The S.H.A.R.K. Priniciple (lesson 1)

March 31, 2014 at 10:18 am | Posted in John, Luke, The S.H.A.R.K. Principle | 9 Comments
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One of my greatest joys competes with one of my greatest fears. I am fascinated by, and terrified of, sharks (especially the great whites that breach up through the surface), but I love swimming in the ocean. I know it is not very likely that I will be devoured by a 2000-pound predator fifty yards from the shore, but I am still haunted by the knowledge that, while swimming, I am technically sharing the same space (the sea) where these creatures live, and there is the nagging sense of danger that comes from not being aware of what might be coming to get me.

In our spiritual lives, thankfully, we do not have to be unaware. Satan would like to destroy us, but we do not have to be ignorant of who he is or how he operates.

S.atan
H.
A.
R.
K.

Satan is a real “person” – a real being. You may have heard the theological statement that the devil is a “personal” devil. He’s not “personal” like a secret that is only between friends. He’s personal because he has a personality. He thinks thoughts. He has plans. He has feelings. He was made by God to be a creature with a will and a spirit. He’s not a fairy tale or a bogey monster, and he’s not just a symbol for evil. How do we know? Because Jesus said so.

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Luke 10:17

Jesus had sent out 70 disciples, and they were excited because they had seen Jesus proven right. While they were witnessing for Him, God gave them power to subdue demons.

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Luke 10:18

Satan was originally an angel named Lucifer, but he rebelled against God, so God threw him and one-third of the angels (the ones who had taken Lucifer’s side in the rebellion) out of Heaven. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was there to see it happen.

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Luke 10:19-20

In these lessons I will say some things about Satan that may sound complimentary, but we must be careful never to give him any praise or adoration. Nor do I advocate making jokes about “beating him up” (a staple of the “Word of Faith” televangelists) or telling him to “go sit on a tack,” as I’ve heard in some children’s songs and lessons. We praise God for His victory over Satan. Only because of Him are true Christians on the winning side.

The S in S.H.A.R.K. is for Satan, and you stand as much of a chance against him as you would against a great white shark in the middle of the ocean – on your own. Thankfully, if you have trusted Christ, you are not on your own.

S.atan
H.ates

A.
R.
K.

I said before that Satan has a personality, which includes the idea that he has feelings. One of his most prominent feelings is hatred. His most prominent is pride (which tends toward hatred of others). One of the reasons why he is so often portrayed as this red-bodied, cartoonish figure with a pointy tail and a pitchfork is because at one time people thought the best way to combat him was to injure his pride. Therefore, they tried to make him look silly. Ironically, this is the way most people (inaccurately) think of him today.

God is a loving Being. Satan is not loving. But hatred is not the opposite of love. Indifference is the opposite of love. Neither God nor Satan are indifferent. Satan’s hatred is focused on robbing God of glory and destroying the creatures God loves.

He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

John 15:23

Jesus was speaking about the Jewish leaders who rejected Him.

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:24

Those that hate and reject Jesus hate God also. We know that Satan hates Jesus because Jesus came to save those whom God loves, and to bring God the glory that Satan would like to steal by accusing God of unjustly forgiving sinners. God was both just and loving in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, which is why Satan tried so hard to stop Jesus from going to the Cross.

But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

John 15:25

Jesus didn’t give anyone a valid reason to hate Him or to crucify Him. It was done because we are fallen sinful creatures, and we loved sin more than we loved God. In the same way, God justifies those who trust in Christ “without a cause” – in other words, without finding anything in us worthy of justification.

Sharks don’t hate people until they have some motivation – hunger, territoriality, self-defense, mistaken identity. Satan doesn’t have much reason to hate you unless you love God. If you start glorifying God, you become his target. Of course, if you are not right with God, you have a bigger problem than Satan. You are in trouble with God and need the Savior.

Next time, we will look at the A. in S.H.A.R.K.

Temporarily Saved Is Not Really Saved at All

December 17, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Posted in Eternity | 9 Comments
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Slogans are of limited value.  In general, slogans speak to a timely issue, and give a simplistic “sound bite” which tries to address a complex idea in a few short words.  They have a way of becoming quickly anachronistic.  For example, shouts of “Let them eat cake,” and “No taxation without representation,” caused quite a stir in their day, but just do not carry quite the same impact all these generations later.  This bumper sticker was plastered on the door of my childhood bedroom:

https://i0.wp.com/www.amnation.com/vfr/Dont-Tread-300.gif

All these years later, I’m still not sure who put it there or what it means!  But it must have expressed some social value back in those days.

The same is true for “Christianized” slogans.  They may be clever, but they are often weak at expressing lasting truths.  When I see a bumper sticker that says, “Christians aren’t perfect; they’re just forgiven,” I wince a little.  Sure, Christians are not perfect, in the sense of being sinless, but, as a true Christian, I am a whole lot more than “just” forgiven.  The mighty work of redemption wrought on Calvary’s Cross by the King of Glory should never be minimized as “just” anything.  Or, how about the one that says, “God is my Co-pilot?”  I understand the sentiment, but let’s get real.  The sovereign Lord of all creation, Who rules over and controls every molecule in existence, is not anyone’s “co-pilot.”

In general, if we want to express a Biblical principle, we are better off just sticking with reciting Bible verses.  However, saying that slogans are of limited value is not the same as saying they are of no value.  Take the slogan, “Once Saved Always Saved.”  It is a slogan which does not appear verbatim in Scripture, but it states a principle which is abundantly true and clear throughout Scripture.

God’s desire is for people to be “saved.”

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

I Timothy 2:3-4

Not all people are saved, but every one who is once saved, is in fact always saved.  The only fault in the slogan might be its redundancy.  Imagine a drowning man flailing in the sea.  A lifeguard swims out, and starts hauling him in to shore.  It looks as though the drowning man has been “saved,” but suddenly a great white shark slashes through the water, tears the victim from the lifeguard’s arms, and drags him to his death beneath the waves.  Obviously, it cannot be properly said that the drowning man was “saved.”  Such victims who avoid the sharks, get onto the beach, dry off, and go home, can properly be said to have been “saved” from drowning.  And, though they will one day die, we might say that they were “once saved, always saved from drowning.”

To say that once Jesus Christ “saves” someone they are “always saved,” is a repetitive statement, but it is nevertheless a true statement.  The only alternative (and, sadly, there are many who believe this way) is that Jesus Christ is an imperfect “Savior,” Who can only attempt salvation, never really knowing which of the recipients of His grace and mercy will make it all the way to Heaven.  Obviously, this is not the case.  Jesus Christ is the perfect, all-powerful Savior, so it is correct, although perhaps somewhat clumsy linguistically, to say that all those whom He saves are “once saved, always saved.”


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