’t hang his head in shame. 
Rome was known for its great philosophers of that day. It was a proud city. Who’s going to pay attention to a fable about a Jew who rose from the dead? But Paul was bold for the Lord Jesus. 
Are you ashamed of the Gospel? Are you ashamed to put a Bible on your desk? Are you ashamed to invite people to Jesus Christ? You say, “Pastor, I just don’t believe in wearing my faith on my sleeve.” 
A little boy had a mongrel dog and someone asked him what kind of dog he was. He said, “He’s a police dog.” The friend said, “He doesn’t look like a police dog.” The boy said, “He’s in the Secret Service!” I’m afraid we have far too many Christians who are in the Secret Service.
We need to be open and bold for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! 
In the history of the world, about 60 billion people have lived. Out of those 60 billion people, only a handful have ever made a real mark on history. But there is one name that stands above every other name and that is the name of Jesus. Right at this very moment there are multiplied millions of people who are listening to His Word and seeking to do His will. Are you ashamed of that name that is above every other name?
There was a preacher who had thoroughly repented of his sins and who had been called out of his old life to be a preacher of the Gospel. But someone who knew his old life wrote him a note. The note said, “Aren’t you ashamed to be up there telling people that they ought to get right with God?” Then this person began to list the sins of the preacher’s old life in detail. Do you know what that young preacher did? He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have received a note and here is what it says.” In front of that whole crowd he read every one of those sins. Then he said, “Yes, I am ashamed of myself……but I’m not ashamed of my Savior.”
Not only was Paul not ashamed of the Person of the Gospel; he was not ashamed of the purpose of the Gospel. Verse 16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (that’s the Person of the Gospel): for it is the power of God unto salvation” (that’s the purpose of the Gospel). 
There is no greater occupation than that of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let Wall Street handle the finances, let Hollywood have the fame, let the military figure out what to do in the Middle East, but let us get out the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
People everywhere are coming up with all sorts of silly ideas intended to save civilization. The Gospel is not intended to save civilization from wreckage. The Gospel is intended to save people from the wreckage of civilization. 
Jesus didn’t come here as a social engineer. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” There are many kinds of losses. It’s tragic to lose your health, to lose your wealth, to lose your friends and loved ones, to lose your life, etc. But how tragic it is to lose your soul! Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
How can we be ashamed of the Gospel when the Gospel is the only thing that can help this world? The Gospel is the only thing that can make a harlot pure, that can make drunkards sober, and that can make perverts straight. The Gospel is the only thing that can rescue the perishing and care for the dying and snatch them in pity from sin and the grave. Without the Gospel of Christ there is no hope.
Paul said he was not ashamed of the Person of the Gospel, or the purpose of the Gospel. But he also said that he was not ashamed of the power of the Gospel. Verse 16 says that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
The word for “power” in the Greek is the word we get our word “dynamite” from. This world is enamored with power. We live in the atomic age. But if you were to take the most powerful of all atomic bombs and detonate it near your chest, you would be vaporized…..but that still wouldn’t take the sin out of your heart. 
There is only one power that can wash and make you whiter than snow. If it weren’t for that power, I would never have been able to persevere all these years serving Christ. 
Paul is also not ashamed of the plan of the Gospel. “…to everyone that believeth…” That’s the plan. It’s gloriously simple, but it’s simply glorious! 
Aren’t you glad that the Bible doesn’t say, “Everybody who wants to be saved, read so many chapters in the Bible?” Some people don’t have a Bible and some people can’t read. 
Aren’t you glad the Bible doesn’t say, “Everybody who wants to be saved, take a walk around the block?” Some people can’t walk. 
Aren’t you glad it doesn’t say, “Everyone who wants to be saved, give a hundred and fifty dollars?” Some people don’t have a hundred and fifty dollars. 
Thank God for the “whosoever” in the Bible. “Whosoever will may come.” So many people want to say, “Whosoever and…” Some say you have to believe and be baptized. But the moment you put baptism on, you take the whosoever out. That means nobody in the desert can be saved. That means nobody in an airplane can be saved. That means nobody in a submarine can be saved….even though they are surrounded by water. That means that nobody by himself can be saved because there’s no one to baptize him. Do you see how silly that is? 
I believe in baptism! Some say, “You’re in the King’s army.” No, I’m in His navy! I believe in baptism. But water, whether a spoonful or an ocean full can’t take away sin! God’s glorious plan is that anybody, anywhere, anytime can say, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart and save me,” and He will!
Paul’s not ashamed of a Gospel like that. “…to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” 
There was an old preacher named Christmas Evans. He said, “The Gospel is so simple that you could put a man in a barrel and nail the lid on, then whisper through a knot hole how to be saved, and he could be saved inside that barrel.” I like that!
There was an old preacher named Baldwin who pastored in Troy, New York for 41 years. He said, “At 30, after examining the religions and philosophies of the world, I said, There is nothing better than the Gospel of Christ. At 40, when burdens pressed heavily and the years seemed to hasten, I said, There is nothing as good as the Gospel. At 50, when there were empty chairs in the home and the mound builders had done their service, I said, There is nothing to be compared with the Gospel. At 60, my second sight saw through the illusions and vanities of earthly things and I said, There is nothing but the Gospel. Then at 70, amid many limitations and privations I sang, Should all the forms which men devise attack my faith with treacherous art, I had called them all vanities and lies and bind the Gospel to my heart.”
Paul says, “Do you know what motivates me? Do you want to know what sends me? I am debtor….I am ready…..and I am not ashamed. I am faithful to the obligations of the Gospel, I am flexible to the opportunities of the Gospel, and I am fearless to the opposition of the Gospel. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.”
Are you?
Many years ago there was a school house fire in South Carolina. Many men came to try to put the fire out because students were trapped in the fire. A man saw his son through the flames. As his eyes and his son’s eyes met, he could hear his son say, “Daddy, can’t you save me?” Strong men had to hold him back from rushing into the flames. Over and over again he heard his son say, “Daddy, can’t you save me?” He had to watch his son wither in that fire like a flower held under and acetylene torch. 
That man only lived a couple of years after that. He couldn’t get that image or those words out of his mind. “Daddy, can’t you save me?”
This hell bound world looks to science and asks, “Science, can’t you save me?” Science says, “I can tell you how far it is from the earth to the sun, but I can’t save you.”
This world looks at culture and asks, “Culture, can’t you save me?” Culture says, “I can tell you how to dress for a party and how to hold your tea cup just right, but I can’t save you. All I can do is to make this world a better place to go to hell from.”
This world looks at finance and asks, “Finance, can’t you save me?” Finance says, “I can tell you how to gather money that’ll you’ll leave behind, but I can’t save you.” 
This world looks at philosophy and asks, “Philosophy, can’t you save me?” Philosophy says, “I can tell you more and more about less and less and everything about nothing, but I can’t save you.”
There is only One who can save you……Jesus saves, Jesus saves! Would you let Him save you today? Make it public. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

The Book that Changed the World, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

13 mins · 

 

The Book That Changed The World
Romans 1

Books have great influence. Hitler wrote a book entitled Mein Kampf, in which he espoused his Nazi philosophies. The result of his thoughts in that book was a horrendous world war and 6 million Jews murdered in the gas ovens. 
Hitler got his ideas from reading another book. Nietzsche wrote a book called Man and Super Man. He was a perverted atheist who declared, “God is dead!” Hitler’s mind was warped by Nietzche’s book. 
Karl Marx also wrote a book called Das Capital. The Communist Revolution was born of that book and millions of people paid with their life’s blood and others were enslaved. 
Charles Darwin wrote a book called The Origin of the Species. In this book he said that man was not created in the image of God, but was the product of blind evolutionary force….and accident of nature descended from the apes. People read that book and try to make a monkey of themselves!
Books have power, but no book has the power that the Bible has. The Bible has changed the world radically and dramatically and it is a book that will go on for eternity. 
The Book of Romans has been called the Constitution of Christianity. Let me tell you about the power of this Book. There was a Roman Catholic monk named Martin Luther who had tried to get right with God through ritual, through penance, through all the traditions of the church and by good deeds, but his heart was empty. 
Martin Luther had been studying the Book of Romans and Romans 1:17 came alive in his heart: “….the just shall live by faith.” He learned about justification by faith, which is the theme of the Book of Romans, and he was saved. The Protestant Reformation was born which swept across the world. 
Down in Florida, where I used to live, there is the oldest city in America. It’s called St. Augustine. It gets its name from Augustin, who was a young college professor who lived a wild lascivious life. But he began to try to alleviate himself from the burden of sin that was upon him. While out in a garden, he heard a little girl singing a song over the garden wall. It said, “Take up the book and read, take up the book and read.” He took up the Book of Romans and began to read and the verses began to stab him in his heart. He was converted and became known as Saint Augustine.
Back in the 18th century there was a man named John Wesley who came from England to America to be a missionary to the American Indians. He worked in what we now call Georgia. He had a fruitless ministry there, so he got on a ship to go home and was feeling like a failure. He met some Moravian missionaries who were filled with the life of Jesus. He knew they had something he didn’t have. Back in London, he went into a place called Alder’s Gate, where they were studying the Book of Romans. He said, “I went to America to convert the Indians, but who will convert me?” As he heard the very introduction to the Book of Romans, his heart was warmed and he received the assurance of his salvation. Out of that experience, the great Wesleyan Revival began in England. Out of that revival, the Methodist Church was born. 
The first three chapters of Romans deal with sin. Those chapters tell us what’s wrong with the world. Chapters 5 and 6 deal with salvation. God doesn’t just show us our sin; He shows us a way out. Chapters 5-8 teach us about sanctification. That’s just a fancy word that means becoming more like Jesus. 
Chapters 9-11 deal with sovereignty. It tells us that God is in charge of history from eternity past through eternity future. 
From Chapter 12, where we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, through the end of the Book, it deals with service. 
That’s the table of contents, but now let’s talk about the Author. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the Author. But who is the human penman of this Book? Look at Romans 1:1. “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” We could spend a week studying this one verse! But suffice it to say, Paul is the one who was the human author of Romans. 
Paul was a privileged Jew who was born in Tarsus. He was brilliant and an honors graduate. He was fluent in many languages, he was a world traveler, he was very strict in his religion, and he was very much aware of world affairs. Besides being a Jew, he was also a Roman citizen. He was a free man. He was not subjugated like other Jews. He also had the privilege of doing his graduate work under a professor named Gamaliel. He was the best known teacher in that part of the world and Paul was his prized student. On top of that, Paul was a part of the strictest religious sect in all of Judaism….the Pharisees. He said later on that he was a Pharisee among Pharisees. In other words, he was the highest of the high. Paul had a pedigree that was a mile long!
Paul met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus and was gloriously saved. Now, let’s deal with the very first word in the Book of Romans…..”Paul…” the word “Paul” means “little.” His name at first was Saul. The original Saul was king over Israel. King Saul stood head and shoulders above everybody else. He was tall, and handsome, and arrogant, and carnal. The very name, Saul, reeks with pride. It means “big one” or “successful one.” But the Saul who wrote the Book of Romans changed his name from “big guy” to “small.” Why? Because God cut him down to size!
If anyone had a reason to boast, it would have been Saul. But he starts this letter by calling himself “small.” When someone writes a letter today, you have to wait until the end to see who wrote it. But they didn’t do that back then. He puts his name right up at the front. 
There was a man in a particular congregation who didn’t particularly like the pastor. He decided to play a little joke on the pastor, so he wrote a note and handed it to the usher and said, “Give this to the preacher.” The pastor got the note and unfolded it. It just had one word on it….Fool. The pastor told the congregation, “I’ve often received letters where the person forgot to sign it, but today I’ve received a letter from someone who signed it and then forgot to write the letter!”
Paul lets us know who he is right up front. He’s a man who’s been cut down to size. Let me show you why he changed his name. Ephesians 3:8 says, “Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given.” This towering genius calls himself less than the least. Then he says in I Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles…”
In the sight of God, Paul saw himself as a nobody. That doesn’t mean that he’s got an inferiority complex; he just knew that he was what he was by the grace of God.
Reggie White used to play defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers. You might as well stand in front of a moving locomotive as to line up in front of this guy. He is big and he is strong. But Reggie used to say, “I am a nobody telling everybody about Somebody who can save anybody! His name is Jesus.” I like that! 
You may be too big for God to use, but you’ll never be too small for God to use. Paul starts this letter by saying, “The little guy…” That tells me that’s he’s saved. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature.”
Not only is he saved, but he says, “…a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle.” The word “servant” is the Greek word doulos. That word means “bond slave.” A bond slave has to work for someone because he had indebted himself to that individual. The law said that in the Year of Jubilee, all the bond slaves had to be set free. 
Sometimes a bond slave would say, “Wait a minute! I don’t want to be set free. I’m better off under this man than I was by myself. He feeds me, clothes me, takes care of me, etc. I’m like one of his family. I don’t want to be free. I love my master. I want to be his bond slave.”
They would say, “Okay, if he wants to remain a bond slave, we need to put a mark on him. The would go over to the door post and take an awl and pierce his ear lobe. When Psalm 40:6 uses the phrase “mine ears hast thou opened…” this is what it’s talking about. There would be a hole there. Paul said in Galatians 6:17, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” That means he’s a willing slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You might be saying, “Then count me out, pastor, I don’t want to be anybody’s slave.” Friend, you already are. You are either a slave of Christ or a slave of sin. 
The unsaved man say, “I will be free. I am the master of my own destiny.” Then he goes down into the worst degradation there is and becomes the slave of sin. Sin and self are cruel taskmasters. But when a man says, “I will become the bond slave of the Lord Jesus….I love my master,” John 8:36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
A bond slave is not someone who says, “Okay, it’s no longer my will: I’ll do His will.” No. It’s not, “His will instead of my will”……it’s “His will is my will.”
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” So you say, “Okay, Lord, I love you, and I want a million bucks.” No. If you say that, then what is the desire of your heart? Money. 
People say, “If I believed in eternal security, I’d get saved and sin all I want to.” Well, I do sin all I want to…….I don’t want to. If you still want to, then you need a new wanter! You need to get born again.
Paul says, “I’m no longer a big shot. My name is Paul, not Saul. I am saved and I am surrendered.”
But then verse 1 says, “….called to be an apostle…” He was called to be an apostle. He didn’t just decide he wanted to be an apostle; he was called to be an apostle. If you’re not called, you can’t be an apostle. An apostle is one who is directly appointed by Jesus Christ. 
I enjoy the ministry, but I never would have chosen it as a profession for myself. I was called into the ministry. But what I want you to learn is this: We’re all called into the ministry who name the name of Christ. Romans 1:6 says, “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.”
You say, “Why are you telling me all this stuff about Paul?” Because Paul said in I Corinthians 4:16, “Wherefore I beseech ye, be ye followers of me.” He was saved, he was surrendered and he was sent.
He was also separated. He said, “….separated unto the gospel of God.” They key word is not “separated”: the key word is “unto.” Paul was already separated as a Pharisee among Pharisees. He abhorred the sins of the flesh and walked the straight and narrow. The very name “Pharisee” implies separation. 
But if separation from sin is all you have, that’s going to make you a proud, haughty, bitter Pharisee like Paul was when he was persecuting the church and before he found the grace of God. 
Nature abhors a vacuum. So, if you get sinful habits out of your life, but you don’t get Jesus into your life, you will be separated from but not separated unto. You will become an arrogant, bitter Pharisee. 
For some people separation means, “I don’t smoke and I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls who do.” Okay, neither does a fence post! Giving up things will not make you one bit more like Jesus Christ. It’ll just make you a Pharisee. You have to be separated unto the gospel of Jesus Christ. You get separated from by being separated unto……but you don’t get separated unto by being separated from. 
The word separated here is the word from which we get our word “horizon.” I know you know what the horizon is, but do you know how to change your horizon? To change your horizon, you just change your location. Your center determines your horizon. When Jesus is your center, then that horizon is your world. His life is the boundary of your life. You are separated unto Him. 
A guy may be dating Suzy, and Melody, and Debbie, and Peggy. But one day he meets Jane and she becomes the center of his life. All the other girls are off the horizon. He has found a new center. And, friend, when you find Jesus Christ, you find a new center.
When that happens, you’re not going to be talking about what you gave up for Jesus. That’s foolish! 
The author of this Book is Paul. We know that this man is saved, he’s separated, he’s surrendered and he’s sent. I believe he’s probably the greatest Christian who ever lived. 
We’ve talked about the author of the Book that changed the world, but now let’s talk about the hero of this Book. The hero of this Book is Jesus. Look at Romans 1:1-4. “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
You will never understand the Book of Romans until God turns the light on in your soul. This Book is about Christ. First, Paul tells us that He is the promised One (verse 2). The Scriptures Paul is referring to is the Old Testament. The Old Testament is about Jesus. 
Paul is a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. But one day God turned the light on in Paul’s soul and the Scriptures burst aflame. After Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road, he spent about 4 years in the Arabian dessert studying. 
Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures for these are they which testify of me.” The Old Testament is not about the Jews; it’s about Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews. The New Testament is also about Jesus. The whole Bible is about Jesus. 
The way we can know about the authenticity of Jesus is through fulfilled prophecy. Jesus authenticates the Bible and the Bible authenticates Jesus. 
Not only is He the promised One; He is the provided One. Verse 3 says that He is of the seed of David. He is the heir to Israel’s throne. That’s according to the flesh. But verse 4 says that He is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.
We see His humanity and His deity at the same time. God provided a Messiah. Jesus was not a divine man and He was not a human god: He is the God-Man. He is perfect humanity and perfect deity. It is just as much a heresy to deny His humanity as it is to deny His deity. 
He is the promised One, the provided One and the powerful one. “Declared to be the Son of God with power….by the resurrection from the dead.”
How do we know He was not just another wild eyed fanatic? I’ll tell you how we know: He walked out of that tomb! You say, “How do we know He did that?” The Bible says that He showed himself alive by many infallible proofs. There is more evidence that Jesus came out of that tomb than we have evidence for the fact that Julius Caesar ever lived. Jesus has conquered death, hell, sin and the grave. He is powerful!
He is also the pure one. Verse 4 says that He did this by the spirit of holiness. How holy and how sinless is the Lord Jesus? John Philips wrote, “He was perfectly holy. He never looked with lust, He never uttered a hasty, unkind or untrue word. He never entertained an impure thought. He was never accused by conscious, never inflamed by wrongful passions and never out of step with the will of God. His talents were never debased with selfish ends. His influence was never bad and His judgment was never wrong. He never had to apologize for anything that He did or retract a single word He said. He was never too late nor too soon. He was never insipid, shallow, or afraid. He lived on earth approximately 12,000 days and every one of them was a marvel of holiness.” He’s the pure One!
If you don’t have a hero, let me suggest mine to you. His name is Jesus!
The author of the Book is Paul. The hero of the Book is Jesus. The theme of the book is the Gospel. Paul tells us in verse 1 that He’s separated unto the gospel of God. Right there he tells us the source of the Gospel. Paul said in Galatians 1:8, “If any man preach any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Why? Because a false gospel will lead to a synthetic salvation that will lead to a very real Hell! 
The source of the Gospel is God. The subject of the Gospel is Jesus. Verse 3 says, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord…” It isn’t a gospel that alludes to Him…..Jesus is the Gospel. His death, burial and resurrection from the dead is the Gospel. 
Why do we have churches filled with moral worldlings who’ve never been born again? The church is supposed to be a sheepfold, but it’s turned into a zoo! Why? Because people have met religion without meeting Jesus. They’ve met denominations, but they’ve not met Jesus. They’ve met programs and causes, but they’ve not met Jesus. 
Christianity is not a creed, not a code, not a cause: it is Christ! Salvation is not to know about Him…..it is to know Him. You can take Confucius out of Confucianism and still have Confucianism. You can take Buddha out of Buddhism and still have Buddhism. You can take Mohammed out of Islam and still have Islam. But you can’t take Jesus out of Christianity and still have Christianity!
Christianity is not just some truths a man taught; it is a relationship with Him. He is the subject of the Gospel.
The supply of the Gospel is grace (verse 5). Grace is the absolute gift of God. By faith I receive the grace of God. You’re not saved by good works, you’re not saved by baptism, you’re not saved by religion, and you’re not saved by church membership: you’re saved by the grace of God! We’re going to learn about grace in the Book of Romans. 
If you’ll put your hand of faith in God’s hand of grace today, you can be saved. Would you do it?

Acts 10 Share Your Faith, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

2 hrs · 

 

Learning To Share Your Faith
Acts 10

Acts 10:34 Acts 10:35-36 Acts10:43 II Peter 3:9 John 14:6 Acts10: 39-42 verse 38 verses 40-41  verse 43 verse 44  Acts 5:32 I John 5:9 Hebrews 3:12 I John 5:10  Acts 10:44-45 verses 46-47 Acts 2

Imagine a man who’s not a Christian, who’s not a member of your race, who’s not a member of your church, who’s not a member of your denomination, but he’s inquiring about the faith. He wants to know more about Jesus Christ. He’s gathered all his family and his friends and neighbors together at his house and he’s invited you to come and share your faith. He wants you to tell the group why you believe in Jesus. Would you be prepared to do that? If not, I hope you will be by the end of this service.
All this happened to Simon Peter. There was a Gentile man by the name of Cornelius who was a Roman army officer. God had spoken to him and instructed him to send for a man named Peter. God said, “He’ll come to your house and tell you how to be saved.”
So, Peter, under God’s orders and under this man’s invitation, went to Cornelius’ house and shared his faith. Would you have been prepared to do that? What would you say?
You are under the Lord’s orders to share your faith. If you have no desire to share your faith, then I have to wonder if you are saved at all. If you have no desire to give your faith away, then perhaps you should give it up.
From the moment I was saved until now, there has always been a desire in my heart to share Jesus Christ. That’s one of the ways I know my salvation is real. I haven’t always shared as I ought, but there’s always been a desire to share.
Cornelius has all his children and all his friends and family gathered at his house. Peter walks in and gives his testimony. He gives a three-fold confirmation of the Gospel. But before we get into those three things, let’s look at the introduction. Take a look at Acts 10:34. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”
Peter is a Jew who has come into a Gentile house. Up to this time, no Jew would ever think about entering a Gentile home or dare to have fellowship with them or share spiritual things. But God worked Peter over and said, “Peter I love all the people of the world. They are all precious in my sight.” Look at verses 35-36. “But in everynation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all.)”
The door to salvation is very wide. Whosoever will may come. Verse 43 says, “…whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” You can be saved if you want to be saved. God has never said that some people can be saved, but other people can’t be saved. There is no respect of persons with God. II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord….is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Secondly, if you’re going to be saved, you’ll be saved by Jesus or you won’t be saved at all. Jesus is not a good way to Heaven…..Jesus is not the best way to Heaven…..Jesus is the only way to Heaven! In John 14:6 He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.”
You can’t just tip your hat to Jesus; you have to bow your knee to Jesus. The door is very wide, but the way is very narrow. You come to the Father through Jesus or you don’t come at all. Peter had to say, “Cornelius, Jesus alone has the answers to life’s pressing questions. Jesus alone can forgive your sins. Jesus alone can give you a hope that is steadfast and sure. Jesus alone can take the sting out of sin, the pain out of parting, and the gloom out of the grave. The door is wide, but the way is narrow.” 
Why should Cornelius believe that? Peter gave three lines of evidence to convict and convince Cornelius. God wants to use those same three lines of evidence through you to bring others to Christ….or to bring you to Christ today.
An angel had visited Cornelius prior to this. The angel said, “Cornelius, you go and get Peter and he’ll tell you and your house how to get saved.” There was also an angle telling Peter to go to Cornelius. 
I have a question: Why didn’t the angel just tell Cornelius how to get saved? Answer: God never gave the Great Commission to angels. He gave that privilege to human beings. We have a privilege that angels don’t have. No angel can be a soul-winner. God chose you to do that. Angels can clear a way, and the Holy Spirit can go before you, but only you can take the Word to people.
First, there is the personal confidence of the soul-winner. Peter doesn’t stutter or stammer when he shares his faith. He’s not walking on egg shells or Jello. He has great confidence. Look at verses 39-42. “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he command us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.”
All the Apostles were very different in their character. But there was one thing they were all unanimous about….the fact that Jesus is Lord.
Look how different the members of our congregation are. You come from different backgrounds, different levels of education, different races, different tastes, different kinds of entertainment, etc. You even have differences in your preference of worship styles. Some of you prefer more hymns, so of you prefer more praise songs, some of you think we should clap more, some of you think we should clap less, some of you think we shouldn’t clap at all. Some of you think the services should be longer, some of you think the services should be shorter, etc. We are very different…..and some of you are just strange!
What holds us together? It’s the same thing that held these eleven Apostles together: Jesus Christ. If you take Jesus out of the church, there is no church. Apart from Jesus, we wouldn’t have the love, the joy, and the power we have. True?
There are three things that kept these men welded together. First of all, the virtuous life of Jesus. In verse 38 Peter talks about how they saw Him going about doing good and doing miracles. They were eyewitnesses of His character and His works.
Peter says, “I know He turned water into wine. I drank some of it. I know He walked on water. I got out of the boat and walked with Him. I saw Him raise the dead with my own eyes. I saw Him heal lepers. I was with Him when He was transfigured.”
They were unanimous on the virtuous life of Jesus. They were also unanimous on the vicarious death of Jesus. Peter says, “I saw Him die in agony and blood upon the tree. I saw them take His lifeless body off the cross. I saw Him wrapped in linen grave clothes. I saw Him placed in the tomb. His death is a historical fact.”
But they were also unanimous about the victorious resurrection of Jesus. Look at verses 40-41. “Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.”
They may have asked, “Peter, how can we be sure you haven’t just cooked up this story? How do we know you aren’t telling a lie?” He says, “A lie! Man I would die for what I’m telling you!” And later on, he did. Men may live for a lie, but men won’t knowingly die for a lie. People tell lies to get out of trouble, not to get into trouble.
So, here is the confident soul-winner. Do you have that confidence? If not, you’re not going to make a very good soul-winner. But what a bold witness you will be when you can say, “I know these things are true!” If you don’t have that confidence as a soul-winner, you need to get it.
Here’s the second thing: the powerful confirmation of the Scripture. It’s not enough for you to say, “I know this,” or “I feel that.” Even if you’re an eyewitness, someone can say, “You misinterpreted what you saw.”
So, God not only gives us this personal confidence, He gives us the powerful confirmation of Scripture. Look at verse 43. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (No discussion of baptism here, yet he’s talking about remission of sins…and this is after Pentecost.)
Now there is not only the witness of the soul-winner, but there is also the witness of the Scriptures. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament.
There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that were directly fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ. Some people say, “Things were just arranged so it would look like Jesus fulfilled these prophecies.” I agree with them. Jesus arranged to be born in Bethlehem. Did you arrange where you would be born? He arranged to be born of a virgin. Do you think you could pull that off? You didn’t choose your mother, but He chose His mother. He also arranged to have His death by crucifixion described 800 years before He was born…..before crucifixion had even been invented! He arranged to have two thieves crucified with Him. He arranged to be buried in a tomb that was reserved for the rich. He arranged that Judas would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver. And the classic thing He arranged was to walk out of that grave alive three days later and to be seen of more than 500 witnesses! Could you arrange all those things?
All of these things were prophesied in the Old Testament, and they were mostly fulfilled by His enemies, not His friends.
Do you know enough Scripture to take the Bible and convince somebody about Jesus?
There is the personal confidence of the soul-winner, there is the powerful confirmation of the Scripture, but there is also the persuasive conviction of the Spirit. Look at verse 44. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
Peter gives his testimony and shows them that it’s all backed up by Scripture, and while he’s doing this, the Spirit of God comes upon them. I have told you often that anything I can talk you into, someone else can talk you out of. But when the Holy Spirit speaks to you and tells you that something is true, that gives you Holy Spirit conviction. 
How do you know that Jesus is the Son of God? How do you know that the Scriptures are true? If someone says their life has been transformed by Jesus, how do you know they’ve truly been transformed? It’ll be the Holy Spirit who convicts you that these things are true.
I don’t want to just be a good salesman and get you to sign on the dotted line: I want the Holy Spirit of God to convict you of the truth of what I preach. I’m not dependent on logic or eloquence of speech. All those things are vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down.
In Acts 5:32, the apostles were witnessing when they said something wonderful. They said, “We are witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them who obey him.”
I can witness to you the best I know how, but I’m depending on the Holy Spirit to go up and down these aisles saying, “You’d better listen to him. He’s telling you the truth.” I am a witness, but so is also the Holy Spirit whom God has given to them who obey Him.
Let me tell you how the Holy Spirit witnesses from I John 5:9. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.”
We all receive the witness of men. When you eat, you put faith in the cook. How do you know that your wife isn’t going to slip a little arsenic in your food this afternoon? When you’re riding with someone else, you’re putting your faith in the driver. But how do you know this isn’t the day that he’s decided to drive off the bridge? 
We couldn’t live without putting our trust in other people for certain things. But if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. When a person tells me, “I can’t believe,” he’s lying. Jesus didn’t say, “You can’t come to me:” He said, “You won’t come to me that you might have life.”
If you want to believe, you can believe. God will enable you to believe. Your problem is not in your head; it’s in your heart. Hebrews 3:12 says, “Beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.” He doesn’t say, “an empty head,” he says, “an evil heart.”
If you want to believe, the Holy Spirit will enable you to believe. He’ll witness to you. God is speaking to you today. You can stonewall God if you want to. But if you can put your trust in man with all his failures and foibles, you can put your trust in Almighty God and His Word.
Not only does the Holy Spirit witness to you, He witnesses in you. I John 5:10 says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” The Holy Spirit of God lives in me right now and He enables me to believe. And because I have the witness in me, I am not at the mercy of some pagan with an argument.
Suppose I’ve just had a big piece of apple pie and someone says, “I don’t believe in apple pie.” Or they say, “If there is apple pie, it doesn’t taste good and it doesn’t satisfy.” That’s not going to shake me any. Why? I’ve got the witness in me! The Bible says, “Taste and see if the Lord is good!”
He witnesses to me, then He witnesses in me, and then He witnesses through me. An effective witness is someone who’s had an experience with God. Jesus didn’t say, “Ye shall be my lawyers.” A lawyer argues a case. A witness simply tells what he’s seen and heard. That’s why Peter had such confidence. Peter says, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. We ate with Him, we talked with Him, we saw Him risen” There is the absolute confidence of the soul-winner.
Then there is the powerful confirmation of the Scriptures. We have the fulfilled prophecies that tell us who the Lord Jesus is. Then there is the confirming persuasion of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit takes those first two things and says to the household of Cornelius, “These things are true.”
Jesus said, “You shall receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” He didn’t tell me that I had to go out and witness in my own strength.
If the Holy Spirit is not bringing conviction to people through your life, then it may be that you’re not living in obedience. God has given this witness to those who obey Him. God doesn’t give His Spirit to rebels: He gives it to those who obey Him.
Look at Acts 10:44-45. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
How did they know that the Holy Ghost was poured out on the Gentiles? Look at verses 46-47. “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Notice: they have received the Holy Ghost, but they haven’t been baptized yet.)
Do you have to speak in tongues in order to be saved? Of course not! Tongues is the ability to speak in another earthly language that you’ve never studied or learned. The first time this happened was on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. That’s when the Spirit was poured out on the Jews. But now there’s a new dimension to the Gospel. Now Peter is taking the Gospel to the Gentiles. This is the Gentile Pentecost if you will. The Jews are amazed and say, “God has given the Spirit to the Gentiles the same as He did to us.”
God is showing them that there is now one new body called the Church. This was a sign gift to the Jews. We don’t have to have that sign gift repeated to us. We don’t try to repeat Pentecost any more than we try to repeat Bethlehem or Calvary. Bethlehem was God with us, Calvary is God for us, and Pentecost is God in us. We’re not praying for another Pentecost or for God to send His Holy Spirit. He’s already sent His Spirit.
What if your parents got you a new bike for Christmas and you came to them on New Year’s Day and said, “Mom and dad, would you get me a new bike?” They’d say, “You’ve already got a new bike, now get on it and ride it!”
We don’t have to keep asking God to do what He’s already done. Jew and Gentile are now one body in the Lord Jesus Christ. But then Peter asks, “Can we forbid these people to be baptized since the Holy Spirit has come on them as He came on us?”
They believed…..and then they were baptized. Have you been baptized? Have you believed? If you’ve believed, then the next step for you is to make it public and follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.
You’ve had the personal confidence of the soul-winner…..who today has been Pastor Gary. You’ve had the powerful confirmation of the Scriptures. The Bible has proven conclusively that Jesus Christ is Lord. You’ve had the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He’s here today. So, all you have to do is say, “Yes” to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Without Jesus, you’re going to Hell. So, if Hell is not in your plans, you need to give your heart to Jesus Christ. Would you do that today?

Acts 14:

Acts 14 New International Version (NIV)

In Iconium

14 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the gospel.

In Lystra and Derbe

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earthand the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders[a] for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of Godfor the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through themand how he had opened a doorof faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

Miracle Births John 3:1, Gary Flynt

Gary Flynt

Miracle Births John 3:1

Today I want to talk to you about 3 miracle births. Natural birth is a miracle and we take the birth of a child for granted. When you think about what God does to bring a child into the world, it’s a miracle.

But not only do I want to speak to you about natural birth, I want to speak to you about the virgin birth. That’s the miracle of Christmas. Then I want to speak to you about the new birth….also a miracle. Three miracle births; the sinner’s birth, the Savior’s birth and the second birth.

Look at John 3:1-2. “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same man came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” Nicodemus is so impressed by the miracles that Jesus had done that he wants to find out more about miracles. He asks Jesus about miracles and Jesus begins to speak to him about births. Look at verse 3. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Nicodemus, if you want to understand miracles, then you’re going to have to become a miracle.”

Look at verse 4. “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Nicodemus says, “Been there, done that! I can’t go back and be born again. I’m an old man!” Look at verses 5-7. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

All of us have had that first birth. We all got here through the portals of our mother’s womb. Like Nicodemus, there are 3 things that are true of us. When we are born into the natural world we are bound to the sinful world. To be born naturally is to be born a descendant of Adam. The Bible says that in Adam, all die. Ephesians 2:3 says that “we are by nature the children of wrath.” In Psalm 51:5 David said, “I was shapen in iniquity.” That is, “I came into this world with a sinful nature.” So did you and I.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh. And if you want to see what the flesh is like, then take your Bible and read Galatians 5 where Paul talks about the works of the flesh. All of us have that flesh in us. We aren’t as wicked as we could be, but we all have that sinful nature within us.

Sometimes we think we can improve that old nature, but we can’t do it, folks. Here’s Nicodemus who was born into the natural world and he’s bound to the sinful world because of that birth. Number 3, he’s blind to the spiritual world. Jesus told this man, “Unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Now Nicodemus was an intelligent man. He was one out of only 71 in all of Israel who was a ruler in Israel….a member of the Sanhedrin. He had the equivalent of a double PhD. Yet, with all his learning, Jesus said, “Except ye be born again, ye cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Folks, you’ll never understand spiritual things until the Holy Spirit turns the light on in your soul. Until that happens, you are spiritually blind. The Bible says in II Corinthians 4:4 that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.”

That’s the sinners birth…and we were all born into this world that way. But Jesus also talks to him about His own birth….the Savior’s birth. Nicodemus had said, “We know that Thou art a Teacher sent from God.” And indeed He was a Teacher sent from God, but He was more than that….He was God sent to teach. Jesus was God in the flesh. Look at John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Jesus didn’t have His beginning at Bethlehem. Jesus came from heaven to Bethlehem. His birth was more than a birth, it was a giving. God gave His Son into the world.

Isaiah 7:14 says, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and be with child.” Why did Jesus come into this world born of a virgin? Does it make any difference? Your eternal destiny rises and falls on the virgin birth! Without the virgin birth you couldn’t be saved. Had Jesus been born as Nicodemus was….with a natural birth, rather than with a supernatural birth….He would have been a child of Adam and not a child of God. If Adam had been his forefather, then He would have had Adam’s nature. The Bible says, “In Adam, all die.” If He had been a sinner, then He couldn’t have been the perfect sacrifice. He could only die for His own sin, but not for mine. But being born of a virgin, He didn’t inherit the sinful nature of Adam and his humanity. He had the nature of His Father and was totally without sin. Therefore He, and He alone, could be the sinless sacrifice for our sins. Only Mary’s little Lamb, without spot or blemish, could die for our sins.

He was born of a virgin that I might be born again. He was born once that I might be born twice. He came to earth that I might go to heaven. So why the Savior’s birth? Number 1, redemption.

But He not only had a ministry of redemption, He had a ministry of revelation. Look at John 3:19. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Do you know why some people won’t come to church? It makes them feel guilty because their deeds are evil. They can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a policeman. They hate the light and they won’t come to the light. But Jesus came to give light. He came to reveal God. Look at John 3:20-21. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light…”

Jesus came with a ministry of redemption….to die for our sins, to be the perfect sacrifice. Jesus came with a ministry of revelation….to show us who God is. He said, “He who hath seen me hath seen the Father.”

Have you ever read the story of Helen Keller who was born into this world both blind and deaf? How would you like to have a baby born both blind and deaf? Would that not be tragic? Parents want to tell their child how much they love that child. It’s an instinctive thing in parents to express love to their children. The mother of Helen Keller said, “Oh, you precious little thing, how much your mother loves you! But I have no way to tell you how much I love you.”

But then there came a breakthrough when they learned to communicate with her. Then that mother was able to express that love that was in her heart.

God wants to express His love for us. But how can the finite know the infinite? How can we know God? The Bible says that the Lord is manifest in His Son, the Lord Jesus. That’s why Jesus said, “He who hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He is light that has come into the world.

The virgin birth brought us redemption and revelation, but it also brought us restoration….to put us back like we were before we got messed up by this thing called sin. “Second Adam from above, reinstate us in Thy love.” That’s the Savior’s birth.

Now let’s tighten the focus a little more. We have talked about the sinner’s birth, we’ve talked about the Savior’s birth, but now let’s talk about the second birth.

Look at John 3:7. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” He didn’t say, “It would be nice if you had a new birth,” He said, “Ye must be born again.”

Today we seem to have begun to talk about Christians in categories. We say, “He’s a born-again Christian.” Folks, that’s the only kind there is! To say that he’s a born-again Christian is redundant. It’s like saying a female woman. If you aren’t born again, you aren’t a Christian of any kind!

Jesus is talking to a good man. His very name means superior. Folks, if Nicodemus needed to be born again, then everyone in this building needs to be born again. Amen? There’s no one so good that he need not be born again, and there is no one so bad that he cannot be born again.

When Jesus describes salvation in the symbolism of a birth…that’s something we can all relate to. Jesus was a great Teacher! That’s why the Bible says that the common people heard Him gladly. We all got here through a natural birth, so He uses that to help us understand what salvation is…the supernatural birth.

For example, there must be conception before there can be birth, right? So how did the conception take place for our new birth? Look at John 3:5. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” When the water and the Spirit come together, there is a new birth. Some people think that the water here refers to baptism….it emphatically does not refer to baptism. Nicodemus is an Old Testament scholar. Baptism is a New Testament doctrine. Jesus says, “You are a master in Israel and you don’t know these things?” He’s not talking about baptism. Baptism is not a symbol of birth…it’s a symbol of death. Romans 6:4 says, “We are buried with Him by baptism into death.” But Jesus is talking about birth here.

When Jesus talks about being born of water, He’s referring to the Word of God. Ephesians 5 speaks of “washing of water by the Word.” In Isaiah God says, “Is not my Word like the rain that cometh down from heaven?” In Titus the Bible speaks of “the washing of regeneration.” I Peter 1:23 talks about “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God.” The seed, the sperm if you will, that impregnates and brings about the new birth, is the Word of God.

But the Word of God alone is not enough. There must also be the Spirit of God. I can preach the Word of God, but I need the Spirit of God to tap you on the shoulder while I’m preaching and say to you, “What he’s saying is true.” Anything I can talk you into, someone else can talk you out of. But the Spirit of God takes the Word of God….and when you put those two together…you have a marvelous conception.

Where do these two come together? In the womb of faith. That’s why John 3:16 says, “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But not only is there a conception that takes place in a new birth, there is also a creation that takes place. A brand new individual comes into being when there is a physical birth….and so it is with a spiritual birth. That’s why II Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” You’re brand new. There are no yesterdays….they’re all tomorrows.

It’s new life. John uses the word life 36 times in this Gospel. And Jesus sums it up in John 10:10 when He says, “I have come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly” Why? Because when you receive Jesus you step out of mere existence into everlasting life.

In a birth there must be a conception. In a birth there is creation. But the next thing is character or nature which comes through birth. You receive the character of your parents. The reason we are sinners is because our parents were sinners. We are the children of Adam, and in Adam all die. But when we get saved, we become a child of God. And having experienced the second birth, we get a new nature. That’s why Peter says, “We have become partakers of the divine nature.” It’s so important to understand this because we have so many people who say that they’ve been born again…but they haven’t been born again.

Do you know how we know they haven’t been born again? They haven’t become partakers of the new nature. They may have agreed to some intellectual things, they may have joined a church, they may have gone through certain rituals, but unless you’ve become a partaker of the divine nature, you’ve never been born again. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things have passed away and, behold, all things are become new.”

Salvation is not getting man out of earth and into heaven; it’s getting God out of heaven and into man.

What are the traits of the twice born? Number 1, God’s Spirit will bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God. That’s what Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

The witness of the Spirit is not an emotional feeling. It may result in emotions, and I am not opposed to emotions. But don’t get the idea that because you have goose bumps, or because you get wet around the lashes or warm around the heart that this is a sign that you are saved. Your emotions are fickle. If you depend upon your emotions for the assurance of your salvation, then the assurance of your salvation will vary with the condition of your liver!

Your emotions are the shallowest part of your nature. Salvation is the deepest work of God, and God doesn’t do His deepest work in the shallowest part. The witness of the Spirit is very hard to explain to people. You can’t tell someone else how you know that you’re saved, but you know that you know. There is something in me….it’s the Spirit of God that whispers to my heart that I belong to Him. But the first trait is the witness of the Spirit.

But here is a second trait of the twice born; because you have the witness of the Spirit in your heart, there is going to be a deep love for Christ and His Word. Jesus said, “I will take the things that are mine and show them unto you.” You are a partaker of the divine nature, and the nature of God says, “Behold, my beloved Son.” The Father loves the Son, and if you are saved, you will love the Lord Jesus.

Some folks love churches, some folks love preaching, some folks love music, some folks love fellowship….but the question is: Do you love Jesus? Is Jesus Christ real to you? You may not love Him as you ought to. I hope I love Him more tomorrow than I do today. You may not love Him perfectly…none of us do that. But if you are saved, there will be in you a love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, there will be a desire to live a holy life. What kind of Spirit comes into you? The Holy Spirit. God is a holy God. He says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” What right do we have to call ourselves children of God if we have no desire for holiness?

You say, “Does that mean that if I sin, I’m not a child of God?” No, you are born again as a child and you have to learn to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. But the Scriptures say that an unsaved man hates the light and will not come to the light because his deeds are evil. But if you love God, you come to the light that your deeds might be made manifest that they are of God. If you are saved, there will be a desire for holiness. I have failed many times, but there has always been in my heart, since I got saved, a desire to live for God. Before I got saved, I was running to sin…now I run from it. The Lord’s not finished with me yet. He doesn’t make it where I can’t sin anymore, He just fixes it so that I can’t sin and enjoy it anymore. And if you don’t have a desire to be a righteous and holy person, then you need to put a big question mark after this thing you call salvation.

Here is the fourth thing….you will have a desire to share Jesus with other people. You’ll never convince me that if you know how to be saved, that if your sins have been forgiven, that if you understand what Christ did on the cross, that if you understand the agonies of hell and the glories of heaven….that you could be silent about it and not want to share it. How could you possibly be born again and not want to share the Lord Jesus? The God in you wants to share His truth with everybody.

There was a little girl who came forward during an invitation at the First Baptist Church of Dallas when Dr. George Truet was pastor there. They do as we do. They questioned the little girl very carefully because they didn’t want her to have just an emotional experience without truly knowing the Lord. So they began to put these preponderant questions to her and….it wasn’t that she didn’t know the answers…she just didn’t know how to respond to adult questions. Sometimes we ask little children adult questions when Jesus says that the adult has to come like a little child. We get it backwards sometimes. These little children can have perfect faith, but they can’t articulate things the way we want them to sometimes. So one of the men moved, “Brethren, I suggest that we not baptize this little girl yet. Let’s wait a while.” So they said, “Sweetheart, we are glad that you have come, and we know that you love Jesus, but we want you to wait a little while before you are baptized.”

This little girl puddled up and began to cry. They said, “Now, sweetheart, don’t cry. The time will come when you can be baptized.” She said, “I’m not crying because I can’t be baptized. I’m thinking about my brother. He doesn’t know Jesus and he needs to be saved.” One of those men said, “Brethren, I move we baptize her right now!”

See, that’s a mark of a person who has been saved! There is a conception in a new birth, there is a creation….you become new. There is a character…you become a partaker of the divine nature. But there is also a completion in a birth. A birth is once and for all in the physical sphere and in the spiritual sphere. No one has ever been born twice physically….and no one has ever been born twice spiritually. That’s one of the reasons why we believe in the eternal security of the believer. You will never find one incident of a person being saved twice anywhere in the Bible. It would be like trying to find someone who has been born twice physically…..it can’t be done. Once you’re in the family, you’re in the family.

Now there are times when I disappointed my parents and they had to chastise me, but I am a Flynt and I will be for all eternity. Even when I die and go to the grave, there is no way I can ever be anything but what I was when I was born. When we are born into the family of God, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and it’s complete. It’s a once in a lifetime experience in the spiritual realm.

But it’s also a commencement. No baby is ever born full grown. When you get saved, that doesn’t mean that you are going to sprout wings and get a halo. Our babies learn to walk, but they don’t learn to walk to get into the family…they are already in the family! They were born into the family. But they were born as babies. It’s all tomorrows and no yesterdays. When we get saved, all of our sins are buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness. But, then, we have to learn how to walk and talk. Birth is a commencement…a beginning. You are going to stumble, fall and fail while you are learning to walk as a Christian. That doesn’t mean that you haven’t been saved.

But a birth is also a certainty. If I were to walk up to you and ask, “Have you ever been born?” it would sound like a stupid question, wouldn’t it? But suppose you were to say to me, “Well, I don’t know. I hope so. I’m doing the best I can.” I would have to think that you didn’t understand my question. If you’ve been born, then you know it, right? The same is true in the spiritual realm. A birth is a certainty. If Jesus says, “Ye must be born again,” would there be a “must” there if a person could never know it? Wouldn’t that be frustrating if someone said, “Here is an absolute prerequisite for going to heaven,” and you couldn’t know if you’d done it or not? That’s why John wrote in I John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” When you get saved, you are not a question mark, you are an exclamation point. You can say, “I know that I am saved.”

It’s not arrogant to say that you know that your are saved. You didn’t have anything to do with your first birth and you didn’t have anything to do with the second birth….but you can rejoice in it.

Let me say something else….you don’t have to remember when you were saved. I don’t remember a thing about when I was born physically. Do any of you remember the details of your own birth? Now many times we do know the circumstances surrounding our spiritual birth….especially those of us who were saved later in life and had so much sin to repent of. But the Bible never tells you to look back to some past experience. The Bible doesn’t say, “He that believed is saved.” The Bible says, “He that believes is saved.” It is always in the present tense. Now I had to have a new birth experience. If you are saved, then you were saved….and there was a moment in time, but it might be fuzzy to you. Maybe as a child there was a time when you realized that you were with all your heart trusting Jesus…and you can’t tell me the exact moment.

Suppose that we all decide to go to our family’s favorite destination…Destin, Florida. Half of us are going by automobile and the other half is going to fly. When those of you in the cars cross the Florida State line there will be a sign that says, “Welcome to Florida.” When the rest of us cross the state line, we’re in an airplane and we don’t even know we’ve done it. But how do those of us in the airplane know that we’ve gotten to Florida? Because we are there in the airport. I had to cross that state line to be there. If the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with my spirit that I am a child of God, then I had to be born again, right? The question is not, “Were you saved?” the question is, “Are you saved?” If you are, you were. If you’re trusting Jesus you were, if you are not trusting Jesus, you’re not. Quit looking back to some musty experience and ask yourself this question: “Am I trusting Christ alone as my Savior?”

Will Rogers was going to travel overseas and he went to get a passport. They said, “Well, in order to get a passport you will need a birth certificate.” He said, “What do I need that for?” They said, “For proof of your birth.” He said, “Well, I’m here, ain’t I?”

A birth is a certainty. But last, a birth is a compensation. When you’re born into the family of God, you’re born into a very rich family. The Bible says that “The Lord is rich unto all that call upon Him.” The Bible says that we’re the heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Do you know what a joint heir is? Get a lawyer to tell you. It means share and share alike. You’re royal blue bloods! There is a compensation that comes with the new birth.

Three births. The sinners birth…we’ve all had that. The Savior’s birth….thank God for that! The second birth…. “You must be born again.”

US Corp. Taxes 39%

3 Quick & Easy Charts Show Why Burger King Wants to Move From the U.S. to Canada

Burger King Tim Hortons

Burger King is on the verge ofbuying Canada’s largest donut chain, Tim Hortons, in a deal that would see Burger King relocate its corporate headquarters from Florida to Canada. Burger King wants to move its corporate headquarters out of the U.S. to take advantage of Canada’s much lower corporate tax rates. The practice is called “tax inversion,” and it makes some American politicians angry. The reasons why Burger King prefers Canada to the U.S. are actually pretty easy to see in a few charts. Here’s a chart from KPMG thatcompares the corporate tax rates between the U.S. and Canada:US-Canada corporate tax ratesNext, here’s a list of the 20 highest corporate tax rates in the world from the Tax Foundation. Notice which country is third:topcorporateratesFinally, here’s another chart from the Tax Foundation which puts the problem America faces more in context:FF436-Figures2

Whereas many countries are lowering their corporate tax rates, the United States has refused to join in. As a result, we see companies like Burger King looking to take advantage of “tax inversion” deals and relocate their corporate headquarters outside of the country.

What does the Obama administration plan on doing about this? If you guessed working with Congress to lower corporate tax rates, you would be wrong. Instead, they plan on writing legislation to essentiallyoutlaw “tax inversion” deals under the guise of “economic patriotism.”

The cost of corporate taxes is one of the costs our government can lower to improve profitability, allowing businesses to increase investments like employment.

If the Obama administration really wants corporations to stay in America, they will move to lower corporate taxes and make America more competitive again.

Working All Night and Catching Nothing, Gary Flynt

Working All Night and Catching Nothing
Luke 5

A fellow was on a world tour when his plane crashed on a deserted Island. He spent 10 years alone on that island. Finally, some rescuers came and said, “We’ve come to take you and all these other people off the island.” He said, “There are no other people.” The rescuers said, “If you’re the only person, then what are these other three buildings?” He said, “The first building is my house. The second building is my church.” They said, “What’s the third building?” He said, “Oh, I used to go to church there, but I got mad and moved my letter!” You have to be a Baptist to fully appreciate that joke!

Take a look at Luke 5:1-11. “And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”

One in four Southern Baptist churches never baptized a single person in an entire year. We have about 46 thousand churches, but for the sake of illustration I’m going to say 40,000 churches. That means 10,000 churches never baptized anyone in a whole year. Based on two sermons per week for 52 weeks out of the year, that means one million and 40 thousand sermons were preached where nobody got saved. If they sang 8 hymns per week, then they sung 4 million 100 thousand songs and nobody got saved. If they only gave 300 dollars per week, then that means they gave 156 million dollars and nobody got saved. Let all that sink in for a minute.

Apparently we have a whole lot of people who are toiling all night and catching nothing! Many of our churches can identify with these fishermen.

There are 6 things that should have helped them catch fish. First of all, look at their profession. The Bible calls them fishermen. This is the only place in the Bible that this particular word is used. Only 10 people in the Bible were ever called fishers. And every time that word is used, it implies that this is their profession. In other words, they did this for a living.

Secondly, look at their perception. If they are fishers, then evidently they know how to fish. If they are professional fishermen, then they know where to fish, how to fish, when to fish, how long to fish and with what to fish.

I am always intrigued by professional people because I like people who know what they’re doing. Think of an ear, nose and throat specialist. How would you like to make your living looking up other people’s noses? I guess there are worse places you could be looking….but wouldn’t that be an awful job? Anyway, these men were professionals. They were perceptive and they knew what they were doing.

Next, I want you to look at their place. They were at Lake Gennesaret. They didn’t think there were many fish in that lake, but they would soon discover that it was full of fish.

I’m always reading articles about how this is a new generation and how they won’t hear the Word of God today. They say that you can’t get people to believe the Gospel that used to be preached. Folks, I’ve been preaching for over 30 years and I’m seeing just as many people come to the Lord as I ever have! I’m preaching the same stuff I’ve been preaching for over 30 years! Don’t tell me that people won’t hear the Gospel.

People say, “We have to do something different.” I wonder what I could do that was different? I guess I could get some black leotards and do an interpretive dance. I bet we’d have a big crowd for that! But I suspect this world doesn’t need an overweight preacher in black leotards, but a Gospel preacher with the Holy Ghost in his heart preaching the Word of God.

Now let’s look at their possessions. They had boats, they had paddles and they had nets. They had everything they needed to catch fish. We have the most beautiful buildings, the best programs, the most eloquent preachers and the most financial prosperity the church has ever had, and we’re winning less people than we ever did.

There’s a fifth thing these folks had: they had their purity. The Bible says they were on the banks washing their nets. These nets would drag along the bottom of the lake and get moss, and algae, and drift wood caught in them. Periodically they would have to wash the slime and mud off these nets so they would be clean. And if those nets are to be symbolic of what we use to win people to Jesus (and Jesus said, “Henceforth, you shall catch men,” so apparently it is), then that means that theological purity has never been a guarantee of evangelistic fervor. We have made the assumption that if a man will just believe the Bible and trust God’s Word, then he’ll automatically win souls. But that is not the truth of God’s Word. You can be straight as a gun barrel and not win men to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some of the deadest churches I’ve ever preached in are conservative, Bible-believing churches. Just because you believe the Bible, that doesn’t mean you’re going to catch men for Christ. These men had clean nets, but they weren’t catching any fish.

They also had their persistence. They had toiled all night. The word carries with it the idea that they had labored until they were exhausted. But they caught no fish.

So what conclusions can we draw from the draught of fishes? First, the catch must never determine the commitment. There are two obvious things in this Scripture that stand out. On the one side, there is the fact that they had caught no fish. On the other side, is the fact that Jesus wanted them to keep on fishing. Isn’t that interesting? Don’t ever get caught up in how much you catch. Your responsibility is to keep casting the net. God has taught me this lesson so many times I could write a book about it! When I don’t think I’m catching anything, I may be catching way more than I ever dreamed!

Have you ever been to somebody’s house where they fed you such a great feast that you just about couldn’t breath anymore? And then, as they’re cleaning off the table, someone says, “Better keep your fork.” That’s when the fat cells in your body start singing the Hallelujah Chorus because you know that means it isn’t over yet!

I’ve got some news for the God-haters, and the God-deniers, and the Christ-criticizers, and the baby-killing abortionists, and the crusading homosexuals, and the crooked politicians: It isn’t over yet!!!

Keep your fork, Christians! Keep throwing the net. The catch doesn’t determine your commitment. You’re to fish when you catch ‘em and you’re to fish when you don’t catch ‘em! You’re a fisher, not a catcher.

Secondly, your evaluation must never overshadow your proclamation. Jesus said, “Simon, cast out into the deep.” Simon said what most Baptist would say if they were told that: “We’ve already done that. As a matter of fact, we’ve been doing that for the last 50 years.” But it dawned on those disciples that Jesus might know a little bit more about it than they did. So Simon says, “Nevertheless, at Thy word, we’ll do it.” And this time he caught a draught of fishes so big he couldn’t even haul it in.

Your evaluation must never overshadow the proclamation of the Gospel. When you fish, never say, “I’m not going to catch anything.” You’re out there to fish. Let God worry about the catching. Don’t be intimidated by what you haven’t done….just thank God for what He might possibly do.

One time I was down in Old Mexico and saw a boy shooting hoops on a basketball court. We were across the street from where we would be holding our revival services that night and we were waiting for our hosts to arrive. My buddy Tom Drake was with me. Tom doesn’t speak Spanish and the Spanish I know is very limited. Our interpreters weren’t there yet. But the Spirit was prompting me to go and speak to the boy shooting hoops. I was thinking, “God, if he starts asking questions, I’m not going to be able to answer them.” But the Spirit wouldn’t let me off the hook. So I went to talk to him. I had some tracts in Spanish, and I had my personal testimony in Spanish. I gave these to the boy and asked him to read them. He read them very carefully. Then I pointed to the question that asked if he would like to receive Christ as his personal Savior. And just as I anticipated, he had some questions and I didn’t have the Spanish skills to answer him. All this time Tom is praying that the Holy Spirit would help me. And just when it seemed hopeless, a car drives up. A man and his wife got out of the car, as well as a young man in his 20’s. This young man spoke English quite well. He introduced himself and asked if he could help me. I said, “I’m trying to win this boy to Christ and he has some questions. Can you help me?” He said, “Sure.” So he began talking to the other boy and answered his questions. In a matter of moments, that boy had given his life to Jesus. It was in that moment that I was so glad I hadn’t let my evaluation overshadow my proclamation.

That’s not the end of the story. Later that day I was talking to the man and his wife who had come to pick us up. It was their son who had helped me win the boy to Christ. He was not yet a Christian himself! He had been a drug addict but had recently gotten clean. He became a barber and was going to church with his parents. He knew how to be saved; he just hadn’t done it himself yet. The story is too long to go into, but suffice it to say that he was saved before the week was over also. But isn’t it amazing that God sent me a lost guy to help my win another lost guy? Never let your evaluation overshadow your proclamation. Throw the net. You never know who’s going to get in it, and you may catch a landslide someday!

Finally, your success must never supplant the Savior. It’s interesting to think about what those disciples could have done with all those fish they caught. First, they could have been proud. They could have bragged, “We caught more fish than anyone’s ever caught out of Gennesaret. We’re the best fishermen alive!”

There is a restrained arrogance among some men of God who perceive themselves to be at the top. They have little patience for those who are unfortunate enough to be at the bottom. But don’t strut because you’ve caught more fish than someone else. God’s going to send you away with an empty net someday.

I heard about a guy who was so proud after he got through preaching that he signed his own Bible! Have you ever met anyone like that?

Back when I used to go to our Southern Baptist conferences and conventions, I would see a parade of success stories. I’d hear about how somebody went from 15 to 1,500, or how they baptized 500 people last year. I thank God for successful folks who want to magnify God for what He is doing. But there ought to be room on the program for some old boy who says, “My church went from 100 to 15 in Sunday school, but in the midst of it all, I learned to trust God.”

Don’t get too proud if you make a good catch. There are a lot of folks who are fishing just as hard as you, but they’re not catching as much. They’re still valuable to God. And if you’re discouraged, let me tell you something. Anyone who stands with a Bible in his hand, and with Jesus in his heart, and with the Holy Spirit on his lips, and who preaches the Gospel is never a failure in God’s sight!

They could’ve been proud. Or, they could’ve pouted. Did you notice that only one of the boats caught fish? There were two boats out there, but they both didn’t catch fish. One beckoned to the other and said, “We’ve got so many fish we can’t haul them all in. Would you help us?”

If they’d have been like some Southern Baptists I know, they’d have asked, “Does it have Southern Baptist printed on it?”

I recently preached a funeral for my good friend Gary Girton. He was a fisher. He would fish from sunup to sundown…then he would fish some more. I’ve been with him when we’ve got so many fish we couldn’t hardly haul them all home. I’ve also been out on the lake before when I haven’t caught a thing. And some guy will come puttering up and ask, “Have you caught anything?” I say, “I haven’t caught nuthin’!” Then he opens up his live well and shows me about a hundred fish. Do you know what that did? It made me mad! Do you know why? I’m not really a fisher…..I’m just a guy who likes to fish once in a while.

People that just go fishing once in a while will get mad when somebody else catches fish. But if you’re a fisher, you rejoice when someone else catches fish.

Folks, I don’t care who catches them! And I don’t care what stripe they are! As long as they come by the blood of Jesus Christ I’m going to rejoice! We’re not in a competition with each other.

Can you imagine that old boy in the second boat saying, “We didn’t catch ‘em. We’re going home.” He would have gone home empty. But the guy in our story says, “Praise God! He’s got so many he can’t get them all in his boat. Let’s pull over there and put some of them in our boat!” Wherever somebody’s catching souls, I’m going to pull up along side of them. I might get some in my boat once in a while.

They could have gotten proud, or they could have pouted. Instead, they pursued Jesus. They laid down the fish, they laid down the boat, they laid down the paddles, they laid down the nets and they pursued Jesus.

Your first responsibility is to pursue Jesus. Whatever you catch is incidental to point that your main responsibility is to love Jesus. The reason people don’t witness is because they don’t love Jesus.

They threw down their nets and followed Jesus. That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind dying right in the middle of a sermon!

Over the years, I’ve preached in some double-dead churches. Dead churches always have an excuse for being dead. They might say, “Brother Gary, we want to be careful because we don’t want out people to become charismatics.” After spending a week in that church, I can assure you they have nothing to worry about! There wasn’t even the remotest possibility that that church would ever become charismatic!

You can get back to the motel after preaching in some of those dead churches and when you lay down on the bed, the devil will lay down beside you. You’ve preached hard or witnessed hard and your results are barren. The devil says, “You can’t preach,” or “You’re not a good witness.” Or “You’re fat.” That part doesn’t bother me too much because Jesus said that the devil was a liar!

My grandson, Jordan came up to me one time and asked, “Papa, are you fat?” I was thinking, it all depends on what you mean by “are.” If are means is, then I is! Some of you are too young to get that joke!

But the devil whispers in your ear, “You ought to quit. You’re just an old worn out preacher and nobody likes you. Why don’t you just quit.”

Do you know how I shut him up? I start calling out all the names of the people God’s given me the opportunity to win to Christ. Tiffany, Opal, Lonnie, Shelly, Kent, Mike, Gary, Mrs. Cronkite, Jose, Manuel, Jesus, Maria, Kelly, Brent, etc.” “Nobody likes you, preacher!” “David, Mark, Julie, Rodney, Kerry, Brock, Troy, Jake, Trish, Jeremy, Larry, etc.” Pretty soon the devil just goes away and I say, “Lord, Private Flynt reporting for duty, sir. I’ll be ready again in the morning.”

Friends, just keep casting the net.

Maybe the net has caught you this morning. We’re going to give an invitation so you can have the opportunity to give your heart to Jesus this morning. Would you do it now?

Prayers: When they seem unanswered, Pastor Gary Flynt

When Prayers Seem Unanswered
Luke 1

Take a look at Luke 1:5-17. “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachariah, of the course of Abijah: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zachariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zachariah: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Sometimes we ask, “Why do my prayers go unanswered?” Sometimes there is the problem of unasked prayer. Have you ever noticed how many commands for prayer there are in the Bible? I Samuel 12:23 says, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you…” Prayerlessness is a sin.
I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” Luke 18:1 says, “And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray…” Mark 14:38 says, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation…” Many of us are failing simply because we do not pray. There is no substitute for prayer!
“I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day. I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t have time to pray. Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task. Why doesn’t God help me? I wondered. He answered, “You didn’t ask.” I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on gray and bleak. I wondered why God didn’t show me. But He said, “You didn’t seek.” I tried to come into God’s presence. I used all the keys on the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, “My son, you didn’t knock.” I woke up early this morning and paused before entering the day, I had so much to accomplish I simply had to take time to pray!”
There is the problem of unoffered prayer; but what about unanswered prayer? When we do seek and ask according to His will and our prayers seem to go unanswered….what about that?
Let me give you three thoughts. First, your prayer may seem unanswered because it’s simply denied. God won’t answer if you aren’t asking according to His will. 
Obviously, Zechariah was a man who was walking with the Lord. He knew the will of the Lord. Look at Luke 1:6. “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” These people were on praying ground! James 4:1-4 says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
You say, “Can’t I ask God for my personal needs?” Of course! But you can’t ask for selfish needs. God’s not going to feed your lusts, your pride, or your selfishness. If you’re a friend of this world, then why would God give you more strength to serve the devil? God calls friendship with this world spiritual adultery.
Suppose a woman is unfaithful to her husband. She goes to her husband and says, “Would you give me some money so I can go to New Orleans and spend the weekend with my boyfriend?” Why would her husband underwrite her sin? Why would God underwrite your spiritual adultery?
Sometimes our prayers are unanswered because we’re not like Elisabeth and Zechariah. We’re not praying according to the will of God. Prayer is finding the will of God and getting in on it. I John 5:14-15 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Sometimes we have sin in our hearts and we ask outside of the will of God and out prayers are simply denied. But sometimes our prayers only seem unanswered because the answer to our prayer is strategically delayed. With God, timing is far more important than time. God answers, not necessarily when you think He should, but when it will be better for His glory and for your good.
Back in Luke 1:13 the angel said, “Fear not, Zechariah: for thy prayer is heard.” In other words, “God heard it the first time you prayed it.” Elizabeth had been praying, and praying, and praying. They prayed, “Oh God, please give us a son! Please give us a son!” But they had no son. And when the angel comes to tell them that they’re going to have a son, Zechariah doesn’t accept it right away. He has long since ceased expecting an answer to his prayer. But what we need to see is that this prayer had been answered a long time ago. God is going to give him today what had been granted a long time ago.
The prayer that you think has gone unanswered may have already been answered, but God is waiting to give you the answer at the most appropriate time. 
Another example of delayed answer to prayer is in Daniel 10:12-13. “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” God heard Daniel the first time he prayed, but it was 21 days later before he got his answer. 
Listen to what Jesus said in Mark 11:24. “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” God is saying, “If you pray with the right heart and inside my will, you will receive what you already have…just believe that you have it.” If you already have it and believe that you have it; that’s what the Bible calls faith. 
God had given Elisabeth and Zechariah a son years ago. Now they’re old. The angel says, “God heard you.” But why did God delay with His answer? Take a look at Isaiah 30:18. “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore he be exalted….”
If you’ve been asking for something which you feel is for God’s glory and which is in God’s will; and if you’re heart is clean, and if the answer hasn’t come; it’s probably because God wants to be gracious to you and He wants to get glory for Himself. “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore he be exalted….”
God waited until the situation looked impossible in human eyes. Luke 1:18 says, “And Zechariah said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well striken in years.” Zechariah is saying, “It would take a miracle for this to happen now!” Yes, Zechariah, that’s the point!
When you stop to pray, sometimes, on the road to getting better, things get worse. They’re praying for a son but the situation is getting worse and worse because they’re getting older and older. 
Some of you women have unsaved husbands. You’ve been praying and praying and he’s getting meaner and meaner.
The same thing happened with Abraham and Sarah. God told them He was going to give them a son. They wait, and wait, and wait. Finally, they try to run Ishmael in as a substitute, but that didn’t work. They ended up bringing us the Arab world and all the trouble that goes with them. Abraham is 100 years old and Sarah is now 90 years old, but God gives them their promised son and God got the glory.
If you’re waiting for God to answer some prayer, I want you to see John 11:1-5. “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”
I’m glad verse 5 is in there because sometimes, when God doesn’t answer your prayer right away, you might get to thinking that God doesn’t love you. Look at verse 6. “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”
Jesus loves Lazarus, Mary and Martha, but when they asked for help, Jesus deliberately delays. Look at verses 7-8. “Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?” But Jesus finally goes. All this time, Mary and Martha are back at home wondering, “Why doesn’t He come? Lazarus is getting sicker and sicker.” Finally, Lazarus dies.
Mary and Martha know that Jesus isn’t ignorant of the situation. He’s been told that Lazarus is sick. Is He indifferent? No. He says He loves us. Is He impotent? No. He can do it. So why doesn’t He come? He’s waiting for the situation to get impossible in human eyes so that He can get glory to Himself.
The story ends with Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Look at John 11:40. “Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Sometimes God waits to answer your prayer till the situation gets so difficult that there’s no way you’ll get the glory from it.
God always takes the route that brings Himself the greatest glory. That’s why we pray. In John 14:13 Jesus says, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” He doesn’t do it just so you’ll have what you need.
Secondly, not only are our prayers strategically delayed to display God’s glory; but also to dispense God’s grace. Go back to Luke 1:13-14. “But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zechariah: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.”
Not only is God interested in His glory; He’s interested in their joy. Verse 15 says, “For He shall be great in the sight of the Lord…” It goes on to tell how he’s going to be the greatest prophet. Jesus said, “Not a greater shall be born of woman than this one.” God wanted to bless Zechariah and Elisabeth.
God was about to bring the Messiah into the world. The Messiah was to come “in the fullness of time.” In other words, He didn’t come one second too soon, nor one second too late. God had been waiting 4,000 years to bring Messiah into the world. And God wanted a forerunner to go ahead of the Messiah. That forerunner was John the Baptist. God had a strategic plan to display His glory and to dispense His grace.
Zechariah didn’t know all this. Elisabeth didn’t know all this. God knew this. Prayer can sometimes be simply denied because we’re praying outside the will of God. At other times, prayer can be strategically delayed for God’s glory and His grace to you.
Thirdly, the answer to your prayer can be strangely different. They had been praying to have a son while they were still in their youth; but God gave them a son in their old age. Suppose God had given them a son in their youth. I’m sure they would have loved him. I’m sure they would have said, “Thank you, Lord.” But God didn’t give them what they asked for….He gave them something better. Not only was their prayer delayed, it was different. God saved the best for last. 
The son they got was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. He was the forerunner of the Messiah. Don’t you think she’d rather wait for a son like this? Jesus said that there was never a son born of woman who was greater than John the Baptist. Don’t you think Elisabeth would rather wait in order to have that said of her….that she gave birth to the greatest man outside of Christ who ever lived?
Listen to Psalm 34:10b. “…but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” Listen to Psalm 84:11. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” If God withholds something from you, it wasn’t good. Ruth Graham said, “If God would have given me what I asked Him to give me, I would have married the wrong man 7 times!” God had something better for her.
Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
We say, “God, I think I need this” or “God, I think I need that.” But we don’t know what to pray for as we ought. The Spirit will say, “Gary is praying for this. He’s sincere. This is what he thinks he needs, but God, this is what he really needs.” 
Zechariah and Elisabeth are praying and the Holy Spirit says, “Father, this is what they’re asking for, but this is what they really need.” Sometimes our prayers are delayed and sometimes they’re different.
If you look on the high lines you’ll see a big metal pot called a transformer. Surging energy goes rushing into that transformer. That energy is changed so it can travel into a line going into my house and up to my toaster. If you took that energy from the high line and put it directly into my toaster….without going through the transformer….you talk about burnt toast…..and toaster!
That’s the way it is with our prayers sometimes. God knows our desire for His glory and He puts our prayers through that great Transformer known as the Holy Spirit. The Spirit makes intercession for us. He makes our prayers acceptable before the throne of grace…and our prayers are answered. 
Sometimes we know not how to pray as we ought. Sometimes our prayers are denied because we’re out of the will of God. Sometimes our prayers are delayed for God’s glory and His grace. And sometimes prayers are answered differently than we expected….but they’re better.
God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him. But what do you do if you pray and your prayers seem unanswered? First, do a check-up on yourself. Ask, “Am I right with God? Am I seeking His glory? Am I asking for His glory, or am I asking that I might consume it on my own lusts?”
If you’re convinced that you’re asking it for the glory of God, then continue to pray. Don’t quit. Pray, and pray, and pray. The Bible says that we are to pray without ceasing.
Does there ever come a time when you stop praying? Yes. Number 1, you can stop praying when you get your answer. When you have the answer in your hand, you can then begin to praise. 
If you don’t have the answer in your hand yet, but you have the answer in your heart; God says, “It’s done. Your burden is gone.” Then you can say, “All right, Lord, Thank you.” You can just begin praising Him for the answer that you know is coming.
Or, maybe God will say to you as He said to Paul after he had prayed three times for God to remove a certain thorn from his flesh, “No, Paul, I’m not going to remove it. But I’ll give you something better. I’m going to give you my grace.”
Friend, just keep on praying until God gives you the answer….either in your hand or in your heart…or until God shows you a better way. But remember what the Bible says, “Men ought always to pray.” 
My constant prayer is that God will bring people to Himself. Is He calling you to surrender your life to Him today?

Matt Barber: How Liberalism Viloates all 10 Commandments

How Liberalism Violates All 10 Commandments

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One of my readers, we’ll call him Moses, is the publisher of a mainstream newspaper in California. He wrote me the other day with an insightful observation. Since Moses works in one of the most liberal industries, in one of the most liberal states in the union, I won’t divulge his real name. We don’t want Moses tarred, feathered and banished to Oklahoma with a scarlet “C,” for Christian, emblazoned on his Harris Tweed sport coat. (Note: I have antipathy toward neither Oklahoma – I once lived there – nor Harris Tweed, though I do recommend against wearing Harris Tweed in Oklahoma. Especially in the summer.)

“Matt, think about this,” wrote Moses. “Every one of the Ten Commandments is explicitly violated by a principle of the left.”

So I thought about it.

And you know what? Slap me with a Red River catfish if Moses ain’t exactly right.

To be sure, as individuals, we’ve all violated many, if not most or all, of the 10 Commandments. In our fallen, sinful state we have an inherent propensity to rebel against God’s perfect and holy will for our lives. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Thank God for making available a path, narrow as it is, for eternal redemption and salvation through Christ Jesus.

Still, there is a difference between individual sins and a philosophical worldview that embraces those sins as a matter of course. Modern liberalism – “progressivism,” leftism, secularism, pick your poison – is built upon, by and for sin itself. Liberalism’s entire fabric is constructed by precept planks that are soaked through and stained by man’s arrogant rebellion against our Creator God.

In sum, liberalism is folly. It represents man’s futile attempt to disorder God’s natural order. It’s the unholy brainchild of God’s very first enemy, given by that enemy to God’s favored creation, us, with the sole purpose of destroying that creation.

Unfortunately, we’re all too happy to help. Liberalism just formalizes the process, making sin public policy.

Volumes could be penned on the myriad ways in which the central tenets of liberalism violate each of the Ten Commandments. The following is a much truncated analysis:

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17):

1. Thou Shalt Have No Gods Before Me.

At worst, liberalism denies the very existence of God in the forms of atheism and secularism, while, at best, it adopts that wonderfully “inclusive” blasphemy called religious pluralism. Pluralism presumes to give the false gods of false religions equal footing and denies Christ as He defined Himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Liberal “Christianity” falls under this category. It’s pluralism with a Christian stamp.

Secular humanism, liberalism’s prevailing false religion, denies God altogether and crowns man as king over himself and the measure of all things. “Eat, drink and be merry, fortomorrow we die.”

2. Thou Shalt Not Make Graven Images.

We’re talking idolatry here. Liberalism is built on it. First, there’s literal idolatry (the worship of man-made idols, animals or inanimate objects) enjoyed by our New Age friends. And then there’s everything else: pantheistic environmentalism, the idols of “reproductive freedom,” “sexual liberation and equality,” etc.

Essentially, liberalism worships the created over the Creator. Liberalism also worships the sins of the flesh (see Commandments No. 1, 6 and 7).

3. Thou Shalt Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain.

To deny God is to take the Lord’s name in vain. To deny God as He defines Himself is to take the Lord’s name in vain. To misrepresent God, to call other gods God or to deny the deity of Christ is to take the Lord’s name in vain. Liberalism does this and much more. Many liberals also mock Christ, Christianity and Christians. They revile the exclusive nature of Jesus, His commands and His faithful followers. They hate truth.

4. Remember to Keep Holy the Sabbath.

This one is a bit tricky as it is widely understood to fall under the Jewish ceremonial law, not the moral law – the old covenant, not the new. Christ Himself healed (worked) on the Sabbath. That said, many Christians still view Sunday as the Sabbath and do, indeed, keep it holy. Not all liberals (there are certainly liberal Jews), but liberalism at large denies the Sabbath any significance whatsoever, much less a holy significance.

5. Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother.

Liberalism seeks to supplant parents with “progressive” government. It diminishes parental rights and encourages children to rebel against the antiquated conventions held by mom and dad. It denies that children even need a mother and father and bristles at the “heteronormative” lack of “gender neutrality” inherent within the very words “mother and father.” The sin-centered, counter-biblical notion of “gay marriage” desecrates God’s design for true marriage and family and is intended to undermine these cornerstone institutions.

6. Thou Shalt Not Murder.

Abortion, euthanasia, “pro-choice,” “reproductive rights,” “death with dignity.” Need I say more? Sacrosanct is the liberal rite of passage for a feminist mother to slaughter her own child in the womb. Fifty-five million dead babies later, liberals continue to worship at the pagan altar of “choice” (see Commandments No. 1 and 2).

7. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.

This means all sexual immorality as identified in the scriptures, to include marital infidelity, fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, et al. Liberalism, it seems, embraces all perversions of God’s design for human sexuality. Central to liberalism is moral relativism. When it comes to sex, you can do no wrong because there is no wrong.

8. Thou Shalt Not Steal.

With class warfare as its fuel, liberalism embraces the redistributionist philosophies of Marx and Engels. Liberalism thrives on theft. Like some completely incompetent and inefficient Robin Hood, liberal government steals from the middle class to give to the poor, thereby ensuring that liberal politicians remain in power and everyone else remains miserable.

9. Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.

I give you Saul Alinsky from his Rules for Radicals: “The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means.” As we’ve learned from Barack “you can keep your insurance” Obama, that includes lying. Liberals lie. That’s what they do. The ends justify the means. Bearing false witness about detractors of liberalism is par for the course.

10. Thou Shalt Not Covet.

Again, liberalism uses man’s inherent covetousness as the driving force behind all liberal economic policies. Creating a political climate of economic envy and class warfare gives liberal government the cover needed to take wealth from those who produce and redistribute it to those who don’t. Not only does liberalism violate this commandment, liberalism commands its adherents to do the exact opposite. “Thou shalt covet.”

As Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so, too, does liberalism masquerade as good. It’s deceptively packaged in flowery euphemisms and feel-good sound bites that promise “equality,” “tolerance” and libertine notions of “social justice.”

Yet, in reality, liberalism, in both philosophical and practical terms, simply signifies man’s predisposition to “call evil good and good evil.” It’s sin, all dolled up and doled out.

Ronald Reagan once quipped, “I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.”

If the Gipper had lived another couple decades, he might’ve found out.

Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).

 

The Golden Age, Revelations 20:1-10, Pastor Gary Flynt

The Golden Age
Revelation 20:1-10

There is coming a day when the Garden of Eden will be restored. The whole earth will blossom like a rose.

Have you ever tried to imagine what the Garden of Eden was like? There is a story about a time after Adam and Eve had been expelled from the Garden. Cain and Able found a wall. They climbed up and looked over the wall and saw Eden. They ran back to Adam and said, “Dad, you’ll never guess what we saw!” They began to describe the Garden with its lush fruit and beautiful blossoms. Then they said, “Dad, do you think we could ever live in a place like that?” Adam said, “We did once, before your mother ate us out of house and home!”

We can’t blame Eve anymore than we can blame Adam. But there is a time when we will live in such a place. There is coming a Golden Age.

Can you imagine a time when there will be no more poverty? Every man will have all that his heart can desire. There will be no prisons, no hospitals, no mental institutions, no army bases, no gambling dens and no houses of prostitution. The bloom of youth will be on everyone’s cheeks. The lion and the lamb, the wolf and the calf and a little child and a serpent will all play together. Implements of war will be relics of the past. Israel will be restored to her land. Jerusalem will be the world’s capital. Resurrected saints will rule and reign with Christ. The desert will blossom as a rose. The earth shall be filled with the glory and knowledge of the Lord as waters that cover the sea. That time is called the Millennium….which means a thousand years.

Look at Revelation 20 and the last part of verse 2. “…a thousand years.” The last part of verse 3 says, “…till the thousand years should be fulfilled…” The last part of verse 4 says, “…and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” The first part of verse 5 says, “…until the thousand years were finished.” The last part of verse 6 says, “…and shall reign with him a thousand years.” The first part of verse 7 says, “And when the thousand years are expired…”

Theologians are divided into three basic schools concerning the Millennium. The first one is called a-millennialism, the second school is called post-millennialism, and the third school is called pre-millennialism.

An a-millennialist believes that there is no millennium. When you put the “a” in front of a word it means “the absence of.” The word “amuse” means “the absence of thinking.” If you want to think, you go to a museum. If you want to amuse, you turn on the television! People are amusing themselves right into hell today.

Those who are a-millennialists take all the prophecies concerning the millennium and have spiritualized them away. They allegorize them and don’t look for the literal fulfillment of prophecy that talks about Jesus ruling and reigning for a thousand years. They don’t believe that God will fulfill His promises to Israel. They take the promises that God gave to Israel and they have applied them to the Church. They give all the blessings to the Church and give all the curses to Israel.

Then there are post-millennialists. The word “post” means “after.” Some people believe that Jesus is coming after the millennium. They believe there must be a thousand years of peace on earth before Jesus can come back. They believe that the church has been assigned to Christianize the world…and after we bring in the Golden Age by the preaching of the Gospel, then Jesus will come again. This school of thought was somewhat popular in the 18th and 19th century. The reason it’s not popular today is because it’s obvious that the world is not getting better and better; it’s getting worse and worse. God never said that the Gospel would bring in the kingdom as related to the millennium. The Gospel is not something to save civilization from wreckage; the Gospel is God’s plan to save men from the wreckage of civilization. If you are a post millennialist, you have done away completely with the immanency of the return of Jesus. If I was a post millennialist, I would have to wait a thousand years for Jesus to come again even if the millennium began today!

I am not an a-millennialist or a post-millenialist; I am a pre-millenialist. I believe that Jesus must come before we can have a thousand years of peace. Jesus is going to come in power and great glory and He’s going to rule from Jerusalem. Our responsibility is to get men ready for the Second Coming of Christ by the preaching of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Having said all that, I want to lay four basic things on your heart about the Golden Age that is going to come. The first thing I want you to see is the forceful restraint of Satan. Look at Revelation 20:1-3. “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Satan will be bound during the Golden Age.

Today, Satan is going about as a roaring lion. I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

During this Golden Age, the devil will receive a thousand year prison sentence and he will be thrown into the bottomless pit. But that won’t me his final destination, as we will see later. It’s just a holding tank until he’s finally thrown into the liquid lake of fire.

What is the indictment against him? In verse 2 we see some of his names…and in his names you see his wicked character. He is called a dragon. A dragon is ferocious and a killer. Satan is a murderer. Jesus said in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning…” So Satan is charged with murder. He brings death to you, death to happiness, death to purity, and death to holiness. He brings physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. He is a murderer.

He is also called a serpent. In the Bible, a serpent speaks of deception. In chapter 14 we saw that he is the serpent that deceives the whole world. So, we charge him with extortion, perjury and deception.

He is also called the devil. That word means “accuser.” He is charged with slander, with liable, and with defamation. He slanders God before men and men before God.

He is also called Satan. That word means “adversary.” He is charged with being the adversary of God. He is charged with high treason against Heaven’s King. The gavel has fallen and Satan is guilty.

Behind every jail, behind every hospital, behind every asylum, behind every molestation, behind every rape, and all pillage, and all arson, and all hatefulness and hellishness is Satan! He is behind it all and is now found guilty and thrown into prison.

There is an angel who has a key to the bottomless pit…the abyss. It is the prison house where Satan is incarcerated. At one time in our study we saw that Satan had that key. Satan opened the bottomless pit and loosed a demon hoard upon the earth. But now another angel has that key and Satan himself is cast into that pit. One day, we will see him there.

I want you to mark your place in Revelation and turn to Isaiah 14:12-14. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (The word Lucifer means “light-bearer”.) How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Do you hear his arrogance? He says, “I will, I will, I will….”

Look at Isaiah 14:15-17. “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”

What does it mean when it says “They shall look narrowly upon thee?” It means you’re going to have to squint to see him. You’ll say, “That’s him? That worm? He’s the one who thought he would exalt himself above God? He’s in a pit so low it doesn’t even have a bottom!”

Satan is not chained now. The a-millennialists will tell you that Satan is chained now. Well, if he’s chained now, he’s got an awful long chain on him!

He’s not chained now, but he will be chained. And he will be cast headlong into the bottomless pit. That’s the first thing I want you to see: the forceful restraint of Satan.

The next thing I want you to see is the future reign of the Savior. Look at Revelation 20:4-6. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

During the Millennium, Christ will rule and reign on earth and the saints will rule with Him. How many times have you prayed this prayer: “Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” Has it yet been done on earth as it is in Heaven? No! Will it be? Yes! Why? Because Jesus taught us to pray that prayer. Would Jesus ever teach us to pray for something that’s outside the will of God? Of course not!

When Jesus rules and reigns, human kingdoms will be changed. Look at Isaiah 2:2-4. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Human kingdoms will be changed. Also, the animal kingdom will be changed. Look at Isaiah 11:6-9. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

The animal kingdom will be changed. Also, the mineral and plant kingdom shall be changed. Look at Isaiah 35:1. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” The Sahara Desert will be a garden.

We who are saints will rule and reign with Jesus. Our text tells us that we will be a part of the first resurrection. There is not a general resurrection; there is a first and second resurrection. Those who are a part of the first resurrection are blessed and holy according to Revelation 20:6.

The first resurrection is a composite of three aspects. The Bible speaks in I Corinthians 15 about Christ being the firstfruits….and afterward, they that are Christ’s at His coming. The first resurrection is like a harvest. In the Old Testament, the harvest was divided into three parts. First, there were the firstfruits. When the harvest was ripe, the priest would go into the field and get a sheaf of that first ripened grain and take it into the temple and wave it before the Lord. It was called a wave offering. It was a way of saying, “Lord, thank you for this first sheaf of wheat. We know it is a promise of a harvest that is to come.”

Christ is called the firstfruit. When He came out of the grave, He was the firstfruit of a harvest that was to come. As a matter of fact, if you read the story you will see that there were a number of saints that were resurrected at that same time. They were a part of the firstfruits….Christ, and those that were raised with Him.

Next comes the general harvest. This is the rapture of the church. The general harvest could come at any moment. The dead in Christ shall arise, and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air.

But, also, there will be people saved during the Great Tribulation. You have the firstfruits, the harvest and the gleanings. Those who were beheaded for Christ also have to be resurrected and they are the gleanings. All of these are a part of the first resurrection. We will be raised to rule and reign with Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 6:2-3 says, “Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?” In other words, if you’re going to judge angels one of these days, you’d better learn how to take care of little petty problems you have in the church.

Romans 16:20 says, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”

We are going to reign with Christ. And won’t it be a wonderful day when the criminal is in prison, when Israel is back in her land, when the Bride is with the Bridegroom, and the King is on His throne?

That’s the Millennium….that’s the Golden Age. But here is the third thing: there is the final rebellion of sinners. Look at Revelation 20:7-9. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Just when we think Satan is chained and put in the bottomless pit, he shows up again. Not by his own power…..it’s not a jail break. He’s released. God, who is always sovereign, allows Satan to have one final fling. Why? This is God’s final witness to the wickedness of the human heart. It is mankind’s final test.

Who are these who are going to rebel with Satan? Not everyone will be saved during the Millennium. These people will be having children during the Millennium also. Some of these children will not receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron. There will be no uprising….there will be no Satan leading in rebellion….but latent in the human heart there will still be sin if its not been washed by the precious blood of Jesus.

God has millions of children, but He doesn’t have a single grandchild. Just because your parents are Christians, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to Heaven. In the Millennium, there will be children of God’s children who’ve never been saved. And after a thousand years they are going to rebel against God when Satan is let loose.

God is demonstrating to the world two great principles. First, punishment is not the final answer. Satan has been in the prison house doing hard time for one thousand years! But he comes back to rebel one more time.

Not only is punishment not the final answer; environment is not the final answer. Make your environment as good as you can, but after one thousand years of peace and righteousness, there is still this latent sin down in the human heart.

Today people say, “If we can just change the environment, we can change the nature of men.” Friend, have you forgotten that it was in the Garden of Eden that man got into trouble in the first place? You can’t get a more perfect environment than the Garden of Eden!

Punishment is not the answer and environment is not the answer. The criminologist and his prisons are not the answer. The sociologist and his programs are not the answer. The educator and his philosophies are not the answer. The statesman and his politics is not the answer. Only Jesus is the answer!

When God lets Satan out of prison one last time, here people go a sinning with that latent sin that’s in their hearts.

They opened the tomb of an old pharaoh who’d been dead for thousands of years. Buried with the pharaoh was some grain….some wheat. They put those grains of wheat in the warm sun and added some moisture….and those grains of wheat that had lain there for thousands of years began to germinate and sprout. That’s the way it is with sin in the human heart.

The only answer for sin is the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We see here the final rebellion of sinners.

Finally, I want you to see the fixed resolution of sin. When will we be done with sin? Listen to what verses 9-10 says about these rebels: “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are (they’ve already been there for a thousand years, so don’t get the idea that hell is temporary!), and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire. The bottomless pit was like the county jail where the prisoner is held until he comes into court and is adjudicated guilty. Then he’s cast into the penitentiary, which in this case, is the lake of fire.

Will the problem of sin be fixed forever? Yes! This is not Armageddon. God will blow his fiery breath on them and all that will be left is a pile of ashes. Their souls will be thrown into eternity and the devil that deceived them is cast headlong into hell. The Bible says that hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, but if you follow him, that’s where you’re going to end up. Why follow a loser? This is the final resolution of sin.

I Corinthians 15:24-25 says, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” What a day that will be! Amen?

Satan is going to be bound, Jesus is going to reign, the animal kingdom, the mineral kingdom, and the kingdoms of this world will be changed; then comes a final rebellion. Jesus will put down that rebellion and then He will say, “Father, here’s the kingdom. I deliver it up to You.”

That should encourage you. Don’t get the idea that the Gospel has failed. We aren’t post-mellinialists who are trying to make the world better so Jesus can come. We are waiting now for Jesus to come. We are not rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; we are telling people of a Lifeboat whose name is Jesus.

Not only do we have encouragement; we have anticipation. Jesus could come at any moment. And the third word is evangelism. We need to be telling people about Jesus. The great proof that you believe what I’ve said this morning is in the passion you demonstrate in telling people how they can be saved.

The last word is examination. Are you saved? Even after living in a godly environment for a thousand years, people rebelled against God. Are you sure you’re saved? Your soul is too precious to play fast and loose with it. You can be sure today.

Southcliff Baptist Church

Pastor Carroll Marr, Senior Pastor

Southcliff Baptist Church

Live Streaming 9:20, 11:00

Mansfield High School

The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto
Communist-manifesto.png

The first edition of the book, in German.
Author Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Country United Kingdom
Language Originally German, subsequently into many others.
Genre History, sociology, philosophy
Publication date 21 February 1848
Text The Communist Manifesto atWikisource

The Communist Manifesto (Das Kommunistische Manifest), originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party (GermanManifest der Kommunistischen Partei), is a short 1848 publication written by the political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world’s most influential political manuscripts.[1] Commissioned by theCommunist League, it laid out the League’s purposes and program. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle(historical and present) and the problems of capitalism, rather than a prediction of communism’s potential future forms.[2] Continue reading

JESUS CALLS HIS FIRST DISCIPLES

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. Continue reading

The Case for Repealing Dodd-Frank

Peter J. Wallison
American Enterprise Institute

The Case for Repealing 
Dodd-Frank

PETER J. WALLISON holds the Arthur F. Burns Chair in Financial Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Previously he practiced banking, corporate, and financial law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., and in New York. He also served as White House Counsel in the Reagan Administration. A graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Wallison received his law degree from Harvard Law School and is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, among many other publications. He is the editor, co-editor, author, or co-author of numerous books, including Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency and Bad History, Worse Policy: How a False Narrative about the Financial Crisis Led to the Dodd-Frank Act.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College on November 5, 2013, during a conference entitled “Dodd-Frank: A Law Like No Other,” co-sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives and the Ludwig Von Mises Lecture Series.

The 2008 financial crisis was a major event, equivalent in its initial scope—if not its duration—to the Great Depression of the 1930s. At the time, many commentators said that we were witnessing a crisis of capitalism, proof that the free market system was inherently unstable. Government officials who participated in efforts to mitigate its effects claim that their actions prevented a complete meltdown of the world’s financial system, an idea that has found acceptance among academic and other observers, particularly the media. These views culminated in the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act that is founded on the notion that the financial system is inherently unstable and must be controlled by government regulation.

We will never know, of course, what would have happened if these emergency actions had not been taken, but it is possible to gain an understanding of why they were considered necessary—that is, the causes of the crisis.

Why is it important at this point to examine the causes of the crisis? After all, it was five years ago, and Congress and financial regulators have acted, or are acting, to prevent a recurrence. Even if we can’t pinpoint the exact cause of the crisis, some will argue that the new regulations now being put in place under Dodd-Frank will make a repetition unlikely. Perhaps. But these new regulations have almost certainly slowed economic growth and the recovery from the post-crisis recession, and they will continue to do so in the future. If regulations this pervasive were really necessary to prevent a recurrence of the financial crisis, then we might be facing a legitimate trade-off in which we are obliged to sacrifice economic freedom and growth for the sake of financial stability. But if the crisis did not stem from a lack of regulation, we have needlessly restricted what most Americans want for themselves and their children.

It is not at all clear that what happened in 2008 was the result of insufficient regulation or an economic system that is inherently unstable. On the contrary, there is compelling evidence that the financial crisis was the result of the government’s own housing policies. These in turn, as we will see, were based on an idea—still popular on the political left—that underwriting standards in housing finance are discriminatory and unnecessary. In today’s vernacular, it’s called “opening the credit box.” These policies, as I will describe them, were what caused the insolvency of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and ultimately the financial crisis. They are driven ideologically by the left, but the political muscle in Washington is supplied by what we should call the Government Mortgage Complex—the realtors, the homebuilders, and the banks—for whom freely available government-backed mortgage money is a source of great profit.

The Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, established in 1934, was authorized to insure mortgages up to 100 percent, but it required a 20 percent down payment and operated with very few delinquencies for 25 years. However, in the serious recession of 1957, Congress loosened these standards to stimulate the growth of housing, moving down payments to three percent between 1957 and 1961. Predictably, this resulted in a boom in FHA insured mortgages and a bust in the late ’60s. The pattern keeps recurring, and no one seems to remember the earlier mistakes. We loosen mortgage standards, there’s a bubble, and then there’s a crash. Other than the taxpayers, who have to cover the government’s losses, most of the people who are hurt are those who bought in the bubble years, and found—when the bubble deflated—that they couldn’t afford their homes.

Exactly this happened in the period leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, again as a result of the government’s housing policies. Only this time, as I’ll describe, the government’s policies were so pervasive and were pursued with such vigor by two administrations that they caused a financial crisis as well as the usual cyclical housing market collapse.

Congress planted the seeds of the crisis in 1992, with the enactment of what were called “affordable housing” goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Before 1992, these two firms dominated the housing finance market, especially after the federal savings and loan industry—another government mistake—had collapsed in the late 1980s. Fannie and Freddie’s role, as initially envisioned and as it developed until 1992, was to conduct what were called secondary market operations, to create a liquid market in mortgages. They were prohibited from making loans themselves, but they were authorized to buy mortgages from banks and other lenders. Their purchases provided cash for lenders and thus encouraged home ownership by making more funds available for more mortgages. Although Fannie and Freddie were shareholder-owned, they were chartered by Congress and granted numerous government privileges. For example, they were exempt from state and local taxes and from SEC regulations. The president appointed a minority of the members of their boards of directors, and they had a $2.25 billion line of credit at the Treasury. As a result, market participants believed that Fannie and Freddie were government-backed, and would be rescued by the government if they ever encountered financial difficulties.

This widely assumed government support enabled these GSEs to borrow at rates only slightly higher than the U.S. Treasury itself, and with these low-cost funds they were able to drive all competition out of the secondary mortgage market for middle-class mortgages—about 70 percent of the $11 trillion housing finance market. Between 1991 and 2003, Fannie and Freddie’s market share increased from 28 to 46 percent. From this dominant position, they were able to set the underwriting standards for the market as a whole; few mortgage lenders would make middle-class mortgages that could not be sold to Fannie or Freddie.

Over time, these two GSEs had learned from experience what underwriting standards kept delinquencies and defaults low. These required down payments of 10 to 20 percent, good credit histories for borrowers, and low debt-to-income ratios after the mortgage was closed. These were the foundational elements of what was called a prime loan or a traditional mortgage, and they contributed to a stable mortgage market through the 1970s and most of the 1980s, with mortgage defaults generally under one percent in normal times and only slightly higher in rough economic waters. Despite these strict credit standards, the homeownership rate in the United States remained relatively high, hovering around 64 percent for the 30 years between 1964 and 1994.

In a sense, government backing of the GSEs and their market domination was their undoing. Community activists had kept the two firms in their sights for many years, arguing that Fannie and Freddie’s underwriting standards were so tight that they were keeping many low- and moderate-income families from buying homes. The fact that the GSEs had government support gave Congress a basis for intervention, and in 1992 Congress directed the GSEs to meet a quota of loans to low- and middle-income borrowers when they acquired mortgages. The initial quota was 30 percent: In any year, at least 30 percent of the loans Fannie and Freddie acquired must have been made to low- and moderate-income borrowers—defined as borrowers at or below the median income level in their communities. Although 30 percent was not a difficult goal, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was given authority to increase the goals, and Congress cleared the way for far more ambitious requirements by suggesting in the legislation that down payments could be reduced below five percent without seriously impairing mortgage quality. In succeeding years, HUD raised the goal, with many intermediate steps, to 42 percent in 1996, 50 percent in 2000, and 56 percent in 2008.

In order to meet these ever-increasing goals, Fannie and Freddie had to reduce their underwriting standards. In fact that was explicitly HUD’s purpose, as many statements by the department at the time made clear. As early as 1995, the GSEs were buying mortgages with three percent down payments, and by 2000 Fannie and Freddie were accepting loans with zero down payments. At the same time, they were also compromising other underwriting standards, such as borrower credit standards, in order to find the subprime and other non-traditional mortgages they needed to meet the affordable housing goals.

These new easy credit terms spread far beyond the low-income borrowers that the loosened standards were intended to help. Mortgage lending is a competitive business; once Fannie and Freddie started to reduce their underwriting standards, many borrowers who could have afforded prime mortgages sought the easier terms now available so they could buy larger homes with smaller down payments. Thus, home buyers above the median income were gaining leverage through lower down payments, and loans to them were decreasing in quality. In many cases, these homeowners were withdrawing cash from the equity in their homes through cash-out refinancing as home prices went up and interest rates declined in the mid-2000s. By 2007, 37 percent of loans with down payments of three percent went to borrowers with incomes above the median.

As a result of the gradual deterioration in loan quality over the preceding 16 years, by 2008, just before the crisis, 56 percent of all mortgages in the U.S.—32 million loans—were subprime or otherwise low quality. Of this 32 million, 76 percent were on the books of government agencies or institutions like the GSEs that were controlled by government policies. This shows incontrovertibly where the demand for these mortgages originated.

With all the new buyers entering the market because of the affordable housing goals, housing prices began to rise. By 2000, the developing bubble was already larger than any bubble in U.S. history, and it kept growing until 2007, when—at nine times the size of any previous bubble—it finally topped out and housing prices began to fall.

Housing bubbles tend to suppress delinquencies and defaults while the bubble is growing. This happens because as prices rise, it becomes possible for borrowers who are having difficulty meeting their mortgage obligations to refinance or sell the home for more than the principal amount of the mortgage. In these conditions, potential investors in mortgages or in mortgage-backed securities receive a strong affirmative signal; they see high-yielding mortgages—loans that reflect the riskiness of lending to a borrower with a weak credit history—but the expected delinquencies and defaults have not occurred. They come to think, “This time it’s different”—that the risks of investing in subprime or other weak mortgages are not as great as they’d thought. Housing bubbles are also pro-cyclical. When they are growing, they feed on themselves, as buyers bid up prices so they won’t lose a home they want. Appraisals, based on comparable homes, keep pace with rising prices. And loans keep pace with appraisals, until home prices get so high that buyers can’t afford them no matter how lenient the terms of the mortgage. But when bubbles begin to deflate, the process reverses. It then becomes impossible to refinance or sell a home when the mortgage is larger than the home’s appraised value. Financial losses cause creditors to pull back and tighten lending standards, recessions frequently occur, and would-be purchasers can’t get financing. Sadly, many are likely to have lost their jobs in the recession while being unable to move where jobs are more plentiful, because they couldn’t sell their homes without paying off the mortgage balances. In these circumstances, many homeowners are tempted to walk away from the mortgage, knowing that in most states the lender has recourse only to the home itself.

With the largest housing bubble in history deflating in 2007, and more than half of all mortgages made to borrowers who had weak credit or little equity in their homes, the number of delinquencies and defaults in 2008 was unprecedented. One immediate effect was the collapse of the market for mortgage-backed securities that were issued by banks, investment banks, and subprime lenders, and held by banks, financial institutions, and other investors around the world. These were known as private label securities or private mortgage-backed securities, to distinguish them from mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie and Freddie. Investors, shocked by the sheer number of mortgage defaults that seemed to be underway, fled the market for private label securities; there were now no buyers, causing a sharp drop in market values for these securities.

This had a disastrous effect on financial institutions. Since 1994, they had been required to use what was called “fair value accounting” in setting the balance sheet value of their assets and liabilities. The most significant element of fair value accounting was the requirement that assets and liabilities be marked-to-market, meaning that the balance sheet value of assets and liabilities was to reflect their current market value instead of their amortized cost or other valuation methods.

Marking-to-market worked effectively as long as there was a market for the assets in question, but it was destructive when the market collapsed in 2007. With buyers pulling away, there were only distress-level prices for private mortgage-backed securities. Although there were alternative ways for assets to be valued in the absence of market prices, auditors—worried about their potential liability if they permitted their clients to overstate assets in the midst of the financial crisis—would not allow the use of these alternatives. Accordingly, financial firms were compelled to write down significant portions of their private mortgage-backed securities assets and take losses that substantially reduced their capital positions and created worrisome declines in earnings. When Lehman Brothers, a major investment bank, declared bankruptcy, a full-scale panic ensued in which financial institutions started to hoard cash. They wouldn’t lend to one another, even overnight, for fear that they would not have immediate cash available when panicky investors or depositors came for it. This radical withdrawal of liquidity from the market was the financial crisis.

Thus, the crisis was not caused by insufficient regulation, let alone by an inherently unstable financial system. It was caused by government housing policies that forced the dominant factors in the trillion dollar housing market—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—to reduce their underwriting standards. These lax standards then spread to the wider market, creating an enormous bubble and a financial system in which well more than half of all mortgages were subprime or otherwise weak. When the bubble deflated, these mortgages failed in unprecedented numbers, driving down housing values and the values of mortgage-backed securities on the balance sheets of financial institutions. With these institutions looking unstable and possibly insolvent, a full-scale financial panic ensued when Lehman Brothers, a large financial firm, failed.

Given these facts, further regulation of the financial system through the Dodd-Frank Act was a disastrously wrong response. The vast new regulatory restrictions in the act have created uncertainty and sapped the appetite for risk-taking that had once made the U.S. financial system the largest and most successful in the world.

What, then, should have been done? The answer is a thorough reorientation of the U.S. housing finance system away from the kind of government control that makes it hostage to narrow political imperatives—that is, providing benefits to constituents—rather than responsive to the competition and efficiency imperatives of a market system. This does not mean that we should have no regulation. What it means is that we should have only regulation that is necessary when the self-correcting elements in a market system fail. We can see exactly that kind of failure in the effect of a bubble on housing prices. A bubble energizes itself by reducing defaults as prices rise. This sends the wrong signal to investors: Instead of increasing risk, they tend to see increasing opportunity. They know that in the past there have been painful bubble deflations in housing, but it is human nature to believe that “this time it’s different.” Requiring that only high quality mortgages are eligible for securitization would be the kind of limited regulatory intervention that addresses the real problem, not the smothering regulation in Dodd-Frank that depresses economic growth.

The Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, has received all the attention as the worst expression of the Obama presidency, but Dodd-Frank deserves a look. Just as ObamaCare was the wrong prescription for health care, Dodd-Frank was based on a faulty diagnosis of the financial crisis. Until that diagnosis is corrected—until it is made clear to the American people that the financial crisis was caused by the government rather than by deregulation or insufficient regulation—economic growth will be impeded. It follows that when the true causes of the financial crisis have been made clear, it will become possible to repeal Dodd-Frank.

This has happened before. During the 1930s, the dominant view was that the Depression was caused by excessive competition. It seems crackpot now, but the New Dealers thought that too much competition drove down prices, caused firms to fail, and thus increased unemployment. The Dodd-Frank of the time was the National Industrial Recovery Act. Although it was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court, its purpose was to cartelize industry and limit competition so that businesses could raise their prices. It was only in the 1960s, when Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz showed that the Depression was caused by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, that national policies began to move away from regulation and toward competition. What followed was a flood of deregulation—of trucking, air travel, securities, and communications, among others—which has given us the Internet, affordable air travel for families instead of just business, securities transactions at a penny a share, and Fedex. Ironically, however, the regulation of banking increased, accounting for the problems of the industry today.

If the American people come to recognize that the financial crisis was caused by the housing policies of their own government—rather than insufficient regulation or the inherent instability of the U.S. financial system—Dodd-Frank will be seen as an illegitimate response to the crisis. Only then will it be possible to repeal or substantially modify this repressive law.


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Israel – God’s Alarm Clock, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

  • Israel – God’s Alarm Clock
    Daniel 9

    The passage we are about to study comes as an answer to Daniel’s prayer for understanding and is one of the great proofs of the inspiration of Scripture. Look with me at Daniel 9:24-27. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

    If you want to know what’s going on prophetically, you have to keep your eyes on Israel. Israel is God’s alarm clock. And the first thing we’re going to see is the significance of the alarm clock. The Jews are, beyond any shadow of a doubt, God’s chosen people. As the Jew goes, so goes the world.

    Israel is the geographic center of the world. In Ezekiel 5:5 it says, “Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.” This tiny nation is the hub of Africa, Europe and Asia.

    Not only is it the geographic center of the earth, it is the revelation center of the earth. It was in Israel, over the course of about 1500 years, that the Scripture was written. It is the land of Moses, all the prophets, and Jesus.

    Israel is also the spiritual center of the world. This is where Jesus was born, it’s where He lived and it’s where He was buried. It was from there that He ascended, and it is to there (on the Mr. of Olives) that He will return.

    Israel is also the storm center of the world. The clouds of Armageddon are gathering over Israel. Napoleon once stood above Megiddo and said, “This is the world’s greatest natural battlefield.”

    But not only is it the storm center; Israel is the peace center of the world. There will only be peace on earth when there is peace in Jerusalem. That’s why the Scriptures tell us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. But peace will not come until men recognize the Prince of peace, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

    The Jews are God’s elected and God’s protected people. The Jew is indestructible. In Jeremiah 31:35-36 it says, “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name. If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.” So in order to destroy Israel, you would have to pluck the sun, moon and stars from the heavens. God says, “As long as there is a sun, moon and stars, there will be a nation known as Israel.” This is the significance of the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. Daniel 9:24 says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…” There is only one city on earth that God calls His holy city….and that is the city of Jerusalem. It is the most important city on the face of the earth. 

    Zechariah 12:2-3 says, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” Jerusalem is the international hot spot of the last days.

    But there is not only the significance of God’s alarm clock; there is the setting of the alarm clock. When Daniel 9:24 speaks of seventy weeks, it means 490 years. The Hebrews had weeks of years as well as weeks of days. An example of this is in Leviticus 25:8. “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee…”

    Another example is in Genesis 29, where Jacob yearned for Rachel to be his wife. Genesis 29:27 says, “Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.”

    So we can see very plainly that there are weeks of years as well as weeks of days. In the prophecy we’re looking at today, seventy weeks equals 490 years. (That’s 70 times 7 years). So God sets the alarm on His clock at 490 years. 

    Why did God pick 70 times 7? Do you remember when Peter asked Jesus how often we were to forgive our brothers? Jesus said, “Seventy times seven.” Seven is the complete number. In Daniel 9:24 God said, This is how I will complete or … “finish the transgression…” What is the transgression? It is the rejection of the Messiah by Israel. 

    But God not only says that He will finish the transgression; He also says that He will “make an end of sins.” There will be no end of sins until they recognize the Messiah. They can’t have forgiveness until they recognize God’s Lamb. 

    Then He says that he will “…make reconciliation for iniquity…” God can’t bring the people back to Him until they recognize His Messiah. When they do that, God says in verse 24 that He will “…bring in everlasting righteousness…” Paul said in Romans 10:1-4, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” There is coming a time when God will bring righteousness to Israel.

    Then He says He will “…seal up the vision and the prophecy…” It will take 490 years for God to put the last period, on the last sentence, of the last paragraph, of the last book of His prophecy. 

    Then He says, “…and to anoint the most Holy.” The Lord Jesus is the most Holy Person in God’s most Holy Place. 

    God says, “My clock will tick for 490 years.” We’ve talked about the significance of the clock and the setting of the clock, but now let’s talk about the starting of the clock. If we know that the clock will tick for 490 years, we have to know when it starts ticking in order to count forward for those 490 years. God tells us when it starts to tick in verse 25. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem….” That’s when the clock starts ticking….when God gives the command to rebuild Jerusalem.

    When was this command? It was given in Nehemiah 2:1 & 5. Nehemiah 2:1 says, “And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king…” Nehemiah 2:5 says, “And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchers, that I may build it.” If you read the rest of the story, you find that the king told Nehemiah, “You can go and rebuild Jerusalem.” The clock started ticking when that command was given.

    Nisan is the first month of the Jewish year. The Jewish year was regulated by the position of the paschal moon. The encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 2 says that this date was 445 B.C. So God says, “In the month of Nisan during the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes in the year 445 B.C., I will start my clock ticking for 490 years.

    Verse 25 says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks…” Remember, these are weeks of years. Seven times seven weeks is 49 years. It took 49 years to rebuild the city. The devil did everything he could during those 49 years to stop Nehemiah from rebuilding those walls. We talked about all this when we were studying the Book of Nehemiah. But it was done because God said it would be done. But the next part of verse 25 says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” 

    A prophetic year is 360 days. We have 365 days in our calendar, and then we have to add leap years every four years to get it all straightened out. But just as there are 360 degrees in a perfect circle, there are 360 days in a prophetic year. When the Book of Revelation talks about the great tribulation, it says that 1260 days equals 3 ½ years. 360 times 3.5 = 1260. A score is 20. Verse 25 tells us that from the king’s command to build Jerusalem we are to count forward 7 weeks and 3 score and 2 weeks. That’s 69 weeks of years or 483 years. 483 years times 360 days in a prophetic year equals 173,880 days. 

    When did Jesus begin His ministry? When did He appear as Messiah to Israel? Jesus began His public ministry in A.D. 29. In Luke 3 it tells us that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and began His ministry in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. The reign of Tiberius Caesar is well documented. Three Passovers after Jesus began His public ministry He came to Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday, and He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. That was April 6th A.D. 32…..173,880 days after the decree was given in 445 B.C. to rebuild Jerusalem.

    On the way down into the city, Jesus looked across the city and began to weep. In Luke 19:41 it says, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes….” This was a day that had been prophesied 173,880 days earlier, but they were blind to it and that’s why Jesus wept.

    This started with the command to rebuild Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince in verse 25. In seven weeks of years the city was rebuilt. Threescore and two weeks more and Messiah would come.

    Not only did Messiah come on the exact day, but notice verse 26. It says, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself…” This is talking about the crucifixion of the Messiah. The words “cut off” refer to the death penalty. Isaiah 53:8 says, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living…” The idea is that He died prematurely. 

    But it says He will be cut off, “but not for Himself.” In other words, He didn’t die for His own sin. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

    After Jesus is crucified, Jerusalem is destroyed again. Daniel 9:26 says, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Daniel saw that the city would once again be destroyed, but not until after Messiah was crucified. 

    In Luke 21:6 Jesus says, “As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

    The temple wall is still there, but as for the temple itself, not one stone is left standing upon another. Daniel had prophesied that a Roman prince would come and destroy that temple. 

    So far we’ve talked about the significance of the clock. Israel is God’s measuring rod….His alarm clock. We’ve talked about the setting of the clock. It’s set for 445 B.C……in other words, that’s when it began to tick. And we’ve talked about the starting of the clock and all the things that are going to happen. 

    Now I want to talk to you about the stopping of the clock. There has been a hold in the count. The clock has stopped ticking. Let’s go back to verse 26. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

    When Messiah was crucified, when the veil in the temple was torn, the clock stopped ticking for Israel 483 years after it had started ticking. 483 years of the 490 years have been fulfilled, but then the clock stops ticking. 

    This is a period of time known as the church age. God doesn’t tell us how long that time will be. It is an indeterminate period of time marked by wars and desolations. 

    Romans 11:25 says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”

    The time of the Gentiles will end when the last soul is saved to make up the church. Then the clock will start ticking for Israel again. The clock stopped with the rejection of the Messiah and the crucifixion. Four hundred and eighty three years have been fulfilled. There are seven more years that need to be fulfilled. At the end of the church age…with the rapture of the church…the clock will start up again. When could that happen? It could happen at any moment. Very soon the alarm will go off and the clock will start ticking again.

    Look at Daniel 9:27. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

    The clock stopped, the church age began, Paul and others went to the Gentiles with the Gospel, and one day soon Jesus is coming for the rapture of the church. And once the church is taken out, God will begin His work with Israel once again for seven years. 

    The Bible makes it clear that a Roman prince will make a treaty with Israel. Verse 27 says, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…” Who does the “he” refer to? It refers to the prince that shall come. It’s not the Christ….but the antichrist. 

    Jesus said, “I came in my Father’s name and you would not receive me; but if another comes in his own name, him ye will receive.”

    This prince who will come is coming out of the revived Roman Empire. We’ve have seen formed in our lifetime the European Union. Out of this will come the son of perdition. He’s also referred to as the beast, or the little horn, and so on. He will make a covenant with Israel for seven years. 

    By this time, they will be so beleaguered and world opinion will have so turned against them that they will be ready for a treaty. And when this world leader comes and says, “I want to make a peace covenant with you.” The Bible says they will be making a covenant with Hell. 

    Israel will be saying, “At last! At last our Messiah, our friend, has come.” They will believe him and make a covenant with him. But in the midst of those seven years….at the 3 ½ year mark of Daniel’s final week of years something is going to happen. The Bible says in another place that it will be after 1260 days. In another place it calls it a time, a time, and a half a time. Here it refers to it as being in the midst of the week. They all mean the same thing. In the middle of that seven week period after the rapture of the church, the antichrist will move into the temple of God which will have been rebuilt, and announce to the world, “I am God.” Jesus calls this the abomination of desolations in Matthew 24. Paul talks about this in II Thessalonians 2:4 where he says, “….so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

    This Roman prince, this antichrist, will break his covenant with Israel and announce to the world that he is the one true God. When he does that, the scales will fall from the eyes of the Jews. They will know that he is not the Messiah…that he is an imposter…and they will refuse to bow down and worship him. He will tell them that they can no longer make these oblations and sacrifices to God, and he will make the temple desolate. 

    Then Jesus Christ, the King of glory, will come back to this earth in power and great glory to consummate His plan. That’s when Daniel’s 490 years will have been completed. 

    What is the consummation that Daniel refers to in verse 27? When Jesus comes back, He’s going to destroy that Roman prince. The scales will fall from the eyes of Israel and they will look upon the One whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son. 

    The antichrist is 666, but the Lord is 777 and 777 will take care of 666! Jesus shall reign where’er the sun 
    Doth his successive journeys run; 
    His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore, 
    Till moons shall wax and wane no more. 

    This is one of the most remarkable prophecies in all of the Bible. Part of it has been fulfilled literally, so we don’t have to worry about the rest of it being fulfilled. 

    What does this mean for you? God has a plan for Israel that He will fulfill. 483 years of that plan have already been fulfilled. There are seven more years of great tribulation yet to be fulfilled. At any moment the rapture of the church could take place. We are not waiting for anything to be fulfilled. Jesus said He would come suddenly as a thief in the night. He said He would come in such an hour as you think not.

    If He were to come today, I wonder how many in this auditorium would be caught up to meet Him? If you were to die today, would you go straight to Heaven? If you are a Christian, have you been cold and indifferent toward the things of God? Come today and get your heart clean. Would you do it?

 

 

 

 

Praising God from Prison, Brandon Kiesling

Praising God from Prison
Scripture of the day:“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” (Acts 16:25-26)One of the most famous accounts of Paul is recorded in Acts 16. It also happens to be one of the greatest jail breaks of all time. Paul and Silas were thrown into prison because they cast out an evil spirit from a woman who was making her owners a fortune off of it. Naturally, when the spirit left her, she lost her value and the owner got really angry at Paul and Silas for this. This lead to Paul and Silas’ imprisonment in the verses above.

There are several things that need to be discussed in this passage. First, notice where Paul and Silas was singing: prison! Jail is the last place anyone would ever dream of singing praise to God. I have been there, and I can tell you from experience that jail does not evoke a desire to praise God! Second, notice when they were singing: midnight! Not only were they in confinement, but they were in the darkest time of the day. When everyone else is sleeping, Paul and Silas were singing. I wonder what hymn they were singing, don’t you? Third, notice who was listening: other inmates! Paul and Silas were witnessing through song to those who need it the most. They knew they were stuck, so they decided to make the most of it by living in such a way that those around them saw Jesus. Finally, notice the outcome: freedom for Paul and Silas! The chains fell off and the doors of the prison flew open. God had not only heard their prayers, but he delivered them from bondage as well.

These are all great things, but I believe the greatest thing that happened this night was the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his entire household. Scripture goes on to say that Paul and Silas preached the gospel to the jailer and his family and the entire household placed their faith in God and were baptized immediately! Talk about prison ministry! God has a way of reaching people where they are, even in the Philippi jail in the middle of the night!

I have a couple questions for you to ponder today. First, do you just praise God when life is good, or do you have the trust in God to praise Him when life is bad? I believe that what makes a person able to praise God at midnight in prison is an overwhelming trust in God to take care of you. Until you fully put your life in His hands by faith, you will never be able to praise God from prison. Second, do you live in such a way that the people around you see Jesus? All of us know people who need Jesus. Do people see Jesus in you? One of the greatest ways to show people Jesus is to praise God through the difficult times. Next time you are in a difficult place, remember to show the world how much you trust in Christ to carry you through.

Dreams that never come True, Pastor Gary Flynt

Dreams That Never Come True
Jude 8

Take a look at Jude 8. “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.”

Tonight we’re going to talk about dreams that never come true. General William Booth was the founder of The Salvation Army. He was a man with great insight. He once said, “The danger of the twentieth century will be religion without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell.” He was talking about the apostasy that was going to come and now has come. It’s what Jude warned us about in verse 4.

An apostate is not someone who’s in a false cult, and he’s not a sheer unbeliever. He’s someone who has received the truth, rejected the truth and now begins to ridicule the truth. 

But verse 8 gives us another description of these apostates. Here they’re called “filthy dreamers.” This refers to something the apostate dreams up. There’s a contrast here. Jude exhorts Christians to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.” And when he talks about “the faith,” he’s talking about the Bible. That’s what we should contend for. But over against the faith is what we call the dreams or imaginations of men. Instead of believing and obeying the Word of God, they dream up their own ideas. And Jude calls these people who have their own cooked-up philosophies and homemade religions, filthy dreamers.

You might understand this better if you look at Deuteronomy 13:1-5. “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”

Way back here in the Old Testament, Moses was exhorting the saints to earnestly contend for the faith. What is the dream he’s talking about? It is religion that’s not conformed to the Word of God, or controlled by the Word of God, or confirmed by the Word of God. 

Jude describes these filthy dreamers in three ways. First, he says that they defile the flesh. Apostates generally go into deep sexual sin or some kind of fleshly immorality. An unbeliever may not believe the Gospel, but he’s usually a pretty moral person. There are a lot of nice folks who are lost.

But an apostate defiles the flesh. He gets into deep immorality. Jude also talks about this in verse 7 where he talks about them going after strange flesh. He refers to Sodom and Gomorrah. Then, in verse 8, he begins with the word, “Likewise,” referring to these apostates.

Why is an apostate more prone to get involved in sexual immorality than an ordinary believer? It’s because he has willingly and deliberately sinned. He has committed moral suicide and has kicked his conscience to death. He’s lost his morals because he’s lost his moorings. He no longer has the Word of God. The Bible says he’s like a sow that was taken out of the slop and washed, but he goes right back into the mire. And the Bible says he’s like a dog that returns to his own vomit. Then the Bible says that his latter end is worse than his first. In other words, he’s worse off than if he’d never heard the Gospel.

A boy or girl will return home from college. They’ve never been saved, but they were raised in a Bible-preaching church. When they go off to college, they get involved with the fast crowd and get involved with drugs and alcohol and fornication. There’s no restraint in their life. They don’t have the Holy Spirit in them. And they may get caught up in some liberal religion. Some professor will ridicule the Bible and that sparks something in them. Why? It’s because of their ungodly lifestyle. Then they come back home and say, “Mom and dad, I don’t believe what you believe down there at the Baptist Church.”

And almost anytime you find a college student who comes back that way, you’ll find a youngster who’s involved in deep sexual sin, or who’s involved with drugs or alcohol. Apostasy and licentiousness are linked together. It’s a phenomenon that people who turn from religion, turn to sexual sin.

As people turn away from the Word of God, they defile their flesh. That’s one of the marks of an apostate. But the second mark of an apostate is that they despise the Father. Jude says, “They despise dominion.” Who does dominion belong to? Look at verse 25. “To the only wise God our Savior, be glory, and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” When they despise dominion, they despise God who alone has that dominion.

An apostate literally hates God. In the last part of verse 4 it says, “They deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” But they are not deniers of God outside the church…..they are deniers of God inside the church. They sit on church pews and they teach at seminaries! They are rebels at heart and they don’t want anybody to box them in. Their battle cry is “Freedom and liberty!” They don’t want anyone to tell them what they must believe, or how they must behave. They despise dominion. 

Rebellion makes an apostate and apostate. It’s the same thing that made the devil the devil to begin with. It’s pretty bad when you have poison being peddled from the pulpit!

Several years ago there was a newspaper headline that said: Bible Stories or Gospel? Church Searches its Soul. The London Associated Press had this: “The Church of England’s ruling synod searched its collective soul in public yesterday, prompted by a bishop’s statements that cast doubts upon the literal truth of the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

This was a bishop who said these things! It went on to say, “The troublesome bishop, a former professor of theology, provoked an uproar last April by saying on a television program that the traditional account of the resurrection reduced it to a conjuring trick with bones. He declared that Christians are not obliged to believe that Jesus was divine. Of the virgin birth, he said: ‘I am pretty clear it is a story told after the event in order to express and symbolize a faith that this Jesus was a unique event from God.’ He has since declared that he will continue to say excitable things. ‘That is exactly what Jesus used to do, so I couldn’t have a better example to follow.’”

In other words, he’s saying, “Jesus was a heretic, just like me.” But it goes on to say, “The Reverend David Holloway, who led a group of evangelical clergymen to demand the debate, described Bishop Jenkins view as a cancer that would gradually strangle the church.” But listen to what the archbishop had to say. He’s the highest high muckety muck over there. You would expect him to step in, but here’s what he said. “The archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runsy, reminded the synod that Anglicans enjoy intellectual freedom and independence.”

Suppose police find some cyanide laced food or Tylenol like we had on the shelves a few years ago. And suppose they say, “Let’s do something about this.” But the Chief says, “Now, wait a minute. The people in America enjoy gourmet freedom. They can eat what they want to eat. If they want to eat this stuff, it’s not our job to take the cyanide off the shelves.” How ridiculous can people of the church be?

The point I’m trying to make is that apostates despise dominion. This archbishop went on to say, “The church is not like a school teacher who must expel a boy from school lest he influence the others with his wickedness.”

The apostate despises dominion. They don’t want anybody to say, “This is the Word of God. This is what you must believe in order to be saved.” They don’t want any shackles on them. The apostates and liberals will always be involved in rebellious movements. That’s what makes them apostates to begin with.

Number one, they defile the flesh. Number two, they despise the Father. Number three, they disgrace the faithful. Verse 8 says, “They speak evil of dignities.” The word “dignities” literally means “glorious things.” In other words, nothing is too holy for them to ridicule, or defame, or disgrace.

In Jude’s day they were blaspheming the doctrine of angels. There’s nothing to sacred for an apostate to ridicule, and he does it from inside the church. II Peter 2:10-11 says, “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are grater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.”

What does all that mean? Look at Jude 9. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”

There was an argument over the body of Moses. Moses died prematurely on Mt. Nebo. God took Moses’ life from him while his eyes were not dim, nor his health abated. He was a saved man who died before he should have. He was alone when he died. The Bible says that no man knows where Moses is buried. So who buried Moses? It could have been Michael the archangel….but we don’t know. 

But when Moses died, we do know that there was a great argument between Michael and Lucifer. Michael has truth, and God, and righteousness on his side. But do you think Michael read the devil the riot act? Do you think he spoke disrespectfully to the devil? No! The Bible says that he dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil.

With all dignity he said, “The Lord rebuke you.” By that simple statement, the battle was won. Why did Jude bring this up? Jude is saying that the mightiest angel in all of glory spoke more respectfully about the devil than some of these apostates speak about God! 

It follows as night follows day, that when a man receives the Truth, then refuses thee Truth; he begins to ridicule the Truth. He gives himself over to the flesh, he despises the authority of God, and with his mouth he begins to speak blasphemous things.

The Bible tells us in Titus 3:2, “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, sowing all meekness unto all men.” God forgive us when we speak so arrogantly….no matter what it’s about. Not because of who they are…..but because of that spirit of rebellion that’s in so many people.

The Bible says that one day we’ll have to give an account for every idle word we speak. That ought to give us enough to think about for now.

Brandon Kiesling

Standing with Christ, even unto death
Scripture of the day:”And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)The Book of Acts records the life of the first martyr for Christ. His name was Stephen and he is only mentioned from Acts 6 to this verse above in Acts 7. Though only two chapters, his life is one that Christians can learn from and I pray that I can be half the man of God that he proves to be here.Stephen was chosen in Acts 6 to be a deacon of the first gathering of believers in the 1st century. The disciples of Jesus were growing too large in number and the apostles could not take care of all the people without neglecting what was most important: prayer and preaching the Word. Therefore, they chose seven men to serve the crowds and the Bible’s description of Stephen was that he was “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5).

At the end of Acts 6, Stephen gets arrested and brought before the high priest in Jerusalem. Acts 7 records Stephen’s only sermon, and at the end of it, he was so full of the Spirit that “he gazed up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at His right hand” (Acts 7:55). But the best thing about Stephen is the highlighted verses above. As he was being stoned to death because of his witness for Christ, he had the ability to speak the words of Christ from the cross: Father, forgive them for this sin. This proves that Stephen was indeed a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.

Would you have the ability to stand for Christ if you were in Stephen’s shoes? Probably most of us will never face the possibility of death because of our faith, but most of us will face a situation where we will have to choose to either stand for Christ or back down. How will you react to persecution when it comes to your doorstep? Choose now to follow Christ whatever comes your way. One thing you can be sure of is that if you do, Christ will never leave you. He will never forsake you. His promises are sure and true. Will you stand with Him today?

Keynes’ Ideas Don’t Work, Burt Folsom

Keynes’ Ideas Don’t Work

by BURT on JULY 9, 2013

Christina Romer, former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, made this revealing statement two years ago: “The polarization of fiscal policy is one of the worst legacies to come out of the recession. Before the crisis, there was agreement that what you do when you run out of monetary tools is fiscal stimulus [i.e. a stimulus package]. Suddenly it’s like we’re back in the 1930s.”

Romer unwittingly points to the key cause in the current recession and why it is dragging on so painfully. John Maynard Keynes, the British economist of the 1930s, recommended massive government spending to get economic recovery. Keynes was arguing against the classical economists who favored letting free markets create a recovery.

FDR followed the Keynesian line of thinking when he promoted the huge federal spending on the WPA, the CCC, the TVA, and the AAA as part of his New Deal. Romer recognizes FDR as the turning point where Keynesian spending became fashionable and classical economics lost favor. Paul Samuelson, a Keynesian who in 1948 would write the best-selling economics textbook of all time, said, “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven,” when Keynes’s book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was first published in 1936. Romer, President Obama, and the current economic thinkers are all Keynesians, and they are all puzzled by the failure of Obama’s stimulus packages to spark economic development.

Why should these leaders keep an open mind? Two questions are critical. First, when has Keynesian economics ever produced a solid economic recovery? Answer: I can’t think of an example, and no Keynesian discussing this subject who I have read thus far has yet made the case for any Keynesian recovery in history. In other words, we have a theory with no notches in the win column–and many notches in the loss column. FDR and the Great Depression is one example; unemployment in the U.S. was 20.7 percent almost ten years after the stock market crash in 1929. A second example is the stagflation of the 1970s.

On the other side, a move toward classical economics helped us get out of both the Great Depression of the 1930s and the stagflation of the 1970s. After World War II, President Harry Truman allowed Congress to slash the corporate tax, the capital stock tax, and even the income tax (though the cut on the income tax was not as large). Businessmen immediately responded to lower taxes and freer markets.

In a similar way, President Ronald Reagan cut tax rates in the 1980s, and that helped spark an economic recovery that lasted for one quarter of a century. Then, in 2008, we turned back to Keynesian economics–with stimulus packages, cash for clunkers, various bailouts, and huge federal debts. And we are mired in a large economic slowdown.

We need an openness to different economic ideas. Large debts and massive spending have again failed; let’s try freedom. Our nation’s Founders did and found the taste refreshing.

God’s Security Blanket, Jude 1-4, Pastor Gary Flynt

God’s Security Blanket
Jude 1-4

I think I would be safe in assuming that most of you have never heard a sermon from the Book of Jude, let alone an entire series of messages from Jude. It’s only 25 verses long, but it is extremely important, especially today. Take a look at Jude 1-4. “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Eighty eight of the original one hundred colleges in this country were founded for the propagation of the Gospel and for the training of ministers and godly laymen. Unbelievable! And the same thing that has happened to these once great schools has happened to many once great denominations.

An apostasy has taken place. The word “apostasy” means “a falling away from the faith.” That’s what Jude is all about. It’s a warning about the apostasy that is going to take place in the last days.

The devil has tried to destroy the faith and the churches of Jesus Christ through persecution, but persecution didn’t work. There is a saying among missionaries that “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.” Churches grow where the blood falls. Rather than stopping the work of Christ, persecution spreads the work of Christ. When Satan tries to stamp out the fire of revival, he only scatters the embers and new fires start.

Since persecution didn’t work very well, the devil backed off and said, “If I can’t beat them, I’ll join them. If I can’t work on the outside through persecution; I’ll work from the inside with infiltration. I’ll destroy the biblical base from which these churches operate.” And that’s exactly what he’s done. 

That’s what Jude was talking about in verse 3. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Jude wanted to write a Book about the Gospel message, but the Holy Spirit said, “No, Jude, you must warn them to contend for the faith.” Why? Verse 4 tells us why. “For there are certain men crept in unawares…” This refers to the apostates who have crept in without being noticed.

Like termites, that come in unnoticed and destroy the foundations of a building, these apostates have crept in. Jude says, “You must earnestly contend for the faith.” The “faith” he’s talking about is the Bible. 

This body of truth we call the Bible is complete. It is the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints. It was complete when God delivered it to them and He’s not going to add anything to it. We have no need for any new revelation.

We live in a day of charismatic excesses and cultism, where people are adding and subtracting from the Word of God. But where faith is concerned, if it’s new, it ain’t true!

God may give you new insights into the truth, but God doesn’t give anybody new truth. In verse 8 Jude refers to “filthy dreamers.” Who are these dreamers? Are these the people who try to convince the pastor that they’re meditating when they’re actually sleeping? When some people sit down in the pew they ought to pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep!” But that’s not what he’s talking about. He’s talking about people who claim to have extra-biblical revelation. In other words, things they’ve dreamed up. Friends, the Bible is signed, sealed and delivered once and for all to the saints.

It’s complete. It’s also correct. Sometimes you can be so certain that you’re correct, but you’re actually dead wrong. That’s why we have the Bible. That’s why Peter said in I Peter 1:19, “We have a more sure word of prophecy.” In other words, it’s more sure than what you’ve seen, or what you’ve heard. It’s complete and it’s correct.

It’s also committed to you. It has been delivered unto the saints. You are a steward of the Word of God. That’s why Jude tells us to “contend for the faith.”

John Calvin said, “A dog barks when his master is attacked.” I’d be a coward if I heard the Bible being attacked and didn’t stand up to defend it. But because some people don’t want to enter into anything distasteful, we’re seeing the faith of our fathers eroding and disappearing.

Apostasy is very real. In II Thessalonians 2:3, Paul said that the end times can’t come until there be a falling away first. He told Timothy the same thing in II Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

Peter warned in II Peter 2:1, “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and shall bring upon themselves swift destruction.” That’s the setting for the Book of Jude.

It’s a frightening Book, and that’s why Jude wants to give his people assurance. That’s why I’m calling this message: God’s Security Blanket. Jude wraps this Book up in verses that deal with security.

The first verse and the last two verses deal with the security of the believer, because while you’re reading the rest of the Book, you may begin to wonder if you or anybody else is saved. If you didn’t know better, it would seem like Jude was talking about some who were once saved but lost their salvation. But Jude wants to make it very clear that once you are born of the Spirit, you can never again be a lost soul.

Verse 1 says, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” There are three things that Jude says about us here. First, we are called for God’s sovereign purpose. The word sovereign has to do with the decree of a king against which there is no rising up. When God calls you, it’s like a divine summons.

Your salvation didn’t begin with you; it began with God. If it began with you, you might lose it. But since it began with God, you can never lose it. The Bible tells us that God is able to finish what He began. 

Had He not called us, none of us would be here today. We love Him because He first loved us. This word “called” should remind us of Romans 8:28-30. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

There is a divine chain made up of five links and it can’t be broken. This verse tells us that God had foreknowledge. He knows the future as well as the past and the present. He knows about things that will transpire as though they’ve already happened. 

Those whom God foreknows He predestines to become like His Son. And when God foreknows and predestines, He calls. He sends the Gospel to a person who can hear it….so they can believe it….so they can receive it. Then, those He calls, He justifies.

That means you are made like the Lord Jesus Christ. To be justified means to be made just-if- I’d never sinned. Those He justifies, He also glorifies. Not “will glorify,” but “has glorified.” Since God lives in eternity, it’s already done. He sees you already glorified. And those things which have been settled in Heaven can’t be undone in time.

Those whom God has called will come. You say, “That’s wonderful for those who’ve been called, but maybe I’m not one of the called. What do I do if He doesn’t call me?” Friend, if you want to come, you can come. In John 6:37 Jesus said, “All that the Father hath given me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The Bible says, “Whosoever will may come.” 

I’m secure because my salvation didn’t initiate with me; it initiated with God. Our security is rooted in God’s sovereign purpose.

But there is not only God’s sovereign purpose; there are God’s special people. Look at the word “sanctified” in verse 1. It’s the same word that begins verse 3, only there it is translated “beloved.” God loves the lost, but the saved are His “beloved.” You may ask, “What’s the difference?” Listen, I love you, but Becky is my beloved…..and there’s a big difference!

Jesus is the beloved Son in whom God is well pleased, and God sees us the same way He sees Him. The word “beloved” here is a perfect participle. That means there’s a finished action in the past that has a result on the present. It’s something that can’t be changed.

How much does God love His beloved? Jesus said in John 17:22-23, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Did you hear that? He loves us like He loves Jesus! That’s almost too much to take in! John got to thinking about this love and wrote in I John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us…” He was fishing for an adjective to describe God’s love for us and just couldn’t find one. He may have thought about writing “what great love,” or “what a super love,” or “what a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious love,” but all he could say was “What manner of love…”

An old Indian was sending a love message to his girlfriend by way of a smoke signal. He was sending these little puffs of smoke up to try to tell her how much he loved her. He happened to be out in the desert where they were testing the atomic bomb. And right in the middle of his message one of those tremendous mushroom clouds came billowing up. He said, “I wish I would have thought of that!”

That’s what was happening with John. And the phrase he wrote means, “What an unearthly or foreign kind of love this is.” That’s why Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Nothing can separate you from the love of God! He loves you like He loves Jesus! That’s a pretty good security blanket if you ask me!

We’ve talked about God’s sovereign purpose….you are called. We’ve talked about God’s special people…..you are beloved. But now I want you to think about God’s strong power…you are preserved. Jude says, “You are preserved in Jesus Christ.” In other words, He’s the One preserving you. You’re never safer than the One who’s keeping you.

This word “preserved” (I’ve always liked that word because so many of the saints look pickled!) means kept. It’s not like a guard keeping a prison; it’s like a mother watching over her baby. If you’re a baby, where’s your security? Is it in you or in the one watching over you? You are no safer than the One keeping you.

If you’re kept by Jesus Christ, are you secure? Is He going to lose anyone? Jesus said in John 10:28-30, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” You don’t keep you; He keeps you. To feel insecure is to doubt Him. 

II Timothy 4:18 says, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom…” II Timothy 1:12 says, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” He doesn’t say, “I’m persuaded that I can hold on to the end.”

Jesus prayed in John 17:15, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” Did Jesus ever pray outside the will of God? Of course not! Did Jesus ever pray a prayer that wasn’t answered? Of course not! When He prayed, “Father keep them,” that’s an answered prayer!

But look at how Jude brings that security blanket around to the tail end of the Book. Verse 24 says, “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling…” Who keeps you from falling? Is it you? No! Verses 24-25 say, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

On the one hand is God’s fathomless love. He loves us like He loves Jesus. On the other side is God’s limitless power. And when you put that love and power together, can you see why we’re secure?

I would do anything I could to protect my children…but I’m only human. God has a love for us that makes our love for our children pale into insignificance. And He has unlimited power to keep you from falling.

Sometime people say, “If I believed that Baptist doctrine of once saved always saved, I’d sin all I want to.” First of all, it’s not a Baptist doctrine; it’s Bible doctrine. Secondly, I do sin all I want to: I don’t want to. If you do still want to, you’re not saved.

Jude believed in the security of the believer. He says in verse 1, “I am a servant of Jesus Christ.” But his belief in eternal security didn’t make him a rebel; it made him a bond slave of Jesus Christ. This kind of security doesn’t make you want to sin!

Many times, when I give the invitation to come and be saved, people stay in their pew and don’t come. Do you know why? They know how weak they are. They think, “If I openly and publicly give my heart to Christ, I might not be able to live the Christian life. I might fall away and be a disgrace to the church, to myself, and to the Lord.”

Listen to me. The God who saves you is the same God who keeps you. What a security blanket we’re wrapped up in! Amen?

An American History Lesson, Good Christian Citizenship

 

  • An American History Lesson & An Appeal To Good Christian Citizenship

    Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteh a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” How desperately we need to remember that on November 6th.

    I want to give you an American history lesson today. By the way, every elementary school child in America used to know the things I am about to tell you, but much of this has been skillfully erased from our textbooks by those who don’t want you to know these things.

    For example, 52 of the 55 signers of the Declaration of Independence were orthodox, deeply committed Christians. The other three believed in the Bible as God’s divine truth and they believed in the God of Scripture and in His personal intervention in the affairs of men.

    This is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of the Scripture for the people of this nation.

    Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, “Give me liberty or give me death.” But in today’s textbooks the context of those words is deleted. Here is what he actually said: “An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.”

    These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. But based on what you just heard, do you think Patrick Henry was a Christian? Well, the following year, 1776, he wrote this: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.”

    Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well-worn Bible: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator.” Jefferson was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role. Yet, today, revisionists and the History Channel create lies about the life of Jefferson. They call him a deist at best, and a fornicator at the worst. None of this is true.

    On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

    Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”

    In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” Can you imagine that?

    William Homes McGuffy is the author of the McGuffy Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until 1963. The McGuffy Reader taught lessons in spelling, reading and civics using Scripture. President Lincoln called McGuffy the “schoolmaster of the Nation.” Listen to what mister McGuffy said: “The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions of the character of God, the great moral Governor of the Universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology.”

    Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was this: “Students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they can study the Scripture.: Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3…”

    Today we are asking God to bless America. But how can God bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him? Prior to September 11, 2001, He wasn’t welcome in America. Then we briefly sought Him and then turned away again. Most of what I’ve just told you has been erased from our school textbooks. Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country’s roots.

    There is another fact that has been erased from our history books. While this great debate about whether the Ten Commandments ought to appear on public property continues to rage, there are some important facts that are being ignored.

    On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument are displayed two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they’re even there. But these words have been there 555 feet, 5.125 inches high for many years. They are perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which make up the District of Columbia, the capital of the United States.

    So what do these two Latin words mean? Laus Deo means very simply, “Praise be to God!”

    Though construction of this giant monument began in 1848, when James Polk was President, it wasn’t until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took 25 years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo…Praise be to God!

    From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors can take in a panoramic view of the city with its four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles I’Enfant…a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north, the Jefferson Memorial to the south, the Capital to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

    “A cross?” you say, “What about separation of church and state? Well, there is no such thing as separation of church and state in the American Constitution.

    Within the Washington Monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. My brother and I climbed every one of those steps in 1968. If you pause on each of the landings you’ll see that the memorial stones share a message. On the 12th landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th is a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6.

    When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were a number of items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Why? Because this was the moral direction of our first President…the one that this monument is named after.

    George Washington’s prayer for America inspires me. Have you ever read it? “Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United states at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

    Laus Deo!

    Over 92% of Americans like the idea that our Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase “under God.” It is clear when you study the history of our nation, that Washington’s America was one of the few countries in the world established under the guidance, direction and banner of Almighty God, to whom all praise, honor and worship is given by the great men who formed and fashioned our foundations.

    When you stoop to observe the inscriptions found in the public places all over our nation’s capital, you’ll easily find the signature of God, because it’s unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look.

    Though many try to disprove, their reasons are weak and without basis of fact. Any nation that’s not built upon God will fail. Do you wonder why, when other nations fall into an abyss, the United States continues to prosper? Now you know, but don’t let the ignorance and arrogance of some instill doubt in you. The truth is…we have always been one nation under God!

    You may forget the width and height of “Laus Deo”, it’s location, or the architects, but none of you should forget it’s meaning. Psalm 127:1 says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

    Forces are at work to tear this nation apart and the next election will determine the fate of our nation. I want you to listen carefully to this next series of events and ask yourself how anyone can take the position that all we have to do is bring our troops home from Afghanistan, sit back, reset the snooze alarm, and go back to sleep, and no one will ever bother us again.

    In case you missed it, World War III began in November of 1979, and the alarm clock has been ringing ever since.

    After 9/11, I took my family to the Pensacola Naval Air Station Museum. That’s a place you need to see. U.S. Navy Captain Phil Ouimette, is the Executive Officer there, or at least he was then. I want you to listen to a speech he gave that year. It’s an accurate account of why we’re in so much trouble today and why the action we’ve taken in Iraq and Afghanistan is so necessary.

    He said, “America needs to wake up! That’s what we think we heard on the 11th day of September 2001 (When more than 3,000 Americans were killed) and maybe it was, but I think it should have been “Get out of bed!” In fact, I think the alarm clock has been buzzing since 1979 and we have continued to hit the snooze button and roll over for a few more minutes of peaceful sleep since then.

    It was a cool fall day in November 1979 in a country going through a religious and political upheaval when a group of Iranian students attacked and seized the American Embassy in Tehran. This seizure was an outright attack on American soil; it was an attack that held the most powerful nation hostage and paralyzed a Presidency. The attack on this sovereign U.S. Embassy set the stage for events to follow for the next 25 years.

    America was still reeling from the aftermath of the Vietnam experience and had a serious threat from the Soviet Union when then, President Carter, had to do something. He chose to conduct a clandestine raid in the desert.

    The ill-fated mission ended in ruin, but stood as a symbol of America’s inability to deal with terrorism.

    America’s military had been decimated and downsized since the end of the Vietnam War. A poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized military was called on to execute a complex mission that was doomed from the start.

    Shortly after the Tehran experience, Americans began to be kidnapped and killed throughout the Middle East. America could do little to protect her citizens living and working abroad. The attacks against U.S. soil continued.

    In April of 1983 a large vehicle packed with high explosives was driven into the U.S. Embassy compound in Beirut. When it explodes, it kills 63 people. The alarm went off again and America hit the snooze button once more.

    Then, just six months later, a large truck heavily laden with over 25,000 pounds of TNT smashed through the main gate of the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters in Beirut and 241 U.S. servicemen were killed. America mourns her dead and hits the snooze button once more.

    Two months later in December 1983, another truck loaded with explosives is driven into the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, and America continues her slumber.

    The following year, in September 1984, another van was driven into the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and America slept.

    Soon the terrorism spreads to Europe. In April 1985 a bomb explodes in a restaurant frequented by U.S. soldiers in Madrid.

    Then in August a Volkswagen loaded with explosives is driven into the main gate of the U.S. Airforce Base at Rhein-Main. Twenty-two are killed and the alarm is buzzing louder as U.S. interests are continually attacked.

    Fifty nine days later a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro is hijacked and we watched as an American in a wheel chair is singled out of the passenger list and executed.

    The terrorists then shift their tactics to bombing civilian airliners when they bomb TWA flight 840 in April of 1986 that killed 4 and the most tragic bombing, Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 killing 259.

    Clinton treated these terrorist acts as crimes; in fact we are still trying to bring these people to trial. They are not crimes….they are acts of war. (By the way, President Obama is trying to treat the terrorist acts perpetrated by the inmates of Gitmo as crimes, also.)

    The wake up alarm is getting louder and louder. The terrorist decide to bring the fight to America. In January 1993, two CIA agents are shot and killed as they entered the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

    The following month, February 1993, a group of terrorists are arrested after a rented van packed with explosives is driven into the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people are killed and over 1,000 are injured. Still we treat this as a crime instead of an act of war?

    The snooze alarm is depressed again. Then in November 1995 a car bomb explodes at a U.S. military complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia killing seven service men and women.

    A few months later in June of 1996, another truck bomb explodes only 35 yards from the U.S. military compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It destroys the Khobar Towers, and a U.S. Air Force barracks killing 19 and injuring over 500. The terrorists are getting braver and smarter as they see that America does not respond decisively.

    They move to coordinate their attacks in a simultaneous attack on two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. These attacks were planned with precision. They kill 224. America responds with cruise missile attacks and goes back to sleep.

    The U.S.S. Cole was docked in the port Aden, Yemen for refueling on October 12, 2000, when a small craft pulled along side the ship and exploded killing 17 U.S. Navy sailors. Attacking a U.S. War Ship is an act of war, but we sent the FBI to investigate the crime and went back to sleep.

    And of course you know the events of September 11, 2001. Most Americans think this was the first attack against U.S. soil or in America. Well, you’ve already seen how wrong that is.

    America has been under constant attack since 1979 and we choose to hit the snooze button and roll over and go back to sleep.

    In the news lately we have seen lots of finger pointing from very high officials in government over what they knew and what they didn’t know. But if you’ve read the papers and paid a little attention I think you can see exactly what they knew. You don’t have to be in the FBI or CIA or on the National Security Council to see the pattern that has been developing since 1979.

    The President (Bush) is so right on when he says we are engaged in an act of war. I think we have been in a war for the past 25 years and it will continue until we as a people decide enough is enough.

    America needs to “Get out of bed” and act decisively now. America has been changed forever. We have to be ready to pay the price and make the sacrifice to ensure our way of life continues. We cannot afford to keep hitting the snooze button again, and again and roll over and go back to sleep.

    After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto said, “…it seems all we have done is awakened a sleeping giant.” This is the message we need to give to all terrorists around the world.

    We need to support our troops and President Bush for having the courage, politically or militarily, to address what so many who preceded him didn’t have the backbone to do both Democrat and Republican. This is not a political thing to be hashed over in an election year; this is an American thing. This is about our Freedom and the Freedom of our children for years to come.”

    What an incredible speech from one of our military men! Let me now read a portion of a letter written to Andrew Sullivan by another of our fine military personnel.

    “I was stationed at a base (Al Taqqadum) South-West of Fallujah that we took over from the 82nd Airborne. Your writing about the Abu Graib incident prompted me to write this. It is an explanation of why so many of the military favor President Bush, even though we are the ones suffering the most because of his mistakes:

    It is an old military axiom that blunders can be forgiven, but a lack of boldness cannot. There will always be blunders. The simple becomes difficult in war. Take for example the following question: What is 2+2 equal to? An easy question right? Now imagine I gave you 15 such questions and you had 2 seconds to answer them. Most likely you would answer some and leave the rest. Looking at the questions you missed in isolation I might say, “What kind of blathering idiot are you? You can’t even answer simple questions like 2+2 =4!” That’s why armchair generals are so annoying. They look at one thing in isolation with all the time in the world to think about it and say confidently “the answer is obvious.” But when you are out in the fight everything looks different. Nothing is ever seen in isolation. You never have enough time. You never know more than 1/10 of what you need to know. There will always be blunders.

    But the job has to get done anyway. And to get this kind of job done boldness is essential. A leader who never blunders, but who doesn’t take the fight to the enemy is worthless. A leader who sets about to win – win ugly if needs be – is priceless.

    One thing the Marine Corps taught me is that a 70% solution acted on immediately and violently is better than a perfect solution acted on later. My experience has proven this true time and again. The sad fact is however, that a 70% solution is a 30% mistake. And those mistakes can be hard to take. In WWII for example, 700 soldiers drowned in a training accident in preparation for D-Day (that is about how many combat deaths we’ve experienced so far in Iraq).

    There is a scene in the movie “We Are Soldiers” that says it better than I can. In the scene a young soldier on the ground is giving directions on enemy positions to aircraft flying overhead. The aircraft then dropped napalm on the enemy. At one point the soldier gets the directions wrong and stares horrified as the napalm is dropped on his own unit. The soldier is shaken beyond belief. He sat there doing nothing – paralyzed by his mistake. Then his commanding officer gave him the confidence to carry on. The CO told him to “forget about that last one” and “you’re keeping us alive here.” And so the soldier swallowed his guilt and kept doing his job and thereby saved the unit. That’s what a 70% solution looks like in real life. And those are the 70% solutions that win wars.

    Most people and events are beyond your control. Most questions you don’t have time to answer. Most facts you will never know. But you have to press the attack anyway. No matter how ugly it gets, you keep going until you win.

    Senator Kerry doesn’t understand that. Everything he did during the Cold War and everything he says about this war proves that. He represents those who would never blunder, but who would not take the fight to the enemy. He would just sit there – like the soldier in the movie – paralyzed by America’s mistakes.”

    I want to close this history lesson by reading a letter written Wed. Oct.6, 2004 to the Ellensburg Daily Record in Ellensburg, Washington by Matthew Manweller who is the political science professor at Central Washington University.

    “This November we will vote in the only election during our lifetime that will truly matter. Because America is at a once-in-a-generation crossroads, more than an election hangs in the balance. Down one path lies retreat, abdication and a reign of ambivalence. Down the other lies a nation that is aware of its past and accepts the daunting obligation its future demands. If we choose poorly, the consequences will echo through the next 50 years of history. If we, in a spasm of frustration, turn out the current occupant of the White House, the message to the world and ourselves will be two-fold.

    First, we will reject the notion that America can do big things. Once a nation that tamed a frontier, stood down the Nazis and stood upon the moon, we will announce to the world that bringing democracy to the Middle East is too big of a task for us. But more significantly, we will signal to future presidents that as voters, we are unwilling to tackle difficult challenges, preferring caution to boldness, embracing the mediocrity that has characterized other civilizations. The defeat of President Bush will send a chilling message to future presidents who may need to make difficult, yet unpopular decisions. America has always been a nation that rises to the demands of history regardless of the costs or appeal. If we turn away from that legacy, we turn away from who we are.

    Second, we inform every terrorist organization on the globe that the lesson of Somalia was well learned. In Somalia we showed terrorists that you don’t need to defeat America on the battlefield when you can defeat them in the newsroom. They learned that a wounded America can become a defeated America. Twenty-four hour news stations and daily tracing polls will do the heavy lifting, turning a cut into a fatal blow. Accept that Iraq is Somalia times 10. The election of John Kerry will serve notice to every terrorist in every cave that the soft underbelly of American power is the timidity of American voters. Terrorists will know that a steady stream of grizzly photos from CNN is all you need to break the will of the American people. Our own self-doubt will take it from there. Bin Laden will recognize that he can topple any American administration without setting foot on the homeland.

    It is said that America’s WW II generation is its ‘greatest generation’. But my greatest fear is that it will become known as America’s ‘last generation.’ Born in the bleakness of the Great Depression and hardened in the fire of WW II, they may be the last American generation that understands the meaning of duty, honor and sacrifice. It is difficult to admit, but I know these terms are spoken with only hollow detachment by many (but not all) in my generation. Too many citizens today make ‘living in America’ as ‘being an American.’ But America has always been more of an idea than a place. When you sign on, you do more than buy real estate. You accept a set of values and responsibilities. This November, my generation, which has been absent too long, must grasp the obligation that comes with being an American, or fade into the oblivion they may deserve. I believe that 100 years from now historians will look back at the election of 2004 and see it as the decisive election of our century. Depending on the outcome, they will describe it as the moment America joined the ranks of ordinary nations; or they will describe it as the moment the prodigal sons and daughters of the greatest generation accepted their burden as caretakers of the City on the Hill.”

    Matthew Manweller

    What that soldier wrote about the 2004 election was at least twice as important in the 2012 election.

    Friends, you are now informed and without excuse. This has always been a Christian nation regardless of what the current President says to the contrary on his world-wide apology tour. Go to the polls every time they are open and do your duty as Christians, and become a part of history…a good part of history….and may God help us all.

Real Salvation, Pastor Gary Flynt

Real Salvation
I John 3

The devil would just as soon send you to hell from a church pew as from the gutter. He would rather you have a form of religion without genuine salvation. Today we have churches that are filled with baptized pagans. They have culture, but they don’t have Calvary. They’ve got ritual, but not reality. They have form, but no force. They have religion, but no righteousness.

We’re going to talk about real salvation today. Take a look at I John 3:4-9. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

The first thing we’re going to see today is the rebellion that proves our sinfulness. We come to church all spruced up and with smiles on our faces for others to see, but God looks at our hearts and sees the rebellion that’s there. Verse 4 says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

That may be the best definition of sin in the Bible. Sin is the breaking of God’s law. Romans 14:23 says, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” I John 5:17 says, “All unrighteousness is sin.” All of these are good definitions of sin, but the one we have before us today is the clearest and most precise. Sin is a transgression of the law. Sin is lawlessness.

God built laws into the universe when He created it. The whole universe operates according to the fixed laws of God. God gave laws because he wanted order. Without law there is no order. Instead of cosmos, you’d have chaos. God made stars to move in their orbit. He made tides to ebb and flow. He made your body to work according to certain principles. There are physical laws and moral laws.

Sometimes you’ll hear people talk about the laws of nature. There is no such thing as the laws of nature. Nature doesn’t have any laws. There are only the laws of God that nature obeys. There is no Mother Earth; there is only Father God. Today people want to replace Resurrection Sunday with Earth Day so they can go out and worship dirt! But this universe works according to God’s law.

God has a physical law called the law of gravity. If you step out the window of a ten story building, you won’t break God’s law of gravity; you’ll demonstrate it! You will be broken on it. But there is also the moral law of God. You don’t break the Ten Commandments; you are broken on them. Sin makes you an outlaw.

Did God give us all these laws to make us squirm like a worn in hot ashes? Is He some vengeful deity? No! Laws are for our welfare. If we didn’t have the law of gravity, we’d have to pull you down off the ceiling! And every time God says, “Thou shalt not,” He’s saying, “Don’t hurt yourself.” Every time God says, “Thou shalt,” He’s saying, “Help yourself to happiness.”

God doesn’t need anything because He already has everything. He made laws for us. But sin is a transgression of His law, and when we break God’s law, we break His heart.

There is a spirit of lawlessness within us. Some people have an openly rebellious spirit. They openly demonstrate hatred and violence. We call these people outlaws. But the truth is that we’re all outlaws. The Bible says that sin is a transgression of the law and that we’ve all sinned. We have all transgressed God’s law.

Others may not live in open sin, but they have sins of the spirit that are just as bad. Sin is sin.

Do you think we’re going to change men’s hearts through education? Nazi Germany was educated. An ignorant man will steal a watermelon off a box car. If you give him an education, he’ll steal the railroad! He just becomes a clever devil. Education is not the answer.

We’ve also tried psychology. We’ve tried to analyze people, but still we have a flood of lawlessness.

We’ve tried legislation. We’ve tried the police force and prison. But when we let people out of prison, they go right back to a life of crime because the problem is in their heart. You can restrain a man outwardly, but he’s still a rebel in his heart.

A boy had been disobeying his mother so she made him go to the closet for a while. She thought that would be a good punishment for him. It was quiet in there for a long time so she said, “Johnny, what are you doing in there?” He said, “I spit in your shoes, I spit on your dress, I spit on your coat, and I’m waiting for more spit!” You can restrain your child, but lawlessness is in their heart.

We need to take the policeman off the street corner and put him in the heart. There is a rebellion that proves our sinfulness.

You may think sin is a little thing. Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you; whether it was a nickel off your mother’s dresser, a toy out of your neighbor’s yard, an answer off someone else’s paper at school, or money from a bank? If you’ve ever taken something that wasn’t yours, raise your hands. Let me look real good!

All right, how many of you have told a lie? I don’t care if it was a black lie, a little white lie, or a Technicolor lie? Let me see your hands.

Well, what we have here is a congregation of thieves and liars! We laugh at that because of our attitude toward sin. We think, “Yeah, I told a fib and I stole a nickel.” But we don’t realize that what we do isn’t the problem…..what we are is the problem. A man isn’t a liar because he lies; he lies because he’s a liar. A man isn’t a thief because he steals; he steals because he’s a thief. The problem is the heart. We can get all sophisticated and smug about it, but if we only knew the sin that lurks in our heart! The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

First, we have a rebellion that proves our sinfulness. Secondly, there is the righteousness that proclaims our sonship. Verses 5 and 6 say, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not…”

The Bible says that if we’re saved, we’re not going to sin. There are thousands of people who say they’re saved and on their way to Heaven, but there’s never been a change in their life. They’re baptized pagans. II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that if we’re saved, we’re new creatures. If your religion hasn’t changed your life, you need to change your religion!

Today we have this easy believism where people say, “Do you believe in Jesus?” “Yes.” “Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins?” “Yes.” “Well, then you’re saved.” No they’re not! The devil believes in Jesus and knows for a fact that Jesus died for our sins….and he trembles! You are only saved when you make Jesus Lord of your life. That implies a change.

But let me be clear: you are not saved by reforming your life. Jesus never tells us to clean up our life and then He will save us. That’s backwards. We come to Jesus just as we are. Jesus didn’t come to save us in our sin; He came to save us from our sin. What verses 5 and 6 are saying is that if we belong to Him, we’re going to be like Him. We’re not going to sin.

Verse 7 says, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” If you’re not righteous, you’re not saved. The word Christian means Christ-like. There is no sin in Jesus. You can’t live a life of sin and be Christ-like.

Do you see that word “abideth” in verse 6? That means to be at home with…to dwell with. Many people have met creeds, but not Christ. They have their names on a church roll, but they’re still living in sin. But when you abide in Christ, you sin not.

That presents a real problem for us because we all fail as Christians. Verse 6 is not talking about sinless perfection. No one but Christ is sinlessly perfect. All through the Bible we read about saints who have failed.

Abraham lied about his wife. Moses lost his temper and committed murder. Peter denied the Lord. David was unfaithful, etc. The Bible tells us about their faults. But this passage tells us that if we abide in Him, we’re not going to sin.

I don’t want to get too technical, but this is written in the present continuous tense. That means that if you’re a Christian, you’re not going to make sin your lifestyle. It means you won’t habitually sin. It means you won’t practice sin. It does not mean that you won’t slip and fall. If it meant that, then John has lost his mind! John, who wrote this, said in I John 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

John is trying to tell us that if you’ve given your heart to Christ there has been a radical and dramatic change in your life. Now, because you have the nature of God in you, you don’t habitually practice sin anymore. Maybe we can clear it up this way. Look at I John 2:1. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” In other words, God’s desire for us is that we sin not. If we do sin, Jesus is there as our Advocate….our lawyer….to plead our case in Heaven.

I John 2:3-4 says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

The word “keep” is a navigational word. Sailors in those days didn’t have GPS systems like we do today. They would steer by the stars because the stars are fixed in the heavens just like God’s law is fixed. But in stead of saying that they were steering by the stars, they would say, “We’re keeping the stars.” In other words, “This is the course that I’m keeping.”

The Bible says that if we know Him, we’re going to keep His commandments. We’re going to steer by God’s stars. We’re going to keep His Word. Now that doesn’t mean that a sailor couldn’t get blown off course once in a while. It doesn’t mean that in a time of distraction he couldn’t miss a turn of the wheel. But it does mean that he has a guide for his life….a direction to be going…..a fixed standard to live by. Do you?

If you don’t care for God’s commandments, if you’re living life willy-nilly and doing as you please without regard to God’s commandments, if you’re not steering by God’s stars, if you’re habitually practicing sin, you don’t know Him! You’re not saved! John says, “Don’t let anybody deceive you.”

Today we have all sorts of people who have joined churches but who’ve never met Jesus. There is the rebellion that proves our sinfulness and there is the righteousness that proclaims our sonship.

You may say, “Pastor, I don’t have what it takes to live that way.” Well, neither do I, so here is the third thing we need to know: the redemption that provides our salvation.

When God tells us how we’re to live, that doesn’t mean we can automatically do it apart from Him. Verse 5 says, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” Jesus doesn’t say, “Here are the commandments. Live by them and you can go to Heaven.” What about the sins we’ve already committed? Jesus is manifested to take away our sins.

What is the redemption that provides our salvation? First, we are redeemed from the penalty of sin. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”

But not only did He redeem me from the penalty of sin; He also redeemed me from the power of Satan. Look at I John 3:7-8. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

He came to take away our sin, but He also came to take away the power of the devil. That’s why John is saying, “If you’re still living like the devil, it’s because you belong to the devil.”

Sometimes we criticize Hollywood and the liquor dealers and all those kinds of people for what they do. We say, “They sin all the time!” Of course they do! That’s what sinners do! He that committeth sin is of the devil.

Many churches don’t teach people how to be saved. So the church, rather than being a sheepfold, becomes a zoo! Everybody gets in….nobody gets out….and the pastor spends all his time trying to teach billy goats not to butt!

Verse 8 says, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

The word destroy here does not mean to annihilate. It means to make ineffective. On the cross, Jesus ruined Satan’s kingdom. Now Satan has no power or authority over the child of God. Before you were saved, you were Satan’s slave and dirty little plaything. You thought you were free, but you were free to do what you wanted instead of being free to do what you ought. You were Satan’s slave, but Jesus came to set you free. He came to destroy the Destroyer.

Now, because I have new life in Christ, I will never face the penalty of my sin. Jesus took that away. Now I can tell Satan to go sit on a tack! I don’t have to listen to him anymore because his power is broken. If you don’t understand that, you’ll never be able to live the Christian life.

But not only does Jesus deliver us from the penalty of sin and the power of Satan; He delivers of from the principle of self. Verse 9 says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

Even if Jesus dealt with my sin, I still have me to deal with. I’m my own worst enemy. Jesus has redeemed me from the penalty of sin, from the power of Satan, and from the principle of self. Not only did He die for my sin; He died for me.

When you get saved, you get a new dynamic. Jesus calls it being born again. When I was born the first time, I got physical life. But when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I received spiritual life. Jesus told Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Everyone has had a physical birth, but not everyone has had a spiritual birth.

Verse 9 speaks of being “born of God.” How are you born of God? My physical parents were Jack and Doris Flynt, but who are my spiritual parents? My spiritual parents are the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The Word of God and the Spirit of God in the womb of grace have made me a new person.

When you become a new person, you get a new dynamic. You’re no longer dependent on just trying to do it yourself. A new life has come into you.

Because I have this new dynamic, I have a new desire. What does it mean in verse 9 when it says, “His seed remaineth in him.” If you could have seen my father and then looked at me, you would recognize that I am his son because his seed….his natural life….is in me.

When I am born of incorruptible seed, there is a divine life principle in me that gives me a new dynamic and new desire. God’s nature is holiness. Verse 7 says, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”

If Jesus is in you through the new birth, you’ll have a new desire. You’re saved forever. You can’t become unsaved anymore than you can become unborn. When I was born physically, that was settled once and for all. And when I was born spiritually, that, too, was settled once and for all.

Now I have the nature of God in me which says, “I don’t want to sin.” Friend, if you still want to sin, you need to get saved! When you get saved, you get a new dynamic and a new desire. If you don’t have a desire to live for God, then you’d better do a checkup on this thing you’re calling salvation. Don’t let anyone deceive you.

Here’s the last thing. I have a new deterrent. Verse 9 says, “And he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” If God lives in you (present continuous tense), you can’t habitually live in sin. God will carry you to the woodshed and beat the daylights out of you! The Holy Spirit inside you will tear you up! You’ll be under conviction because the Holy Spirit dwelling in you delivers you from the penalty of sin, the power of Satan, and the principle of self. You’re born again and have received a new nature. And with that new nature you have a new dynamic, a new desire, and a new deterrent. You’re living for Jesus.

When I started this message I told you that the devil would just as soon send you to hell from a church pew as he would the gutter. I’m not asking you if you’re a church member or a Baptist; I’m asking you if you know Jesus Christ.

There is a rebellion that proves our sinfulness, a righteousness that proclaims our sonship, and the redemption that provides our salvation. It redeems us from the penalty of sin, from the power of Satan, and from the principle of self.

The Bible says, “Let a man examine himself whether he be in the faith.” Are you saved? If this were your last moment to live, do you know for sure that you’d go to Heaven?

Family of God

The Family Of God
I John 3:1-3

Take a look at I John 3:1-3. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Jesus is on His way back. This passage is about the Second Coming. It speaks of what we are now, of what we will be when Jesus comes back, and of what we ought to be every day. It speaks of our Christian dignity, our destiny and our duty.

First, let’s see what we are. Let’s talk about our Christian dignity. Verse 1 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us….” The word manner has to do with being from another country. In other words, “Where did this love come from? We’ve never seen this kind of love around here.” The love a Christian experiences of out of this world. What an amazing thing that we should be called the sons of God!

We become sons and daughters of God by being born into the family of God when we receive Christ as our Savior. Actually, you are legally adopted into the family of God. Romans 8 tells us more about that adoption. Look at Romans 8:14-15. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father.” In other words, we were once in bondage, but now we’ve been adopted.

Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Now that we’ve been adopted into the family of God, we have every right to call God our Father.

The word Abba means daddy. Does it seem irreverent for you to call God, Daddy? According to this verse, if you’ve been born again, it’s not irreverent to call God Daddy.

Many who lived around Abraham’s tent would call him Father Abraham. But Isaac called him Abba Abraham. Little Isaac could crawl up in his lap and say, “Abba, Abba,” or “Daddy, Daddy.” When my children call me daddy, I don’t think of it as being irreverent. As a matter of fact, I love it when they call me daddy.

And since we are sons, we are also heirs. There is no inheritance without sonship, and there is no sonship without a birth or an adoption. There is no adoption without Jesus, and there is no Jesus for you unless you receive Him by faith.

Our dignity lies in the fact that we are sons of God. John can hardly take this in! He says, “What kind of other-worldly love is this, that we should be called the sons of God and joint heirs with Christ?”

But he not only talks about what we are; he speaks about what we’re going to be. I John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

People ask all sorts of questions about the future. They ask, “Are we going to wear clothes when we get to Heaven? Will we eat regular food? Will we have beds to sleep in? How old will we be? If we die when we’re babies, will we be babies in Heaven; or will we be grown? The answer is, “I don’t know…..and neither do you. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be…”

There are many things that God has kept from us. We don’t have to know everything. There are some things we can’t be dogmatic about, but there are other things we can be bull-dogmatic about! John says, “It doth not yet appear what we shall be.” But then he says, “There are some things I do know. I know that when He appears, we’ll be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

First, we know that Jesus is really going to appear. History is like a drama in two acts. There are five scenes in the first act. Scene one is the birth at Bethlehem. Scene two is the little boy growing up in Nazareth in a carpenter shop. Scene three is the Preacher of Galilee giving the Sermon on the Mount and all the rest of it. Scene four is the crucified King of the Jews. Scene five is the risen, victorious, ascended Savior. Then Act One ends and the curtain closes. We’re living in the time of the closed curtain right now.

Now Jesus is in the wings of human history. But before long, the curtain is going to open again and Jesus will step onto center stage. The drama of the ages will unfold.

Secondly, we will see Him as He is. We won’t see Him as the peasant from Galilee walking those dusty roads…..although I would have loved to have seen Him then. We’ll see Him wearing a diadem of glory.

Leonard Ravenhill wrote: “The first time He came, He entered by a woman’s womb and no one saw Him enter. The next time He comes, every eye shall see Him. The first time He came as a Lamb, but the next time He’ll come as the Lion of Judah. The first time He came to redeem, but the next time He’s coming to reign. The first time He came to die, but the next time He’s coming to raise the dead. The first time men asked, Where is He who is born King of the Jews? The next time He’s coming as the King of kings. The first time He got a crown of thorns, but the next time He’ll get a crown of glory. The first time He came in poverty to a stable, but the next time He’s coming in power. The first time He had an escort of angels, but the next time He’s coming with ten thousands of His saints. The first time He came in meekness, but the next time He’s coming in majesty.” What a day that’s going to be!

The fist thing we know is that He’ll appear. The second thing we know is that we’ll see Him as He really is. The third thing we know is that we’ll be like Him. We will be changed in a moment and be like Him forever. How glorious will it be to be made like Christ?

If we weren’t made to be like Him, it would be impossible for us to see Him as He is. I Timothy 6:14 says, “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto…”

It would be easier for you to go into the center of the sun than it would be for you to see Jesus without a glorified body. He dwells in a light that no man can approach. Verse 16 goes on to say, “…whom no man hath seen, nor can see…” No man can see Him without being made like Him.

Philippians 3:21 says that God will change our vile bodies to be like His glorious body. The psalmist said, “I shall be satisfied when I awaken in His likeness.”

We’ve talked about what we are now…our Christian dignity. We’ve talked about what we will be…..out Christian destiny. But now John talks about what we ought to be….our Christian duty. I John 3:3 says, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Our present dignity and future destiny calls for practical duty. What should we be doing? First, we should be looking for the Second Coming of Christ. Verse 3 calls this our hope. That doesn’t mean that we hope it will happen. It’s going to happen. A hope is something you know is going to happen and something you live in anticipation of happening. You can hardly wait for it to get here. Christmas, for children, is a wonderful hope. They can hardly wait for it to get here.

The longer I preach, the older I get, the more I get to love Jesus and to serve Him; the more I long for His coming. Do you feel that way?

If I could say, “Come Lord Jesus” and get Him to come right now, I’d do it. You say, “But pastor, some would be lost.” Yes, but no matter when He comes, some will be lost. The longer He waits, the more lost people will get. I want to see Him face to face….and one day I will.

There’s an interesting verse in II Samuel 19:10 which says, “Why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?” This text is from the last sad years of Kind David’s life. David’s handsome son, Absalom had rebelled against him and tried to take his throne. David fled for his life. But now Absalom is dead and it’s time for the king to return. David wants his tribe to invite him back. In II Samuel 19:12 he says, “Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king?” Why didn’t his own people long to have him back? It was embarrassing to him that the people didn’t long to have the king return.

Apply that to David’s greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is of the tribe of Judah, and He’s to return and rule on the throne. There have been plenty of Absalom’s who’ve tried to usurp the throne. The great Absalom will be the antichrist himself, but how God’s people ought to be longing for the Lord Jesus to return. “Why speak ye not a word about the King’s return?”

Our first duty is to be longing for His return. It’s the blessed hope. Secondly, we ought to be living for His return. I John 3:3 says, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” If I really believe that Jesus could come back at any moment, then I want to be pure and clean. I don’t want to be ashamed at His coming.

II Corinthians 7:1 says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” I John 2:28 says, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

If Jesus came today, are there some magazines in your house that you wish weren’t there? Would there be some money in your billfold that belongs to God? Is there a hatred, a resentment, a bitterness, or a criticism in your heart that ought not to be there?

The worldliness, the selfishness, and the carelessness of some of our members breaks the heart of God. Do they really believe that they will one day be like Jesus? Are they really serious about this matter of serving Jesus? Or do they see this as some sort of religious country club?

If there were ever a time for God’s people to be holy, this is the day. We can’t be tolerant of one half of one sin in our lives. We ought to be winning souls every week, but we’re not doing it. I wonder if we really believe our Lord is coming back soon? I wonder if we really believe that we’re going to have to give an account?

Mahatma Gandhi had an influence over untold millions of people. Gandhi almost became a Christian, but one thing held him back. Do you know what it was? Christians. He said, “I studied the life of Christ and the doctrines of the Bible. I would have become a Christian had it not been for the Christians.”

He attended a congregation in Pretoria, South Africa one Sunday morning. He was searching for the truth. He wrote, “The congregation did not strike me as being particularly religious. They were not an assembly of devout souls. They appeared rather, to be worldly-minded people going to church for recreation and in conformity to customs.”

“He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself.” Why, because of the fear of judgment? No, because of love.

A group of young people were out on a date when one in the group suggested they go to a particular place and do a particular thing that was not right for them to do. One of the young ladies said, “No, I don’t want to go there. My father wouldn’t approve.” They said, “Oh, are you afraid your father is going to hurt you?” She said, “No, I’m afraid I’m going to hurt him.”

What is our duty? We ought to be longing for His return. It’s our blessed hope. We ought to be living for His return. But we also ought to be looking for His return. He could come at any moment.

How many of you expect Jesus to return before midnight tonight? If you were honest, there’s not a one of us who expect Him to return today. But Jesus said, “In such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.”

This may be the last church service you’ll ever attend. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Those of you who are saved should be praying, “Lord, I long to be perfectly whole. I want Thee forever to live in my soul. Break down every idol, cast out every foe, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Whatever sin is in your heart, deal with it and be done with it. That sin will have no mercy on you….and you should have no mercy on it.

And if you’re not saved, would you give your heart to Jesus today?

The Wonders Of Womanhood, Pastor Gary Flynt

 

  • The Wonders Of Womanhood
    Titus 2

    Take a look at Titus 2:1. “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.” Look at the word become. Ladies, has anyone ever said something like, “That dress is becoming to you?” This word has to do with that which beautifies sound doctrine.

    Look at verse 10. “Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity: that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” The word adorn is from the same word from which we get our word cosmetics. In other words, you are to take the Word of God and make it a becoming thing….a beautiful thing.

    Look at Titus 2:1-5. “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine. That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

    Today, the ship of matrimony has lost its moorings. It’s adrift at sea in a dark and stormy night, and it’s about to go under. And we’re sailing this ship in a sea of information. There are seminars, and conferences, and counselors ad ifinitum ad nauseum. But we’ll never learn anything until we go back to the Word of God.

    Satan has leveled all the artillery of Hell against the home including, adultery, immorality, fornication, homosexuality, abortion, sterilization, women’s liberation, sexual rebellion, etc. All of these are torpedoes aimed at sinking the ship of holy matrimony.

    There are three things I want you to learn this morning about God’s way for the woman. First, there is the legacy she is to leave. Verses 3-4 say, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women…” Older women have a mandate from God to teach the younger women what the Word of God has to say. This is the legacy they are to leave.

    An older woman who has walked with God is a thing of beauty, dignity and grace. Verse 3 says, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.” They are to be holy in their behavior. This literally means that they are to have the fragrance of holiness. It refers back to the priests who went into the Holy of Holies to perform his priestly duties….and when he came out, the sweet perfume of incense was still in his garment. You would take a deep breath and say, “He’s been in the holy place!”

    Have you known women like this? Just to be in their presence is to be in a holy place….to be with God. Women are to be holy in their behavior. Our text says that they are not to be slanderers or “false accusers.” That’s the way the devil is. Ladies, if you are a gossip now, it’s going to get worse as you get older if you don’t do something about it. Gossip is a disease that gets worse with age.

    Then it says, “Not given to wine.” That means that they are not to have addictions. Today this would include cigarettes, and pills, alcohol and anything else you can get addicted to. Don’t let anything enslave you.

    But perhaps the most important thing here is when it says that older women are to teach younger women. Who’s teaching young women today? The immoral alley cats on the view? Oprah? Lady Gaga? Madonna? Beyonce? God help us!

    We used to have mandatory classes in Home Economics in high school. But there are girls today who don’t even know how to boil water! They might still have the recipe for ice cubes, but that’s about it! We need godly mothers and grandmothers who’ll teach the young women. Are the universities teaching our girls how to be homemakers? No! They’re teaching them how not to be homemakers. We need for older women to mentor our younger women. Most of our young ladies have no one to disciple them. The Bible says that the older women are to do this. If you don’t, you’re failing God and missing a blessing.

    Moms need to teach their daughters. A young woman said to her new husband, “I’m just learning to cook. I don’t know much yet, but I’ve already learned to make meatloaf and banana pudding.” He said, “That’s wonderful sweetheart. Which one is this?”

    There is a legacy that the older women are to leave. These young girls aren’t getting this training anywhere else. We need to teach younger women about the primacy of homemaking.

    Secondly, there is the love she is to learn. Older women are to teach younger women to love their husbands and children. You say, “Do you have to teach them to do that?” You certainly do!

    We have a generation of women today who don’t love their children. Some are putting their children to death in the womb. Folks, the safest place on earth for a child ought to be in its mother’s womb! But a mother’s womb has become the most dangerous place in America for a child to be. Girls need to be taught that abortion is murder.

    How do you love a child? First, you tell them that you love them. You can never tell them that too much. But you not only tell them; you touch them. Hug them. But you not only tell them and touch them; you teach them that you love them.

    Children are not a burden; they’re a blessing. Study the women of the Bible. If they couldn’t have children, they were brokenhearted. Many people today are brokenhearted because they can’t have children. But think of those who can have them and put them to death!

    Sarah was barren until she was 90 years of age. Then God did a miracle and gave her Isaac. Rachel cried out for God to give her a child. God heard her prayer and gave her Joseph, who delivered a nation. Menoah cried out to God for a child and He gave her Samson, who saved Israel. Ruth was barren and prayed for a child. God gave her Obed, the grandfather of David, from whose line came the Savior. Elizabeth was stricken in age, but she prayed and God gave her John the Baptist. Jesus said, “There is not a greater born of woman than John the Baptist.” Hannah prayed and wept and said, “Oh, God, give me a child.” God gave her Samuel, the great prophet of Israel.

    All these great men were born as a result of their mother’s prayers. Today we pray and ask God to give us a cure for cancer. But how do you know we didn’t kill God’s answer to that prayer in the womb?

    Not only are older women to teach younger women to love their children; they are to teach them to love their husbands. And don’t tell me you can’t love your husband. The Bible says that this is something you can learn to do. The Bible commands husbands to love their wives, and behind every command of God is the omnipotent power of God to carry it out.

    Don’t learn about love from these filthy soap operas like “As The Stomach Pumps” or whatever it is! Thousands of women sit there and watch that filth, and perversion, and divorce, and adultery, and so on. They watch that stuff all day long and when her husband walks in she’s suspicious. She thinks, “I wonder what he’s been up to?” If you continually put that garbage in your head, something bad is going to happen. One man came home and said, “I wish the stove was as hot as the television!”

    Women, love your husbands! God didn’t call you to be his conscious. Ruth Graham said, “It’s my responsibility to love Billy: it’s God’s responsibility to make him good.” Oh, how women need to learn that truth today!

    Not only is there the love she’s to learn; there’s the life she is to live. Titus 2:5 says, “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

    If there was ever a politically incorrect sentence in the Bible, it’s this one. But if you don’t like what the Bible says, you’re battle isn’t with me, it’s with God. I’m just reading black print on white paper.

    A woman is to be discreet. That means that she’s to use good judgment. She’s to be a serious-minded person…not an air head! She can think, she understands shopping, and nutrition, and bookkeeping, and decorating, etc. You don’t have to check your brains at the door to become a good wife and mother.

    Not only is she discreet; she’s chaste. That means she’s pure. It doesn’t say that she’s to be sexy, or foxy: it says she’s to be pure. The Bible teaches pre-marital chastity, and post-marital fidelity. Today, if you’re a virgin when you get married, you’re almost looked at as though you are the pervert! But the Bible says that you are to save yourself for the one you’ll marry.

    God’s plan is one man for one woman until death do them part. What is God’s plan for sex education? It’s not to be taught in public schools! It is older women teaching younger women and fathers teaching sons. The last place on earth your children need to learn about sex is in a school that has no biblical values.

    Amoral sex education will only work for harm. But someone will come along and say, “Kid’s are going to do it anyway, so we ought to teach them how to do it safely.” What a load of rubbish! Sex was never supposed to be dangerous in the first place! If you do it God’s way, it is safe.

    Herman Crowder wrote, “It is perverted rationalization to argue, as many do, that since teenage sexual activity is already a fact of life, it must be accepted and granted implicit approval by including sex education in the scholastic curriculum. Well, teenage car theft is also very much a fact of life. If we apply the same syllogism to that situation, we would have to abandon our hypocritical attitude that stealing cars is wrong. We would have to accept and offer scholastic credit for it. So how about starting Chop Shop 101? Let’s not overlook another fact of life…teenage drug and alcohol abuse. Why not strip away all the moral camouflage from that problem also? We could expand our consciousness and our curriculum to deal with it by the enrichment of standard chemistry courses. Once we shake loose from the restrictive bonds of right, reason, and morally accountable conscience, there is virtually no limit to how progressive we can become.”

    There is a fixed standard of right and wrong, and when anybody, whether it be a politician or educator, stands up and talks about values, you have a responsibility to ask, “Whose values?”

    Older women are to teach younger women to be discreet, to be pure, and to be keepers at home. We have over 40 million working mothers in America today. One out of three of those women have children under three years old. Homemaking is a God-ordained, God-approved occupation. I Timothy 5:14 says, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

    This generation says that it’s passé, old fashioned and wrong if a woman marries, bears children, and guides the home.

    Some of you may say, “Pastor, I have to work so we can have more things.” The truth is that you may not be getting as many things with two paychecks as you might imagine. A Chicago firm did an analysis of this. After all the added expenses and taxes….such as clothes, insurance, fast food, child care, etc., the net gain is about 10% of what the woman earns.

    What do you get for that 10%? You get an incredible amount of heartache, and misery, and failed homes, and delinquent children. You say, “That’s easy for you to say, pastor, you’ve got a good job.” That’s right, and I’m grateful for it. But I worked my way through school and seminary while providing for a family. No one paid my way through school. I worked two and sometimes three jobs at a time to pay for school and provide for my family, and when I graduated I didn’t owe one penny to that school. And my wife never worked outside the home during the whole time our children were growing up. So don’t tell me it can’t be done!

    We ended up with a couple of pretty good kids, too. We didn’t have some of the things our friends had, but we had each other and we had God’s blessing on our lives.

    Not only is the woman to be a homemaker; she is to be good. She is to be morally straight. In her mouth is to be the law of kindness. Every home needs a head and a heart. The husband is the head of the home, but the woman is to be the heartbeat of the home. She is not to be hateful, sharp tongued, or selfish.

    Finally, she is to be obedient to her husband. Men, headship does not mean dictatorship! The husband is to be the loving leader of the home. He is to give himself to his wife as Christ gives Himself to us. The husband is not to use the Bible as a club to beat his wife over the head with.

    Husbands and wives are of equal worth before God. But we have a generation that’s trying to blur the distinction between male and female. That’s the way God made us….male and female. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. But Satan, under the guise of making men and women equal, has tried to make them the same. They are not the same. But he’s trying to destroy the God-given differences between men and women.

    If a woman refuses God’s plan, she’s going to have difficulty with God. No one can disagree with the fact that what I’m preaching is straight out of the Word of God.

    Secondly, she will have difficulty with her husband. Rather than being his completer, she will be his competer. That is not what God intended.

    Thirdly, she will have difficulty with her children. If you don’t learn to be under, you will never learn to be over. If you are not under God-given authority, then God can’t give you authority.

    Fourthly, you will have difficulty with yourself. Your deepest God-given instincts won’t be met. God’s creatures are only happy when they’re doing what God created them to do. If you take a fish out of the sea and put him in a tree, he’s not going to be happy. He may think he wants to be there, but that’s not his place.

    If you don’t think God’s plan is best, then I want you to take a good look at our society and tell me something. Since we’ve jettisoned the Word of God, since we’ve had the sexual revolution, since we’ve had the so-called women’s liberation movement, how has our society changed? Do you think we’re seeing our world as God intended for it to be?

    When all else fails, read the directions! God help us to obey his Word….including the part that defines our roles. There is nothing in this world more beautiful than a godly woman! I’m calling on the women of this church to be an example to everyone in your sphere of influence as to what a godly woman really is. Would you begin today?

Pastor Gary Flynt

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Birthmarks of a Believer
I John If and when you were born again, God placed some indelible marks on you, the traits of the twice-born….the birthmarks of a believer. If you don’t have these traits, you need to ask yourself if you’ve ever truly been born again.It’s one thing to talk Christianity, but it’s quite another thing to have it. Look at I John 2:4. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” John’s not pulling any punches, is he? Look at verses 6 & 9. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.”Do you see how each of these verses begin? “He that saith, he that saith, he that saith…” It’s one thing to talk the talk; it’s another thing to walk the walk.Each of the phrases “He that saith…” introduces a trait of the twice born. Number 1, a true believer submits to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Verse 4 says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Nobody can be saved without receiving Christ as Lord. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”You don’t receive Jesus as Savior and then make Him Lord later: you receive Him as Lord and Savior all at the same time. So, if you say that Jesus is your Lord but you don’t keep His Word, you’re a liar. Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?” Lord means Master and He has every right to give His commandments and to expect them to be obeyed.Have you been born again? You might say, “Yes, I have been.” All right, my second question is, “Are you keeping His commandments?” If you say, “I don’t think I keep all His commandments,” then John says you’re a liar.You say, “Are you trying to tell me that I have to be perfect in order to go to Heaven?” No. If perfection is demanded, then none of us are going. None of us have perfection. So what does John mean? It’s all wrapped up in the word “keep.”The first meaning of that word is “to guard as you would a treasure.” You might say to someone, “Keep this for me.” When you set a value on God’s commandments and treasure them, then you might be able to say that you know the Lord.

Sailors used the word “keep” in ancient times. That didn’t have global positioning satellites like we have. They would steer by the stars. They called that “keeping the stars.” In other words, they would set their course by keeping the stars.

You set your course in life as a Christian by keeping the commandments. You treasure those commandments and you steer by those commandments. That doesn’t mean that you can never be blown off course. That doesn’t mean that in a time of carelessness you can’t take your eyes off the stars. But if you have no desire to live by the Word of God; if you can sin carelessly and flippantly without any conviction, then you need to get saved.

Are you steering by God’s stars? Do you treasure God’s Word? Are you keeping God’s commandments?

We’re not saved by keeping the commandments. John is not teaching salvation by works. When verse 4 says, “He that saith, I know him…” it’s in the perfect tense. It speaks of something that’s done in the past. Literally it says, “Because I have known Him, I am now keeping the commandments.” It doesn’t say, “Because I’m keeping the commandments, I know Him.” Do you see the difference? Don’t get it backwards! The only way you can keep the commandments is to know Him.

If you have known Him (perfect tense), you will be keeping His commandments (present tense). You will be steering by God’s stars and treasuring His Word.

Ask yourself this question and answer it honestly: Do you have in your heart right now a desire to live by the Word of God? If not, you need to put a big question mark over that thing you call salvation. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

So what’s the first trait of the twice born? A true believer submits to the lordship of Christ. If Jesus is not Lord of your life, you’re not on the road to Heaven.

This is not legalism; this is love. Do you know why I keep the commandments of Jesus? I keep the commandments because I love Him. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If you don’t keep His commandments, you don’t love Him. If you don’t love Him, you’re not saved.

I don’t keep the commandments in order to be saved. When our kids were little, we didn’t get up each morning and say, “Well, we better feed our kids because if we don’t, they’ll come and arrest us for child abuse.” We didn’t feed our kids because the law said we had to: we fed them because we love them. We keep God’s commandments because we love Him.

The first trait of the true believer is that he submits to the lordship of Christ. The second trait of the true believer is that he seeks the lifestyle of Jesus. Verses 5-6 say, “But whoso keepeth, his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

Now he’s not talking about lordship; he’s talking about lifestyle. You submit to His lordship and you seek His lifestyle.

If what you call being saved doesn’t make you like Jesus, you haven’t been saved. Being saved makes you like Jesus. It makes you walk as Jesus walked. I John 4:17 says, “As He is, so are we in this world.”

What was Jesus; lifestyle like? His was a life of honesty. I John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light…” What does it mean to walk in the light? It means to be honest. I John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” The lifestyle of Jesus is a lifestyle of truth and honesty. It’s being honest with God, and with myself, and with other people.

If you have a life that’s built on dishonesty, you’re not walking as Jesus walked. If you’re not walking in the light, you don’t have a right to call yourself a child of God.

But there’s not only a lifestyle of honesty; there’s a lifestyle of purity. I John 3:3 says, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Underline that phrase “even as he…” I John 4:17 says, “As he is, so are we.”

Jesus had a lifestyle of honesty and purity. If you’re feeding on filth, if you’re a lover of pornography, don’t call yourself a child of God. I’m not saying you can’t slip into sin. We’re going to deal with that later on in this series of messages. But if this is your lifestyle…if this is the way you live…you’re not walking as Jesus walked.

Can you imagine Jesus watching some of the things people watch today? Every time I see someone watching a soap opera I feel like telling them to turn that off and get saved! Would you watch that stuff if Jesus were sitting next to you?

His was a lifestyle of honesty, of purity, and of righteousness. I John 3:7 says, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” There’s that phrase “even as he” again. Righteousness is not merely abstaining from what’s wrong. The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good.

How do you seek and have the lifestyle of Jesus? The key is in I John 2:6, and it’s in the word abiding. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” What does it mean to abide? In the Gospel of John and in chapter 15, Jesus tells us what abiding is. He says it’s like a vine and a branch. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

The life of a branch is a life of full reliance. The branch can do nothing of itself. All that the branch needs is in the vine. The branch clings to the vine, it grows out of the vine, and it receives whatever it needs from the vine. If it needs moisture, then the vine gives moisture.

The branch doesn’t worry about how many grapes it grows, or what color the grapes are, or how sweet the grapes will be. That’s none of the branch’s business. His business is to abide in the vine. The branch doesn’t produce the grapes; the branch only bears the grapes. The branch simply relinquishes everything to the vine. It’s a life of reliance and relinquishment.

People back then couldn’t understand the life of Jesus. They asked, “How do you do these works?” Jesus came as a man…to set the example of a man abiding. So He said, “I’m not doing this, it’s the Father who does it. What the Father says, I say. What I see the Father do, I do.” The life of the Father was reproduced in the human Jesus here on earth.

Abiding is a life of complete relinquishment. A branch has no side issues. It just clings to the vine completely. It rests in the vine and the life of the vine comes into the branch.

If you’re going to have the lifestyle of Jesus Christ, you’re going to have to abide in Him. And when you are to Jesus what Jesus was to the Father, Jesus will be to you what the Father was to Him.

There is submission to the lordship of Christ, and there is a seeking of the lifestyle of Christ.

A man wrote a book called In His Steps. The people of a particular town decided that they’d ask a question before they took any course of action. They’d ask, “What would Jesus do?” That’s where those bracelets that say WWJD came from. It stands for What Would Jesus Do?

But when you ask that question in any given situation, it assumes that you know what Jesus would do. But Jesus will surprise you. Sometimes He’ll do what you’d think He wouldn’t do. You can’t put Jesus in a box and run Him through the grid of your own rationale. So when you ask “What would Jesus do?” that presumes you know what He’d do, and you may not.

Number 2, it presumes that if you knew what He’d do, that you could do it. Even if I knew what Josh Hamilton would do when a pitch was coming across the plate at 100 miles per hour, do you think I could do it? No!

Number 3, we ask, “What would Jesus do if He were here?” He is here! He’s alive in us. We need to let the Jesus in us be Jesus. Living the life of Christ is a supernatural reliance on Jesus Christ. There’s only one person who’s ever lived the perfect Christian life….and that’s Jesus. If the Christian life is ever going to be lived in your house, it’ll still be Jesus living it. You can only walk as He walked as you abide in Him.

Here’s the third birthmark of a believer: you share His love. I John 2:9-10 says, “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”

You share His love. This love is both new and old. Jesus taught that love was the first and greatest commandment….so it goes all the way back to the Old Testament. But why is it new? Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you.”

Do you know what He’d been doing when He said that? He’d been washing the smelly feet of His disciples. Then He said, “As I have loved you, love one another.”

Do you know who was in that room? Do you think they were loveable? Do you think big-mouthed Peter was lovely? He was a braggart, he was crude, he was arrogant, etc. Do you know who else was in that room? James and John….the sons of thunder were in that room. They had hair-trigger tempers. When they got into Samaria they said, “Lord, let’s nuke ‘em! Let’s call down fire from heaven!” Who else was in that room? Simon the zealot was in that room. You talk about a right-winger! He knew nothing but hatred for the Romans before Jesus got hold of him.

Cynical Thomas was in that room, too. So was Judas. Folks, Jesus doesn’t love us because we’re lovely; He just loves us. Look around this room. Do you think we’re all loveable?

John says, “If I say that I know Him and hate my brother, I’m a liar.” So what are the birthmarks of a believer? We submit to His lordship, we seek His lifestyle, and we share His love. That’s it.

If these things aren’t there, don’t call yourself a Christian. The atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during the Holocaust were committed by a so-called Christian nation. John says that they’re liars. That was not Jesus. That was somebody saying, “I know Him.” But John says that they’re in darkness and they’re liars.

If a person is saved, it’s going to show in his or her life. You’re not saved by keeping the commandments, you’re not saved by walking as Jesus walked, you’re not saved by loving your brother; but if you are saved, you will do those things.

If your religion hasn’t changed your life, you’d better change your religion. If a man is in Christ Jesus, he’s a new creature. Is that true of you today?

Burt Folsom

*** Source ***

Why Do People Who Get Government Money Fail So Often?

 

by BURT on APRIL 29, 2013

Perhaps because they rely on their political contacts and not their ability to give customers a good deal?

The use of political contacts for financial gain certainly isn’t limited to either the Democrats or the Republicans. Here are some examples:

The most recent failures include Fisker Automotive and SoloPower–part of the “green energy disasters” that have added billions of dollars to the national debt. According to the New York Times, “No electric vehicle initiative backed by Washington seems more of a debacle than Fisker.” Fisker received a $529,000,000 loan, and now can’t make repayments. SoloPower, according to Rachel Slobodian of the Heritage Foundation, just closed its Portland plant and had to “gut its remaining workforce.”

True, President Obama has supported most of the failed green energy disasters. Before A123 Systems went broke, it wasted more than $500,000,000 in federal and state loans. During his first term, President Obama erroneously said of this company, “There is A123, a clean energy manufacturer in Michigan that just hired its 1000th worker as demand has soared for its vehicle components. Companies like these are taking root and putting people to work in every corner of the country.”

But wait. The bankrupt A123 Systems grabbed its first federal subsidy from the Bush Administration in 2001. The Bush Administration in 2007 also endorsed a $400,000,000 loan guarantee to Abound Solar–which also failed.

Going back in history, the federally subsidized Union Pacific Railroad, which went bankrupt several times in the 1800s, received its first subsidies from Republicans.

Free markets, not federal subsidies, are the answer. In the example of the failed Union Pacific Railroad, after it failed, James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railroad from St. Paul to Seattle with no federal cash. And the Great Northern was a well built line that never went broke.

Likewise, private companies like Whole Foods and many others are figuring out how to “go green” in ways that help customers and cost taxpayers no distress.

Corporate subsidies are the road to national bankruptcy, not economic prosperity. The government has a proven track record of picking failures for business subsidies. All political parties need to discover this truth. Giving tax dollars to one incompetent company after another has been a bi-partisan error. Let’s correct it.

Dr. Marshall Foster

*** Source ***

Mentoring Our Future Leaders

Throughout the centuries the godly strategy of defeating evil has always been an internal to external, generational family plan. From there God’s power and blessing influences every area of culture. God’s worldwide covenant of blessing was initiated through Abraham. Speaking of Abraham in Genesis 18, God says, “For I have chosen him so that he may teach his children and the sons of his house after him to keep the way of the Lord and to do what is just and righteous.”
The most powerful force in America is not our government, our economy or our military.  The force that has created the freest nations in history, is the peaceful and virtually unreported armies of godly families. If we mentor our families and friends to live out God’s Word in their own lives we can once again impact all areas of society. Here is a story to inspire and challenge your family. Notice how the power of only a few individuals from one family tree helped build two great nations.
John Knox, a former bodyguard and defrocked priest turned reformer, returned to his native Scotland, in 1560. He had spent 15 years in prison and exile.  He preached the liberating Gospel with such power from the pulpit of St. Giles Cathedral that much of his nation was converted. So much so that “Mary Queen of Scots feared the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.” As a result of Knox’s faithfulness, the lives, culture and government of Scotland was transformed in a decade.
Four generations later, a descendant of John Knox married a minister named John Witherspoon.  By this time, in the 1740’s, Scotland had once again entered a time of economic turmoil, famine and persecution from its powerful overlord to the south, England.  The Witherspoon/Knox family endured trials and even imprisonment, as they worked to revive the true faith in their homeland. They persevered.  Elizabeth and John had ten children. Five survived childhood.
Prior to the founding of America, John left Scotland and accepted the invitation to become President of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University.)  In the 1760’s the colonies were being pressed toward war with England.  They were determined to create the world’s first constitutional republic rather than fall back into the European model of divine right kings and impoverished commoners. If the colonists were to succeed they would need political, military and spiritual leaders that would surpass any in history.
John Witherspoon, as the head of the College of New Jersey, became the teacher of those future leaders.  He combined a deep faith in the Biblical Christianity of the Reformation with an understanding of how to apply that faith to every academic discipline, including nation-building.  During his tenure there were 478 graduates of his college.  With only three professors including himself, John was able to mentor all who came to his school using the tutorial method in six academic fields.  He was then able to preach to them each Sunday in the campus chapel. Until 1902, every President of Princeton was a minister. America’s youth were largely mentored by ministers like Witherspoon until the 20th century.
Of his graduates, at least 86 became active in civil government and included: one president (James Madison), one vice-president (Aaron Burr), 10 cabinet officers, 21 senators, 39 congressmen, 12 governors, a Supreme Court justice, and one attorney general.
Nearly one-fifth of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, one-sixth of the delegates of the Constitutional Convention, and one-fifth of the first Congress under the Constitution were graduates of the College of New Jersey.  It can truly be said that John Witherspoon discipled his new nation by training the leaders, just as his ancestor John Knox had done in Scotland 200 years before.
Along with leading a college, and serving in the Presbyterian Church, Witherspoon threw his efforts into the political drive for freedom. He was elected to the Continental and impoverished commoners. If the colonists were to succeed they would need political, military and spiritual leaders that would surpass any in history.
John Witherspoon, as the head of the College of New Jersey, became the teacher of those future leaders.  He combined a deep faith in the Biblical Christianity of the Reformation with an understanding of how to apply that faith to every academic discipline, including nation-building.  During his tenure there were 478 graduates of his college.  With only three professors including himself, John was able to mentor all who came to his school using the tutorial method in six academic fields.  He was then able to preach to them each Sunday in the campus chapel. Until 1902, every President of Princeton was a minister. America’s youth were largely mentored by ministers like Witherspoon until the 20th century.
Of his graduates, at least 86 became active in civil government and included: one president (James Madison), one vice-president (Aaron Burr), 10 cabinet officers, 21 senators, 39 congressmen, 12 governors, a Supreme Court justice, and one attorney general. Nearly one-fifth of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, one-sixth of the delegates of the Constitutional Convention, and one-fifth of the first Congress under the Constitution were graduates of the College of New Jersey.  It can truly be said that John Witherspoon discipled his new nation by training the leaders, just as his ancestor John Knox had done in Scotland 200 years before.
Along with leading a college, and serving in the Presbyterian Church, Witherspoon threw his efforts into the political drive for freedom. He was elected to the Continental Congress and sat on 100 different committees.  As the debate over independence raged in Philadelphia on July 2, 1776, John stood to his feet and declared, “We are ripe for independence and in danger of becoming rotten for want of it, if we delay any longer!”  He was the only formal minister to sign the Declaration of Independence (22 others had ministerial training.)  The next year the British took out their revenge on him, ravaging his college and burning his personal and college libraries.  He also lost two of his sons in the War for Independence.
John Witherspoon was an indispensable leader used by God to help found this freest and most blessed of all nations. His words on the National Day of Prayer in 1776 still ring with the spiritual power of his relative, the fiery reformer of Scotland. “While we give praise to God, the supreme disposer of all events, for His interposition on our behalf, let us guard against the dangerous error of trusting in, or boasting of an arm of flesh [human power]…If your cause is just, if your principles are pure, and if you conduct is prudent, you need not fear the multitude of opposing hosts.”
John Witherspoon’s words and life speak to us from the “great cloud of witnesses.” This is our day on the stage of history. God is orchestrating world events and our lives so that “all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
I believe that around our kitchen tables are seated the “Knoxes” and “Witherspoons” of our day who will be used to disciple the nations in our time. May God give us the eyes to recognize them and the commitment to train them, while they are still in our sphere of influence!
-Dr. Marshall Foster

Pastor Pete

Why Leaders Fail…Part 1

Failure is a part of life and certainly a part of being a leader.  I don’t know of a single leader that has never been forced to admit failure.  Before I outline some of the most common reasons I believe leaders fail let me cover a few things.  First like all leaders I fail.  In fact some of the things I will discuss in this post come from my own personal experiences with failure.  Second my leadership roles in life have been vast, and diverse.  In high school I was a student leader in many roles, in college I lead Bible studies, student organizations, and mission trips. In my early twenty’s I was a manager for a major retailer for a short time, as well as at another secular institution.  The majority of my leadership roles however have been inside of the Church and economy of God.  Subsequently most of my comments below will relate primarily to those who lead inside the church.  However as you will see many of the things discussed relate to any leader as well.  So why do leaders fail?

  1. They fail to listen– Most leaders are generally in positions of authority where people listen to them.  Over the years many leaders become poor listeners.  They get so use to being listened to they forget that it is equally import to listen.  When a leader becomes a poor listener, they are certain to fail.
  2. They fail to pray– Many leaders become overwhelmed by the distractions of leadership.  There are endless meetings, obligations, sermons and speeches to prepare, administrative demands, counseling sessions, and the list goes on.  While attempting to accomplish all the necessary tasks many forsake their time of prayer.  When prayer decreases, the opportunity for failure increases.
  3. They fail to plan– Due to business, and the demands previously mentioned above many times leaders fail to properly prepare and plan as well.  They start going to meetings unprepared.  They are unprepared to preach on Sunday morning.  Poor planning and preparation always eventually leads to failure.
  4. They fail to rest– The body, mind, and spirit of all humans require rest.  God instituted something called the Sabbath for a reason, so we would make rest and worship both a priority in our lives.  As leaders we are driven, motivated, people.  As leaders in the church while others rest and worship on Sunday’s we work.  There never seems to be time to rest for leaders, there is simply always more to do.  However when we fail to rest, it will only be a matter of time before we fail.  We are better leaders when we are properly rested as God intends. Make time to rest!
  5. They fail to delegate– If I had a nickel for every time I said “its just easier to do it myself” in my mind, I would be a rich man.  Many times it is both faster and easier to just do it yourself.  Taking time to teach and delegate is always costly on the front end.  However as those we teach take over the tasks, we become more effective leaders.  Take time to delegate, failure to do so, will always lead to a leadership catastrophe.

I will post five additional reasons leaders fail next Monday.  In the mean time consider this question.  Is your own leadership role at risk because you fail to listen, pray, plan, rest, or delegate?  If so what will you do about it?

Gary Flynt

I John 1:5-2:6, Hebrews 8:12, Isaiah 43:25, Jeremiah 31:34,
Isaiah 1:18, I John 1:5-7, verses 5-6,
Gary Flynt
Things That Hinder Fellowship
I John 1Last week we saw that the theme of I John was fellowship. But we can let things into our lives that defraud us of fellowship.Billy Graham told of a little boy who went into a drugstore and asked the druggist if he could borrow the telephone. The druggist told him that would be fine. So the little boy dials the grocery store and asks, “Do you need a stock clerk?” They said, “No, we already have a little boy who does that for us.” He said, “Does he do a good job? Maybe you need someone else.” The grocer said, “No, we are very satisfied with the little boy we have.” He said, “Thank you,” and he hung up.The druggist said, “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job.” The boy said, “No, you don’t understand. I already have the job over there: I was just checking up on myself.”Today I want you to check up on yourself and see if there’s something in your life that’s keeping you from enjoying the sweetest fellowship this side of Heaven. If there is, that something is likely sin……secret faults that can cause moral earthquakes.We’re going to talk about secret faults today…things we hide that keeps us from fellowshipping with God. Look at **I John 1:5-2:6. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not the commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: herby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”The way to deal with sin is to recognize sin for what it is. We have a generation today that doesn’t even like the word sin. It seems that the only sin today is to call sin sin. We rather call it a mistake, or a misjudgment, or an error, etc. But Jesus didn’t die for mistakes; He died for sin.We live in an age of behavioristic psychology. Psychologist tell us that we are just the sum total of our genes and chromosomes and our environment. They say that man isn’t wicked; he’s just weak. He’s not sinful; he’s sick. He’s not evil’ he’s ill. Therefore, we never deal with the real problem.We’ve been spurred on by evolution. We’ve been told that man wasn’t created, but he evolved from some primordial soup. Of course, they never tell us where the soup came from! But if what they say is true, we’ve come from soup to nuts!Man didn’t evolve. He was created in the image of God. Man sinned willfully. Sin isn’t an accident; it’s high treason against God. If you don’t understand sin for what it is, you never deal with sin or understand the remedy for sin which God has provided. If you think sin is a problem to be fixed, you’re going to be looking for a cure rather than for forgiveness. Thank God for this epistle that tells us how to deal with the sin problem and how to have fellowship with God.People have lost the concept of sin today. The evolutionist says that we’re on our way up and that time will kill the beast that’s in us. You can believe that if you want to, but King Kong is not my cousin!Education says that if we get more learning we’ll be able to deal with the sin problem. Is that true? What about Nazi Germany? The Nazi’s were highly educated. And today our universities have become cesspools of sin.Science says that we can just breed sin out of man by genetic engineering. And parents are trying to prearrange the birth of their children today.Sociologists tell us that if we can just change our environment man will be better. But I want to remind them that man fell in the best environment ever created…..the Garden of Eden. Sin is no respecter of persons. It will come to the high rise just as easily as it comes to the ghetto.Psychologists tell us that these are feelings we’ve generated inside ourselves and that we just need to get rid of these guilt feelings. But it’s not the guilt feelings we need to get rid of; it’s the guilt!The only place you’ll find the answer for the sin problem is in the Word of God.

How does God deal with sin? When you repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are born again. Judicially and legally sin is dealt with forever. God said in **Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” When you get saved, every sin (past, present and future) is buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness.

**Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” That’s good news! That is the gospel of grace.

**Jeremiah 31:34 says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

**Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

When God says He’ll remember our iniquities no more, does that mean He can’t recall them anymore? No. He’s saying, “I won’t remember their sin against them anymore.” He only remembers them as sins that have been forgiven…and therefore forgotten as sins.

Intellectually, I can never forget the sins I’ve committed. But when I do remember those sins, I remember then as a sin that’s no longer held against me. They are sins that have been forgiven by the grace of God.

That’s how the Lord deals with us judicially. “Blessed is the man to whom God will not impute sin.” If God ever put one half of one sin on my account, it would be enough to damn me forever. I can’t behave myself into Heaven. If I’m going to be saved, then I have to be saved by the grace of God.

But how does God deal with our sins day by day? If I’m saved by grace and kept by grace; if no sin will ever be brought up against me anymore; if my sin is buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness, then how does God deal with me day by day? How does He deal with me when I’m proud, or arrogant, or when I tell a lie, or when I have a lustful look? Well, He doesn’t deal with me as a Judge, but as a Father. In this chapter we’re not talking about legal judgment; we’re talking about God dealing with us in a parental way.

When I’m born into the family of God, a son-ship is established. Son-ship never changes. I was born into the Flynt family and nothing can ever change that. When the sun, moon and stars have grown cold, I’ll still be a Flynt. It’s the same way when you’re born again.

Son-ship can never change. But there’s another relationship that can change. It’s called fellowship. When I was growing up, I always had relationship with my father, but I didn’t always have fellowship. There were times when I didn’t do what my father told me to do, or I did what he told me not to do. That’s when he would apply the board of education to my seat of knowledge!

The Bible says, “Whom the Father loveth, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

Son-ship is established by birth, but fellowship is established by conduct. When John talks about the cleansing of our daily sins, he’s talking about the fact that God is not dealing with us as Judge, but as Father.

I want us to see how we can restore our fellowship with the Father…how we can rid ourselves of those secret faults and hidden sins that divide us from the Father’s smile and rob us of sweet fellowship with God.

First, I want us to see how the Father convicts of sin. Look at **I John 1:5-7. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Look at all the times he mentions lying here. He says, “If we say…, If we say…, If we say…” In other words, we’re saying one thing and doing another. He’s talking about the evolution of a lie.

First of all, we lie to deny sin **(verses 5-6). Look at the people around you this morning. Do you think everyone here has their heart right with God? People can come in here with a Bible in their hands, they can sing songs, they can nod their heads and say, “Amen,” but their hearts are not right with God. John says, “If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie.” There are some living lies sitting on the pews this morning. You know in your heart that you’re playing a game.

That’s what happens when we get sin in our hearts. We come to church and sing in the choir, or teach a class, etc., but there is that secret fault.

After you do that for a while, you get to believing your own lie. The next step is in **verse 8. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” When you set out to deceive someone else, you deceive yourself most of all.

The man who deceives himself is on the verge of a mental breakdown. When a man can’t even believe himself, when he blurs the distinction between light and dark and between the truth and a lie, he’s on the edge. He begins to think, “Maybe it’s not sin at all. Maybe I’m all right.”

First we deceive others, then we deceive ourselves, and then we lie to God. **Verse 10 says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar.” When we call God a liar, we’re the ones who are lying. God cannot lie.

God brings us under conviction and we say, “Oh, no, God. You’re wrong. It was just a mistake. It was the environment. It was just righteous indignation, etc.” And we don’t let the Holy Spirit convict us of that sin in our lives. Then we have the audacity to lie to God.

We lie to deny sin, we lie to deceive self, and we lie to defy the Savior. When we do that, fellowship is completely broken. We’ve stepped out of the light and over into darkness.

How does God bring us back? God won’t bring us back unless we expose ourselves to the light. If you stay in the darkness, there will never be any conviction. But if you step back into the light, God will shine the light of His holiness upon your life and bring you under conviction.

It’s extremely important that the child of God learn the difference between Holy Spirit conviction and satanic accusation. The devil is the accuser of the brethren. The Holy Spirit loves us and convicts us.

Before you sin, the devil will say, “Go ahead, you can get away with it.” But after you sin, the devil will say, “You’ll never get away with it.” He’ll entice you to sin and then condemn you because you did it.

When the Holy Spirit shines His pure light on you, you’ll come under the conviction of God. If you’ll just turn and face the light, He’ll pull the veil of darkness back and expose those lies that you’ve been telling others, telling yourself, and telling God.

The Holy Spirit will convict you legitimately. He’ll never convict you of sin that has been confessed and repented of. If it comes up again, it’s not the Holy Spirit; it’s the devil. He goes back into your past and brings up some sin that’s been cleansed and forgotten.

A man told his pastor that he couldn’t get peace. The pastor asked him why. He said, “I did a horrible thing.” The pastor asked, “Have you confessed it to God?” He said, “I’ve confessed it a thousand times.” The pastor said, “That’s 999 times too many.”

If it comes up again, the devil is trying to bring you into double jeopardy. The devil will accuse you of sin that’s already been forgiven and cleansed, but the Holy Spirit will convict you legitimately. He’ll never bring up something in your past that’s already been dealt with.

But not only will the Holy Spirit convict you legitimately, He’ll convict you specifically. If the devil can’t go back into your past and drag up something that’s already been dealt with, he’ll just convict you vaguely. He’ll just make you feel unworthy.

Sometimes you’ll hear Christians pray, “God, I know I’m just a poor, old, unworthy sinner.” Where’d you get that nonsense from? You aren’t a poor, old, unworthy sinner; you are the righteousness of God in Christ! You’re a child of God! You’re a prince! You’re next of kin to the Holy Trinity! Jesus is not ashamed to call you His brother!

But the devil tries to make you feel bad all over…and you don’t have to take it!

The Holy Spirit will convict you specifically. He’ll say, “That was a lie you just told.” And like a good doctor, He’ll put His finger on the sore spot and push!

But not only will He convict you legitimately and specifically; He’ll convict you redemptively. Accusation discourages and drives you away from God. Accusation says, “Woe is me! There’s no way out. I’m done for. I might as well quit.” But Holy Spirit conviction says, “Here’s what you’ve done. But if you’ll confess it to Jesus, He’ll forgive you and cleanse you. Come back into the fellowship of the Lord.”

**I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

If we don’t stonewall God, but genuinely confess our sins and turn from them, He’ll cleanse and forgive us. This isn’t the judicial cleansing we got when we were saved; this is God dealing with us as His children.

The word confess means “to say the same thing about.” Confession is an agreement with God. It’s saying what god says about that sin. If you say, “Yes, I did it,” that’s not confession: that’s an admission.

How do we confess our sin? We need to confess it immediately. When it says, “If we confess our sin…” it’s written in the present tense. It’s not talking about something you’ve done: it’s talking about something you do. It literally says, “If we continually confess our sins.”

If you get a speck of dust in your eye, when do you get it out? Do you get it out at the end of the week? No! You get it out immediately!

Most of us live down on a very low plain. Then we hear the preacher preach, or we’re in a revival meeting, or we read some great book, and we just have a religious spasm! We get on a high….but it doesn’t last very long. Then we’re back down in the valley. Then we’re up again. Then we’re down again. Have you ever ridden that roller coaster? That’s not the Spirit-filled life.

The victorious life is not living without any temptation, without any fault, or without any failure. We all sin. That’s what John has been telling us. But when we learn these truths and get up here on a higher plain and start living in the light, then, when the Holy Spirit says, “You did wrong,” you confess it immediately.

You may be at the dinner table and nobody even knows what you’ve done. Maybe you said something you shouldn’t have. But you say, “God forgive me.” And He does.

You do it immediately and specifically. He doesn’t say to confess our sin; He says to confess our sins. We’re not talking about the sin nature anymore; we’re talking about what you did particularly. Call it by name. That’s the painful part.

Have you been in a prayer meeting where someone says, “Oh, Lord, if we’ve sinned, forgive us.” Or they say, “Forgive us all our sins.” As far as I’m concerned, you’re just wasting your breath when you pray that way. If you want to do business with God you say, “God, forgive me for reading that filthy book, I won’t do it again, Lord. Please forgive me.” Or you say, “Lord, forgive me for the lie I told.” Or, “Lord, forgive me for my pride and selfishness.” Name it and nail it!

Do it immediately and specifically. But also do it confidently. The devil will try to tell you that what you’ve done is so bad that you can’t get forgiveness for it. That’s a lie!** I John 1:9 says that God forgives us from all sin. There is no sin that Jesus’ blood can’t cleanse. That’s what **verse 7 says. Jesus doesn’t just forgive; He cleanses. He washes out the stain. His blood washes whiter than snow!

There is the conviction of sin and the cleansing of sin, but there’s also the conquest of sin. Do you think that because cleansing and forgiveness is by grace, and that all you have to do is ask for it, that God is encouraging us to sin? No! He’s encouraging us not to sin. Chapter 2 and verse 1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not! And if any man does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.” The word “Advocate” is just a fancy word for lawyer. I have a Savior who is interceding for me. The Bible says that He ever lives to make intercession for us.

Jesus is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. That’s why I don’t believe the nonsense of limited atonement. He died for everybody! And He satisfies the righteous demands of a holy God.

But you are not to be cavalier about your sin. In a few more verses He talks about living in us and how the love of God is perfected. A slave serves because he has to; an employee serves because he needs to; but a child of God serves because he wants to.

To think that God would save me to begin with, and then cleanse me……do you think that encourages me to sin? No, it encourages me not to. But if I do sin, thank God I have an Advocate who is the propitiation…the satisfaction for my sin. His blood satisfies God.

Don’t we have a wonderful Savior? If people really understood what we have in Jesus, you couldn’t keep them away from here with a machine gun! But the stubborn hearts of so many people just stonewall themselves against God.

**John said in verse 4 that he was writing this so that you could have fullness of joy with God and with one another. It’s the sweetest fellowship this side of Heaven. Do you have it?

Thomas Sowell

*** Source ***

 

“And, without constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a “crisis” — which, as the president’s chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to “go to waste” as an opportunity to expand the government’s power.” Thomas Sowell

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Income Tax, Burt Folsom

*** Source ***

The three Biggest Myths About the Income Tax

by ADMIN on APRIL 14, 2013

1.  We need the income tax to pay all the costs of running our federal government.  No, the current income tax is a huge premium we pay for the services and the meddling we receive from our government.  Only for the last 100 years have we had the 16th amendment, which permits an income tax.  Before that we supported our government through taxes on imports, taxes on whiskey and tobacco, and on the sale of federal land. That was it.  Even with that limited tax base, our leaders usually spent money wisely, and we had budget surpluses most years before 1913.  We actually cut our Civil War debt in half.  We learned this lesson:  When our politicians had little money to spend, they rarely went over budget.

2.  We need a large income tax to give more needed social services to the American people.  No, the greater the flow of cash into the government, the greater the waste and the worse the social services.  In the 1800s, people in need got help from churches and local charities. People helped people directly; almost no one depended on federal bureaucrats and welfare checks.  In the late 1800s, various entrepreneurs and community leaders began the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, humane societies, and orphanages across the country. In 1885, President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill to give seeds to drought-stricken farmers in Texas because he wanted people, not government, to help bail out those in need.  Charities throughout the U.S. rushed to help their fellow Americans; more money was sent to the needy farmers than was provided in the bill Cleveland had vetoed.

3.  The rich ought to pay proportionately much more income tax than everyone else.  Wrong again.  The rich already pay much more than everyone else–and taxing them even more only causes them to hide their wealth, or take it elsewhere.  The 14th amendment promises equal protection of the laws to all citizens, and if we discriminate against the rich, the door is open to pass laws discriminating against blacks, women, and old people.  When President Franklin Roosevelt began taxing the rich at rates of 80, 90, and 94%, he discovered that their wealth vanished from sight.  When that happened, he could have let the rich keep more of what they earned.  But he chose to keep taxes high on the rich, and instead he hiked taxes on the middle class and poor to make up for the revenue lost because rich people were now sheltering their income through various tax dodges.  Should we be following FDR’s example today?

Gary Flynt

*** Source ***

  • The Sweetest Fellowship This Side Of Heaven
    I John 1

    The theme of I John is fellowship. John wrote five books of the Bible. He wrote the Gospel of John to convince sinners…to lead them to faith in Christ. Then he wrote the Book of Revelation to comfort saints…to help us to understand the days in which we live and to have the hope of the Second Coming of Christ. Then he wrote these three epistles, First, Second, and Third John, to confirm the saints.

    Look at I John 1:1-4. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”

    The fellowship John speaks about comes through the life we have in Jesus Christ. Not everyone in this building has life. You say, “If we didn’t have life, then how could we be listening to you right now?” Look, you can exist without having life. The Bible speaks of an unsaved woman and says, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she lives.” Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” He said that to some folks whose hearts were beating, but He’s saying, “You don’t have life: you have existence.”

    We want more than existence: we want life. If you spell the word live backwards it spells evil. Too many people are living their lives backwards. Rather than having a glorious life, they have an evil life. They don’t know Jesus as their personal Savior.

    First, John tells us that there is a fact that is established. Verse 1 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” The devil loves to distort things. From the beginning Jesus has been the greatest Truth, so from the beginning the devil has tried to distort who Jesus really is.

    In John’s day there was a cult called the Gnostics. That’s a word that comes from a Greek word which means “to know.” The Gnostics felt that they had superior knowledge over everyone else. We might call them the know-it-alls. They thought they were too sophisticated to believe the God could have come to earth in the flesh. They believed that everything material or physical was evil. Therefore, they believed that the true Messiah could never have had a physical body. They believed that when Jesus was here He was just a ghost…a phantom….but that He didn’t have a material body. But John is going to knock Gnosticism right in the head. He said, “Jesus literally walked on this earth and I saw Him.”

    There are false cults today just like there were in John’s day. Every cult is wrong about Jesus. That’s what makes them a cult. And if you’re wrong about Jesus it doesn’t matter what you’re right about.

    For example, Mormons don’t believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They don’t believe that Jesus is do-eternal or co-equal with God. Every cult is off on the person of Jesus.

    The Bible says, “If any come to your house and bring not the doctrine of Christ, don’t receive them into your house, neither bid them godspeed.” II John 9 says, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” That’s as plain as it can be! If a person is wrong about Jesus, he doesn’t know God. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but by me.”

    John starts by declaring that Jesus is a fact established: “That which was from the beginning…” Jesus is the Christ of the eternities. John starts his Gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word…” Before anything began to begin, Jesus was already there.

    A word is an expression of an invisible thought or idea. Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. Jesus articulates God. He is God’s first Word. “In the beginning was the Word.” He is God’s full Word. He is the Alpha and Omega…the first letter and the last letter of the Greek alphabet. If He were talking to us He would have said, “He’s the A and the Z.” Everything God has to say He will say through or by Jesus.

    Jesus is God’s first Word, Jesus is God’s full Word, and Jesus is God’s final Word. The Book of Hebrews says, “God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” When you’ve said, “Jesus,” you’ve said it all! All the revelation of God is wrapped up in Jesus. He is an eternal fact.

    He’s also a physical fact. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” He wasn’t a ghost. John says, “We had audible evidence….we heard Him.” If they would have had tape recorders in those days they could have taped the voice of Jesus.

    Not only was there audible evidence; there was visible evidence. John tells us that they looked upon him It’s the word theaomai, which we get our word theater from. It means to look carefully. John was with Him for three years and he says, “I watched Him.”

    But there’s not only the audible and visible evidence; there is the physical evidence. John says, “We handled Him.” In other words, “We touched Him.”

    It is as much a heresy to deny the humanity of Jesus as it is to deny the deity of Jesus. If you deny the humanity of Jesus, you are denying Christianity. Jesus is an eternal fact and a physical fact. Apart from His humanity no one could be saved. Apart from the shedding of His blood, there is no remission of sin. Apart from His humanity, I have no example. But because He was human, I can walk as Jesus walked. Jesus didn’t pull rank on me when He was here on Earth. When He did miracles, He did them as a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He depended on the same power that you and I depend on day by day.

    He is my Redeemer because He is a man. He is my example because He is a man. He is my comforter and friend because He is a man. He can be touched with the feelings of my infirmities because He’s a man. He was tempted in all points like I am because He was a man. He knows, He cares and He understands because He’s walked in our shoes.

    So, when John talks about this Word of life, he’s talking about an established fact. He’s an eternal fact, a physical fact, and a spiritual fact. He’s not now here in a physical body. Now faith becomes the eye, the ear and the hands of the soul. Look at I John 5:9. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” God sends His Holy Spirit to testify through the words of the Apostles.

    There was an atheist college professor who loved to ridicule his students. He asked them if they had ever heard God. Nobody answered. He asked them if they’d ever seen God. Nobody answered. He asked them if they’d ever touched God. Nobody answered. He said, “See, there is no God.”

    The class just sat there cowering until one student stood and asked the class, “Has any one ever seen, heard, or touched the professor’s brain?” Nobody answered. He said, “Then according to the professor’s logic, we can assume that he has no brain.”

    John says, “That which we have seen, and heard, and touched….that’s what we declare unto you.” Then the Bible says, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.” The Holy Spirit is here to convince you that the written Word is true. That’s the witness of God.

    Jesus is an eternal fact, a physical fact, a spiritual fact…..and the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus.

    This Word of life is a fact established. But it’s also a fellowship experienced. Verses 2-3 says, “(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you…” John says, “I saw Him, now I want to share Him.”

    Anybody who sees Jesus wants to share Jesus. That’s why we’re called witnesses instead of lawyers. A lawyer argues the case, but a witness just tells what they’ve seen and heard. The only person who can’t witness is someone who hasn’t seen or heard anything.

    John says, “I do this that you might have fellowship.” Folks, fellowship is not coffee and donuts. Fellowship comes from the word koinonia which means to hold things in common. Verse 3 says, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son.”

    What do I have in common with the Father? Absolutely nothing. He is holy and I am unholy. He is Almighty and I am a worm. How can I possibly have fellowship with God? Look at verse 5. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” He is light and I am darkness, so how can I have fellowship with God?

    Here’s how. God, who knows there is a chasm between me and Him, sent Jesus to take that which is common between us (human flesh) without forsaking His deity. Jesus takes on the nature of man so I can take on the nature of God. II Peter 1:4 says that we have now become the partakers of the divine nature. The word partaker in II Peter is exactly the same word translated fellowship in I John. Jesus became like I am that I might becomes like He is. Therefore, I have fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

    But not only do we have fellowship with God; we can now have fellowship with one another. If we’re both born of God, then the Jesus in me is the Jesus in you. We’ve both been born from the same womb of grace. That’s what Philippians 1:5 calls “the fellowship of the Gospel.” In Philippians 2:1 it’s called “the fellowship of the Spirit.”

    How many of you in this room are unmarried? Let me see your hands. Listen to me. Don’t you ever marry an unsaved person!! The Bible says that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. The Bible asks, “What fellowship has light with darkness?”

    You are a twice-born child of God and they are a once-born child of the devil. You talk about in-law problems! You’ll have the devil for a father-in-law!

    If you marry an unsaved person, you’ll want to go to church on Sunday, but they’ll want to sleep in on Sunday. It’s hard enough to get to church when you’re both saved! Amen?

    The Christian wants to give a tithe, but the pagan doesn’t. The Christian wants to make Sunday a holy day, but the pagan wants to make Sunday a holiday. The Christian wants to pray when a crisis comes, but the pagan ridicules prayer. The Christian wants the children to be taught the things of God, but the pagan could care less about such things.

    Before long you’ll be acting like the pagan rather than the pagan acting like you. You’ll have division in your home. Divorce comes because there is no koinonia….no fellowship. If both of you are a true Christians, you are three times less likely to get a divorce. The Bible says that a three-fold cord is not easily broken.

    Don’t ever marry a lost person. Don’t ever think you’re going to reform them after you get married. Don’t even date a person that you couldn’t marry if you fell in love with them. If you have the Divine nature in you, then you are to seek out a person who has that same fellowship in them.

    Do you know what holds this church together? The Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you; therefore we can love one another. This fellowship is a fact established, it’s a fellowship experienced, and it’s a fullness enjoyed. Verse 4 says, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” There is no joy like the joy of knowing one another in the Lord because we all want joy. John says, “I wrote this letter that your joy might be full.”

    A lady looked all over the house for her car keys and couldn’t find them. Finally, she looked in her purse and there they were. Do you know why she couldn’t find her keys? She wasn’t looking in the right place. You can look everywhere for joy, but you’ll never find it until you find it in Jesus. Joy is the by-product of fellowship with God and with His family. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

    Sin promises joy, but it never delivers joy. Some of you may have 200 TV channels coming into your home right now. We have more entertainment, more amusements, more restaurants than ever before. We also have more loneliness, more depression, more alcoholism, more drugs, more divorce, and more suicide than ever before. Why? Because there is only true joy in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I’m not talking about happiness. You can be lost and experience happiness for a while. I’m talking about joy. Happiness depends on what happens. Joy depends on the Lord. The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord.”

    If you live for happiness, you’re going to be a prisoner of your circumstances. If your circumstances change, you’re not going to be happy anymore. But Jesus never changes. Happiness is cosmetic…it’s on the outside. Joy is character…it’s on the inside. Happiness meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs. Happiness is like a thermometer: it just registers conditions. Joy is like a thermostat: it controls the conditions. Happiness evaporates in a crisis: joy often intensifies in a crisis.

    John says, “This life comes from God. It’s real. It’s a fact established which results in a fellowship experienced. Then there is a fullness of joy.

    Jesus is that Word of life and He’s who you need. He’s the fullness of joy.

    Would you receive Him today?

Education, Test and Tiger Mom’s

*** Education ***

“New York City’s Stuyvesant High School is one of those all too rare public schools for intellectually outstanding students. Such students are often bored to death in schools where the work is geared to the lowest common denominator, and it is by no means uncommon for very bright students to become behavior problems.

Recent statistics on the students who passed the examination to get into Stuyvesant High School raise troubling questions that are unlikely to receive the kind of serious answers they deserve.

These successful applicants included 9 black students, 24 Latino students, 177 white students and 620 Asian Americans.

Since this is definitely not the ethnic makeup of the general population of New York City, we can expect to hear the usual sort of comments from those who are in the business of being indignant and offended.

The most common of these comments is that the tests are “unfair.” That is of course possible, but it is also possible that the groups themselves are different. Yet only the first possibility is allowed to be mentioned, in an age when race can be discussed only with pious hypocrisy and obligatory lies.

However shocked some people may be by the ethnic breakdown among students who passed the test to get into Stuyvesant High School, similar disparities can be found among students from different ethnic backgrounds in other countries around the world. Back in the decade of the 1960s, students from the Chinese minority in Malaysia earned 20 times as many Bachelor of Science degrees as students from the Malay majority.

In Sri Lanka, children from the Tamil minority consistently outperformed members of the Sinhalese majority on university admissions tests and, in at least one year, made an absolute majority of the A’s on those tests.

Back in the days of the Ottoman Empire, Armenian students did better than Turkish students when it came to writing in the Turkish language.

What does all this mean? That people are different. Would ordinary observation and ordinary common sense not tell you that? Or dare you not even think that, in the suffocating atmosphere of political correctness?

These differences are not set in stone. Back during the First World War, low mental test scores among Jewish soldiers in the U.S. Army led one mental test expert to declare that this tended to “disprove the popular belief that the Jew is highly intelligent.”

But many of the men taking the Army’s mental tests during the First World War were the children of immigrants, and had grown up in homes where English was not the language used. Mental tests in later years showed Jews scoring above the national average.

Every study I know of that compares the amount of time that black students and Asian American students spend watching television, and how much time they spend on school work, shows disparities as great as the disparities in their academic outcomes.

When teaching at UCLA, years ago, I once went into a library on a Saturday night, noticed how many Asian students were studying — and looked around in vain for any black students. How surprised should I have been when Asian students did better in the courses I taught?

A few years ago, Professor Amy Chua of Yale caused a controversy when she wrote a book about Asian “Tiger Moms” who put heavy pressure on their children to succeed in school. But a more recent book (“Gifted Hands”) by black neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson shows that his mother was as much of a Tiger Mom as the Asians.

Not only did Dr. Carson rise from the ghetto to become an internationally recognized neurosurgeon, his brother became an engineer — both of them children of a poverty-stricken mother with only three years of education. But Tiger Moms get results.

Unfortunately, we are at a stage where the interests of race hustlers is to cry “unfair” at the tests — and they have a lot more political clout than black Tiger Moms have. So long as the rest of us are silenced by political correctness, racial progress on that front is unlikely.

Put differently, whole generations of black young people can continue to go down the drain because their fate carries less weight than fashionable racial rhetoric” Thomas Sowell

Texas, Scholastic Shooting Trust

*** FireArms and More ***

Scholastic Shooting Trust

TSRA is pleased to announce a donation from Larry & Brenda Potterfield, founders of Midway USA, to help fund permanent endowments for shooting programs at educational institutions in Texas. The program is essentially a three step process.

1. Identify eligible programs that make a commitment to participate.
2. Establish and fund the endowment.
3. Grow the fund by ‘sweat equity’ with matching funds from Larry & Brenda Potterfield.
It sounds simple but there are often problems with school/school district administrators who are not supportive of the shooting sports.  Often though, when they learn more about the program and how the sport can exist without being a drain on their finances, it becomes more attractive.  Here is how the process works.
The program is available only to shooting entities that are ‘connected’ to the school.  The connection may be a formal team such as a JROTC team or as simple as 5 students from the same school shooting as a team.   The school may be a public, parochial, or privately funded high school or college and the shooting entity may operate as a club, JROTC, and/or a NCAA team sport.
The TSRA will, once the commitment is made, contribute funds to the Midway USA Foundation in the name of the shooting entity.  That account remains at the Midway USA Foundation and can be accessed only through a grant request by the shooting entity (details below).
Following the establishment of the account, the shooting entity will conduct fundraising activities (special shooting events, etc.) and they send those funds to their account.  At that time Larry and Brenda Potterfield will match the funds on a 1:1 basis.  The TSRA will match the proceeds of the fundraiser on a 2:1 basis up to a maximum from TSRA of $5000.  That is the end of the matching by the TSRA.  However, subsequent fundraisers in 2013 by the shooting entity will be matched dollar for dollar by Larry and Brenda Potterfield, thus the shooting entity; through ‘sweat equity’ can grow their account and increase the amount of financial support for their shooting team’s activities.
The scholastic shooting entity will receive a notice in May that they are eligible to withdraw up to 5% of the value of their endowment.   The entity submits a grant request in June and the checks will be written in July to support the entity’s shooting program for the following season.
The upside potential is limited only by the fundraising capability of the shooting entity.  Another point to keep in mind is that the shooting entity trust is only available to the shooting entity.  It is not available to the school system or individual school.  If, in the unlikely event the shooting entity is discontinued, the funds remain at the Midway USA Foundation and may be used to support other shooting programs.  Should the entity’s program be resurrected, the original balance will be returned to the schools endowment.
Teams which would like to participate in this program should contact Rhonda Esakov, TSRA Youth Shooting Sports Program (YSSP) Coordinator, at yssp@tsra.com, or Wayne Nunn, TSRA Junior Programs Director, at wsnunn@gvtc.com, to start the process.

The Federalist No. 10

The Federalist No. 10

The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued)

Daily Advertiser
Thursday, November 22, 1787
[James Madison]

To the People of the State of New York:

AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens? And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.

The inference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.

By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are more favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations:

In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the two constituents, and being proportionally greater in the small republic, it follows that, if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.

In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.

It must be confessed that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representatives too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these, and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects. The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic, — is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.

PUBLIUS

Philippians 4

*** Pastor Gary Flynt ***

Pattern For Perfect Peace
Philippians 4

Take a look at Philippians 4:6-9. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Maybe you’ve heard about the bricklayer who had to take a leave of absence from his job. He made a written report as to what had happened to him. Here’s what he wrote in the report:

“I left too many bricks on top of the building. To get them down, I rigged up a contrivance with a pulley and rope fixed to the top of the building. I tied the rope to a barrel on the ground and hoisted the barrel up to the roof. I filled the barrel with bricks then went back down and untied the rope. That’s when I realized the barrel of bricks was heavier than I was. When the barrel started down, I started up. I didn’t have the presence of mind to let go of the rope. The barrel and I met in the middle and it gave be quite a laceration on the shoulder. I managed to hold on though and went all the way to the top where I wedged my fingers in the pulley.

About that time the barrel hit the ground and the bottom came out of the barrel. Now the barrel is lighter than I am, so I started down and the barrel started up. Again, we met in the middle and I got a laceration on the shin. I managed to hold on until I hit the ground on the pile of bricks. That’s when I finally had the presence of mind to let go of the rope and the barrel came down and hit me on the head!”

I think we can all relate to this guy at some time or the other. We don’t know whether we’re coming or going. Sometimes we’re up; sometimes we’re down. We’re getting hit from every side and we don’t know whether to hold on or let go! But the good news is that we can have peace in the midst of a perplexing world.

I want you to notice the five steps for perfect peace that I’ll give you in this lesson. The key to understanding this passage on peace is in the word “things”. Count up how many times the word “thing” or “things” is used in the passage we just read. Then, in *verse 9 Paul says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Peace is having a proper relationship to the things you come in contact with. It’s in knowing how to deal with the things that come into your life. When you learn how to deal with all those things as God would have you to deal with them, you’ll have God’s perfect peace.

The first principle for peace is to worry about no thing.  *Verse 6 says, “Be careful for nothing…” You say, “Pastor, it’s easy for you to tell us not to worry about anything while you’re standing there in the pulpit.” Hey, it’s not me standing in the pulpit that’s telling you these things; it’s the Apostle Paul in prison who’s telling you this.

There are at least 3 reasons why none of us should worry. First of all, worry is wasteful. You’re wasting on worry the energy that should be used to solve the problem. Worry has never solved a problem, or dried a tear, or lifted a burden. Jesus said, “Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit to his stature?” The best thing you can say about worry is that it’s wasteful.

Also, worry is harmful. It’ll harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually. Worry does to you what sand does to machinery.

It not only harms you; it harms others. We need to have a place where we can put all the worry warts in quarantine! Worry is contagious. Worry even hurts God. When you worry, you’re calling God a liar when He says, “All things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Also, worry is sinful. Worry is the opposite of faith. There was a man who was known for being a worry wart. But one day he appeared with a bounce in his step and victory in his voice and a smile on his face. His friend asked, “What changed you?” He said, “I don’t worry any more because I discovered a professional worrier that I’ve hired to do my worrying for me.” His friend said, “That’s wonderful! What does it cost you?” He said, “A thousand dollars per week.” His friend said, “Wow, that’s a lot of money! You don’t have that kind of money. How are you going to pay for that?” He said, “That’s his worry.”

Well, there really is someone we can cast all our cares upon. The Bible tells us to cast all our cares upon Jesus, for He cares for you. It doesn’t cost a thousand dollars per week either!

So, the first principle for having perfect peace in a perplexing world is to worry about no thing. How are we going to do that? The second point tells us. Pray about all things. When I say “all things,” I mean small things as well as big things. By the way, some things don’t have to be prayed about. You don’t have to pray about whether or not you ought to be a witness for Christ. That’s a command. It doesn’t have to be prayed about….you just do it.

Someone asked G. Campbell Morgan, “Mr. Morgan, do you think we ought to bother God with all those little things?” He said, “Lady, what’s in your life that you think is big to God?” It’s all small stuff to Him! Compared to His might and glory, the only things we have to bring to Him are small things.

When we come to God in prayer, we come receiving peace. We sing about it. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief’s to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to Him in prayer. Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

The place of prayer is not only the place of power and provision; its’ also the place of peace.

“I met God in the morning, when the day was at its best, and His presence came like sunrise, like a glory to my breast. All day long the presence lingered, all day long He stayed with me, and we sailed in perfect calmness o’er a very troubled sea. Other ships were blown and battered, other ships were sore distressed. But the winds that seemed to drive them, brought to us a peace and rest. Then I thought of other mornings, with a keen remorse of mind, when I, too, had loosed the moorings with the Presence left behind. So I think I know the secret, learn from many a troubled way, you must seek Him in the morning if you want Him through the day.”

If we would get up in the mornings and saturate our souls with Jesus and learn to pray about everything that needs to be prayed about; if we would just put our arms on the window sills of Heaven and gaze into the face of our Lord in prayer, what peace we would have!

Worry about no thing, pray about all things; but then be thankful for everything. *

*Verse 6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” We not only need to learn how to say, “Please,” but we also need to learn how to say, “Thank you.”

You can’t have a thankful spirit and a worried spirit at the same time. You say, “I can’t thank God for the bad things!” Listen, you don’t thank God because things are good; you thank God because God is good.

When things go bad, just start praising God and watch what happens!

Worry about no thing, pray about all things, be thankful for everything, and think on the best things. *Verse 8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

You are what you think. You may not be what you think you are, but what you think, you are. Jesus said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you’re thinking the wrong things, it will be impossible for you to have peace. If you are thinking impure thoughts, you will have impurity in your life. But if you’re thinking pure thoughts, you will have purity in your life.

You say, “Pastor, I can’t control my thoughts.” Oh, yes you can! Let’s do an experiment. For the next five seconds I don’t want you to think about an elephant. Don’t do it! Whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF AN ELEPHANT! You’re saying, “Well, if you’d just shut up!” Hey, I’m just you’re inner conscience telling you not to think of an elephant.

Listen, the Bible says, “Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” God has made you so that you can’t think two thoughts at the same time. If you’re thinking about what’s right, you can’t be thinking about what’s wrong. If you think right, you’ll be right. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

You say, “So what are those things which are true, and honest, and just and pure, and lovely, and of good report, and worthy of virtue and praise?” Folks, this is probably the shortest biography of Jesus anywhere in the Bible. This is the sum total of the character of Jesus Christ. “Keep your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face!”

Saturate your life with the things of God and you’ll have peace. Some people only look at the negative side of things. And they go about trying to rid themselves of those negative thoughts in the wrong way. Listen, you can’t beat the darkness out of a room with a broomstick! But you can turn on the light. You can’t drive those thoughts out of your mind but you can put good thoughts in there to replace them.

You can choose your thoughts just like you can choose your friends. “Two men looked through prison bars. One saw mud, the other saw stars.”

Think on the best things. Fall in love with the Word of God. Make friends with the people of God. Surround yourself with the things that will make for peace.

Here’s the last way to have peace in a perplexing world: do the right thing. *Verse 9 says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Draw a circle around the word “do.”

One cure for worry is work. If you’re just sitting around going through morbid introspection, no wonder you don’t have peace! But when you refuse to worry about anything; when you pray about all things; when you’re thankful for everything; when you do the best things, then it’s time for you to get up and start to live the Christian life.

When we’re busy doing the right things, we’re too busy to worry about wrong things. Your actions and your attitudes are linked together.

Impression without expression leads to depression. If you come to church and hear a good Sunday school lesson or a good sermon and don’t do anything about it, you’ll become depressed. Paul says, “What you’ve seen, heard and learned; do. And if you do that, God’s peace will be with you.”

Jesus said in *John 13:17, “If you know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” You can turn that around and say, “If you know those things and don’t do them, you’re headed for unhappiness.” It’s better not to have known the way of truth than to know it and not do it.

God’s best psychology is right here in His Book. But what are the results of this peace? First, if you do these things, the peace of God will guard you. *Verse 7 says, “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The word “keep” is the word for “guard” or “to garrison about.” Paul says, “You don’t keep this peace; this peace keeps you.” It guards you.

When Paul wrote this, he was being guarded as a prisoner. He’s saying, “Just like this man guards me, the peace of God will guard you.” If the peace of God guards us, then that helps us to understand why he says it’s the peace that passes all understanding. This world doesn’t understand what peace is. This world thinks that peace is the absence of problems. This world thinks that if you have good health and no enemies and a healthy bank account, then you have peace.

But Jesus says, “Not as the world giveth give I unto you.” He gives a peace that the world can’t give. Therefore, it’s a peace that the world can’t take away. The world can’t understand how Paul can be in prison writing about joy and peace.

Do you have a peace that passes all understanding? We’re to worry about no thing and praise Him for everything. Why? Because it’s all in God’s hands.

Peace is not the subtraction of problems from your life; it’s the addition of power to meet those problems. If it was the subtraction of problems, you wouldn’t need a guard, would you? The reality is that the problems are there….but so is the guard.

There is the peace of God to guard you, but there is also the God of peace to guide you. Verse 9 says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

If you have the peace of God and the God of peace, what more do you need? You can have them both if you’ll apply these principles to your life.

“God’s people ought to walk in perfect peace before Him, because His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

May the God of peace be with you.

A Strong Economy Can Mean a Strong Defense

*** Burt Folsom ***

by BURT on APRIL 2, 2013

In the last hundred years, the U.S. been least safe during the 1930s (with Hitler on the rampage) and the 1970s (with the fall of Vietnam and communism on the rampage). We have been most safe in the 1940s, right after WWII, for two reasons: The U.S. had a monopoly on the atomic bomb, and we strengthened Europe against Russian aggression. We were also strong in the late 1980s, right after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The common denominator is that U.S. military strength and weakness paralleled the strength and weakness of the American economy. When we were in the Great Depression during the 1930s, we lost our ability to influence world politics. Germany and Japan didn’t take us seriously–and Japan thought a first strike at Pearl Harbor might take us out permanently.

In the 1970s, under Nixon and Carter, the U.S. had high unemployment, slow growth, and long gas lines. We lost in Vietnam, and the communists gained ground from Cambodia to Yemen to Nicaragua. Nixon and Carter tried big government–price controls, high taxes, and a new Department of Education and Department of Energy–but it all fizzled.

During our periods of strength–the 1940s and 1980s–we cut tax rates, encouraged entrepreneurs, and grew in influence in the world. For example, after World War II, we slashed the corporate excess profits tax from 90 to 37%, and we cut federal spending sharply. We fed millions of Europeans after the war, and our influence grew. In the 1980s, President Reagan supported the cutting of the top income tax rate from 70 to 28%. The U.S. grew strong economically during the 1980s, and our defense build-up helped defeat the Soviets and end the Cold War. We operated from a position of strength.

As the U.S. continues today to try to borrow and spend its way to prosperity, the world continues to get more dangerous. With threats from North Korea, problems with Iran, and what amounts to a war in Syria, the world is a very serious place.

The good news in all this is that after the dangers of the 1930s and 1970s, we followed those decades with tax rate cuts and increased fiscal responsibility, which resulted in stronger prosperity and greater influence on world affairs. Thus, U.S. weakness in the world today need not be permanent.

Imprimis, April 2013

About Imprimis

Imprimis is the free monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College and is dedicated to educating citizens and promoting civil and religious liberty by covering cultural, economic, political and educational issues of enduring significance.  The content of Imprimis is drawn from speeches delivered to Hillsdale College-hosted events, both on-campus and off-campus.  First published in 1972, Imprimis is one of the most widely circulated opinion publications in the nation with over 2.6 million subscribers.

Edward J. Erler

March 2013

Edward J. Erler
California State University, San Bernardino

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The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles

EDWARD J. ERLER is professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on February 13, 2013, at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

We are currently mired in a frantic debate about the rights of gun owners. One example should suffice to prove that the debate has become hysterical: Second Amendment supporters, one prominent but less than articulate member of Congress alleges, have become “enablers of mass murder.”

Special animus has been directed against so-called assault rifles. These are semi-automatic, not automatic weapons—the latter have been illegal under federal law since the 1930s—because they require a trigger pull for every round fired. Some semi-automatic firearms, to be sure, can be fitted with large-capacity magazines. But what inspires the ire of gun control advocates seems to be their menacing look—somehow they don’t appear fit for polite society. No law-abiding citizen could possibly need such a weapon, we are told—after all, how many rounds from a high-powered rifle are needed to kill a deer? And we are assured that these weapons are not well-adapted for self-defense—that only the military and the police need to have them.

Now it’s undeniable, Senator Dianne Feinstein to the contrary notwithstanding, that semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 are extremely well-adapted for home defense—especially against a crime that is becoming more and more popular among criminals, the home invasion. Over the past two decades, gun ownership has increased dramatically at the same time that crime rates have decreased. Combine this with the fact that most gun crimes are committed with stolen or illegally obtained weapons, and the formula to decrease crime is clear: Increase the number of responsible gun owners and prosecute to the greatest extent possible under the law those who commit gun-related crimes or possess weapons illegally.

Consider also that assault rifles are rarely used by criminals, because they are neither easily portable nor easily concealed. In Chicago, the murder capital of America—a city with draconian gun laws—pistols are the weapon of choice, even for gang-related executions. But of course there are the horrible exceptions—the mass shootings in recent years—and certainly we must keep assault weapons with high-capacity magazines out of the hands of people who are prone to commit such atrocities.

The shooters in Arizona, Colorado, and Newtown were mentally ill persons who, by all accounts, should have been incarcerated. Even the Los Angeles Times admits that “there is a connection between mental illness and mass murder.” But the same progressives who advocate gun control also oppose the involuntary incarceration of mentally ill people who, in the case of these mass shootings, posed obvious dangers to society before they committed their horrendous acts of violence. From the point of view of the progressives who oppose involuntary incarceration of the mentally ill—you can thank the ACLU and like-minded organizations—it is better to disarm the entire population, and deprive them of their constitutional freedoms, than to incarcerate a few mentally ill persons who are prone to engage in violent crimes.

And we must be clear—the Second Amendment is not about assault weapons, hunting, or sport shooting. It is about something more fundamental. It reaches to the heart of constitutional principles—it reaches to first principles. A favorite refrain of thoughtful political writers during America’s founding era held that a frequent recurrence to first principles was an indispensable means of preserving free government—and so it is.

The Whole People Are the Militia
The Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The immediate impetus for the amendment has never been in dispute. Many of the revolutionary generation believed standing armies were dangerous to liberty. Militias made up of citizen-soldiers, they reasoned, were more suitable to the character of republican government. Expressing a widely held view, Elbridge Gerry remarked in the debate over the first militia bill in 1789 that “whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia.”

The Second Amendment is unique among the amendments in the Bill of Rights, in that it contains a preface explaining the reason for the right protected: Militias are necessary for the security of a free state. We cannot read the words “free State” here as a reference to the several states that make up the Union. The frequent use of the phrase “free State” in the founding era makes it abundantly clear that it means a non-tyrannical or non-despotic state. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), rightly remarked that the term and its “close variations” were “terms of art in 18th-century political discourse, meaning a free country or free polity.”

The principal constitutional debate leading up to the Heller decision was about whether the right to “keep and bear arms” was an individual right or a collective right conditioned upon service in the militia. As a general matter, of course, the idea of collective rights was unknown to the Framers of the Constitution—and this consideration alone should have been decisive. We have James Madison’s own testimony that the provisions of the Bill of Rights “relate [first] . . . to private rights.”

The notion of collective rights is wholly the invention of the Progressive founders of the administrative state, who were engaged in a self-conscious effort to supplant the principles of limited government embodied in the Constitution. For these Progressives, what Madison and other Founders called the “rights of human nature” were merely a delusion characteristic of the 18th century. Science, they held, has proven that there is no permanent human nature—that there are only evolving social conditions. As a result, they regarded what the Founders called the “rights of human nature” as an enemy of collective welfare, which should always take precedence over the rights of individuals. For Progressives then and now, the welfare of the people—not liberty—is the primary object of government, and government should always be in the hands of experts. This is the real origin of today’s gun control hysteria—the idea that professional police forces and the military have rendered the armed citizen superfluous; that no individual should be responsible for the defense of himself and his family, but should leave it to the experts. The idea of individual responsibilities, along with that of individual rights, is in fact incompatible with the Progressive vision of the common welfare.

This way of thinking was wholly alien to America’s founding generation, for whom government existed for the purpose of securing individual rights. And it was always understood that a necessary component of every such right was a correspondent responsibility. Madison frequently stated that all “just and free government” is derived from social compact—the idea embodied in the Declaration of Independence, which notes that the “just powers” of government are derived “from the consent of the governed.” Social compact, wrote Madison, “contemplates a certain number of individuals as meeting and agreeing to form one political society, in order that the rights, the safety, and the interests of each may be under the safeguard of the whole.” The rights to be protected by the political society are not created by government—they exist by nature—although governments are necessary to secure them. Thus political society exists to secure the equal protection of the equal rights of all who consent to be governed. This is the original understanding of what we know today as “equal protection of the laws”—the equal protection of equal rights.

Each person who consents to become a member of civil society thus enjoys the equal protection of his own rights, while at the same time incurring the obligation to protect the rights of his fellow citizens. In the first instance, then, the people are a militia, formed for the mutual protection of equal rights. This makes it impossible to mistake both the meaning and the vital importance of the Second Amendment: The whole people are the militia, and disarming the people dissolves their moral and political existence.

Arms and Sovereignty
The Preamble to the Constitution stipulates that “We the people . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States.” It is important to note that the people establish the Constitution; the Constitution does not establish the people. When, then, did “we the people” become a people? Clearly Americans became a people upon the adoption of its first principles of government in the Declaration of Independence, which describes the people both in their political capacity, as “one people,” and in their moral capacity, as a “good people.” In establishing the Constitution, then, the people executed a second contract, this time with government. In this contract, the people delegate power to the government to be exercised for their benefit. But the Declaration specifies that only the “just powers” are delegated. The government is to be a limited government, confined to the exercise of those powers that are fairly inferred from the specific grant of powers.

Furthermore, the Declaration specifies that when government becomes destructive of the ends for which it is established—the “Safety and Happiness” of the people—then “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” This is what has become known as the right of revolution, an essential ingredient of the social compact and a right which is always reserved to the people. The people can never cede or delegate this ultimate expression of sovereign power. Thus, in a very important sense, the right of revolution (or even its threat) is the right that guarantees every other right. And if the people have this right as an indefeasible aspect of their sovereignty, then, by necessity, the people also have a right to the means to revolution. Only an armed people are a sovereign people, and only an armed people are a free people—the people are indeed a militia.

The Declaration also contains an important prudential lesson with respect to the right to revolution: “Prudence . . . will dictate,” it cautions, “that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” It is only after “a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object,” and when that object “evinces a design to reduce [the People] to absolute Despotism,” that “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Here the Declaration identifies the right of revolution, not only as a right of the people, but as a duty as well—indeed, it is the only duty mentioned in the Declaration.

The prudential lessons of the Declaration are no less important than its assertion of natural rights. The prospect of the dissolution of government is almost too horrible to contemplate, and must be approached with the utmost circumspection. As long as the courts are operating, free and fair elections are proceeding, and the ordinary processes of government hold out the prospect that whatever momentary inconveniences or dislocations the people experience can be corrected, then they do not represent a long train of abuses and usurpations and should be tolerated. But we cannot remind ourselves too often of the oft-repeated refrain of the Founders: Rights and liberties are best secured when there is a “frequent recurrence to first principles.”

The Current Legal Debate
In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that for the first time held unambiguously that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of self-defense. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia quoted Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, a work well known to the Founders. Blackstone referred to “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation,” which necessarily entailed “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defense.” Throughout his opinion, Justice Scalia rightly insisted that the Second Amendment recognized rights that preexisted the Constitution. But Justice Scalia was wrong to imply that Second Amendment rights were codified from the common law—they were, in fact, “natural rights,” deriving their status from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In his Heller dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens boldly asserted that “there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” In a perverse way, Justice Stevens was correct for the same reason Justice Scalia was wrong: What the Framers did was to recognize the natural right of self-defense. Like the right to revolution, the right to self-defense or self-preservation can never be ceded to government. In the words of James Wilson—a signer of the Declaration, a member of the Constitutional Convention, and an early justice of the Supreme Court—“the great natural law of self-preservation . . . cannot be repealed, or superseded, or suspended by any human institution.”

Justice Stevens, however, concluded that because there is no clause in the Constitution explicitly recognizing the common law right of self-defense, it is not a constitutional right and therefore cannot authorize individual possession of weapons. What Justice Stevens apparently doesn’t realize is that the Constitution as a whole is a recognition of the “the great natural law of self-preservation,” both for the people and for individuals. Whenever government is unwilling or unable to fulfill the ends for which it exists—the safety and happiness of the people—the right of action devolves upon the people, whether it is the right of revolution or the individual’s right to defend person and property.

Justice Scalia noted that those who argued for a collective-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment have the impossible task of showing that the rights protected by the Second Amendment are collective rights, whereas every other right protected by the Bill of Rights is an individual right. It is true that the Second Amendment states that “the people” have the right to keep and bear arms. But other amendments refer to the rights of “the people” as well. The Fourth Amendment, for example, guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure.” But there seems to be universal agreement that Fourth Amendment rights belong to individuals.

And what of the First Amendment’s protection of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances?” Justice Stevens argues that these rights are collective rights. After all, he avers, “they contemplate collective actions.” It is true, the Justice concedes, that the right to assemble is an individual right, but “its concern is with action engaged in by members of a group, rather than any single individual.” And the right to petition government for a redress of grievances is similarly, he says, “a right that can be exercised by individuals,” even though “it is primarily collective in nature.” Its collective nature, he explains, means that “if they are to be effective, petitions must involve groups of individuals acting in concert.” Even though individuals may petition government for redress, it is more “effective” if done in concert with others, even though “concert” is not necessary to the existence or the exercise of the right.

With respect to assembly, Justice Stevens argues, there cannot be an assembly of one. An “assembly” is a collection of individual rights holders who have united for common action or to promote a common cause. But who could argue that the manner in which the assemblage takes place, or the form that it takes, significantly qualifies or limits the possession or exercise of the right? We might as well argue that freedom of speech is a collective right because freedom of speech is most effectively exercised when there are auditors; or that freedom of the press is a collective right because it is most effectively exercised when there are readers. Justice Stevens’ argument is thus fanciful, not to say frivolous.

The Court in Heller did indicate, however, that there could be some reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. “Longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” for example, will continue to meet constitutional muster. Laws that forbid “carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings” are also reasonable regulations, as are “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The prohibition on “dangerous and unusual weapons”—including automatic firearms—fall outside Second Amendment guarantees as well.

But the Heller decision is clear that handgun possession for self-defense is absolutely protected by the Second Amendment. Can handguns be carried outside the home as part of “the inherent right of self-defense?” The Court indicated that handguns can be prohibited in “sensitive places,” but not every place outside the home is sensitive. And if carrying weapons in a non-sensitive area is protected by the Second Amendment, can there be restrictions on concealed carrying? These are all questions that will have to be worked out in the future, if not by legislation, then by extensive litigation.

The Supreme Court took a further important step in securing Second Amendment rights in McDonald v. Chicago (2010), ruling that these rights as articulated in Hellerwere fundamental rights, and thus binding on the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. We have to remember, however, that both of these cases were decided by narrow, 5-4 majorities, and that new appointments of more progressive-minded justices to the Court could easily bring about a reversal.

For the moment, Second Amendment rights seem safe, but in the long term a political defense will be a more effective strategy. As Abraham Lincoln once remarked, “Whoever moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.” Shaping and informing public sentiments—public opinion—is political work, and thus it is to politics that we must ultimately resort.

* * *

In the current climate of public opinion, Congress will have little appetite for passing an assault gun ban. More likely, it will be satisfied with passing legislation aimed at gun trafficking and tightening background checks. We must remember, however, President Obama’s pledge: “If Congress won’t act then I will.” He has already issued 23 gun-related executive orders, and some of them are rather curious. One of them notes that there is nothing in the Affordable Care Act that prevents doctors from asking patients about guns in the home; another directs “the Centers for Disease Control to research the cause and prevention of gun violence.”

The President’s power to act through executive orders is as extensive as it is ill-defined. Congress routinely delegates power to executive branch agencies, and the courts accord great deference to agency rule-making powers, often interpreting ambiguous legislative language or even legislative silence as a delegation of power to the executive. Such delegation provokes fundamental questions concerning the separation of powers and the rule of law. Many have argued that it is the price we have to pay for the modern administrative state—that the separation of powers and the rule of law have been rendered superfluous by the development of this state. Some of the boldest proponents of this view confidently insist that the triumph of the administrative state has propelled us into a post-constitutional era where the Constitution no longer matters.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 gives the President the discretion to ban guns he deems not suitable for sporting purposes. Would the President be bold enough or reckless enough to issue an executive order banning the domestic manufacture and sale of assault rifles? Might he argue that these weapons have no possible civilian use and should be restricted to the military, and that his power as commander-in-chief authorizes him so to act? Or perhaps sometime in the near future he will receive a report from the Centers for Disease Control that gun violence has become a national health epidemic, with a recommendation that he declare a national health emergency and order the confiscation of all assault weapons. Congress could pass legislation to defeat such an executive order; but could a divided Congress muster the votes?—and in any case, the President could resort to his veto power. Individuals would have resort to the courts; but as of yet, we have had no ruling that assault weapons are not one of the exceptions that can be banned or regulated under Heller. We could make the case that assault rifles are useful for self-defense and home defense; but could we make the case that they are essential? Would the courts hold that the government had to demonstrate a compelling interest for a ban on assault rifles, as it almost certainly would have to do if handguns were at issue?

Are these simply wild speculations? Perhaps—probably! But they are part of the duty we have as citizens to engage in a frequent recurrence to first principles.


Copyright © 2013 Hillsdale College. The opinions expressed in Imprimis are not necessarily the views of Hillsdale College. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the following credit line is used: “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.” SUBSCRIPTION FREE UPON REQUEST. ISSN 0277-8432. Imprimis trademark registered in U.S. Patent and Trade Office #1563325.

The PassOver Lamb

*** Pastor Gary Flynt ***

I Corinthians 5:7, I Corinthians 5:8Exodus 12:1-6verse 11, verses 5

verse 6Exodus 12:7Exodus 12:8-11Jeremiah 31:31-32I Peter 1:19

Luke 22:19

The Passover Lamb
I Corinthians 5 and Exodus 12

This is the week that Christians celebrate Resurrection Sunday and it’s also the week that the Jews celebrate Passover. Mary’s Lamb was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Moses’ Lamb.

The Jews were slaves in Egypt. God redeems them and frees them and brings them into the Promised Land that flowed with milk and honey. How will He deliver His people from the land of bondage and into the land of victory? He is going to do it with a Lamb.

A lamb is the epitome of weakness. When you slaughter a lamb, you almost feel guilty. A lamb just seems to present itself to death. As a lamb before its shearers is dumb, so Jesus opened not His mouth.

The lamb says, “Are you hungry? Eat me. Are you cold? Shear me.”

Pharaoh was a typology of Satan and Egypt was a typology of bondage. The emblem of Egypt was a serpent. Look in your history books at the crown Pharaoh wears on his head and you will see an adder…a poisonous serpent. But God delivers His people with a lamb…and it’s the lamb that will slay the serpent.

Look at I Corinthians 5:7. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” Passover was kept without leaven. I Corinthians 5:8 says, “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Leaven, which is yeast, is a symbol for sin.

Now I want you to go to Exodus 12 where we’re going to look at the symbolic promise that was in Moses’ lamb, and the saving power that was in Mary’s Lamb. Look at Exodus 12:1-6. “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of the month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house: and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” Now look at verse 11. “And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover.”

The first thing I want you to see is the character of the lamb. Verses 5 and 6 tell us about the character of the lamb. First, it had to be a male. Christ is the Son of God. Number 2, the lamb had to be without spot or blemish. It was chosen on the 10th day of April. It was examined for 3½ days. They would go carefully through the wool, they would examine the inside of the mouth, and they would even examine the eyelids of this little lamb. It had to be a perfect lamb…picturing the spotless Lamb of God.

Not only is there the character of the lamb, there is the condemnation of the lamb. In verse 6 it says that this innocent lamb is to be slain. The father of the family would pull back the neck of that little lamb and draw a sharp knife across its neck. The blood would be caught in a basin. This serves to remind us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

Some people say, “I don’t believe in this bloody Gospel. I just follow Jesus as my example.” Folks, salvation is not in learning lessons from the life of Christ…it is receiving life from the death of Christ.

There is the character of the lamb and the condemnation of the lamb, but then you see the confession of the lamb. Exodus 12:7 says, “And they shall take the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” They would take a common weed called hyssop and dip that weed in that basin of blood. Then they would strike the doorposts of their houses on the sides and on the top. In doing that, they would make the sign of a cross. Everyone that went into and out of that house did so under the blood. They were confessing that a lamb had been slain for that house. There was no way they could hide it and they were not to be ashamed of it.

Next, you see the communion of the lamb. Look at Exodus 12:8-11. “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover.” Not only is the blood to be applied, but the lamb is to be consumed. It is to be roast with fire which pictures the Lord Jesus Christ who took the fires of hell for us. He did that for you.

Can you imagine what the Egyptians must have thought as a quarter of a million lambs were being roasted in one night? Can you imagine the aroma? While all of this is going on, a bunch of slaves are becoming a nation. They are feasting together on a lamb. The lamb that died for them is now the lamb that is in them.

And the scriptures said that they were not to leave any of it. So many times people want to leave a little of Jesus around. They say, “Well, I’ll take Jesus as my Savior….and later on I may make Him my Lord.” Oh, no! We are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ….we are to feed on all of the Lamb.

They would eat the lamb with bitter herbs. That speaks of the brokenness and bitterness over our sin. So many people strut down church aisles like they are doing God a wild favor…but they have never fed on the bitter herbs. They have never seen the hellishness of their sin.

Then it says that they are to eat of it with unleavened bread. Leaven is a symbol of evil. Not only are we to be broken over our sin…we are to be broken from our sin. Unleavened bread was a way of saying that they were done with the old way.

This is the first day of the new year for these people. They eat it with their staffs in their hands and with their clothes on. They are ready to travel. Why? Because when you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s not the end of your journey; it’s the beginning of it.

When they walked out of Egypt and out of bondage, a lamb walked out inside of them. It was the beginning of a new life. That’s Moses’ lamb and all of this is symbolic.

But now let’s look at the saving power of Mary’s Lamb. The whole Bible is about Jesus Christ. Whether you’re in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, it’s all about Jesus. Moses’ lamb only prophesied Mary’s Lamb.

Jeremiah told the people that there was coming a day when God would make a new covenant with them. Jeremiah 31:31-32 says, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord.” He says, “I’m going to make a new covenant…not like the one I made with the old Passover in Egypt. Now I’ll write my law in your hearts. You’ll have an intimate knowledge of Me and I will remember your sins no more.”

The Jews kept this celebration every year. They’d take 3 pieces of unleavened bread and put them in a matzo tash….a bag that they kept the unleavened bread in. The middle piece was taken out and broken and given to the people at the table. There would also be a cup of wine there….and an empty chair. This cup would be Messiah’s cup. The empty chair would be for Elijah…the prophet who would prophecy the coming of our Lord.

They were hoping that Elijah would come and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” They would send a child to the door and say, “Go look! See if He is coming.” They still do this today. It breaks my heart that little Jewish children are still saying, “He is not yet come.”

John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah saying, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” He’s the Elijah who has announced that our Messiah has come 2,000 years ago.

There are several things I want you to notice with me about Mary’s Lamb. Remember that we had talked about the character of Moses’ lamb? Let’s talk about the character of Mary’s Lamb. He, too, was a spotless Lamb. I Peter 1:19 tells us that Jesus is a Lamb without spot or blemish.

By the time of Christ, the Jews had begun to raise Passover lambs in Bethlehem. That’s something, because God’s Passover lamb would be born in Bethlehem. In the fields of Boaz, they would not just be raising lambs for commerce, but lambs for Passover. A special breed of lambs would be raised right there. These were special lambs because they were born to die. They would bring those lambs to Jerusalem at Passover through a gate called the Sheep Gate. On the same day that the shepherds were bringing those lambs from Bethlehem to the temple to be sacrificed, God’s Lamb was coming through the Eastern Gate to the same temple area.

The people would be saying, “Hail Him! Hail Him!” But before long that same fickle crowd would be saying, “Nail Him! Nail Him!” Up on that temple mount they would be examining the Passover lambs to be sure they were spotless and perfect. At the same time they were examining God’s Lamb. Have you ever wondered why so much time was given in the Gospels to the last week of Jesus’ life? Almost a third of the Gospels are given to this last week. It’s the time of examination. He was examined by Herod, He was examined by Pilot, He was examined by Caiaphus and by all those who were there. They were looking for some fault, but they had to gather false witnesses because there was no fault in Him.

Pilot had to say, “I find no fault in Him.” They had to say, “Never a man spoke like this Man.” He was God’s spotless Man.

You see the character of the Lamb, but then you see the conviction of the Lamb. The people said, “Let Him be crucified.” The Jewish sundown begins at 6 p.m. The last old covenant Passover was conducted by Jesus Himself. He and His disciples are sitting at the table when Jesus took bread and broke it. Luke 22:19 says, “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”

Jesus took the same bread that the Jews take today. He took the middle piece out of the matzo tash and broke it and said, “This is my body.” For centuries the Jews have held the Trinity in their hands without knowing it.

If you were to take a piece of matzo bread and look at it, you would see that it’s both striped, and pierced, and baked in fire. “With His stripes we are healed. He was pierced for our transgressions.” The fires of God’s wrath burned themselves out on the Lord Jesus.

They make matzo out of unleavened bread. With leavened bread there is always some of the old bread in the new bread. The woman of the house would always reserve a piece of the dough for the next loaf. Leaven represents sin. But when Jesus took that middle piece of bread and said, “This is my body,” it was unleavened. There was no sin in it.

All the way down from Adam, we have inherited the sin of Adam. But thank God there is a new Adam…a new Passover. There is a brand new start in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the New Covenant.

He took Messiah’s cup and said, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, drink ye all of it.” The old Passover is finished.

When the New Passover was established He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, and from there He went to the temple mount. Do you know where He was crucified? It was Mt. Moriah. That’s where the Jewish temple was built.

Years before Jesus was born in the flesh, God came to the father of the Hebrew nation, Abraham, and said, “Take your son, Isaac, your only son…the son of promise, the son of miracle, the son of your love and all of your hopes and sacrifice him upon a place that I will tell you of.” It was the same place where Jesus died.

Isaac said, “Father, here is the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb?” He didn’t know that he was the lamb. But a broken-hearted father said in faith, “God will provide Himself a Lamb.”

When we see Jesus Christ go up there to Mt. Moriah, then we can understand what Jesus meant when He said,
“Abraham saw my day and was glad.”

There on Mt. Moriah at 3 o’clock in the afternoon…the lambs were there…and God’s Lamb was there. The priests took their lethal knives and cut the throats of those lambs and the blood began to flow. God’s Lamb is hanging on the cross. The sun hides its face and it becomes as dark as midnight. God’s Lamb cries out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” I’ll tell you why…it was because He was bearing my sin and your sin. God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity and He had to turn His face away from His Son who bears all our sin.

Jesus cries out, “It is finished.” Levites, you can go home now. Lambs, your job is over….we don’t need you anymore. That was all a picture. John the Baptist declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

We see the character of the Lamb, the condemnation of the Lamb and the confession of the Lamb. Did you know that in the old Passover, had they not openly confessed the Lamb, there would have been no hope?

Suppose they had said, “We are going to kill a little lamb, but we don’t want the Egyptians to know that we are believers. We are going to kill this lamb in a back room and not let anybody know.” You can’t do that. The Passover angel came through the land of Egypt. If there was a house that did not have the blood on the doorposts, judgment came to that house. Friend, you can’t bootleg a blessing. Jesus said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you.” You are openly and publicly to confess the Lamb.

Hyssop stands for faith. Take that faith and strike it on the doorposts of your heart. Jeremiah said, “This time I will make a new covenant and write it on their hearts.”

There is the confession of the Lamb. But do you know what they did then? There was the communion of the Lamb. They fed on the lamb in Moses’ day. What do we do? We feed on the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the Lord’s Supper. Passover has been transformed into a memorial feast where we remember God’s Lamb.

Are you ashamed of the Lamb? Have you confessed Him? Do you have communion with Him? Have you fed on Him? We are what we eat, you know.

You see, He doesn’t just forgive your sin. When you place your life under the blood, there is strength and power in this One who is heaven’s bread. And not only is there the shed blood, there is the shared blood. There is the power of the Lord Jesus Christ in us.

I want you to imagine 3 boys in Egypt under Moses’ lamb. First, there was Pharaoh’s son. He comes to his father and says, “Dad, do you know what people are saying? They say that everyone has to kill a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts. If there is no blood on the doorposts, then something called a death angel is going to come through our land and the firstborn of every family will die. Dad, I’m the firstborn. Don’t you think we ought to get us a lamb?” Pharaoh says, “Son, listen, I’m fed up with these Hebrews and their superstition. Son, we have the best religion that money can buy. We have thousands of gods. I myself am a god. Son, your daddy is very strong and powerful. Don’t you worry about this blood of the lamb business. Go to bed son, daddy loves you.”

There is another boy…a Jewish boy. He says, “Dad, did you hear what Moses said? I don’t want to die, dad.” The father says, “Son, we are going to do just what Moses said. Come with me.” They kill the lamb and apply the blood. The boy says, “Thank you, dad. I don’t want to die. Dad, do you think it’s going to work?” “Well, Moses says so.” “Dad, do you think I’m going to be saved?” “Yes.” “But, Dad, the death angel is coming.” “Son, we’ve done everything.” “Yes, Dad, but I’m just concerned.” All night long that boy tosses and turns…but the blood is on the door. The death angel passes over that house.

There is another Jewish boy who says, “Dad, are we going to make a Passover sacrifice?” “Yes we are, son. Here is the blood on the doorposts.” The boy says, “Dad, isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t it glorious what God has promised? Dad, thank you for obeying the Lord. Have a good nights rest, Dad, I’m going to bed.” He sleeps soundly.

The first boy perishes because the blood was refused. The second one worries all night…but he makes it. The third boy has a good nights rest.

Folks, it’s the blood that makes us safe and it’s the Word that makes us sure. Not only can we say that we are saved, but why should we go to heaven second class? There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb!

When you get over to the Book of the Revelation, do you know what you will see on the throne? A Lamb as it has been slain. And do you know what the people in heaven are going to be doing? They are going to be singing throughout all the ages, “Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!”

Everyone in this building will either walk out under the blood or over the blood. Either you will apply the blood of Jesus to your heart and be saved, or you will trample His blood under your feet. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me.” You cannot be ashamed of the One who died for you.

Would you confess Him today?

American at the Tipping Point

*** World History Institute ***

 

As Americans it’s time to dust off our Bibles and rediscover the loving laws of God. As G.K. Chesterton says, “If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the 10,000 Commandments.” In America today as the Ten Commandments have been ignored, the 10,000 Commandments have grown to hundreds of thousands of laws – resulting in chaos and confusion.

Anita Folsom

Are Social Scientists Really Scientific?

*** by ANITA on MARCH 28, 2013 ***

Historians on the left side of the political spectrum often attack the idea that America is the land of opportunity.  If they agreed that the United States has given millions of people a chance to improve their lot and the lives of their children, these leftists would be endorsing capitalism and free markets, which they are loath to do.

At the same time, to reinforce their credentials, historians and other writers often call themselves “social scientists.”  That title sounds so impressive–they must know what they are doing, to be “social scientists!” A scientist uses scientific facts to make further discoveries.  Thus, by calling themselves ”social scientists,” leftists give credence to their conclusions about American society.

My husband Burt and I have long admired the work of Thomas Sowell.  In his syndicated column, Sowell recently made these observations on the role of “social scientists” and their data:

“Those ‘social scientists,’ journalists and others who are committed to the theory that social barriers keep people down, often cite statistics showing that the top income brackets receive a disproportionate and growing share of the country’s income.

But the very opposite conclusion arises in studies that follow actual flesh-and-blood individuals over time, most of whom move up across the various income brackets with the passing years.  Most working Americans who were initially in the 20 percent of income-earners, rise out of that bottom 20 percent. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain in the bottom 20 percent.

People who were initially in the bottom 20 percent in income have had the highest rate of increase in their incomes, while those who were initially in the top 20 percent have had the lowest. This is the direct opposite of the pattern found when following income brackets over time, rather than following individual people.

Most of the media publicize what is happening to the statistical brackets–especially that ‘top one percent’–rater than what is happening to individual people.

We should be concerned with the economic fate of flesh-and-blood human beings, not waxing indignant over the fate of abstract statistical brackets. Unless, of course, we are hustling for an expansion of the welfare state.”

(Sowell’s column appeared on Townhall.com, March 6, 2013)

Philippians 3, The Things That Really Count

*** Webb Church, Pastor Gary Flynt ***

The Things That Really Count, Philippians 3

Philippians 3:1-9, verse 2,  verse 4, verse 5verse 7Verses 8-9,

Romans 4:5Romans 4:6Romans 4:7-8

Take a look at Philippians 3:1-9. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Tonight we’re going to talk about things that really count. Many Christians are spending their lives on things that don’t really count. If you’re living a life of legalism, you’re living a life that doesn’t count.

Paul had lived a life of legalism, but now he’s had enough of it. Jesus saved him on the road to Damascus. Now he’s going to fight legalism with everything that’s in him for the rest of his life. In verse 2 he said, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”

Who are these dogs he’s warning about? They are the Judaizers….the legalists, who would come after Paul had preached the Gospel and say, “You can’t be saved by just believing in Jesus; you have to keep the law of Moses. You have to go through certain rituals and ceremonies.” Paul says, “Beware of those dogs!”

In his own way, Paul is telling us that religious people can be some of the meanest people in the world. Remember, it was the religious crowd that crucified Jesus.

Don’t get fooled by people who are just performing religious acts. Some people may act very religious, but they are cruel and ferocious. I heard about a missionary who was cornered by a lion. He didn’t know what else to do so he prayed, “Lord, make this a Christian lion!” The lion stood up and folded his paws. The lion’s lips were moving and it appeared that he was praying. The missionary thought, “God has heard my prayers!” But then he heard what the lion was saying, “Lord, bless this food I’m about to eat.”

Some people may act very religious, but they’re cruel and ferocious. Legalists are in that group. Paul says, “Beware of dogs and evil workers and those of the concision.” The word “concision” means “mutilators.” Paul’s making a play on the word circumcision. He’s trying to show them that legalistic circumcision can save no one.

When Paul got saved, he realized that religion doesn’t save anybody. The world doesn’t need more religion; the world needs Jesus. There are millions of religious people who are lost. They’ve never been born again.

Paul was a very difficult person to win to Christ because he was so proud of his religion. I may be preaching to two classes of people tonight. Some are sinners and they know it…and they won’t come to Jesus because they think they’re too bad. But then there’s the self-righteous folks who won’t come to Jesus because they think they’re too good. They think religion is for the drunkard and the prostitute and the murderers, etc.

It’s much harder to reach a religious person than it is to reach an out-and-out sinner. That’s why Jesus told the religious Pharisees of His day, “The harlots and publicans are going to heaven before you.” Why? Because at least they knew they were sinners.

Most people in America are ego maniacs who are strutting their way into Hell. They think they’re too good to be damned. They don’t understand that they have to be born again.

Paul is warning against self-righteousness. He’s telling us that religion can’t save. He’s telling us that legalism can’t save. He’s telling us that ritual can’t save.

Paul opens the book on his own life. He’s trying to find a balance. He looks at his life before Christ and realizes that he was bankrupt in spite of all his religion. But after he found Christ (I should say, “After Christ found him…”), he took stock of his life again and found that he was fabulously wealthy.

We are going to see the bankruptcy of the old man and the wealth of the new man tonight. First, the bankruptcy of the old man. Paul was dealing with people who were always talking about how good they were. So in verse 4 Paul says, “If you want to get into a bragging contest, I’ll get in one with you. Do you think you’ve got something to boast about? I have more to boast about than any of you!” Then Paul goes on to tell of the things he could boast about in the flesh.

First, there was the pride of ritual. Verse 5 says, “Circumcised the eighth day.” Paul had all the rituals performed on him from the eighth day of his life forward. Some people still think that ritual will save them. Some people think they’re going to Heaven just because they’ve been baptized. But baptism, whether it’s a spoonful or a tank full, won’t save anybody. You don’t get baptized to get saved; you get baptized to demonstrate that you are saved.

But not only did Paul have the pride of ritual; he had the pride of relationship. He says, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel…” He had a fine family tree. He was from the Jewish aristocracy. But Paul finally came to the realization that God doesn’t have any grandchildren….only children. Your mom and dad may be right with God, but that doesn’t make you right with God. You may come from the finest family in this church, but that’s not the issue. The issue is this: Have you been born again? Your parents may be right with God, but that doesn’t make you God’s grandchild.

Then Paul had the pride of respectability. He says he’s from, “…the tribe of Benjamin.” The other tribes had gone astray, but not the tribe of Benjamin. You may be the most highly esteemed and respected person in your church, but you may also be just as lost as a bootlegger! Family tradition can’t change a sinful heart.

Next, he had the pride of race. He says he’s, “…a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” There was no Gentile blood in his family. His family didn’t take on the ways of the Greeks. There were no Helenists in his family. But Paul discovered that it’s not race, but grace that gets a man into Heaven.

Then he has the pride of religion. “As touching the law, a Pharisee.” You talk about belonging to the right church! He was intensely orthodox. He had zeal! He had defended his religion. He persecuted the church because he was standing up for his religion. People can talk religion and be very mean!

A little boy came running into the living room holding a dead mouse by the tail. He said, “Mamma, look! I beat him with a broomstick, then I ran over him with my tricycle, and then I stomped on him!” About that time the boy saw that the minister was in his house and he said, “And then the Lord called him home.”

So religious….but so mean! That’s the way the Pharisees were. Paul was a Pharisee, but he spent the first part of his life persecuting the church.

Next, he had the pride of reputation. “…touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” If you would have followed Paul around before he got saved you would have said, “My, what a good man!” Paul had enough sense to know that he wasn’t sinless before God, but he was blameless before men. No one could have pointed a finger at Paul and said, “He’s a thief, or a liar, or a pervert.” No, sir! He was blameless.

If religion could get a man to Heaven, then it would certainly have gotten Paul to Heaven. But Paul said, “I took all of this wealth of heritage, and religion and reputation and such and it all added up to zero!” In verse 7 he said, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”

It’s like the guy who tried to deduct his wife’s beauty parlor treatments off his income tax. The IRS agent said, “You can’t do that!” The man said, “Why not? It was a total loss!”

That’s what Paul is saying here. “All my goodness and all my heritage was a total loss. They didn’t do one thing to bring me closer to Jesus Christ.”

Good deeds don’t save us. But the people of the world don’t know that.

Not only is there the bankruptcy of the old man; there is the wealth of the new man. Verses 8-9 say, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

You are only saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul had listed his race, his religion, his self-righteousness, etc. Those things aren’t bad in and of themselves. He wasn’t ashamed that he was a Hebrew. He remained grateful for that fact. He was grateful that he was a Roman citizen as well. There’s nothing wrong with trying to keep the Ten Commandments. But Paul is saying, “Even a good thing is a bad thing if it becomes a substitute for the best thing…..the new birth.”

Suppose you are a camper with a knapsack. You put your Boy Scout knife in there along with your canteen, your fork, your knife, your blanket, etc. You’re in an airplane that starts to go down. Rather than grabbing a parachute, you grab your knapsack and jump out. There’s nothing wrong with the knapsack…..it’s just not a parachute. That knapsack is counted unto you nothing but loss. Do you understand?

Paul says, “I count all these things but loss.” He wasn’t saying that they were bad things. But the worst form of badness is human goodness when it becomes a substitute for the new birth.

Paul had human goodness. He said, “If you want to brag, I can brag right along with you. I’ve got the pedigree. I’m a blueblood and a religionist, but I count all those things but loss that I might gain Christ.”

It’s so hard for some people to admit that they’re sinners. Eddie Martin was one of my favorite evangelists. He was giving an invitation one time when a dignified lady came down and took him by the hand. She said, “Mr. Martin, I should like to become a Christian.” He said, “Wonderful! Pray after me. Dear God…” She said, “Dear God.” “I’m a sinner.” She didn’t say anything. He thought she didn’t hear him, so he started over. “Dear God.” She said, “Dear God.” “I’m a no good sinner.” (He embellished it a little this time.) She still didn’t say anything.

He said, “What’s the matter, madam? I thought you wanted to be saved.” She said, “I do want to become a Christian, but I’m no sinner.” He said, “Madam, the Scriptures say that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” She said, “Well, if I’m a sinner, I’m a good sinner.”

He said, “Madam, there are no good sinners. I don’t think you’re sincere and I don’t think you really want to be saved. Go back to your seat.”

She drew herself up in a huff and started back to her seat. But suddenly she broke. The mascara started to run. She turned around and started to pray, “God have mercy on me, I’m a no good sinner.” Eddie said, “Now, madam, you can be saved.”

Some people just don’t realized how lost they are….and many of them are religious. Many of them belong to good churches. They give their money to those churches. They’ve been baptized. They have their names on the church roll…..but they don’t have their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They’ve never been born again. Jesus told Nicodemus, a better man religiously and morally than any of us here today, that he had to be born again. So do you.

Instead of admitting our lost-ness, we want to strut into Heaven saying, “Lord, look at what a prize package you’re getting today!”

When I was a boy, if we found something that didn’t belong to us we would say, “Finders keepers, loser’s weepers.” Paul changed that to, “Keepers weepers, loser’s finders.” Jesus said, “Whosoever shall save his life, the same shall lose it. But whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the Gospel, the same shall find it.”

That’s what Paul meant when he said, “I count all these things but loss.” He turned from his sin, but he also turned from his self-righteousness, which God sees as filthy rags. Paul wrote, “If righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

One of the first things Paul gains after being saved is “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.” Not knowledge about Christ, but knowledge of Christ.

But in verse 9 we see that he gained “the fellowship of Christ.” And in the same verse he says he’ll be “found in Him.” That’s a safe place to be, isn’t it? I am in Christ and He is in me. You talk about fellowship! You’ll never be lonely again. You may be alone, but not lonely, because Jesus is in you.

Paul exchanged a set of rules for a friend. Before he got saved all he had was the law: now he has the Lord.

But there’s not only knowledge of Jesus and fellowship with Jesus; there is the righteousness through Jesus. Verse 9 says, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Paul says, “I’m tired of trying; I’m going to start trusting. I’m going to quit trying to work myself into Heaven.” What a terrible taskmaster legalism is! Legalism doesn’t bring joy; it brings bondage. In Romans 4:5 Paul said, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Paul had been counting up some things. Remember, we’re talking about things that really count. His faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:6 says, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”

The word “impute” means to put on ones account. When I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ apart from my works, apart from my baptism, apart from my church membership, apart from trying to keep the Ten Commandments, He puts righteousness on my account.

That’s great news! Listen to Romans 4:7-8, “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Yes, I’m a sinner, but God doesn’t impute it to me anymore. I’m not righteous, but He imputes it to me. He writes “righteousness” on my account.

An old washer woman worked for a man who was cruel and mean. She got saved. She was so happy, but he hated her happiness in Christ. He tried to ridicule and belittle her. Finally he said, “Betty, you say you’re saved. How does it feel to be saved?” She said, “I don’t think I can express it in a way you can understand it, but it feels as though I’m standing in Jesus’ shoes and He’s standing in mine.”

A theologian can’t explain it any better than that! “He who knew no sin, God hath made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

When God looks at Gary Flynt today, He sees me as righteous as His Son. You say, “Who do you think you are?” I’m a Christian. I don’t have any righteousness of my own: I only have the righteousness that’s been imputed to my account…the righteousness of Christ Himself.

But don’t get the idea that because salvation is easy and free that it’s cheap. Jesus had to die in agony and blood to buy it for you. On the one hand is your self-righteousness and legalism, and you’re trying to be saved. On the other hand is the righteousness of God that comes by faith in His Son on the basis of His shed blood. Which do you choose?

You may be a good person, but have you ever seen yourself as a lost sinner? Have you understood that you need to be born again?

Some may think that they are so sinful that God can’t save them. But the Bible says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

The blood of Jesus can wash away every blur, every blot, every blemish, and every stain. You can never be too sinful to come to Christ.

On the other hand, some are cultured, religious, moral, and well mannered. But if you’ve never been born again, you’re lost. If the Apostle Paul needed to be saved, so do you.

Jesus is coming back very soon. “And when He shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”

Amen?

Philippians 3, The Four Keys to Success

*** Webb Church, Pastor Gary Flynt ***

Philippians 3:12-14, Philippians 3:12, Philippians 3:13, 14, Romans 8:18Psalm 27:4,

The Four Keys To Success
Philippians 3

Take a look at Philippians 3:12-14. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

I want to speak to you about The Four Keys To Success. Outside of Jesus, the Apostle Paul was one of the greatest men who ever lived. So, I want to talk about what made Paul the great man that he was.

Paul gives us the secret to his success in the background of the Olympic Games. He says that life is like a race. He often uses athletics to illustrate spiritual truth. I’m glad he did because I like athletics. I think this tells us that the Christian life ought to be exciting.

Some of you folks can go to a ball game and yell like a Comanche, but then you come to church and sit like a wooden Indian! Folks, we are involved in something that’s far more exciting than any athletic event!

I’m going to give you some principles which will help you to be a success in any realm of life. But first, you need to know what success is. Some people think success is spelled M-O-N-E-Y. That’s not success. You can be fabulously wealthy and still be a failure.

Some people think success is found in pleasure…in having everything you want. But pleasure is like snow falling in a river: it’s white for a moment, but then it’s gone forever.

Success is simply finding and doing the will of God. Paul says, “Oh, if I could just apprehend why I’ve been apprehended!” The Lord arrested Paul on the road to Damascus and set him on a new road. Now Paul wants to know and do the will of God…to know success in the fullest sense of the term.

The first key to success is to have a sincere dissatisfaction. Verse 12 says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”

Paul wasn’t satisfied. Oh, he was satisfied with the Savior and with salvation, but he wasn’t satisfied with self. A growing Christian is someone with a sincere dissatisfaction. He knows he hasn’t attained. He knows he hasn’t apprehended. He knows he’s not yet what God wants him to be. Someone said, “I ain’t what I ought to be and I ain’t what I’m going to be; but thank God I ain’t what I used to be!”

Paul knew that there was so much more yet to come. He knew he wasn’t perfect yet. Some people believe in the doctrine of sinless perfection. There was a man in a testimony meeting who stood up and began to talk about his sinless perfection, but his wife stood up in the back of the auditorium and said, “Remember John, I’m here.”

You know, and your wife knows, and the Lord knows that you’re not perfect. Not only should you admit that fact, but there ought to be a divine dissatisfaction with that fact. When you become satisfied with yourself, you cease to grow spiritually. You cease to be successful. You cease to learn.

A 14 year old boy dropped out of school and said, “They can’t teach me no more there.” He was probably right! He thought he knew everything there was to know.

If you’re going to have success as a Christian, there must first be a sincere dissatisfaction. One way you can always be satisfied is to compare yourself with other people. Just go out and find a lukewarm, carnal, good-for-nothing, lackadaisical, good Lord, good devil, type of Christian. Then you can lay down in the gutter along side of them and come up satisfied with yourself.

Or, you can become very discouraged if you measure yourself with someone else. They may be so much more talented and have so much more ability than you have.

Stop measuring yourself with other people! The Christian life is a race, but it’s not a race between one another. As far as our brothers and sisters are concerned, we’re not in a race; we’re on a pilgrimage. We’re traveling together, not trying to outrun each other.

The Bible says that we are to run the race that is set before us. Your body may be sick and weak, but you can run your race right there in your hospital room. But when you find out what God wants you to do, don’t get satisfied with where you are now. The moment you get satisfied and begin to think you’ve attained, that’s when you’ll cease to grow and you’ll never be a successful saint.

We sing a song that says, “I am satisfied with Jesus, but the question comes to me, as I think of Calvary, is my Master satisfied with me?” Well, if you’re satisfied with you, then He certainly isn’t.

The first key to success is to have a sincere dissatisfaction. The reason I use the word “sincere” is because some people will say, “Oh, yes, I’m not what I ought to be.” But they’re not sincere. The truth is that they’re perfectly smug and complacent about it. They think they’re pretty good.

Are you content with what you are? Do you intend to grow more? Or do you think you did God some kind of wild favor by showing up here at church? Do you show up here with a sign around your neck that says, “Please do not disturb?” That kind of person will never be a successful saint.

But not only must there be a sincere dissatisfaction; there must be a single desire. Verse 13 says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do…” Paul had brought his life into such sharp focus that he had one burning desire. Everyone who’s ever made a mark in this world has done the same thing. They’ve brought they’re entire life into one focused, burning desire.

If you want to be a success, you have to be single-minded. You have to say, “This one thing I do.” Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters.” James said, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Paul is thinking about running toward a goal. Can you imagine a runner trying to reach two goals at the same time? Do you think he’d ever win a race? Of course not! If you’re going to run the Christian race, you’re going to have to narrow your interests. Have you ever heard the expression: “He’s a jack of all trades, but a mater of none?” That’s the way many Christians are.

People say, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” But a successful person says, “Yes, put all your eggs in one basket….and watch that basket!” Get focused!

A river has great power because it’s channeled between the banks. But many people don’t have channeled lives. Rather than being a mighty river, they’ve become a stagnant swamp. Are you focused like a ray of sunlight in a magnifying glass? Are you saying, “This one thing I do?” If not, you won’t be a success in any realm.

You say, “I’m getting by, Pastor Gary.” Yes, that’s your problem. You don’t have a sincere dissatisfaction. You say, “Nobody can do just one thing. You have to have a job, you have to eat, you have to take care of your family, you have to rest and have some kind of recreation, etc.” Oh, I agree. But your job, your friends, your family, your rest…..all that you do….should move you toward one single goal in your life.

Your job ought to be part of reaching that goal, your family ought to be part of reaching that goal, your recreation ought to be part of reaching that goal, etc. That’s why Paul said in I Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient.”

In other words, “There are many things I can do which there is no law against, but they don’t help me reach my goal, so I don’t do them.” The word “expedient” comes from the same word as “expedition.” An expedition is something that’s going somewhere. It’s journey with a destination in mind. So Paul says, “I’m not going to do anything that doesn’t help me reach my goal.”

The way to test everything you’re involved with in life is to ask this: Does it move me toward my goal? Have you ever brought your life into focus and asked, “What matters to me more than anything else?”

Paul was a great man because he said, “This one thing I do.” Jesus said, “If thine eye be single, then is thy body full of light.”

You say, “That’s too narrow for me. I want to be able to fish in many ponds.” Well, that’s your privilege, but I’m telling you the secret to success. You must have a sincere dissatisfaction and a single desire.

I’m not telling you that you have to be a preacher or a missionary, but you’d better know what God’s will for your life is. That’s the only way you’ll ever apprehend that for which you’ve been apprehended. Have you prayed about it? Have you found God’s will for your life?

The third principle is a strong determination. It’s not enough to have a single desire if you’re not determined to fulfill that desire. In verse 12 Paul said, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after…” Underscore that phrase “follow after.” In verse 14 he said, “I press toward the mark.” The same Greek word is used in both phrases. It means “to pursue.” It’s like a hunter pursuing an animal. It carries with it the idea of intense effort and strong determination.

Paul uses the example of a runner who’s staining every nerve and sinew in his body to reach his goal. Some of you won’t succeed because you don’t have the determination. You have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude….therefore you leave it.

Have you ever noticed that when people start talking about liquor someone will say, “Oh, I can take it or leave it.” Big deal! That’s all anyone can do!

But when I talk about determination, I’m not talking about the strength of your flesh; I’m talking about the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. Paul knew what it was to be determined. He fought with lions, he was ship-wrecked three times, he was stoned and left for dead, he was whipped with 195 stripes, he had a long prison record, etc. Now he’s an old man and he’s in prison again.

Let’s talk to him. “Paul, you’ve been on this race track long enough. Why don’t you quit? After all, some of the people here in Arlington have quit. Some of the folks that use to attend faithfully aren’t here anymore. Paul, why don’t you just quit before you reach your goal? There are some people who used to be tithers, but they wanted some luxuries so they quit tithing. There are some who used to teach Sunday school, but they wanted to go fishing for fish on Sunday rather than fishing for men. They didn’t want to be tied down. Paul, there are a lot of modern day Christians who’ve just quit. Why don’t you quit? After all, you’ve had it pretty hard, Paul.”

The old Apostle looks at you like you’ve lost your mind! He says, “I want to let go, but I won’t let go. There are battles to fight by day and by night for God and the right; and I’ll never let go. I want to let go, but I won’t let go. I will never yield. What? Lie down on the field and surrender my shield? No! I’ll never let go. I want to let go, but I won’t let go. I’m sick, tis true, worried and blue, and worn through and through, but I’ll not let go. I want to let go, but I won’t let go. May this be my song amid legions of wrong. Oh, God keep me strong. I’ll never let go!”

That’s the way the old Apostle was. He says, “I press on.” So why aren’t some of us more successful? Some have never become dissatisfied with who and what they are. Others have not gotten that single desire. Others have that single desire, but they’re not determined enough to reach that goal.

Here’s the fourth principle: a steadfast destination. Paul kept his eye on the goal. In verses 13-14 he said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind…”

Paul had enough sense to know that you can’t win a race if you’re always looking over your shoulder. So he says, “I forget those things that are behind.” There may have been times when he turned a corner real well, or times when he passed other runners. There may have been times when he even stumbled and fell. But he says, “All that makes no difference. I can’t change the past. If I want to win this race, I’ve got to forget the past. That part of the race has already been run. You can’t win a race by looking over your shoulder.”

That’s why some people won’t win the race today. You’ve got your headlight on the rear bumper. You don’t have your eye on the goal.

Paul forgot about his past glory. It doesn’t matter what you were yesterday: it only matters what you are today. So put away all your press clippings because today is a new game.

Not only is there past glory; there is past guilt. Some of you have made some bad mistakes just like I have. The Apostle Paul had made some bad mistakes. He was the one who held the garments while they stoned Stephen to death. But he buried that sin in the grave of God’s forgetfulness and refused to be haunted by the ghost of guilt.

Maybe you’ve stumbled on the race track, or gotten completely off the track. Get back on it and forget the past!

Not only is there past glory and past guilt; there is past grief. Some of you have suffered terribly. So did Paul. But he refuses to drink from the intoxicating cup of self-pity. He refuses to sit around and lick his wounds. He said in Romans 8:18, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Not only did he forget past grief; he forgot past grudges. If there were such a thing as a right to hold a grudge, Paul had it. He had been mistreated, lied about, falsely accused, misrepresented, etc. As a matter of fact, he’s writing these words from prison. He wasn’t there for what he’d done wrong; he was there for what he’d done right! But he refused to be resentful. Rather than resenting, he said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I’m in therewith to be content.” He wouldn’t let his past grudges keep him from reaching his goal. “Forgetting those things which are behind…”

Then, “Reaching forth.” He kept reaching for his goal. There’s a little country church cemetery at the foot of the Alps in Switzerland. A young Englishman, who died while mountain climbing, is buried there. His name, birth date and date of his death are on the headstone along with these words: “He died climbing.”

I think we’d have to say that about the Apostle Paul. He didn’t quit!

Do you have a sincere dissatisfaction? Are you satisfied? Or, do you hope to do more? Do you want to be a better Christian, or are you content to limp into Heaven like you are?

Is there a single desire in your heart? Do you have any goal in life? Or are you just drifting through life? Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after…”

Do you have the determination to reach the goal? Are you willing to pay the price? Are you willing to drop anything that’s not expedient out of your life?

Are you willing to forget what’s behind you and to start today to press toward the mark? Are you going to press for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus?

There’s nothing more exciting than being in the race. I feel sorry for people who are just drawing their breath and drawing their salary. They have no purpose, no goal, no focus and no ambition in their life.

Before I close, I want to make something abundantly clear. When I talk about winning the race, I’m not talking about winning salvation. Salvation is not a reward at the end of the race; it’s a gift that puts you in the race. Paul is talking to people who are already saved.

Until the Lord takes you to Heaven, you can have a wonderful, thrilling time running the race that is set before you. Will you do it?

Dr. Benjamin Carson

*** Scripture ***

  *** March Speech 2013 ***

Proverbs 11:9

Proverbs 11:9

New International Version (NIV)

With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors,
but through knowledge the righteous escape.

Proverbs 11:12,

Proverbs 11:12

New International Version (NIV)

12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,
but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.

 Provers 11:25,

Proverbs 11:25

New International Version (NIV)

25 A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

 11 Chronicals 7:14

2 Chronicles 7:14

New International Version (NIV)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek

my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven,

and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Political Entrepreneurs vs. Market Entrepreneurs

*** Posted by Anita Folsom ***

 

 

What is an entrepreneur? The dictionary says an entrepreneur is ”a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.”  What is a political entrepreneur?  A political entrepreneur uses government funds in business, which greatly reduces any financial risks to the “entrepreneur.”

Not only do political entrepreneurs lobby to receive federal funds, they often work to pass laws that hinder their competitors. Thus, political entrepreneurs, one could argue, are really not entrepreneurs at all.  In most respects, they resemble government bureaucrats.

History is strewn with the wreckage of projects built by political entrepreneurs, and Americans would do well to learn history’s lessons.

In the early 1800s, the great technological innovation of the day was the steamship. Textbooks tell us that Robert Fulton operated the first American steamship, the Clermont, on New York’s Hudson River in 1807.  Man was no longer bound by the capricious winds of nature for transportation.  Steam-powered ships could move against the wind, meaning that human beings could finally cross the oceans quickly or sailupstream, travelling easily against the force of rivers’ rushing waters.

The economic impact of steamships was dramatic.  Further west, along the Mississippi River, for instance, goods from New Orleans such as furniture had to be brought north to towns upriver by horse-drawn wagons, which took weeks and meant that such items were luxuries that only the well-to-do could afford.  But once steamships began operating, prices of such goods dropped dramatically.  Soon a new settee or dining room table only cost one-sixth of the former price, because steamships quickly and reliably carried large loads upstream, which slashed transportation costs.

Robert Fulton began as an entrepreneur when he used steam power to give the public quick and easy transportation. But he became a political entrepreneur when he obtained a monopoly from the New York state legislature to carry all steamboat traffic in the state of New York for thirty years.

Fulton insisted that his monopoly meant that no one else could ferry passengers to New York City from neighboring states, but an enterprising businessman named Thomas Gibbons wanted to break Fulton’s monopoly. In 1817 Gibbons hired young Cornelius Vanderbilt to run steamboats between Elizabeth, New Jersey and New York City. On the mast of Gibbons’ ship, Vanderbilt hoisted a flag that read: “New Jersey must be free.” (Myth of the Robber Barons, page 2) For sixty days, Vanderbilt defied capture as he speedily transported passengers, lowered fares, and eluded police authorities.

The actions of Gibbons and Vanderbilt led to the landmark Supreme Court case Gibbons v. Ogden, in which the Supreme Court struck down the Fulton monopoly:  Only the federal government, not the states, could regulate interstate commerce.

Cornelius Vanderbilt went on to develop his own steamship company, and once again, he had to compete against a government subsidized political entrepreneur, Edward Collins. Collins’ company eventually went bankrupt, after wasting millions of tax-payer dollars. Vanderbilt’s line proved to be faster, safer, and much cheaper for consumers. Once again, the government had tried to pick a winner in a new business enterprise and had failed. Vanderbilt is the classic example of an entrepreneur, a market entrepreneur, which we will discuss in tomorrow’s blog.

The Moral Case for Economy, Calvin Coolidge

*** Hillsdale College ***

Amity Shlaes, Author

Calvin Coolidge and the Moral Case for Economy

AMITY SHLAES is a syndicated columnist for Bloomberg, a director of the Four Percent Growth Project at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and a member of the board of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation. She has served as a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and as a columnist for the Financial Times, and is a recipient of the Hayek Prize and the Frederic Bastiat Prize for free-market journalism.  She is the author of four books, Germany: The Empire WithinThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great DepressionThe Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy and What to Do About It, and Coolidge.
The following is adapted from a talk given at Hillsdale College on January 27, 2013, during a conference on “The Federal Income Tax: A Centenary Consideration,” co-sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives and the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series.

WITH THE FEDERAL DEBT spiraling out of control, many Americans sense an urgent need to find a political leader who is able to say “no” to spending. Yet they fear that finding such a leader is impossible. Conservatives long for another Ronald Reagan. But is Reagan the right model? He was of course a tax cutter, reducing the top marginal rate from 70 to 28 percent. But his tax cuts—which vindicated supply-side economics by vastly increasing federal revenue—were bought partly through a bargain with Democrats who were eager to spend that revenue. Reagan was no budget cutter—indeed, the federal budget rose by over a third during his administration.

An alternative model for conservatives is Calvin Coolidge. President from 1923 to 1929, Coolidge sustained a budget surplus and left office with a smaller budget than the one he inherited. Over the same period, America experienced a proliferation of jobs, a dramatic increase in the standard of living, higher wages, and three to four percent annual economic growth. And the key to this was Coolidge’s penchant for saying “no.” If Reagan was the Great Communicator, Coolidge was the Great Refrainer.

Enter Coolidge
Following World War I, the federal debt stood ten times higher than before the war, and it was widely understood that the debt burden would become unbearable if interest rates rose. At the same time, the top income tax rate was over 70 percent, veterans were having trouble finding work, prices had risen while wages lagged, and workers in Seattle, New York, and Boston were talking revolution and taking to the streets. The Woodrow Wilson administration had nationalized the railroads for a time at the end of the war, and had encouraged stock exchanges to shut down for a time, and Progressives were now pushing for state or even federal control of water power and electricity. The business outlook was grim, and one of the biggest underlying problems was the lack of an orderly budgeting process: Congress brought proposals to the White House willy-nilly, and they were customarily approved.

The Republican Party’s response in the 1920 election was to campaign for smaller government and for a return to what its presidential candidate, Warren Harding, dubbed “normalcy”—a curtailing of government interference in the economy to create a predictable environment in which business could confidently operate. Calvin Coolidge, a Massachusetts governor who had gained a national reputation by facing down a Boston police strike—“There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time,” he had declared—was chosen to be Harding’s running mate. And following their victory, Harding’s inaugural address set a different tone from that of the outgoing Wilson administration (and from that of the Obama administration today): “No altered system,” Harding said, “will work a miracle. Any wild experiment will only add to the confusion. Our best assurance lies in efficient administration of our proven system.”

One of Harding’s first steps was to shepherd through Congress the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, under which the executive branch gained authority over and took responsibility for the budget, even to the point of being able to impound money after it was budgeted. This legislation also gave the executive branch a special budget bureau—the forerunner to today’s Office of Management and Budget—over which Harding named a flamboyant Brigadier General, Charles Dawes, as director. Together they proceeded to summon department staff and their bosses to semiannual meetings at Continental Hall, where Dawes cajoled and shamed them into making spending cuts. In addition, Harding pushed through a tax cut, lowering the top rate to 58 percent; and in a move toward privatization, he proposed to sell off naval petroleum reserves in Wyoming to private companies.

Unfortunately, some of the men Harding appointed to key jobs proved susceptible to favoritism or bribery, and his administration soon became embroiled in scandal. In one instance, the cause of privatization sustained damage when it became clear  that secret deals had taken place in the leasing of oil reserves at Teapot Dome. Then in the summer of 1923, during a trip out West to get away from the scandals and prepare for a new presidential campaign, Harding died suddenly.

Enter Coolidge, whose personality was at first deemed a negative—his face, Alice Roosevelt Longworth said, “looked as though he had been weaned on a pickle.” But canny political leaders, including Supreme Court Justice and former President William Howard Taft, quickly came to respect the new president. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, after visiting the White House a few times that August, noted that whereas Harding had never been alone, Coolidge often was; that whereas Harding was partial to group decisions, Coolidge made decisions himself; and most important, that whereas Harding’s customary answer was “yes,” Coolidge’s was “no.”

The former governor of Massachusetts was in his element when it came to budgeting. Within 24 hours of arriving back in Washington after Harding’s death, he met with his own budget director, Herbert Lord, and together they went on offense, announcing deepened cuts in two politically sensitive areas: spending on veterans and District of Columbia public works. In his public statements, Coolidge made clear he would have scant patience with anyone who didn’t go along: “We must have no carelessness in our dealings with public property or the expenditure of public money. Such a condition is characteristic of undeveloped people, or of a decadent generation.”

If Harding’s budget meetings had been rough, Coolidge’s were rougher. Lord first advertised a “Two Percent Club,” for executive branch staffers who managed to save two percent in their budgets. Then a “One Percent Club,” for those who had achieved two or more already. And finally a “Woodpecker Club,” for department heads who kept chipping away. Coolidge did not even find it beneath his pay grade to look at the use of pencils in the government: “I don’t know if I ever indicated to the conference that the cost of lead pencils to the government per year is about $125,000,” he instructed the press in 1926. “I am for economy, and after that I am for more economy,” he told voters.

Coolidge in Command
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones,” Coolidge had once advised his father. And indeed, while Harding had vetoed only six bills, Coolidge vetoed 50—including farming subsidies, even though he came from farming country. (“Farmers never had made much money,” he told a guest, and he didn’t see there was much the government could rightly do about it.) He also vetoed veterans’ pensions and government entry into the utilities sector.

Perhaps reflecting his temperament, Coolidge favored the pocket veto—a way for the president to reject a bill without a veto message and without affording Congress a chance to override a veto. Grover Cleveland, who Coolidge admired, had used this veto in his day, as had Theodore Roosevelt. But Coolidge raised its use to an art form. The New York Times referred to it as “disapproval by inaction.”

Gaining public acceptance of having a Scrooge as president required playing the role of Scrooge consistently. Coolidge took care to do so, visiting his saving habit on everyone around him. It was at the White House dinner table, for instance, that Coolidge’s attack on “pork” became literal: At one point the housekeeper proudly showed the President the spread for a big dinner, and instead of receiving praise she was scolded for serving “an awful lot of ham.” She departed soon after.

The Hurricane Katrina of the Coolidge years, the great Mississippi River flood of 1927, wiped out many areas of the South. Yet Coolidge pointedly chose not to visit the devastated areas—sending Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover in his place—out of concern that a presidential visit might encourage the idea of federal spending on disaster relief, for which there were already advocates in Congress. This triggered resentment, which Senator Thaddeus Caraway of Arkansas expressed in personal terms: “I venture to say that if a similar disaster had affected New England the President would have had no hesitation in calling an extra session. Unfortunately he was unable to visualize the situation.” But soon thereafter floods tore across Vermont, the state where Coolidge had spent his childhood, and calls for him to visit grew loud—to no avail. “He can’t do for his own, you see, more than he did for the others,” as one Vermonter explained. Vermont, like Arkansas, would have to recover without federal intervention.

In doing research for my new biography of Coolidge, I reviewed his presidential appointment books and found a clue as to why he was able to be so consistent: sheer discipline. Coolidge and his budget director met every Friday morning before cabinet meetings to identify budget cuts and discuss how to say “no” to the requests of cabinet members. Most presidents give in after a time—Eisenhower being a good example—but Coolidge did not, despite the budget surpluses during his presidency. He held 14 meetings with his budget director after coming to office in late 1923, 55 meetings in 1924, 52 in 1925, 63 in 1926, and 51 in 1927.

In a conference call with Jewish philanthropists, Coolidge explained his consistency this way: “I believe in budgets. I want other people to believe in them. I have had a small one to run my own home; and besides that, I am the head of the organization that makes the greatest of all budgets, that of the United States government. Do you wonder then that at times I dream of balance sheets and sinking funds, and deficits and tax rates and all the rest?”

The Purpose of Tax Cuts
Speaking of tax rates, in December 1923, Coolidge and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon launched a campaign to lower top rates from the fifties to the twenties. Mellon believed, and informed Coolidge, that these cuts might result in additional revenue. This was referred to as “scientific taxation”—an early formulation of the Laffer Curve. And Coolidge passed the word on: “Experience does not show that the higher rate produces the larger revenue. Experience is all the other way,” he said in a speech in early 1924. “When the surtax on incomes of $300,000 and over was but 10 percent, the revenue was about the same as it was at 65 percent.”

Mellon and Coolidge did not win all they sought. The top rate of the final law was in the forties. But even this reduction yielded results—more money flowing into the Treasury—suggesting that “scientific taxation” worked. By 1926, Coolidge was able to sign legislation that brought the top marginal rate down to 25 percent, and to do so retroactively.

Today’s Republicans tend to take pleasure when the Laffer Curve is vindicated and more money flows into government as a result of tax cuts. Indeed, this idea of “scientific taxation” is often used to attempt to get Democrats to go along with tax cuts, as if those cuts are an end in themselves. By contrast, the specter of increased federal revenue rendered Coolidge anxious, personally and politically—so much so that he considered foregoing the rate cuts: “While I am exceedingly interested in having tax reduction . . . it can only be brought about as a result of economy,” he said at one point. He would not put tax cuts before budget reduction, insisting on twinning the two goals. To underscore the point, twin lion cubs given to Coolidge by the mayor of Johannesburg were named “Budget Bureau” and “Tax Reduction.”

In short, Coolidge didn’t favor tax cuts as a means to increase revenue or to buy off Democrats. He favored them because they took government, the people’s servant, out of the way of the people. And this sense of government as servant extended to his own office. Senator Selden Spencer once took a walk with Coolidge around the White House grounds. To cheer the President up, Spencer pointed to the White House and asked playfully, “Who lives there?” “Nobody,” Coolidge replied. “They just come and go.”

This view of government and his attendant insistence on economy made Coolidge few friends in Washington—a fact illustrated by notes kept by White House usher Ike Hoover. These notes record the excuses given by lawmakers for not attending breakfasts hosted by Coolidge at the White House: “Senator Heflin: Regrets, sick. Senator Norris: Unable to Locate. Senator Pittman: Regrets, sick. Senator Reed, of Missouri: Regrets, sick friend.” But as unpopular as he was in Washington, Coolidge proved enormously popular with voters. In 1924, the Progressive Party ran on a platform of government ownership of public power and a return to government ownership of railroads. Many thought the Progressive Party might split the Republican vote as it had in 1912, handing the presidency to the Democrats. As it happened, Progressive candidate Robert LaFollette indeed claimed more than 16 percent of the vote. Yet Coolidge won with an absolute majority, gaining more votes than the Progressive and the Democrat combined. And in 1928, when Coolidge decided not to run for reelection despite the urging of party leaders who looked on his reelection as a sure bet, Herbert Hoover successfully ran on a pledge to continue Coolidge’s policies.

Unfortunately, Hoover didn’t live up to his pledge. Critics often confuse Hoover’s policies with Coolidge’s and complain that the latter did not prevent the Great Depression. That is an argument I take up at length in my previous book, The Forgotten Man, and is a topic for another day. Here let me just say that the Great Depression was as great and as long in duration as it was because, as economist Benjamin Anderson put it, the government under both Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, unlike under Coolidge, chose to “play God.”

* * *
Beyond the inspiration of Coolidge’s example of principle and consistency, what are the lessons of his story that are relevant to our current situation? One certainly has to do with the mechanism of budgeting: The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 provided a means for Harding and Coolidge to control the budget and the nation’s debt, and at the same time gave the people the ability to hold someone responsible. That law was gutted in the 1970s, when it became collateral damage in the anti-executive fervor following Watergate. The law that replaced it tilted budget authority back to Congress and has led to over-spending and lack of responsibility.

A second lesson concerns how we look at tax rates. When tax rates are set and judged according to how much revenue they bring in due to the Laffer Curve—which is how most of today’s tax cutters present them, thereby agreeing with tax hikers that the goal of tax policy is to increase revenue—tax policy can become a mechanism to expand government. The goals of legitimate government—American freedom and prosperity—are left by the wayside. Thus the best case for lower taxes is the moral case—and as Coolidge well understood, a moral tax policy demands tough budgeting.

Finally, a lesson about politics. The popularity of Harding and Coolidge, and the success of their policies—especially Coolidge’s—following a long period of Progressive ascendancy, should give today’s conservatives hope. Coolidge in the 1920s, like Grover Cleveland in the previous century, distinguished government austerity from private-sector austerity, combined a policy of deficit cuts with one of tax cuts, and made a moral case for saying “no.” A political leader who does the same today is likely to find an electorate more inclined to respond “yes” than he or she expects.


Copyright © 2013 Hillsdale College. The opinions expressed in Imprimis are not necessarily the views of Hillsdale College. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the following credit line is used: “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.” SUBSCRIPTION FREE UPON REQUEST. ISSN 0277-8432. Imprimis trademark registered in U.S. Patent and Trade Office #1563325.

C S Lewis

‎”Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”- C. S. Lewis –English essayist & juvenile novelist (1898 – 1963)

Psalms 73, Webb Church, Pastor Gary Flynt

*** When Life Doesn’t Seem To Be Fair ***

*** Webb Church ***

Psalm 73:1Verse 2Psalm 37:23-24Psalm 73:3verses 3-10Verse 4Verse 6,

Verse 7Verse 8Verse 9Psalm 73:13-15Verse 14Hebrews 12:6Romans 1Romans 2:5,

 Verse 15Verse 16Verses 16-17verses 18-20Hebrews 10:25Matthew 18:20,

verse 21verse 22Verse 23Verse 24, Verses 25-28,

The writer of Psalm 73 begins with a conclusion, which is kind of unusual. They say that a good speech is one that has a good introduction and a good conclusion which are as close together as possible. But this writer begins with a conclusion. If he hadn’t begun with this conclusion, you might have assumed that he was an unbeliever. Here is his conclusion in Psalm 73:1. “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.”

He didn’t jump to this conclusion. No one should jump to conclusions. “There once was a dog named August, who was jumping at conclusions. One day he jumped at the conclusion of a mule: that was the last day of August!”

The Psalmist was not jumping to conclusions. After giving this matter a lot of thought, he says, “God is good.” God is good all the time. But the devil wants to get you thinking negatively about God. If he can do that, he’s opened you up to all kinds of mischief. So remember, God is good, no matter what.

The Psalmist not only begins with a conclusion; he begins with a confession. Verse 2 says, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped.” He had almost backslidden and turned away from the faith. He got to thinking, “Does it really pay to serve Jesus? Is Jesus fair? I’ve tried to serve God, but what good has it done me?” He’s almost slipped, but he hasn’t slipped altogether. Thank God for that.

The sister to Psalm 73 is Psalm 37. Just number them in reverse. In Psalm 37:23-24 it says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.”

This man saw four things that I want you to see, and you’re going to need these things in these last days. We are now living in a time when it is open season on Christians. Persecution, disappointment, troubles, heartaches, tears…..they are all going to increase and you’re going to begin to wonder, “What’s gone wrong?”

The first thing the Psalmist saw was the prosperity of the sinners. Look at Psalm 73:3. “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

Only a fool envies a fool. And the Psalmist confesses this. He says in verses 3-10, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plaqued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about like a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.”

In other words, these people get to taste the last drop of life. The Psalmist is a believer who has been serving God, but he’s looking around now. He sees the plenty and the possessions of the sinners. But learn this: not all godly people are poor, and not all ungodly people are rich. This just happens to be what this man has his eyes on. He just picked out some prosperous wicked people and set his eyes upon them.

But not only does he see the prosperity of the sinners; he sees the peace of the sinners. Verse 4 says, “For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.” In other words, they die an easy death. You’d think that they’d be crying out to God for mercy, but they die with a smile on their face.

If a man doesn’t understand the judgment that’s coming, he’ll live high, wide and handsome. The Psalmist looks at this and says, “Look at their prosperity and peacefulness.”

Then he sees the pride of the sinners. Verse 6 says, “Therefore pride compasseth them about like a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.” They wear their pride like a gold chain around their neck. They’re so arrogant that they can strut while sitting down! The Psalmist says, “Look how violent they are….and they live for self alone.”

Then he notices the pleasures of the sinners. Verse 7 says, “Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.” They have stuff in the garage, and stuff in the attic, and stuff in all their closets and they’ve got money in the bank! The Psalmist says, “That fat cat! He doesn’t need all that stuff! Here I am trying to serve God and I have to try to beat my checks down to the bank to keep from being overdrawn. Where’s all these Cadillac’s and cash these charismatic joy boys keep talking about on TV?”

Then he sees the perversity of the sinners. Verse 8 says, “They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.” They are rotten through and through and they are corrupt.

Then he sees the pomposity of the sinners. Verse 9 says, “They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.” These are people with a walking tongue. I’ve never heard such arrogance and pomposity as I hear today in a society that has no fear of God. The Psalmist sees this, too.

But then he sees the profanity of the sinners. Again in verse 9 he says, “They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.” They take God’s name in vain. He sees all this and says, “God, this isn’t fair! These are wicked people!”

If you’re not careful, you’ll become just like this man. You’ll take your eyes off of Jesus and you’ll put your eyes on the sins of those for whom Jesus died. And you’ll begin to think negatively about God. And if you’re not careful, your feet will begin to slip.

First, he sees the prosperity of the sinners. This is compounded by the problems of the saints. If the sinner prospered and the saint did, too, it might be alright.

He’s been looking outward, but now he begins to look inward. Look at Psalm 73:13-15. “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.”

This man is beginning to drink from the intoxicating cup of self-pity. He’s beginning to feel sorry for himself. Look at how many times he uses the words, “I” and “me” and “my.” He’s egocentric and he’s having a pity party with I, myself and me.

Why is he feeling sorry for himself? He had a cleansed life. It’s not that he’s harboring sin in his heart. He says, “I’ve cleansed my heart….in vain.” In other words, “What good did it do?” He had come to God and he’d confessed and cleansed his heart.

He also had a chastened life. Verse 14 says, “For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.” You’d think that if a man had a clear conscience before God, and if he had a cleansed life and was living in innocence, that God would be pouring our blessings upon him. But he says, “I don’t get blessings: I get chastened. Every morning it begins all over again.” He’s expecting joy and happiness, but it didn’t come. Why?

Folks, God deals with the devil’s crowd on a credit basis, but He deals with His own children on a cash basis. If you’re a child of God, He’ll chastise you whenever you need it. It may be a correcting discipline or something that will cause you to grow. David said in another Psalm, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes.” Sometimes, the only way we can see clearly is through eyes that have been cleansed with tears.

Yes, sometimes God will chastise us because we have done wrong. That’s not a sign that He doesn’t love us. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Father loves He chastens.”

Does God step in and chastise these people who are arrogant, lost, and living high, wide and handsome? No. As a matter of fact, God may step away from them. Three times in Romans 1 it says, “God gave them up, God gave them up, God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” In Romans 2:5 God says, “After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” In other words, you’re putting wrath in the bank, waiting for it to come due, and one day judgment will come.

You may be an unsaved person here this morning and you’re thinking, “I get along better than my Christian neighbors.” Sure you do. God’s not going to touch you now. “Whom the Lord loves, He chastens.”

Your kids may be playing with the neighbor’s kids when they get into something they’re not supposed to. You can call your kids in and give them a little peach tree tea! But especially in this sue-happy day, you’d better not whip the neighbor’s kids! You don’t touch them because they’re not yours. The Lord scourges every son whom He receives and loves.

If you can live in sin and God doesn’t chastise you for it; don’t boast about that. God deals with the devil’s crowd later. They’re just storing up wrath against the day of wrath. But if you’re a child of God, God will chasten you right now. The Psalmist says, “Every morning if you need it.”

He had a cleansed life, he had a chastened life; but he also had a confused life. Verse 15 says, “If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.”

He says, “I can’t even stand up in church and tell people how I feel about these fat cats who don’t serve God and yet they prosper, because if I did, I would offend them. Verse 16 says, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me.” In other words, “I just can’t figure it out.”

First, there is the prosperity of the sinner. Secondly, there are the problems of the saints. Thirdly, he saw the perspective of the sanctuary. Verses 16-17 say, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” You should circle the word “until.”

Look at verses 18-20. “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” When he goes to church he gets a new perspective.

Do you know what’s wrong with this man? He’s been missing the worship services. Hebrews 10:25 tells us that we’re not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, and so much the more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. The closer we get to the Second Coming of Jesus, the more we need one another.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve preached messages that I knew would help someone in the congregation, but they allowed the devil to keep them out of the worship service that day, so they missed their help.

This man had been missing church and had been away from the presence of the Lord. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

You are richer, stronger and more full of faith for just having been here this morning. You are better just because you’ve heard the singing, and seen the smiles, and gotten the hugs, and felt the glory of God. There’s something about the perspective of the sanctuary that’s wonderful.

The Psalmist said, “When I went to church, I saw how things come out in the end.” “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”

After he’s seen the perspective of the sanctuary, he realizes how foolish he’s been. Look at verse 21. “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.” In other words, “I’m ashamed of myself for thinking this way about God.”

Look at verse 22. “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” In other words, “God, what a dumb donkey I was! Here I am like a dumb beast envying fools!”

When life doesn’t seem fair, you might look around and see the prosperity of the sinners and the problems of the saints: but if you get the perspective of the sanctuary it will end with you rejoicing in the presence of the Sovereign.

This man begins to think about what he has. Look at verse 23. “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.”

There’s the continual presence of God. What would it mean for you and me not to have the presence of Jesus? Jesus says, “Lo, I am with you always.”

But not only is there the personal presence of Jesus; there is the power of God. Verse 23 says, “Thou hast holden me by my right hand.”

I have been preaching the Gospel for close to 40 years and God has never failed me yet. He’s brought me through some incredible things.

Next, there is the purpose of God. Verse 24 says, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel…” We aren’t like a ship without a sail on a dark and stormy night. “All the way my Savior leads me, what have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercies, who through life had been my guide? Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, here by faith in Him to dwell, I know what ere befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.”

There is the presence, the power and the purpose of God, but there is also the promise of God. Verse 24 says, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”

Were going to Heaven! These others we’ve been jealous of are going to Hell! Why envy sinners? Just think of what we have in the Lord Jesus Christ! It will be worth it all when we see Jesus….the One who’s with us continually, the One who holds us by the right hand, the One who guides us by His counsel, and the One who receives us into glory.

The Psalmist comes to the conclusion in verses 25-28. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.”

Friend, it pays to serve Jesus. Don’t let the devil get you to thinking negatively about God. Take your eyes off these hell-bound sinners and never be envious of them. “Though the pathway to Jesus may sometimes seem dre’er, it pays to serve Jesus each day.”

Would you give your life to Him and begin to serve Him today?

War: This Calls for ……..

*** This Calls for War ***

 

Samson arrives late in the period of the judges. It is not entirely certain when, exactly, he appears, but his particular fight is with the Philistines, the same foe that plagues Israel through much of the books of Samuel. This is the latter of the enemies dealt with in Judges, and thus Samson would have been in this period as well. Recent work on the chronology of this period suggests that Samson and Samuel are actually the same age. Indeed, if the “house” full of Philistine lords and princes was actually the temple of Dagon (Jdg. 16), as many commentators suggest, then this would had to have happened after the capture of the ark in 1 Samuel 4–5 when it was placed in the temple of Dagon. Samson would have been around during this time, then. The narrative of Samson begins by noting that the Israelites had rebelled and God had delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years. This period appears to have ended at the battle of Ebenezer (1 Sam. 7) which concludes saying that the Philistines were defeated and never entered within the borders of the land of Israel again.[3]

Higgins Boats

A Tribute to Andrew Jackson Higgins

Posted: 07 Mar 2013 06:05 AM PST

Posted by Anita Folsom

Seventy years ago this spring, in 1943, Andrew Higgins won a hard fought campaign against a stubborn adversary.  He wasn’t directly in combat with the Nazis or the Japanese.  In his struggle, he had been up against U.S. Navy bureaucracy.

Andrew Higgins was a man’s man, hard talking, blunt, and incredibly knowledgeable about boat building. Although he was born and raised in Nebraska, Higgins loved boats and forestry, so he moved south in 1906 to pursue his career in southern Alabama. It wasn’t long until he was in New Orleans, building boats and learning about naval architecture.

He hadn’t finished high school in Nebraska, but he wanted to improve boat designs and knew he needed to learn.  He studied naval designs through correspondence courses, and he observed nature to see how animals moved in the water.

Higgins Industries became a leader in the building of shallow-draft boats that were ideal for the waters of the Louisiana bayous.  Oil companies bought his boats so that their engineers could reach oil wells in remote locations, both in the U.S. and Latin America. Trappers in Louisiana loved the boats as well, because they could reach their trap lines along shallow rivers and swamps.

Higgins tried to convince the U.S. military that his unusual looking boat could be modified to carry soldiers from ship to shore.  The U.S. Marines immediately became enthusiastic supporters of what they called Higgins boats.  A Marine’s job in combat is to make an amphibious landing, and Marine commanders could see that Higgins boats gave them a big advantage:  Higgins’ design would keep going over small obstacles, such as sand bars or logs, and could be steered right up on the beach. The motor was powerful enough to retract the boat away from the beach after all the Marines had landed.

But the U.S. Navy was another matter.  Navy bureaucrats were older officers who were determined that official Navy designs would be used to build the watercraft that ferried Americans to shore.  The Navy continued to build its inferior craft, even when deaths of servicemen resulted from capsized vessels in heavy surf.

The U.S. war effort was just decentralized enough to give Higgins a chance to go outside naval bureaucracy to prove his point. By appealing to Senator Harry Truman, Higgins won the right to challenge the Navy landing craft in a head-to-head contest at Norfolk, Virginia, on May 25, 1942.  The Navy’s Bureau of Ships sent their landing craft to carry a thirty-ton tank through rough seas, and the Higgins boat did the same. The results were dramatic.  During the race, the Bureau of Ships craft obviously couldn’t continue in the rough seas and almost sank. At one point, the sailors on board were sitting on the railings, preparing to jump overboard if the vessel capsized.  At the same time, the Higgins boat handled perfectly, landed the tank on the beach, and dazzled the observers watching the race.

Higgins Industries began receiving more contracts from the government, and Andrew Higgins’s mailbox was filled with letters from appreciative servicemen overseas who were using Higgins boats. But the Navy’s Bureau of Ships hadn’t given up.  Its tradition-minded officers continued to push for their poorly designed landing craft to carry Americans into combat.

Finally, in October, 1942, younger officers were appointed to head the Bureau of Ships. By the spring of 1943, the world recognized that Andrew Higgins was a boat-building genius.  Even Hitler, in the Nazi propaganda newspaper Voelkischer Beobachter, called Higgins “the new Noah.” American General Dwight Eisenhower simply called Andrew Higgins “the man who won the war for us.”