So you want to be like Christ? – Part 1

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I began thinking about this topic a long time ago and quickly discovered I couldn’t do this in one blog or even two. This post will discuss how we can’t be like Christ, and then the last one will focus on the ways in which we should strive to be like Christ.

We last left off with a discussion that I had over the years with a friend. The discussion centered around being a Christ follower or being Christ-like. I argued last time that you must begin as a follower of Christ before you can ever become Christ-like.   I’m hopeful that I successfully showed the majority of people that even claim to follow Christ, don’t. And also those that have a “desire” to follow really won’t leave themselves behind and truly follow. There are many reasons for this but at the end of day the cost is very high. To follow Christ will cost you everything. Many will disagree with this statement , but when we look around at the surface level Christianity today I think there is little doubt. Let’s see.

I’ve thought about Christ-likeness a lot over the past several years. What I want to show you is what the Bible says about Christ-likeness. Not some figment of the imagination about Jesus. Not the all “inclusive” Jesus, although anyone who will forsake their sin and place their full faith and trust in Christ will be included. No, I’m talking about the Jesus of the holy scriptures. That Jesus. It might be interesting to see what He did, and how we can attempt to be like that Jesus.

What did Christ do while He was on this earth? What are the different things we can emulate about His life. I think this is an important distinction because most things about Christ we cannot do.   Let’s consider a few of the can’t do before we look at the can do.

We can’t perform miracles

Unless you are Benny Hinn (that is sarcasm), you can’t perform the miracles that Jesus Christ performed on this earth. I’d challenge anyone to walk on water, to calm the sea, to create bread and fish out of bread and fish. To grow back arms, cause people to walk and to command the dead to live. It’s important to understand that Jesus did these miracles to prove His deity. It’s that simple.

John 10:37-38 “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me and I in Him.”

We are not without sin

Sinless perfection is unattainable for mankind. Despite the teaching of Mary being sinless by the Catholic Church (here), (here), and (here) we believe the bible teaches Christ’s perfection and man’s sinfulness very plainly, even Mary.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

We cannot drink the cup of God’s Wrath

Jesus Christ came to this earth to seek and save the lost. He did this because man has a problem called sin. God’s righteous judgment calls for justice to be served. Law breakers must be dealt with and the way God deals with the lawless is by shutting them in prison for all of eternity where they will bear His anger against their rebellion to His goodness.

Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They had no idea what they were asking Him for, they had no concept that the Christ was going to the cross to drink the cup of God’s wrath against sin and sinful mankind. But Jesus knew, and He willingly went.

Psalm 75:7-8 But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down.

Isaiah 53:5-6 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

As Paul Washer has said, “All men will melt like wax before a blast furnace as the fury of God is unleashed against them.” Unless they repent and turn to Christ for forgiveness of sin every person condemned will face the wrath of an angry God for all eternity. This is a message that is frightening and should be seen as a severe warning to those walking about as if God does not exist. Thinking they have a lifetime ahead of them not knowing they hang by a very thin string over the pits of darkness.

We cannot rise from the dead

Man has been appointed once to die. There are no second chances after death on this earth. We have been given revelation of God through nature and through His word. All mankind will answer for his life and we must realize once it’s over it’s over. This is why it is imperative to speak. To tell people the good news.

And it has been appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. – Hebrews 9:27-28

I could go on, but I think it’s sufficient to say that Christ has accomplished everything on the cross needed for our salvation. His grace will take us to heaven when we pass from this life to the next. For those that have not repented and placed their trust in Christ, He will pour out His wrath upon them for all eternity. No second chances. Believe in the Son and live.

Next time, I will exhort us to live like Christ if we call ourselves Christians, and I believe this will be very challenging for those in the professing church.

Kevin

Woman of Virtue?

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This past week I had the privilege to hear some of the finest Bible Expositors that are around today. The men that God has given wonderful gifts, to exhort and edify the body of Christ.   I’ve learned much from these men, and I also have much to learn. I came away knowing how little I really know about God and His word. I realized I’m a man that has devoted the majority of his life, to worthless things.

I look back down the road from my salvation in 2009 and I understand I’ve come a long way, but yet I see a great mirage that I continue to chase and it just keeps getting further away. I’m thankful that is the case. It causes me to hunger and thirst all the more, yet it is sometimes overwhelming in my desire to know truth. Not just for the sake of knowledge, but so that when I bow before my Lord, I will know Him already, yet I desire to know Him so much more.

That is the way the Christian life is meant to be, and I was stunned to hear one of the men say this very thing, a man that from my perspective knows more than I will ever know, or could ever know in several lifetimes. He knows Hebrew and Greek and even speaks them fluently and reads in them.

Among all the amazing sermons, something was said by Paul Washer that really struck me. It was almost a side note. A little blurb on the end or at the start of something that I’m sure for most people was not noticeably significant. But it hit me, and I know it hit others, as I’ve heard testimony about how it affected them. He said this about his wife, and I’m going to paraphrase. He said that in 20 some years of marriage his affection and love for his wife has grown, and that has primarily been because she has grown in virtue. Her growth in virtue has allowed him to love her more.

This is really an incredible statement, because her growth has caused growth in her husband. It’s a mutually dependent relationship. She depends on him, he depends on her. When they are working together there is much more forward motion. Much more ground is gained; all to the glory of God, but how He blesses them in this relationship and this growth.

Who can find a virtuous wife?

For her worth is far above

   rubies.

The heart of her husband safely

   trusts her;

So he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil

All the days of her life. – Proverbs 31:10-12      

To really understand this wife of Proverbs 31 we must understand what it means to be virtuous. The Hebrew word is chayil : strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army

No wonder she is hard to find, this is not the meaning of what most think is virtue. Most think that it’s more like chaste, almost graceful or elegant, or simply revolves around her moral character. She no doubt is of the highest moral degree, but that is not at all the biblical concept of virtue. Virtue is all about the strength, might and efficiency of a woman. She’s an army wife. She knows how to get things done, and she doesn’t just sit and consume resources. She’s sturdy… and faithful to her tasks.

If her commander needs her to take a hill, she takes the hill. We must understand who it is she’s working for. “The heart of her husband safely trusts her…” She’s a kept woman; she knows that it is her husband that she is to fulfill and to complete, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-23). She is a helper. How radically different from the modern concept of the strong woman? She’s strong for sure, but her strength is not for her own benefit, her own fulfillment, and her own desires. She’s strong and independent, but not for her own benefit, it’s for the benefit of another.

What a contrast…

Next post, we will take a look at the virtuous woman’s counterpart, the woman that mostly resembles the world today. We will see a stark difference between these two.   We must then consider what is the difference? Why?

Kevin

Don’t judge me…

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Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

As a Believer and witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ how am I to understand this verse?  If you, like me, have ever discussed or had a confrontation with someone about their eternal destiny there is a pretty decent chance they’ve used this verse in retaliation.  “Don’t judge me… only ‘god’ can judge…” is what they will say.

Now what?  It seems that they’ve got you just where they want you.  “Oh okay, I guess that’s the end of this discussion, right?”

Of course not, because to rightly divide the word of truth we must have an answer to this sort of a common retort.  Scripture in the hands of those that want to twist and manipulate is a dangerous thing.  Satan used scripture when he was tempting the Lord in the wilderness and as we consider the Lord Jesus Christ’s response we can see the way in which we must handle these very common uses of or misuses of the word of God.

Jesus was tempted by Satan three different times while in the wilderness and he used scripture to make his case.  In each instance Jesus countered Satan’s use of scripture with scripture.

So why would we use any other approach than to imitate Christ?

So what did Jesus mean when He said Judge not, are Believers to judge?

The first thing we need to consider is that nobody has the ability to judge unto sentencing.  In other words I have no authority or power to condemn someone.  Only God has that ability but the sinfulness of man should be judged and for someone to say they don’t judge would be hypocritical.  We all make judgments constantly throughout the day.

What most people are saying in these situations is they don’t appreciate any accountability to their sinful lifestyle and they certainly don’t want to hear what the Bible says about it.

Let’s look at what Jesus goes on to say.  Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

To understand this in its context is the key to understanding what Jesus meant.  Jesus is not condemning making judgments, He’s condemning hypocrisy.  If I attempt to call someone to repentance for their sin, I had better not be entangled in that same sin myself.  How can I call someone on their sin of adultery if I’m engaged in the same thing myself?  I can’t without being a hypocrite.

But what if I’m not an adulterer; can I then tell someone they are breaking God’s law?  Jesus certainly said I should.

Matthew 18:15-17 “Moreover if your brother sin against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone, If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.   And if he refuses to hear them, tell it even to the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

So why should Believers judge?  This keeps purity in the church.

1 Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!

How did Paul know this?  Somebody judged this to be a sinful action and reported it to Paul correct?

1 Corinthians 5:3-5 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

So for the purity and sanctification of the Church of Christ, which He purchased with His own blood, we must judge those in the church.

1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?  Do you not judge those who are inside?  But those who are outside God judges.  Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

So now I know you are thinking, “Okay I’m not to judge those outside?”  Well, again we can’t judge them unto condemnation, but we must warn them that the sin they are engaged in will lead them to hell if they don’t repent and turn from their sin.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

How can we truly care for people’s souls if we don’t tell them these things? This is not judging them but loving them.  We risk being persecuted, reviled, despised and falsely accused of being judgmental so they can see their separation from a Holy God.  Can we do this in a loving and gentle way rather than a harsh and finger wagging fashion?  Of course and we must, but if you don’t warn them, if you don’t proclaim the remedy to their problem how will they ever know?

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Be gentle today and tell someone Christ died so they could be free from their bondage to sin.

Kevin

Twist not scripture lest you be like Satan – Paul Washer

Peace with God?

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In 2012 1.5 million people made professions for Christ according to a recent news bulletin I heard recently on WDLM.  This is according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and it was stated that their new website peace with God.net has convinced this many people to pray a prayer of salvation.

This is a staggering number of people that have been saved.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s true.

What I mean is I’m sure the statistics are true, that 1.5 million people actually made this profession but the bottom line is will these 1.5 million people now spend eternity in heaven?  This is what I really wonder.

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

I don’t want to be misunderstood.  If this is true it’s incredible, amazing, and God glorifying news but Jesus teaches us it’s just not that easy.

How many of these will count the cost?  Luke 14:28

How many of these will deny themselves and pick up their cross daily? Luke 9:23

How many of these understood their sin was an offense to God and He poured out His wrath on the Son to pay their penalty?  Matthew 26:42

How many of these understood they need to repent of their sin or that wrath will be poured out on them?  Matthew 4:17

How many of these understood they will suffer persecution for Christ’s sake and they will rejoice in that?  Matthew 5:11-12

How many of these understood they might be separated from their families because of Christ?  Matthew 10:34-39

How many of these understood they WILL lose their life as they know it?  Matthew 10:39

How many of these understand they will be called Satan?  Matthew 10:25

How many of these understand they must be willing to forsake all they have?  Luke 14:33

How many of these understand they must be willing to give away all their worldly possessions?  Luke 18:22

And I just started to talk about what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.  If they desire Christ to make their life easier, or to scratch some itch they have, they’ve come to the wrong place.  I hope I’m wrong about all these people, but experience and more importantly God’s Word tells me I’m not.  Following Christ will cost you everything and those that are truly redeemed willingly and joyfully do so.

Believer I urge you to pray for those today that think they’ve come to know Christ.  I urge you to pray that the Billy Graham Association declares to them the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  God requires His church is pure.  God requires His church is without spot or wrinkle.  God requires that His church is washed through the sanctifying word of truth.  Ephesians 5:25-27

Kevin

I encourage you to watch this short video by Brother Paul Washer as he shares with us the truth of God’s redeeming work.

What happened to Biblical Manhood?

I recently had a conversation with a man that is of a younger generation than I am.  He’s a nice guy and I know his wife and mother.  He and his wife just recently had a baby.  I asked him a couple questions about the baby and how it was going; he told me that he and his wife just recently went back to work.  They are school teachers.

He told me the baby is going to day care and my heart began to break as I considered how completely normal this is today.  I asked him if he had ever considered having his wife stay home with the baby?  He told me he didn’t think they could afford that.  Then he said; “well I know people used to be able to live on one income.”  Yes I said “it’s often a matter of your priorities.”

Then he transitioned into telling me that if they would ever go to one income he would probably be the one that would stay home.

Long pause by me…

“Well she just loves her job and I just couldn’t see her doing anything else”.  Soooooo…  I’m not sure I have time to handle that one I thought.  Hmmm…  “Yeah I know people do that these days.”  My brain was frozen, I just couldn’t think of anything else to say.

I’ve reflected on this conversation over the last week and I woke up the other night thinking about it.  What in the world has happened to manhood?  When did the wife working and the man taking care of the children become the new normal, and why?  Take a look around and see what society is doing to manliness.  The traditional roles have gone by the wayside for most, and if you dare start talking about patriarchy people think you’re a knuckle dragger.

As a father and a man that desires to live according to God’s word I must do my best to instill biblical truth into my household.  My 13 year old daughter Grace and I have been going through a book called WHAT HE MUST BE  …if he wants to marry my daughter by Voddie Baucham Jr.  We’ve spent a great deal of time pouring through the words and discussing the importance of what this means for her and her future husband.

Pastor Baucham beautifully leads us through the qualifications of being a man of God and Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  I’ve printed “Dads Copy” on mine as I believe I will go through this multiple times with all my daughters.  Here are just a couple excerpts from the book.

I believe God has spoken rather decisively in his Word about what our daughters should look for, Moreover, I believe there are some non-negotiables that our daughters must be looking for.  There are some things a man simply must be before he is qualified to assume the role of a Christian husband.  For instance, he must be a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14); he must be committed to biblical headship (Ephesians 5:23ff.); he must welcome children (Psalm 127:3-5); he must be a suitable priest (Joshua 24:15), prophet (Ephesians 6:4), protector (Nehemiah 4:13-14), and provider (1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 2:5).  A man who does not possess – or at least show strong signs of – these and other basic characteristics does not meet the basic job description laid down for husbands in the Bible. 

Moreover, as a father, it is my responsibility to teach my daughter what these requirements are, encourage her not to settle for less, and walk with her through the process of evaluating potential suitors.  Of course these ideas may come as a shock to many in contemporary Christian circles (not to mention society at large) Page 16-17

Does this sound like most young men that you know these days?  I honestly can’t think of any outside of my church that would even consider thinking like this, although I know there are some.  I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to have Godly men that desire to teach younger men how to be men.  Not a man that is willing to have his wife go to work for him, but a man that takes responsibility to labor and toil to provide for his family.

However, little thought is given to preparing our sons to be husbands.  Thus, they meander through life without the skills or mind-set necessary to play this most important role….

That was me.

As a result, we have families led by men who haven’t the foggiest idea what their role is or how to carry it out.  We have wives who were created with a God-given need to be led by godly men, a curse from the days in the garden that puts them at odds with this arrangement, and a cultural mandate to fight against male headship.  Top this off with children who long for the security that can only be found in clear roles and boundaries in the home, and the result is a frustrated family mired in dysfunction.  Sound familiar? Page 43

It’s no wonder that most people want to turn their kids over to a daycare.  They have no idea how to raise them.  Everybody that gets married seems to want kids but as married couples they don’t understand how to relate to each other and they certainly don’t know how to relate to the kids.  I say this from experience.  I was that guy.

Believers and non-believers alike stumble through parenting doing their best but that won’t change a generation back to God’s plan for the family.  What do we do to change this?  I can only give my personal testimony of the peace and joy that we have experienced since we’ve begun embracing the biblical model of family.  Not to perfection by any means but as we draw near to God He draws near to us.

Here are a couple suggestions.

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

Be a mentor.  Older men you should mentor younger men and boys.  You should always be mentoring someone and be mentored by someone.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.

Be Biblical.  We must use God’s word to change hearts and minds.  God is very clear in how to instruct the next generation.

James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Learn from others.  Find someone that can teach you.  If not in your church challenge the pastor and elders to lead in this area.  Voddie Baucham and Paul Washer are two excellent resources on biblical manhood and womanhood and are readily available through a Google search.

1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.

Dedicate yourself to this endeavor.  Don’t read these words and forget about them after you close this web page.  If you have children Deuteronomy 6 applies to you.

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

I hope I have an opportunity to talk with this man again someday.  I hope I can tell him there is a better way.  I hope Gods church can shine light in a dark place, there’s a lot more at stake than meets the eye.

Kevin