When Is “Enough”, Enough?

6a011168574e19970c01539046a676970bI was in a local pet store one day, wandering up and down the aisles, looking for the unusual, when I heard a constant rattling…almost annoying sound.

And the mystery was revealed.  HAMSTERS running in their little wheel as it spinned, running with all their might, but never getting anywhere.  They are running, the wheel is spinning, but nothing else changes.

In my close observation, I knew the spinning wheel is there for their exercise, but I wondered if the hamster might be thinking to himself when the wheel starts spinning,

“Yeah, I’m on my way now. Nothing can stop me.  I’m breaking out of this joint!”

The HAMSTER follows his trails in the cage, runs in the spinning wheel, giving everything he’s got, only that he hasn’t moved from inside the cage where he’s trapped.  There is nothing he can do to break the cycle on his own because there is a much more powerful, larger being, with vastly more intelligence already determined how his life will be spent and where he will go.  Sad commentary if you are a “pet” lover.

Many times, I too have felt like the little hamster;  I’m running in circles like the hamster but never getting anywhere.

That brings me to the Scripture found in Deuteronomy 2:1-3:

[1] THEN WE turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, as the Lord directed me; and for many days we journeyed around Mount Seir.

[2] And the Lord spoke to me [Moses], saying  [3] You have roamed around this mountain country long enough; turn northward.

I want to direct you to look at a story presented in Deuteronomy; of a people in God’s Word that were caught in the same spinning wheel of life.  They seemed to be going nowhere because they had lost direction and just kept running in the same circle.

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God had plainly set their path but for nearly 40 years they were on a journey to…how should I say it…NOWHERE!

Finally, the day came when they realized they didn’t have the answers; they had no true direction; and that someone greater than themselves had to direct their path if they were ever going to be anything other than mindless runners on the spinning wheel of life.

The sad part is that countless thousands had died in the process of running in circles while never finding the real meaning of existence, dying in a vast wilderness with their dreams and hopes lost forever.

God had made a way when He delivered them from the SLAVE PITS of Egypt.  A way for them with a greater PURPOSE, A DESTINY that would change their lives forever...IF… they would only follow His direction and remain FAITHFUL to His Purpose for their lives.

But FREEDOM has a price; and TRUE FREEDOM demands limitations.  Freedom without limitations becomes ANARCHY, which I see happening in our city streets today.

TRUE FREEDOM can only be found by following GOD’S PLAN; and everything else only leads to another form of SLAVERY; either to SIN within ourselves; or to the controlling hand of someone else who will dictate to us the conditions of life.

We will truly need a FIRM FOUNDATION to rely on; that won’t be shaken or changed with a determination to ‘stick to it’!  Of course, the only TRUE FOUNDATION is found in Jesus Christ, our Savior and the Word of God that will never fail, nor ever change.

Psalms 37:23-24:

[23] The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step].

[24] Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.

God never promised us a PATH without a few falls.

In service, in ministry to the saints or to the surrounding community.  He never said that life would be easy, not facing problems.

What He did PROMISE was that we would never be forsaken and even when we fall, the Lord will keep us by His hand.

God ALWAYS provides a way for FREEDOM to reign and for the VICTORY to be won if we just keep on, keep’n on in following Him.

ISRAEL began their journey; but they had much to learn, and so God predetermined them to take a long journey to get to their final destination:

Deuteronomy 2:1

THEN WE turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea, as the Lord directed me; and for many days we journeyed around Mount Seir.

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From the pits of BONDAGE in Egypt, relating to our DELIVERANCE from the grip of SIN under the hand of Satan, Israel proceeded into the WILDERNESS, and area called Mount Seir where they wandered for many days, in fact, for 40 years.  They just kept going around in circles, moving their camp many times along the way.  Sometimes staying in one place for a few years, and then moving to another when the water ran dry, or the grass was gone for their animals.

I wonder how many times ISRAEL experienced a deja-vu moment in their wanderings?

How many times did one Israelite look at another and say,

“You know, I think we’ve been here before.  Something about this place looks familiar and I know I’ve climbed this mountain before.  I feel just like we are running in CIRCLES and nobody knows which way to go.”

I see the same thing happening in the world today.

Mankind has no clue of direction; history just keeps repeating itself and we don’t learn the lessons of the past.

The PATH has already been laid in front of us and we begin to wonder in our own understanding leading us to nowhere.  Our world has lost its way; no man has the ability to LEAD the human race to a place of perfect peace and safety; and every day the race just gets faster while the destination more obscure.

The same thing happens in the CHURCH as well, for we are the church.

Christians often express their concerns and just keep running in circles, never accomplish what they want to in their lives.  I know this to be true because I have been there before.

That place in MINISTRY where doubt and a critical spirit raises its ugly head...A MOUNTAIN blocking the progress of my journey.  Every day seems to end in disappointment and frustration because nothing ever seems to change.

Some of us struggle with the same old self-created HABITS and the WHEEL is spinning; we are trying as hard as we can but nothing is changing.

Let me give some encouragement in the Lord if you are in this position of “wheel spinning”–going around in circles.

Just keep on running, but run where God tells you to run.

The BAD HABITS may be A BAD TEMPER; A CRITICAL SPIRIT (I’m guilty!); LACK OF SELF-CONTROL…etc.

The BAD HABITS start out as mole hills and become mountains because we won’t quit talking about them.

In effect, we just keep CIRCLING Mount Seir just like Israel did for all those years.  The march goes on, time passes, but nothing seems to really change.  When is “Enough” enough?

And the LORD spoke to me saying, “You have roamed around this mountain long enough; turn northward”  (vs. 2, 3).

Things began to change for ISRAEL, and all the things in your life are changing as well.

Sometimes the CHANGE happens so slowly its unnoticeable at first, but eventually the CHANGE will be great.

Israel’s attitude changed one step at a time.  With each step forward they drew closer to the end of their journey.  Like the old saying, “How do you begin a journey of a thousand miles? By taking the first step.”   

And so it is with our walk with JESUS.

Those whose FAITH is too weak, fall by the wayside as the SEED of the gospel stolen from the heart; they will die right beside the path of life.

But the strong in the LORD, those who ‘sell out’ to God; serve Him with all their heart, mind, and soul and will remain FAITHFUL to the end; they will not only SURVIVE the JOURNEY…but will become VICTORIOUS over ALL THINGS!  (Luke 1:37)

God doesn’t give up on His people.  Though many never saw their PROMISE LAND; never occupied that land; God never forsook ISRAEL.

God won’t give up on you or me either!!  We are going to WIN the battle.  Romans 8:37 says, “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him [Jesus] Who loved us.”  Have you ever heard of a “CONQUEROR” who ever lost a battle?  If they did, then they wouldn’t be called “conquerors”.

Whatever you are going through right now, you are going to OVERCOME this mountain in your life; if you just remain FAITHFUL until the race is won.

It’s time to quit circling around MOUNT SEIR.  Enough is enough!  Move on!!!

The ISRAELITE’S backs were facing the Promise Land, meaning they were going the opposite direction where God intended them to go; so God turned them around and placed them back on the right path.

The name “SEIR” means holiness; and they were wandering for 40 years just learning to be holy people unto the Lord!  Without HOLINESS–no man can see the Lord and you can’t see the PATH to walk in.  You are walking BLIND.

Now I began to think deeper about Mount Seir; how that it could represent some of the great mountain ranges in our lives that we must overcome.

I’ve already mentioned some of the HABITS which you, no doubt, have already mentally added to.

All of these things are just huge MOUNTAINS that seem to loom over us with DOUBT, and FEAR, and maybe SHAME.

So how do we get rid of that mountain (s)?

If you had to move a mountain and there was no way around it, or through it, how would you do it?  You would start by moving one rock at a time.

Just like you begin a journey of a thousand miles with one step–you move a mountain by moving one rock at a time.

Moving Mountains, One Rock at a Time
Moving Mountains, One Rock at a Time

Now sometimes you can speak to that mountain and YES, God can and will move some of the mountains out of your way.

BUT…there are MOUNTAINS in our lives that we are going to have to work on ourselves. Maybe for a lifetime.

Those MOUNTAINS are there for a purpose and you just have to keep moving them–one rock at a time until they are behind you instead of in front of you.

The TASK of OVERCOMING your mountain may seem impossible; but then that’s where God begins to work for you (Luke 1:37).

He makes the IMPOSSIBLE possible and He will not allow you to be overcome!

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In your struggle to move your mountain, you will have times when you feel like you’re finally WINNING THE BATTLE!

Then suddenly…you find yourself in a pile of rock rubble, wondering if the VICTORY will ever come.

I have experienced this in my own life, finding myself in the “rubble” of CRITICISM.

I may go on for days, weeks, without being critical of someone or some thing.  But just when I think I’ve overcome it, here it comes again.  Often, my beloved wife of 51 years will give me that look without saying a word, knowing that I’ve lost my way–again!

But little by little, one STONE at a time, that MOUNTAIN is coming down.  I believe that most of my mountain has been moved; but there are still a few rocks and yes, boulders, that have to go.

We still have a lot of MOUNTAINS to move in our Christian lives.  None of us have cleared them all.  The KEY is to remove them and not just keep CIRCLING around them.

Never accept the excuse that “That’s just the way I am.  I can’t help it!”  That is a cop out!

We can’t allow ourselves the luxury of CAMPING on the wrong side of the MOUNTAIN forever when VICTORY in Jesus can only be found on the other side.

REMEMBER what the Lord said to Moses and the Children of Israel in Deuteronomy 2:2,3…

“You’ve been going around in circles in these hills long enough; go North” (The Message bible).

What mountains are you facing as you read my thoughts in this blog-study?  

Whatever it is, you can begin dismantling it right now!  Give it to JESUS; seek His help. Why move it alone?  You can do ALL THINGS through Christ Jesus, who strengthens you, but you have to let Him lead.

I am moving my stones right now!  What are your STONES?  There is no better time than right now to move NORTH!!

IN JESUS’ NAME

 


Photo Credits:  Photo Pin and Google Images.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

Living In The Age of Biblical APOSTASY

THE TEXT:  Introduction to LAMENTATIONS

“Lamentation” Dictionary Definition:  “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow, weeping…”

Lamentations in the Bible: “a book of the Bible telling of desolation of the nation of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.”

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It is possible to read the writings of the prophets only as valuable contributions to Old Testament history.  And, the reader may even be enriched by familiarity with their prophecy of events which have been startlingly fulfilled.  But to stop there is by no means to grasp their full and outstanding purpose for today’s living.  Right now, God is speaking definitely and definitively to every nation and every individual.  He wants that we see ourselves as He saw us–a world of nations and individuals rolling down the hill towards disaster [*See Footnote [i] ].   

“GOD BLESS AMERICA”

Psalm 33:12, 18-19 (Amplified Bible):

[12] Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the nation whose God is the Lord; the people He has chosen as His heritage.

[18] Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe], who wait for Him and hope in His mercy and loving-kindness,  [19] To deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

LAMENTATIONS 3:40-42 (NIV Bible):

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say:  We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.”

Although the above Scripture verses are the keys to this Blog study, I believe that God’s dealings with Israel throughout the entire Book of Lamentations is A PICTURE–a perfect example of His dealings with AMERICA, and perhaps your nation, right where you are today.

Israel Was Under Judgment From God Because…

HER APOSTASY!

Israel had played the harlot in her spiritual adultery of IDOLS & prostituting themselves to the SURROUNDING NATIONS.

Biblical Apostasy Explained:

The word itself–APOSTASY– is from the Greek word “apostasia” a meaning very much like renouncing or dissociating oneself from a particular religion or certain religious beliefs.

It is similar to a REJECTION of beliefs that were once held and accepting different beliefs and might even be a rejection of the beliefs that were previously held.

Apostasy can also be considered an ABANDONMENT or defiance of what was previously held to be true and practiced while rebelling against those same beliefs and practices.

Someone or some group (nation) who does this are considered an APOSTATE.

BIBLICAL WARNINGS HAVE ALREADY BEEN POSTED FOR ALL OF US –

The Apostle Paul’s WARNING – 1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV:

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some shall abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings came through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

Jude’s WARNING – Jude 1:3 AMP:

“Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints…”

The word “contend” in this verse comes from the Greek word “agonizomai”:  “To contend about a thing as a combatant.”  [NOTE: “contend” also used in verse 9, but the translation is “to separate oneself from”].

Peter’s WARNING –

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God’s Ultimate Purpose For Bringing Judgment Upon the NATIONS and Mankind…

God wants to turn man from sinning in true acts of REPENTANCE –

The JUDGMENTS that God allows to fall on a rebellious nation or individual is never pleasant and often misunderstood in their purpose.

While our Just, Righteous, and Holy Heavenly Father must JUDGE SIN and cannot allow it to continue, His JUDGMENTS are always tempered with MERCY & A PROMISE of ultimate deliverance ‘IF’…those under judgment would only turn back to Him.

The Prophet Jeremiah, the Writer of Lamentations –

As he weeps in sorrow for the condition of his own people, he is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ as He stood and wept over the sinners of our world.

As JESUS stood on the hill and looked over Jerusalem, crying…

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!  Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God’s help)”  (Matthew 23:37-38 Amplified Bible).

JESUS still stands today looking down from Glory, looking at each person on earth one at a time and at each nation in turn, and America that was so blessed–cries those same words.

How Great is His love for America? For your nation?

With all of His Loving Kindness for every man and woman–so much so that He died on the Cross for each one of us, and YET…He must and has begun to send JUDGMENT because of our rebelliousness–the APOSTASY as a people and nation.

Prior to and after World War II, America was looked upon as the friend of the world, the PROTECTOR of all that was GOOD.

Every nation, even our enemies, held a healthy respect for the BLESSINGS OF GOD and the things that were good about our nation.

Since the 60’s with the Vietnam Conflict, and continuing today, our power, prestige, and will as a nation, has been on the fast track into oblivion.

The secular world has paralleled our slide to destruction similar to the Roman Empire as it began to crumble, not from attacks of outside enemies, but from corruption and sin within.

The Book of Lamentations As An Example What A Nation Experiences As It Faces God’s Judgments –

The stated examples show what I believe America is already experiencing under JUDGMENT from God by its corruption and sin.

Lamentation 1:1-2 (NIV Bible):

[1] How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!  How like  widow is she, who once was great among the nations!  She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.  [2] Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her; they have become her enemies.

America has always been known as the “great melting pot” of Humanity.  People from all nations still come to our country with high hopes and dreams of prosperity and freedom.

It is a testimony that the BLESSING of Almighty God, even when America is in trouble, is still GREAT, economically and militarily.

BUT, the GREATNESS is quickly fading.

“America is great because America is GOOD.  If America ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great” – ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, a French Historian, upon visiting America in the early 19th Century.

ISRAEL FINDS ITSELF IN CAPTIVITY TO ITS ENEMIES –

I believe that America has fallen CAPTIVE to her enemies as well.

Our GREATEST ENEMY is NOT Russia, China, or any other nation or terrorist group. We are our own greatest enemy!

American Naivety…

In the early ’60’s during the days of the “former” Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, the then Russian Premier, pounded his shoe on the podium of the UN and shouted to the West, “We will bury you!”  The words certainly got all of our attention.  Fearing an invasion from Mother Russia, America proceeded to build the most awesome Military Machine in history.

Unfortunately, we forgot something to guard our political homefront being taken over by socialist-communist-liberal activists; who would gain office and destroy American law by the process of gradually installing Communist agenda within our legal system in separate branches of government.

Americans, being the most NAIVE people among the nations, now believe that COMMUNISM is dead.

The real truth is, COMMUNISM has just switched names to become more “politically correct.”  Today it is called “International Democracy.”  America has now become part of the New World Order atheist government.

The TEN PLANKS of the Communist Manifesto – [See Footnote [ii] }

In my Detective investigation over the past week, I found this interesting document by Karl Marx.  You tell me whether we–you, as a nation, have been led down a long road to CAPTIVITY and, we willingly went along and let it happen.

THE TEN PLANKS:

1.  Abolition of private property and the application of all rent to public purpose.

2.  A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3.  Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4.  Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5.  Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6.  Centralization of the means  of communication and transportation in the hands of the State.

7.  Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 

8.  Equal liability of all to labor and establishment of industrial, armies, especially for agriculture.

9.  Continuation of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10.  Free education for all children in governmental schools. A combination of education with industrial production.

The “LAMENTATIONS” Presented –

None is more hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are FREE…

AMERICA & The NATIONS Have Become “Tributary”; A Slave to its Own Laws –

Becoming a SLAVE to our own laws, that restrains its FREEDOM and “chained” by its own weighty laws restricts every move we make.  There is too much infighting and division to accomplish anything.  Are you listening ‘Mr. Government’?

Lamentations 1:3:

“Judah has gone into exile [to escape] from the affliction and laborious servitude [of the homeland]. She dwells among the [heathen] nations, but she finds no rest; all her persecutors overtook her amid the [dire] straits [of her distress].”

Just as an individual in becoming a SLAVE to SIN in their life, my country has become a SLAVE to its own SIN.

All of our attempts to right every wrong, through Presidential Press Releases, through legislation…instead of REPENTANCE OF THE HEART, created a massive compilation of LAWS which chokes us into servitude.

While most LAWS are meant for our good and for our protection, we’ve overstepped the boundaries between LEGALISM & COMMON SENSE care for ourselves.

Lamentations 1:9 (NIV):

“Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. Look, O LORD, on my affliction for the enemy has triumphed.”

ISRAEL’S IDOLATRY –

ISRAEL had become so adulterous from worship of idols, they couldn’t remember the days of walking in RIGHTEOUSNESS & HOLINESS before the True God.

Falling so far, so quickly that their younger generation didn’t know the God of their fathers; no recognition of Israel’s BLESSINGS of the past.  They lived with an attitude that was now the NORM for the people.

SIN had magnified itself so greatly, as to hide the fact, a PATH of righteousness was to follow.

A PICTURE of Our Society Today –

e4dc5d58e68f6e6cb4e2f6281d3a3b9cMy Nation, your Nation, is so caught up in gaining wealth…creating a great lifestyle…self-indulgence at all costs, we have forgotten the PATHS of goodness and righteousness presented in GOD’S WORD–your bible.

AND…if you are thinking that the Church is absent from this picture, think again!  I see it repeated in Social Media daily, without thinking about what they’re sharing, or displaying to the world.  Am I being too legalistic?  You will have to decide.

And the Recompense? 

OUR YOUTH in the land don’t understand, and haven’t heard of the SACRIFICES in the Biblical foundations of our country.  They don’t know the price of FREEDOM because they haven’t been taught.

AMERICA is a great nation ONLY…because of the BLESSINGS of the LORD upon it.

We now have a SOCIETY where the MAJORITY of the people believe… they have a RIGHT–

  • A RIGHT to be rich…
  • A RIGHT to live in a good home…
  • A RIGHT to drive a new car…
  • A RIGHT to health care.

All without any of the responsibility and accountability that accompany these RIGHTS.

“WORK” HAS BECOME A DIRTY WORD –

As a nation, we are becoming lazier each and every day.  We give no thought as a nation about God or Holiness at all!

Lamentations 1:16 (AMP):

“For these things I weep; my eyes overflow with tears, because a comforter, one who could refresh and restore my soul, is far from me. My children are desolate and perishing, for the enemy has prevailed.”

MY PRAYER–

Lord, how long will Your LOVE continue to BLESS AMERICA, even in JUDGMENT?  

Let your MERCIES be extended to us as a nation.  Holy Spirit, move in your people.  

Let there be a great REVIVAL UNLEASHED OF RIGHTEOUSNESS & HOLINESS UPON OUR LAND.

The EVIDENCE is here!

America is ceasing, perhaps has already ceased to be GOOD.  How long can God BLESS a nation who has turned its back on God?

BUT…”JESUS Is Calling America” –

John W. Peterson wrote the lyrics to a song in the early 70’s, “Jesus Is Calling America” from the Cantata, America:

Jesus is calling America,

Calling her back to the fold.

Jesus is calling America,

Calling the young and the old.

The title of the Peterson’s lyrics brought me, and hopefully you, to a bible verse in 2 Chronicles:

IF My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 AMP).

This is a great promise from God’s Word!

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HELP US LORD, as a people, as individuals, and as a nation to fall our face in REPENTANCE of our sins.

HELP US to humble ourselves before You, to seek Your face and pray for deliverance.

AMEN!!!

God loves you and I.

God loves America too.

But God’s LOVE must, one day, give way to justice & righteousness.

Let the body of Christ–the Church, across this nation, cross your nation, CRY OUT to God in REPENTANCE and PRAY for Revival in the Lord.

And REVIVAL always begins in the heart of each and every individual.  Unless we do, there is little HOPE that we will survive as nations enjoying PEACE & PROSPERITY.

For God’s JUDGMENTS will increase.  We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in the trouble to come.

If we, as nations in the world, don’t turn to God in REPENTANCE, social unrest will lead to all out rebellion in the streets and anarchy will reign.

OUR MAIN PROBLEM…

America’s main problem is not social unrest, or lack of health care, inequality of opportunity in the inner cities, poverty or any of these things; although all of these are problems that must be dealt with.

America’s main problem is…we’ve left worshipping the God of Heaven and taken JESUS out of our lives PUBLICLY; removed the Word of God from anything that’s PUBLIC.

REWARDS WILL COME, BUT…

If God’s going to BLESS AMERICA…BLESS YOUR NATION…we all must see those trends reversed.

PAR

 


 

FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Opening Statement –  [i] Exerts used from the Amplified Bible (a).

“THE TEN PLANKS” – [ii] The TEN PLANKS of the Communist Manifesto – http://www.criminalgovernment.com/docs/planks Communist Manifesto-All Ten Planks…In America!!! 

RESOURCE SEARCH:  Jack Wellman @ Christian Crier – http://www.patheos.com

Photo Credits:  BEWARE… found at courting of a kingdom.workers.blogspot.com; Google Image Search.

 

 

 

 

 

A “Lackawanna” Lifestyle – [Part Two]

Study Verses: 1 John 3:1-9

WHAT “LAWLESSNESS” ISN’T:

I left off in PART ONE– A “Lackawanna” Lifestyle– on Lawlessness; what it is and what it isn’t.  Lawlessness, pure and simply stated is… “open rebellion against God; having no regard of what GOD thinks or says”:

Those who sin are opposed to the law of God, for all sin opposes the law of God ~ 1 John 3:4.

The Amplified Bible says it this way:

Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect–being unrestrained and unregulated by His commandments and His will).

If we’re really saved, we won’t do that–“practice sin”.  We may disobey GOD once in a while, but a true believer won’t practice sin.

“Steel Guitar Blues”

I can remember when I was about 12 years old, I begged my parents for an Electric Steel Guitar.  Not just a ‘plain old guitar’ but a “Steel Guitar”.  So, they decided to grant my request with the following conditions: “We will get you a “used” one first.  Then, after lessons and ‘practicing diligently’, maybe, just maybe we will get you a newer one with a guitar stand.”

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My First Guitar

My first guitar laid across my lap!  Bummer!!  What will my buddies think?  They won’t think I am playing the ‘genuine’ instrument–without a stand?

If you want to get really good at doing something, you need to practice.  I never liked to “practice”, so the lessons stopped and so did my guitar playing.

If you keep on practicing sin–lawlessness–you will become really good at it.  Do you have an instrument used for sin; laying there on your lap, or if you are really good at it…on a display-stand so everyone can see it?  Do we know someone who says they’re Christian, but keeps on practicing open sin?  John says they aren’t saved!  A true believer can’t do that.

Why not?

John’s 2-part Answer:  1st, we don’t have to sin.

You know that He [GOD] appeared in visible form and became Man to take away [upon Himself] sins, and in Him [JESUS] there is no sin.      (verse 5).

JESUS died on the cross to take away our sins.  And, because He had no sin, He could pay sin’s penalty.  Our sin is gone!

JESUS also took away the power of sin over us.  It may be alive in us, but we’re dead to its power over us:  “No one who abides (LIVES) in Him keeps on sinning.”  (verse 6 (a)).

We don’t have to practice sin anymore.  Why won’t a true believer keep on sinning?  Here comes a terrific Theological Answer to the question:  FIRST, John says… you don’t have to.

There’s a 2nd part of John’s answer–

“No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance  with Him]”  (1 John 3:6 (b)).

A TEENAGER’S DILEMMA:

A group of teenagers were enjoying a party [we’ve probably all been there and could tell some stories!].  Someone in the crowd suggested they all go to a certain “restaurant” and have a really good time!

“I’d rather you took me home”, the girl said to her date.  “My parents don’t approve of that place.”

“Afraid your father will hurt you?”  One of the girls asked sarcastically.

“No, I’m not afraid my father will hurt me.  But I am afraid I might hurt him!”

She understood:  A true child of God knows Father God–

—  They see and know His love.

—  They love God and in loving Him, they don’t want to sin against His love.

Now we have John’s 2-part reason why true believers can’t keep on sinning:

—  1st, they don’t have to.

—  2nd, true believers won’t want to.

When it comes down to practicing righteousness, God’s love HEALED their “Lackawanna”.

GRACE SOMETIMES CAN BE MISTAKEN – (verse 7 (a)):

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray”

Some in John’s community were arguing over what God’s GRACE meant–it didn’t matter that they kept on sinning.  John is warning us– That isn’t true!  Choosing to do what’s righteous matters!

HOW? – (verse 7 (b).):

“He who does what is right is righteous, just as Christ is righteous”

Has there been a CHANGE in our lifestyle since we were SAVED?  Or, are we still practicing sin?

John is saying we were we were never SAVED if there is no change!  And even more, we’re supposed to be changing for the better– forever.  The apostle reminds us in the Book of Romans,

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, be be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will”  (Romans 12:2 NIV).

That “renewing” Paul is talking about, isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime event.  It is ongoing–everyday of your life happening.  I think that it is the second most important decision you will ever have to make in life; next to your decision of accepting JESUS as Lord and Savior.

We ought to be making PROGRESS…

WHY?  (verse 8):

“[But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated divine law) from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].”

SATAN (the devil) holds the lost in his power-grip.  A Christian is held by Christ’s POWER.  When a lost person is found–becomes a born-again Christian–Satan’s power is broken.  They don’t have to practice sin any more–and they don’t want to!

JESUS Sets Us Free!

JESUS promised,

[34] “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you,  Whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin.  [36] So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free”  (The Gospel of John 8:34, 36 AMP).

If JESUS sets us free from the slavery of practicing sin, we won’t practice sin anymore–no lessons, no instruments available for sinning when we don’t practice.

Just the opposite, we’ll be working hard at becoming more Christ-like.  We’ll love Him too much not to!

GOD PLANTS THE SEED OF JESUS:

“No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him  [His principle of life, the divine sperm (seed), remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born of God”  (verse 9).

In every christian, the SEED is planted.  It’s done at our REBIRTH.  His seed (His holy nature) can’t sin.  And, at our rebirth, we receive a new nature–Christ’s.

His nature can‘t sin because…He can’t.  Whenever we do sin, it’s our old nature sinning.  When we die, our old sinful nature (attached to our sinful physical body) will die too.  It was predestined long ago.

In Christ JESUS, it was put to death at Calvary.  But it’s taking a long time to die.  When JESUS takes us home, all that will be left is our new nature.  The lost (the unsaved) have only the old nature that has never been put to death.  So it still lives to rule and reign in their hearts.  It will have to be JUDGED–THEIR UNRIGHTEOUS SEED IS ALL THEY HAVE.

A Good Tree and its Fruit–

Our study has been focused on 1 John 3:1-9, but I couldn’t stop at verse 9, I had to include verse 10:

“By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children…”

Can there be any doubt on how we live our lives becoming a SALVATION issue?  John isn’t saying it’s our deeds that save us.  BUT, he is saying clearly what JESUS said in Matthew 7:17 and Matthew 12:33:

“Either make the tree sound (healthy and good), and its fruit sound (healthy and good), or make the tree rotten (diseased and bad), and its fruit rotten (diseased and bad); for the tree is… know and recognized and judged by its fruit”  (Matthew 12:33 AMP).

Every Good Tree Bears Good FruitA “good tree” (from the “good seed”) produces good fruit–and a bad tree–bad fruit.  The FRUIT always reveals what kind of tree it is.

When GOD plants His Divine “seed” in us, it produces a desire, even sometimes a passion to SERVE–Obey and Live for Christ.  If we don’t have this desire, we don’t have His “seed” in us.

WHEN JESUS SAVED US…

GOD planted a new seed in us–and it will bring forth fruit–our good works.  And as we mature in Christ, the fruit matures in its appearance; the more evidence there’ll be in our life that we’re SAVED!

According to John, like that expression I heard in the late 1970’s,  “If we were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us?”

GOD GETS THE GLORY!

It comes down to the bottom line on the ‘fruit bearing’ in our lives.  Are we doing so because of the accolades we will receive from others to our self-glory…or the roses we receive laid at the feet of JESUS?

[39] “And some of the Pharisees from the throng said to Jesus,  Teacher, reprove Your disciples!  [40] He replied, I tell you that if these keep silent, the very stones will cry out”  (Luke 19:39-40).

“So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God”  (1 Corinthians 10:31).

1 John 3:1-9
1 John 3:1-9