Seeker-Sensitivity Circa 1975

God saved me in 1986, but that was by no means the beginning of the history of my Churchianity and religiosity. No, I grew up going to church. When I was in the U.S. Navy (June 1973-July 1976) I was stationed in Washington D.C. I was in a period of rebellion at that time in which I wanted nothing to do with “church” in any form. My family was all Southern Baptists, which is the dominant denomination in Oklahoma where I grew up. However, in 1975 I moved to a new apartment just off of Columbia Pike in Arlington, Virginia. There was a married couple on my floor that I became acquainted with over the next several weeks. They invited me to their church. It was in the District. I resisted for quite awhile, but finally agreed to go. It was nothing like “church” that I was used to. …  View article →

Beloved Enemy

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, Ananias! Yes, Lord, he answered. The Lord told him, Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight. (Acts 9:10-12)

Paul has been converted. Now he is a Christian. And what is the first thing he experienced as a Christian? The life of the body of Christ. That is wonderful, is it not? Two unknown, obscure Christians are sent to him. He meets them and is immediately helped by the strengthening that can come from the body, from other Christians. First there is a man named Judas. That is all we know about him. Saul is led to his house whom he has never met before. While he is there a man named Ananias is sent to minister to him. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions

The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.,Hebrews 4:12 (NASB) 

In this day in which the truth is said to be unknowable, Christians must rely on the only source of pure truth we have. There is no truth that we can say is the complete truth unless we take it from God’s Word. The Bible is pure truth and it is the authority we rely on in order to have a firm foundation in this lost and dying world that is consuming itself in rebellion against God.

What can we learn from Hebrews 4:12 about this? View article →

Tribulation

20 And the seed upon the rocky places being sown, this one is like the one listening to the Word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but is only transitory, and when tribulation or persecution comes on account of the Word, immediately he falls away. Matthew 13:20-21 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In the passage above, tribulation translates θλίψεως (thlipseōs) the genitive singular feminine case of θλίψις (thlipsis). This is a graphic word that literally means “to crush, press, compress, squeeze” and “is from thlaō, “to break.” We see θλίψις again in Matthew 24:21. View article →

Satan’s School of Deception

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4) (Read verses 3-4 on the site)

Proclaiming The Truth Of Scripture Is the Antidote To Antichrist Doctrine

Leaving aside his penchant for reading mystics, some 60 years ago A.W. Tozer was dead-on-target when he wrote the following. In fact, I offer that there may be even more truth today in what he says below. While commenting upon Exodus 3:9-10 Tozer told us: Continue reading

What is an apostate?

20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Matthew 13:20-22 (NASB)

The Bible very clearly teaches that Christians should examine themselves quite often in order to see what their spiritual condition is. Genuine Christians are not perfect people. Neither are they always full of happiness, in perfect health while having plenty of money in the bank. No, the fact that all believers are called to be humble, poor in spirit, meek, pure in heart and many other things that are growing in their character means that they will spend much of their time in the fires of sanctification. Continue reading

What are Justification and Sanctification?

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NASB)  

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB)   Continue reading

You are not able to serve God and mammon

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures upon the earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in nor steal;  21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-24 translated from the NA28 Greek text) (Read verses 22-24 on the site.)

Our Lord Jesus was the most powerful and best expositor of God’s Word that believers have ever had. He spoke only the truth and he never taught anything from any motive other than that which is the will of God. We are to follow his example in every part of our lives. …   View article →

Judging

1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2 (NASB)

It is impossible to walk through one’s day without having to make judgments. In fact our Lord Jesus who made the oft misquoted and misunderstood command found in Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37 to “Do not judge!” also made the following command.

14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15 The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” John 7:14-24 (NASB) (Read verses 16-24 on the site) View article →

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God

19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NASB) 

God has called His people to discernment. If you listen to many so-called Christians in our time, you would think the very opposite. In fact, to question the veracity of someone’s teaching is considered the ultimate case of uncouthness in these so-called postmodern times. I find it very interesting that this concept works only in one direction. …  View article →

The Mystery of History

On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. Sovereign Lord, they said, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them Acts 4:23-24

After being released from custody of the Sanhedrin, the apostles did not go out to organize a revolutionary committee to overthrow them. They did not even try to arouse a popular demonstration. The clear evidence of this passage is that they had popular support. But the apostles do not rely for even one minute upon political or popular pressure. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions

Confrontation!

They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 5:40b-42

I love that. They did not stop. They counted themselves fortunate to suffer dishonor for his name. It seems to take Christians so long to face up to the simple declaration of Scripture that, when they were called to be a Christian, they were called to suffer. As Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. (Philippians 1:29). We are called to this. Suffering is an integral part of the Christian experience. It is not something that is unusual or reserved for just a few; it is for all. Peter wrote, Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12). Don’t think it is strange. You go through problems, difficulties, heartaches, disappointments, ostracism and coolness from others, all for the sake of the Name. Don’t think that is strange. It is that to which we are called. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions

Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-6 (NASB)  (Read verses 5-6 on the site)

The Bible is the Word of God. It is inerrant, inspired, and our final authority for faith and life. The Bibles we have in our day are translations of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. These translations are rendered into most languages of the earth in our time. When we study the Bible, dig into God’s Word to know Him and His ways, then He will bless us with knowledge as He gives us wisdom, discernment, and direction. … View article →

Treasure in earthen vessels

2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ Judges 7:2 (NASB) 

This walk before the face of God is fraught with difficulty and pain. No one who is His will pass through this life unscathed by affliction, perplexity, persecution, and even being struck down. That may fly in the face of much of the teaching in the Church in our time, but the reality is that Genuine Christians walk through this life being molded and conformed unto the image of Christ. That process is quite painful because much of what is the Christian is chiseled and burned away via the fires of sanctification. As the image of Christ is burned into us, we must remember that whatever is afflicting us will not crush us. What is perplexing us will not result in God forsaking us. Whatever has struck us down will not destroy us. Continue reading

The inner war

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:15 (NASB)

False prophets have infiltrated the Church since the very beginning. Also, disingenuous professors have always plagued churches. There has not been a time when the church has been free from enemies within. However, in our time the church is the sickest it has ever been. False prophets beget false doctrine, the doctrine of demons, for the false believers that flock to them. Sound Doctrine is no longer tolerated. Expository preaching and teaching is ignored or shouted down. …  View article →

The Christian’s peace with God and the battle with the enemy within

13 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 15 “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 6:13-15 (NASB) 

Genuine Christians are regenerate. They are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). This means a great deal, but what it does not mean is that Christians have instantaneous and complete victory over our enemy within, which is the flesh. The Puritans understood this very well. John Owen’s masterpieces The Mortification of Sin and Indwelling Sin in Believers are all about the Christian’s struggles with the sin(s) which clings so close. …   View article →

Reconciled

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, Ephesians 2:13-16 (NASB)   (Read verses 15-16 on the site.)

The term “reconciled’ is a wonderful word. the Greek is ἀποκαταλλάσσω (apokatallassō). In Ephesians 2:16 (above) the word “reconcile” translates ἀποκαταλλάξῃ (apokatallaxē) the third singular, aorist active subjunctive case of ἀποκαταλλάσσω. The usage of this word in the New Testament is to exchange hostility for friendship. We find this word in the passage I shared above and in Colossians 1:20,21. This Greek preposition adds the idea of “back.” Therefore, ἀποκαταλλάσσω means “to bring back to a former state of harmony.” View article →

Pure

1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 (NASB) 

In ancient Greek ἁγνός or hagnos, which is translated as “pure” in v3 in the NASB (above), originally carried a religious meaning that spoke of ritual cleanness, chastity, and even virginity. The same basic concept was also true in the Septuagint. However, in the New Testament, the idea of ritual purity was no longer the point, and rightly so. … View article →

On Heresy

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. (1 John 2:19a)

Notice that the mark of an antichrist is finally breaking away from New Testament Christianity. All such invariably do. And when they do, they will insist that they are the true mainstream of Christian truth and that we are living in the backwaters of Christian doctrine. John puts this very plainly. The mark of genuineness is continuity in the truth, continuance in true faith. What does he mean by us? Surely not Christendom in general. He means, as he makes clear in the context of this whole letter, those who love the Word of God and who possess the Spirit of God, those who seek to obey the Word in the power of the Spirit. The emphasis he has been making all along is on those who share the life of Christ by the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. Heretics will invariably cut themselves off from these people. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Daily Devotions

The Church’s firm foundation

18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. Matthew 16:18 (NASB)

There are times as we observe the carnage in the visible church and it feels very much as if we are in a fight to the death battle with men falling all around us. I know this because I see it myself and I get your emails. The evil forces of apostasy seem to be winning on every side. If we claim to hold to God’s Word as absolute truth then we are very close to coming to that point of being laughed to scorn as Josiah’s men were who attempted to get the survivor’s of the Northern Kingdom’s capture to come to Jerusalem in repentance for Passover. …  View article →

Intentional godliness is the product of a spirit-filled walk

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), Ephesians 5:6-11 (NASB) (Read verses 10-11 on the site)

Intentional godliness is the product of a spirit-filled walk. No Christian becomes godly by simply wanting it. Neither do they become godly through self-righteousness. Instead, the walk that is truly godly is one that is not self-focused at all. It is one that is totally wrapped up and empowered by a consistent, deliberate attempt to discover or discern what is pleasing to the Lord, then doing it. …   View article →

Right belief is exhibited in right living

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. James 1:16-18 (NASB) 

The test of true faith is that which is revealed in how one lives and walks through this life. Right belief, that is, a faith that lives in a regenerate heart born from above, is exhibited in right living as James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, wrote in the passage above. Notice also that he began that passage in v16 with, “Do not be deceived,” or “Μὴ πλανᾶσθε” from the Greek. This literally says, “not be deceived.”  View article →

Be Certain Of God’s Will

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Romans 11:29)

I have a right to ask for anything that God has promised me, but if I go beyond the range of the divine promises, I also go beyond the range of assured and confident expectation.

The promises are very large and very wide, but when one gets a fancy in his head, he must not suppose that God is there, in his fancy. I have known some fanatical persons who thought they could live by faith. Continue reading

Jesus the Christ

But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Acts 2:24

Here revealed is the power of God among men — the resurrection power of God, a power which man cannot duplicate. Resurrection power is the ability to bring life out of death, to correct a situation which is hopeless, to change a person who is irremediable — that is resurrection power. Continue reading on Ray Stedman Devotions

 

Live for Life Everlasting

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

I would that all men at this hour abounded in almsgiving, but specially those who are followers of the loving Jesus. Regard your transactions from the standpoint of eternity.

Weigh what you do, not as it may be thought of by men of the world, but as it will be judged by yourself when you behold in the heavenly country the face of Him you love! I do not want you to have to say when you come to die, “I have had large possessions, but I have been a bad steward. Continue reading