NO GOOD THING DOES GOD WITHHOLD
A Biblically-qualified pastor-teacher’s presentations go far beyond the milk of homilies. It is the intake and application of the solid food of advanced doctrines that makes disciples (students and appliers of the Word of God), out of the born-again believers within the congregation.
Advancing disciples do not take the Romans 8: 1 principle of eternal security to be a license to sin. Advancing disciples are well aware of just how severe (1) the consequences of post salvation sin can be.
An advancing disciple that will establish an intimate walk with the Lord here on Earth, while looking forward to living in fellowship with God throughout Eternity.
Just as our physical bodies must be fed and exercised in order to maintain a good level of functional ability, so must the soul structure of an advancing disciple. Having had a great steak dinner a week ago is not going to do much good for one’s nutritional needs today. Taking in, but not applying the Word of God does not accomplish much (2). The devil can quote more Scripture (3) than many who claim to be Christians.
Be it for review (4) or for further edification (5), there will never come a time during one’s lifespan that he or she will no longer need to continue to take in and or apply the Word of God.
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One would not likely return to a restaurant that did not satisfy him or her with the quality and quantity of the food he or she was served.
Yet so many believers continue to go to a local assembly that does not supply them with the spiritual food (Bible Doctrine) that they need to have in order to advance in the post salvation spiritual life. As a result, they are no further along the road to spiritual maturity than the day they were born again.
As challenging as it can be at times, the more doctrine an advancing disciple learns, the more he or she will WANT to learn.
College students do not need to be taught basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and first-graders are not going to comprehend advanced mathematics. But along the way, both groups need to be informed and instructed at their present levels.
The same is true in the realm of spiritual edification. There are kindergarteners (infants in Christ) and there are advancing disciples who are at different levels of spiritual maturity. The making of disciples (students and appliers of the Word of God) was and is the inside work that Jesus gave the Church that He designed to do.
Some pulpits are so predictable that regular attendees pretty much know what the subject matter of the homily will be, as the pre-determined calendar is followed year after year. Many such attendees can truthfully claim to have literally heard it all before.
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During the dispensation of the Church Age, it is the function of the pastor-teacher to equip the born-again believers for the spiritual combat (6) associated with discipleship.
"Do not think that I (and those who follow Me) came to bring peace on the earth; I (and they) did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matt. 10: 34 NASB parentheses mine).”
Most spiritual combat during the dispensation of the Church Age does not involve the type behavior or activity documented in Scripture (7), or portrayed in modern day horror films.
For the most part, the spiritual combat involves a war of words, and their application. It initially takes place in our soul structures and is manifested by all that we say and do.
On the spiritual battlefield, there are the words of the unadulterated Gospel Message, accurate prophecy, and accurate Bible Doctrine. There are also the words of false gospels, false prophecies, false doctrines, religious traditions of men, and human viewpoint.
Note the “if” in Jeremiah 15: 19.
“… if you (pastor-teacher) extract the precious from the worthless, (then) You will become My spokesman (Jer.15: 19 NASB parentheses mine).”
When the pulpit promotes false gospels, false prophecies, false doctrines, traditions of men, and human viewpoint, the communicator becomes the devil’s advocate (8).
Granted, many do this unwittingly, but a bullet fired in ignorance can be just as lethal as one that is fired with malicious intent.
Soldiers of the cross (advancing disciples) gain their combat experience as they engage in this war of words between the forces of good and evil (9). Each level of combat prepares the advancing disciple for the more difficult ones to come.
Such conflicts identify the soldier’s areas of strength that need to be reinforced and his or her of weakness that need to be eliminated.
An area of strength is one in which the soldier has accurate knowledge and the willingness to apply it. An area of weakness is one in which one lacks accurate information, or the unwillingness to apply or promote the accurate information that he or she does have.
The Eph. 6 equipment are among the good things that God will not withhold from those who serve in the all volunteer Army of God. Yet, the equipment is only as useful as the individual soldier’s ability and willingness to make use of it.
Be aware that those who choose not to report for assignment could find themselves in the belly of a whale (10)!
As long as a born-again believer is here on Earth, there will always be the NEXT hurdle to overcome along the road to the next level of spiritual maturity. The closer one gets to arriving at the next level of spiritual maturity, the more intense the battle will become.
If spiritual combat is not one’s ongoing experience, it could be that he or she is not even on the battlefield, let alone on the road spiritual maturity.
The devil is quite content to let sleeping dogs lie where they are. They are posing no threat to his agenda. They are bringing no glory to God.
Not being worth the bullet is a sad status of one who claims to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and a soldier of the cross.
Periods of rest and relaxation are important in order to avoid battle fatigue, but until the war is over, the soldier is aware that the next conflict is not far away, and that he or she cannot afford to let his or her guard down.
Regardless of where or in what circumstances one finds himself, the Church Age, born-again believer is THERE to preserve the unadulterated Gospel Message and to present it to all the unbelievers around him or her. The born- again believer is there to teach (by example and spoken words) principles of post salvation doctrine to fellow believers around him or her. THIS is what gives spiritual significance to every minute of every day of an advancing disciple's post salvation spiritual life.
Participating in the Great Commission (11) is the primary work that God gave to the Church (and to each and every member of it) to do.
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There are times when things working out for good will take place during our time here on Earth. But for many advancing disciples, much of his or her good outcome is reserved for Heaven (12).
Human beings want it all, and they want it all now. But the duration of Earthly prosperity is relatively short-lived, whereas Heavenly prosperity lasts forever.
Nothing takes our omniscient God by surprise, but there are many eye-opening experiences in store for those who pursue the life of discipleship. These experiences consist of challenges (13) here on Earth and the eternal amenities of Heaven (14).
One knows he or she has reached the stage of spiritual maturity when he or she can truthfully say, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1: 21 NASB).”
With good intentions in mind, godly parents tell their children that good things happen to good people and bad things will happen to bad people. People, they say, will only get what they deserve.
Boys are told that real men stand up for what is right, and that they will be blessed for it.
Girls are told that sexual chastity will result in them receiving a husband that will shower them with prosperity, and treat them like a queen.
But not too far along the road in life, advancing disciples discover that standing up for what is right can come with a hefty price tag, and that many of the things that they have to deny themselves of, and or have to work hard to receive, find their way into the hands of others who simply have it handed to them.
It is true that a godly husband will want to treat a godly wife like a queen (15), but for the many Christian wives, there will be no palaces or hand maidens in the picture.
The earthly prosperity of the wicked (16) can be a difficult hurdle for weak believers to overcome.
I believe that most of the rewards that a Christian wife and mother will receive for her service are reserved for Heaven.
Sexual chastity, on the part of both men and women, is one of many ways in which one honors God, and the means to avoid a host of heartache for themselves and others. The pleasure of sexual immorality is temporary, but the consequences can last a lifetime.
Many men and women who choose that path have brought upon themselves, and others, the consequential pain of physical, emotional, familial, social, and financial disaster. Avoiding such disasters is in of itself, a great reward.
The destruction of a Christian home is a major objective in the realm of spiritual warfare. The devil and or his forces of evil will infiltrate the home through it’s weakest link; be it the husband, father, wife, mother, son, or daughter.
Most Christians will pray for God’s blessings on their family and home, but do not all accept His ways. After substituting the plan that God designed with an alternative marriage and family structure, we inevitably reap the seeds that we have sown (17). In midst of our self-induced misery, we ask where God was. God is where He was when we decided to take another path.
The good news is that, providing ALL the involved parties are interested, we can return to and or establish the type of marriage and family structure that lines up with the Word of God.
The key word here is “all.”
If everyone is not with the program, compromises are inevitable as we strive to hold the marriage or family relationships together. Compromises produce a compromised end result.
One will find that in life, once we have surrendered territory into the hands and the ways of the devil, regaining what we lost along the way will be an uphill battle. We give up territory into enemy hands by doing things according to human viewpoint and or by the ways of the world.
The marriage and family structure that God designed is not democratic. It is theocratic; in which God is the supreme authority and the husband/father has the delegated authority as the head of the marriage and the family.
The mother has authority over the children as a parent. Her submission to the authority of her husband teaches her children to submit to the systems of authority that God has established inside, and outside of the home.
Wives, who by example, teach their children that compliance with divine authority is optional, should not be surprised when their children disrespect the same divine authority given to them as mothers.
Godly men will take into consideration the wants and the needs of his wife and the children under his roof.
When there is no ONE person in a position of final authority, then NO ONE is in charge, opening the door to chaos.
God does not reward rebellion, but the devil has a warehouse full of things to offer those who will promote disrespect and non-compliance with divine authority.
The devil knows that the status of the family units and the stability of a godly society go hand in hand.
No one is any more old-fashioned than God. If Christian husbands and wives don’t like their “old-fashioned” job descriptions, they will have to take it up with The Boss during their performance evaluation (1Cor. 3: 14).
End of Part 6
(1) Acts 5 (2) James 1: 22 (3) Matt. 4: 6 (4) Phil. 3:1 (5) 2Pet.3: 18 (6) Eph. 4: 12 (7) Mark 5: 2-5 (8) John 8: 44ff (9) Eph.6: 12 (10) Jonah 1: 17 (11) Matt. 28: 19, 20 (12) Heb. 11: 35b – 40 (13) Job 2: 10 (14) 1Cor. 2: 9 (15) Eph. 5: 25 (16) Psalms 73: 2 - 17) (17) Gal. 6: 7