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Repentance or Remorse, Heaven or Hell

Repentance or Remorse, Heaven or Hell

They are Not the Same Thing

Last Sunday in church we celebrated the Lord’s Supper and focused on the need we have for self-examination.  I know what you’re thinking, self-examination and the Lord’s Supper don’t seem to go together— at least not in my prior church experience.

I remember all my formative years in a Southern Baptist church and how the Lord’s Supper seemed like just another religious ritual, full of pomp and fluff and feel-good stuff, always heavy on form and light on substance.  There was a great emphasis, an overriding emphasis, on the service looking good and proper from the pews and not necessarily impacting the heart.  Come on, you know what I’m talking about… the deacons standing in military formation, the white linen sheets that covered the “remembrance” table, the solemn looks on the faces of the participants— nobody talking, nobody moving, nobody breathing.

Remember?  Then the elements were passed out as quickly as possible while the organ, or piano, or keyboard, or CD player filled the sanctuary with Christian-like instrumental background music.  Religious Muzak.

We took the bread (uh, actually it was more like a cardboard dough droplet) and the grape juice and followed, on cue, the preacher as he told us when to eat and when to drink and when to pray and when to go home.  When he raised his plastic 1/4 of a shot glass of grape juice, so did we.  When he put the dough droplet in his mouth and looked down in his best “this is a serious moment” preacher posture, we did the same.  When he closed his eyes and prayed, we closed our eyes and prayed as well.

“Great.  All done.  Now we’ve celebrated the Lord’s death until He returns.  Can’t wait until next time.  Let’s hit the road!”

But for me, something was missing, something was conspicuously absent—  almost by design—  and it left me hungry and longing for more.  It was like I was only privy to half the truth about the Lord’s Supper and what it all meant.

Looking back, every preacher I ever sat under would read the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 in their best James Earl Jones baritone voice as they began the ceremony.  They would say:

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood ; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Got it.  But once I became a preacher, I continued reading:

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.  But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.  For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. (1 Corinthians 11:27-30)

Oh, I see.  This paints a completely different picture altogether.  The proverbial “horse of a different color.”

It seems that one of the reasons for the Lord’s Supper is for each of us to take time and draw a line in the sand, as they say, and examine ourselves to make sure we are not taking this Supper in, as Paul puts it, an “unworthy manner.”  And if we do, Scripture says we will bring judgment upon ourselves like many did in the early church, where they became sick and some actually died.

“So this is serious business and not just some lame religious formality.”  Uh, hello.

In our church, I actually try to discourage people from participating in the Lord’s Supper unless they have first thoroughly examined themselves, repented of any known sins, reconciled any fractured relationships, forgiven any unforgivable person, “climb every mountain and ford every stream,” and agreed willingly to obey the Lord in any area of their lives they had previously shaken their fist in His face and defiantly told Him, “No Way, Jose!”  Only after a time of intense self-examination do we ask our people to come and partake of this ordinance with a clean and pure heart and in a “worthy” manner.

Repentance or Remorse

This Sunday, the “unworthy” area we specifically focused on was that of true repentance or simply heart-felt remorse.  How important is the distinction between the two?  It’s essential, vital— one of the non-negotiable of the Christian faith.  One leads to life and the other to death.  One is a a small, hand-painted, inconspicuous sign pointing to the turnstile that leads to eternal life and the other is a bright, flashing, neon sign boldly beckoning all to take the wide path of destruction. (Matt 7:13-14)

“Don’t you think that maybe you’re making a bit too much of this?” I don’t think so.

Consider the definition of repentance.  The root meaning of to repent (Gk: metanoeo) is “to think differently” or “to reconsider.”  Virtually all Greek lexicons agree that to metaneois means “to reconsider” or, as we commonly used it today, “to change one’s mind.” *  But don’t make the mistake of thinking that true repentance is simply mental gymnastics.  No, true repentance involves not only the cognitive change in our way of thinking about sin, but also the will and volition to have our lives changed by Christ to bear more of His fruit and to conform more to His likeness.

Plus, it’s a key, essential, do-or-die element in salvation.  Without repentance and faith, there is no eternal life, no matter what Joel Osteen tells you.  Take a look at the following few Scriptures and note that repentance is more than thinking differently about sin, it is actually changing one’s behavior.

We’ll begin in the Old Testament:

2 Chronicles 7:14
“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and (what) turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Note, not just “changing one’s mind about sin” but “turning from their wicked ways.”

Isaiah 1:15-17
“So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen.  Your hands are covered with blood.  Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.  Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

Again note, there is action involved, the “fruits in keeping with repentance” that John the Baptist and others talked about. (Luke 3:7-8 and Acts 26:19-20)

Isaiah 55:6-7
“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked (what) forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

Forsaking sin and seeking God is the repentance and faith of salvation.

Plus, in the New Testament, repentance was the cornerstone of the preaching of Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul and the early church.  And it always involved more than just feeling sorry for your sins. “Oh, you poor, poor, lil’ sinner.”

Let’s just look at the message preached by our Lord:

Luke 5:30-32
The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”  And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to (what) repentance.”

Mark 1:1-15
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 3:3
And he (Jesus) came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Even in the Great Commission, Jesus connects repentance and faith as the message to be proclaimed to the entire world.

Luke 24:44-48
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.”

In summary, repentance is a change of mind or attitude toward sin, one’s own sin in particular. It includes remorse (sorrow, grief) and also a sincere desire to be rid of it (the kind David expresses in Psalm 51), as well as a determination to forsake sin and walk before God (see Acts 14:15). *

But What About Remorse?

Great question.  What about remorse?  Isn’t feeling sorrow or guilt or shame for your sin enough?  After all, isn’t changing one’s mind about sin and feeling bad about it what repentance is all about?

Answer.  Not even close.  This is the well-traveled, wide path that leads to destruction our Lord talked about in His Sermon on the Mount.  Let me elaborate.

Like God, we are also triune in nature— spirit, body and soul.  We are, in fact, a spirit created in the image of God.  We, as a spirit, live in a body that allows us to interact with the physical environment that surrounds us.  And we possess a soul, which is the center of our mind (intellect), emotion (feelings), will (choice), and conscience (moral capacity).  It is in our soul that we choose to “walk according to the flesh or according to the spirit” (Gal. 5:16).  It is our soul that chooses, like Mary, to magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46) and it is our soul that is often troubled, weary and in need of refreshing or restoration by the Lord (Psalm 23:3).

It is also in our soul that true remorse for sin is felt and, if genuine, becomes redeeming repentance.  But, it is also in the soul that remorse can remain remorse and never bring changes in the actions and attitudes of the person that the Scripture refers to as “fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:7-8).

When a person is under the conviction of the Word by the Holy Spirit, all aspects of the soul are brought into play.  The mind (intellect) must understand the message preached, the standard of God, compared to the fallen life of man.  This understanding brings with it emotion (sorrow, remorse, shame, guilt) for the sin we have committed and the need for forgiveness.  If true repentance follows, then the will (choice, volition) will move to commit to a new way of living, to get rid of the sin and unrighteousness and replace it with righteousness.  In other words, to live a holy life like Christ commands us to.

For repentance to take place, all three— mind, emotion and will— must be active in the life of the repentant sinner.  If only the first two occur, mind and emotion, then the end result is not repentance, but remorse, and salvation does not take place.  Again, we are back on the Yellow Brick Road, leading to death and destruction.

Let me give you a couple of examples from Scripture.

Repentance Example: Acts 2

Peter preaches his incredibly bold and confrontational sermon to a great crowd gathered on the day of Pentecost.  He challenges and accuses them of the murder of Jesus, God’s own Son (Acts 2:22-24). He then appeals to their mind by asserting facts about Jesus:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain (mind) that God has made Him both Lord and Christ— this Jesus who you crucified.” (Act 2:36)

And what was the result?  They were grieved, guilt-ridden, pained, and in great remorse.  So much so they asked Peter and the others what they must to do alleviate the pain of their guilt, shame and sorrow.  Remember?

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart (guilt, remorse, sorrow), and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what must we do?” (Acts 2:37)

Now this is where we separate the truly repentant from those who are only sorry for their sin.  Peter replies to them:

Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:39.

And some did.  And some didn’t.

In fact, the account tells us a couple of verses later that “3,000 souls” were added to the church that day.  Just 3,000.  Of the great multitude that heard Peter’s message and called out with the others in the pain of their guilt and remorse, “Brethren, what must we do?”— 3,000 chose to respond (will and volition) with repentance and follow in baptism while the others fixated at remorse only and chose not to respond to Peter’s call.

When the soul understand the message (mind, intellect – Step One) and the emotions bring guilt, sorrow and remorse (feelings – Step Two), the individual stands at a crossroads.  How am I to get rid of these unpleasant feelings of guilt, remorse and sorrow for my sin?  I can repent of them and ask the Lord to forgive me, vowing never to commit them again (will, volition – Step Three).  Or, I can walk away and drown them out in drink, food, sex, drugs, entertainment or whatever poison you use to numb your conscience. One path leads to life and one path leads to death.

Remorse Example: Judas, Rich Young Ruler

The Scriptures also show us examples of those who stopped, dug in their heels, and fixated at Step Two – Remorse.  Remember Judas?  He felt remorse for betraying Jesus and returned the 30 pieces of sliver to, in some sort of perverted way, try to remove the pain of his guilt.  “I have sinned (mind and intellect) and betrayed innocent blood!” he cried (Matthew 27:4).  He returned the silver and went out and committed suicide to rid himself of the pain of remorse.  Did he repent?  Scripture says, no.

The following Scripture flow will help illustrate this point:


Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned… (Matthew 27:3a)

Emotion (Remorse):

he felt (what) remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3b-5).

Act of the Will (Volition) – Fruits of Repentance:  None

The Rich Young Ruler fell into the same trap.


And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?”  The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” (Matthew 19:16, 20).

Emotion (Remorse):

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. (Matthew 19:20-21)

Act of the Will (Volition) Fruits of Repentance:  None

Same thing with King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:24-25.

* (Systematic Theology, Geisler, Vol. 3, page 512, Bethany House, 2004. Minneapolis, MN.)
* Cottrell, Jack. The Faith Once for All. Joplin, Mo.: College Press Publishing Company, 2002.)

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542:  How to Get Answers to the “How” Questions

542: How to Get Answers to the “How” Questions

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We Need Practical Application, Not Just Theory

In our educational system, the old adage goes, “Those who do, do.  And those who don’t do, teach.”  And the truth sometimes stings, but it is still truth.  In college, for example, most of the professors who teach business classes, even on a graduate level, have never run a business themselves.  They can teach you what others say to do to be successful in the business world, yet they have never lived under the pressure of having to make payroll or survive a tax audit.

And for some strange reason, we are content with learning from those who can only point the way to the Emerald City, but not lead us to where it is because they have never been there themselves.  This is the definition of Convoluted Logic 101.  But, I digress.

Often, we find the same mindset when looking at Scriptures.  We see theory and commands given, sometimes with a reason, yet it is seldom followed up with practical application.  We are told what to do and why, but the “how” part of the equation is missing.  And what we desperately need in our darkening culture is an answer to our many “how” questions.

Let me give you a simple example from a well-known passage.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that (what) you (something I need to do and not something God does for me) present your bodies a living sacrifice (ok, but how?), holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service – Romans 12:1.

We know what the truth means and the reason why it is given, but often struggle with the “how” to do it.  This verse talks about theory and the reason why, but is conspicuously short when it comes to the how part.

I mean, how do I present my body as a living sacrifice?  And what does living sacrifice even mean?  And why only my body?   What about my mind, soul, spirit, or anything else I can offer?  What is this passage saying and how is it done in real time?

But Sometimes We are Given the Application

Sometimes, the Lord provides for us some concrete examples to the commands He gives us.  And sometimes these examples show us the depth of the command and the cost of obedience.  Let me share a few from the Sermon on the Mount.

Theory: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I tell you not to resist an evil person.”

Application: (How?)  “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also” – Matthew 5:38-40.

And the application continues.

Application: (How?) “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away” – Matthew 5:41-42.

And then Jesus gives us more theory, more commands that He chooses not to reveal the application.  Why?  Because the reason should be enough.

Theory: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” – Matthew 43-44.

Application: (How?) None

Reason: “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” – Matthew 5:45.

And to understand the command based on the reason alone, assumes an inner desire to be more like our Lord.  Or an experience with the Higher Christian Life.

Is being like your heavenly Father enough for you, or do you need a bullet-point list to follow?  Are you content with theory, or do you require the Law to follow?

Join us as we begin our journey of discovery to uncover the answers to the “how” questions in Scripture as we learn to leave Laodicea behind.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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541:  Connecting Narcissism and the Debased Mind

541: Connecting Narcissism and the Debased Mind

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The Three Phases of a Dying Culture

In Romans 1, the Holy Spirit reveals the three phases a dying culture goes through when God removes His hand of grace and allows a people to experience the consequences of their own sin.  We have seen this unfold in our own country over the last 60 years.  And unfortunately, once a culture reaches the third phase, the debased mind, there is no return.  The dye is cast, and the day of grace has passed.

These three phases are introduced by the phrase, “God gave them over” or “God gave them up” (Rom: 1:24, 26, 28).  Literally, it describes a people who have rejected His Word, demanded their independence, and received just that.  God removes His hand of protection and allows those in active rebellion to experience, first-hand, the consequences of their sin as they strive, by their actions, to look less and less like Jesus and become more and more like Satan.

And we can see the downward trajectory our own culture is following.  The first phase, or the first curse of God on a culture under judgment, is sexual sin.  We experienced the beginning of this in the 60s.  And now, on every level, we are living in a sex saturated society.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature (flesh, their bodies) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen – Romans 1:24-25.

No longer satisfied with sexual sin, the next curse, phase two, is homosexuality.  Our collective “coming out” as a culture began in the late 80s and homosexuality is now an accepted part of the fabric of who we are as a people, regardless of what the Word of God says.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due – Romans 1:26-27.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the third and final phase is what the Scripture calls a “debased mind.”  No longer do we even think logically as a people.  Now, men can choose to become women and have children, or so we affirm, regardless of what history, science, and logic tell us.  We teach our children they can choose their gender while in kindergarten before they are old enough to read without help or have mastered their multiplication tables.  And then we encourage them to undergo medical mutilations in order for them to feel better about being who God did not create them to be.  This is a debased mind.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting – Romans 1:28.

But there is more.  If you look around, you will see the plague of what we call narcissism infecting the psyche of our society.  Everywhere we turn, someone is talking about the pain and suffering they have experienced by a loved one who is a narcissist.

Is there a connection between the “debased mind” in Romans 1:28 and the growing epidemic of narcissism we see today?  In a word, absolutely.

A Debased Mind is Another Term for Narcissism

Narcissism is not a mental disorder.  It is a spiritual curse that has infected the members of our society and has caused untold misery to those who have fallen prey to the deceit and manipulation of a narcissist.  And narcissism is the perfect description of what God calls a “debased mind.”  In fact, narcissism is the literal personification of the personality and characteristics of Satan himself, clearly manifested in a human being.

Let me give you a brief description of a narcissist.

•   Obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence.
•   Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by other special or unique people of high status.
•   Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation.
•   Feels entitled.  Expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment.
•   Uses others to achieve his or her own ends.
•   Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others.
•   Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her.
•   Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted.

And this is only scratching the surface.  Go Google narcissism yourself and you will see the depth of this spiritual disorder.  Yet compare the characteristics of a narcissist with what Scripture describes as a “debased mind” and you’ll see this is all part of the final curse of God, phase three, before He brings a culture down to destruction.   And we are well on our way.

The following, from Romans 1:18-32, is the description of both a narcissist and one who has a “debased mind.”

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased (morally reprehensible, worthless, deceitful, corrupted) mind (that which is responsible for one’s thoughts and feelings, the seat of reason), to do those things which are not fitting; being filled (to contain as much as possible, to fill completely, to overflow) with all (pás)
unrighteousness (failure to adhere to moral principles, commands, or laws, doing what is wrong),
sexual immorality,
wickedness (evil nature, depravity, malice, the perverting of virtue and moral principles),
covetousness (greed, desire, lust, envy for wealth),
maliciousness (mental wickedness); full (filled up, stuffed, to the brim) of
envy (jealousy, resentment felt at the sight of excellence or happiness),
strife (bitter conflict, contention, discord),
deceit (to bait, fraud, guile, treachery),
evil-mindedness (character trait that feels a need to see others suffer); they are
whisperers (gossiper, secret slanderer),
backbiters (one who attacks the reputation of another by slander),
haters of God,
violent (an insolent persecutor of others who mistreats them for pleasure, which the affliction of the wrong brings him),
proud (arrogant, haughty, contemptuous, one characterized by feelings of unwarranted importance),
boasters (braggart, arrogant, one who is self-exalting, having self-absorbed conceit in their own superiority),
inventors of evil things (one who comes up with new ways to exhibit wicked, evil, and morally objectionable behavior),
disobedient (unwilling to be persuaded, unbelieving, rejecting authority) to parents,
undiscerning (without insight or understanding, lacking the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something),
untrustworthy (without faithfulness, a breaker of a covenant),
unloving (without family love or the natural affection between family members),
unforgiving (incapable of reconciliation, being in a state of war perpetually),
unmerciful (having or showing no mercy);
who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice (one who does repeatedly, continually, habitually) such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve (to agree, think well of, take pleasure in) of those who practice (one who does repeatedly, continually, habitually) them – Romans 1:28-32.

Frightening, isn’t it?  Join us as we discover the depth of the narcissistic, “debased mind” described in Romans 1, and how it prophetically points to the soon return of Jesus Christ.

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540:  We Have Asked God to Judge Our Nation

540: We Have Asked God to Judge Our Nation

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And Unfortunately, He Has Granted Our Request

It appears we, as a culture and a nation, may have tested the patience of God one time too many.  We have, for example, murdered over 60 million innocent, unborn children in their mother’s womb while the church has basically remained silent.  As Ruth Graham once said, “If God doesn’t judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”  And just this week, after the Supreme Court ruling regarding Roe v. Wade, President Biden signed an Executive Order basically promoting abortion in our nation.  So the killing will continue, and God’s judgment is sure to come.

As a nation, we have asked, and are still asking with even a louder voice, for the Lord’s judgment.  How?  By killing more babies and shaking our fist in His face in open, blatant defiance.  And when the judgment falls (and I believe we are now under His judgment), the church is not immune.  Again, why?  Because we have remained silent while His little ones die in agony.  And God is not blind to our sin.

Remember this truth:

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? – 1 Peter 4:17.

So the question is this: When God judges a nation, what happens to the people in that nation that love Him and live righteously?  Are they swept away with the unrighteous?  Or does God preserve them, like He did His children during the plagues of Egypt, by sequestering them in the land of Goshen?

Does judgment, like rain, fall on the just and the unjust at the same time?

What Happens to Us When Judgment Comes?

That is a great question, and only God knows the answer.  But we can get some insight and encouragement by looking at the first chapter of the small book of Nahum.

In Nahum, God is proclaiming His judgment on the city of Nineveh.  As you will recall, Nineveh was the city to which Jonah went to preach judgment, leading to repentance, although reluctantly.  And one of the greatest miracles in all the Old Testament happened after the hapless preaching of Jonah.  That evil fortress of a city repented and a great revival broke out at the preaching of God’s Word.  Child sacrifices ceased, the king called the city to repentance, and God forestalled His hand of judgment and offered Nineveh His grace.

But by the time of Nahum, over a hundred years had passed and Nineveh had gone back to their sinful ways.  The city was awash in idolatry and God, once again, was bringing judgment on those who had rejected His ways.

The first chapter of Nahum comprises 15 verses of railing judgment against the citizens of that great city.  Nahum uses phrases like “the Lord avenges” and the “Lord will take vengeance” (1:2).  He talks about the Lord’s “indignation” and the “fierceness of His anger” (1:6).  Nahum describes the coming judgment as “they shall be devoured like stubble fully dried” (1:10), and he records God saying, “I will dig your grave, for you are vile” (1:14).  Needless to say, God is not pleased with the people of Nineveh who have spurned His grace and spit in the face of His mercy.

So judgment is on its way, and it will come swiftly.

But the encouraging word for us, who also face the judgment of God, is found in verse 7.  It is the only positive verse in this chapter.  In this statement, God lets us know what He does with those who still love Him yet live among those He judges.  Nahum 1:7 reads:

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows (yāḏaʿ) those who trust in Him – Nahum 1:7.

Or, to define some terms:

The LORD is good (of moral excellence), a stronghold (refuge, fortress, shelter, a place where one turns for assistance or protection) in the day of trouble (distress, anguish, an oppressive state of physical, mental, social, or economic adversity); and He knows (yāḏaʿ) those who trust in Him – Nahum 1:7.

What does it mean, “He knows those who trust in Him”?  The Hebrew word translated know is yāḏaʿ and is translated in the Septuagint as ginōskō.  So what does this passage say now?  And what are the implications for you and me in the times in which we live?  Remember how Jesus used that word to describe His relationship with His sheep?

“I am the good shepherd; and I know (ginōskō) My sheep, and am known (ginōskō) by My own.  As the Father knows (ginōskō) Me, even so I know (ginōskō) the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep” – John 10:14-15.

Note the qualifier: “those who trust in Him.”  The word trust means “to seek, to take refuge.  Literally, the word is used in reference to seeking a tree’s shade or protection from the heat.”  Elsewhere in the Old Testament it is translated as “take refuge, put their trust, put my trust, sought refuge, take shelter, and trust or trusts.”

Now, read the promise in context.  Note the judgments of God on a former repentant city that returned to idolatry, violence, and sin (3:1).  But also note how God promises His love and attention to those who trust Him, even while living in a nation/city under judgment.  Can you see any parallels to our situation today?  Do you see how our Lord can rescue the righteous from His judgment even though they live in a culture under His judgment?  Do you believe that is true, even today?

I sure hope so.  So join us as we discover how to rest in His love, even while our culture falls in around our ears as we learn how to leave Laodicea behind.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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539:  The Timeless Wisdom of Oswald Chambers

539: The Timeless Wisdom of Oswald Chambers

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The Gift of Spiritual Mentorship

One unappreciated gift given the church is the fact we have those who are older and wiser than we are to help guide our way in this life with Christ.  After all, it is no merit for a son to make the same mistakes his father did.   Each generation must learn how to make their own way in this fallen world, but only a fool fails to learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before.

So today, we are going to glean some insight into the full, abundant life with Christ, the Higher Christian Life, as it is called, from a man who is speaking to us from a position of victory.  And that man is Oswald Chambers.  You may recognize his name from the classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, that was compiled from his teachings in 1929 by his wife, Biddy.

Oswald Chambers, who died in 1917 at the age of 43, lived what he speaks about and can show us, by experience, how to achieve the spiritual victory that only comes from complete, absolute surrender.  Confusing?  I know.  But let’s look at a few of Oswald’s statements and pray to learn from him what we need to know regarding faith and surrender.

Oswald Chambers on Faith and Surrender

From Oswald Chambers:

•   “It takes me a long while to realize that God has no respect for anything I bring Him.  All He wants from me is unconditional surrender.”
•   “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you cannot understand at the time.
•   “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.”
•   “Get into the habit of saying, ‘Speak, Lord,’ and life will become a romance.”
•   “Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way.
•   “Seeing is never believing: we interpret what we see in the light of what we believe.  Faith is confidence in God before you see God emerging, therefore the nature of faith is that it must be tried.”
•   “When I see Jesus Christ, I simply want to be what He wants me to be.”
•   “The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting.”
•   “Sin is not wrong doing, it is wrong BEING, deliberate and emphatic independence from God.”
•   “Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything.  Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.”
•   “Keep your life in constant contact with God so that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left.  Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes.”
•   “If my ruling disposition is self-interest, I perceive that everything that happens to me is always for or against my self-interest; if, on the other hand, my ruling disposition is obedience to God, I perceive Him to be at work for my perfecting in everything that happens to me.”
•   “Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me?  Am I full of the little things that cheer His heart over me, or am I whimpering because things are going hardly with me (or not going my way)?  There is no joy in the soul that has forgotten what God prizes.”

And finally, two of my favorites.

•   “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
•   “How many people have you made homesick for God?”

And with this, we are only getting our feet wet.  There is so much more we will discover in this message.  So join us as we learn about faith and surrender through the experienced eyes of our mentor, Oswald Chambers.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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