Archive for the ‘Holiness’ Tag

Gregory Palamas: “If your attention is occupied with what is holy”   4 comments

gregory-palamas-1

This is from the blog Dover Beach:

“If you put something fragrant on to burning coals, you motivate those who approach to come back again and to stay near, but if instead you put on something with an unpleasant, oppressive smell, you repel them and drive them away. It is the same with the mind. If your attention is occupied with what is holy, you make yourself worthy of being visited by God, since this is the sweet savour which God catches scent of. On the other hand, if you nurture evil, foul and earthly thoughts within you, you remove yourself from God’s supervision and unfortunately make yourself worthy of His aversion.”

–St. Gregory Palamas, The Homilies

Posted February 8, 2020 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Hog Pen Christianity   13 comments

pigpenacp

This is from the blog The Christian Excavator:

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…” (Colossians 1: 12-14)

One contemporary song says, “I have felt Him loose the chains of sin and set my spirit free, For I know what Jesus did for me” (Squire Parsons)

But we live in a day when many Christians have no idea what it means to be free from the chains of sin. People behave like the world even though they claim to be saved by Gods grace. If it wasn’t for their Christian tattoo [sic] you would never know that they were “saved”.

They talk, and live, just like the unsaved world around them. They love exactly what the world loves and if you mention holiness to them, you are undoubtedly a Pharisee. Many modern-day preachers tell people (in so many words) if you came forward or you raised your hand or repeated a prayer, you are saved. No matter how you live. No matter how sinful you are. No matter that you have no desire for holiness whatever. You have repeated the “magic” words, so you are okay. I warn every preacher, every Christian and every parent, you are not doing anyone any favors by giving people assurance while they are living in sin. By the way, it is not our job to give people assurance. If God hasn’t changed the “bent” or the direction of your life you have no reason to believe you are a Christian. It is true that Christians will sin but the true child of God is not content to stay in sin. If God delivers you out of the hog-pen, you’ll have no desire to live there again.

I am afraid that we have produced a lot of “hog-pen Christians” in our day. The late A.W. Tozer said, “then they build a little tabernacle and call it the First Tabernacle of the Converted Swineherds.”.

Tozer went on to say; Somebody suggested that the cross of Christ should not inconvenience people. Well, it is the most inconvenient thing in the world, this cross of Christ! It took a man by the name of Jesus in the height of his healthy human life and took Him out on a hillside and killed Him there – now, that’s an inconvenient thing for Him! And any cross is inconvenient; it’s a most inconvenient thing, this accepting Christ, if we know what we mean by it. BUT THE ACCEPTING CHRIST OF POPULAR THEOLOGY HAS NO INCONVENIENCE ATTACHED TO IT.

I spoke with a man not long ago who had spent most of his adult life in prison. He was a drug dealer and user. I had known him when he was a little boy. His parents and sister went to the same church as I did as a teenager. He told me he was saved when he was a child. While we were conversing on the phone he was cursing and drinking alcohol. He had served time in prison for committing several violent crimes and was still addicted to drugs. There was nothing in his life that indicated he was a Christian. Yet he said he had been “saved” as a child. He went on tell me that several Baptist preachers in my area had assured him that he was saved. I told him that by the authority of Gods Word and every evidence in his life, he assuredly had no reason whatever to think he was saved. We spoke for over an hour. I gave him scripture and implored him to turn from his sin and turn to Christ. As far as I know he did not. But before he hung up he thanked me. He said to me. “You are the only preacher that I have talked to who was honest enough to tell me the truth.”

If Christ didn’t change your life, you are not saved!

If our religion does not make us moral, it is a millstone about our necks to destroy us! …The best morality in the world will not prove a man to be a Christian! But if a man has not morality, it proves that he is not a child of God.” – C.H. Spurgeon

The question IS NOT…

Did you raise your hand? or

Did you come to the altar? or

Did you repeat this prayer? Or

Did you get baptized?

THE question is…DID JESUS CHRIST CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

If not, you have absolutely no reason to think you are a Christian.

NONE.

Are you still in the hog pen?

Only Jesus Christ can loose the chains of sin.

I unapologetically stake everything I believe, teach and preach on these facts.

Brother Shawn

A Christian Cult
Wearing a Rough Garment
Overcome With Great Sorrow
Jacksonites, Yours is a Bloody City
A Parable About Lukewarm, American Christianity

Posted January 5, 2018 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Why We Must Think Rightly About God   5 comments

knowledgeoftheholy-1

This is from the blog Grayson Pope:

This is the first article in a series called The Knowledge of The Holy in which each article will be based around a chapter from A.W. Tozer’s book of the same name (my review). This is a journey worth taking because not only is Tozer’s book a classic in the spiritual world, but the subject matter is God’s character.

Before Tozer begins to talk through the attributes of God’s character, he lays a crucial foundation that must be considered. He wisely knows that without this foundation, everything else will go awry. That foundation is what we think about when we think about God. That’s because we will never rise above our understanding of the Almighty, and, “we tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our image of God.”

Thinkly rightly about God affects not only our theology, but how we live as well. Tozer speaks of knowing God as being the foundation for worship which, like the foundation for the temple, will begin to collapse as soon as the foundation is found to be inadequate or out of plumb. And surely this has been seen to be true. How many cults, strange offshoots, and shameful pursuits have we seen as we trace the history of the Church?

More than anything, Tozer is calling his readers to think rightly about God; “rightly,” meaning according to what the Bible tells us about Him. As his famous quote from above tells us, this is the most important thing about us. As if that was not heavy enough, he ups the ante, rightly saying,

All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him.

This is the pursuit of all of philosophy and theology, and mankind will forever be reckoning with the fact that there is a God, regardless of what they determine to do about it.

But for the person who comes to terms with God and understands and accepts His gospel, he, “is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems,” because he sees that they all pale in comparison to that which God is at work doing in the world. But unless “the weight of the burden is felt the gospel can mean nothing to the man; and until he sees a vision of God high and lifted up, there will be no woe and no burden.” If we don’t think rightly about God, we will not see our need for God and the goodness of His grace and mercy in the cross of Jesus. This is nonsense to those who don’t yet know Him, of course, but it is the power of salvation for those who believe.

Tozer writes with such force because he sees a right view of God slipping away, endangering not only the institution of the church, but the very Truth it stands for. The danger is that, “Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.” These low views of God pave the way for the most destructive of all sins — idolatry; the essence of which, Tozer writes, “is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.”

When considering how much of the New Testament is a rebuke of false teaching or an exhortation for others to correct false teaching, this makes a great deal of sense. False teaching leads to false thinking which leads to false gods. Any entertainment of a god other than the God as revealed in the Bible is idolatry because it epitomizes that which is not actually God. “The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.”

What a message for today when we are so susceptible to wrong thinking. The rampant pluralism, intense social pressure, and increasing secularism of the day make for an ideal moment for the Enemy to attack our understanding of God. This was the first and most dangerous temptation first uttered in the Garden. And our epidemically low Bible literacy makes it like shooting fish in a barrel.

And perhaps this is precisely how Tozer felt when he wrote of his own day that,

The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.

Surely Tozer was viewed as a doomsdayer by some when he wrote that, and perhaps the same will be said of me. But I cannot help but feel like the situation is even more dire today. Those in the Church are daily giving way to low views of God and His Word, handing over not only the foundation for their convictions, but the very foundations of the faith itself. It feels as if the Devil learned from his reign in Babylon that he can succeed in turning us away from God by simply assimilating the world into the faith, thereby assimilating the faith into the world. This strategy is an ingenious, insidious plot to replace a high view of God with a far lesser and far lower one. This, “low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us,” Tozer writes. “A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.”

There is only one way out of this mess. I’ll let Tozer himself explain:

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him — and of her. In all her prayers and labors this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to the undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise.

Posted December 14, 2016 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

The Blood Speaks of the Remission of Sins   1 comment

68869f18f7e61a84ff6ab55685dc22d3

This is from the blog A Word in Season:

The Remission of Sins
Our Part

God, in Christ having paid the price of our sins and remitted them forever from His presence, now proclaims us forgiven and justified in His sight. He now brings us into the workings of His Love, His Truth and His Spirit to complete His full plan of salvation. Having been declared righteous He now begins in earnest to make us His righteousness in truth. The experience of His joy in our hearts and the incomprehensible knowing we are freed from the penalty and the shame of our past sins is the sure sign of His truth in our hearts. However, we soon discover that the declared righteousness, as wonderful as it is, leaves lingering sins and issues. Even though much of the former sins have passed away we inherently recognize the need for a further work of God to complete that which He has begun.

“…being persuaded of this very thing,
that the One having begun a good work in you
will finish it until the day of Jesus Christ”
Philippians 1:6

This is the point at which His people reveal their desire for religion or truth. Voices of the nominal church will tell the young believer to believe the work of God is done; that they have been forgiven and justified so go enjoy life in this world. These voices of reason speak the words of compromise and death. These are the voices of a thief that would rob His people of the truth and power of the Cross to which we have been called. It would steal from us the riches of the promises of God given to those who overcome. If there is no overcoming there will be no reaping of the rewards which God gives to those who live and overcome by faith.

“To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of God”
Revelation 2:7

“He that overcometh
shall not be hurt of the second death…”
Revelation 2:11

“To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna,
and will give him a white stone,
and in the stone a new name written,
which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it”
Revelation 2:17

“And he that overcometh,
and keepeth my works unto the end,
to him will I give power over the nations:
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron;
as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers:
even as I received of my Father.
And I will give him the morning star”
Revelation 2:26-28

“He that overcometh,
the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,
but I will confess his name before my Father,
and before his angels”
Revelation 3:5

“Him that overcometh
will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,
and he shall go no more out:
and I will write upon him the name of my God,
and the name of the city of my God,
which is new Jerusalem,
which cometh down out of heaven from my God:
and I will write upon him my new name”
Revelation 3:12

“To him that overcometh
will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne”
Revelation 3:21

These promises are not ours because we were forgiven and justified; they are for those who overcome! These promises are to those who refuse to compromise with the enemies of their own hearts. These promises are to those who desire the true righteousness which is ours by the power of the faith, life and truth of Jesus beating in our hearts. These ones know the truth of “working out their own salvation”; not by the works of the law but because it is God who is at work in their hearts.

“Wherefore, my beloved,
as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of his good pleasure”
Philippians 2:12-13

Our working out of this great salvation is the result of God working in. This is not religious works but the works of faith. Faith cannot exist within an individual without producing these works. They who do little have little faith.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also”
James 2:26

The voices of compromise and of a lukewarm spirit will cry out Ephesians 2:8-9

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast”
Ephesians 2:8-9

What they fail to quote is the verse that follows…

“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them”
Ephesians 2:10

The working out of God’s salvation as a result of His working in brings us to the knowing this one thing: We are not saved by works; we are saved unto good works. Those good works are revealed in overcoming the obstacles of our hearts, our weaknesses, our thinking, and the lusts of this world, the pride of life and the accuser of the brethren. These are the works and victory of His faith in us.

Our part in the remission of sins is summed up in this scripture.

“John did baptize in the wilderness,
and preach the baptism of repentance
for* (unto) the remission of sins”
Mark 1:4

While much of the church would preach and believe in the remission of sins on God’s part, few would dare to preach or believe we are called to walk out the remission of sins in our own lives. We are to co-operate with God’s work of salvation in our lives. We also are called to “send away from ourselves” our sins. John the Baptist preached the baptism of repentance in which people would be convicted and brought by the power of the Holy Spirit to the place of repentance. Repentance is the power of God at work in lives to “turn” from their sins. John preached this repentance unto the remission of sins. This is the preaching of the Gospel whereby people are convicted in their minds of the horror and bondage their sins have brought upon them and in that sorrow they find in God divine enablement to remiss (turn away, send away) their own live sins. It is here we discover the power of God’s salvation working within the hearts of men to bring them to the point of action: the turning away from sin. How the truth and power of the Gospel has been polluted! It is here, by grace, we enter into a covenant with God. It is a covenant that He instituted by the death of His Son through the shedding of His Own Blood. How can we linger in sin any longer?

“What then? shall we sin,
because we are not under the law,
but under grace?
God forbid”
Romans 6:15

God forbid that we should compromise with sin because we are under grace. God forbid that the battle of faith within my own life should cease until everything within my heart is brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

The Trial of a Prophet   Leave a comment

250px-jeremiah_lamenting

This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

Jeremiah 20:2: Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the LORD.

The prophetic ministry of Jeremiah was dotted with various painful experiences. He once accused God of deceiving him (Jeremiah 20:7-8), because, when he called him into the ministry he was not presented with the full picture of the hardship he would face, for it.

Jesus, did not mince words, but came out from the onset to say that in the kingdom of God, great blessing accrues to those persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5:10).

Times of persecution were rife in the time of the first century church and also in many places across the world even now. Persecution may not be regional but personal, in your own particular situation, even in a place that seems tolerant to Christianity.

Why people persecute you, even if they claim to be Christians is because your changed lifestyle is a judgment against them, just as the words of Jeremiah was judgment against his persecutors.

Trials are not convenient. You don’t choose them but they are inevitable as Paul said that he that would live godly in this world WILL suffer persecution (2Timothy 3:10-15). Your righteous lifestyle means that people cannot influence you into their wrong ways just because you are present.

They get pricked in their conscience; because, whether you like it or understand it or not, you are the light of this world (Matthew 5:14). Nevertheless the people of this world do not want to come to the light because their deeds are evil (John 3:18-21). They may even call you evil (2Timothy 2:8-9, 1Peter 2:12, 3:16) for their own conscience sake, mislabelling you to justify their persecution of you.

They want to repress you to not have your voice heard. They want to remain comfortable in their sins and the best they think they could do, is to do away with you. By your presence, you present the alternative to their rule, so they fight you because they want to maintain a sway of influence on the people.

People resist change and your mere presence as a Christian is a passive force of change (Matthew 13:33). In the full pride of their heart they want to remain the way they are. Also they don’t have an explanation for you; as Jesus said, those who are born of the Spirit are like the wind (John 3:7-8) beyond their control. Therefore the unbelievers are afraid of you, you make them uncomfortable because they cannot unravel you; they don’t know what makes you tick. They are amazed that you are not running around with them in the riotous living (1Peter 4:3-4); and they hate because in a way, you are better than them; you are not bound by the sin which binds them.

They see a light in you but their minds are so warped that the only reaction that they have for you is rejection. That was the same response that the Jews have for Jesus. He came to his own and his own received him not (John 1:9-11), they rejected him and condemned to the death on the cross.

The expression of your gift has the potential of drawing the ire of Satan and his cohorts. They hate your feeling of being special to God as to become used by him. They hate your confidence and your obvious air of sufficiency (2Corinthians 2:5, 9:8) and liberty in Christ (Galatians 2:4).

The impact of your spirit is what they reject or refuse to recognise because it is a threat, especially to the falsely religious, or those with religion that deny the power of God in Christ Jesus (2Timothy 3:4-5). You are a threat to their sphere of influence; you are an alternative influence, a judgment on the continuation of their power. Their pride, security in their position rather than in God, and resistance to change conspire to make them bent on persecuting you.

Stephen gave the reason such people instinctively persecute the true servants of God as their resistance to the Spirit of God. He called such people stick-necked (Acts 7:51-54), rigid in their pride and rejection of the will of God. That conclusion does not make sense to such people and their position also does not make sense to you, as it is written, what concord does light have with darkness (2Corinthians 6:14)?

Paul told Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2Timothy 2:3, 11-12). This includes experiencing contradictions and confrontations from sinners (Hebrews 12:3-4).

Persecution is treated in the scriptures as the natural course of things for Christians. The apostles, after they were flogged for the course of Christ rejoiced for being counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ (Acts 5:40-42). They knew their own trial was small compared to the monumental pain Jesus endured at his own trial.

What we see from the persecution of Jeremiah is that there is always judgment on the persecutors (e.g. Jeremiah 20:3-4).

Jesus, while on the cross overflows with love for his persecutors and asked that they be forgiven for persecuting him (Luke 23:33-34). We should be careful to not harbour any seed of bitterness against our persecutors in us. This has the potential of growing a root of bitterness in us (Hebrews 12:14-15) that would starve the good seed of God in us from being expressed and that is what the devil wants.

The persecution he throws at us is not just to cause us to change our mind about God but to have us harbour un-forgiveness as we hold onto that pain rather than continue to look unto Jesus (Hebrews 12: 1-3).

When we look at the pain rather than looking unto Jesus, we become distracted from our journey with God and that is a plus to the kingdom of Satan. If he can’t cause you to turn back, he’ll be contented to slow you down. That is a good achievement for him if he can’t pressure into capitulating, to reject the truth you once embraced.

The writer to the book of Hebrews advised the believers to maintain the confession of their faith, in the face of persecution (Hebrews 3:6, 14, 4:14-16, 10:23, 32-39).

In trial, don’t shift but dig deep in the understanding of the truth of your position. Don’t back down. Jesus said that in the world, we would suffer persecution but we should be of good cheer because he has overcome the world (John 16:33).

With that, Jesus is now saying He is one with you in that persecution and trial. When Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus had to tell him that it was Him that he is persecuting (Acts 22: 6-8). Therefore, you are not alone, Christ is with you in the trial, you are his body, and the same overcoming spirit that was in Him, is in you; darkness will not conquer light but light darkness (John 1:5).

Peter has a word of assurance. He said after you have suffered a while, God would perfect, establish and settle you (1Peter 5:8-10). The final answer is not with your persecutor but with God who has promised you a crown (James 1:12).

WordFromGod: depend on my inspiration in the time of your persecution.

Locusts and Wild Honey

Posted May 12, 2014 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,