You Are What You Do

SEPARATING SHEEP FROM GOATS

Separation filters are things in this life that prove what you are. They are tests, opportunities, situations, scenarios that require you to take a step one way or another. The step you take shows what you are.

In Biblical Hebrew there is no distinction between the being and the doing. How we BE is WHAT we are. And we ARE what we DO. Food for thought.

Habakkuk 2:4

“Behold, his soul is puffed up;
it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.

The righteous shall live by his faith—each of these words work together to emphasize the deep point of this verse. It is so significant, it is quoted three times in the New Testament (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).

1. THE

THE righteous (as opposed to those whose soul is puffed up) is the one who is humble, who trembles at His word. Not A righteous man–meaning anyone who does things that would be considered right. A pulls the point away from the covenant context.

Instead it says THE–as in the ones we have already spoken of, the ones the entire Bible is speaking of. God’s ones.

2. RIGHTEOUS

In this passage especially, the righteous refers to those who are NOT the cause of the punishment on Israel. The RIGHTEOUS is used as a noun and an adjective. The adjective represents the class of individuals. This class is known by their deeds. 

“In Western thought, we are taught to make a distinction between what a person does and who he is. However, in Hebrew, it is difficult to articulate that distinction.” (Rabbi Berger) You are what you do.

3. SHALL

This form is often used by Jesus when referring to things that will happen anyway. It is a statement, not a command. If you love me, you will keep my commands. You will certainly. See John 14:12, 23-24 compared with John 15:10–the keeping and the doing are connected with the essence of the person. As Jesus said, “I always do the things that are pleasing to him [the Father].”

Shall-“used to say that something certainly will or must happen, or that you are determined that something will happen.” The separation filter pivots on this word. The righteous will be this way, sure as the sun will rise. (See above).

4. LIVE

How does one live? Shall-live is actually the Hebrew word. So what is meant by living? As seen above, living is the way we exist. What we do, in life, is what we are. How we BE is WHAT we are. Living is abiding, it is the use of our breath and heartbeat. A tree exists, and does what a tree does.

There are ultimately two kinds of people, God’s people and not-my-people. The righteous-being  and the unrighteous-being. So what of those who live righteously before men but not humbly before God? Are they righteous or unrighteous? This is where the next section comes in.

5. BY

There are many angles that can be represented with the word “by.” The agent, the method, the position, not-later-than, part of a measurement, during or within.

Agent: by VanGogh, by a thermostat

Method: by train, by herself

Position: by her side

Not later than: by five o’clock, by dinner

Measurement: ten by ten, by the hour, minute by minute

During, within, according to: by night, by nature, fine by me

So how does one live “by faith” Which kind of by?

Is faith the agent, the faith enables the living?

Is faith a method, the faith brings the person to living?

Is faith a position, the person lives next to the faith?

Is faith a goal, in that a person finishes living if he arrives at faith point?

Is faith a measurement, in that living happens from faith to faith?

Is faith a comparative measure, in that the action of living happens within the state of faith?

In Hebrew, the proposition is connected to the word faith. It is not a separate word as it is in English. So “by-his-faith” is one word.

6. BY-HIS-FAITH

Interestingly, the exact same phrase by his faith occurs only in one place in Scripture, and this is a very relevant place.

Ps 96:12-13: “let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness

Here, it’s a measure by which something is judged, and it is a state of being and a means. In Ps 96, the peoples will be judged by means of God’s faithfulness and because of God’s faithfulness.  Of Ps 96:13, Matthew Poole in his commentary writes, “With his truth; or, in his faithfulness, i.e. so as he hath promised to do. He will certainly and abundantly fulfil all God’s promises made to his people.”

Using the same implications, the righteous will live by means of their faithfulness. The righteous will live in the state of fulfilling their covenant-promises.

The righteous shall live-by-faith.

The righteous ones will most assuredly be characterized by a certain manner of faithful-covenant-keeping-abiding.

New Testament Ethics

Jesus Christ lived-the-faith God required, for me. He said, “I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

And since he also died the death-I-deserved, for me, my faithful-covenant-keeping-abiding in Christ will count me as one of “the righteous.”

This is why Paul said that Abraham was justified by faith…

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Romans 4:3-8).

But James as well can say the seeming-opposite, that Abraham was justified by works…

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God (James 2:18-23).

The righteous are saved by their faithful-covenant-keeping-abiding in Christ.

What is Wrong with This Picture?

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On the one hand, I understand the desire to use your talents to display yourself to the church. “He who can teach, teach…” etc. But this video (click to watch) is a travesty of worship. Here’s why…

If you want to know how Church should be, you really should know the end from the beginning.

What is the end to which we are all pressing? What is the end to which our Sunday worship points? Is it to a stage where people are bringing attention to themselves?

No. It is to the Lamb on the Throne.

Even though heaven will be a civilization, where we will be in our bodies again (resurrected & changed), and will have industry and purpose–even still, our eyes will not be on ourselves anymore. (See link at end).

We will not be self-absorbed, and self-worship will (finally!) be dead. We will be meek and humble and eager to turn all things to Christ.

These young men certainly wanted to glorify God. I don’t doubt it. But they were misled.

Unfortunately they took the limelight in a place where eyes are to be on Christ alone—they stole the show at the worship gathering of the Church.

“My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand”
(Song of Solomon 5:10). 

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent”
(Col 1:17-18).

Whether or not this belongs in church pivots on one crucial question—What is the purpose of the Church’s gathering?

If it is to delight in ourselves, tell ourselves how great we are, how talented we are, show how much we love God, then a display of “us” has a place at church. If it is a time where we exult in ourselves, sure, why not?

But, if it is something else, we have a big problem.

How can we know?

One way is we can rewind to the first Christians. Do we see Paul and Timothy dancing ballet as they gather together? or doing mime? or encouraging each other to use creative ways to worship? No, what we read is things like, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you,” (1 Cor 11:23). They were cautious to pass on what they were supposed to, and be what the Church was supposed to be.

Another way is to look at the times we see the quintessential worship service happening, in heaven. Isaiah 6, Daniel 7 and Revelation 4. The Throne of God is before us.

What do we see?

People and angels falling down on their faces, covering their feet and eyes, trembling with fear, casting crowns, looking at the Throne. While they do take the gowns and harps they are given and play them. But in Rev 5:8, 14:2, 15:2 and 18:22, no one is looking at the harpists. They are background. No one applauds them. No one is awed at their work.

In heaven we are FINALLY relieved of self-worship. We are finally freed of our desire for attention on ourselves and enabled to love God and love others SELFLESSLY (like it says in Phil 2:2-3 “being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. [Doing] nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility [counting] others more significant than yourselves.” So what business do we have turning THIS WORSHIP TRAINING TIME into self-worship? Even in the name of God-worship.

If worship at church is a taste of our eternal worshipful life, then it should NEVER BE self-promoting. If a worship leader is ever applauded, he has failed in his task. A worship leader should make himself disappear as he brings the worshippers to God. “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

So then, what about our talents? How CAN we use our talents for the Lord?

We do have a responsibility to use our gifts. This is shown in the parable of the talents. The word talent actually came into the English language from this very parable.

Investing “what we are given by God” for the GROWTH of God’s kingdom is a valid use of our talents. Instead of “upstaging” God during a worship service, we should use our talents for the express purpose of EVANGELISM at the appropriate time. 

“There is a time for everything,” Ecclesiastes says, and if women or men have ways they can use their talents to “bring fish” to hear the gospel, they should use those giftings.

While churches do attract seekers, the purpose of the Church’s gathering is worship. Outreach is not the purpose of worship. Outreach is the RESULT of worship. “Take it outside!”

The purpose of worship is to propel us to the ultimate business “out there” of evangelizing a lost and hurting world. We have no greater job than to use our life and breath and talent and gifts to declare the praises of God.

But not in the time we have set aside for worship. It would be like a new bride talking on the phone when her new husband is holding her in his arms. What business does that phone have there?

Friends, we have to see our task and duty for what it is. We are to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, love our enemies, love one another.  As we care for others in their difficulty, we are showing love to others out of our love for God.

But in the short moments we set aside in the week for an intimate time of love between Christ and his corporate Bride we have no business in self-delight. We can encourage each other during coffee and donuts. We have no business spending that rare time fighting the whirr of questions these effeminate male dancers spin into our heads. That certainly was in the minds of people sitting there. We have no business turning church into a talent show.

We have one business, that is to BE the Bride who is delighting in her Christ.

This is what should consume our thoughts each Lord’s Day…

“As I looked,
thrones were placed,

    and the Ancient of Days took his seat;

his clothing was white as snow,
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
    its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
    and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.

…and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.”

(Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14)

You may disagree. But you are wrong. We take our cues from Scripture…not whims, Hollywood, or cultural abnormal norms.

It is breaking the First and Second Commandment to delight in anything else but God during Worship. If it is not enough, and you need entertainment to be satisfied….gulp.

For more on what I say, study the book of Colossians or 1 John.

May our love not grow cold, though the time is getting short…


Link on Heaven: (See Heaven According to Scripture @WhitehorseInn).

Also see Lee Irons: A Critique of Tim Keller’s “Evangelistic Worship

The Condescension of Christ

From Jonathan Edwards: The Excellency of Christ


There do meet in Jesus Christ, infinite highness, and infinite condescension.

Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth; for he is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven.

So great is he, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him, all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high, that he is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to him, and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend him.

Proverbs 30:4, “What is his name, and what is his Son’s name, if thou canst tell?” Our understandings, if we stretch them never so far, can’t reach up to his divine glory. Job 11:8, “It is high as heaven, what canst thou do?”

Christ is the Creator, and great possessor of heaven and earth: he is sovereign lord of all: he rules over the whole universe, and doth whatsoever pleaseth him: his knowledge is without bound: his wisdom is perfect, and what none can circumvent: his power is infinite, and none can resist him: his riches are immense and inexhaustible: his majesty is infinitely awful.

And yet he is one of infinite condescension. None are so low, or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them. He condescends not only to the angels, humbling himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but he also condescends to such poor creatures as men; and that not only so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are of meanest rank and degree, “the poor of the world” (James 2:5).

Such as are commonly despised by their fellow creatures, Christ don’t despise. 1 Corinthians 1:28, “Base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen.” Christ condescends to take notice of beggars (Luke 16:22) and of servants, and people of the most despised nations: in Christ Jesus is neither “Barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free” (Colossians 3:11).

He that is thus high, condescends to take a gracious notice of little children. Matthew 19:14, “Suffer little children to come unto me.” Yea, which is much more, his condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill deservings.

–Yale Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 19, 565-66

BEHOLD The Love of a Holy God: Analogy

What an ANALOGY
the father in this video is for God!

Compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression…

PSALM 103


Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

Our Holy God who does not let us remain in our sin.
He made a way to clean us of that which is repulsive to him.
Thanks be to Christ.
…who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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FATHERGOD

Review of The Facade by Michael Heiser

Missing “Crucial” Detail: the Cross of Christ

I looked at The Facade on two levels. The first is the storyline and craft. I am glad to have read this book. It presents a fictional scenario for the alien/demon connection in end-time events. I was engaged completely in the storyline. The plots and subplots worked well, and I especially liked how the documentation of the Roswell/Paperclip/experimentation theories worked into the plot but also informed the readers. The final scene persuaded me to not buy the sequel.

The second level I want to address is the message. The book presented the view of demons supported by church fathers in the early years, namely that demons were unholy offspring of angels with women. This is unsupported in Scripture. John Calvin addressed this idea in his Genesis commentary: “That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity; and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious.” When you start to bring into the dialogue extra-biblical sources, you compromise the principle of Sola Scriptura and open yourself up to misunderstanding and heresy.

Another and stronger objection I have to the message has to do with a premise that is unfounded: demons killing Christians, directly. Men can kill Christians. Demons no doubt have given rise to all the persecutions of Christians since Stephen. Demons can stir in men the desire and malice to kill. But to give a freedom to demons in fiction that they do not have in life undermines the victory that Christ wrought on our behalf (and undermines the integrity of the book’s premise). Christians are immune from them. And Christians are safe under the hand of a God through whom every demon must get permission for any act, i.e. the Book of Job.

The reason Scripture is void of any but a cursory explanation of the hierarchy or inner-workings of the demon world, is that it is God’s business. How he uses angels or manipulates demons in the answer of our prayers is a mystery the Bible clearly leaves unanswered. It is not really important, in the big scheme of things. We may wonder. But the obvious silence on the matter means that there are more important things to be thinking about. Our business.

Not, is a demon on my shoulder whispering for me to commit adultery, but rather, “God, give me help to overcome this temptation!” Not, what demon is blocking our church’s evangelism efforts, but rather, “God, bring salvation to our town. Give the believers strength and wisdom in their evangelism.” We should not give undue attention to the demonic realm. We should know it’s there, and remember “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” So even if we come across someone that is demon/alien-possessed, we address Christ in the matter, “Jesus, I ask you to free this man from his chains.”

The most important point to remember is “undue attention” is what the prince of demons wanted in the first place, why he fell. My biggest problem with The Facade is that there is no Jesus Christ whose death brought victory and safety to his bride. The cross did nothing, in this scenario.

I recommend reading The Facade, and then following it up with this book, Chuck Lowe’s Territorial Spirits and World Evangelisation.

A quote from the above book says regarding Paul, in his epistles of Ephesians and Colossians, “First, he insists, the power of Satan has already been decisively broken …. We need not fear Satan’s power: Christ has much greater power and far higher authority …. Nor need we fear Satan’s vengeance …. Nor need we fear Satan’s dominion over the world …. Secondly, all this was done without our help or involvement …. The war has been won, and it has been won without us” (p57).

The main character of The Facade, Brian, is supposed to be a Presbyterian. He would have known this if he were a catechized Presbyterian. I agree that aliens are demons in modern garb. It’s great that this has been tackled in a religious scenario. However, the fiction it is preaching alongside the real facts of the alien “problem” creates a heresy. It declares that the author does not fully understand the implications for Christians in this field.

The testimonies of former victims on the Alienresistance website, praised in his acknowledgements, should have been enough to teach the author that the only way to rid oneself of alien influence is the name of Jesus.

For Me

https://christophercrandolph.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/mary-magdalene-clings-to-jesus.jpg

For Me

Adam chose, for me

–I could have done no better.

.

Christ died, for me

–died as a man who could die for the trespass

–rose as a God who had power over death.

.

But there are others who DID, for me…

Mary Magdalene went, for me

to take spices and service, for me

And for me

–she saw him

–she fell at his feet

–she held tight

–she said, “Oh my darling Lord!”

For me

.

John and Peter ran, for me

–raced, for me

–stopped at the tomb, for me

Because I couldn’t be there

They ducked in, for me

.

And Thomas asked, for me

–doubted, for me

–touched him, for me

–called him “My Lord & My God”

For me.

Because I couldn’t be there.

.

And Luke & Mark & Matthew & John wrote it down, for me

–remembered, for me

–took a pen and parchment, with me in mind

–and researched more, for me.

.

Because I couldn’t be there

They did it, for me

& through them, I was there.

.

–I saw

–I held

–I cried

–I touched

–I knew

.

because they did it

For Me!

http://www.delparson.com/gallery.html–by Darlene N. Bocek

Sola Fides is summarized by the words “For Me”

Solus Christus

Solus Christus. This means “In Christ Alone.” Only by Christ’s intervention. Only by the Coming-Between of Christ can we even hope for salvation. We cannot come on our own. We need that High Priest who has the right to come into the holy place, not by the blood of bulls, but by His own holy blood.

As are the other “Solas,” this stands in juxtaposition to the teachings of the Medieval Catholic Church.The belief then was that the Church (and in particular the new priesthood of the Pope and those under him) is the go-between for Man and God–the way that Moses was a go-between.

Protestant Christians believe otherwise. Christ opened the way for believers to directly enter into the holy of holies (thus the tearing of the curtain from top to bottom ). Christ is our Mediator.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  Hebrews 9:12

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:5

What is it that Christ did?  He took my place.  His blood was shed for me.

1. I SINNED, and the consequence for that sin is swift, immediate DEATH.

Q-What is sin?  A-Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the Law of God. (WSC #14) In other words, sins of omission and sins of comission.  Sins of forgetting to do right, and sins of doing wrong.

Jesus upped the ante by telling how detailed God is in viewing sin.  If you even CONSIDER doing it, it’s sin.

For the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6:23)

2.  JESUS TOOK MY PLACE.  

He lived a righteous life.  Knowing how detailed God is in judging even the motives and intentions of the heart, it is amazing to know he “was tempted in all ways, but without sin.”  (Heb 4:15)  He died for those “given to him” before the creation of the world.  He was resurrected, opening up the way to God.  (Rom 8:11 )  Wow!

3.  FAITH IN THAT ACT…

Faith alone brings about what is called “vicarious atonement,” which means “the death He died He died for me.”  And faith proves itself through works. (James 2:14) Anyone who believes that Christ died for them, cares to live in a way conformed to that life and death.  The Holy Spirit living in us brings about the holy life God desires.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim 1:9-10)

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

 

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus and Byziana want to “please God.” Byziana soon comes to the dead end that “I cannot please Him,” and she acts accordingly.  Marcellus, meanwhile, struggles with the big question of “How do I live a consecrated life?”  He sees monks living on pillars, he sees vicious theological struggles between leaders of the church, he reads the Scrolls but sees the Church teaching things that do not match the simplicity of Scripture.  The book is a story of Marcellus and Byziana both learning what it means that Christ was our Mediator.  Why was it that he had to come to earth as man?