Quote for Today
“A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant”
“A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant”
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood*,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Wrestling is the reality of a life in Christ. The life of a healthy Christian is one of standing and contending for the faith. We must continually and intentionally withstand the world, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life and the subtlety of compromise and collusion. Warfare is the natural response of those who are alive in Christ. Many who call themselves by His name have no sense of the nature and intensity of this warfare. Paul is speaking from his own experience. To be alive unto Christ is to be an antagonism to the world, principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. To claim to be alive and yet not engaged in this battle makes us dead to the reality of a life in the spirit.
“I know your works.
You have the reputation of being alive,
but you are dead”
This is the Word of the Lord to His Church located in Sardis. How few realize the enormity of this Word. This is a church where His name is used freely and there is much activity with people who are eager to build up “their” church organization or fellowship. Wherever the motive is to be popular and relevant in the eyes of the world the preaching of righteousness is forsaken. This is the environment of a dead and impotent church; it has a reputation of being alive and “current” but it has ceased to contend for the faith. The “knowledge of the holy” is so lacking that people see no reason to wrestle with the unholy alliances of flesh, spiritual powers, spiritual wickedness and the resulting compromise. They have become insensitive to the contagion of the world and are unaware of what the “normal Christian Life” is. It is a situation that brings the very judgements of God! Consider the judgement pronounced on the Church at Sardis (unless they repented) and the greatness of His promise to those who overcome the apostasy and lethargy of their condition (Revelation 3:3-5).
A modern day “gospel” which declares that God loves His church and would never bring judgement upon His people is the LIE of the Devil himself. “You shall not die” were his words to Eve to deceive her into disobedience and judgment. Those who are ignorant of the warfare are unaware of the reality of walking in the Spirit. Deception is anything that keeps us from walking in the truth.
“The reason why men do not look to the Church today
is that she has destroyed her own influence
G. Campbell Morgan
“No one serving as a soldier
entangles himself in the affairs of this life,
that he might please the One having enlisted him”
2 Timothy 2:4
(See Part Two)
“Butter and honey shall he eat,
that he may know to refuse the evil,
and choose the good*”
Spiritually we are what we eat. The richness of the Word of God is revealed here as producing within the lives of His own discernment and right choices. How people walk reveals the depth and the import of their partaking of the things of God. In our day of lukewarm attitudes towards sin and conformity to the world it becomes clear that a religious gospel is not capable of producing a separated people. By and large the church is more concerned with the numbers in the pews rather than the righteousness of the people of God. The Word has been robbed of its power and purpose. Smooth things are spoken. Oratory has replaced the anointing. Programs and written resources have taken the place of the individual’s responsibility to seek God and His Will for themselves. Knowledge about God replaces the knowledge OF God. We have become as comfortable as Samson in Delilah’s lap. We have fallen asleep and know not the hour and the day that is about to break upon us. In our slumber we characterize those who cry out to the current condition of things as “legalistic” and overly religious. We have “discovered” new methods of evangelizing where we seek to appeal to the masses with a Jesus that can tweak human nature but still allow them to enjoy the world. This gospel is presented as a band aid rather than a cure; a new paint job rather than a new creation.
Unto those who feast upon the butter and honey of the word of God there is a growing ability to refuse evil and choose good. What a precious gift this is! Discernment is critical to our growth and maturity in God. Without discernment there is no ability to partake of the “strong meat of the Word”.
“But strong meat belongs
to them that are of full age,
who by reason of use
have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil”
Those who refuse the “butter and honey” of the Word cannot eat of the strong meat that produces men and women separated unto God. We read of Moses though raised in the very house of Pharaoh and given the opportunity of living a life of luxury…
to suffer affliction
with the people of God,
than to enjoy the
pleasures of sin for a season
Esteeming the reproach of Christ
than the treasures in Egypt:
for he had respect
unto the recompense of the reward”
This empowerment to esteem the reproach of Christ as “greater riches” only comes by the eating of the Word through obedience and having our senses exercised to see things as they really are.
“The issue is now clear.
It is between light and darkness
and everyone must choose his side”
(The last words of GK Chesterton)
*NOTE: The prophetic word spoken here of the Son communicates to us His manner of life and His Beauty. All that is true in Him is to be true of those who are in Him.
“…because as he IS, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17
“But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only,
deceiving your own selves”
Spiritual identity is the fruit of obedience. Those who hear the word without doing it will spend their entire Christian experience void of any sense of spiritual identity. They will remain undeveloped children of God without a sense of knowing their call or expression. This state of many of the people of God in our land is the result of an empty gospel that does not call men and women to radical faith; faith that is not in word and doctrinal statements but a faith that is characterized by obedience. James goes on to say…
“For if any be a hearer of the word,
and not a doer,
he is like unto a man
beholding his natural face in a glass:
For he beholdeth himself,
and goeth his way,
and straightway forgetteth
what manner of man he was”
It is in the doing that we grow into the knowing of who our God is and in the discovery of this we begin to lay hold of who HE is in US. Many go from meetings every Sunday, to reading the latest teaching on the internet, going to conferences, and accessing all manner of books and resources. Yet they remain undefined and lost in terms of a real knowing of who they are in God. This dearth of understanding within the household of faith cannot be remedied by more teaching and more sermons. One act of obedience will bring greater clarity to an individual’s heart than twenty sermons; the things of God become clear when we hear His Word and OBEY it.
“But whoso looketh
into the perfect law of liberty,
and continueth therein,
he being not a forgetful hearer,
but a doer of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed”
We do not see this expression in the New Testament. Men and women were of such stature that they knew their call and their identity. It is those who have come to know God via obedience that grow into confident expressions of His glory and power. Those who obey not know not. Forgetful hearing will never produce an expression that is able to articulate God with precision and power. Consider Peter as he interacted with the crippled man at the temple gate… “Then Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”. There was no prayer meeting just the simplicity of a man who knew that he was in God and that God was in him. The same Jesus whom he declared is alive in our hearts today to produce living epistles known and read of all men. The impotent gospel preached in our land is incapable of producing these expressions. The power and authenticity of a thing is revealed by its fruit. We need not look very hard to see what the “churchianity” of today has produced; an environment where many have become insensitive and unaware to the call of God.
God has called us unto GLORY AND VIRTUE not an impotent religious life.
“According as his divine power
hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to
GLORY and VIRTUE”
2 PETER 1:3
“giving ALL DILIGENCE, add* to your faith…”
II PETER 1:5
The key to spiritual growth and vitality is found in the heartfelt DILIGENCE of every believer. We live in a day when salvation is presented as an event rather than a life. In this scripture we see that it is a life of growing, a journey of development; in Corinthians Paul compares it to a race that must be run. Diligence is the passionate result of a LIFE that LOVES JESUS. It is the fruit of a heart that longs to know HIM more and to reap the great reward of a deeper growing relationship with HIM.
We are exhorted here in II Peter to add to our faith virtue, and to our virtue knowledge, to knowledge self control, to self control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness LOVE. Peter then goes on to say….
“For he who lacks these things is shortsighted,
even to blindness, and has forgotten
that he was cleansed from his old sins”
II PETER 1:9
Without the divine diligence working in our heart the ability to add these critical elements to our faith is missing and we become short sighted and blind in our Christian walk. There is no substitute for DILIGENCE. It is the heart beat of all who love HIM. In the Greek the word that is translated “ADD” is an *Imperative verb which by definition makes this word a command not a suggestion. It is the same verb form that is used when the Gospel is preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit in Mark 1:15 where Jesus speaks “Repent ye and believe…”
“And we desire that EVERY ONE of you do show the same diligence
to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful,
but followers of them who through
faith and patience inherit the promises”
The desire of every true minister of God is to instil and exhort every believer to maintain diligence to the very end of their life. Where there is a failure to admonish all to follow and seek HIM with diligence there will be a corresponding slothfulness in the people of God. They will be short sighted with no purpose in their walk with Him. They will have no vision to pursue and there will be no powerful ministration of the life of Christ within them. Short sighted Christians are passive and have no burden for the condition of the church or sense of their own responsibility to be faithful to the talents and the pounds that have been graciously deposited in their lives by the mercy of God. The day of the Judgement Seat of Christ awaits every believer and we will have to give an account for what we have been given. Woe unto the shepherds who have not presented a Gospel that urges the people of God to a life of diligence and faithfulness.
“Wherefore the rather, brethren,
give DILIGENCE to make your calling and election sure:
for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”
II PETER 1:10
* “The imperative mood corresponds to the English imperative, and expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding” Blue Letter Bible Greek Parsing Notes