JESUS KNOWS YOU

PS 139“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.”

Do you realize how much God KNOWS you. He knows your heart. You do not have to be afraid of that knowledge.

If you are a child of God. God no longer sees a heart that is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Why would he? That was the old you. That was B.C.

He loved you as a sinner. Christ died for you as a sinner. He took your sins to the cross and forgave you, forever. This power of the gospel cannot be underestimated.

God has given you a new heart! He has put a new spirit in you! You no longer have a heart of stone-he removed it. Now you have a soft heart and God’s Spirit dwells in you. His decrees and laws are written on the very fiber of your being.

This is all his work and it is marvelous in our eyes and he delights in you.

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DEFINE FOR ME, “PENTECOSTAL”

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THERE WAS NEVER A GREATER NEED FOR A GENUINE PERPETUATION OF PENTECOST IN THIS LAST HOUR! To see and be part of those who have turned the world upside down with the Gospel (Acts 17:6).

At this present time in one form or another there are around three hundred million people who claim to have experienced Pentecostal blessing and being baptized in the spirit. But sadly for some and an increasing number it is only in name are they alive but in reality they are dead (Rev 3:1-2). Yes we see the wildfire folks in some groups but sound and noise does not mean motion and forward movement. It is only madness.  Others churches have little or no sense of the presence of Christ in them, very little biblical, Christ centered preaching. They are dead or about to die! How sad!  It is those that used to be vibrant are now those with the dead preachers and dead congregations.

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am NOT referring to ONE DENOMINATION OR GROUP.  I am speaking about the movement that began on the day of Pentecost known as the true expression of Christianity.

This movement reached the world in exponential time with the gospel of God’s grace: that is, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This movement in which the Lord Jesus Christ himself worked with men and women confirming what they preached by signs and wonders.

Those signs and wonders were exactly what they were: signs that pointed to Christ and things that were done by God himself that would lead people in wonder and awe of Jesus and Jesus alone.  Pentecost is not about signs and wonders. Pentecost is all about Christ who has been exalted in majesty at the right hand of God who, “hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33).

When the people saw them declare the wonderful works of God he explained, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17). 

When I refer to “Pentecost” I am not referring to the charismatic movement which has distinguished itself from the Pentecostal movement. I’m referring to those who believe that after the new birth experience all believers in Jesus are promised to be filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4).

We must embrace the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while yes, it brings a greater degree of holiness, it is really more of and empowerment to be a witness for Christ and his gospel (Acts 1:8) for those who are already saved by the blood of Jesus.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings what is written in the scriptures into personal experience as the reality of the presence of Christ in the preached word and of the ministry of prayer for those who have need. The real Pentecostal resists the post modern programs and inventions for marketing the gospel and sees any lack in the church attendance, backsliddeness, sickness, deliverance as a greater need for seeking God for a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit in every dimension of their lives.

© 2013 Soul Health Care Ministries. Hey give credit where credit is due!

DO NOT DISHONOR GOD’S NAME

“For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”  (Isa. 33:22).

The last time we focused on the immensity of God the LORD. This message is much more sobering because it deals with God’s holiness and the grievous sin and error of  misusing God’s name and titles. God’s  name shows all that He is.  It shows God’s disclosure to us, pulling back the curtain on all his attributes. The recent controversy calling the God of the Bible the Islamic name of  “Allah” is seen as blasphemy according to scripture.

That is among the many reasons why we should hallow his name and never at any time misuse it. Understanding something about His name should produce a holy horror and a sense of scared sacredness in our hearts!  This is not theophobia. In fact,  it is only because of people’s love of sin and hate of God, that they see him as dangerous and they run away in fear from Him (Gen. 3: 10; Ex. 20:18-20). 

I know many men do not preach this way today, but the Bible does not give us a surface report of the human condition. It gives us a diagnostic of the human heart and life and exposes its depravity for all to see.  Oh how I long for men of God who will teach people, “the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezek. 44:23). People may have redefined the fear of God to the point that even their definition of it as “reverence” is watered down. It is not just respect. It is loving God for all he is: His wrath and peace, his love and holiness. They are devoted to Him for who He is, even if it scares them they want to know and become closer to Him. 

The Bible teaches in the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7).   The Word “vain”  is sheqer in Hebrew which means all that associates God’s name to anything that is deceptive or false (Ps 119:29).  It is anything that misrepresents, defames, blasphemes his name. “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the Lord.” (Lev. 19:12NLT). We should not even  “idly utter”  his name (Ex. 20:4 Darby).

Blasphemy  is a serious sin (Lev 24:16).  People have such hardness of heart and a dangerous willful rebellion and ignorance when it comes to holy things. 

The Hebrew word for blasphemy is nĕ’atsah. It means a disgust and hatred considering God unworthy of respect (2 Kings 19:3)  and it also involves actions that provoke God’s anger (Neh 9:18, 26).  The Greek word blasphēmias paints a picture of  character assassination upon God Almighty (Mt. 12:31)  with disrespectful actions and speech that  brings disgrace to God’s majesty (Col. 3:8; Rev. 13:6).

God is offended by disrespect and it  provokes him to holy anger (Rom 1:18). The Bible says, “ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:15).  “For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.” (Ps. 139:20).  God is so insulted by this that  he says he will punish anyone who dishonors his name, as a Judge would sentence a criminal and, “he will not hold him guiltless.” 

This sin is so often committed and is so obvious that there is no need to illustrate it. We should avoid using God’s name as a swear word or meaningless exclamation. We are not to commit blasphemy which means we are not to use his name flippantly, tell jokes about God or spiritual things, laugh at spiritual things or connect anything that relates God, Christ, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost  to profanity because all these violate the third commandment.

I have heard even some “brethren” justify their use of profanity with some lame cultural arguments. It is clear that anger is connected to cursing and profanity. It is a sinful habit. When it comes to saying, “Oh my God!” a common exclamation we have developed, it would help us to know that it is profanity  in any other use than prayer. It’s very simple. Do not connect God, Christ, Lord or the Holy Spirit to anything except in testimony, preaching and prayer-period.

It can also be the misinterpretation and misapplication of scripture by false doctrine (Deut. 13). It is a violation of God’s law to attach God’s name or approval to something that  human beings came up with on their own (Deut 18:20-22). This is something every pastor, expositor, preacher and teacher should keep in the forefront of what they say: does what I teach and preach glorify and represent God Almighty correctly. The idea that the preacher gets behind the pulpit as a humble servant and representative of God should bring a godly fear to his heart.

Notice the prophetic role of the preacher is seen simply in this: preach the Words of God as he conveys it in scripture.  Do not add anything to it, do not take away from it, tell them what I tell you. Anything else is vanity. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Tim 4:16).

Misusing or taking God’s name in vain can be  seen as saying one thing and acting in another way: hypocrisy,  offensive unchristian behavior and backsliding. This is always a danger for those who profess to know Christ as Savior. That is why the King prays,  “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” (Prov. 30:7-9). Matthew McMahon (my favorite Presbyterian) puts it this way, ” …When we profess God’s name but do not live answerably to it. It means we live hypocritically. Thomas Watson said, “pretended holiness is merely double wickedness.” Whenever we do not live up to the call of the Christian life, we take God’s name in vain. We are mirrors that should reflect the perfection of God. If the mirror claims to be Christ’s and reflects tendencies of hell, then we use the name of Christ in vain, and people see that.” 

There is a relatively unknown passage (as far as the exposition of it goes) in the book of Leviticus that illustrates the serious nature of this subject: “And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. And the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses: (and his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan:) And they put him in ward, that the mind of the LORD might be shewed them. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.” (Lev. 24:11-16).

While that was an unforgivable blasphemy. People will still protest, “Oh well, that is the Old Testament.”  But it is still a sin in either Testament and payback of sin is spiritual death (Rom. 6:23).  This is not to promote a legalistic nitpicking about every word you say-so be cautious about that. Blasphemy falls under what the Bible calls presumptuous sins or a willful reckless, unthinking rebellion against God which despises his Word (Num 15:30-31; Ps 19:13). Whereas all manner of sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit that a person that is not a child of God commits, “shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Mt 12:32).  There are certain sins that result in physical death (1 John 5:16) even among Christians for which God chastises them with death and calls them home. Christians once saved do not die spiritually, but some sins causes God to discipline them by physical death.  

This happened when the Corinthians approached the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy, undiscerning manner (1 Cor 11:23-34).  Some of them became sick and some even died (1 Cor 11:30) I know pretty scary-and this is the New Testament!  That is why the Bible says,  “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1 Cor 11:31-32).

People misuse and take the Lord’s name in vain so much these days, to correct others would be like cutting open a pillow and chasing its feathers. This is not to be legalistic but we do have a responsibility to confront people. “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” (Lev. 5:1).  God’s law is for all people but I think this applies more to people who should know better an profess to be Christians!  How is it they can swear, use profanity or take the Lord’s name in vain? Among Christians this should be a settled issue. We should avoid abusive, corrupt, obscene, filthy, foul language (Eph 4:29, 5:4; Col. 3:8) and never misuse God’s name.  As brethren we are accountable to one another for the witness of the gospel should be seen in our words and actions.

What about the unsaved or unbeliever? Some people might say, “Well it’s not me but I am around it every day at work or when I visit my unsaved family. What am I supposed to do? I can’t keep rebuking and correcting them.”   We are concerned as appearing self-righteous (but we should be more concerned about God’s glory) yet I would like to offer  some plausible  imaginative ways of approaching this.

When people at my work place break this commandment (which they do creatively and continually)  I have found if I am in the vicinity they apologize.

Funny how that works right?

They know what I believe and they think they are offending me. I appreciate that. I attempt not to be snotty or discourteous with them but I sometimes say, “You did not sin against me!” 

Or I will smile and say, “Don’t speak about God that way he is bigger than you!”

Sometimes they say, “Jesus Christ!” I reply, “He is worthy to be praised!”

I do sometimes hear them connect the expletive “damn” to the Divine (you know what I mean) and I tell them, “there will be no damnation today!”

Sometimes I just say. “Easy, easy, gentle…”

Let us hallow his name with our lives and magnify the Lord in the eyes of others and honor his name to the best of our ability.