Forgetting your sins have been purged

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 at 1:04 am

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 2 Peter 1:5-9

I used to think the phrase in verse 9, “and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins,” meant that the person forgot he or she was saved, that the person forgot he or she was a Christian. However, recent events have opened my eyes to what I believe is the correct meaning of that phrase.

Notice that the one who forgets is also the one who lacks the things mentioned in the previous verses. The things lacking are charity, brotherly kindness, godliness, patience, temperance, and knowledge. A Christian lacking charity and brotherly kindness is one who mistreats others – even other Christians. This Christian thinks himself or herself to be better than the one he or she is mistreating. In other words, this Christian has forgotten that he or she is guilty of the same sins and needed to be saved just as the one being mistreated did.

A natural behavior of one who thinks too highly of himself or herself is to mistreat others who he or she feels are worse. If only those others were as good as him or her would those others be worthy of charity and brotherly kindness.

This Christian also cannot see afar off – or in other words, he or she cannot see the forest for the trees. He or she cannot step back and see how he or she is lacking these things because of being too close to the situation. He or she will deny anything is wrong with himself or herself because the problem cannot be seen up close. He or she will refuse to hear anyone who tries to open his or her eyes.

How does a Christian get into a position like this? Quite simply, it is because the gospel has been forgotten. Maybe it hasn’t been forgotten in the area of trying to reach the lost, but it most certainly has been forgotten in the area of reminding the Christian from where he or she was delivered. When we reduce the gospel to a formula whereby we initiate new members to the “club,” we do great harm to ourselves because the gospel is the power of God unto us which are saved. When we no longer remember that the gospel is the power behind our good works, we think we are the power. And then our pride grows to the point of forgetting we were/are wretches, and then we look down on others.

Let us not forget the gospel. We need to preach it to ourselves daily. It is the power of God in our lives. When we begin to grasp the gospel for what it is, we will add brotherly kindness and charity. We will begin to love others. We will begin to treat others as we want to be treated. We will begin to show grace to all that we meet.

by Gordy

Burnt Toast

Sunday, December 4th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

A church member is sitting in a restaurant waiting for the toast he ordered. It is delivered burnt. He thinks Satan is using the burnt toast to attack him.

This same church member is sitting in a restaurant and sees a member of another church receive his order of toast and it is burnt. He wonders what terrible thing this other fellow did for God to use the burnt toast to punish him.

This same church member is sitting in a restaurant waiting again for the toast he ordered. It is again delivered burnt. He finds out the cook used to be a member of his church. He wonders why the cook is so bitter and is using the burnt toast to attack him.

How do you react to burnt toast?

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Excusing bad behavior (also known as sin)

Sunday, November 27th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I am grieved. There have been two recent events where those who name the name of Christ have belittled another. If that wasn’t bad enough, after being called out for the despicable behavior, instead of apologizing and confessing the sin, these people went on to make excuses as if that would justify the sin.

Sin is not justifiable. Pain from losing a loved one is understandable. Being low on patience because of a pregnancy is expected. Conflicts with family members will certainly raise the stress level. However, none of these should be used to justify the sin of belittling another. We are called to love one another. We can love because God first loved us. When we receive the love of God, but then do not share that love with others, we are like unto the man who had his debt forgiven, but then went out and demanded his debtors repay all they owed him.

Blaming our sin on the loss of a loved one dishonors the memory of that loved one. We make ourselves into an idol when we make excuses for our sin. We are saying we are above God’s standard. Sin is never justifiable. There is no excuse – we are without excuse.

Another reason I was grieved is because I saw myself from a few years ago. Excusing sin is a result of bad theology – a theology that preaches the gospel only as a means of entrance into “the club” but then ignores the gospel and focuses on getting the club members to keep the club rules. When the gospel is replaced by a list of rules and a list of standards for the church members to try to keep, the church members begin to think they are capable of living up to some “holy” standard. They foolishly begin to compare themselves to others and begin to think they are better than others because they are keeping the list better or keeping “higher” standards. They begin to forget that they sin every day. They begin to think their right standing with God is maintained by how well they keep the list rather than by the work of Christ. This inevitably leads to a holier-than-thou attitude, and when one begins to think he or she is better than others, then when that one sins against another who is deemed less right with God, the sin can be excused. This ought not to be.

We need to preach the gospel to ourselves each and every day. The gospel is not just the key to gaining entrance to the kingdom. It is the key to loving others. When we remember Christ’s work for us and how he loved us, if we remember how great our sin was for which Christ died, how could we not love others for whom Christ died?

People know we are disciples of Christ because of our love one towards another. Can people see you are a disciple when you belittle someone and make excuses? Jesus Christ suffered for those sins. He loved you so much that he endured the shame of the cross for you. Can you not show that love to others? No excuse is a good excuse.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Count it all joy

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4

Many times, when someone does us wrong, we are tempted to lash out at the person, or worse, at anyone who is near. Social media seems to have helped facilitate the lashing out behavior. I see many posts on sites like Facebook or Twitter where a person will air his dirty laundry for all to see because someone did him wrong and he is angry. Being done wrong does hurt, and it is easy to be tempted to hurt someone back. We are also tempted to tell anyone who will listen so that we can receive a measure of pity for our pain.

However, when someone hurts us, we need to overcome the temptation to strike out in anger. We need to overcome the temptation to display our anger on social media sites for all the world to see. It is easy to give in to the temptation and sin. It is difficult to count it all joy as we are instructed.

So how do we count it all joy? Take your eyes off yourself. Quit being self-centered and thinking about all your woes. Look to Christ! Remember how he suffered for your sins – the just for the unjust. If you think you are suffering wrongly, think of Christ and how he suffered for you! This is not making light of your suffering, or saying your suffering does not matter, but it is putting your focus where it does belong.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Jesus looked past the suffering of the cross at the joy that was to come. Look past your woes and count it all joy.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Protecting our children

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 at 7:33 pm

This is a great quote from the book “Extreme Righteousness” by Tom Hovestol:

As a parent of five, I too seek to protect my children from evil; this is my duty as a father and, up to a point, is necessary for my children’s maturation. However, I never want to be lulled into thinking that by limiting their access to certain people, places, and things I can lessen my children’s defilement, for they carry defilement wherever they go. Their fallen hearts go with them.

As parents, we want our children to know that the fear of God – not the fear of culture – is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). We must be careful what message we really believe about defilement. Sometimes our traditions inculcate a diabolical lie.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Simplicity in Christ and Checklist Christianity

Monday, October 25th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

Satan can corrupt our minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. What is the simplicity that is in Christ? To find the answer, we must back up one chapter to get the immediate context of this verse.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:3-12

Look at what the context addresses:

  1. Verse 3 states we do not war after the flesh.
  2. Verse 4 tells us our weapons are not carnal.
  3. Verse 5 says to cast down high things (what man thinks are righteous & holy) that exalt against the knowledge of God. What man considers to be righteous and holy, God does not. Men will consider certain things as righteous, but God sees them as filthy rags.
  4. Verse 7 questions why we would look at the outward appearance – how things appear. Do you base your decisions on how they appear to others?
  5. Verse 12 points out that comparing ourselves to others is not wise. Do you think your standards are higher/better than the standards of others? Do you think others need to be following more rules like you do? Do you think that others who do not keep as many standards are lesser Christians or even lost?

As you can see, Paul is warning against trying to appear righteous by fleshly means – by trying to look righteous in the eyes of men. Let us look at the example Paul mentioned: Eve.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Genesis 3:1-3

Did you see what Eve did? She added an extra rule (neither shall ye touch it) to what God commanded (Do not eat). Did Eve think adding a rule to God’s rule would make her more righteous? It was through this that Satan beguiled Eve, and was able to get Eve to follow in Satan’s sin, and corrupted Eve’s mind from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Satan was full of pride and tried to exalt himself to God’s place. Eve added a rule, was beguiled by Satan, and became full of pride wanting to be like God (knowing good and evil). When you add your rules as a measure of righteousness and holiness, you are full of pride, exalting yourself to God’s place, and your mind is corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

It is time to return to the simplicity that is Christ. That is not found in a checklist of rules and standards that you follow. The rules and standards God gave us are enough.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Appearance of evil

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

This verse is often used to discourage Christians from doing anything that might appear sinful to another person. For example, going to movies is discouraged because someone seeing you go into the movie house might assume you are going to watch the R-rated movie rather than the G-rated movie. Also, drinking root beer from a brown bottle tucked inside a paper bag is discouraged because someone might think you are drinking beer. These are some of the things I’ve heard this verse used to discourage.

I’ve also often heard there is a distinction between the words evil and wicked. Wicked is sin, but evil is sin with harm’s intent. In other words, all sin is wicked, but it is only evil when you intend to harm another. If I get angry and throw a plate against a wall, that is wicked. If I get angry and throw the plate at the person who raised my ire, that is evil. I’m not going to debate that distinction here, but I want to apply that distinction to the verse above. If evil really means sin with harm’s intent, then the verse above cannot be used to discourage movie house attendance or root beer drinking, because those activities are not done with the intent to harm someone. If we are to be consistent in our theology, then we cannot teach the distinction between wicked and evil and also use the verse above to discourage activities based on how someone may perceive them. That would be inconsistent and confusing.

For a better understanding of what the verse really means, read The Real Meaning of 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Posted in Explanations
by Gordy

Christians need the gospel

Sunday, April 18th, 2010 at 10:14 pm

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Romans 1:7-8

So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. Romans 1:15

Many Christians mistakenly believe that the gospel is just for the lost – once a person is saved, they move on from the gospel and learn Christian doctrines and practices. But notice what Paul said when he wrote to those in Rome. In verses 7 & 8, we see Paul is writing to believers – to those who already have faith. Then in verse 15, Paul says he is ready to preach the gospel to them. If the gospel is for unbelievers, why would Paul want to preach the gospel to them? Does he think they are false professors – pretending to be Christians? No, he says their faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. So why would Paul preach the gospel to believers? The answer is simple:

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. Romans 1:16

The gospel is the power of God. It is the power of God to save. It is the power of God to transform a life. It is the power of God to conform us to the image of his son.

The entire Bible is about the person and work of Christ. The gospel is about the person and work of Christ. A sermon taken from scripture that only presents the do’s and don’ts without showing the relationship to the person and work of Christ is not a Christian sermon. It may be given by a Christian and directed towards Christians, but if it is not preaching the gospel as the power of God, it is not a Christ-centered sermon. The life a Christian should live is grounded and nourished by the person and work of Christ. Don’t just tack on a simple gospel presentation at the end of the message. The whole message should be the gospel.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

A different kind of fool

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 at 10:47 pm

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Paul says it is not wise – in other words, foolish – to compare yourself to another man. When you make statements comparing yourself to another man in order to say that you are better, you are being a fool. When you say things like “I don’t attack others like some do,” you are making a foolish statement. When you try to prop up yourself by comparing your dress standards to another’s, you are acting foolishly. It is foolish to look down on another church because they do things differently than yours does. I’ve heard it – “well, that church has drums” or “that church puts its songs up on a big screen.” Those are foolish statements. It reminds of this fellow:

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:9-14

Don’t be a fool. Look unto Jesus. Compare yourself to him. You will quickly see that you are not all that. You will quickly see that all of us are in the same state and that only in Christ are we made acceptable. It is nothing we do, but what he has done.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Some thoughts on love

Saturday, February 13th, 2010 at 9:00 pm

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Hebrews 12:6-11

Many people think when you love someone, you overlook and ignore their mistakes. However, scripture makes it clear that God chastens those whom he loves. When someone God loves makes a mistake, he chastens them. Many people also mistakenly believe that chastening simply means a punishment – a spanking. Chastening can involve a punishment, but it is more than that.

Chastening involves correction and discipline – instruction that involves pointing out the mistake made as well as how to avoid making the same mistake again. Discipline is not a spanking. Discipline involves discipling. Let me use the illustration of a basketball player. Basketball practices can be grueling events – events that at the moment do not appear to be joyous, but grievous. But afterward, all that practice – all that discipline – pays off during the game as the basketball player properly executes when dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, defending, etc. The player was disciplined to perform properly. The player didn’t receive a spanking – he received instruction and correction.

When you love someone and see that person make a mistake, it is not loving to ignore it. It is an act of love to point out the mistake and help the person change so he or she does not make the same mistake again.

The same goes for loving a church. Oftentimes, if a person draws attention to something wrong in the church, that person is labeled as a complainer or a drama queen. He is told he doesn’t love the church like he should. People would just rather have the problem swept under the rug and ignored. Those that would rather ignore the problem and pretend it doesn’t exist are really the ones who don’t love the church as they should. The one who draws attention to the problem in hopes of having the problem corrected is the one demonstrating love.

Look at what Christ said to the churches in the first few chapters of Revelation. He drew attention to the problems and gave them instruction to correct those problems. He didn’t ignore them. He didn’t just hope the problem would go away. He didn’t sweep them under a rug. He shined a light on the problem.

We need people to love the church. We need to shine lights on the problems and try to correct them. It is what Jesus instructed us to do.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy