Saturday, February 7, 2009
LIFE IN THE HOME versus WORK IN THE SHOP The Christian life is ''Faith working by love'' [GALATIANS 5;;6]. The faith- life sets up the highest possible control and motivation--the love bond. Grace not only establishes a head and body union; it joins us to Christ in marriage-''married to Another'' [ROMANS 7;4; see EPHESIANS 5;31-32]. Love is the highest motivating power known to personality. Love moved God in the overcoming of the greatest possible obstacles [JOHN 3;16; ROMANS 5;8]. Grace brought us over onto His Side, in the realm of divine love, where ''the love of Christ constraineth us'' [II.CORINTHIANS 5;14]. What a let-down to fall away from grace, drop His love out of our lives and plod along on our own, in dependence upon self-effort and self-motivation. The situation is much like that of a man leaving the home for the shop. He LIVES at home; he WORKS at the shop. As he goes forth his wife's kiss and words of encouragement linger with him. Her love warms his heart. As he enters the shop his eye falls upon rules tacked upon the wall; and there are certain city ordinances to be observed. How different, he thinks, from the life at home. During the day a watch is kept to see that men observe the regulations of the shop. The men are conscious of working by rules, by orders, and by the clock. At the close of the day, is our friend so fond of the shop routine that he asks for a copy to take home and post on its walls-just to see that he doesn't break any of them/ No, indeed. What a relief to enter his home; its atmosphere is love; its life is free. Love regulates and motivates each wishing to please the other. The home is so sacredly sovereign, that no police ever intrudes to ensure that city ordinances are being observed. How beautifully free is the life that flows from a heart filled with true love. Grace has given us such a life; and grace enables us to live it. WHEN A CHRISTIAN FAILS--WHAT/ We are in the realm of practical Christian living. In this realm we meet many disappointments. many embarrassing situations and problems. There are failures, plenty of them. Seemingly true Christians fail to live the life. Every serious lapse is, at root, a case of falling away from grace. It cannot be otherwise. Grace supplies all the resources of God for life's living, even God Himself. ''Christ liveth in me.'' If I am living where grace operates to supply these resources, I am ''kept by the power of God.'' If I move out from the realm of grace, its supply is cut off; I am thrown back upon my own resources, and ''I'' fail. ''I'' do what ''in Christ''I could never do. We all know Christians whose lives are a puzzle. I think with sadness, of preachers who are outstandingly doctrinally sound. They are known as gospel preachers, proclaiming the Word of God and the cross of Christ; but--, here is one, who cheats the government in his tax return; here is one who lies; another is mean, unkind, inconsiderate; another ''gets mad''; another is foul in personal speech; another treats his wife contemptibly; another is guilty of immorality; another is labeled ''crooked.'' How shall we explain such lapses/ Has the CHRIISTIAN FAITH failed/ No, indeed. The explanation is this; doctrinally they are on His Side, in the realm of grace; practically, they are back on Our Side, fallen away from grace. Grace can no longer operate to exercise His control, so ''I'' is back in the saddle, denying in practice the gospel preached from the pulpit. Grace given its freedom never fails, simply because God never fails. If I live ''in Christ,'' then, ''for to me to live is Christ''[PHIL. 1;21]. Christ is not dishonest, or dishonorable, or foul of speech. My responsibility is to ''abide'' in Him, giving Him freedom to express Himself in my personal, practical living. This is the one guarantee of heart and life purity. I could be impure; men far better than I have been, but CHRIST IN ME-NEVER.... The life in grace, the life of faith ministers Christ to the heart every moment-it's the only way to live. Label your life; ''KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD'' -END-
''THEREFORE''.... As in all Paul's church letters this word marks the turning point from doctrine to duty. It gathers into itself the entire doctrinal statement that has preceded, and focuses its full force upon practical day-by-day living. It transmutes the teaching into a practical way of living. CHRISTIAN LIVING is a matter of staying ON SIDE-His Side, with its dearly purchased freedom. It is a matter of resisting every influence that would get us OFF SIDE,back onto Our Side, back to an endless round of self-effort. The sickening failure everywhere evident, in the church, and in the individual, is right here. Our multipled ''activities,'' our fine ''program'' which keeps us so busy--all tends to makke us self-conscious rather than Christ-conscious. We are doing something; we tend to forget what Christ has done and is doing. Even our preaching emphasis upon duty tends to drag us over to Our Side. We talk about the many unsolved problems engulfing society; resultantly, the vast majority of Christian people lose sight of the complete solution of all problems ''in Christ.'' WHAT IS CHRISTIAN LIBERTY / The Christian, born of God, is God's free-born man. He is His Son, His heir; all that God has is his. We read in Romans 8;32-''He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things/'' God has already ''blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ'' [EPHESUS 1;3]. These blessings include His unqualified favor, ''justified from all things,'' the bestowal of His life, the gifts of His Spirit, access to His presence in prayer--everything to be desired. Christian liberty is a life so lived, that these provisions of grace, continue to operate. SAVED BY GRACE INTIALLY, WE MUST BE KEPT BY GRACE CONTIMUALLY. Life imparted by grace, must be sustained by grace. Justified by grace [ROMANS 3;24], we must be sanctified by grace; Standing in grace [ROMANS 5;2], we must walk in grace. We must be taught, trained, and disciplined by grace [Titus 2;11-13]. We are to grow in grace [II. PETER 3;18]. We are to experience the riches of His grace [EPHESUS 1;7, not only now but eternally [EPHESUS 2;7]. In the severest trial His grace proves itself sufficient for us [11. CORINTHIANS 12;9], and as we humble ourselves, He keeps adding more grace [James 4;6]. He calls Himself the God of all grace [1 PETER 5;10], able to make all grace abound toward us, that we may always have all sufficiency for all things [II. Corinthians 9;8]. It is evident that God has a thorough-going program of grace. Grace made us free; grace sustains us in a continuous experience of freedom. This is Christian liberty; staying on His Side, in His favor, where His freeing grace continuously operates. In this freedom we are to ''stand fast'' at all costs. WHAT IS FALLING FROM GRACE / So very many hold a superficial conception of grace. They think of grace as a sort of booster, or bracer, a spiritual vitamin to insure against failure. Do the best you can; God won't fail you; He'll see you through; God helps those who help themselves. Not so. God only has 2 ways of dealing with men, two great principles; law and grace. Grace is God finding a way to set aside the demands of law and our deserts under it, having taken those deserts upon Himself, that He may be free to pour out upon us His goodness anf kindness, even His very life. ''Falling from grace,'' better understood by translating it ''falling away from grace,'' is crossing the line-changing sides-to come under the requirements of law, thereby forfeiting the provisions of grace. Many think of falling from grace as falling into sin, such as drunkenness or some such evil. That is not what falling from grace is, at least initially; however, as we shall soon see, its ultimate result may be something such as that. Falling from grace is giving up God's provisions under grace, as much as to say,''I'd rather depend on what I can do for myself, or on what some one does for me.'' IN THE CASE OF THESE Galatians it was circumcision. This seemed a harmless thing to do, but they had done it because the law prescribed it. Paul says, ''That one thing labels you; you're under the law as a system of life; you've obligated yourselves to keep the whole law; you are severed from Christ; you've served notice on God you are going to do the best you can for yourself; you've cut the supply-line of His grace.'' Today, falling away from grace for many takes the form of depending upon what the church can do for them. they are relying upon church membership--they really and implicitly trust it for their spiritual security. Others depend on water baptism, the Lord's table AND THEIR GOOD DEEDS. If Paul were here today, he would say, to all such, ''Y are severed from Christ; you have left His Side and are busy commending yourselves to GOD... It is all a vain Show.'' What is more, these people, through ignorance of Bible truth, and by reason of the kind of preaching of our day, never really understand God's offered grace and its provision for dealing with them. CHRIST-CONTROLLED or SELF-CONTROLLED This is the issue before us. In terms of practical living we are faced with this Question; ''Do I want Christ to control my life/ Or, do I prefer to run my own life/ That is the choice before us. Life on His Side is, in the provisions of grace, a person-to-person relationship--''I in you''; ''I will dwell in them and walk in them'' [JOHN 15;4; 11. CORINTHIANS 6;16]; the other person is in control. Back on Our Side life becomes a one person affair; that person is thrown upon his own resources. On His Side life is spiritual, with spiritual ideals and aims and experiences that thrill the soul. The fallen-from-grace life, though intensely religious, is a moral life; ''I'' call upon myself to live up to certain standards of conduct that satisfy my religious sense of right and wrong. It is the Romans 7 life as against the Romans 8 life. In Romans 7 the pronoun ''I'' occurs 38 times; ''I'' am trying to live up to a standard set for me, but there is something in ''I'' that foils my best efforts. The attempt ends in a defeatist mood, a sense of wretched failure [7;24]. That mood is seen in church life today. Religious life, a solo effort to solve one's problems, is deadening and discouraging. But ROMANS 8.... Another Person is introduced into human experience, and with Him, a new control--''the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus''; and this control by Him ''has MADE me free'' V.2]. The ''I'' has disappeared; we can now use ''we''-He and I are living a joint life, I in Him [vs. 1] and He in me [vs. 10]. My responsibility, so far removed from the former self-effort, is to so yield to Him that He can realize His life in me. Now life is''we'' living together. How practical this is. IT WORKS.... This becomes more evident when the relationship is carried over into Ephesian truth. a relationship of head and body-He the HEAD, while the believer constitutes the body. THE HEAD IS IN UNDISPUTED CONTROL. THE BODY MAINTAINS AN INSTINCTIVE YIELDEDNESS. Grace has attained a marvelous solution to man's problems; he is free, in the freedom of his Creator-Redeemer living His life in and through man. [to be continued]
Friday, February 6, 2009
We need to pray for President Obama's; 1. Salvation 2. Change on abortion to pro life, anti-abortion 3. To abandon his marxist idealogy on the economy 4. To fully support the nation of Israel 5. That he will make wise choices based on Biblical principles. 6. That he will support the NRA position on guns. 7. That he will freeze gasoline prices at 1.50 per gallon.
''Looking diligently lest any root of bitterness. . .'' Bitterness is a terrible sin. Bitterness is self-induced misery and self-punishment. Bitterness does not hurt the person you are bitter against, it only hurts YOU. Today people have bitterness against someone who has wronged them, or over a church situation. But a Christian HAS NO RIGHT TO HOLD ANYTHING AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON, SAVED, OR LOST. We are to be ''tenderhearted, forgiving one another'' even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven us. Forgiveness means to treat the other person, as you did before he sinned, or wronged you. It is to forget, to act as if that offence never happened. If you are bitter, GOD WON'T HEAR YOUR PRAYERS, until you get right with the other person ans with God. If you continue harping on a sin, or situation in the past, you are bitter, and unforgiving, and out of fellowship with God.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Looking back on Yesterday, all I can say is ''Wow, What a Day...'' It all started at the local restarant ''Sally's'' in Ponce De Leon, FL. Upon entering there was a Birthday card on the table. Then another pair came in with a card and a red velvet cake, which I shared with all there. At 11;00 am I went to the home of some Christian friends, who served me a steak dinner and gave me 20 Dollars. Later that day there were 2 cards in theb mail from church members with another 20.00. When I ARRIVED AT CHURCH THERE WAS A NEW SHIRT AND ANOTHER CARD WITH 20,00 MORE DOLLARS IN IT. Never have I ever had such a good Birthday. The Lord has blessed me with both unsaved and with saved friends,Praise His Name.
On Feb. 4th, 1945 at Pringce George County Hospital, in Chevorly, Maryland, there was born to Zelsbur Larwence Foltz, and Margaret Cecilia Becker Foltz their 6th son, and 8th child, Paul Wayne Foltz. My parents kept me under the means of Grace, and at an early age, the Lord reached down and saved this wretch of a sinner. Praise His glorious Name.... Today I am 64 years old, and praise the Lord for His goodness and providential care, all my life.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I recently read in a blog the false charges that preaching ''Fire and brimstone'' goes against the effectual call and particular redemption. When God issues the inward, effectual call to the elect sinner, The Holy Spirit makes that sinner to know, and to feel, Who he is, What he is, and the Judgmment, he is under. there are two calls, the outward call, and the inward call to the heart. THE OUTWARD CALL CAN BE RESISTED AND REFUSED, THE INWARD, EFFECTUAL CALL IS IRRESISTIBLE. Although Christ atoned for the sins of His sheep, He spoke more about Hell than he did about Heaven. As the Master Evangelist, He set the pattern for our preaching, teaching and witnessing. He was not being petty, nor was he jesting. But He warned sinners of their impending doom. THEREFORE IT BEHOOVES US TO SPEAK ON HELL AS HE, and do it, not glossing it over, nor pulling any punches, but with a strong ''THUS SAITH THE LORD.'' It's either Turn or Burn, Repent or Perish, there's no middle ground.
Monday, February 2, 2009
In our last post we said that the presence of faith may be made known amid all the workings of unbelief. Just as that is true, so our salvation from the love of sin may be ascertained notwithstanding all the lusting of the flesh after that which is evil. But, how is thiis initial aspect of salvation to be identified/ We anticipated this question in our first post when we said that God saves us from delighting in sin by imparting a nature that hates evil, and loves holiness, which is given to us, at the new birth. THEREFORE, THE REAL QUESTION, TO BE SETTLED IS;''How may the Christian positively determine whether the new and holy nature has been given to him/ The answer is; by observing its activities, especially the opposition it makes, under the control of the Holy SPIRIT, TO INDWELLING SIN. Not only does the flesh lusts against the Spirit, but The Spirit against the flesh. FIRST, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE, OR LOVE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY SIN'S BECOMING A BURDEN TO US. This truly a spiritual experience. Many people have burdens of worldly worries, but know nothing of being weighed down by a sense of guilt. But when God takes us in hand, the iniquities and transgressions of our past life are made to lie as an intolerable burden upon the conscience. When we are given a sight of ourselves, as we are before God, we will exclaim with the Psalmist; ''For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head; therefore my heart faileth me'' [PSALM 40;12]. So far from sin being pleasant, it is now felt as a cruel incubus, a crushing weight, and unendurable load. The soul is ''heavy laden'' [MATTHEW 11;28], and bowed down. A sense of guilt oppresses and the conscience cannot bear the weight of it. Nor is this experience restricted to our first conviction; it acutely continues throughout the Christian's life. SECOND, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY SIN'S BECOMING BITTER TO US. It is true, that there are millions of unregenerate who are filled with remorse over the harvest reaped from the sowing of wild oats. Yet that is not hatred of sin, but dislike of its consequences--ruined health, squandered opportunities, financial strictness, or social disgrace. No, what we have reference to is that ANGUISH OF HEART which ever marks the one the Spirit takes in hand. When the veil of delusion is removed and we see in the light of God's countenance; when we are given a discovery of the depravity of our very nature, then we perceive that we are sunk in carnality and death. When sin is opened to us, in all its secret workings, we are made to feel the vileness of our hypocrisy, self-righteousness, unbelief, impatience, and the utter filthiness of our hearts. And when the penitent soul views the sufferings of Christ, he can say with Job,''God maketh my heart soft'' [23;16]. IT IS THIS EXPERIENCE WHICH PREPARES THE HEART TO GO AFTER CHRIST; those that are whole need not a physician, but they that are quickened and convicted by the Spirit are anxious to be relieved by the great PHYSICIAN. ''The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up'' [I SAMUEL 2;6-7]. God slays our self- righteousness, by making sin to be an intolerable burden to us. There can be bo saving faith until the soul is filled with evangelical repentance-IE. a godly sorrow for sin, a holy detestation of sin, a sincere purpose to forsake it. It is impossible for the Gospel to be good tidings to those who are in love with sin, and would rather perish, than to part with their idols. THIRD, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY THE FELT BONDAGE, SIN PRODUCES. It is not until GOD SAVES US FROM THE LOVE OF SIN, THAT WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF THE FETTERS, IT HAS PLACED AROUND US. Then we see that we are ''without strength'' [ROMANS 5;6], unable to do anything pleasing to God.