Tuesday, June 28, 2016

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This blog is meant to encourage you to do the good works, which were prepared beforehand for those who are saved by grace through faith.  It was for these good works that the Lord created us.

As the Scripture says:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:8-10)

Resting from Work Keeping Sundays Holy Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday
The Lord's Day Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II Famous Christian Sabbath Observers
Sabbath Period The Origin of the Sabbath Righteous Deeds and White Robes
 Doing What is Right Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice The Law Established Through Faith
Law of Love in the New Testament Deleted Scriptures in the Bible? Why Paul Lived Like a Jew Among the Jews
Is Obedience Optional? The Cost of Discipleship Obedience by the Spirit
The Law Fulfilled in Us The New Covenant Costly Grace
Partaking of the Divine Nature House of Idleness God Has Not Rejected His Jewish People, Has He?
Faith Works! The Spirit's Law of Life The Spirit of the Law
Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? Righteousness by Faith not Law The Ebb and Flow of Ministry for the Lord
Compelled by Love   God's Idea of Work What Then Must We Observe
The Law is Good if Used Lawfully The Sale of Christian Music and Art -- A Robbers' Den? Remember the Eternal Law of God
All Our Deeds Are Known to the Lord Practicing Your Righteousness The Righteous Will Shine Forth as the Sun
The Ways of Life Followers of the Way Judging with Righteous Judgment
Holding Fast the Faithful WordWhatever You Do, Do All Like ThisThe Conditional Security of the Believer

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The Good Samaritan by Dan Burr of Dan Burr Illustration copyright 2013 used by permission.

You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org. Partner with us online by giving to DMI.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Conditional Security of the Believer


If a picture paints a thousand words, then we should picture the word "if" in golden letters. You see, God has spoken this simple, two-letter word in the Scriptures with regard to our great and glorious salvation, yet so many seem to have missed it.

The popular view of the New Covenant of grace is that reaching heaven is automatic for all Christians. It is assumed that once a person gives his life to Jesus, he is going to make it into the kingdom of heaven no matter what. However, the Bible teaches that there are specific conditions of the New Covenant, just as there were also conditions of the Old Covenant. Let's look at some of those conditions in God's Word, as well as some warnings, which are negative conditions.

I will not include all the conditions, but primarily the ones that contain the golden word "if", which is a primary particle of conditionality. That may be a little word, but it has significant implications for each one of us, when used in the context of the conditions of the covenant in Christ's blood. Therefore, in this article, I will capitalize the word "IF" for emphasis.

Positive Conditions
We begin with the positive conditions.

Enter Through Christ Alone
Jesus said, "I am the door; IF anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (Joh 10:9)

Hear the Lord's Voice and Open the Door of Your Heart
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; IF anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20)

Deny Yourself, Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
“And He was saying to them all, ‘IF anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” (Luk 9:23)

Become United with Christ in His Death
“For IF we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection…” (Rom 6:5)

“Now IF we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him…” (Rom 6:8; cf., 2Ti 2:11)

“But IF by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom 8:13b)

Suffer with Christ
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, IF indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Rom 8:16-17)

Keep His Commandments and Keep His Word
“And He said to him, ‘Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but IF you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’" (Mat 19:17)

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘IF you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’" (Joh 8:31-32)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, IF anyone keeps My word he will never see death." (Joh 8:51)

"IF you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Joh 14:15)

Jesus answered and said to him, "IF anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (Joh 14:23)

“"You are My friends IF you do what I command you.” (Joh 15:14)

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, IF we keep His commandments.” (1Jn 2:3)

“As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. IF what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” (1Jn 2:24)

Hold Fast the Word
"Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, IF you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain." (1 Cor 15:1-2)

Love One Another
“No one has seen God at any time; IF we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” (1Jn 4:12)

Walk in the Light as He is in the Light
“But IF we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1Jn 1:7)

Judge Ourselves Honestly
“But IF we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.” (1Co 11:31)

Eat of Christ, the Living Bread
"I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven; IF anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."  (Joh 6:51)

Be Freed by the Son
"So IF the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (Joh 8:36)

Become a Son
“Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and IF a son, then an heir through God.” (Gal 4:7)

Be in Christ and Belong to Him
“Therefore IF anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2Co 5:17)

“And IF you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:29)

Do the Deeds of Abraham
“Jesus said to them, ‘IF you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham.’” (Joh 8:39b)

Forgive Others For Their Transgressions
"For IF you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Mat 6:14; cf., Mk 11:25)

Your Eyes Must Be Clear
"The eye is the lamp of the body; so then IF your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.” (Mat 6:22)

Confess with Your Mouth Jesus as Lord, and Believe in Your Heart That God Raised Him from the Dead
“…IF you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved: for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10)

"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 10:32)

Hold Fast Our Confidence and the Boast of Our Hope Firm Until The End
“But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, IF we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” (Heb 3:6)

“For we have become partakers of Christ, IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,” (Heb 3:14)

Continue in the Faith Firmly Established and Steadfast, and Not Moved Away from the Hope of the Gospel
"And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- IF indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister." (Col 1:21-23).

Endure to the End
IF we endure, we will also reign with Him… IF we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2Ti 2:12a,13).

"But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." (Mat 24:13)

Your Heart Must Not Condemn You
“Beloved, IF our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God…”(1Jn 3:21)

Those Who Have Strayed from the Truth Must Turn Back to God
“My brethren, IF any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (Jas 5:19-20)

Confess Our Sins
IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn 1:9)

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And IF anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1Jn 2:1)

Warnings Against Failing to Meet the Conditions
In addition to all the positive conditions listed above, we are also warned in Scripture of the following negative conditions.

Do Not Harden Your Hearts
“He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today IF you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’" (Heb 4:7)

Do Not Refuse Him Who Speaks
“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For IF those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.” (Heb 12:25)

Do Not Neglect Salvation Through Transgression and Disobedience
“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape IF we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard…” (Heb 2:1-3)

Do Not Fall Away
“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but IF it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”  (Heb 6:4-8)

Do Not Fall Short of the Promise of Entering His Rest
“Therefore, let us fear IF, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” (Heb 4:1)

Do Not Go On Sinning Willfully After Coming to Know the Truth
“For IF we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Heb 10:26)

Do Not Shrink Back
“But My righteous one shall live by faith; and IF he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Heb 10:38)

Do Not Become Weary in Doing Good
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap IF we do not grow weary.” (Gal 6:9)

Do Not Lose Heart When the Lord Rebukes You or Make Light of His Discipline
“But IF you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Heb 12:8)

Do Not Become Tasteless Salt
"You are the salt of the earth; but IF the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Mat 5:13)

Do Not Fail to Deal Radically with Sin to Remove It
"IF your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Mat 5:29)

"IF your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Mat 5:30)

Forgive Others from Your Heart
"But IF you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Mat 6:15; cf., Mk 11:26)

"And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, IF each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."  (Mat 18:34-35)

Do Not Hate Your Brother
IF someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1Jn 4:20)

Guard Your Eyes, So That You Do Not Become Filled with Darkness
"But IF your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Mat 6:23)

Do Not Become Entangled Again in the Defilements of the World
“For IF, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.” (2Pe 2:20-21)

''But IF that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 24:48-51)

Do Not Fail to Carry Your Cross and Follow Jesus, Even at the Expense of Family Relationships
"IF anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luk 14:26-27)

Do Not Fail to Listen to Moses and the Prophets and Believe Christ's Words
"But he said to him, 'IF they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'" (Luk 16:31)

"For IF you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But IF you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (Joh 5:46-47)

Do Not Have Dead Faith without Works
“What use is it, my brethren, IF someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?… Even so faith, IF it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (Jas 2:14,17)

Do Not Love the World nor the Things of the World
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. IF anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jn 2:15)

"For what is a man profited IF he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luk 9:25)

Do Not Worship the Beast and His Image or Receive a Mark on the Right Hand or Forehead
“Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘IF anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." (Rev 14:9-11)

Do Not Fail to Abide in Christ
"IF anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” (Joh 15:6)

Do Not Be Arrogant nor Fail to Continue in God's Kindness
“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but IF you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for IF God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, IF you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.” (Rom 11:17-22)

Do Not Live According to the Flesh
“For IF you are living according to the flesh, you must die…” (Rom 8:13a)

Do Not Walk in Darkness
IF we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;” (1Jn 1:6)

Do Not Deny Your Own Sin
IF we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1Jn 1:8)

IF we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1Jn 1:10)

Keep a Tight Rein on Your Tongue
IF anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.” (Jas 1:26)

Don't Fail to Wake Up
“'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore IF you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Rev 3:3)

Don't Destroy the Temple of God
IF any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” (1Co 3:17)

Don't Deny Christ
IF we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2 Tim 2:12b)

"But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 10:33)

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luk 9:26) 

Don't Fail to Love the Lord
IF anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha.” (1Co 16:22)

Putting it All Together
As we have seen in God's Word, reaching heaven is not automatic once you say a prayer to accept Christ. It is not a foregone conclusion. Nor is it assumed that you will reach heaven, simply because you sincerely gave your life to Jesus at one time and still consider yourself a true believer.

There are clearly some conditions we are required to meet. We must do the following: Enter through Christ alone. Hear the Lord's voice and open the door of your heart. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. Become united with Christ in His death. Suffer with Christ. Keep His commandments and keep His Word. Hold fast the Word of God. Love one another. Walk in the light as He is in the light. Judge yourself honestly. Eat of Christ, the Living Bread. Be freed by the Son. Become a Son. Be in Christ and belong to Him. Do the deeds of Abraham. Forgive others for their transgressions. Your eyes must be clear. Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. Hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel. Endure to the end. Your heart must not condemn you. Those who have strayed from the truth must turn back to God. Confess your sins. This is not a complete list, but it gives you a good idea of the conditions God requires for those who wish to reach heaven. Examples of other conditions include the following: (Heb 12:14; Mt 19:21; Lk 9:24).

Those who meet the conditions of the New Covenant receive the following promises: We will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. We will be true disciples of Christ. We will know the truth and the truth will make us free. We will be free indeed. We are new creatures; the old things passed away; all things have become new. We will have continual communion with the Lord. We will come to share in Christ. We will be the Lord’s friends. We will have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. A multitude of sins will be covered. We will be forgiven our sins and cleansed from all unrighteousness. Our whole bodies will be full of light. We will have confidence before God. We will have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. The Lord Jesus and the Father will love us, and will come to us and make Their abode with us. We will be God’s house. God will abide in us, and His love will be perfected in us. We will abide in the Son and in the Father. We shall be in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection. We shall also live with Him. We will enter into life. We will live forever. We will never see death. Our souls will be saved from death. We will be children of Abraham. We will be heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Jesus will confess us before His Father who is in heaven. He will present us before the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach. We will also be glorified with Him. We will also reign with Him. We will have treasure in heaven.

There are also many warnings in Scripture against failing to meet the conditions. The following are some examples of these warnings or negative conditions: Do not harden your heart. Do not refuse him who speaks. Do not neglect salvation through transgression and disobedience. Do not fall away. Do not fall short of the promise of entering his rest. Do not go on sinning willfully after coming to know the truth. Do not shrink back. Do not become weary in doing good. Do not lose heart when the Lord rebukes you or make light of His discipline. Do not become tasteless salt. Do not fail to deal radically with sin to remove it. Forgive others from your heart. Do not hate your brother. Guard your eyes, so that you do not become filled with darkness. Do not become entangled again in the defilements of the world. Do not fail to carry your cross and follow Jesus, even at the expense of family relationships. Do not fail to listen to Moses and the prophets and believe Christ's words. Do not have dead faith without works. Do not love the world nor the things of the world. Do not worship the beast and his image or receive a mark in your right hand or forehead. Do not fail to abide in Christ. Do not be arrogant nor fail to continue in God's kindness. Do not live according to the flesh. Do not walk in darkness. Do not deny your own sin. Don’t open your mouth easily. Don't fail to wake up. Don't destroy the temple of God. Don't deny Christ.

Some of the negative consequences for failing to meet the conditions include the following: Being in a worse state than before you ever came to Christ. Being disqualified to be a disciple of Christ. Being illegitimate children and not sons. Being devoid of the truth. Having worthless religion that does you no good. Being useless to God. Being caught off guard by the return of Christ, as a thief in the night. Being denied by Christ before His Father who is in heaven. Being denied forgiveness by God. God’s soul would have no pleasure in you. Failing to enter the promised eternal rest. Being unable to escape eternal punishment. Losing your life. Being destroyed by God. You must die. Being handed over to the torturers. Being thrown out and trampled under foot by men. Being cut to pieces and assigned a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Your whole body would be thrown into hell. Being in darkness. Being unable to repent. Being cut off.  Being burned. Tormented with fire and brimstone. Being accursed.

Therefore, Scripture clearly teaches definite conditions that must be met by those who have entered into the New Covenant with Christ, and if we want to reach heaven, we must meet these conditions. Otherwise we will suffer an even worse punishment than the wicked.

This message is not being preached or taught in most churches, because it's not popular and it doesn't feel good. People like to preach only the positive side of the gospel or the benefits we receive, but they neglect speaking about the negative side or the warnings we must heed. Nevertheless, both the positive and negative sides are part of the gospel. All of these are conditions that must be fulfilled.

I hope you take it to heart and let it encourage you as well as warn you of areas where your soul is in danger. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in your life that is hidden that must go, and then when He does, repent with all your heart and cry out for forgiveness. Mercy is only available while you are on earth. God's standard for heaven is high and He's not going to lower it for anyone. It's high time we get back to the true gospel, seeking holiness and consecration to God.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy Sins That Will Keep You From HeavenDrifting Away, Is Obedience Optional?, The Apostasy Parables, Obedience by the Spirit, The Obedience of Faith, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Aim for Perfection, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, Baptized with the Spirit, Holy Fire Baptism, The Straight and Narrow Path, Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God, Pleasing the Lord, The Burning Ones, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, Ask for the Ancient PathsLiving a Life Worthy of the Lord, Keeping a Good Conscience, Separation from the World, Having a Servant's Heart, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, Doing What is RightThe Ways of Life, Whatever You Do, Do All Like This, The Mark of the Beast (666), and Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets. You can find more of my articles related to Seeking the Lord on the Home page of this blog. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Whatever You Do, Do All Like This

Crystal Sea by C.V. Lacroix
There are several passages in Scripture that tell us how to do all things.

Do All in Love
“Let all that you do be done in love. (1Co 16:14).  As the NIV says, “Do everything in love.” Also see my article, Law of Love in the New Testament.

Do All for the Glory of God
“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1Co 10:31). Also see my article, For the Glory of God Alone.

Do All Heartily as for the Lord
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” (Col 3:23). Also see my article, Having a Servant's Heart.

Do All in the Name of the Lord Jesus
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17). There are actually two things in this verse. We are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the second is that we are to be giving thanks to God through Him. Also see my article, The Name of Jesus.

In Everything by Prayer and Supplication with Thanksgiving
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Php 4:6). Also see my article, The Disciples’ Prayer.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” (Eph 6:18)

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Th 5:16-18)

"Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart..." (Luk 18:1)

Keep Alert at All Times
But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36) 

Always Rejoice in the Lord
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Php 4:4; cf. 1 Thes 5:16)

In Everything, Treat People the Way You Want to Be Treated
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Mat 7:12)

Do Everything without Complaining or Arguing
"Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Php 2:14, NIV)

Children Obedient in All Things
“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” (Col 3:20)

Slaves Obedient in All Things
“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (Col 3:22) 

Be Faithful in All Things
Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.” (1Ti 3:11)

Be Sober in All Things
“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (Ti 4:5)

Good Deeds, Doctrinal Purity, and Dignified in All Things
"Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified." (Tit 2:6 -7)

Be Holy in All You Do
"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" (1 Pe 1:15-16, NIV)

Putting it All Together
Based on these passages, we learn that there are some universal commands that apply to everything we do. We are to do everything in love, for the glory of God, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and as unto the Lord. We are instructed to rejoice in the Lord always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything. We must keep alert at all times. Be faithful and sober in all things. In all things we should be an example of good deeds, doctrinal purity, and dignity. Children and slaves must be obedient in all things. We must treat people the same way we want them to treat us, do everything without complaining or arguing, and be holy in all we do. Now let us live like this with the Lord’s help.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. The Crystal Sea painting is by my seventeen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix. You can find more of her lovely artwork at A Brush with Life.

Author's note I invite you to visit these other articles of mine: For the Glory of God Alone, Fruit in Every Season, Doing What is Right, The Name of Jesus, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, Aim for Perfection, Law of Love in the New Testament, Pleasing the Lord, Living a Life Worthy of the Lord, The Way, Will, and Word of God, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Righteous Deeds and White Robes,  Faith Works!, Practicing Your Righteousness, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Striving to Enter the Kingdom of GodThe Straight and Narrow Path, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Led by the Spirit, and You Must Be Born Again. You can access more articles like this from the Home page of this blog, and you can also find my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Holding Fast the Faithful Word

Dear brethren, let me encourage you today to hold fast to the faithful Word. In this dark and evil age that we live in, we need to hold firmly to it, in order to be saved.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” (1Co 15:1-2, NIV).

He said, “By this gospel you are saved.” (1 Cor 15:2a). So we are saved by the gospel, but look at the condition for being saved, which he states in the same verse. The condition is, “If you hold firmly to the Word I preached to you,” or as the NASB states, “If you hold fast the word which I preached to you.” Paul also wrote to Titus saying, “Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching...” (Tit 1:9a). You see, we must hold on to the Word. It’s the basic condition for being saved by the gospel. Someone will say that sounds like a gospel of works. But that is the true gospel, which Paul preached. Those are God’s Words, not mine.

The Lord Jesus gave a parable about the seed scattered on four types of soil. The seed represented the Word of God. Only the seed that fell on one of the four soils ended up bearing fruit. These are the ones who retain the Word. He said, "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the Word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (Luk 8:15).

All three of the other types of soil received the same seed, the same Word of God, but failed to bear fruit. One type will not believe the Word and be saved, because the devil comes and takes the Word out of their hearts. The second type hears the Word and receives it with joy, but since they have no firm root; they believe for a while, and fall away in time of temptation. The third type are the ones who have heard the Word, but as they go on their way, they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life. Those worries, riches, and pleasures are like thorns that choke a plant, so these people bring no fruit to maturity. The fourth type are the ones with a good and honest heart, who hold fast the Word that they have heard, and bear fruit with perseverance; these are the only ones who are saved. Therefore, in order to ultimately be saved, we must hold fast the Word, and by continuance in it, bear fruit.

But aren’t we saved by faith alone and not by works? Yes, we are indeed. Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8). Salvation and eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord are a gift of God (Rom 6:23). No man can know the Father unless Christ reveals the Father to him (John 17:25-26). Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, except through Him (Jn 14:6). No man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (Jn 6:44), and "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.” (Joh 3:27).

Therefore, God gives each of us, whom He draws to Christ, a measure of faith. Paul said, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Rom 12:3). That verse also says that He gives us each grace, too.  James also wrote about the gift of grace, saying, “But He gives a greater grace.” (Jas 4:6a). Both he and Peter said, “He gives grace to the humble” (Jas 4:6b; 1 Pe 5:5b; cf., Pr 3:34). So we are given both the grace and the faith.

Likewise, He has given us a freewill (Joh 7:17; Jam 1:13-16; 1 Co 7:37), so we can decide what to do with the measure of grace and faith we've been given. That “free will” thing is where we run into problems. It is possible to miss the grace of God (Heb 12:15), to resist it (Ac 7:51), to receive it in vain (2 Co 6:1), to abuse it, and to use it as a license to sin (Jude 1:4; Rom 6:1).  It is also possible to shipwreck your faith (1 Tim 1:19), throw away your confidence (He 10:35); and abandon your faith (1 Tim 6:21) as well as to believe in vain (1 Cor 15:2). If we do not hold fast to the Word, then according to Paul, we have believed in vain.  Moreover, we cannot diminish the fact that the devil hates us and is seeking whom he may devour (1 Pe 5:8). There is a very real spiritual war being waged against us (Eph 6:12).

This is why remaining obedient, alert, sober, watchful, vigilant, and prayerful, are so important (1 Pe 5:8; Lk 21:36). We must remain in His love (Jn 15:10), walk in the Light (1 Jn 1:7), remain on the straight and narrow path (Mt 7:13-14), walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16), walk in love (Eph 5:2), walk in the Truth (3 Jn 1:4), abide in Christ (Jn 15:4), pray without ceasing (1 The 5:17), practice our righteousness (Mt 6:1), run the race with perseverance (He 12:1), keep the faith (2 Tim 4:7), hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (Heb 10:23), hold fast the faithful Word (Tit 1:9), and by continuance in it bear fruit (Lk 8:15). We must guard the trust (1 Tim 6:20), fight the good fight (2 Tim 4:7), work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12), deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23). We must prove faithful with the trust we have been given (Mt 25:21; 1 Cor 4:2), stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24), encourage one another (He 10:24), keep ourselves from being polluted by the world (Jam 1:27), pursue holiness (Heb 12:14), strive to enter the kingdom of God (Lk 13:24) and endure to the end (Mt 10:22; 24:13; Mk 13:13). He who endures to the end shall be saved, so hold on to the faithful Word!

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. 

Author's note: If you enjoyed this article, I also recommend
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Pleasing the Lord, Living a Life Worthy of the Lord, Drifting Away, The Straight and Narrow Path, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, Practicing Your Righteousness, Holy Living in a Perverted World, Doing What is Right, Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Faith Works!, The Judgment Seat of Christ, The Obedience of Faith, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Remember the Eternal Law of God, Purge the Evil from Among You, James Agboola Revelation of Heaven and Hell, The Role of the Trinity in Drawing People to God, Election and Predestination, Keeping Power of God, and The Righteous Will Shine Forth as the Sun. Other related articles are available on the Home page. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?


“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Judging with Righteous Judgment

I'd like to address the topic of judging with righteous judgment. I have written several articles on Eternal Destinations about how the Lord is warning His Church of evil practices that His sons and daughters are engaged in. In His mercy, He is warning us to repent, so that we don't perish.  Yet many have rejected these warnings, and they give various reasons for doing so. Today I would like to discuss one such reason some nay sayers may give, which is that we must not judge by appearance.

One sister in Christ who read my article, Seven Reasons to Believe the Seven Divine Revelations, wrote to me saying that she used to believe all Seven Divine Revelations on Godly Attire and Adornment, but now she does not believe any of them. The Scripture she quoted was John 7:24, in which Jesus said, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." Her point is that the Lord taught us not to judge according to outward appearance, and she believes these revelations are judging other people according to their outward appearance. However, it's important to correctly understand what the Lord meant in that passage, before we can properly apply it to this situation.

In the context of that verse, He was refuting those who were angry with Him for healing a man on the Sabbath, and who claimed that He had a demon.  So let's keep the verse in it's proper context, in order to understand its meaning correctly.  They were judging the Lord merely by the appearance of what He was doing, and because they had never seen anyone do such things before, they assumed it was work, which was forbidden on the Sabbath.  However, notice what the Lord said to them. He said, "Judge with righteous judgment." What does that mean? He explained what it means with the following words.

"For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? (Joh 7:22-23)

The Lord pointed out to them how they had no problem circumcising a baby on the Sabbath, in order to keep the Law of Moses.  They knew it was right to conduct a circumcision on the Sabbath, if it was the eighth day since the child was born, even though it could be considered work. They realized that although work was forbidden on the Sabbath, they could obey God's Law on that day by circumcising, and not be guilty of breaking the Sabbath. Likewise, since the Law also requires that we love our neighbor and do good, then Jesus could heal a man on the Sabbath without breaking the Law.  He was doing what was pleasing to God, making a man well, and there is no law against that.

Furthermore, since we do not know the thoughts and intentions of other people, it impairs our ability to properly judge them. We might perceive that a person is doing something wrong, as they assumed Jesus was on the Sabbath, when in fact the individual is actually doing good. Likewise, there is the danger of assuming the person is innocent in what they are doing, when in fact they are doing evil. That is why we should not judge the motives and intentions of others, but we can judge their actions or fruit. To judge with righteous judgment is to judge others based on what is truly righteous, not based on our opinion of how their actions appear to us.

Judging Righteously Based on Scripture
The key to judging with righteous judgment, as the Lord taught us to do, is that all righteous judgment must be based on the Word of God. Since the Scriptures teach us what is righteous and what is evil, then we should judge others based on what is in the Word. Our judgment must not be based upon our religious traditions, upon our preferences, upon culture, upon what is popular or fashionable, or upon anything else besides the Bible. Let me illustrate my point.

Rainbow hair in braids
The sister who used this verse to say we should not judge by appearance is essentially claiming that we should not judge anyone in the Church by the way he or she is dressed or the way a Christian adorns himself or herself, such as unnatural hair styles, dying the hair, immodest clothing, makeup, and jewelry.  That sister, who once believed the revelations about godly attire and adornment, now says a person can dye his or her hair without sinning. I suppose she means a Christian may dye her hair any color she likes, since it is fashionable to do so, or even multiple colors if she so desires, and thereby change the way God made her in His own image (Gen 1:27).

Therefore, to anyone who uses such an argument from John 7:24 to say (like this sister did) that we are free to do such things, and nobody can judge us, I'd like to ask you some questions. If someone claims to be a brother in Christ, but comes into church wearing a pentagram (a five-pointed star that is formed by drawing a continuous line in five straight segments, often used as a satanic symbol), would you warn him? If he comes into church dressed as a woman, claiming to be a brother in Christ, would you warn him? If he claims to be a brother, and as a musician leading worship, he gets up on the platform with makeup on his face to make him look like a demon, even perhaps with red color beneath the corner of his mouth to look like blood dripping down, would you warn him? I know you personally would not judge a person, because you are against judging by appearance. But would you warn him? What if he wears a T-shirt with a satanic Baphomet image on the front of it? Would you warn him? What if a so-called brother wears an upside down cross? Would you warn him? What if a so-called pastor has the number "666" tattooed on his forehead? Would you sit under his preaching? Or would you warn him?

Judging Those Inside the Church

Before you answer, please read 1 Cor 5:9-13, in which the apostle Paul wrote the following directive to the Corinthians:

“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”  (1Co 5:9-13)

Paul clearly instructed us that we are not to associate with immoral people who claim to be brothers or sisters in Christ. He instructed us to "judge those who are within the church" (v. 12) and "remove the wicked man from among ourselves" (v.13).  Therefore, anyone who says we are not to judge others, in the sense that Paul was referring to, is not following these instructions. 

Regarding verses 12 and 13 of the passage above, Matthew Henry commented:

"...as to members of the church, they are within, are professedly bound by the laws and rules of Christianity, and not only liable to the judgment of God, but to the censures of those who are set over them, and the fellow-members of the same body, when they transgress those rules. Every Christian is bound to judge them unfit for communion and familiar converse*. They are to be punished, by having this mark of disgrace put upon them, that they may be shamed [2Thes 3:14], and, if possible, reclaimed thereby: and the more because the sins of such much more dishonour God than the sins of the openly wicked and profane can do. The church therefore is obliged to clear herself from all confederacy** with them, or connivance*** at them, and to bear testimony against their wicked practices. Note, Though the church has nothing to do with those without, it must endeavour to keep clear of the guilt and reproach of those within."

*Converse is "To keep company; to associate; to cohabit; to hold intercourse and be intimately acquainted; followed by with." -- Webster.

**Confederacy is "a combination of two or more persons to commit an unlawful act." -- Webster.

***Connivance is "Properly, the act of winking. Hence figuratively, voluntary blindness to an act; intentional forbearance to see a fault or other act, generally implying consent to it." -- -- Webster.

Warning the Wicked as a Watchman
And before you answer the series of questions I have asked above, please read the entire passage of Ezekiel 33:1-16. For the sake of space, I will only quote a portion of it here:

"Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. "When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. "But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life." (Eze 33:7-9)
 

The Lord commanded Ezekiel to warn the wicked, so that they do not perish, and that is what the Church must do also.  We must warn the wicked. Once we have warned them, then their blood will be on their own heads. Our hands will be innocent of their blood, according to that passage, and according to the apostle Paul's own words in Ac 20:26-27, in which he said, "Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God."

Furthermore, the Lord commanded us to warn our brother when we see him in sin (Mt 18:15-19). Before you answer my questions, I'd like you to read that, too. The Lord wants you to purge the evil from among you. You need to understand that there is such a thing as ultimate accountability.  In addition to being accountable before God for our own lives, we are accountable for our fellow man.

Knowing Them by Their Fruit
I also recommend reading Matthew 7, in which the Lord taught us not to judge others, but said we would know people by their fruits (Mt 7:20), as I explained in my article, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets. To check someone's fruit, look at their ways, their actions, and the results of their actions. If the fruit is good, then the tree is good, since a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. However, if the fruit is bad, then the tree is bad also, since a good tree cannot produce bad fruit.

Doesn't a person's fruit refer to anything produced by their life, including how they attire and adorn themselves? So part of fruit testing is to observe the attire and adornment of others who claim to be disciples, in order to see whether it is godly, worldly, immodest, occultic, or even satanic.  After all, not everyone who says to Jesus, "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of His Father Who is in heaven (Mt 7:21).

The Lord warned us about the rise of antichrists in the last days, so we must beware of them. Testing the fruit of so-called prophets, pastors, preachers, teachers, and any other so-called Christians will help you to judge with righteous judgment.  It will help you discern between true disciples and false disciples.  Just be sure you get the log out of your own eye first, before you try to help anyone get the splinter out of his or her eye.

Perhaps if the people who judged Jesus by appearance, who accused Jesus of being demon-possessed and breaking the Sabbath, had tested His fruit, they would have realized there was only good fruit in His life and no bad fruit, and consequently they would have realized that He Himself had to be good.

Judge Not!
Since I mentioned the Lord's command not to judge, I think it's important to quote His exact words, in order to give this subject proper treatment. He said, "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Mat 7:1-5)

I think it's pretty clear from the context what Jesus meant by judging others. Now I would like to share the following commentary notes from Matthew Henry and John Wesley about what Jesus meant by "Judge not":

Mathew Henry wrote: "There are those whose office it is to judge - magistrates and ministers. Christ, though he made not himself a Judge, yet came not to unmake them....We must judge ourselves, and judge our own acts, but we must not judge our brother, not magisterially assume such an authority over others, as we allow not them over us: since our rule is, to be subject to one another. Be not many masters, Jam 3:1. We must not sit in the judgment-seat, to make our word a law to every body. We must not judge our brother, that is, we must not speak evil of him, so it is explained, Jam 4:11. We must not despise him, nor set him at nought, Rom 14:10. We must not judge rashly, nor pass such a judgment upon our brother as has no ground, but is only the product of our own jealousy and ill nature. We must not make the worst of people, nor infer such invidious things from their words and actions as they will not bear. We must not judge uncharitably, unmercifully, nor with a spirit of revenge, and a desire to do mischief. We must not judge of a man's state by a single act, nor of what he is in himself by what he is to us, because in our own cause we are apt to be partial. We must not judge the hearts of others, nor their intentions, for it is God's prerogative to try the heart, and we must not step into his throne; nor must we judge of their eternal state, nor call them hypocrites, reprobates, and castaways; that is stretching beyond our line..."

John Wesley wrote: "Judge not any man without full, clear, certain knowledge, without absolute necessity, without tender love. Luk 6:37."

Needless to say, I think that both these eighteenth-century, holiness preachers were absolutely correct in their interpretation of what Jesus meant.  The Lord's directive does not prevent His disciples, especially His ministers, from judging those within the Church with righteous judgment. And neither does it keep us from warning those within the Church of sins that will keep them from heaven. In fact, we are obliged to both judge and warn them.

Wrapping it Up
So once you have read those Scripture passages I have cited above (1 Cor 5; Ez 33; Mat 7 and 18), please tell me whether you would warn the wicked man in the Church who does the things I mentioned. If you believe that those things I mentioned are obviously evil (e.g., the pentagram or the 666 on the forehead), then on what basis do you consider them to be evil? The Lord commanded us to judge with righteous judgment, and the standard by which we do so is His Holy Word. That is why we must declare the whole counsel of God as Paul did, so that people may be warned and repent, rather than perish. If you would warn the people in the examples I cited above, based on the Word of God, then why wouldn't you also warn others of wickedness in the area of attire and adornment, based on the same Word of God? Why would you think that warning others is judging them?

The problem is that the shepherds are like dogs that don't bark. They are not warning people of these evil things. They are afraid to offend people. But it is primarily the responsibility of the shepherd to warn people as a watchman. That's not judging by appearance. It's part of the shepherding role of elders. If it's judging at all, then it's doing so with righteous judgment. 

The Lord does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, and He requires that we warn them. As Paul instructed the elders of Ephesus, "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." (Act 20:28).  Guard yourself and guard the whole flock among which you are an overseer, as the Holy Spirit has made you to be.  Warning people is part of shepherding them, and elders must shepherd the Church of God that He purchased with His own blood.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note: Also see Seven Divine Revelations on Godly Attire and Adornment, Seven Reasons to Believe the Seven Divine Revelations, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, The Rise of Antichrists, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Three Divine Revelations, Tattoos and Body Piercing, Purge the Evil from Among You, Ultimate Accountability, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, A Warning for Married Christian Couples, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, The Shepherding Role of Elders, and The Judgment Seat of Christ, as well as the articles available through the Home page of this blog.  You may access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.