Friday, December 14, 2018
The best friend we could ever have is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He is the hero of every true Christian – no one else. No one! Because eternal life has been made available only through Him, only His testimony and that of His Spirit is worthy of safeguarded praise, honor and exaltation. We dare not add to or subtract from His Word, for God has warned: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18–19).
Being a friend of God begins with: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, [affirming the post-trib rapture] which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19–21). Repentance and turning from our own will to believe and trust Christ is the prerequisite to being a friend of God, otherwise, “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
We should hear much about repentance, not just from our own spirit, but especially where we attend church. It should be preached often. Though repentance goes against the natural will of every man, woman and child, it is the prerequisite of Christ being our friend. If we are faithful in this, then we will be His fit ambassadors to safeguard His testimony and to emulate Him in our lives to the very best of our ability through the strength and indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
Putting to death our self-will (and yes, we all have one regardless of what Calvinism teaches) is vital to eternal life. And our example in this comes from Christ Himself, who “in all things He had to be made like His brethren” (Heb. 3:17). Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42). Don’t miss the Savior’s Words, “not My will, but yours, be done”. That must also be the practice of our own hearts to say, “not my will, but yours, Lord”, which requires the yielding of our will.
In our flesh we often fail for “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41) therefore on our behalf repentance is often required. But unlike mankind, Christ never sinned, so repentance was not required of Him, but submitting His will to God was “that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 3:17–18). One of our greatest temptations is to disbelieve what God said.
To demonstrate this truth consider Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. At every point of Satan’s attack Jesus responded with “It is written” (Matt. 4:4; 4:7 and 4:10). And at one point Satan even quoted God’s Word “It is written” (Matt. 4:6) back to Jesus to catch Him off guard. But Satan’s tactics haven’t changed, he uses God’s Word but in a twisted and perverse way. This is why it’s imperative that we know the contextual Word of God for ourselves. We must never simply rely on what we hear from the pulpit, because if we do, we set ourselves up to be deceived, because the pulpit is more often than not governed by doctrines and traditions of men.
Christ submitted His will to God that God’s will be done. Jesus said “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me” (John 6:38). And again, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). Keeping in mind that “in all things He had to be made like His brethren”, confirms that if Christ had a will that needed to be submitted, so too, we have a will that must be submitted to Him.
Consider: after Christ’s crucifixion and ascension, the first century churches became so corrupt with deceptions, doctrines and traditions of men that Christ sent strong letters of rebuke to those churches, see Revelation chapters 2 and 3. With the spiritual condition of those churches having fallen apart to that degree in the first century, how much worse have deceptions, doctrines and traditions of men become two thousand years later!
Many Christian men have relinquished their familial God-ordained headship to their wives. And they take their lead from many Church leaders and pastors who relinquished their God-ordained offices of headship to women for the governance of the Church. There’s little to no fear of God’s Word as men have raised their own will above God’s by ascending women to offices of authority and teaching reserved for men, see 1 Tim. 2:12–14. The same is true of Christ’s teachings of the end-times – men, by their own will, have created the wholly non-existent pre-trib rapture which has deceived many, but it pleases the people while many have grown very wealthy by their best-selling books that utterly contradict the testimony of Christ. And sadly, the voices of those who truly care about preserving God’s Word and will are very few.
But Jesus’ conditional warning is this, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). Well, the truth of the matter is that Jesus commanded male governance of His Church by His Spirit through the apostles; and He also said of the end-times, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:25), but both are resolutely ignored by many professing Christian leaders, pastors and teachers. In many cases repentance from unbelief has not been dealt with.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Since this is true, why is so much of God’s Word selectively and intentionally ignored and kept from the people? Answer: to protect the traditions of men “making the word of God of no effect” (Mark 7:13). However, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
Today, God’s love and grace is over-preached, while the consequences for disobedience and unbelief of His commands are greatly under-preached. Political correctness from the pulpit is causing the shipwreck of faith for many. And the false unity of religions is now spreading like wildfire, specifically the false unity of Christianity with Islam and Judaism. There is no unity between those three religions. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to salvation and God the Father. And if you encounter anyone teaching otherwise, have nothing to do with them. We must safeguard the testimony, authority and worship of Jesus Christ now and always.
Marlin J. Yoder