The Everlasting Anointing

February 11, 2010 at 10:16 am | Posted in Eternity | 10 Comments
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If you were to disregard the Bible, and base what you believe about Christianity solely on what you heard from television preachers, and from those involved in “healing ministries,” “deliverance ministries,” and “signs, wonders, and miracles ministries,” you would almost have to believe that God’s favorite word is “anointing.”

We hear about “the anointing” on singers, “the anointing” on preachers, and “the anointing” on faith healers. I once even heard that a really good cook had a special “rice and gravy anointing.” Another person told me that they knew “the anointing” was upon us, because he had chill bumps from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. (Maybe I’m too skeptical, but I did happen to glance at the thermostat, and it was set on 64 at the time.)

It may surprise you to learn that the word “anointing” is almost always used in the Old Testament in connection with the pouring of oil on someone or something. It is used in a very literal way. It may surprise you even more to learn that the word “anointing” is used only three times in the entire New Testament. In James 5:14 it is used to mean the literal application of oil to a person, like in the Old Testament. It appears twice in I John 2:27, and there, in a stark exception, it is used to refer to a grant of special spiritual power from God to men: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

The Greek word in I John Chapter 2, which is translated as “anointing” in Verse 27, and as “unction” in Verse 20, is chrisma, and is found nowhere else in the Bible. Therefore, it is strange to think it has become such a watchword in modern-day evangelicalism.

We are tempted to think that the over-use of the concept of “the anointing” as a description for the way in which God may capriciously send greater measures of His power upon His servants was concocted as a way to explain our deficiencies in the times when we fail to have an emotional response to His presence in our lives. “The Lord really spoke to me today – it must have been ‘the anointing.’” Or, “I didn’t hear from God today, but it wasn’t my fault; He just didn’t send ‘the anointing.’” “The anointing” has become our great spiritual cop-out. I most certainly need God’s power if I am going to get the victory over habitual sin or minister in any way to the glory of God, but it would be ludicrous for me to believe that this power is going to be magically imparted to me by some “anointed” Christian, while I am grieving God’s very Spirit Who resides within me on a daily basis.

I John 2:27 says that if I am truly a Christian, then God anointed me with His Spirit at the moment of salvation. This “anointing” abides with me. It stays with me permanently. I can no more lose the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit than I can lose God’s gift of salvation. The question is not whether I will receive “the anointing” under some mystical circumstances, so I can operate in “my” gifts. The question is whether I will yield to God’s Spirit, which He has already given me, and surrender my will to His, and obediently allow His gifts to be exercised through me, so that He is glorified.

Big Words of the Christian Life: Adoption (Part 2)

February 10, 2010 at 11:05 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 2 Comments
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We are using an acrostic to go through the privileges and responsibilities of several of the blessings of the Biblical doctrine of Adoption. Adoption is the act of God by which He grants believers an adult standing in His family. Last time we looked at assurance and direction. Now we turn to ownership.

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.wnership
P.
T.
S.

Adoption involves our inheritance in Jesus.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:17 (emphasis added)

If babies or young children inherit property under our modern day legal system, they inherit in title only. They cannot access their inheritance. However, adult children immediately inherit from their parents in full: use and ownership.

Privilege: Great wealth

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Responsibility: We must use that wealth to grow. We must grow in grace, wisdom, and mercy. We get our riches, through adoption, immediately, because we must draw on our riches to nourish ourselves spiritually.

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.wnership
P.resence (of God)

The presence of God – the Spirit of Adoption – is better at sanctifying us than rule-keeping in our own will power. Babies or little children are always prone to fear, because, to them, so much is unknown.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:15 (emphasis added)

Small children, being helpless, are in bondage to fear.

Privilege: Freedom from fear

Responsibility: Not to make up our own rules and regulations that we trust to stave off fear

Adults are not as fearful of the unknown as children.

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.wnership
P.resence (of God)
T.alking

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:15 (emphasis added)

Babies can’t talk. Adult children of God can speak directly to God immediately through the Spirit.

Privilege: Speaking to God

Responsibility: Speaking for God

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.wnership
P.resence (of God)
T.alking
S.uffering

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:17 (emphasis added)

Babies aren’t “allowed” to suffer. God graciously allows suffering in His adult children to build character.

Privilege: Preparation for future glory

Responsibility: To suffer for the right reasons

For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

I Peter 3:17

The Apostles, the early Christians, and faithful Christians throughout history have counted it a great blessing to be considered worthy to suffer for Christ.

Under the Biblical doctrine of Adoption it is important to understand the joys of adoption – how the privileges outweigh the responsibilities. God does not treat us as babies, as little children, or as second-class citizens. Therefore, we must remember not to act like we are babies or little kids. We must have a child-LIKE faith – not a childISH faith.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:2

If you have been adopted into the family of God, live in the Spirit.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Romans 8:13

Live in the Spirit, and die to self by the Spirit. Little children beg for toys and candy; adult children ask for tools, weapons, and nourishment.

Food never tastes better than when you’re really hungry. If you are hungry right now, you need to ask God to fill up the emptiness in you with Himself. If you are a child of God, you need to empty out the junk food that is filling you up and keeping you from being hungry for God.

The Happiest Slaves

February 8, 2010 at 9:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments
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When the Queen of Sheba came to see King Solomon, it was with no small amount of expectation. She had heard great things about his wealth and his wisdom. After traveling approximately 1500 miles, she was not disappointed.

And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

I Kings 10:6-7

After saying these things the Queen said something even more remarkable:

Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

I Kings 10:8

Conventionally, we think of the person being served as the one who is happy. The happiness of the ones doing the serving is of little concern. However, we know from the Bible that the blessings of serving are even greater than the blessings of being served (Matthew 20:27).

If it was a great blessing to be the servant of Solomon, consider how much greater it is to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only does Christ’s wisdom far exceed that of Solomon’s (Luke 11:31), but who would not want to serve a Master who wants better things for His servants than they want for themselves, and who has given His own life to purchase eternal life for those who serve Him?

A Major Breaking News Story

February 5, 2010 at 10:44 am | Posted in I Corinthians, Mark, Salvation | 12 Comments
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When we see a weather report that says a huge storm is coming to our area, we do not normally think, “Oh boy, that’s good news!” But, in one sense it is very “good news.” It is good news because it warns us of impending danger in time for us to do something about it. Jesus said,

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 1:15

The Gospel contains ideas, and the Gospel makes an argument. But first and foremost the Gospel is GOOD NEWS! It is good news because, if you are hearing it, there is still time to escape the impending storm of God’s wrathful judgment which is righteously due to all of us. Because we have sinned against God, the “Good News” should be the “lead story” every day of our lives:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I Corinthians 15:3-4

When It’s Okay to be Irrational

February 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Haggai | 14 Comments
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The people had made a good start. Bravely, they had gone back to Jerusalem, and had begun rebuilding the temple. Then, for 16 years the work stopped. God sent the prophet Haggai to get the people working again. We can see from the prophet’s words three major sins that were the cause of the delay.

First, the workers were guilty of the sin of rationalization. To rationalize something is to give an excuse for not doing what we really don’t want to be doing anyway.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.

Haggai 1:2

When we say that we intend to do what the Lord has commanded, but that right now is not the right time, we must be careful of the sin of rationalization.

Second, the workers were indulging in the sign of rationalism. Rationalism is man-centered thinking in disregard of the principles and precepts of God’s Word.

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Haggai 1:6

Man-centered reasoning says that if there is opposition to God’s work, He must not want us to continue. However, God-centered reasoning says that if God has commanded it, He will make a way to overcome all opposition.

Third, the workers had sinfully re-ordered their priorities. They were working on their own houses while the house of the Lord remained unfinished.

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

Haggai 1:9

We must put the things of God first on our priority list. If we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, all our needs will be met by Him (Matthew 6:33).

Christians today should beware of working for themselves instead of working for the Lord. Ask the Holy Ghost to give you a spiritual check-up today, to make sure you are free from the sins of rationalization, rationalism, and re-ordered priorities.

We’ve Come a Wrong Way

February 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Posted in Genesis | 6 Comments
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Genesis Chapter 10 is a chapter of genealogy. It is not a complete genealogy, but a summarizing genealogy. There are two parenthetical references. One is Nimrod.

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

Genesis 10:8

Nimrod began to be “mighty” in the sense of being opposed to God. He began to be a mighty one “in the earth” in the sense of being recognized by many people.

He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.

Genesis 10:9

It may have been that Nimord was known for his bravery and skill in hunting and providing. He may have been known as one who was able to rid habitable areas of dangerous animals in the post-flood era where there was new animosity between men and animals. It is possible that he recruited other hunters into an “army.”

And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

Genesis 10:10

Here we can see why Nimrod is especially mentioned in a parenthetical way amidst the genealogy. He came before the Lord, and the Lord used him to set up kingdoms (such as Babylon) which would later be used by the Lord to chasten His Own people.

Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,

Genesis 10:11

Assyria (Asshur in Verse 11) is another example of a nation that God would one day use to chasten His people.

Some people find a little corny humor in the name “Nimrod,” since he was known for being a hunter, and he has the word “rod” (as in fishing rod) in his name. “Nimrod’s Hunting and Fishing Supply.”

Nimrod is one parenthesis in the genealogy of Chapter 10. Peleg is the other one.

And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.

Genesis 10:25

Peleg was the “divider,” referring to the peoples, ethnicities, nations of the earth, not to the division of land masses or continental shifts or anything like that.

Genesis Chapter 11 contains the account of the tower of Babel.

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

Genesis 11:3

That was the first time they said, “Go to.”

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

Genesis 11:4

That was the second time they said, “Go to.” What they were building was probably a ziggurat. “Babel” may have meant “Gate to the Gods.”

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

Genesis 11:5

Note the reference in Verse 5 to the “children of men,” as opposed to the children of God.

And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

Genesis 11:6-7

The confounding of speech at Babel was reversed, in a sense, at the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem in Acts 2.

So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Genesis 11:8-9

“Babel” sounds like balal, the Hebrew word for confusion. God is not the author of confusion, but He used their own word to mock them, and allowed their own confusion to be manifested.

Chapters 3 – 11 of Genesis record a series of failures – of man utterly failing to do what God created him to do. There is a tendency to read through Genesis and think, “What savages!” We think we’re so much more enlightened today. They had none of our “advances,” modern technology, or civilized behavior. However, we need to remember that, just because those were ancient days and ancient times, their sins were not any different from our sins today. In fact, we might pause here a moment to take a look at which are worse.

Disobedience
Genesis records the disobedience of the first human beings. Our newspapers record the existence of abortion clinics, strip clubs, and a skyrocketing divorce rate.

Murder
Genesis records a number of murders. Our nightly news programs record rising murder rates, crime scene tape, and multiple killings every day.

Deception
Genesis records mankind’s earliest penchant for dishonesty. We have political speeches and wealthy televangelists today.

Drunkenness
Genesis records excessive drunkenness. Mardi Gras is almost here.

Nudity
Genesis records the post-sin shame of nudity. Our society revels in public displays of nudity.

Rebellion
Genesis records man’s rebellion against God. Today… have you seen the teenaged children at your local shopping mall or church youth group?

Genesis introduces us to the consequences of sin entering into the world, and its effects. Today we see the exponential multiplication of sin and its effects.

The Legend of the Unsaved Christian

February 1, 2010 at 10:01 am | Posted in Eternity, John | 7 Comments
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“Urban legends” are sort of modern day fairy tales. They are stories that have been told and re-told, but can never be confirmed as actually happening. “I know someone who told me about his brother’s old roommate, and you would not believe what happened to him.” This is usually the sort of third- or fourth-hand pedigree that signals the onset of an urban legend about to be told.

There is even a sort of Christian urban legend. I hear it fairly often when I speak about the doctrine of eternal security. “I just know a Christian can lose his salvation,” someone will tell me, “because my cousin’s uncle’s great aunt’s stepfather was saved when he was nine, and he grew up to be an alcoholic and a big jerk, and he even killed a guy one time.”

This sort of experiential tale might make for an interesting story, but it carries no weight whatsoever when held up to inerrant Scripture.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

John 10:28-30

So, what do we do with the person who claims to be a Christian, but lives like a devil? I don’t know about you, but I would hope for the opportunity to give him the Gospel message. There are two possibilities. One, this person is a child of God, saved by grace through faith, and is under the chastening hand of His loving and omniscient Father, Who knows things we can never know – including whether someone is really saved or not. Two, this person is only a “professing Christian,” and has never really been saved to begin with.

The true Christian’s job is not to help other Christians figure out who’s really saved and who’s not, and it is certainly not to help God figure out who really belongs to Him, and who doesn’t.

Whether the person who claims the name of Christ but lives in egregious sin is a prodigal son or a false professor, the proverb of the pigs and the dogs is no urban legend.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

II Peter 2:20-22

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