I've been doing a bit of reading and reflecting on some things lately, and listening to some audio sermons by Leonard Ravenhill, Paul Washer and Tim Conway. Here are a few notes I've jotted down recently:
This is not any new doctrine. In 1 Timothy 4 Paul says that in the latter days people will abandon the pure gospel and give ear to all kinds of doctrines of devils. The solution: Be constantly nourished on the good doctrine you already follow. We need to get back to the bible.
Is the bible sufficient, or do we have to bring in social sciences and cultural studies in order to know how to live and how to operate the church? In Isaiah 8 it says that when they say to you "Consult the mediums" you ought to say to them "Should a people not ask their God for help instead? Why ask the dead to help the living?" What do we have to do with these modern-day social sciences, which were actually created as a protest against the Word of God? The only man the church should be directed by is the man who opens his bible and only has one question: "What is Thy will, O God?" and not by social scientists and business marketing gurus.
Now we have preachers who are so concerned about you having your best life now that they don't preach hard against sin or tell you about the lostness of men or the conviction of sin unto repentance, and you miss eternity. The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with this type of preaching unless He be working against it!
We have reduced the salvation process down to a few simple steps with a little superstitious "prayer" at the end, and if someone sounds sincere enough, we boast that they are born again. We have traded regeneration for decisionism. When men treat the power of the cross as only a first step to Christianity that only takes about 10 minutes of "counseling" and after that you go on to greater stuff, that shows you how pathetic we are in our knowledge of the things of God.
Ask yourself this question: How can God be just and at the same time be the Justifier of the wicked? The "cup" was not the physical suffering of Jesus alone, but also God's wrath that had to be appeased. Someone had to die, but not only die physically, but also be totally crushed under the weight of God's wrath, for your sin and mine. Justice had to be satisfied. And now through Jesus Christ, having satisfied divine wrath with His death, God is now just and the Justifier of the wicked.
When you leave the real power of the cross to justify wicked men out of modern-day preaching, then you have to use all the "tricks of the trade" of modern-day preaching to attract people to your church, but it will not get them saved. When you preach Jesus and him crucified, you will need nothing to build strange fires in your ovens in an attempt to make your church attractive to lost men. They will come.
The church should not be defined by questionnaires and polls of carnal people to discover what kind of church they would like to attend. If you want the church to be anything other than a peculiar people called out of darkness, then you want something God does not want. The church ought to be seeker friendly, but we ought to realize that there is only one Seeker, His name is God, and if you want to be friendly to someone, if you want to accommodate someone, accommodate Him and His glory.
We believe that gifts of healing, prophesy, etc are still in effect today, however we are not of those who go chasing after signs, wonders and emotional experiences. We don't follow signs, but rather they follow us. We have been given truth, and we cannot expect to do what is right in our own eyes and then expect the Holy Spirit to come down and bless our mess. Every revival comes, as Pentecost came, as the fruit of continued prayer. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundant rain will be first heard.
Hereby we know that God dwells in us by the Spirit He has given us. We know we have the Spirit by His fruits. The first and greatest of these is love. Gal 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. It is God's will to produce the fruit of the Spirit in us. If anyone has these, we have evidence of the witnessing of the Spirit with his spirit. If not, there no such evidence. Is there evidence in your life that you are saved?
2 Cor 5:17 Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. If any man be not a new creature, he is not in Christ. The evidence is not the perceived sincerity of a one-time decision. The evidence is the ongoing fruit in your life. Jesus never said: "You can't judge a book by it's cover" but rather "You will know them by their fruit."
1Jn 3:8 He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. The doctrine of the carnal christian has sent multitudes of people to hell, and it is only the devil who will tell you that you can continue in sin and still call yourself a christian. Can a christian fall from time to time? Yes. Can a person live in carnality all the time, not bearing fruit, and be a christian? Absolutely not.
It seems many Christians read chapter 7 of Romans and stay there, but Paul did not. Paul went on to Romans chapter 8. Chapter 7 is about a self-centered person. The 8th chapter is about a Christ-centered person. In the 7th chapter you read that first person over and over and over until you get weary of reading "me", "my" and "I". "I want to do this but I can't...," and "I find I'm in bondage...," and so forth and so on. If you count you'll discover 41 times you find that "I," and no mention of the Holy Spirit. In the 8th chapter there is all the mention in the world about the Holy Spirit. Nineteen times the Holy Spirit is mentioned. This is the key to victory. It is Christ in us who is our hope of glory.
You are dead, and your life is now hid with Christ. But how can someone be reborn to a new life if he hasn't first died to his old life? There's only one kind of person that the devil cannot cause to sin and that is a dead person. Have we been crucified with Christ? Are we dead to the evil influences of this world?
When Jesus said "It is finished" salvation was made complete. You can't add to it. You can't subtract from it. It doesn't need anything any minister says to add to it. Jesus made a perfect redemption for men. Sin, if we obey God, has no dominion over us. Death has no dominion over us. The power of Satan has been broken. Forget that old gospel song "there's room at the cross" because there is room on the cross. When they saw a man going to be crucified, they knew he wasn't coming back.
However, people may shipwreck their faith by not keeping a good conscience. They love sin. They follow the leading of passions. They choose to indulge in carnal propensities. As a matter of course, they must, if they will do this, reject and renounce the gospel. 1Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. There is an entire destruction of faith - as a ship is wholly ruined that strikes on a rock and sinks. They have been driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and, getting among the rocks, have been shipwrecked and engulfed.
Since that which may be put away can only be of something previously had and to be involved in a shipwreck you have to already be on the boat we know this speaks of those who were once believers. However, persons may be shipwrecked, and not lost. The Apostle Paul was thrice shipwrecked, and each time saved. As there is a true and unfeigned faith, so there is a feigned and counterfeit faith, which may be in persons who have no true grace, and may be shipwrecked, so as to be lost. Since those that put away a good conscience will soon make shipwreck of faith, let us live up to the directions of a renewed conscience, and keep conscience void of offense (Acts 24:16)
Troy A Lasseigne