Archive for October, 2007

God means it for good

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 at 12:44 pm

And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spoke unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:15-20

In the above passage, we see that God took a situation that man meant for evil and turned it around and used it for good. I was listening to a podcast of Alistair Begg and he mentioned how Paul was under house arrest for over two years at the end of the book of Acts.

And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had aught to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Acts 28:16-31

During this time, Paul was able to have visitors and preached the gospel to them. Alistair Begg also mentioned that no doubt Paul did not have the same Roman soldiers keep watch over him for the entire two years. Paul probably had many different soldiers guarding him during that time. When he said that, I remembered that several years ago I had read that parts of Northern Europe were evangelized by a Roman soldier who was converted during Paul’s ministry. The imprisonment of Paul was an attempt by the Jews to silence him – to keep him from spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. What they intended for evil, God used for good. The Jews’ attempt at stopping the gospel resulted in the fulfillment of Acts 1:8 and the gospel being taken to the uttermost parts of the earth!

That got me thinking. What else have men intended for evil, but God used for good? A couple of years ago, I commented that the problem the U.S. is having with illegal immigrants and them not wanting to learn English could be an attempt by Satan to destroy our country. Our country has been used mightily by God in the spreading of the gospel (although it is not the same as it once was). If Satan could divide our country in language and culture (as has already happened in many other areas), certainly it would weaken us. Satan saw how different languages confounded those building the tower of Babel and they could not complete their task. He could be using that to confound our country. So what good could God be working in all this?

Spanish is a language that is spoken by many people worldwide – I think it lags behind only Chinese and English. Most of the countries where Spanish is the primary language are dominated by Catholicism. Could God be using this influx of Spanish-speaking people into our country to see them saved and then take the gospel to their homelands and other Spanish-speaking nations? Is God preparing a great awakening of Spanish nations? Is this not a great evangelistic opportunity?

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Paul’s prayer requests

Saturday, October 27th, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Notice for what Paul requests prayer:

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Colossians 4:2-4

And [pray] for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ephesians 6:19-20

Paul asks for prayer for himself so he can proclaim the gospel. But notice where he is when he makes both these requests: in prison! He did not ask people to pray that he would be freed. He did not ask people to pray that his prison guards would treat him kindly. He did not ask people to pray that he would get good food to eat. He wanted people to pray so he could preach the gospel!

Reminds me of what the Lord Jesus Christ prayed: “not my will but thy will be done.” Our savior put aside his desire for God the Father’s.

Wow! For what do we typically ask? For health, for wealth, for comfort, for a good job, for a good car, for someone else to witness to our lost family members? May God help us to lose focus of ourselves and gain focus of the souls of others.

My new prayer request: if you ever are so kind to remember me in prayer, please pray that I would boldly proclaim the gospel everytime a door is opened unto me.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

New gospel tract

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Several months ago, this tract came out and I just got around to scanning it in. If you like it and want to use it, contact Hope Tract Ministry in York, SC and ask for tract #024. They edited it a little bit, but I still like it.

Front:
Cover

Inside:
Inside

Back:
Back

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Let your women keep silence

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007 at 8:46 pm

I was reading in 1 Corinthians 14 today and noticed something interesting. Look at verse 33:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33

It says God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Now notice what it says in the very next verse:

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 1 Corinthians 14:34

Interesting. God says he is the author of peace and then he tells the women to keep silent. They are right there next to each other. They have to be connected.

I’m just having a little fun with you. I hope my wife doesn’t see this.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Touching the Lord’s anointed, she bears, and naming names

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Some of my recent posts have raised the ire of some readers because I dared to say some things about a pastor – a man of God. I’m sure many have heard that we are not to “touch the Lord’s anointed” and if we do, we better be on the lookout for she bears. First, let me say that my recent posts said nothing untrue and that they were only pointing out false teaching. My motivation for doing so is that I know many who attend special events hosted by this pastor or who attend the Bible college headed by this pastor, and I do not want those people misled by his false teachings.

For those who are concerned that I might be devoured by some she bears, let me explain some things about touching the Lord’s anointed, she bears, and naming names.

Touching the Lord’s anointed

It is popular to preach that people should not attack the man of God and say things about him. We are told that we should just let God deal with him. One of the Bible passages used in support of this teaching is the passage where David finds King Saul asleep in a cave and has a perfect opportunity to kill him and take over the kingdom. Let’s look at the passage:

And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD. So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee today into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD’s anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it. The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 1 Samuel 24:1-12

David behaved rightly; he should not have put forth his hand against King Saul – the Lord’s anointed. However, notice what the passage is about: it is about murder; it is not about speaking out about false teaching. I agree that we should not murder the Lord’s anointed or anyone else for that matter.

Who is the Lord’s anointed?

Another issue we have to understand about that passage is who is the Lord’s anointed today. In the Old Testament, we see that prophets, priests, and kings were anointed for their tasks. In the New Testament, all believers are prophets, priests, and kings. All believers – not just pastors – are anointed:

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27

If a man is going to preach based on David’s example that people should not open their mouths about a pastor because he is the Lord’s anointed, then the man better also preach that he should not open his mouth about any of the believers. I am the Lord’s anointed. If you are born again, you are the Lord’s anointed.

She bears

Another popular passage that is often misapplied is the passage describing how the children mocked Elisha and were killed by she bears:

And he (Elisha) went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tore forty and two children of them. 2 Kings 2:23-24

The children opened their mouths against the man of God and she bears came out of the woods and killed 42 of them. Certainly, this seems to support the teaching that we should not open our mouths against pastors and just let God take care of them – or does it? What exactly were the children doing? Were they pointing out false teaching or were they mocking the man of God? They were mocking Elisha. I wholeheartedly agree that we should not mock pastors or anyone else. However, this passage does nothing to prohibit speaking out about false teaching.

Naming names

Some have a problem with naming the names of those who teach falsehoods. They argue that we should just note those people and avoid them. Certainly, we are taught to note them and mark them:

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17

OK, so we note and mark them, but should we name them? Paul does. John does.

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1:18-20

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 2 Timothy 1:15

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:16-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. 2 Timothy 4:14-15

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 3 John 1:9-10

So what’s it all mean?

We’ve seen that pointing out error is not the same as lifting a hand against the Lord’s anointed. We’ve seen that pointing out error will not result in she bears killing us. We’ve seen examples of naming names. So when should we name names? If a man is teaching something in direct contradiction to the scriptures, he should be named. If it is something of a gray area, we shouldn’t be so dogmatic. We could approach that person in a respectful manner and discuss the teaching. In the end, in gray areas, it is OK to disagree and leave it at that. However, in clear cases of error – like teaching that God can get tired or that He does not know what He can do – we should point out that error so others will not follow. We are to contend for the faith (Jude 3) – God has given us that task. It is our duty keep the church pure by withdrawing from and pointing out false teachers. Don’t just sweep the false teaching under a rug and hope that no one will be misled. We are in a battle and if our doctrines are weakened, how can we stand?

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy