Saturday, July 24, 2010

Don't Be Destroyed

The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy. (Psa 145:20 KJV)
I recently came across a graphic that some creative soul spent way too much time creating.  I won't give it any dignity by linking to it, but the general gist of it was this:  A comparative chart showing the number of people God killed in the Bible (some 2,000,000 plus), versus those whom Satan killed (only 10).  Predictably, this sort of irked me, being somewhat of a Biblical student.  This prompted me to make a few observations of my own:
  1. So what?  What's their point?
  2. If the person that created this little graphic actually took the time to make this kind of research, they have too much time on their hands.  It would be better spent on some serious study of God's Word rather than a feeble attempt to undermine it.
  3. The person that created this little graphic really took no time at all to research their claim, and has no idea what they are talking about.
  4. If the person that created this little graphic went to all the trouble to research the figures by searching them out of the Bible, then they really missed the point of the Bible altogether.  What a waste.
Actually I find no recorded incident where Satan actually took anyone's life, much less ten.  I did find however, copious scripture references to God destroying the wicked, evildoers, and His enemies, too many to enumerate here.  The principle is there.  God destroys the wicked.  I didn't say it, He did.  That doesn't go down too well in today's politically correct society, but the principle remains.

There is a school of thought that makes the assertion that God only exists if you believe in Him.  I'm not sure where that theology comes from, but it is certainly not from the Bible.  God transcends all, even our own pitifully small ideas of Him.  You simply cannot disbelieve Him out of existence.  He has said what He will do, and you can make bank on it.  If you are an enemy of God, He will destroy you.  It may not be today, but it is an absolute truth.

Who is an enemy of God?  Those who actively oppose Him.  Those who are in disobedience of Him.  Essentially, anybody who does not love him.  Those who are at enmity with His people.  These are the ones that God will destroy with the brightness of His appearing.  There were a number of people throughout the Bible, who found themselves on the wrong side of things and were destroyed.  God does not change.  Wickedness, evil, and unrighteousness cannot stand in His presence.

So all this kicking about how unfair God must be, is really pointless.  These kinds of arguments and debates are fruitless, and will never change His mind.  They will never change who He is.  To continue to rail out is utter foolishness.

Now that I've completely rubbed the fur backwards let's look at the flip side.  God's mercy, love, and compassion is just as complete as His justice, and righteousness.  As much as He will destroy the wicked, He will save to the uttermost, those who love Him.  It is so simple, people have to get help to misunderstand.  The way of escape from destruction and judgement is so simple.  His Son, Jesus, made the way.  To love and embrace the Christ, is to love God and not be at enmity with Him.

A deep heart check will reveal all I have said here as truth.  Take a moment won't you?  If you are an enemy with God, switch sides.  It's very easy.  Jesus said:

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (Joh 6:37 KJV)

God has already given His son all the Earth and everything in it, all you need to do is make a choice.  It's the best one you'll ever make. Get on the winning team.  God does not reject losers, but he destroys the obstinate

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

I was recently engaged in a discussion with an individual who made assertion to the effect that leaders are born, not made; That some are meant for leadership while others are destined merely to be followers. This might have passed me by unnoticed, but for the fact that I had heard a similar statement to the same effect by someone different. Being the sort that I am, when something rings hollow, I begin to measure it against the Word of God.

My conclusion: Pure rubbish. At least in the life of a believer, it is.

To that idea, this verse came to mind rather quickly. When that happens, it is usually the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When this occurs, take note, He is trying to say something.

Jesus appears in all His glory, and addresses His Church. This is the writer, John’s, preamble:

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:5b-6 MKJV) also: 1Pe_2:9 Exo_19:6

Jesus has made us all a kingdom of priests. Many have split theological hairs over whether the rendering is properly “kings and priests”, or “kingdom of priests”. It matters little, as both denote a position of supremacy, or leadership. Allow me to share with you some commentaries on this verse from some great churchmen who have preceded us:

Albert Barnes:
In 1Pe_2:9 the same idea is expressed by saying of Christians that they are “a royal priesthood.” The quotation in both places is from Exo_19:6; “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests.” This idea is expressed here by saying that Christ had made us in fact kings and priests; that is, Christians are exalted to the dignity and are invested with the office, implied in these words. The word “kings,” as applied to them, refers to the exalted rank and dignity which they will have; to the fact that they, in common with their Saviour, will reign triumphant over all enemies; and that, having gained a victory over sin and death and hell, they may be represented as reigning together. The word “priests” refers to the fact that they are engaged in the holy service of God, or that they offer to him acceptable worship.
Adam Clarke:
The regal (kingly) and sacerdotal (priestly) dignities are the two highest that can possibly exist among men; and these two are here mentioned to show the glorious prerogatives and state of the children of God.
Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel paraphrases it thus, "and ye shall be before me", מלכין, "kings" crowned with a crown, וכהנין, "and priests" ministering.
Matthew Henry:
He has made them kings and priests to God and his Father. Having justified and sanctified them, he makes them kings to his Father; that is, in his Father's account, with his approbation, and for his glory. As kings, they govern their own spirits, conquer Satan, have power and prevalency with God in prayer, and shall judge the world. He hath made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them to enter into the holiest and to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices, and has given them an unction suitable to this character; and for these high honours and favours they are bound to ascribe to him dominion and glory for ever.
Do any of these attributes put you in the mind of someone who is destined for mediocrity? I think not. There is no-one in the Kingdom of God who is not a leader in their own right. From the youngest at the tender single digit age sharing scripture with his neighbor friends, to the eldest pastor, all are leaders in God’s estimation.

We MUST be cautious in accepting man's wisdom as absolute truth. Many things sound reasonable and truthful on the surface, but are mere foolishness designed to lead people astray.

How can we know the difference? The principal thing is to know God. The best way is to know the scripture. Spend time with Him, strive to develop a relationship with Him. Only THEN can we know who we really are in Him.

Do you have followers?

Whenever you take a stand to do right, to be right, live righteously; Someone is watching. As you grow, as your testimony increases, others WILL follow. That makes you a leader.

We all look to those older than ourselves as examples, this places responsibility on our elders:

Likewise, younger ones, be subject to older ones, and all being subject to one another. Put on humility. For God resists proud ones, but He gives grace to the humble. (1Pe 5:5 MKJV)
But are young people leaders? The Apostle Paul said this:
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example of the believers, in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1Ti 4:12 MKJV)
When God called the prophet Jeremiah, he was a mere stripling, yet the conversation went thus:
Then I said, Alas, Lord Jehovah! Behold, I do not know to speak; for I am a boy. But Jehovah said to me, Do not say, I am a boy; for you shall go to all that I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. (Jer 1:6-7 MKJV)
We can see that all in the body of Christ have a measure of leadership. Take caution howver: Good leadership does not always have an accompanying title or position, at least at the beginning. Good leadership will bring about promotion by God:
For lifting up comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge; He puts down one and sets up another. (Psa 75:6-7 MKJV)
So, wait for it. Don't be impatient. Don't try to “make something happen”. Put Godly leadership into practice first, it is after all, an act of faith.
But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint. (Gal 6:9 MKJV)
Good leaders, have been and are, firstly, good followers
Remember those leading you, who have spoken to you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conduct: (Heb 13:7 MKJV)
Ask yourself:
  • Are you a good follower?
  • Are you submissive to your God-appointed leaders?
  • Can you receive correction and Godly wisdom?
  • Or are you a scoffer? (One who condemns without investigation)
  • Do you have staying power?
  • Or do you quit when the going gets tough?
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If all the body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If all hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him. (1Co 12:14-18 MKJV)
Are you a good leader or a bad one?

I have seen cars with the fish logo on the back, while the driver displays the middle finger. As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors:
Then we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as God exhorting through us, we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2Co 5:20 MKJV)
We represent the Kingdom of God, on the earth. Although it is possible to shirk our duties, shouldn't we strive to be salt and light, as the Master has directed? Is a fish easier caught by using enticement, rather than yelling “I'm a fisherman!” at it?

We are all called to be leaders, to follow our leaders as we all follow Christ.
Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1Co 11:1 MKJV)
We need to strive to be the best representation of Him we possibly can. We need to lift Him up:
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself. (Joh 12:32 MKJV)
The rule of thumb still stands: What would Jesus do? He is our ultimate example, so let’s be the leaders He intended for us to be.