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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guard Your Purity, (Part 2)

by John MacArthur - gty.org - (Article Link)
A key and often overlooked aspect of God’s goodness is that He doesn’t give us commands we cannot fulfill. He doesn’t taunt us with impossible directions or challenge us with tasks beyond our ability. Part of the assumption in each of God’s commands to us is that, through the assistance of His Spirit, we’re able to accomplish what He has commanded us to do.
So when the Lord commands His people in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 to abstain from sexual immorality, He’s not holding up an unattainable standard. The command to be pure is one we’re able—and expected—to follow.
In fact, the command comes with built-in instruction. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Paul wrote:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
In simple terms, Paul says that sexual purity is a matter of developing self-control.
Whenever I’m speaking to college students or other young people, one of the key lessons I try to drive home is the vital importance of developing life habits that train them to have control of their bodies.
And it’s not just regarding the area of sexual purity—self-control is vital in all parts of your life. People who have trouble eating too much, sleeping too much, talking too much, spending too much money, entertaining themselves too much, or who waste too much time doing nothing are candidates for major moral disasters. You can eliminate many of the most common pitfalls of sin through the basic discipline of self-control.
Paul was well aware of the need for self-control, even in his own life. “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Personal discipline helps guard you from all sorts of immorality and hypocrisy.
From a biblical perspective, self-control is about gaining mastery over your body and bringing it under submission to God. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:12). It’s a matter of ignoring the desires of your flesh and disciplining yourself for the purpose of righteousness.
There are two key aspects to gaining that mastery over your body. The first is to feed on the riches of Scripture. Consistent, faithful study of God’s Word stimulates your spiritual growth, sharpens your mind, and strengthens you against temptation. Train yourself to think and live biblically, and you’ll find it increasingly easier to turn away from temptation. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
The second aspect of gaining mastery over your body is starving yourself of opportunities to sin. You know what triggers temptation in you—avoid those people, places, and things at all costs. It does you no good to develop positive patterns if you continue to expose yourself to all kinds of input that corrupts your thinking. You can’t afford to toy with your desires and emotions—you’ve got to flee temptation and never look back.
The capper to Paul’s exhortation for self-control in 1 Thessalonians 4 is his reminder of our new nature in Christ. He’s calling on believers to live godly, self-controlled lives, “not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (v. 5).
Those words echo his challenge to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” The Lord didn’t sacrifice His Son and transform us into new creations just so we could wallow in the same kind of immoral filth as the world. We’re no longer bound to sin—we’ve been set free, and we need to live like it.
Biblical purity is impossible without faithful self-discipline. Cultivating self-control is how we’re able to avoid temptation and live the holy lives God commands us to live.
Next time we’ll look at why that’s important.

Does God Promise Health and Wealth?

One of the most unusual legacies of World War II has been what are known as the "Cargo Cults of the South Pacific." Many Aboriginal island people ranging from northern Australia to Indonesia were first exposed to modern civilization through the allied armed forces. These tribal people had absolutely no opportunity to learn the ways of civilization, but for a brief period cargo planes would swoop in from the sky, unload their payload, and then take off.
Many of those tribal people concluded that the white men were gods. When the war was over and the troops were gone, tribesmen built shrines to the "cargo gods." In fact, missionaries that have been sent to these areas receive a warm reception at first because the locals view their arrival as the "Second Coming" of the cargo god. But they are looking for cargo—not the Gospel. And missionaries say they find it very difficult to penetrate the materialism that is the essence of the cargo cults.
In recent years the Christian community has spawned its own variety of cargo cult which is easily as superstitious and materialistic as those of the South Pacific. Its leaders promise each believer financial prosperity and perfect health; anything less, they argue, is not God's will!
Such teachers have corrupted the heart of New Testament Christianity. They have moved the believers' focus off sound doctrine, worship, service, sacrifice, and ministry; and they have shifted it instead to promised physical, financial, and material blessings. Those blessings are the cargo that God is supposed to deliver to those who know and follow their formula. In their religion the believer uses God, whereas, the truth of Biblical Christianity is that God uses the believer!
Today's movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that ravaged the early church. Paul and other apostles were not accommodating to or conciliatory with the false teachers who propagated these ideas in their day. They identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them.
Paul warned Timothy about "men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness" (1 Timothy 6:5). Even way back then, Paul was dealing with those who thought godliness was a ticket for money. Paul further said to Timothy, "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness" (1 Timothy 6:9-11).
Know this: these false teachers are driven by a love for money! They develop a religion to accommodate their lusts. Peter wrote, "There shall be false teachers among you, who … with feigned words make merchandise of you" (2 Peter 2:1-3).
You show me a person who preaches the "Money Gospel," and I'll show you a person who has been corrupted by the love of money. Paul said covetousness is idolatry and forbade the Ephesians to be partakers with such people (Ephesians 5:5-7). mwtb.org
Condensed from a message given by John F. MacArthur, Jr.

If Christ Be Not Risen

"If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." (1 Corinthians 15:14,17). Everything depends upon this one central fact: a risen Christ.

His Claims Unfulfilled

If Jesus Christ had not risen, what would it have meant so far as He Himself was concerned? It would have proved that the greatest claims He ever made were valueless, and that in dying He failed to do all that His own teaching said He would accomplish. He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). The interpretation of His meaning came by way of the resurrection. For a sign to cynical seekers, He said: "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40). To the critical multitudes He said: "I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17,18). None of these things were true unless He rose again.

His Work Unfinished

If He had not risen, what would it have meant concerning His work? When He was crucified, one disciple betrayed Him, another denied Him, and then at the end of three years of public ministry we have the whole tragic story in this one sentence: "They all forsook Him, and fled" (Mark 14:50). With the death of Jesus, the whole movement was at an end—unless He came back.
Where is the Atonement if this man has gone down to death to abide in death? How can He break my bond, or set me free, or blot out my transgressions? If He rose not, preaching is empty. If He rose not, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins, held by them, bound by them, mastered by them, damned by them. If He rose not, His was an ordinary death, and the doctrine of justification is unutterable nonsense.

The Glorious Truth

"But now is Christ risen from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20). What glorious truth! The testimony of the disciples is our first line of proof. Their record of the Lord's various appearances, their unwavering testimony despite their own previous unbelief and the intense persecution they faced—that is the first line of proof. The testimony of Paul himself is also proof. What made Saul the persecutor into Paul the missionary? He saw Jesus and heard Him, and found out that He whom he had thought of as dead was alive, and so forevermore the motto of his thinking and preaching was, "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God" (Romans 8:34).

Not Vain at All

The Apostle says if Christ did not rise, then "preaching is vain," but for nearly two thousand years the preaching of Christ has not been vain. Pardon follows it. Peace comes after it. Power results from it. The final line of evidence of actual and positive resurrection from the dead is the church, that holy company of men and women and children, gathered from all nations—gathered as the result of the preaching of Christ crucified and risen. Individuals who trust Him share His life, and that life is manifest as it masters them and changes them. Christ is risen! mwtb.org
—G. Campbell Morgan (adapted)

Democrats Try To Lock Up Their Base

by Phyllis Schlafly Article Link

          "You have to decide what your goals are." That's what the Democratic staffer who wrote the marriage penalty into Obama's Health Control Law told a Wall Street Journal reporter. Indeed, the Democrats and their feminist allies have decided on one of their major goals. It is to increase the number of single moms by increasing the flow of taxpayer-paid incentives that subsidize the non-marriage lifestyle.
          The plan also includes locking in this group's dependence on government and allegiance to the Democratic Party. The plan is conveniently set forth in a 60-page document called "Advancing the Economic Security of Unmarried Women" just published by John Podesta's leftwing think tank called Center for American Progress.
          The Democrats know that 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election. It's obviously part their political game plan to reward that group and keep it in the Obama column.
          The feminists, who have always been anti-marriage and very anti-fulltime-homemaker, consider it progress that women are now half the workforce and are major breadwinners for their children. As chief feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her 1977 tax-funded book Sex Bias in the U.S. Code, the concept of breadwinning husband and homemaking wife "must be eliminated."
          When husband-breadwinner is eliminated, single moms look to Big Brother Government as provider. Democrats are glad to claim credit for facilitating the taxpayer subsidies.
          The Podesta opus sets the stage for the Democrats' legislative proposals by asserting that our definition of family is "outdated, stuck in the 1950s notion of a nuclear family that excludes too many of today's nontraditional families." Redefining the word family has been a feminist goal ever since Gloria Steinem persuaded President Jimmy Carter to change the name of his White House Conference on "the Family" to "Families."
          The Podesta document sets forth 83 pieces of congressional legislation that will funnel taxpayers' money to unmarried women. You can get the flavor and the message from the cutesy titles.
          The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act would "particularly benefit" unmarried women because women hold three-quarters of jobs in the education and health services industry. The Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act would require expansion in eligibility and benefits to help women.
          The Paycheck Fairness Act would "improve" the 1963 Equal Pay Act based on the falsehood that "women workers earn 77 cents for every dollar a comparable man makes." The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would benefit lesbian and bisexual women.
ENDA is propaganda that will actually discriminate
against groups such as Christians who have moral
convictions and refuse to hire and do services to
homosexuals, etc.
          The Living American Wage Act and the Working for Adequate Gains for Employment in Services (WAGES) Act would improve the pay of "traditionally female jobs" in child care, early childhood education, and health care. The Pathways Advancing Career Training (PACT) Act and the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act would give funding to states to provide training for and access to nontraditional high-wage jobs and careers for women.
          The Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act and the Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act would expand the definition of family to allow more unmarried women to use the benefits of family-leave laws. These bills would include unmarried partners and same-sex spouses.
          The Family Income to Respond to Significant Transitions (FIRST) Act and the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave (FEPPLA) Act would give women paid family leave. The Healthy Families Act would require employers to provide paid sick days, which the document says would help women because "women are disproportionately affected" by not having paid sick days.
The Domestic Violence Leave Act and the Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act would make women eligible for leave for a variety of problems connected with alleged domestic violence.
          The Starting Early, Starting Right Act would provide "high-quality" daycare. The Right Start Child Care and Education Act, the Helping Families Afford to Work Act, and the Balancing Act are all designed to provide cash and services to single moms.
          The Earned Income Tax Credit is already worth up to $5,657 for a single parent with custody of three children. The Podesta report failed to mention that the Government Accountability Office reported that the IRS estimates that between 27 and 32 percent of EITC dollars are collected fraudulently.
          The Democratic Congress repealed the essence of Republican welfare reform last year by providing bonuses to states that increase their spending on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Single moms make up 90 percent of TANF recipients.
          Even if all these 83 bills don't pass, plus others that give health care, housing and retirement subsidies, they illustrate the worldview of Obama Democrats and feminists. The bills also demonstrate how welfare, which was started by Lyndon Johnson primarily to help widows with young children, has in the hands of government ballooned into a spending monster. eagleforum.org

The (Fabian) Council on Foreign Relations & Their "Evangelical" Members

The Fabian Window
In 1921, a group of Fabians started the Council on Foreign Relations.[1] It included a mix of globalists, internationalists, and statists-not all Fabians but all Fabian-friendly. This same group helped give us the United Nations in 1945.

Volumes of books have been written on the unbiblical and anti-Christ objectives of the Council on Foreign Relations, and there is, quite simply, no reason I can see for a Christian to serve on the Council. Yet, sadly, Rick Warren and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention are both members. Land has spoken extensively about it on the radio and has noted that he was invited to join-which is not unusual. That's the kind of club it is. Land claims to have joined so he can be salt and light, but Christians are never called to compromise biblical principles in order to be salt and light.

While I believe Rick Warren is complicit in his participation with the CFR, I believe Richard Land is simply ignorant about the council. I doubt he's ever read Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. The CFR is eager to co-opt religious leaders so the organization will not be viewed as a threat to Christians. This is how they will infiltrate the Church. As my friend Dennis Cuddy has revealed:

Members of the Round Table Groups along with members of the Fabian (Socialist) Society as well as "the inquiry" formed the Royal Institute of International Affairs in Great Britain, and its American branch, the Council on Foreign Relations.[2]

Many of our elected officials in Washington look to the Council on Foreign Relations to set policy agendas. On July 15, 2009, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations and was introduced by the organization's president, Richard N. Haas. In her opening statement Clinton remarked:

Thank you very much, Richard, and I am delighted to be here in these new headquarters. I have been often to, I guess, the mother ship in New York City, but it's good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won't have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.[3]

In addition, the president of the European Central Bank came to America and gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on April 26, 2010, in which he used the phrase "global governance" over and over. Similarly, Richard Haas has declared:

The near monopoly of power once enjoyed by sovereign entities is being eroded ... states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies.... Globalization thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker....The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalization, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy.[4]

One of America's most influential families, the Rockefellers, was heavily involved in founding the Council on Foreign Relations. 
John Ensor Harr and Peter J. Johnson document in their book on the Rockefellers that John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was:

[a] committed internationalist, he financially supported programs of the League of Nations and crucially funded the formation and ongoing expenses of the Council on Foreign Relations and its initial headquarters building, in New York in 1921.[5]

The United Nations was birthed out of the Council on Foreign Relations on October 24, 1945, and the Rockefellers donated the land in New York City on which the United Nations headquarters was built. John D. Rockefeller was also a strong promoter and supporter of ecumenicalism. He once declared:

Would that I had the power to bring to your minds the vision as it unfolds before me! I see all denominational emphasis set aside….I see the church molding the thought of the world as it has never done before, leading in all great movements as it should. I see it literally establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.[6]

In his memoirs, David Rockefeller admitted to the goals of his family, which many have been alleging for years:

Some even believe we [the Rockefellers] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as "internationalists" and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure-one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.[7]

Tony Blair's work would make the Rockefellers proud as he set aside "all denominational emphasis" through his foundation.

In 1959, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund report entitled "The Mid-Century Challenge to U.S. Foreign Policy," outlined "the task of helping shape a new world order in all its dimensions-spiritual, economic, political, social." Notice that the first dimension they look to influence for a "new world order" (their words, not mine) is "spiritual."

The globalists are fighting to set up their own "kingdom of God" on earth. And they're getting help from many inside the Church besides just the high profile folks like Rick Warren. Many who call themselves Christians are part of Dominion Theology or the New Apostolic Reformation. But Jesus made it clear in John 18:36 that dominion theology is not biblical when He declared:

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."

Our call is not to physically build God's kingdom here on earth now. We are to be involved in building His kingdom in the spiritual realm as we preach the Gospel, which brings people to salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

Book description:
Brannon Howse echoes the warning of Jude 3-as urgent now as the day Jude first wrote the words almost 20 centuries ago. Godless worldviews have been eroding Europe's and America's Judeo-Christian heritage for years, but now the problem has taken a dire turn for the worse. While false teachers have been around since biblical times, infiltration of the church has increased alarmingly, just as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24.
Well known evangelical and pro-family leaders have joined in events, alliances, and common causes with a shocking array of unbiblical partners. As a result, many contemporary "Christian" leaders embrace and encourage the false Jesus and false gospels of Mormonism, the New Age Movement, Roman Catholicism, Word of Faith teachers, the New Apostolic Reformation, Eastern Mysticism, and the spiritual left.
Our bitterest philosophical enemies have made it past the gatekeepers of both mainstream and evangelical Christian thought, and anti-Christian worldviews have assembled within the walls of our churches. As a result, hostile forces wreak havoc in the minds and hearts of believers who are caught unaware.
In Religious Trojan Horse, Brannon exposes the outrageous breach of integrity in the Church, compromised by popular and dangerous teachings that are anything but scriptural. With thorough and precise documentation of every claim and accusation, Brannon shows exactly who is to blame and how. In this book, you'll discover:
·         How the philosophy and eschatology of false religions have infiltrated evangelicalism;
·         The saboteurs who have convinced 21st century evangelicals to embrace and promote heresies of the social gospel, dominion theology, ecumenicalism, mysticism, social justice, and communitarianism;
·         The real and present danger that a false church has brought "soft" persecution to biblically committed Christians-with worse to follow;
·         The potential for an apostate Church to become the catalyst for the coming New World Order;
·         How the Harlot Church of Revelation 17 will do the bidding of a one-world leader;
·         The threat that mainstreaming a blend of "signs and wonders" with mystical "Christianity" has already conditioned unaware sheeple to accept a one-world leader;

·         That the pro-family "industry" and its "culture war" have been an easy mark for infiltration by enemies of the Gospel;
·         How Rick Warren, Tony Blair, Joel Osteen, C. Peter Wagner, Glenn Beck, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Rockefellers, Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, Peter Drucker, Jim Wallis, Tony Compolo, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, and others have assisted in "building the religious Trojan horse.
Brannon explains how the world's religions are converging through a syncretism now supported by evangelicals. His revelations will shock you at first. Then you'll likely be tempted to despair. And make no mistake, the situation is grim. Yet Brannon offers hope simply by opening your eyes to what is happening and what still can be done. He charts the path on which we can return to truly biblical teaching, preaching, and raising of our children.
"Certain men" are indeed creeping in unnoticed, but God is still in charge-and working decisively through those who will not exchange any of the truth for a lie. Religious Trojan Horse will help you become one of the ones stand against the invaders.

[1] Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, (G S G & Associates Pub, June 1981), 168.     
[2] Dennis Cuddy, "The Power Elite Exposed," posted at: worldviewweekend.com, March 25, 2010.
[3] Council on Foreign Relations Address by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, July 15, 2009, posted at:http://www.cfr.org/diplomacy/council-foreign-relations-address-secretary-state-hillary-clinton/p19840
[4] Richard N. Haas, "Sovereignty and Globalization," February 17, 2006. Posted on CFR website at: http://www.cfr.org/sovereignty/sovereignty-globalisation/p9903

[5] John Ensor Harr and Peter J. Johnson, The Rockefeller Century: Three Generations of America's Greatest Family (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988), 156.
[6] John D. Rockefeller, quoted in James W. Wardner, Unholy Alliances: The Secret Plan and the Secret People Who Are Working to Destroy America, 1996.  (Privately Published)     
[7] David Rockefeller, Memoirs (New York: Random House, 2002), 404-405.

Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com 

By Brannon Howse

Email: Brannon@worldviewweekend.com

Click here for bio and archived articles

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"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him, in love, having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1: 4-6)

The Signs of Our Times
            We seem to live in "perilous times, the time that Jesus said would occur before His return. Today, there are many who have turned away from the one true faith, delivered once to the saints, and are deceiving many.  They are false teachers.  Some are denying that the first twelve chapters of Genesis are factually accurate and asserting that "science has proven that it took billions of years for the universe to be created, therefore it is not true that God created 'all things' in six literal twenty-four hour days and rested on the seventh day."  They deny "that there was a real Adam and real Eve" and deny that there was a real Garden East of Eden where everything "was good" in God's eyes. 

The Fall

            These false teachers deny that there is a real Satan.  They deny that Satan deceived Eve, and they deny that Adam joined her in disobeying the Lord God.  They deny that the punishment was death.  They deny the Fall of Man.  In fact, as a result of the Fall, all are "dead in their trespasses and sins and are, by nature, children of wrath."  They deny that many are "strangers from the Covenants of Promise, have no hope, and are without God in the world.  They deny that God banished Adam and Eve from the garden and posted an angel to guard the entrance into the garden to prevent Adam and Eve from re-entering and eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life.  They deny that Noah was a preacher of righteousness who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and in obedience to the Lord, built the ark.  They deny that the Lord sent the flood over all the earth to destroy all flesh except Noah and those on the ark with him, to redeem fallen man and to start over.  They deny the Great Doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement that Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us.  There are many and varied other deceptions such as the idea that salvation is universal or that once saved one can live as one wants to live, and one does do not need to obey God's law any longer.  In short, these false teachers deny the authority and truthfulness of God's Holy Word.  These are but a few of the matters and propositions that false teachers have put forward.  You may have encountered others.

The Truth

            The truth is that God's Word is true and righteous all together. 

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold; Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping themthere is great reward." (Psalm 19: 7-11)

            Jesus says that God's Word is TRUTH!  Indeed, Jesus himself says that He is TRUTH, (John 14:6) and that He "works all things after the counsel of His own will."  In fact, that portion of God's Word set forth above from the first chapter of Ephesians states without equivocation that He has done these things "according to the good pleasure of His own will," "to the praise and glory of His grace." 

I.       The Overall Purpose

            "According to the good pleasure of His will."  It is God's holy sovereign will that determines all things.  Paul is an apostle "by the will of God."  We are Christians because of "the good pleasure of His will."  He has "willed" us to be in Christ "to the praise of the glory of His grace."  So we see that our calling in all things is clearly set forth to glorify God.  In fact, the shorter Catechism says that thechief end of man is "to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." 

A.    The Problem of Unbelieving Ministers

                        Perhaps the single most problematic issue confronting the Christian Church today is the apparent growing number of professing "Christian" ministers who simply do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  Many of these people have various ways of expressing their disbelief, but the fact remains that for whatever reason, they do not accept the Bible as God's Word.  Jesus, the Son of God, authenticates the whole of the scripture and asks the Father in John 17 to sanctify His people with "Thy truth, Thy Word is truth."  The Apostle Peter says, "All flesh is like grass, and all the glory of man like the flower of grass, the grass withers and the flower thereof falls away, but the Word of our God lives and abides forever."  The implications of the passage are infinite.  First, the Bible claims for itself to be truth.  It is unchanging, and it lasts forever.  It is never out of date, therefore, it is always relevant for today because it is alive.  Indeed, Jesus is the "same yesterday, today, and forever."  This is very significant because God's Word is the standard, more to be desired than gold (the Gold Standard), and the standard is always the same.  A foot is a foot.  A pound is a pound, and God's Word is always "true and righteous altogether."

B.    The Synopsis of the Gospel

                        In the verses set forth above from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Church at Ephesus, the Apostle "gives us one of those extraordinary synopses of the entire Gospel.  He means that it is the purpose of God in Christ for His people [from before time began] to undo, to remove, and to rectify completely the effects of sin and of the Fall of Man.  It is God's object in salvation to completely reverse all the results and the consequences of that terrible and most disastrous event."[1]  Has God done that in you?  Has He completely undone and removed the effects of sin and the Fall of Man in you?

                        It is the clear effect of misguided, perhaps unbelieving, false teachers to contradict and to impair the Word of the Living God.  They do "lead astray and deceive" many from the Gospel itself.  The Gospel that is the "power of God unto salvation" to them who believe, but it becomes foolishness "to them who are perishing."  This summary of the entire Gospel is not merely my opinion, or even Paul's opinion, but the Apostle John states it clearly in I John 3:8:  "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."  The Fall was the work of the devil.  The destruction of the work of the devil is the work of Christ.  This is not an isolated proposition.  Learn it well, commit yourself wholly to Christ,  and you will begin to understand that you have been saved and set free.  The writer of Hebrews says:  "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself (Jesus the express image of the Father, who is God's last word to us) likewise took part in the same that through death, He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and free them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage."  (Hebrews 2: 14-15)  We have been set free in Christ!  We are no longer in bondage!  Christ has destroyed the works of the devil.  Embrace Jesus.  Look at Him and keep your eyes on Jesus.

                        God's Word tells us clearly that the purpose of God in choosing His people is to "make us holy and without blame!  God's purpose is to completely reverse and to completely destroy the work of the devil, the effects of sin, and the Fall of Man, and through the Savior's death, to destroy the devil and free men and women from bondage.

                  C.  The Contrast

                        These men who now profess to "being enlightened" and now claim that the Bible is not the authoritative, living, true Word of God should be filled with shame.  They keep men and women in bondage.  They should repent and confess that they are wrong.  Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said of men like these, "How foolish they are who think that you can pick and choose portions of the Bible and reject others at will.  The Bible is a whole, and we have no hope of understanding the New Testament Gospel unless we accept the first chapters of the Book of Genesis with their account of the Fall of Man into sin."[2]  God's Word is clear as to what you should, no, must do if you are sitting under one of these men.  Leave!  Find someone who is preaching truth.  Go to the website of mlj.usa.org.  They have resources available to help you.  This is what the Word of God says in II Corinthians 6: 14-18: 

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:  for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Be-li-al? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,' saith the Lord, 'and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,' saith the Lord Almighty."

II.     To the Praise of the Glory of His Grace

                  God has purposed to do this mighty work in His people "to the praise of the glory of His grace."  It is by grace, through faith in Jesus, that we are saved.  We have been saved that "in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."  (Ephesians 2: 7).  Paul expounds on this point in the third chapter of his letter to the Ephesian Church, where he reveals that God has done these things "through Jesus Christ, to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord."  This is all done "to the praise of the glory of His grace." This is amazing!  We have been saved "to the praise of the glory of His grace"!  This has been done so that the angels might know the "manifold wisdom of God."    The shorter Catechism reminds us that "the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."  If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, it thus follows that the essence of the most heinous nature of sin is that we fail to give the glory to God that is rightly due to Him.  The Apostle Peter says a similar thing regarding the angels in the first chapter of I Peter when he says that these are "things which angels desire to look into."  (I Peter 1: 12)  Are you living to glorify God?  Jesus says that "herein is my Father glorified, that you go and bear much fruit."  Lord God help us to bear much fruit to your glory.

III.    How Should We Then View Ourselves?

                  If you know the Lord Jesus Christ, you have heard the Good News of the Gospel of Christ. You have surrendered your will to God's will and placed your trust in Jesus to save you.  You know that "the Word of God became flesh" and "gave His life a ransom for [you and] many."  You know that "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  You have also learned that "[Jesus] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross," and you know that you have "been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus," all to the praise of the glory of His grace.  We should also realize that we have been "made accepted in the Beloved."  We are accepted in Jesus!  God looks on Jesus and accepts us.  But this statement which is translated "accepted in the Beloved" is even a greater blessing than it first seems. 

                  Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, in his great commentary on Ephesians, says this is even more magnificent than we may realize because the word that is translated "accepted in the Beloved" is "the very word that is used in Luke's Gospel, Chapter 1, verse 28:  'And the Angel came in unto her, and said, hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee:  Blessed art thou among women.' The Word means 'highly favored.'" . . . So we should read this passage thus:  "We know that He has highly favored us in the Beloved"![3] 

Mary's Response and Our Response

            God chose Mary out of all of the women in the world to bear His Son, Jesus!  She was created for this purpose, that the Son of God should enter her womb and be born of her.  When Mary heard these things, her response was:  "My soul does magnify the Lord and my spirit does rejoice in God my Savior . . . for He who is mighty has done unto me great things and Holy is His name."  He has also chosen you and me to be adopted as His son, and for Christ to come into you, in a sense as He came into Mary.  He abode in her, and He comes into me and into all of His children and makes His abode with us.  Wherefore, in a sense, as Christ came into Mary, He comes into us and abides in us.  We are "highly favored."  Paul stated to the Church at Colossae that this choosing of us to be highly favored in the Beloved is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."  (Colossians 1: 27)  Thus, amazingly, you are "highly favored" just as Mary!  God has chosen you and me in His infinite grace, and wisdom, and mercy, and love, before the foundation of the world to be "highly favored" in the Beloved to the praise and glory of His grace.  So shouldn't we have the same response as Mary? The very Son of God has come to dwell in you and me, and our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of God.  We should make it our purpose habitually to think of ourselves in this way as we walk through each day.  We are highly favored in the Beloved!  We should rejoice and remember that "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I who lives but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."  (Galatians 2:20)  Pray that those "ministers" who have been deceived might come to know the Beloved!  Look for God's man who is preaching holy truth.

            Now, unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, world without end, Amen!

[1]   D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, "God's Ultimate Purpose," pg. 95.
[2]   D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, "Exposition of Ephesians One," 1954.
[3]   D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones "Exposition of Ephesians One," pg. 135.

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By William Gray
Email: wgratty@aol.com
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Rich, young, and lost

I'm on vacation this week, so I thought I'd reprint this. It is an article I wrote for Pulpit Magazine back in 2007.
          Luke 18, Mark 10, and Matthew 19 give us the familiar story of the rich, young ruler. This story is perhaps the most commonly used model for evangelism from the Gospels, and provides a stunning insight into Jesus' approach to evangelism.
          Obviously the synagogue ruler did not get saved. This fact is essential in understanding how Jesus models " successful" evangelism. This is not to suggest that Jesus failed, but it does show that the goal of Jesus' evangelism was to expose the motives in the heart, more than it was to convince people to follow him. If anything, this exchange is remarkable because it shows Jesus saying things designed to drive this ruler away.It seems that many of today's gospel presentations are geared to trap someone into a logical corner where reason dictates that they make a commitment to follow Christ (if you want out of hell, if you want a happy life, if you want your hole in your heart filled, just repeat after me). Reason demands that people follow Christ, and God demands that people follow Christ. But Jesus did not appeal to reason or a logical argument when talking with the rich young ruler. Instead, Jesus structured this command in a way that caused the person to ask, "Is Christ more valuable than everything in life?" Most of our gospel presentations ask, "Do you want to go to hell? If not, then follow Christ." Jesus asked, "Do you value me more than everything in the world?"
          Jesus used the Law as an entry point into the conversation with the ruler. But, he did not use the Law to lead him to repentance. Remember that when Jesus used the Law, the ruler replied that as to the Law, he was blameless. Jesus did not argue with him. He did not say, "so are you saying you have never lied, not even once?"
          Instead, he set the whole discussion of the Law aside, and asked the ruler if he would treasure Christ above the riches of the world. Jesus used the ruler's self-professed obedience to the Law to make a dramatic point: law keeping does not save anyone, but rather treasuring Christ leads to salvation.
People need to know the bad news, that they are sinners, before they know the good news, that Christ died as a substitutionary atonement for their sin, and rose from the grave. But, when Jesus met the rich young ruler, he did not make the issue the Law. It is as if Jesus said to the ruler, "You have kept the Law your whole life? So what? You are lost because you love your life more than you love me."
          If I could change modern evangelism in one way, this is it: that we would stop reasoning people to a commitment or decision, and we would start calling people to deny their life, and follow Christ.

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By Jesse Johnson
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Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button.