Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Having a Form of Godliness

2 Timothy 3

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

What does it mean to have a form of godliness but to deny its power?

It means to not really believe, not really have faith. How do we arrive at this conclusion? What is the power behind our godliness? FAITH

2 Corinthians 5:7 ... For we live by faith, not by sight.

This world is a world of faith suppression. Everyone lives by SIGHT. If they can't see it, they can't quite believe it. This is how men were sold the "pastoral system" ie the nicolaitan system from the very beginning. Men want their idols that please their flesh. They want to satiate the senses of the FLESH.

Case in point:

1 Sam 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

Men want to be like other men. Following and hearkening to a God that is unseen takes FAITH and faith is something thats in short supply in this world. American Idol, the pastoral system, give us a king like all the other nations its all the same thing, faithlessness, satisfying the flesh. This is what it means to have a form of godliness but denying its power. It means not being satisfied with following Jesus alone, men want Jesus AND their idols and that just won't work. You can have Jesus or your idols but not both.

I read an argument recently that said this:

2 Thessalonians 2:3 ... Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition

This guy argued that "apostasia"...really means a physical departure.. This argument went along the lines that people are being "saved" all over the world today so there really is no apostasy. Maybe the "apostasia" means physical departure in addition to actual apostasy, but to say there is no apostasy in this world today? To the author of that idea I say: "you must be blind."

If there really are all these "saved" people in the world, then where's the light that drives out darkness? Where is the salt that preserves the world instead of the rot we see everywhere? This is not a subjective evaluation, its an objective evaluation based on everything we see around us. Darkness EVERYWHERE. Darkness everywhere can ONLY be the result of lack of light. Light drives out darkness EVERY TIME no exceptions. When is the last time you turned on a light (that worked) in a room and the darkness did not instantly disappear? Case closed.

This world is being sent all kinds of "sight" stimulation to make the worldly believe a lie, but we don't live by sight, we live BY FAITH. How can this be stressed any more?

Hebrews 10:38 But my righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.

The righteous live BY FAITH. And we see another dagger in the heart of OSAS here as well: if he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him. What does it mean to "shrink back?" It means to return to where you started. The OSAS crowd would tell you that its impossible to "shrink back" but the word of God clearly states that it is possible and if it happens the Lord's soul "hath no pleasure" in that person. Does this agree with John 15 which tells us that those who do not "abide" in Christ will be cutoff, thrown out and burned up? You bet it does. Does this agree with few being saved (matt 7:14) and many who do all kinds of "wonderful" things for the Lord told "away from me you evildoers, I never knew you? (Matt 7:21+)" Yep, it fits like a glove.

What Satan is after is your faith. If he can get you to live by sight, to live by the flesh instead of by faith he knows he has your goose cooked. He knows human nature, and he knows if he can sell the lie of OSAS to men, their flesh will take off like a runaway train. Thoughts like "since I can't be lost/cutoff from Christ, I'll just taste that sin one more time..." Are you still wondering why so few will make it into the kingdom of heaven?

Why has the Lord been so heavy on this topic lately? I'm sure there are many opinions on this but mine is that faith is fundamental to everything we are and everything we do as servants of the Most High God. This is a hurting world and without faith, our Lord can only do so much for the lost and hurting. That means that YOUR (lack of) faith may be responsible for the lack and hurt of many around us. Want proof? Read on:

Matt 13:53 And when Jesus had come to the end of these stories he went away from there. 54 And coming into his country, he gave them teaching in their Synagogue, so that they were greatly surprised and said, Where did this man get this wisdom and these works of power? 55 Is not this the woodworker's son? is not his mother named Mary? and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? from where, then, has he all these things? 57 And they were bitter against him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is nowhere without honour but in his country and among his family. 58 And the works of power which he did there were small in number because they had no faith.

Mark 6:4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

The parable of the talents in Matt 25 has everything to do with the faith and belief you do or do not have. You were given a measure of faith to be able to enter "in Christ." (saved by grace through faith). What did you do with it? We know from the parable of the talents that those who used their "talents" (faith) were given MORE and the one who buried his talent, this was his end:

Matt 25 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There it is again, another dagger in the heart of OSAS. The unprofitable servant (one who WAS a servant of the master) cast into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Does this jive with being "cutoff thrown out and burned up" in John 15? Yep, sure does.

Faith is a fundamental. If you've buried yours then go dig it up and put it to work on SOMETHING for the kingdom. Perhaps put it to work believing for the members of your house that want nothing to do with Jesus today. Or start believing for the souls of the hardcore atheists like Bill Maher who so strenuously oppose us today. The most hardcore opponents today make the BEST advocates when they flip to our side. Put your faith to work today. Do this through prayer and as an act of your will. Labor with it, work on it day in and day out. Have something to show the master when he shows up. This is your act of planting and watering, leave the growing to the Lord, that's his job:

1 Cor 3:5 Who, then, is Paul, and who Apollos, but ministrants through whom ye did believe, and to each as the Lord gave? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was giving growth; 7 so that neither is he who is planting anything, nor he who is watering, but He who is giving growth -- God; 8 and he who is planting and he who is watering are one, and each his own reward shall receive, according to his own labour, 9 for of God we are fellow-workmen; God's tillage, God's building ye are.

Return to the childlike faith that is in Jesus our Lord. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. I don't know how much time we have, but I do know that the escape that's coming has the destination of standing before the Son of man:

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

The Son of man is not on earth, he's in heaven. Those found worthy of the escape will stand before the Son of man in heaven to receive rewards (crowns) that we see on men in Rev 5 immediately after the door open in heaven in Rev 4:1. Depending on how much time is left you might be able to add another crown to your reward, or for many you might just make the worthiness factor needed to be part of the escape.

Done for today, grace and peace