"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . . Our Website is UNDER CONSTRUCTION, please be patient!

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

GETTING 20/20 SPIRITUAL VISION: A SIGHT For SORE EYES – PART 2 of 2


~ By James Fire 

For Part One of this Two Part series, go here.

Once again, PROVERBS 29:18 states,
18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.


Breaking down the meaning of this verse from the Hebrew, it speaks of where there is no vision (oracle, prophecy, divine communication, revelation) the people perish (to show a lack of restraint, loose restraints, set at naught, perish).
Plainly, where GOD’s divine communication is not heeded, when it’s disobeyed, when the truth of GOD is disregarded so that there are no moral boundaries and safeguards, then the people will cast off any restraint, and all that they do will come to nothing, they and their works will perish.
Godly leadership requires godly vision, both seen and understood as well as obeyed. They need to extol, to glorify GOD and admonish others to do the same, and if there is lack of godly leadership, be it in the home, the community, the church - then it will result in a free-for-all of chaotic revolt and relativism:

JUDGES 17:6
In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes
(See also JUDGES 21:25).

We understand that when we say something like, “He’s a man of vision” that this a person who has insight, a plan and purpose, a goal, and ideas on how to pull it all off.
GOD’s plan for all mankind, for all history (which is HIS story!) is revealed to us through Scripture (the vision of prophetic insight, plans and purposes, goals and wisdom on how it will all be accomplished), from the first pages of GENESIS to the last words in REVELATION.
Enoch walked with GOD, and as a result, had such a vision – the LORD showed this man who lived early in the times of GENESIS what would transpire in the end of REVELATION:

JUDE 1:14-15
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him
.
Noah was likewise a man GOD gifted with vision obviously; he built an ark, understanding that the Word of the LORD would bring calamitous judgment in a great world-wide flood. He preached for 120 years faithfully and with the result of zero converts! Yet he remained faithful to GOD and the vision he was granted by the Almighty!
HEBREWS 11:7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Job was a man who knew GOD but whose knowledge grew deeper and wider when he was brought through unbearable burdens and fierce trials, gaining intimacy and refined faith as a result.

JOB 42:5-6
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes
.
Likewise, Abraham was granted such vision, that it was later spoken of by the LORD Jesus Christ. It involved the offering up of his own beloved son Isaac, and the subsequent cessation by the angel of the LORD and then the spiritual insight was granted:
That just as he was asked to offer up his son, the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would likewise offer up His Son – only there would be no cessation of that offering! Christ was the slain LAMB of GOD Who takes away the sin of the world (JOHN 1:29):

JOHN 8:56
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad
.
Moses was a man of such vision, that he saw what few others even dared to ask to see! He saw the glory of GOD, while still in the cleft of the rock!

EXODUS 33:21-23
21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen
.
Isaiah likewise saw the LORD high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple (ISAIAH 6:1-5); Jacob saw the LORD and a ladder that stretched from earth to heaven (GEN 28:12). Joshua likewise saw the LORD Who commanded this general to take off his shoes for the land on which he stood was holy – just as He had commanded Moses (JOSH 5:14-15).

On and on the saints of GOD had been given glorified glimpses into the vision that is from GOD Himself, and His plan throughout the ages, all of which exemplifies the Plan of plans – the work of redemption of fallen man by GOD Himself, Who would come as a sinless man, the perfect sacrifice for the propitiation of all the world, all for and to the glory of GOD!!

And with such humble and redeemed servants of the LORD, following in His footsteps by Holy Spirit empowered strides, He makes them gradually more and more suitable as rulers in His coming Kingdom! 
As stated earlier, unless GOD grants His revelation to us blind fools who grope about, thinking that we see and understand well enough on our own (JOHN 9:41), that GOD is superfluous, as is His Word, then we have no hope of success in any plan or endeavor of our own that is by nature good and worthy. We’ve seen the evidence of this played out upon the stage of the world, whose flow of one act into the next throughout the ages shows a deplorable performance, worthy or ridicule as well as remorse. Such people without the vision of GOD perish along with all their works.

In a day such as ours, so full of the murkiness and confusion of immoral society, and the fact that even the church is succumbing to such visual impairment, there has never been a greater need for spiritual 20/20 vision. Reality is comprised of both absolute truth and absolute falsehoods – a world of stark contrast between black and white, not at all a gray world. where Christ and Satan are concerned; their respective kingdoms know no ‘happy medium’.

To obtain and maintain this spiritual acuity of vision, we must “keep the law” that is, hold fast to the Word of GOD and the purity of the doctrine it reveals (2 TIM 1:13).

What then does the church desperately need to see with absolute clarity in this darkening hour? What is the balm that will restore this vision? Once the eyes of the church are healed, and beholds this glorious vision, what then must be done to see it realized? What is our part to accomplish?

No one can call themselves a biblical Christian without a full and complete surrender to the Bible as the absolute, exclusive authority of the church and the single resource of divine truth found anywhere on the planet. The church needs to get back to this ideology.

This conviction will then exclude ecumenism among religions and other philosophies (Greek and Eastern philosophies to mention a couple, as well as the philosophical scientism of psychiatry) and religious syncretism. This in itself will keep the clear teachings of Scripture pure of any corruptive influences from these other sources.

On this basis, the church can then be assured that the Gospel is the pure and simple message of salvation, "unmixed with baser matter" as Shakespeare would say - the flawed, heretical counterfeit gospels that are out there: the Word-Faith health and wealth gospel, the Social gospel, the New Apostolic Reformation gospel, the Emergent Church gospel, the New Spirituality/NewAge gospel, the Roman Catholic gospel, among myriad others.

Since the Gospel is fundamental as well as foundational, this initial doctrine must be absolutely accurate and entirely in accord with the Bible and no other source. For a simple explanation of the Gospel, go here. For a more in-depth examination, go here for a series on this vital subject. 

Christians have a desperate need for a proper hermeneutic (that is, the method of interpreting the Bible). As far back as church father Origen, the idea of allegorizing the Bible began – the problem is that there is very little of the Bible that is allegorical from a doctrinal perspective. 
There are certain poetic examples of allegory, such as in PSALM 17:8 – “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings…”. GOD obviously doesn’t have wings, but there is an allegorical application here; that just as a hen will cover her chicks with her wings to keep them warm and safe, so also GOD’s desire to keep His own is expressed in this way; the LORD Jesus said as much in MATT 23:37; LUKE 13:34.

It’s long been the standard of interpreting Scripture: “If the plain sense makes sense, look for no other sense.” The proper hermeneutic thus for interpreting Scripture is a literal, grammatical-historical method that holds the Bible as inerrant, infallible, plenary (entirely inspired by GOD with no ideologies of humanity incorporated into it) and wholly authoritative apart from all other belief systems where spiritual reality is concerned.

What caused great damage to understanding the Bible was the insertion of Liberal Christianity and their profuse employ of allegory into Bible exegesis – their game of ‘fast and loose’ with the Scriptures provided a fertile breeding ground for just about every heresy and false movement we see today (Social gospel, Emergent church, Word-Faith, and too, too many others). For a treatment of just one example of Liberal vs. Literal interpretation of Scripture, consider this article: The Narrow View of the Scriptures.

For myself, I adamantly believe that the best and most accurate hermeneutic which remains faithful to a literal interpretation of the Bible, that also complies with all of these requirements is a dispensational interpretation. For an understanding of a literal interpretation of Scripture from a dispensational point of view, check out this article. Please be patient as you read through this treatment as it’s a bit lengthy, but will yield a rich reward of understanding once read.

I believe one of the primary, if not the primary fracturing from a literal interpretation of Scripture involves Israel and the church, which ‘Covenant theology’ blends together as simply Old Testament and New Testament versions of ‘the church’ and that the New Testament church has replaced the Old Testament – or in other words, GOD is finished with Israel as a nation, and now focuses exclusively on the church of Jesus Christ. This is what's known as Replacement Theology and it's plain and simple heresy. For a detailed explanation of this false doctrine and rightly dividing the Word of Truth, watch this youtube video with Bible teacher, David Hocking: The HERESY of REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY.

Proper interpretation that is both literal and accurate will always keep the distinction between the nation of Israel and the New Testament church, understanding that the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants have yet to be entirely fulfilled, but will be so in our (near) future.

Such assertions as I have made above, if adhered to according the admonitions as found in Scripture itself, will provide the very vision that GOD intends for us His church to behold and understand; and once understood, we shall then be able to faithfully carry out this vision, by the power of the Spirit, walking in obedience to His Holy will.

To receive GOD’s vision there is something else that the church must do: there must be a restoration for a desire for holiness and a wholesale repentance of our secret – or not so secret sins. 

There are those in the church who are committing adultery, living together in sin and yet professing to be believers in good standing with no perceived need for repentance.
There are those in the church that make regular use of mind-altering drugs, those who regularly indulge in gossip and strife in the fellowship of the saints; there are those professing Christians who also believe in Humanism*, who will mix their belief in the Bible with psychology, with eastern mysticism, with reincarnation or even their own ideologies. There are those professing Christians in the church that have an unapologetic love for the things of the world – and find no need for repentance of these things.

*Check out this video by Paris Reidhead on the difference between biblical Christianity and Humanism that has infested the church! He explains the difference between a true child of GOD and a mere professing believer that confesses Christ with their mouth but denies Him with his heart and his life.

TEN SHEKELS and a SHIRT



I believe that because we in America have (up to now – I believe things in this regard are about to radically change!) lived in prosperity and ease, free from serious hardships in general, as well as an absence of persecution, that this has contributed to a carnal, ungodly condition in the church. These compromises have led us to this tepid, weak and unspiritual condition, a Laodicean spirit, if you will, that lacks the white-hot fervent and zealous love for the LORD and His Word and has brought about our ineffectual influence in the world – we have ceased to be the salt and light that GOD desires (MATT 5:13-14) , and as a result, this has brought about rampant corruption, not just in our society where abortion is promoted and even glorified as much as the homosexual and LGBTQ life-styles, but also in our churches - with the promotion of these things as well as false gospels, replacing the study of GOD's Word with any variety of New York Times Best Sellers books catering to church-goers. Prayer by and large is not practiced or only by a select few. Fewer still desire the admonition and correction and rebuke from the pulpit.

Understand, that I express these statements not out of a heart of hatred, intolerance or bigotry or a desire to create strife and division, but the very opposite: I desire that the condition of this world would be reversed and that a spiritual revival would break out and that lost souls would find redemption in Christ and be exactly what GOD created and intended them for. That these would know the overwhelmingly blessed love of GOD Who longs to be a Father to them and save them securely for an eternity of fellowship! And that the church of the LORD Jesus Christ would return to these precious gifts!!

If we are to properly perceive and understand the vision of GOD, our eyes must be healed by the salve that only Christ can provide:

REVELATION 3:18
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see
.
The gold spoken of here is GOD’s presence in the life of a human soul, the only treasure that is eternal and worth seeking after. The white raiment speaks of the righteousness that we have placed in our lives, as GOD indwells us through the born again experience (JOHN 3:3,5; 1 PET 1:23). The eye salve speaks of spiritual acuity, to see the things of spiritual truth with clarity and comprehension. 

We are in dire need of these things in the American church, where congregants are more ‘church-goers’ than they are children of GOD, truly repentant and counted righteous by faith (GAL 3:6). These are the sort that willingly accept the offer of salvation from hell and for heaven, but shy away from the life of the cross, who with decided reluctance avoid any conviction to follow Christ in obedience, and thus, have no real assurance of salvation because of a lack of evidence to any real change in their hearts and lives (if they bear no fruit – they may rightly be classified as tares, rather than wheat; MATT 7:18-20; 13:18-30).

2 TIMOTHY 2:21 states:
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
If you are a true child of GOD, a member of the body of Christ, His church, then you should have a deep-rooted desire to honor the LORD, to be obedient to the One Who loves you so very much that He willingly took your place in the punishment for your sins, on Calvary’s cross. To hear and receive, to understand and to obey GOD's Word is vital but not sufficient - for obedience must have as its sole motivation, a love for GOD Himself Who Himself proved His love at Calvary's cross!

To honor the LORD, we must cleanse (“purge”) ourselves of the things I’ve mentioned above. We must be His disciples and continue in His Word – not only in reading but studying and not only in studying but in obeying (MATT 7:24-27) and loving GOD (MATT 22:36-38). Then we shall be greatly, fantastically, wonderfully used of the LORD in working in His Kingdom, with the LORD Himself working with us as our yoke-fellow (MARK 16:20; MATT 11:29).
What is this work for GOD’s Kingdom that we are to engage in?

~ The preaching of the pure and unadulterated GOSPEL = God’s Omnipotent Salvation Proclaiming Eternal Love/Life (MARK 16:15; ROM 10:15; 1 COR 9:16). To herald with bold confidence the cross of Christ (GAL 6:14) and the exclusive means of salvation in JESUS (JOHN 14:6).

~ To make disciples of all men – that is, once a soul is truly born again, we see them baptized and teach them in the Christian life (MATT 28:19) and encourage them to yield to the LORD’s work in their life so that they become slowly but surely more and more like Christ (GAL 2:20; ROM 12:2; PHIL 3:10). And we cannot make disciples unless we are disciples ourselves saints!

~ Again, the Word of GOD needs to find a regular, prominent and intentional place in our lives – to read, meditate upon, study and obey (PSALM 119).

Prayer is also a necessary vitality (EPH 6:18), without which we cannot hope to find a deeper understanding of the VISION of GOD, much less have the spiritual fortitude and inspiration to fulfill it!

~ Godly fellowship in a body of believers, planted firmly among the saints, not roaming from one church body to another, but submitted willingly to godly, Spirit-led pastors who can then consistently watch over your souls (HEB 10:25; 13:17; EPH 4:12-13).

While these are basic admonitions, I fear that the professing church here in America is so steeped in Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers, Beth Moore along with adherents who follow Brian McClaren and Rob Bell more closely than they do the Scriptures – that even these fundamentals are by and large either unknown or not desired!!

Beloved of the LORD – if we are to be salt and light in this world (MATT 5:13-14), if we are to even begin to arrest the corruption that is rank in our nation, then we must return to what Jeremiah called “the old paths” (JER 6:16), these fundamentals that too many liberal pastors and theologians claim “just don’t work anymore”. I recall Rob Bell once stated,
"Let's make a group decision to drop once and for all the ‘Bible-as-Owner's-Manual’ metaphor. It's terrible. It really is.
"This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that 'scripture alone' is our guide. It sounds nice, but it isn't true. . . When people say that all we need is the Bible, it is simply not true."

Mr. Bell, the Word of GOD contradicts you and I’ll side with the BIBLE any eight days of the week:

2 PETER 1:3
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue
:
All our knowledge of the LORD comes through the very WORD of GOD; there are no other sources of truth whereby we can obtain this knowledge.

Let us therefore seek the LORD in humility and repentance, and return to our first love, forsaking all other loves that would desire to take first place in our lives! It’s been said before: GOD doesn’t want to be Number One on a list of ten in our lives – He really doesn’t! What He truly desires is to be Number One on a list of ONE! All other loves and affections belong on an entirely different list!

With VISION restored, let us then engage in the work, putting our hands to the plow and seek first the KINGDOM of GOD and His righteousness (MATT 6:33)! I believe such is necessary in order to endure the troublesome times that are just ahead of us, where the American church will likely experience for the first time in our over three-century history experience social, cultural, economic hardships as well as national persecution.

For more on this, check out the following article by Geri Ungurean:


Also the following exhortation FROM the MIND of FIRE:

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