June 21, 2009 Beware, You, Too, May Fail

Beware, You, Too, May Fall!

 

The Apostle Paul reminds us to be diligent with every step we take. 

See 1 Corinthians 10.12  

 

It is interesting that times have not changed, for he was writing almost 2,000 years ago and about people who lived 2,000 years earlier.

Philosophies are insidious, like the iceberg that sank the Titanic.  We hear just enough, and innocent at that, to lure our interest and compassion from remembering our experience with hot surface that appeared just warm.  Too late, the skin of our protection is pierced and we capsize amidst our good intentions.  So, heed Paul’s words!

 

Jehoshaphat needed to know Paul.

2 Chronicles 19.1-2 was the unwelcomed news that Jehoshaphat should have anticipated. 

He had been listening to philosophies for some time, and God knew and was not happy.  Do we, too, believe that we can get away with our ‘secret sins’?  There are no secrets with God!  What part of omniscient do we not understand?

‘Helping the wicked’ and ‘loving those who hate God’ is the worse condemnation that a person can hear!  Are we guilty, too?

Jehoshaphat had helped a fellow king of Judah’s sister country with a conquest by force. 

Read the story in 2 Chronicles 18; notice the deception and philosophy that caused it.  

Remember, also, that force is one of satans five lures to gain control of our lives.  The others are greed, ambition, selfishness, and sexual pleasure.

Verse 1 of Chapter 18 tells us that Jehoshaphat had ‘allied himself with Ahab’.  Such alignments were usually sealed by marrying a daughter.  (He should have chosen better advisors, too.)  He would have done well to have read about his ancestor, Solomon’s troubles that began with such alignment. 

See 1 Kings 3.1 leading to 1 Kings 11.1-11

 

Why did he align himself with wickedness, in light of 2 Chronicles 17.10?  This was just another of the blessings of

 

God outlined in Verses 3-10. 

How does verse 3 remind you of Joshua 1.7-8 and

Proverbs 3.5-6?

 

Ahab was the type of person your mother used to warn you not to be with.  What philosophies do you count in 1 Kings 16.29-33 and 1Kings 21.25-26 that controlled him? 

 

How is 2 Chronicles 19.2 both a warning of movement toward and an explanation of

Jeremiah 13.10?

 

What would Paul have told him?

2 Corinthians 6.14, amplified in 1 Corinthians 5.9 and (Moses in) Deuteronomy 7.1-3 and Deuteronomy 22.10.

Romans 6.16, amplified in Galatians 4.3 , 9;  Hebrews 7.18-19.

Colossians 2.8-10, amplified in 1 John 2.15-17

1 Corinthians 13.11.

 

Would Jehoshaphat have listened?

  • What does 2 Chronicles 20.12 indicate?
  • Will you listen to Paul’s words? 
  • What will you do differently, so others will know?

Remember that the Bible gives God’s instructions for mankind and illustrations of people who failed by not following or who succeeded by keeping His word.  See 2 Chronicles 16.9.

June 14, 2009 The Beginning and End of Philosophy

The Beginning and End of Philosophy

 

Liberal theologian Paul Tillich observed: ‘Religion is the essence of culture, and culture is the dress of religion.’  Anyone old enough to remember several decades will confirm that American culture has changed and can give poignant illustrations.  If Tillich’s connection is true, what are we to deduce from our observations of change in religion?  We are in ‘the last days’, as the Apostle Paul described them to his protégé in 2 Timothy 3.1-9, ‘times of stress’.

 

Philosophy is destroying America and the world around us. 

Let’s consider the essence of philosophy.

 

Think of a teeter-totter on the playground, with two children alternatively lifting each other from low to high. 

Call one child ‘spirit’ and the other ‘body’ and the fulcrum ‘mind’. 

 1 Thessalonians 5.23

Your mind must decide when it will respond to the words of Jesus to your spirit and when it will respond to satan’s temptations of your body.  1 John 2.15-17. 

This is the struggle of daily life, and you must choose moment by moment!  Jeremiah 13.10 and John 16.33

 

The Beginning of Philosophy

It began with a lie.

Eve believed the serpent’s deception that she could be god.  Genesis 3.1-5.

It was an easy transition: opened eyes led to knowing evil and good led to deciding which was better led to rationalizing evil led to calling God a liar for not agreeing with her.

Life became ‘relative’ with the end being increasing degeneration/devolution.

Adam and Eve knew the perfection of good in the Garden – beauty, abundance, innocence, harmony, and walks with God Himself! 

Before the lie, their minds chose the spirit because that’s all they knew.  Philippians 4.8.

After the lie, their minds chose the body and the consequences of loss of ‘paradise’, struggle against satan for food, difficult birth of children, and sibling rivalry leading to murder and more lying. 

James 3.16.

satan constructed a philosophy through words of lie.  Eve bought into it.

Like the fish in the story, the lie grows with new variants of philosophy.  This is relativism. 

But it still is a lie.  Ephesians 4.14.

 

Characteristics of a Lie/Philosophy

Colossians 2.8 says that philosophy is ‘empty deception’. 

How are the items listed in Colossians 3.5-6 and 8-9 empty deceptions?

Colossians 2.8 says that philosophy is ‘tradition of men’. 

How is the groups listed in Colossians 3.11 the tradition of men?

Colossians 2.8 says that philosophy is ‘elementary principles of the world’. 

How is the items listed in Colossians 2.21 elementary principles of the world?

Philosophy weakens people, thereby nations, because it is comprised of satan’s weapons:

force,       greed,           ambition,       selfishness, and        sexual pleasure.  Isaiah 14.12. 

These satisfy the body! 

satan keeps them in our eyes and ears as constant deceptions.

In its end, philosophy calls God a liar! 

It represents man’s decision to choose evil over good.

 

Philosophy Ends When Truth Arrives

Colossians 2.8 contrasts each of lie’s characteristics against the clause ‘not according to Christ’. 

Colossians 3.10–4.6     Matthew 5.1-7.29     John 8.31-32.

 

Why ‘according to Christ’?  He is the ‘truth’ against which all words are to be measured. 

John 3.33       John 8.45-47          John17.17       John 18.37

 

Based upon this, how much more time will you commit to Bible study? 

2 Timothy 3.16-17                 2 Peter 3.17-18. 

 

How can you at least balance the evil messages you receive with those that are good?

 

Why ‘according to Christ’? 

 

He has won the victory over philosophy for us;

John 16.33                 Romans 10.17             1 John 5.4

 

How much faith do you need to overcome the philosophies that surround you? 

Which specific verses contain that faith for you? 

When will you memorize them? 

How often will you repeat them?

 

Why ‘according to Christ’?  John 14.6. 

His words will judge us; John 12.46-50. 

How does Deuteronomy 18.19 add importance to these verses?

 

Why choose truth?              Proverbs 14.12 and Proverbs 4.23

Contemplate the following illustrations of these verses:

free v slave;    strong v weak;      absolute v relative;    

truth v philosophy.

Now, what will you do?

May 31, 2009 Secularization Covers Shame

Secularization Covers Shame

 

Last week, we began to look at the contexts for Christian apologetics today.  The recent advertisement frames this adequately: ‘this is not your daddy’s Oldsmobile.’  But whereas technology has improved our standard of living, factors have converged to devolve the social fabric in which we live.  Understanding these factors is necessary before we can strategize and implement changes to bring America back to God.

 

Americans have lost their shame, their reason, and their meaning.  satan has used his weapons effectively, even among Christian families. 

Force, ambition, greed, selfishness, and sexual pleasure are the fare of news stories and of primetime television, influencing the behavior of young and old alike. 1 John 2.15-17

 

It began with ‘the lie’ and continues unabated.

          ‘Has God really said…’ was satan’s lure to appeal to Eve’s ambition, which led her, eventually, to call God a liar.  Note her downward spiral: eyes opened led to knowing good and evil led to making her own decision led to rationalization led to calling God a liar (because He did not agree with her; Genesis 3.1-6).

          Solomon believed the lie, too, and lost his salvation.  Consider the following sequence of events.  The lie led to making decisions without God, exploring evil, and acting ‘politically correct’.

            Scholars say Solomon was 18 when he ascended to David’s throne in 1015 BC.  He was the youngest of the sons born to David.  He ruled until 975 BC, 40 years. 

            He compiled the Proverbs in 1000 BC and wrote Ecclesiastes 23 years later, in 977 BC, two years before his death.  How could the wisdom of the 33 year-old king devolve into the pleasure-seeker of 56?  Some mid-life crisis!

            Scholars speculate that his first wife was Abishag, the most beautiful virgin in Israel, who had kept King David warm during the last days of his life.  She is the Shulemite (Shunemmite) of the Song of Solomon, written in 1014 BC.

            In total, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines! (1 Kings 11.3)  Why so many? 

1 Kings 3.1 explains that Solomon made a treaty with Egypt’s Pharaoh and sealed it by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter.  He did this with many other nations because Israel was a world power after David’s reign (blessed by God).

            Whether Solomon or other monarchs sought these treaties is not the question.  The question is why did Solomon disobey God’s law about marrying outside the faith?  See Exodus 34.15-16 and Deuteronomy 7.3-4.

            Not only so, but 1 Kings 3.2-4 tells us that Solomon and Israel had adopted the custom of the nations to worship on the highest point of the land, so their prayers would be closer to God.  See Deuteronomy 12.29-31.

            The irony of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple (in 1005 BC; 1 Kings 8.25; since he had begun marrying foreign wives and was worshipping at the ‘high places’) is the irony of us holding onto our pet sins while worshipping God each day.

            As He does with us, God tried to dissuade Solomon from the sins that were driving the wedge of separation between them.  In 1 Kings 9.1-9, God reminds Solomon of His righteous standard and warns him of the consequences of disobedience.  The year is 992 BC, and Solomon is probably in the midst of the explorations he describes in Ecclesiastes.  Note his wealth in 1 Kings 10.14-29.  Is verse 14 God’s commentary and like Paul’s equivalent 1Timothy 6.9-10?

            Despite God’s warning, probably repeated but unrecorded, Solomon ‘loved many foreign women’ (1 Kings 11.1-11) and nurtured the worship of their gods.

          Solomon’s heart turned away from God, and the nation suffered (1 Kings 11.14).  Solomon had been deceived by satan from the first rule of kings (and parents and all in leadership):

1 Kings 10.9: ‘maintain justice and righteousness’.  So, the nation was weakened (Isaiah 14.12) and divided (1 Kings 11.35-36), and Solomon died (verse 43).

          Through deception, satan was able to re-establish the gods that Israel had driven out of The Promised Land; 1Kings 11.5-8, 33. This was the legacy of Solomon: one leader undid the work of God through many of his predecessors. Pluralism continues it plague.

 

 

Truth exposes the lie!

          If only Solomon had remembered Proverbs 14.34!  It is explained in Hosea 14.9.  How does this help you to understand John 12.47-48?

          Solomon had forgotten to practice Deuteronomy 6.3-9.  He, even, forgot the song he had penned; Psalm 127.1.

          Solomon had listened to satan’s voice, within and/or through trusted advisors, to seek protection through alliances with satan, to rationalize this as necessary to protect the nation (thus doing a better job than God), and to enjoy the pleasures that satan provides.  Sound familiar?

          Sounds like ‘philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ’ ( Colossians 2.8).  Paul admonishes us to beware of the lie and to expose it by the light of the truth (verses 9-10, John 14.6).

          Solomon lost his shame with his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter.  His shameless behavior only increased, as revealed by his sexual appetite, his exploration of foreign gods

(Jeremiah 13.10), and his Ecclesiastes.

          Our secular society bids us follow their relative system (2 Timothy 3.1-6).  We dare not!!!  God has set an absolute standard that is best.  See John 8.31-32.    Remember the following: Deuteronomy 30.15; Joshua 24.15; 1 Kings 18.21.

 

Praise God!!!