Archive for July, 2017

Lighthouse for the Blind

It is a frightening thing to be in total darkness. I remember there were times out at sea when there was no moon and if you were outside on the deck's it was so dark that you literally could not see your own hand in front of your face. It was at moments like those that you realize you could step off the edge of the ship and fall into the ocean without warning and never be seen again!

The present world system is just such a place as that in a spiritual sense. Satan, as the prince of the power of the air is filled the earth with darkness and many are stepping into eternity without warning, having rejected or never even seen the light. This is a tragic thing, but in many cases this blindness of darkness is self-induced. It is like someone walking around claiming that they could not see, but wearing a blindfold!

Why do so many people remain in darkness? Why do so many avoid the light? One reason that Jesus gave was that they did not want their deeds exposed.

John 3:19-21 NASB

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

This is so tragic and unnecessary because the light is not restricted to only a few! The allow themselves to be blinded by this world by their refusal to believe.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 NKJV

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

John 1:9 NASB

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

Now at this point, some would say that the only way for an on regenerate person to receive the things of God would be by a direct action of the Holy Spirit enabling them to see. But what the following verse says is that the spiritual things of God or only foolishness to those who refuse to look at anything spiritually.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

It is a twisting of this passage to say that unregenerate people lack the capability to comprehend anything about salvation apart from a direct revelation from the Holy Spirit. It is true that the Bible, as the Word of God, has Spirit-embedded power that is living and active, but the receiving of truth is not what Paul is talking about. In context, he is saying that the Greek philosophers and orators didn't have a clue about the wisdom of God, and never would because they refused to believe.

Thus even the psalmist could write,

"The entrance of thy words giveth light;

it giveth understanding unto the simple."

(Psalm 119:130)

In fact, it's a direct operation apart from the word of God were necessary for salvation, then Romans has a glaring omission in chapter 10, verses 14-17:

Romans 10:14-17

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

But notice here that Faith comes by hearing the word of God not by hearing someone's opinion or a very gifted speaker. If we are not preaching the word there will be no convicting power to save, because the light will not be shining. Some have compared the church to a hospital for the sick, and that is a valid illustration. But we are also to be a lighthouse for the blind! That's why Paul was inspired to write this as well:

2 Corinthians 4:5-6

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Let no man say he was lost because the Holy Spirit didn't give him the ability to see the light. The light has shone on every man, and the Spirit acts through the living Word of God to illuminate the path to salvation. Preach the Word and let the light shine!

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Church of the Crusty Foulers?

What is a “crusty fouler”? Glad you asked.  That is the term many boaters use to describe barnacles that attach to the underside of ships. Here is what the NOAA has to say about barnacles:

“How do barnacles stick to the undersides of vessels, to other sea life, to each other, and to pretty much anything they come in contact with? They secrete a fast-curing cement that is among the most powerful natural glues known, with a tensile strength of 5,000 pounds per square inch and an adhesive strength of 22-60 pounds per square inch. The glue is so strong that researchers are trying to figure out how it can be used commercially.

Barnacles like places with lots of activity, like underwater volcanos and intertidal zones, where they reside on sturdy objects like rocks, pilings, and buoys. Moving objects like boat and ship hulls and whales are particularly vulnerable to the pesky critters. Large barnacle colonies cause ships to drag and burn more fuel, leading to significant economic and environmental costs. The U.S. Navy estimates that heavy barnacle growth on ships increases weight and drag by as much as 60 percent, resulting in as much as a 40 percent increase in fuel consumption!”[i]

So barnacles can be a major problem for boat owners and shipping companies. On vessels that travel across massive oceans, a 40% increase in fuel consumption is a huge expense! When ships come into dry dock, one of the first things that is done is the pressure wash or sand blast the barnacles and associated marine life off of the bottom of the hull. It is a lot of work, and removing them can actually cause some damage because of the strength of their glue.

So how does this apply to the church?  Well, over the years, new doctrines and practices have attached themselves to the sides of the ark of Christ, the church. They seemed innocent enough at first, and many were hardly even noticed. But over the centuries, they have accumulated and obscured the image of the original church. Many are so used to them being there, that they try to argue that they are pretty and belong there like they are part of the ship now.

We cannot afford for our ark to be burdened with foreign “crusty foulers” if we are to complete our voyage to the port of Heaven. But because of the centuries of accumulation, we must refer back to the original blueprints to see what they say so that we can recognize the hull when we see it!  The only reliable blueprint is found in the New Testament where the church that Christ built is described in doctrine and practice. Anything we see that is not on that blueprint must be scraped off, even if breaking that bond of glue (i.e. traditions) is painful to break off. Once they are off, we must be vigilant to spot any future barnacles of manmade practices or doctrines that try to attach themselves.

The effort is worth it, and the ark of Christ will be better off for it!

Mark 7:6-8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites,as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.
They worship me in vain,
teaching as doctrines human commands.[a]

Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.”

Trail Reeves

[i] https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/barnacles.html

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