Monday, May 27, 2013

You Make Beautiful Things Out Of Us

By Patte Smith

"Remember, I beseech Thee, 
that Thou hast made me as the clay; 
and wilt Thou bring me into dust again?" 
~ Job 10:9

When we are unrighteously ignored, dismissed, misunderstood, marginalized, criticized or outright rejected by church folks it is tempting to feel like there is something wrong with us, that we are hopeless losers & outcasts. When this happens to me or to someone I love, I go to Ezekiel 16.

Looking again at the vivid picture the Lord paints about those He redeems is a reality check.
We will be delivered from defensiveness and despair once we embrace the fact that WE ARE NOTHING. 
If we surrender to the fact that in & of ourselves we ARE NOTHING,
we will have no trouble when people criticize & reject us.
Our value comes from OUTSIDE ourselves.
It's EXtrinsic.
It comes from the One in whose image we were designed, created, are sustained.
Our worth is found in the One Who rules over us.
Our value is IN the One whom we, the unworthy,
have been made BELOVED, by a sovereign act of His grace.
The Father looked upon us as we writhed in an open field in the filthiness of our own sin.
He saw us as unwashed pitiful orphans;

The Lord God had compassion. 

Listen to His voice in verse 6,8-9:
'when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood,
I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE;
yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE...
Now when I passed by thee,
and looked upon thee,
behold, thy time was the time of love;
and I spread My skirt over thee,
and covered thy nakedness:
yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee,
saith the Lord GOD,
and thou becamest Mine.
Then washed I thee with water;
yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee,
and I anointed thee with oil." 

What a picture!

If we are born-again, Jesus Christ is the One who bought us with the price of His own Blood
& washed us from the filth of our sin.
He clothes us with His righteousness
& He beautifies us through the progressive work of sanctification 
by His Spirit.
We grow in loveliness to Him as He adorns us with holiness.
The Lord is committed to preparing us as a comely Bride for His Son. 
We are dust, but we are HIS DUST.
We are a mess, but we are HIS MESS.
And, our Bridegroom is preparing a place for us.
Jesus is faithful. He coming back to take us to Himself. 

And, that makes all the difference. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

By Patte Smith

Men are qualified for civil liberty
in exact proportion to their disposition
to put moral chains on their own appetites…
Society cannot exist unless a controlling power
upon the will and appetite
is placed somewhere;
and the less of it there is within,
the more there must be without.
It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things
that men of intemperate minds
cannot be free.
Their passions forge their fetters.

~ Edmund Burke

The wicked heresy of *antinomianism abounds in the culture, in the modern self-identified church & in para-church "ministries". Anything goes. No judging right from wrong. (Except, of course, judging those who judge right from wrong!) No condemnation of sin as evil. Lawlessness abounds under the lackadaisical religious eye of the visible church. Most of the infants slain by abortion are murdered by sexually immoral mothers who profess to be some sort of 'Christian'. And the blood of the babies is shed in the shadow of church steeples! The need for the faithful proclamation & counsel of the moral Law of God (God's Holy Commandments) is urgent. 
Why the push to steer away from sharing the righteous demands of the Lord? Why are so many who profess Christ purposely avoiding telling women that the Bible says that fornication & baby-killing are soul-damning sins? Why are the Lord's Words (His Holy Commandments & His divine threats of God's temporal & eternal judgment) carefully avoided & 'choice' politely made supreme? Oh, my friends, this is exactly how the Serpent's plan in the garden was presented.

In Genesis 2:16-17: "The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
In the next chapter, listen to how the Devil tempts with religious flattery:

"Now the serpent was more crafty/subtle/cunning/shrewd/clever than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate." (Genesis 3:1-6)
Ever since the fall, religious flatterers have coyly suppressed the righteous demands & just threats of the LORD God. Today we observe the same as many (perhaps well-meaning people) have avoided addressing the conscience of abortion-vulnerable sinners with the moral Law, & substitute humanistic, woman-centered language instead. They have made the WOMAN & her 'empowerment' of 'choice', the thrust of their counseling.

The Holy Commandments are good & necessary divine requirements upon all human beings, regenerate & unregenerate. The moral Law of God has three purposes:
"The first purpose of the Law is to be a mirror. On the one hand, the Law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect righteousness of God. The law tells us much about who God is. Perhaps more important, the law illumines human sinfulness. Augustine wrote, “The Law orders, that we, after attempting to do what is ordered, and so feeling our weakness under the Law, may learn to implore the help of grace.” The Law highlights our weakness so that we might seek the strength found in Christ. Here the Law acts as a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ.

A second purpose for the Law is the restraint of evil. The Law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust. Calvin says this purpose is “by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice.” The Law allows for a limited measure of justice on this earth, until the last judgment is realized.

The third purpose of the Law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As born-again children of God, the Law enlightens us as to what is pleasing to our Father, whom we seek to serve. The Christian delights in the Law as God Himself delights in it. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This is the highest function of the Law, to serve as an instrument for the people of God to give Him honor and glory.

By studying or meditating on the Law of God, we attend the school of righteousness. We learn what pleases God and what offends Him. The moral Law that God reveals in Scripture is always binding upon us. Our redemption is from the curse of God’s Law, not from our duty to obey it. We are justified, not because of our obedience to the law, but in order that we may become obedient to God’s Law. To love Christ is to keep His commandments. To love God is to obey His law. 
1. The church today has been invaded by antinomianism, which weakens, rejects, or distorts the law of God.

2. The law of God is a mirror of God’s holiness and our unrighteousness. It serves to reveal to us our need of a savior.

3. The Law of God is a restraint against sin. 
4. The Law of God reveals what is pleasing and what is offensive to God. 
5. The Christian is to love the Law of God and to obey the moral law of God.
Biblical passages for reflection: 
Psalm 19:7-11 
Psalm 119:9-16 
Romans 7:7-25 
Romans 8:3-4 
1 Corinthians 7:19 
Galatians 3:24 
above portion excerpted from 'THE THREEFOLD USE OF THE LAW' 

When we suppress the moral Law of God we leave lost, sinful women (& false converts) in the chains of bondage their passions have forged. We also treat their pre-born human children as if they were not there & worthy of loving protection. When we withhold the commandments regarding fornication & murder from a murder-minded mother, we obstruct the mirror of God's Law, the means by which He has provided to restrain their sinful lust for sex & slaughter, & we fail to lovingly confront them with the just & holy requirements of God upon their lives. May we be unashamed of Christ & His Word in this wicked & perverse generation!

"...thus tested when you are put in positions where you might get gain by an unrighteous act, or win fame by withholding a truth, or earn love and honour by pandering to the passions of those about you. May you have grace enough to say, "No; it cannot be. I love not myself, but my Lord. I seek not myself, but Christ. I desire to propagate nothing but His Truth, and not my own ideas": then will you have exhibited the self-denial of Jesus....

The doctrine of judgment to come is the power by which men are to be aroused. There is another life; the Lord will come a second time; judgment will arrive; the wrath of God will be revealed. Where this is not preached, I am bold to say the gospel is not preached. It is absolutely necessary to the preaching of the gospel of Christ that men be warned as to what will happen if they continue in their sins. Ho, ho, sir surgeon, you are too delicate to tell the man that he is ill! You hope to heal the sick without their knowing it. You therefore flatter them; and what happens? They laugh at you; they dance upon their own graves. At last they die! Your delicacy is cruelty; your flatteries are poisons; you are a murderer. Shall we keep men in a fool's paradise? Shall we lull them into soft slumbers from which they will awake in hell? Are we to become helpers of their damnation by our smooth speeches? In the Name of God we will not." 
~ Charles Spurgeon

* RC Sproul rightly explains "antinomianism...says that the Law of God, the mandates of God, the commandments of God have no real binding influence on my conscience.  That is not just a distortion of Christianity, dear friends, that is a fundamental denial of Christianity.  And if a person really believes that, he can't be justified; he can't even be a Christian.  And yet the notion is all over the place in Christian circles."  


Jesus asked His disciples;
“When I sent you out with no moneybag 
or knapsack 
or sandals, 
did you lack anything?” 
They said, “Nothing.”
"But now let the one who has a moneybag
take it, 
and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one."
~ Luke 22:35-36

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, 
which is the Word of God."
~ Ephesians 6:17

For the Word of God 
is living and active, 
sharper than any two-edged sword, 
piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, 
of joints and of marrow, 
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
~ Hebrews 4:12

 "Is not My Word like fire," 
declares the LORD, 
"and like a hammer 
that breaks a rock in pieces?"
~ Jeremiah 23:29

"May the praise of God 
be in their mouths 
and a double-edged sword 
in their hands."
~ Psalm 149:6

O my friends, there is a battle to be fought. Don't let the devilish enemies of God (& of humankind) disarm & neuter you. Resist the popular practice of smiling religious do-gooders who purposely suppress the double-edged sword of the Law & gospel. 
The Word of God is sword of the Spirit with which all true disciples of Christ must furnish themselves. The missionary work of executing the purposes of God (on both His friends & His enemies) should always be accompanied with praise for Christ & offensive swordplay with His Word.
Remember, double-edged swords were made for piercing as well as for striking.
And so it is with the sword of the Spirit!

In his commentary on the double-edge sword of the Lord John Gill notes:
"One of its edges is the Law
which sharply reproves and menaces for sin, 
threatening with curses, condemnation, and death; 
and which, in the Spirit's hand, 
cuts deep into the hearts of men, 
lays open the corruption of their nature
and the swarms of sin which are in them.
It causes pain and grief, 
working wrath in the conscience. 
It wounds and kills, 
and is therefore called the letter that kills (2 Corinthians 3:6). 
The other edge is the Gospel
which cuts in pieces the best of men; 
all their works of righteousness... 
and it cuts down the worst in man, 
his sinful 
as well as his righteous
It teaches him to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
It is useful to refute errors, 
and defend truth. 
It is an instrument...
used by the Lord, 
as His power unto salvation.
It is a sword, 
but only effectual as it is the sword of the Spirit.
It is a part of the weapons of our warfare, 
and it is mighty, 
but only through God...
It should be in the hands of all the saints...
as well as in the hands of Gospel ministers, 
to withstand error, 
maintain truth, 
and repel the temptations of Satan.
Go forth, dear saints, in Jesus' Name, never forgetting that Jesus Christ is Himself
the WORD MADE FLESH. (John 1:4)
If we separate the Savior 
from His Spirit's saving means of the Law & gospel,
we fail to use the divine weaponry which He has provided for His mission,
suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. 
If you are ashamed of what He says in His Law & gospel, 
you are revealing that you are ashamed of Jesus. 
And, the Savior has given a fearful warning to those who are ashamed of Him & His Word in Mark 8:38 & Luke 9:26

"Let the high praises of God be in our mouths, 
while we wield the sword of the Word of God, 
with the shield of faith, 
in warfare with the world, 
the flesh, 
and the devil. 
The saints shall be more than conquerors over the enemies of their souls, 
through the blood of the Lamb and the Word of His testimony. 
The completing of this 
will be in the judgement of the great day. 
Then shall the judgement be executed. 
Behold Jesus, and His gospel church...
He and His people rejoice in each other; 
by their prayers and efforts they work with Him, 
while He goes forth in the chariots of salvation, 
conquering sinners by grace, 
or in chariots of vengeance, 
to destroy His enemies."
~ Matthew Henry