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______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

“The Naked Gospel” February 9, 2010

“Conviction or Counsel?”

Convict means to find guilty.  The root convict only appears eight times in the Bible.  And not one of those appearances has anything to do with the daily life of the believer!  The gospel of John contains the only passage that joins “Holy Spirit” and “convict.”  [READ John 16:7-9]
Who’s being convicted here?  It’s the world, characterized as people who do not believe in Jesus.

[The Holy Spirit is] our Counselor, or Helper, our Comforter, our Advocate — and the one who guides us into all the truth (John 16:13).  He prays on our behalf (Romans 8:26).  And he testifies to us concerning our identity as children of God (Romans 8:16).  Rather than dredging up the past, the Holy Spirit trains us for the future.  When sinful behaviors occur in our lives, he reminds us of Jesus’ work on the cross.  We need to know that we’re pure and made for good deeds.  Too many Christians succumb to the Accuser while wrongly attributing these attacks to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Buy “The Naked Gospel” HERE.

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– My Review:

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Yet another great addition to my library. 
With all the ground that has been covered by previous readings, this book managed to cover new ground.  It really helps show how religion has added so much to the gospel that the true gospel is considered heresy by much of the “church.”  It’s amazing how far we’ve fallen from truth.
One of my favorite sections is called “Crossing The Line.”  It, alone is worth the price of the book.  It discussed how the dividing line of time, and covenants, was not Christ’s  birth, but his death and resurrection.  I, of course, knew this, but I hadn’t considered the full ramifications; especially concerning the teachings of Jesus under the Old Covenant.
There are some areas that are at opposition with my personal beliefs.  Andrew believes, like many, that Father-Son briefly lost fellowship at the cross. Despite what Jesus felt on the cross, the Father didn’t turn His back on Jesus.  God cannot turn God’s back on God’s self.  (For a great understanding of this, read “He Loves Me” by Wayne Jacobsen.)
But, reading a book like this, and disagreeing with one or two points is no big deal.  I will add this to the short  list of books that I will give away multiple copies of.

I can see why earlier versions of this type of material were banned and burned by organized religion, and why the promoters of said material were tortured and killed.  Of course, Jesus was tortured and killed for pretty much the same reasons.   Anyway, thank you, Andrew Farley.

— dave
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Here are more excerpts from “The Naked Gospel,” by Andrew Farley

Buy “The Naked Gospel” HERE.

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“Jesus spoke truth to every audience he encountered. [But]We often attempt to apply directly to our lives every word Jesus said, without considering his audience and purpose. Jesus was born under the law. His audience was under the law, and they needed deliverance from it. Jesus exposed the futility of life under the law.

He exclaimed, “Gouge out your eye” and “cut off your hand” if you truly want to keep the law (Matthew 5:29-30), so that his Jewish listeners would reach a crossroad. They would decide to try harder or to give up. Once they gave up, they could consider a radical new way.
Jesus’ impossible teachings of “sell everything, sever body parts if necessary, be perfect like God, and surpass the Pharisees with your righteousness” are not honestly compatible with salvation as a gift from God.
Couldn’t we resolve all of this by realizing the dividing line in human history? Peter, James, John, and Paul wrote epistles about life under the New Covenant. Years earlier, Jesus was teaching hopelessness under the Old. The audience wasn’t the same. The covenant wasn’t the same. And the teachings aren’t the same.

Jesus’ harsh teaching aimed at the religious kill you every time. One thing about distinguishing the Old from the New – it always liberates.
Jesus was born under the law. As Hebrews tells us, the Old wasn’t replaced by the New until Jesus’ death.
Trying to mix Jesus’ teachings directed to Pharisees and zealous Jews with the epistles will inevitably result in confusion.

Buy “The Naked Gospel” HERE.

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“There is no greater test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace.  If my preaching and presentation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel…There is this kind of dangerous element about the true presentation of the doctrine of salvation.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. –
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One hindrance to understanding the real gospel as life restoration is an obsession with “book knowledge.”  The life of Jesus in us is what matters most.  We shouldn’t equate “Bible smarts” with spiritual maturity.  They’re certainly not one and the same.  As in Jesus’ day, it’s often those who are puffed up about their good handle on what the Scriptures say (not what they mean!) who resist the counsel of the Holy Spirit.
(Jonh 5:39-40).

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Buy “The Naked Gospel” HERE.
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Adam and Eve didn’t eat from a “tree of evil.”  They ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They weren’t pursuing sin as we normally think of it.  They were pursuing a form of godliness.  God never intended for humanity to take upon itself the burden of developing and following a code of ethics.  Adam and Eve reconsidered their confidence in God’s way and opted for morality instead.
Today, we can be deceived by the same offer.  We may find ourselves pursuing the knowledge of good instead of listening to our heartfelt yearning for an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Fulfilling the law is something that God did in Christ.  Its fulfillment isn’t an ongoing event in the lives of believers today.  God set us free from the law, so that we’re not under it or supervised by it (Galatians 3:25).
The Holy Spirit isn’t motivating us to keep the Mosaic law, nor do I think we should consult the law as our guide in daily living.  This is why we have the Holy Spirit in us instead:  “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).  Furthermore, if God were motivating us to adhere to the law, it would be the entire law, not just part of it (James 2:10). [By the way, God did write His laws on our hearts, not the law of Moses.  God’s law, according to Jesus, is “love God, love people.”]
I believe it’s quite clear that believers should have no relationship with the law.  Romans 7 explains that we’ve died to the law, and we’re now married to Another.  God views a return to law-based living as spiritual adultery.  Living by rules is cheating on Jesus!
Christianity was never rooted in the Law, not even in the Ten Commandments.  The commandments aren’t intended to supervise Christians (Galatians 2:19).   In fact, the law causes more sinning (Romans 7:5,8).
Paul warns that if we add even a pinch of law to our life in Christ, He’ll be of no value to us (Galatians 5:2-3).  It’s preposterous for Christians to adopt portions of the law of Moses as our guide for living.  We’re presuming that God grades on a curve.  But the law is completely incompatible with our attempt to “do our best.”  Law is a pass-fail system.  And one strike means you’re out.  The law only breeds two things: defeat if you’re honest and hypocrisy if you’re not.

[I’ve always heard people say “I know we can’t keep the law, but we should try and do our best.”  WHAT?!?!?  Scripture never says “Try to keep the law.”  It never says “Do your best.”  It says “Keep it all.  Period.”  The very scriptures they quote completely negate their proposal.  Neither do the Scriptures teach that we do what we can and Jesus does the rest.  God didn’t say that to make us try harder, but to raise the bar so high, we can never do it.  Thank God, Jesus did it for us.]
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Buy “The Naked Gospel” HERE.
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Christ is the end of the law (Romans 10:4).
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Buy “The Naked Gospel” HERE.
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Sure, the flesh is delighted to coerce us toward obvious evil.  But the flesh is equally satisfied to initiate religious or moral living admired by others!
Don’t believe for a minute that the flesh is limited in its scope to producing ugly behavior.  The flesh will build any kind of identity, as long as it gains love, attention, and acceptance from someone.
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The Sabbath:  The reality is Christ, and a genuine Sabbath-rest is found in Him; ceasing from the dead works we thought would gain us favor with God.
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The Tithe:  The same law that mandates a tithe doesn’t allow the pastor to own a home, own property, or own possessions.
(Also read “Tithing and Clergy Salaries.”  Click HERE.)
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Buy “The Naked Gospel” HERE.

 

Spiritual Adultery November 13, 2009

This deals with the relationship or lack of relationship believers have with the law. For many Christians, the idea that in Christ, they are totally free from a system of rules is a scary thought and they often try to relate to Jesus in the same way as they related to the law or in some cases leave Jesus and return to the law. This is “spiritual adultery.”

Here are some of the common methods that Christians use to try to overcome sins.

Tell others of your commitment to overcome.
Pray and promise.
Read “Christian self-help” books.
Memorize and quote Scripture.

Real victory over sin is a gift that only comes from Christ, fleshly efforts to overcome never bring success.
1 Corinthians 15:57 says,  But we thank God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is spiritual adultery?  What relationship does the believer have to rules?

Romans 7:1-5   Brothers and sisters, all of you understand the law of Moses. So surely you know that the law rules over people only while they are alive. For example, a woman must stay married to her husband as long as he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law of marriage. But if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, the law says she is guilty of adultery. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law of marriage. Then if she marries another man, she is not guilty of adultery. In the same way, my brothers and sisters, your old selves died, and you became free from the law through the body of Christ. This happened so that you might belong to someone else—the One who was raised from the dead—and so that we might be used in service to God. In the past, we were ruled by our sinful selves. The law made us want to do sinful things that controlled our bodies, so the things we did were bringing us death.

How do we get out of marriage to Mr. Law?   We had to die!

All other sins are preceded by spiritual adultery!
Galatians 5:4   If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is over—you have left God’s grace.
The believer has no relationship with religious rules…our only relationship is with Jesus Christ!

Spiritual adultery happens when we go back to our first spouse (law) to get our needs met instead of staying with our New Spouse (Jesus/Grace) for our happiness. We become distrustful of Jesus and His ability to meet all our needs. We want to make sure and “do it ourselves.” The most difficult thing for us to do is completely depend on Jesus! When we return to our former spouse (rules), we are being unfaithful to Jesus.

What does spiritual adultery look like?

Placing confidence in behavior…especially “good” behavior.
Placing confidence in doctrinal beliefs and knowledge of spiritual matters.
Trusting anything or anybody besides Jesus for our acceptance before God!

How can it be a sin when a Christian does a good thing?
Hebrews 11:6    Without faith no one can please God… Doing “good things” in our own power, using our personal efforts and acting independently of God is just as wrong as doing “bad things.”
In both cases, the real issue is independence from God…not placing our faith in His provision. 1Thessalonians 5:24 says  …He will do it.

The difference between the law tree and the life tree:

The law tree offers knowledge about what is right and wrong, but gives no life. The life tree is Jesus Christ who tells us what is right and wrong and gives not only eternal life, but abundant life here and now.

When we try to get life from the Law Tree, our focus is on behavior, but when we go to the Life Tree, our focus is on God who alone can give us life!

Do Christians need the law?
1 Timothy 1:8-10   But we know that the law is good if someone uses it lawfully. We also know that the law is not made for good people but for those who are against the law and for those who refuse to follow it. It is for people who are against God.

For whom is the law given?   People like the ones described in the above Scripture.

If we as believers don’t focus on religious laws, what will govern our behavior?

Jeremiah 31:33-34   “This is the agreement I will make with the people of Israel at that time,” says the Lord: “I will put my teachings in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. People will no longer have to teach their neighbors and relatives to know the Lord, because all people will know me, from the least to the most important,” says the Lord. “I will forgive them for the wicked things they did, and I will not remember their sins anymore.”

Christians are governed by relationship, not rules! The indwelling Christ will lead and guide. The law defines sin as a violation of the rules, grace defines sin as a violation of the relationship.

Why do Christians try to build their lifestyle around a set of rules?

It seems natural…just the way life works best…that’s the way the rest of life is governed.   A set of rules makes it possible for the ones that are strong to out-perform the ones that aren’t.  I used to feel quite superior over Sabbath observance and abstaining from certain foods and alcohol.

Colossians 2:20-23   Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of the world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these: “Don’t eat this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t even touch that thing”? These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used. They are only man-made commands and teachings. They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a man-made religion. They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self.

–Steve McVey

 

 
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