Endtime Ministries...Australian Bible College Course
The Calvary Bible Fellowship of N.Z.has given permission for an Australian Diploma Course to be constructed along the needsof our Despatch subscribers.
The Gospel is the Good News about One Who paid the price for SIN. There is One who is the founder and finisher of the Gospel, the One who died on the Cross of Calvary. We will start our in-depth study of this most wonderful of all Biblical subjects by examining Paul's explanation of the Gospel of the Cross of Calvary, found in Romans 1:1-5.
1. Paul tells us that the Gospel is not new, that the Old Testament prophets wrote about the Gospel. The book of Romans is a mighty Gospel book, and many have memorised what is called "The Roman Road" and have used it in personal evangelism. The Roman Road is Rom. 3:23-24; 5;8; 6:23; 10:9. Using such verses to evangelize the unsaved gives the message of salvation in Christ Jesus simply, and yet penetratingly! The book of Romans shows that the Gospel is not new in that it quotes from the Old Testament no less than sixty-one times, from fourteen different books. Critics may claim that the New Testament Gospel is only a cult, tacked onto Judaism, but this is refuted by these quotes from Judaism's OT. An interesting, correct statement is sometimes made, as Wilmington points out:
3. The Gospel was revealed through the incarnation of the God the Son,
revealed by the Lord's virgin birth,
the miracle of God. Jesus Christ was God become man, the seed of David.
See how Paul speaks of this in Romans 1:3.
4. The Gospel was the victory and declaration of the resurrection. If
Christ did not rise from the dead, then all are still in death! Note the
word "declared" in Romans 1:4. This word is the Greek "horizo",
we get the English word "horizon" from it. It means a thrilling thing,
"to mark out by sure signs." The horizon is a clear boundary
between earth and heaven, just as Christ is. Christ is the border, we get
to heaven only by going through Him, no way round, no way under, only THROUGH
the boundary or border.
The sign is marked out in a sure manner, the Bible tells us the Way.
THE GOSPEL, ONCE RECEIVED AS OUR OWN, IS A CALL TO SERVICE.
Once God has opened our eyes, by the Holy Spirit, to the Gospel's power to save, we can do none other than share such Good News with the unsaved. It is like finding the cure for cancer, having an abundant and free supply of the potion, to not offer it freely would be unthinkable. To hide the mixture in a cupboard would be murder. How much more do we owe all men the Gospel of eternal Life in the Saviour? Paul had a threefold way of looking at the Gospel, as we read in Romans 1:16,17:
1. He was a debtor to men to preach it (1:14). He owed them the Gospel,
as we do.
2. He was ready to preach it (1:15). Are you ready? God only requires readiness and willingness, He will supply the rest - opportunity, ability, openings, the Holy Spirit's conviction for the lost.
3. Paul was not ashamed to preach the Gospel (1:16). The world may ridicule the faithful preacher of the Gospel, if we speak to individuals or large crowds, but the Gospel will never let us down or bring us to shame. It is hard sometimes to speak out in the presence of sneering people of the world, but we can say with full hearts
Salvation, if it is true salvation, is forever, entirely by Grace through faith, and can never be taken from us - or thrown away by ourselves. ( Ephesians 2:8,9; I John 5:11).
The Hebrew and Greek words for "salvation" imply wonderful concepts - deliverance, safety, preservation, healing, soundness. Salvation is the mighty word of the Gospel, which collects into itself all of the "acts and processes" of redemption!. One of the Hebrew words for "salvation" is "yeshuwah", the first mention in the Old Testament, Genesis 49:18. Another is found in 1 Samuel 11:13, it is "teshuwah", rescue national or spiritual. A Greek word for "salvation" is "soteria".
SPIRITUAL WARFARE - TRUE AND FALSE.
Once we are saved, our awareness of the lost state of the unsaved all around us causes us to yearn for their safety, deliverance, redemption. We see the Godlessness of the society we live in, organized and controlled as it is by those who are Imagesly unregenerate sinners. These concerns can lead us to God's solutions and HIS Plan for our cooperation with Him in the salvation of the lost, or it can lead to an acceptance of another plan, another solution which is Satan's counterfeit. We need to live close to the Bible's teachings in these days, as the subtle plan of the enemy is to keep the Christians busy with anything else than proclaiming the finished work of Christ on the Cross!
False and True Salvation are in relationship with false and true spiritual warfare, because not only are many basing their salvation on a counterfeit, but others who are saved can be basing their efforts for the lost on counterfeits of God's Plan. Here again we must see that the whole of the work of God for salvation is Christ Jesus and Him crucified. There are no works of man which can save him, and there are no works of man which can wage "war" against the forces of the enemy. There is only Christ Jesus, and Him crucified, risen from the dead, Triumphant over all the Satanic foes (11 Corinthians 10:1-6). Our spiritual weapons and war are all Christ Jesus our Lord, He who has already defeated the Satanic hordes on the Cross. Our operations in the spiritual realm must not be presumptuous, but must be completely centred in God's Son's sacrifice, and be according to God's sovereignly decreed time-span and battle-strategy. There are strange spiritual warfare strategies in these days of apostasy which are not of God, but are delusions from the enemy of men's souls. Let us compare two spiritual warfare strategies then, one the Bible pattern and plan, and the other the C. Peter Wagner apostasy, which is sweeping the churches even as I write. The latter is not only a delusion which wastes precious time whilst souls are being lost, but it is a dangerous exercise against powerful spiritual entities, undertaken in presumption against God's Purpose and Plan, and it is of the flesh (11 Corinthians 10:3).
THE FAKE SPIRITUAL WARFARE.
A brief outline of the basic false assumptions are:
1. In order to win souls in a given city or town or country area, God's
people in that area should put down the controlling evil spiritual hierarchy
in power in the atmosphere over that place.
These are referred to as "territorial spirits" in the new "warfare" teaching.
2. Cities and towns can be released from sin and bondage to wicked practices
by taking dominion over,
and pulling down the spiritual powers, the territorial spirits, above them.
3. God's people should march through the cities, towns, streets, communities,
claiming their deliverance in
the power of the Holy Spirit. Every place where they put down the souls of their feet will be given to them, according to God's promises in Joshua chapter one.
4. It is imperative in some instances to learn the name of the spiritual head over a town or city, the source of this information may come from the occult people in that area. Knowing the name, the people of God can call upon that entity to depart - thus setting the area free from Satan's oppressing - and souls can then be saved in a wonderful way.
There are many variations of these fake concepts of what spiritual warfare is about. There are strongholds of these erroneous ideas being established in the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. None of the above ideas are Biblical, these are merely fleshly, or even demonically inspired nonsense. Vastly different to the true spiritual warfare instructions of God, which are found in the Bible, the Christian's handbook of instruction and knowledge from Almighty God. Dare we listen to any other views? Let us examine the above propositions:
1. Firstly, the Cross of Jesus Christ has already defeated all the hosts of the devil, as the Bible clearly shows, Romans 5:15-21; Jude 24,25; Hebrews 2:8; Hebrews 1:13; Col.1:15-19; Phil.2:9-11. Secondly, these spiritual foes who are now in control of the planet, entrenched in the atmosphere around the earth, (Ephesians 6:12), are not to be removed from their legally given positions until Jesus Christ removes them from all power, Himself, at the Battle of Armageddon, which happens right at the end of the Tribulation period. Thirdly, there is no instruction from God to remove territorial spirits in order to win souls, the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ alone wins souls and saves men, 1 Cor.1:18.
2. Cities and towns are not in themselves targets for spiritual salvation. God has not given us a mandate to win societies, we can certainly influence societies for the good, preach against abortion, homosexuality, drug trafficking and the New Age nightmare, but the cities and towns and countries of this planet will not be given new life until the Millennial Reign of Christ. This is a fallen world, it will not be a Theocracy until the King of kings returns - Rev.20:6.
3. There is no mandate from God to march through cities claiming that every place the souls of the marchers' feet are put down is given to them by the Almighty God! Joshua chapter one, from whence this idea originated, is a passage relating to the Jews going into the Promised Land, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian Church taking spiritual dominion over territories and their spiritual hierarchy. We will deal with this subject, and its typology and anti-type in the New Testament in more depth later on.
The horrifying thing is that this odd belief about marching to gain victory for the release of the souls of men, redefines the Sovereignly ordained Gospel message, which is the true power to save souls. It is the Only power to save, the simple preaching of the Cross of Calvary is all that is needed to release souls from bondage to sin and Satan.
WHAT IS JOSHUA CHAPTER ONE'S RELATIONSHIP TO THE GOSPEL?
The passage which is used by the fake "spiritual warfare" heretics often, Joshua chapter one, is in reality a TYPE of wonderful truths in the New Testament. Joshua chapter one has many glorious truths to reveal about the Gospel of the Cross of Christ Jesus as the one and only victory over Satan, and his angelic hosts in the heavenlies.
In a real spiritual sense the book of Joshua is the Ephesians of the Old Testament. The comparisons are thrilling. "The heavenly" (NOT Heaven) of Ephesians is to the Christian Church what Canaan or the Promised land was to the Israelites. Canaan was a place of conflict, but it was also a place of victory only through the Divine power (Joshua 21:43-45; Ephesians 1:3). Joshua himself is a type of Christ, the Captain of our Salvation (Hebrews 2:10,11). Christ alone leads to victory, we need no other saviour, or marches and devised "spiritual warfare" strategies. Christ Jesus has already won the victory on the Cross.
Satan wants us to fall below that completed victory into seeking some other way to win what is already ours. The moment we believe that we have to "claim" or "march" or do anything to defeat Satan, rather than simply stand and preach Christ crucified, or plead the Blood of the Lamb as our victory, we fall into defeat. Why? Because we do not STAND in the conquest of the Cross. Modern day fake spiritual warfare leads to a denial of all that the Cross accomplished two thousand years ago, and leads straight to spiritual defeat under the enemy. Christ Jesus and what HE accomplished at Calvary when He died and rose again from the dead, taking captivity captive, is our triumph too (Romans 8:37; 11 Cor.10:2,14; Ephesians 4:8).
When the Israelites marched to take Canaan, they were allotted portions of the Promised Land. Christ Jesus in the New Testament allots our "portions", as seen in Ephesians 1:11, 14; 4:8-11. But the whole world is not going to be the Church's "portion", we do not take dominion over the "land" as Israel took the Promised Land of Canaan. Souls are lost in the world, yes, but spiritual warfare in the modern heretical sense cannot do one iota to save them or our societies for that matter. The glorious Cross is our "spiritual warfare", and any "warfare" not dependent on this glory is a counterfeit. It is a part of the false salvation strategy of the enemy of men's souls.
SPIRITUAL WARFARE OF THE SOLDIERS OF THE CROSS.
If we are to be true soldiers who war against the spiritual enemies of the lost around us, and in our families, then we must understand more about true salvation and Biblical warfare. As I search the Scriptures for myself on this matter, I am entering into a fuller understand for my own benefit, for I also want to know so much more about how to cooperate with the Lord in the vital ministry of saving souls for eternity. That the unsaved around us are hindered from accepting Christ as Saviour by spiritual foes is obvious, what can we do?
OUR OWN SPIRITUAL CONDITION IS IMPORTANT.
Many of the modern spiritual warfare books pay little attention to whether the soldier has spiritual victory for him/herself! One would think that what state the soldier was in personally had no bearing at all on warfare for others. Of course it has got bearing, it is vital that believers do not step into warfare without proper armour. This is not a matter of visualising a suit of armour, putting on this imagined suit and helmet in your mind. Ephesians chapter six is about reality, not imagery. This is a REAL armour to meet an actual foe, so that we will be able to stand in the fight. We are coming against all the principalities and might of the devil's kingdom. A defeated foe, yes, but we must not give him ground in ourselves!
(Ephesians 6:10-18). "...be strong in the LORD, and in the POWER OF HIS MIGHT."
*The Christian who has armour compared with the non-armoured Christian.
1."Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth," The armoured Christian is armoured with Truth; the non-armoured is open to lies and deceptions through ignorance of God's Word.
2. "...Having on the breastplate of righteousness." The armoured Christian is one who lives a righteous life in God's enabling; the non-armoured is unrighteousness, maybe because of ignorance.
3. "your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." The armoured Christian has peace with God, is not in turmoil or depression because his/her life is filled with unconfessed sin (i.e. worry, self-pity, bitterness, envy, resentment at their circumstances, anger etc). The armoured one makes peace and seeks to keep it with God and man. The non-armoured causes quarrels and divisions with the obedient, Godly people.
4. "preparation..." The armoured Christian is controlled and watchful, looking unto God and His timing and plan. The non-armoured one is reckless, presumptuous, shallow and unwatchful. Often views the evil spiritual world in a light way, warfare is rather like a game.
5. "ABOVE ALL, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Faith in the LORD is our shield, the armoured Christian does not drop his trust in God when the going gets tough. The non-armoured allows doubt and unbelief in. Does not confess this as sin.
6. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." The armoured Christian wars with the Scriptures in hand, he/she has been transformed by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2, he does not allow himself to be conformed to this world. He knows that Christ can save to the uttermost, and yields to the Lord in all matters. The non-armoured one relies on reason instead of God's Word, he opens his mind to visions, revelations from around him which he attributes to the "Holy Spirit". He gains "insight" into the spiritual realm by these means and his own "cleverness", or the extra-biblical teaching of others.
THE BOTTOM LINE!
The bottom line is that if we are to have warfare victory for others
over their bondage to Satan, and thus win them for Christ, we must first
walk in constant victory over Satan in our own personal lives!
1. Our spirits must be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, filled with the Holy
Spirit. We must be filled with the might of God in order to stand unshaken,
our own carnal selves cannot war in spiritual matters.
"The weapons of our warfare are not carnal", has become rather a hackneyed saying these days, but the Biblical meaning is not trite:
In those verses we see that spiritual warfare has everything to do with the state of the one who wars! Verses 5-6 are seldom preached alongside verses 3-4, but they belong together. All right, if we mean business with God, a
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the
obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (11 Cor.10:3-6).
v.4, We cannot fight fire with fire, we must fight Satan with BLOOD! Revelation 12:11. The Blood of the Lamb HAS defeated you Satan!
v.5, argumentation, bullying, bombast are the natural weapons of men, the carnal weapons. "Strong holds" definitely seems to refer to opinions which are strongly held by their advocates. Isn't the MIND the battlefield? Isn't it the mind which keeps our loved ones and neighbours from accepting Christ as Saviour? These strong holds, with wrong thoughts and blasphemies against the Lord put there by the devil, are what keep people in bondage to cults and humanism or atheism. "Every thought" must be brought into obedience to Christ, we bring our own thoughts into obedience to Christ, and through the Blood of the Lamb and our testimony, we "cast down" "imaginations" and "every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" in others - "pulling down the strong holds" through the Blood, always on the ground of the finished work of Christ Jesus.
v.6, here Paul is showing that he, as the apostle ordained by God, fears he may have to take a very strict line against a section of the Corinthian church. Would to God that we lived in such times, when Godly leaders were ready to be strict to maintain Godliness amongst the Lord's assembled flock. There were strong holds against Paul and his Godly teaching, he was not carnal in his dealings with this, Paul showed meekness and the gentleness of Christ amidst his strictness, see verse 1. The Lord's praying ones can pray at the present time for their loved ones and unsaved neighbours by: 1. Praying against the evil spirits blocking and hindering their acceptance of Christ Jesus as Saviour, in the power of the shed Blood which has defeated them; 2. Using the weapons of Scripture, the Sword, resting upon the promises of God in regard to the unsaved, and speaking them out to God in prayer ( 1 John 5:13-16; 1 John 3:22; John 15:7; John 14:12-15 etc). 3. Holding fast to the completed Victory of Christ already won, and asking the Lord to bring our loved ones and neighbours to repentance, and a knowledge of SIN (their own, and that they do not believe in Christ), RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jesus Christ's, and their lack), and JUDGEMENT TO COME (unless they repent and accept Christ as Saviour, they will suffer with Satan who is already judged and found guilty, as all the unsaved are) John 16:7-11.
SATAN'S VICTIMS MADE VICTORIOUS!
These are the closing days of the Church Age. Soon the Millennial Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ will show to the whole world what the Ascended and Glorified Christ means to Satan and his hierarchy in the atmosphere. This will soon be our glorification in the eyes of wicked hosts as well, we will be reigning with the Lord in the Millennium, and then will the redeemed of this age "judge angels" (1 Cor.6:2.3). This will be the time when the deepest humiliation of all will happen to the devil. He was the great archangel of God, he was in the highest position of the angelic hosts, now redeemed mankind will judge him and his rebellious minions! Mankind who was made lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:5-8). Man went even lower and became like the animals, he was cast down by the fall at the Garden of Eden. Now man is Satan's judge, and has the position which is higher than Satan's original state as archangel of God! Redeemed mankind is of one nature, one life, and shares the one position with Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:17; Hebrews 2:11-12).
Jessie Penn-Lewis wrote:
As we approach the last of these last days, the battle will grow stronger. Satan hates those who he knows already will take part in his frightful humiliation at his judgement. He and his hordes want, while they still have the chance, to demolish and disgrace the future judges of these evil fallen angels.
Why is this all happening? Why doesn't the Almighty put these beings
down right now! Some of the answers to this perplexing question are given
in the wonderful climax of the book, "War on the Saints" (ibid).
Penn-Lewis puts it this way, p.301-302:
They must overcome 'As He Overcame,' (Rev 3:21; Col.3:4; Rev 19:14; 20:4-6) if they are to share His throne and conquest. He led the way. They must follow. He passed through the hour and power of darkness on Calvary, and passed through it to the place of victory. United to Him in spirit, they pass through the same dark atmosphere, filled with the hosts of evil, to their place of triumph in Him.
The coming onslaught from the hosts of darkness is upon the Church. Not one living member of the Risen Head can escape attack if he is a true 'joint' in the Body (Ephesians 4:16). Some will know it before others, according to their place in the Body. 'If the whole Body were an eye, where were the hearing?' (Cf. 1 Cor.12:14-21). They who are of the 'feet' will know it latest, but know it they will, for they who are of the 'feet' must also ascend, though the foot be the last part to move heavenward, and is nearest earth of the ascending Body. Some of the 'elect' of the Body - yea, many - may 'fall' victims of the deceptive wiles of Satan, but though they may seem submerged for a time, Lord, if they but see how all the deceits of Satan can be turned into steps of victory, and equipment for the deliverance of others from his power, they can arise again, and become as it were 'eyes' (Numbers 10:31) to the Body of Christ, in its advance through the aerial hosts of darkness contesting the way. They can arise again when they discover that what was meant by Satan to overwhelm them, can be changed by the light of truth into a glorious liberation from the enemy's power, and thus make then witnesses, not only to men, but to the principalities and powers in the heavenly regions (Ephesians 3:10) of the manifold wisdom of God." (End of quote).
The ultimate judgement of Satan and the territorial spirits may be delayed, but the mighty purposes of God MUST eventually, and soon, come to pass! The Church or Bride of Christ Jesus will soon be drawn through the atmospheric realm of the territorial spirits, we will join the Risen Head at the Rapture, and He who has won the battle already by His shed Blood, will take His own control of the atmospheric hierarchy. The evil territorial spirits will only be allowed to fulfil their destiny to be part of God's judgement or Wrath on the nation of Israel and the Gentile nations (the Tribulation), and then they will put down by Christ Himself. (See Rev. 8-9; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; Rev. 16:13,14; Rev.21:3,4). The Endtime panorama is before us in the 1990s, it is not a pretty sight. Satan wants above all to remove the faithful witnesses to Christ Jesus from the earth altogether, to trick them into losing their lives before they can fulfil all of God's plans for them on earth. We need to be on guard, be watchful. Jessie Penn-Lewis has set out the way of victory over Satan as murderer on page 238 of her book (ibid). As we examine this passage, we can see that there are those who are being deceived right now in fake "revivals", are they putting themselves so much outside God's protection that they could be in danger of eventual physical peril? It could well be.
"VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS A MURDERER (John
Satan as the prince of death watches every occasion to take the life of the servants of God,
if in any wise he can get them to fulfill conditions which enable him to do so:
1. By their willful insistence on going into danger without being sent of God; 2. By trapping them into danger through visions, or supernatural guidance, drawing them into actions which enable him to work behind the laws of nature for destroying their lives.
This is what Satan tried to do with Christ in the wilderness temptation: 'Throw Thyself down,' he said; then quoting Scripture to show that the Lord had Scriptural warrant for believing that angels would bear Him up (Luke 4:11), and not allow Him to fall. But the Son of God recognised the Tempter and the Murderer. He knew that His life would end as a Man, were He to give occasion to the malignant hate of Satan, by one step out of God's will; and that the Deceiver would not propose anything, however apparently innocent, or seemingly for God's glory, unless some great scheme for his own ends was deeply hidden in his proposition.
Christ now holds the 'keys of death and of Hades' (Rev.1:18). and "him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil' (Heb.2:14), cannot exercise his power WITHOUT PERMISSION, but when the children of God, knowingly or unknowingly, fulfil the conditions which give Satan ground to attack their physical lives, the Lord with the 'keys of death' works according to law, and does not save them, UNLESS BY THE WEAPON OF PRAYER they enable God to interpose, and give them victory over the law of death, as well as the law of sin, through 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' (Romans 8:2).
'The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.' Death is therefore an enemy; to be recognized as an enemy; and to be resisted as an enemy. The believer may lawfully 'desire to depart and be with Christ' (Phil. 1:23), but never to desire death merely as an end of 'trouble,' or to allow the lawful desire to be 'with Christ,' make him YIELD TO DEATH WHEN HE IS NEEDED FOR THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. 'To abide in the flesh is needful for you, ' wrote the Apostle to the Philippians, therefore 'I know that I shall abide' (Phil.1:24,25)." (End of quote). AS TIME GOES BY???? We know not what the last years of this millennium will bring, or whether indeed we will be here to see the next millennium arrive. We do know that the warfare will increase as time goes by, and rapidly. You and I are needed in our place, until GOD Himself removes us in the Rapture or by physical death. The people of God are finding the going tough now, and we must always keep in mind that GOD is using this period to train us for what lies ahead in the Millennial Reign and Eternity. We should not yield to discouragement or Satanic lies that we would be better off out of this mess altogether - thus causing us to desire strongly to "depart".
We should be ready always to "live" not die, unless we know for certain that our work is completed on the earth. If we find ourselves sick in body, we should resist just as we do when we are sick in mind or spirit. The soldiers of God can simply fade away because of fatigue and lack of proper rest, thus placing themselves out of the will of God, Who always wants us to live balanced lives - work, rest, recreation, healthy food, reasonable hours of sleep, worship and devotional study of the Word of God. We must follow the rules God has given in the Word for the body as well as the mind and spirit, and not give ground in any way so that Satan can cause us to die. This comment by Penn-Lewis is important here:
"They (believers) should know the place of the body in spiritual life;
(1) its prominence, and yet
(2) its obscurity. Paul said, 'I keep under my body.' They must understand that the more knowledge they have of the devices and power of the Adversary, and of the fullness of the Calvary victory within their reach for complete victory over him, the more he will plan to injure them.
The whole of his schemes against God's children may be summed up under
(1) To cause them to sin, as he tempted Christ in the wilderness;
(2) To slander them, as Christ was slandered by family and foes;
(3) To slay them, as Christ was slain at Calvary, when, by the direct permission of God, the hour and power of darkness gathered around Him, and He by the hands of wicked men was crucified and slain (Acts 2:23).
As the believer gains victories over Satan, and his deceiving and lying spirits, by thus recognising, resisting and triumphing over them in their varied workings, his strength of spirit to conquer them grows stronger; and he will become more equipped to give the truth of the finished work of Calvary as sufficient for victory over sin and Satan; in the power and authority of Christ by the Holy Spirit; which will set others free from their power." (p.p.240-241.ibid).
We war against Satan by knowing the Truth, when he presents lies about our living or dying, or the importance of keeping our bodies fit. We have a victory over Satan when we do not accept visions, "prophecies" from the atmosphere; experiences which cause the body to tingle, vibrate or lose consciousness; do not allow ourselves to overstep the mark by doing audacious things in order to "glorify" God or show our "trust" in God. Remember the temptation Christ had to throw Himself from the Temple to "glorify" God! I have personally encountered a number of these audacious actions on the part of Christians who should know better. There was the Pastor who ate huge piles of cakes and goodies at Church affairs, he was often heard to say, "take the calories from this food dear Lord." A lady I knew would drive recklessly, turning her head around to talk to passengers in the back seat, she insisted that she (and ourselves) were safe in God's Hands no matter how she drove.
Another man would step off the curb, right into the path of oncoming traffic, saying, "The Lord will protect His own." One couple I knew insisted that God had called them to missionary service in Africa, the various older members of the Body of Christ in their area warned them that they had prayed, and believed the couple had mistaken God's call. A missionary organisation did accept the couple with their tiny children, and the father was killed shortly after they arrived in Africa, in a wilderness car crash. Another young man insisted he was called to beach mission work, he left his place of employment, deserted his wife and baby, and ruined all their lives becoming a lone beach wanderer handing out tracts.
The perils we face in deceptions come from the supernatural world of real beings, they are persons (Mark 1: 23-25); intelligent in planning (Matt.12:43-45) they have strategies (Ephesians 5:10-13). We are to be mature in MIND (1 Cor.14:20; 11 Timothy 4:1-4) and prove all things, i.e. doubt everything until you can prove it from the Word of God, and the peace that the Holy Spirit gives or withholds (1 Thess.5:21; Philippians 1:9-11; John 14:27).
OBJECTIONS TO GOD'S DECLARATION OF ETERNAL SECURITY.
Objections to eternal security abound in these days of heresy. People often take affront at this truth because they imagine that it gives a false sense of comfort to the rebellious, sinful Christian, who has had a dose of easy believism. This is hardly the case, for if a "professor" of Christianity has never repented, he/she has never been born again at all. A "professor" is entirely different to a "possessor" who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Someone who has "accepted" Christ may not have been accepted by God, because they have never in their hearts wanted to turn from sin. One can desire to avoid going to hell, but want to hang onto a Godless, sinful existence here on earth.
All of us must realize afresh that we, each and every one, sin every day of our lives in some way. But this sin after regeneration is covered by the Blood of the Lamb, otherwise none of us would make it to Heaven and Home. If Christ's death did not cover SIN, past, present and future, and for the entire world - then there is no other sacrifice in all infinity that ever can or will. Ask yourself, "how many of my sins were future sins when Christ died for me?" The answer is, all were. Christ died for your SIN, for everything you would ever think, do, or leave undone in your life in the future, when you finally came into the world. Praise God!
Many are the misunderstandings about verses in the Bible that seem to point to the loss of salvation. We will deal here with a few of the Images contentions. There are supposed to be 100 verses which support the opposition to eternal security, none of these however have any real substance, as they rest on wrong assumptions. It is very important that believers have peace of mind and feel safe in the arms of the Father, for we are indeed quite secure, and God knows our frail frame and tendency to failure.
Some of the verses which are supposed to show that we can lose our salvation
really have to do with false, apostate teachers - who were never saved
at all. These are some of them: Matthew 7:15-23; 24:11, 24;
II Cor.11 :13-15; I Timothy 4:1; II Peter 2:1-22; 3:16,17; I John 2:19; II John 1:7; Jude 4, 10-16; Rev.22:18,19.
These people have received light but have not life in Christ. "He knows something of the Word of God, but nothing about the God of the Word." (Wilmington).
We are surrounded with such apostates who claim to be "christians" today, there is a great falling away from the Body of revealed Truth in the Word, and knowledge of God. Let us examine carefully what the Bible warns us about when it speaks of these dangerous deceivers:
(a)They are dressed in sheep's clothing but are grievous, ravening wolves inside. They can look the part! (Matt.7:15; Acts 20:29).
(b)They loathe and despise the real sheep (Acts 20:29).
(c)They will deceive with spectacular signs and wonders (Matt.24:11,24).
(d)They are aiming at power structures, are empire builders. (Acts 20:30).
(e)They are materialistic, greedy for gain, and cause division amongst the truly saved (Romans 16:17,18). (f)They are often highly academic,
or use impressive language. (Romans 16:18).
(g)They cooperate with Satan and allow him to disguise them as angels of light, to hid the fact that they are demonic people of darkness
(h)They have doctrines and speak messages which are demon- controlled,
their very natures are demonic (I Tim.4:1-3).
(i)They pervert the doctrines of the Son of God; the Word of God;
and the doctrine of the grace of God (II Pet.2:1; II John 1:7; Jude 4; II Pet.3;16; Rev.22:18,19).
(j)They can be recognized by their fruits (Matt.7:16-20; James 3:11,12; I John 2:19).
Sometimes people confuse the loss or gain of rewards for the saved as being applicable to the loss or gain of eternal life! These passages deal with Christian rewards: I Cor.3:11-15; II Cor.5:9,10; Galatians 6:9; Col.3:24,25: II Timothy 2:12; James 1:12; II John1:18; Rev.2:7,11,17, 26;3:5,12,21.
(a) "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us" (II Tim.2:12). The word "deny" here is aligned with I Cor. 3:15. It is referring to a denial of rewards: "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." Compare also Col.3:24,25 for the same subject.
YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE.
One of the favourite verses of those who seek to prove we can lose our
salvation is Galatians 5:4:
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
What caused the people to fall and what did they fall into and from? What! - is it that they did not keep God's law, and so they lost their salvation? Certainly not! To fall from "grace" here means that instead of enjoying the liberty of love, they sank back into the legalism of the law, and lost out because they no longer reveled in grace, and enjoyed their Christian freedom under Christ. Both Peter and James "fell from grace" into legalism for a season (Gal.2:11-14; Acts 21:18-26; I Tim.1:6,7). But, in no way did they lose salvation. They would have lost peace and joy IN their salvation.
SURVIVAL IN THE TRIBULATION.
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved"
(Matt.25:13). What is this "end"? Not the end of life, but the
end of the Tribulation period! This is clear from verse 3,6, and 14. There
will be great physical danger in the Tribulation, but it will all come
to a close. GOD will save them out of all physical peril and privation
- at the end. Keep on trusting Him, the Bible is saying in Matt.25:13.
The passage deals with sheer physical survival during the trials of the Tribulation.
DEALING WITH THE WITNESS OF THE CHURCHES.
People can read the words Jesus speaks to the churches, and imagine that these are addressed to individual believers, such as themselves. This can cause great worry and suffering. Jesus Christ warns backslidden groups that they will lose the blessing of God, if they fulfill certain conditions - but this has nothing to do with individuals (even in those churches) losing salvation: "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev.2:4,5).
Compare also, Rev.3:2,3; Rev.3:15,16, which are also to do with removing the blessing of God from churches.
To understand any passage in Scripture we must first put it in its proper context. These few rules below about this can be of help. Ask them of any passage which is puzzling:
Consider the passage Ezekiel 3:18-21; 33:8. Answer these questions for yourself before looking further down the lesson: Who was it written by, to whom? What is it about? What is its aim? Is it in any way directed to Christian individual believer?
* Have you thought this through for yourself? Then proceed with the study.
Who was it written by, to whom?
Ezekiel wrote these words around 597 B.C. He was in Babylon at the time, where he had been taken captive by king Nebuchadnezzar. This was prior to the final destruction of Jerusalem, B.C 586. Ezekiel had been commissioned by God, while he was in exile, to be a "watchman unto the house of Israel" (3:17; 33:7). To whom was he writing then? To Israel, those living in Jerusalem still.
What is it all about?
Ezekiel was commissioned to warn those in Jerusalem that, unless they repented a similar captivity fate, (or worse, death at the enemy's hands), would await them in God's wrath.
What is its aim?
The citizens still living in Jerusalem were arrogant and foolish. They felt that as they had already escaped Nebuchadnezzar's first (605 B.C) and his second (597 B.C) attack, they were exempt from God's disciplinary measures, and they had nothing to be afraid of, and so need not repent. Ezekiel's aim was to cause them to repent!
Is it in any way directed to individual Christian believers? Simple answer, NO! These verses have been used too many times to instill a heaviness and impossible sense of responsibility in the hearts of those who evangelise the unsaved. Evangelism is God's work through the Holy Spirit. He uses believers in this work, but does not place the entire responsibility for eternal life or death on the shoulders of human beings.
THE BOOK OF LIFE.
People sometimes think they can lose salvation and have their names blotted out of the Eternal Book of Life. However, we should see that two separate books are mentioned in the Bible, called "Book of Life". One is the Book of Physical Life, and the other the Book of Eternal Life. These following passages deal with the Book of Life: Exodus 32:32, 33; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19. See also Luke 10:20; Romans 9:3.
(a) The book of physical life. Exodus 32:30-32. This passage shows Moses offering himself as a physical substitute for the sinning nation Israel. They had grievously offended Jehovah God through the sin of worshipping the golden calf (Cf. Romans 9:3).
The book of physical life is seen again in Psalm 69:28: "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living and not be written with the righteous." Here David is referring to the physical death of his enemies, as seen in the context (see v.4).
(b) The book of eternal life: "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20).
Those written in the book of ETERNAL LIFE, are those who have eternal life in the Son of God. This is called eternal life because it is from the eternity that is past to the eternity that is to come. It is the life of God revealed in the Son of God, who IS God (John 1:4; 5:26; I John 1:1-2). This eternal life is imparted to the believer in a new birth by the Holy Spirit, and his/her name is written in the Book of Eternal Life. The eternal life that is in the believer is an unseverable life which eternally was and eternally is and will ever be, in Christ Jesus. One life in Him and in the believer. If Jesus Christ can be lost, then so can you! If Jesus Christ can be blotted out of eternal life, and its book, then so can you! But of course He cannot be. He is the Head and we are the members (I John 5:11-12; 1 Cor. 6:17; 12:12-14; Gal.2:20; Col.1:27; 3:3-4).
JUDAS, THE NOTORIOUS TRAITOR!
People will often point to Judas as an example of a believer, a follower
of Christ Jesus, who lost his salvation because of turning away from God
and security in Christ. Christians can look at this example and say, "if
Judas could be lost, then so can any other saved person lose salvation
A quote from the book by Dr. Robert Gromacki, "Salvation is Forever", pp. 166-167
should settle this matter for once and for all.
What kind of repentance was this? This particular Greek word indicates an emotional regret (metamelomai), not a repentance of moral and spiritual guilt (metanoeo). Judas was sorry over what had happened to Jesus because he did not realize that it would go that far. After being with Jesus three years he knew that Jesus was not worthy of death. He tried to reverse the trial action by returning the money, but it was too late. In remorse, he hanged himself. If this had been genuine repentance, he would have sought out Jesus or the eleven apostles. When the disciples prayed about the appointment of the twelfth apostle, after the death of Judas, they said, 'Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place' (Acts 1:24,25).
Judas did not fall from salvation; he fell from apostleship. There is a vast difference. Judas is a perfect example of those unsaved Christian workers mentioned by Jesus in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount: 'Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity' (Matt.7:21-23).
Judas had done all of these things (Matt.10; Luke 10). He had performed a ministry for Christ, but he did not know Christ as his Saviour from sin. He was a totally unsaved man, from the beginning to the end."
We often think of Salvation in a far too limited way. The Salvation
of man is not limited to the spirit, God's wonderful Salvation in Christ
fully embraces the whole of the person, spirit, soul and body. As we finish
our study on True and False Salvation, may we give thanks together for
the entire spectrum of our redemption in the Lamb of God?
(a) Salvation in regard to YOUR body: I Cor.15:44; Phil.3:21; Romans 8:23.
(b) Salvation in regard to YOUR soul: James 1:21; I Peter 1:9; I Peter 4:19.
(c) Salvation in regard to YOUR spirit: Romans 8:16; II Tim.4:22; Hebrews 12:23.
As we close, this passage written by King Solomon so long ago would be a fitting end to the Diploma Course. We need to know what is our whole duty as children of God on the earth, as New Testament members of Christ's Body. The words of Solomon still hold true, for we are under the NT Law of Liberty and have the NT commandments to keep, just because we love and long to please the Heavenly Father (II John 5,6; John 15:15-17). Many students study the "wise men" of this world, but their multitude of books are "a weariness of the flesh." Not so the wonderful words of God our Creator, who transforms the mind and the heart with His wisdom of exhilaration, the Spring of Life (Romans 12:1-2).
"The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And further by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Eccl.12:10-13).
"The Eternal Security of the Believer" by H.A. Ironside, Litt.D.
Publisher Loizeaux Brothers. New Jersey. USA. Access this book on our website http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Books_V/eternalSecurity_book.pdf
"Salvation is Forever" by Dr. Robert Gromacki.
"Wilmington's Guide to the Bible", The Doctrine of Salvation section. Published Tyndale House. Wheaton, Illinois.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING PART IN THE DIPLOMA COURSE, the eight units
are now completed.
The Question sheet is the only work to now be done. .