Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Resist the Devil

The other night I was randomly reading my Bible and came to 1 Peter 5:8-9: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…”

The Devil indeed is our enemy and he is on the prowl against our soul. He is seeking to overcome us, to cause us to fall into sin. In this Scripture we are warned and commanded to resist him, but how? I realized that it’s not by striving and fighting, but simply by doing what the text says… by being steadfast in the faith. But not just any faith, THE faith. This is talking about the Gospel – what Christ has done for us. Not only did Christ take the penalty we deserved on the cross, but he took away the power of sin over our lives. Romans 6:6 says, “…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

James 4:7 says, “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” The Devil flees not from man, for he is much more powerful that we are; he flees only from God, and it is by submitting ourselves under the authority and power of God that the Devil flees from us, because we are in Him! There is only ONE way to resist the Devil and that is by remaining steadfast in the faith of Jesus Christ by submitting and depending on Him. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” It also says in Galatians, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). That is a promise! As we look to Christ (which is to depend on Him) and walk in the Spirit we will experience deliverance from the wiles of Satan. There is another promise for this found in 1 Corinthians. Paul writes, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor 10:31) The way of escape is not this verse, and it is not our willpower; the way of escape is Christ. He is the only one who was tempted and yet did not sin (Heb 4:15) and He is the only One who is able to keep us from falling (Jude 1:24). 
Praise the Lord for so great a salvation not just in the life to come, but in this life right now!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A New and Living Way - Step # 1

When I was a student at Ellerslie I had a class called "The Gospelteer" where we studied the 'steps' of the Gospel in the way that it would need to be presented to an unbeliever and then how we build on the Gospel doing basic discipleship teaching with a new convert. We called this entire process "A New and Living Way" from Hebrews 10:19-23: "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

This blog post will have the first key point in this study.... with more to follow. This is not the complete assignment, just the Scriptural support and blog post. I don't want to give the whole thing away to any possible future students. :-)

1.     The Holiness of God: See the Need of the Soul in Light of the Holiness of God.

“Men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus, and live for Jesus, unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need.” – J.C. Ryle

Key Scriptural Support:
Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge.  -- Psalms 50:6 (NKJV)

But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.  -- Isaiah 5:16 (NKJV)

*Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  -- Romans 3:19-26 (NKJV)

*God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. -- Psalms 7:11 (NKJV)

*You are indeed angry, for we have sinned-- in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags… -- Isaiah 64:5-6 (NKJV)

Blog Post:

Have you ever thought about what God is like? In our finite minds there’s a limit to how we can describe Him and often it is characteristics that we have seen within the finite world. But the Bible describes God as being other-worldly and while it sometimes uses finite terms to describe God He is not like these things at all, and He is not like us. The primary characteristic revealed to us in Scripture, I believe, is God’s holiness. Literally it means “other”. God is separate from His creation. He is distinct, unique and different.  Holiness is synonymous with righteousness. It implies being right, good and perfect. In being perfectly holy and righteous, anything that is imperfect cannot abide in His presence. The existence of sin, that is, anything that is contrary to God’s nature in mankind presents a problem that cannot be easily resolved. In being perfectly holy it requires that God also be a perfect judge against all that is unholy and contrary to His righteousness. Psalm 7:11 says, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (NKJV) These words sound harsh and unloving to our ears, but it is not that God is unloving in His anger and justice towards wickedness, but it is His holiness that compels Him to be so. Isaiah says, “But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.” (Isaiah 5:16, NKJV) If God were not to execute judgment on wickedness then He would not be just and He would not be holy. Thus God justly gives man what he deserves and condemns him in his sin. What we need to recognize is our need to be saved from the sin that arouses God’s justice. Isaiah also says, “You are indeed angry, for we have sinned-- in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:5-6, NKJV) Man in his sin cannot save Himself… he needs a Savior.