Our Track record from the beginning

I want to share some thoughts from Scripture regarding our sin nature in dealing with certain things in life and hopefully some helpful remedies for all of us from the Word.  This applies to me too, not implying it does not.  I’ve tried to link Scripture (in a couple literal translations) to make it easier for all to check for yourself, but there are many I mention I don’t reference, and many I didn’t link.  Look for yourself! That’s so important.

Resisting instruction

We have proven from the beginning, we do not like being told what to do.  Unfortunately it’s part of our Adamic nature — the old man.  Sometimes even believers just bristle when others attempt to instruct us with His Word (for whatever reason).  In misunderstandings, at times we’d rather justify ourselves versus admitting any wrong doing of our own.  We don’t like correction from others (in the flesh anyways), our old man resists it.

Unrighteous judgment

We also have shown that we tend to judge unrighteous judgment (more on that below).  This is because it’s our nature to look on the outward appearance while God looks on the heart.  We may believe what someone else has said about another without knowing the whole story just because they’re a friend of ours. We cannot show that favoritism as much as we want to believe them.  We need to hear both sides before making any judgment (Pr 18:8,13).  And we have to be so careful we’re not partaking in gossip — an easy thing for any of us whether we might admit it or not. 

REMEDY: 

Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19-20).  A righteous judgment requires waiting to make a judgment until you’ve heard the story in full.  If you haven’t, try hard not to judge another.  Pray for wisdom, and believe He’ll give it to you (James 1:5-6) and don’t be respecter of persons, God is not.  Just speaking on a matter doesn’t necessarily make us a gossip, but a good rule of thumb?  Would you say it in front of them?  Is it edifying?

Twisting God’s Word

The Bible tells us that unstable people do this.  I see some novices in the Word preaching all sorts of things they ought not (1 Tim 3:6-7; James 3:1).  It’s one thing to share the gospel, and His Word, but the next thing you know some carnal believers or novices are teaching something else that is entirely wrong.  I think we’ve all seen it on FB.   

Recently one was teaching grace and turned straight into Oneness theology saying he believed the Trinity was Heresy.  Another fell from grace into Universalism.  Yet another headlong into KJVOnlyism with really vicious responses to others (don’t panic if you only read the KJV translation, nothing wrong with that. I am speaking of those who teach double inspiration). 

Think on Satan twisting what God said from the beginning (Yea hath God said?).  It’s something we see today more and more. Peter mentioned unstable people twisting the Word (2 Pet 3:14-18). I sure hope I am careful with His Word always (Is 66:2; James 3:1).  We should always prayerfully and carefully consider if there is any chance that we possibly add to what God has said. (Remember Eve saying that God told her not to touch it either)?  What if we wrongly apply His Scripture to justify ourselves?   God forbid.

REMEDY: 

Be Bereans (Acts 17:11).  Study His Word yourself with the right intent (2 Tim 2:15).  Hide it in your heart (Ps 119:11).  Learning His Word is how we are able to discern between good and evil (Heb 5:12-14).  Judge things by His Word, but be careful you are using context and Scripture spoken to them.   As a friend used to say, the two-edged sword cuts both ways.  Don’t be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:11-16).

Not acknowledging our sin

How about if we hide when we sin?  What if we deny it or ignore another if they try to deal with us regarding it?  It’s pretty much the same as not acknowledging our part in any matter, sometimes it’s hard to see.   We may either be hiding from God unknowingly, or we’re sweeping our sin under the proverbial rug.  Maybe some of you have not done that, but I have.     

We also tend not to see in ourselves in what may annoy or even offend others. Do we offend in ourselves? Possibly our pride is keeping us from seeing or admitting our sin.  Adam and Eve hid when they sinned.  I think it’s a natural fleshly reaction.  It’s not easy bringing our shame out to the light.

Hidden sin is really hard to deal with especially when it affects others.  Gossip and tale bearing is very difficult to overcome, especially if it’s kept hidden in the dark.  There is just no way to answer those types of things, except to bring it to the light when we can. Hopefully we can have the right attitude towards the one who has wronged us and maybe we can be restored.

REMEDY:

Sometimes it’s not as cut and dried and doesn’t seem that easy.  With others sinning against us, who won’t hear us or talk to us about it? The best we can do is pray for them and also ask the Lord to help us in our hurt.  Sometimes those types of wounds are worse than a physical one.

Are there misunderstandings between people you love?  Best to pray for both parties and try to keep out of judging them without knowing the big picture, unless they’re both willing to come to you, you do not know the truth, and you are not judging in a Biblical manner, rather you are judging by one witness.

Rather than hiding from God, (or ignoring the remembrances the Holy Spirit brings to us), remember, He already knows.  He wants to hear from His child, He loves us.  We should agree with Him about what we’ve done (1 Jn 1:8-10).  I’m not talking about making out a laundry list such as confessing to a priest.  But when we spend time with Him, our sin is pointed out (through the instruction and rebuke that comes from His Word).  So we need to admit to Him if something we’re doing is wrong and ask Him for help.    We can pray for help to let go of the sin that so easily besets us and fix our eyes on Him — trusting Him and growing in faith (Heb 12:1-2). 

The answers we know are in His Word for what we need to learn.  It is there for us to be rebuked or corrected with it, and trained in all righteousness.  His Word cleanses us and keeps us from sinning, so let’s continue in it so we can be set free.  (2 Tim 3:14-17, Ps 119:9-11; John 8:31-32).

Trust only those you know to be spiritually mature believers with faults you want others to pray for.  I can’t emphasize that enough.  But that does not mean you shouldn’t go confess your fault to the one you wronged.

Blaming God (or others) for our troubles

Some people (if not many), may blame God (or others) for what they have done or even what they’re going through.  I’ve heard people say they think God doesn’t love them as much as others when things go wrong in their lives.  If that were true, then I would have had plenty of cause to wonder.   So would the Apostle Paul for that matter.   Here is where I want to admonish you.  Stop bearing false witness about the Lord — believe His Word, He doesn’t lie.  Again, He is not a respecter of persons.

I know some people have more than what seems to be their share of grief or troubles.  We should most certain help when we can.  Pray for them.  But point them to Christ first, He is their Savior.  We live in a fallen world and we’re going to suffer, and we’re going to all experience pain and sorrow at some point.  Some suffer more than others, so weep with those who weep.  That also does not mean we have to allow people to take advantage of us if they won’t hear counsel from His Word.

From the first sin, when God asked Adam what he had done by disobeying, he immediately turned it back to blame God and Eve.  He said it was woman God had given him who gave him fruit from the tree and he ate it.  

Eve blamed the serpent for deceiving her (the devil made me do it).   I’m not making light of the spiritual battle we’re in.  It’s heavy and oppressive at times.  But we need to ask what place we have in it.  If we’re not willing to work on ourselves, how can we take the splinter out of someone else’s eye with the beam in ours?

Are we willing to submit ourselves to God?  To resist the enemy?   To submit to others?  And what work do we need to do in this lifetime to make certain things better?   We need to work out our own salvation (not eternal life, but our walk) in fear (reverence) and trembling (respect for Him).

There is a law of reaping what we sow, and it applies to believers too (Gal 6:7-10).  I’m not going to get into all the ways that we can reap what we have sown in this lifetime, because I certainly have experienced it.  But I can’t stress this enough, I believe we need to try to prayerfully take responsibility for our part in any problem, that’s part of righteous judgment.  Remove the beam first.  Confess it to Him and do what you can a little at a time to acknowledge Him in more of your ways.

REMEDY: 

Once again, we can ask the Lord what (if any) our part may be in any given situation, and to show us in His Word how we can treat others the way He wants us to. Don’t accuse yourself or beat up on yourself (as I have seen some do).  It doesn’t change the situation.  Don’t let others accuse you.  That doesn’t mean a friend won’t tell you the truth in love — and they should (Pr 27:6, 17).  I am talking of those who are condemning with no reason. 

We should be willing to ask Him where we might have erred, and He will show us in His Word or by bringing it to our remembrance.  Ask Him to rebuke the enemy on your behalf if it’s just accusation. Don’t be railing on the enemy either, let the Lord handle that (Jude 9).  We don’t really know if a hard time is part of living in the fallen world, part of a spiritual battle, or even chastening from God.  Let’s just humbly try to (again) acknowledge any part we may have and ask Him what we can do differently.   Some people don’t want to be corrected, but we should constantly be growing and maturing in our own walk.

With that said, I want to mention that many people may use the passage on sowing and reaping to accuse believers going through a hard time.  I remember one man (when we shared my husband’s dire diagnosis) asked my husband ‘what he had done’ to get sick).   Let’s keep in mind that the passage in Galatians 6 is contrasting the difference between just sowing to the flesh vs. sowing to the Spirit.  Sow to the Spirit.  Let’s not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.  Do good to all — especially other believers.

Abide in Jesus and continue in His Word

The Lord in His Word reminds us of the importance of abiding in Him (John 15:6).  There are many reasons, it is so our joy will remain full (1 John).  Also it is so we will be in intimate fellowship with Him.  Our fellowship with God and others is for the purpose of demonstrating our love for Him and others (the two greatest commandments). 

Believers are reminded we need to continue in His Word (Jn 8:31-32) if we want to become disciples (and be set free by the truth).  This is something we all need reminded to do in light of the darkness and distractions of today’s world.  It’s not going to get any lighter until He comes, it’s only going to get worse. 

Satan has had his day in the underhanded political upheaval going on.  He is seeking to devour who he may (1 Pet 5:8-9; James 4:7).  He doesn’t care if it’s party against party, or friends betraying friends, family turning on family members, or even believers not walking circumspectly towards non-believers.  If he can keep believers caught up (out of balance) in what’s going on and distracted from the Lord (even in good things), he is accomplishing what he wants to.    

I know so many recently who have shared of being wounded by ‘friends’.  Jesus knows what that is like.   I’m not minimizing anyone’s pain, just to remind you, He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.  He did nothing wrong, so what can we do except strive to be more like Him with His help.

I believe we’ve all seen a lack of wisdom, and instead of grace and salt seasoning some people’s speech, they stubbornly hold on to name calling (Col 4:5-6).  I get it, we’re tired of the evil.  But let’s look to the examples we see in Scripture and try to follow them instead. 

REMEDY:

What can we do? First we need to try to get some time with Him in His Word.  Just do it.  Try to enjoy it, and also try not to be legalistic about it.  When we do, suddenly we begin to love and treasure it (Ps 119:140,162).  It surely has revived and strengthened me through so many hard times (Ps 119:25,28).   Remember the ultimate goal is to win people to Christ more than anything else.

If you haven’t read through the epistles, I suggest you might try reading one epistle at a time starting with Romans.  Or read starting in Acts 2 chronologically. Try looking at some of the cross references in context.  That really begins to open up questions which you can write down to study later.   We really need to study the Word with His approval as our goal.  As we do, we desperately need to ask the contextual questions (the five W’s and the How).   We need to be careful of seeing words like repent, salvation, justification, etc. and to make sure of a couple things.  First that we know what they mean vs. what dictionaries may say.   Ask questions such as ‘saved from what?’  Justified in front of ________?  Positional or practical? 

Renew your mind with His Word, and you will be practically sanctified by it (Rom 12:1-2; Ps 119:9; Eph 5:26; John 17:17).

Stay in His Word, it’s the best place to keep us from sinning with our mouths as much.  God clamp Your hand over my mouth (like Job) if what I say is not walking in wisdom (Colossians 4:5-6).   Let us continue to call evil evil, and stand up against false doctrine (2 Cor 11:12-15) but help us to keep the bigger picture in mind with all men (1 Cor 9:19-23).  

Walking in the Spirit

The best thing I have learned (am still learning) about endurance in our walk is found in Luke 10:38-42.  When we fail, we need to remind ourselves that we need to spend time with the Lord hearing His Word.  Choose the good part, the needed thing that won’t be taken from us.    We’re less likely to walk in the lusts of the flesh (Gal 5:16-17; Rom 6:11-13).   Let His Word renew your mind (Rom 12:1-2).

We can hear this admonition over and over (and even say Amen), yet find ourselves caught up once again in things of this world (and there is much we can get caught up with there).   I am not saying don’t call evil what is evil.  But the heated manner of politics may be consuming us.   I’m not saying we can’t speak out, but we can examine the HOW we are speaking out.

Possibly we read or hear a lot of ‘Christian’ authors and speakers. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but are you getting some time in His pure Word?  And the biggest question is, are we checking what these people are saying next to the Word of God? (Acts 17:11)

REMEDY:

Get back up when your feet slip with His help (Ps 94:17-19).  Confess to Him (and to any you have offended) wherever you’ve failed.  Trust His faithfulness to forgive you (practically not positionally), and move on with His help.  Don’t just be a hearer of the Word but be a doer (James 1:19-27).   Don’t beat yourself up for your past mistakes, but look back into that perfect law of liberty and continue in His Word.  Ask Him to give you time to spend in it and a desire for it.  Consider your priorities.  Ask questions of things you do, and see what can give so He can be in the right place in our lives.   Are we loving Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength?  Our new man is, but we certainly fail, so ask Him to help you want to want to desire more of what His perfect will is for you.

(This is picture of my dad as a little boy with his sister)

Touch not mine anointed

I think we all know that one, and may have experienced someone’s wrath when we warn about the far out teachers.  But if we should warn about a Charles Spurgeon, Tozer, A.W. Pink, John MacArthur, Billy Graham, et al, we find that people can get downright nasty to us.  Don’t return railing for railing, answer them with sound speech that cannot be condemned, pray for them.

Nobody’s perfect

Often people bring up the point that no one is perfect.  I assure you that everyone knows no one is perfect. But don’t insult us with non-biblical instructions of ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’, or ‘chew the meat and spit out the bones’.  With all teachers we should be noble (Acts 17:11; 1 Thess 5:21), and a sound teacher will find it to be a good thing when we test what he says.  We’re not going to get it all right either, but we cannot compromise when it comes to His Word.  It’s not ours to compromise for the sake of a false unity.

REMEDY:

Friends, if you are the ones getting upset at your teacher/preacher being exposed, try instead to look at what they taught next to what the Word of God teaches.   No one should easily bring an accusation against an elder.  It should be with several witnesses (and public articles and preaching are just that).

Above all, be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19-20; Prov. 10:19; 16:32; 17:27).  Don’t think that you’re above being deceived (2 Cor 11:3-4) — even the apostles Peter, Barnabas, James and others were (see Galatians 2).  We should not mind examining any of our teachers.   And prove all things (1 Thess 5:21) by that which is good (the Word of God).   Test the spirits (1 John 4:1) and keep earnestly contending for the faith once delivered (Jude 3).

Learn from the Word and be willing to humbly receive it

This is another issue with our old man.   We tend to take the easy way out.  We want the cliff notes.   We’d rather someone else synopsize what the Word says vs. studying ourselves to find out.  We want quick answers.  Some go straight to commentary.   But respectfully, I believe that should be the last resort.   Try studying and looking at context, and cross references in prayer.

You only need to look at your FB feed or read a John MacArthur book or listen to a sermon at many churches of today.  They are heavy laden with the words of other men (1 Cor 4:6) and like Israel, we have a famine in the land for the hearing of His Word.

Fruit Inspection

Moderation is good for the things we choose to do.  And all things might be legal but not beneficial.  We should keep in mind our example in front of others and if what we do might make a younger one stumble.  I think our tongue may be the biggest way we can offend another.

We aren’t going to keep the loadshippers (lordship doctrine) from fruit inspecting others, but what about us?  Are we judging them to be unsaved by their behavior?  Here’s a thought to consider.  Are you judging them by what you ‘think’ are their fruits?  I’ve had people call me arrogant, haughty, proud, a Jezebel etc.  Is that what fruits are?  Our opinion of another?  Or is it their doctrine and their faith?  

I have said this often to those who are judging someone by their outside works.  Don’t judge by the appearance and instead with a righteous judgment (Jn 7:24).   God looks on the heart, man looks on the outward appearance.  I am not saying that we don’t judge within the church regarding behavior, (of course we need to be sure we don’t have a beam in our eye first).   I am also definitely not saying we don’t judge bad doctrine – we should always contend earnestly for the faith once delivered.    But if someone has understood the gospel, and they say they believed it, STOP accusing them of not being saved.  

REMEDY: 

If you think someone has not believed the gospel, the answer is to share it with them (Rom 1:16-17; Rom 10:14-17; 1 Cor 1:17-18; 1 Cor 2:1-5).  The answer is NOT to accuse them of being unsaved or not having the spirit.

If you think someone isn’t growing in Christ, that they are carnal, then show Christ’s love to them if you are spiritual yourself.  Feed and tend His sheep (Jn 21:15-17).  Wash the feet of those who are already clean, and do it with His Word (Jn 13:14-17; Jn 17:17; Eph 5:26; Ps 119:9-11).  Examine yourself prayerfully and ask Him for this for you:

Division in the body

I am decidedly perplexed and hugely dismayed by this.  I have no pleasure in anyone taking my side or finding me right, I am nothing.  The Lord really does know and we may think we are right, but we might find out differently later.  Isn’t sooner better than later?  Keep short accounts if you are able.

There are a lot of reasons for division in the church, but as Pastor Cucuzza said (in one of the sermons I link below), certain kinds of division (not heresy) is always based on pride or carnality. 

I know of people who tend to sweep things under the rug rather than to talk about them.  They may not do well in conflict.  They go on as if nothing has happened.  That just won’t work.  Shouldn’t we be quick to go to our brother if he has offended us or we’ve offended them?  What about if we won’t talk to them when they try?  Are we exacerbating the division? 

Division harms the body of Christ.  It is His body, what are we doing?  Division harms our witness to the outside world.  When we are divided on things, what does that tell the world?  I personally don’t care if one believes that politics is what they are called to do (at one time I was pretty active).  So were Joseph and Daniel, David and Solomon etc. — but I’m not really seeing those examples out there.  Informing others of things they should know?  That’s called news, and if it’s true what we’re sharing, nothing wrong with that (another thing — people, please check your shared articles).  But calling people demonrats, dummycrats, libtards, sheeple and other such names is not being all things to all people that we might win some for Christ.  We were all once a lost sheep, shouldn’t we remember that?

I can’t imagine someone ever saying, “I remember the time he called me a libtard and a dummycrat.  My personal favorite was demonrat, boy did that convict me.  And when he shared the gospel on his page I was ever so open to hearing from him.” 

Look, we’ve all done it in different ways, so please don’t take this personally if you are one of the ones doing this.  We have to gently go to these brethren and try to restore them to sound speech if they will hear.  Some won’t listen and continue in the unseemly behavior.  Just because we’re not using curse words doesn’t mean it’s not showing the condition of our hearts as bad to others.  What does His Word instruct us to do with the outside world?

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.  Col 4:5-6

Is this what we are doing?  Is our speech ALWAYS with grace and salt?  Mine isn’t.

We need to sure we are not being entangled by things in this lifetime.  Hard I know, but it’s what He asks of us. 

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  2 Tim 2:3-4

Conclusion:

Don’t show favoritism, God doesn’t.  Don’t judge with an unrighteous judgment (by the tales of others or the outward appearance).  Be willing to hear instruction or even rebuke from His Word.  Be careful you aren’t somehow wrongly applying it.  Acknowledge your part in troubles, pray about what you can do better.  Don’t blame God and others for our choices.  Abide in the Vine, and continue in His Word.  Ask for help to walk in the Spirit vs. the lusts of the flesh.  Be a Berean, be willing to examine all doctrine with God’s Word.  Stop judging others by the outside appearance (or the gossip of others).   All these things will fall into place as we humble ourselves under His mighty hand and we submit to others (1 Pet 5:5-11) casting our cares upon Him.

Above all, remember Christ in great love gave Himself for the church.  Every part of the body is necessary.   Take everything I say here and realize there are several different scenarios, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, so search for your own in His Word.

Here are some good sermons to consider.

Biblical conflict resolution

Reasons and Remedies for Divided churches

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