With a Little Help from My Friends

Father and sonNote: Next week I will be returning to part 2 of the Terrors of Hell.

A couple weeks ago Jen and I were discussing the topic of our children and having friends.  Since we started home-schooling a couple years ago the girls don’t spend much time with peer group friends and we were deciding whether this was good, bad or indifferent to our children.

Our daughter Madeline has a friend her age that attends our church and since we are not a big gathering there are not a lot of other similar ages for all our girls.  This is such an interesting topic to me and I’m feeling pretty firm in my convictions but I’m genuinely interested in what other Believers think about the topic.  So please don’t be shy about offering your opinion.  However, I’d like you to use Scripture to support your views.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.

As I’ve been thinking about this verse and any others that deal with our relationships one thing is very clear to me and I think very clear in scripture.  There are two classes of people, wise and foolish.  What do you want your children to be?  Isn’t it obvious that if you want your children to be wise they should spend time with those that are wise?  The opposite is destruction.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Most people will agree they want their children to run with “good company” and they don’t really consider their children’s friends “evil”.  A better question to ask is “are they saved”?

Can you be confident they’ve been born again and are new creations in Christ?  This is a whole other blog, about how you can discern salvation in children.  But for now let’s consider, not just that kids attend church, but are they Believers?

I thought back to my child hood and most especially as I came into my teenage years and young adult years.  The choice of friends I made was, except for the grace of God, my undoing.  God had providentially made arrangements to keep me alive, but it certainly could have been different on many occasions.  I say this and I’m ashamed of those choices and the things that a foolish young man was drawn into, but it’s the reality of my life and I praise God for His goodness and mercy in preserving me for His purposes.

Have you ever walked down the street to see a group of teenage boys together, or walk through a shopping mall and see the behavior of the kids “hanging out”?  It’s not what I desire for my children, but take it to a religious place.  How about the youth group at most evangelical churches, and you will see the same thing only under the guise of the “Christian” banner.  Am I wrong?

We have been blessed that our oldest daughter Grace has been saved and she can see the value of her relationships.  She enjoys spending time with some of the women in our church that are helping shape and mold her into a godly woman, these women are older than Grace but they are still young women.  Not with the desire to go to the mall and be foolish.

How do you suppose the fools will be destroyed?  Does this literally mean death and destruction?  Well yes, I think it can and it does.

2 Kings 2:23-24 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead!  Go up, you baldhead!”  So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD.   And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

Here is a group of adolescent kids that are running around together.  Can’t you envision this scene?   We see it all the time, and once one decides to do something they all join in.  So they decide to mock and taunt Elisha, God’s chosen prophet.  These kids were drawn into the foolish behavior that offered destruction.

What about the group of teenagers that attend a party together?  They end up getting drunk and someone or all of them die in a car crash.   Is God to blame for this behavior?

Will this happen to my children if I allow them to be with other friends?  I don’t know.  Possibly and probably not, but think about the values that are shared when fools hang with fools.

Does this mean we will never allow our children to have friends their own age and go do things with them?  No, I don’t think that is what I’m saying, but I want to make close examinations of those children and what I allow my children to participate in.

I’m the one charged to bring them up in the training and fear of the Lord, so I must take Scripture and challenge my life and be willing to have it change the status quo.  God has given me a tremendous responsibility; and He will hold me accountable.  I can easily allow this to go with the flow and just believe that it’s a good thing for my children to have lots of foolish friends with no biblically validated reason for it.

Will this hurt them socially?  That is the argument I expect to hear the most often, but that doesn’t persuade me.  I will trust God that He has that covered, and I will train my children to interact with adults and other children responsibly and respectfully.  After all isn’t that part of the job?

If you are a Believer what do you think?  Because I expect if you ask most people they’ll think this is crazy talk.

Kevin

Why is A&E in such a predicament over Duck Dynasty?

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Warning:  The message contained below is a Biblical worldview.  If you wish to express disagreement do so with respect or you will be promptly deleted, if you wish to convince me of a contrary position, present Biblical truth or don’t bother.

There has already been so much written on this subject, that it almost seems hopeless to use my little blog to discuss it.  Yet I’ve had some observations that I want to put on paper, figuratively speaking of course.

The other night a friend sent me a text message asking me what I thought about it.  He and I discuss God quite a bit, although we have very different views on Christianity, he being Catholic and me being a Reformed Protestant.

I’ll get to my response later.

A&E has attempted to make a stand because they’ve responded to a very small segment of the population.  But let’s not be fooled, this segment is powerful in their voice and they will be heard.  They will be heard through any tactic necessary.  Even though very few people agree with them.

Let’s also realize the folks at A&E are in agreement with the aforementioned community and therein lies their predicament.

You see they’ve partnered with something they don’t agree with.  They no more agree with the Robertson family lifestyle than they agree the Bible is truth.  Yet it’s pragmatic for them to partner with the Robertson family and especially as the show grew to be the most popular show on cable and reality television.

In order to appeal to their, I’ll call them their constituency; they must make a stand against Phil Robertson’s comments.  To not do so would certainly cause offense and backlash.  Would it have the same effect as the backlash now against A&E?  That’s arguable, but doubtful.  We need look no further than Chick-fil-A to see which group has more muscle.

The problem for A&E is that they’ve awakened a sleeping giant, ask Cracker Barrel how that worked out.  The much greater share of the population does not approve.  While most of these people are not truly regenerate, born again Christians, many profess Christianity and will agree to some extent that Phil Robertson is not totally out of touch with reality or “modern” America.

So now what does A&E do?  The Robertson Family has clearly stated they won’t go on with the program without Phil.  Phil has clearly stated he is standing behind his statement that the Bible is truth and what he said he believes.

It seems to me A&E has a big problem.  Will they stand by their convictions or will they stand by the almighty dollar?  Do they have the convictions Phil Robertson has about his beliefs?  What an incredibly interesting situation.

The last and most important predicament the brain trust at A&E has them in and it’s by far the most important; they are at enmity with God, I speak generally, because I don’t know any of them personally.

Phil Robertson has placed his trust in God’s word and God’s word tells us all mankind is under the wrath of God.  See Romans 1:18 through 3:20.

My response to my friend was as follows:

I affirm all that he said.  He spoke biblical truth quoting 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  He probably could have been a little less crass in his description of the homosexual act, but he spoke truth.  It’s certainly a longer conversation than a text message if we were to dig deeper into sin and depravity and what it means to be at enmity with God vs. being at peace with God.  All unrepentant sin is an offense to God.  I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians and Romans Chapters 1-5.  Let me know if you’d like to discuss.

1 Corinthians 6 9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. 

This is crystal clear.  You can reject this, but there is no doubt what Paul is saying.  Homosexuality is no worse than adultery.  No worse than fornication (having sexual relations outside of marriage; that’s Biblical marriage, not a redefined marriage).    And so it goes… but let there be no doubt, it’s all sin and if you live in this lifestyle you will NOT inherit God’s kingdom.

But did you notice the good news?  “And such were some of you.”  We must understand that those who are changed by God’s word through the revelation of sin will be saved from the wrath of God.

What a glorious truth.  What a glorious hope for those in sin.  Many people will say his statements are judgmental or unloving.  No, I can’t imagine anything more loving.

The gospel is good news, do you believe that?  Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect life that you and I are incapable of living.  He went to the cross to save those who would believe in Him.  He saved us from Himself.  The Son of God became man, to save Believer’s from God.  What an incredible act of love.

For Believers Phil Robertson’s stand should give us cause for great joy.  What an opportunity to start a conversation with someone today about their eternal destiny.  What an opportunity to show them God’s word.  No matter what you think of Phil Robertson, or certain positions his church might teach let’s look at this as a wonderful opportunity.

Philippians 1:15-18 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:  The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.  What then?  Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached: and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

Kevin

A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 2 – Mistakes about conversion

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This is a very sobering and humbling article to write, as I think about my own life and the lives of so many that are dear to me.  I think of those that I believe have truly been converted.  I marvel at God’s work and how He is the author of salvation.  He does the work … according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace… (Ephesians 1:5-6).

I also consider those, just like I once was that are deceived in their conversion and have a false hope.  They don’t know they have a false hope; they are comfortable in their “christianity” and you can’t convince them otherwise because they are blinded with pride.  They’ve been “good”, they’ve been moral, they’ve gone to church, they know the right people, and they have been properly set up to believe in their hope.  Yet if you were able to really dig deep and really examine the claims closely you would get a troubling picture that may actually challenge their lives, yet they won’t allow it.

It is my earnest prayer, and desire that those of us that are truly regenerated, and are new creations in Christ can lovingly call those to examine their lives by the truth of God’s Word and these powerful words penned over four centuries ago will have an impact on us today, as it has for centuries.  It will awaken those out of their slumber, it will turn off this cruise control “christianity” that so many have become accustomed to and the Lord of Glory will shine His light in a dark place and reveal their true natures.  May His name rise above all names as the “One” that is worthy.

Alleine gives us (5) mistakes about conversion that continue to condemn people to hell the same today as they have since time began.    Let’s take a look at those today as outlined in this first chapter of A Sure Guide to Heaven.

Conversion is not the taking upon us the profession of Christianity

With a twenty dollar bill in my hand I can get anyone I want to profess the name of Christ.  Just try it and see.  Approach someone and say if you say these words I will give you this twenty dollar bill.  “Jesus is Lord and Savior”.  Are they now saved and on their way to heaven?  Of course not that’s ridiculous; anyone that has any sort of knowledge of God knows this.  Don’t they?  Yet many will think because they said a prayer at one point in their life they are okay with God.

Are there not many that name the name of the Lord Jesus, that do not depart from iniquity (2 Tim ii 19), and profess they know God, but in works deny Him? (Titus I 16), And will God receive these for true converts?  What! Converts from sin, when they still live in sin?  It is a visible contradiction. Page 19

Conversion is not putting on the badge of Christ in baptism

‘If this is true, thousands may go in abreast; and we will no more teach that the righteous are scarcely saved, or that there is need of such a stir in taking the kingdom of heaven by violence, and striving to enter in (1 Peter iv 18; Mt xi 12; Lk xiii 24).  Surely, if the way be so easy as many supposed, that little more is necessary than to be baptized and to cry out, ‘Lord, have mercy’, we need not put ourselves to such seeking, and knocking, and wrestling, as the Word require in order to salvation.  Again, if this is true, we shall no more say, ‘Few there be that fine it’; we will rather say, ‘Few there be that miss it.’ Page 20

… If men are evidently unsanctified, they must be renewed by a thorough and powerful change, or else they cannot escape the damnation of hell.  ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked.’  Whether it be your baptism, or whatever else you pretend, I tell you from the living God, that if any of you be a prayerless person, or a scoffer, or a lover of evil company (Prov xiii20), in a word, if you are not a holy, strict, and self denying Christian, you cannot be saved (Heb xii 14; Mt xv 14). Page 21

Conversion does not lie in moral righteousness

Paul, while unconverted, touching the righteousness which is in the law was blameless (Phil iii 6).  The Pharisee could say, ‘I am no extortioner, adulterer, unjust’, etc. (Lk xviii 11).  You must have something more than all this to show, or else, however you may justify yourself, God will condemn you.  I do not condemn morality, but I warn you not to rest in it.  Piety includes morality, as Christianity does humanity, and as grace does reason; but we must not divide the tables. Pages 21, 22

Conversion does not consist in an external conformity to the rules of piety

It is manifest that men may have a form of godliness, without the power (2 Tim iii 5).  Men may pray long (Mt xxiii 14), and fast often (Lk xviii 12), and hear gladly (Mk vi 20), and be very forward in the service of God, though costly and expensive (Is i 11), and yet be strangers to conversion.  They must have more to plead for themselves than that they go to church, give alms, and make use of prayer, to prove themselves sound converts. Page 22

Please don’t let this one slip past you.  Consider this in your life.  Do you have a form of godliness?  Have you been converted?  Do you know when this happened?  Do you have a testimony?

Conversion is not the mere chaining up of corruption by education, human laws or the force of affliction

It is too common and easy to mistake education for grace… Page 22

In short, conversion does not consist in illumination or conviction or in a superficial change or partial reformation.  An apostate may be an enlightened man (Heb vi 4), and a Felix tremble under conviction (Acts xxiv 25), and a Herod do many things (Mk vi 20).  It is one thing to have sin alarmed only by convictions, and another to have it crucified by converting grace.

Others think that because they have given up their riotous ways, and are broken off from evil company or some particular lust, and are reduced to sobriety and civility, they are now real converts.  They forget that there is a vast difference between being sanctified and civilized.

O sinner, let the Word convince you now in time, and let go your false and self-deluding hopes, than have death open your eyes too late, and find yourself in hell before you are aware?

O wretched sinners, with whom God is scarcely in all your thoughts; that are so ignorant that you cannot pray, or so careless that you will not?  O repent and be converted, break off your sins by righteousness… O that you would heed the warnings of God!  In His name I once more admonish you.  Turn ye at my reproof.  Forsake the foolish, and live.  Be sober, righteous, and godly.  Wash your hands, ye sinners; purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Pages 21, 22 & 23

Friends are you double-minded?  Do you want to hold things of the world dear?  How much do you dwell on God in your thoughts and in your mind on a daily basis?  How much do you read His Word?  How much time do you spend in prayer?  How much time do you speak of His glory with others?

Test yourself and be challenged, if Christ dwells within you, this should not offend you.

Kevin