Monday, January 31, 2011

THE FATHER DRAWS

The Father Draws



“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44. According to Jesus’ own words the Father must do the drawing (except the Father …draw him) otherwise none of us could be justified (saved). God works in mysterious ways, ways we mere humans can’t really wrap our minds around. God works through His Holy Spirit on the heart of every man – yet no man comes to Jesus unless God the Father is thoroughly involved. Not everyone accepts the truth and believes God when He attempts to convince them of His truth. If folks come to the foot of the cross it must be because God the Father drew them there and they believed. No man will seek justification (salvation) by his own volition.



Is it God’s desire that all of mankind be saved? “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9. The Greek word “pas” used here for “all” actually means all. But does that mean that eventually all men/women will come to Jesus Christ for their salvation? Not hardly. God alone does the drawing – He draws all but only those who are open to being drawn will come.



“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “Whosoever” refers to the fact that God extends His free gift of salvation to “all” but it doesn’t mean “all” will eventually obtain everlasting life. Since God can see the beginning from the end He knows those who will be drawn – likewise He knows full well those who won’t accept His free gift of salvation. It was never His plan nor is it His desire that some of His creation would remain unjustified (condemned). God loves all of His creation with a love that is beyond our understanding, yet God knows what the conclusion of each person’s life will be and has known every aspect of the timeline of each of our lives since before He laid the foundation of the earth.



Apart from His incredible love and mercy there is a persistent fact that cannot be overlooked. God gave each one of us something that really boggles our mind, free will. God will not violate His creation’s free will – He has no desire to fill eternity with a bunch of undesirable, loveless robots. We are born sinners – we are born lost. Some will seek God as He draws them, but most won’t and that’s the tragedy. Think about it, God loves everyone equally, yet He knows each individual’s ultimate destination for eternity. It must be an incredibly painful period for God to endure whilst He watches the life of one of His creation begin and then end without ever coming to the cross of Christ.



So where does all this foreknowledge of God’s leave the faithful who believe and follow Christ’s great commission? Why would the Creator of the universe leave His disciples with such a commandment? If God already knows whom He will draw to Christ ahead of time (who will accept His free gift of salvation) why is it that we must spread His Gospel to all creatures? What does He need us for? Let’s see if God will provide us with an answer.



“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. We, His children, are His messengers. God will use us as we demonstrate His Glory throughout our Christian walk. He invokes our help as witnesses to His truth – then others (nonbelievers) see Him in us. It isn’t that everyone is born either saved or unsaved, but that throughout their life they either recognize God as truth then believe – hence He draws – or they refuse to see His truth, thus they remain lost.



We, as God’s messengers, may be the catalyst that brings about a change in a person’s attitude towards God. Yes, God draws us to His Son but how does He do that? By using the faith of His children as a picture, as a sign, as a visible fulfillment of His promises. He knew before He created us just what it would take to convince us of the power, presence, and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He knew His children would play a positive role in attracting others to the truth as they delivered His message to a lost world. This is one way God the Father draws us to Christ so that we would believe and follow His only begotten Son into an awesome eternity with Him. He also knew before the foundation of the earth which one of His children would be instrumental in another person’s life to help them see the truth. Sadly, He knows all too well those who are foolishly standing apart with an attitude of “I’m saved, that’s good enough for me.” This blatant refusal by God’s children to follow His commands must displease Him greatly. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13.



“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14. Since we follow Jesus Christ we are to be that light to the world. Well then, the question must be broached – why do so many of His children remain hid? Like Jesus says when salt loses its saltiness it is good for nothing. What good is a bunch of good for nothing Christians?



All this craziness concerning predestination would be avoided if only we would at least attempt to understand God’s position regarding His domain. His word speaks of predestination in that He alone knows the beginning from the end. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8. If you give it some real serious thought you can see that, of course, He can speak of predestination since He’s known from the beginning who would be receptive to His drawing and who would remain in their stubborn rebellion to Him resulting in their ultimate, horrible end.



Here’s a little scenario on how this predestination thing works. God places a message on your heart to approach a certain person to witness to them. Now here’s the interesting part, God knew you would follow His will in witnessing to this person because He saw the fulfillment of His will before He even created you, even before He laid the foundation of earth. Therefore it is He (God) that draws. We are His instrument, not the cause.



God is and always has been, that’s just the plain truth. God is not restrained by time or space as is His creation. Scientists say there are four knowable dimensions and 6 inferred or indirect dimensions which, if true, means there are ten dimensions in all. To God there are no barriers to any of those dimensions because He transcends them all. Everything that happened on earth prior to you and I being here, and everything that will ever come to pass after we are gone, has been history to God since before He laid even one of this planet’s foundation stones.



To us humans’ seeing into the future is a very desirable concept but a dimension which will remain unattainable while we inhabit these earthen vessels. We can look back into the past but the future is beyond the bounds set forth by God Himself. Therefore man has no idea who will believe “the Gospel message ” and who won’t. That domain lies squarely on God’s shoulders.



We who have become born again are now a part of God’s family and as such we’ve become His messengers spreading the Gospel of Christ. We were given that command for a purpose. We’re to follow God’s will and speak to our fellow man about His truth – about who Jesus Christ is and what He did for us. But we can’t and don’t save anyone, we are only the messengers of an incredible, life saving message.



The Father draws – the Son raises us up on the last day– are you ready?



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV and God



Many of you have requested my mailing address so I’ve included it below.

Ron Graham

96 County Road 5480

Salem, MO 65560

Thursday, January 20, 2011

STONING FALSE PROPHETS

Stoning False Prophets



“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” Deuteronomy 18:20.



There always has been and always will be false prophets who, for one reason or another, promote the most egregious of lies. In the Old Testament we discover God has pronounced a very severe punishment on those who presumptuously prophesy falsely. When God speaks through a prophet, that prophet will prophesy what is to actually occur in the future. There will be no doubt as to who is speaking as these prophesies come to pass, since only God can see the future. Thus this person would be considered a true prophet of God.



On the other hand, what if a man or woman professes to be a prophet of God yet their predictions fail time and time again? Are they speaking for God? Or are they speaking for His nemesis? What should the populous do with such as these? In the days of the recorded prophets of God, there were also false prophets who were determined to do damage to God and His Word. But God had a remedy for this type of chicanery.



In days of old, these false prophets weren’t merely dismissed as crackpots, nor were they given another chance to prophesy correctly. They were stoned to death for their evil deeds. Why? What reason could God have to institute such severe punishments against false prophets?



Today, if a professing prophet of God proclaims publically that God gave him/her a revelation/message for His people, but what God supposedly relayed to them never occurs, what consequences do these folks face? Before we look at the punishment let’s take a look at the effect false prophets have on the Word of God.



When someone professes to speak for God they better be accurate in their predictions since they are placing God and His Word in the midst of those predictions. It’s God who bears the brunt of distain when those predictions don’t come true. These days there seems to be no punishment for those who falsely prophesy in God’s name – therefore these foolish individuals continue their guise as authoritative, while deceiving if possible even the elect.



Can you understand why the false prophets were stoned? God was not to be made fun of, nor was He to be made out to be someone’s fool. God is not to be mocked or blasphemed. God is Sovereign, Holy, Just, and perfect in His ways. When God speaks to a prophet concerning a future event, that event will come to pass, without fail. His Word is true.



“For these nations…hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” Deuteronomy 18:14. Although God is declaring to His people Israel they are not to hearken unto observers of times and unto diviners, He also speaks to His children today. We are not to hearken unto those who would set dates concerning His imminent return for His Church. Yet almost daily I receive letters from the brethren telling me that the Rapture will occur on such and such a date.



“If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.” Micah 2:11. When men turn a deaf ear to the Word and revelation of God, they then turn to downright fables, they love to hear from those who will tell them what they want to hear and there are many today that fit that bill. If doom and gloom are on the horizon they want to hear only that there will be plenty of alcohol for their daily consumption. False prophets have learned to adjust their strategy to adhere to everyone’s wants. So, those consumed with the need to know the exact date of the Rapture, can with little effort locate false prophets who are more than willing to set a specific date to placate these foolish individuals.



“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1:7. With every false prediction God is placed in a very precarious position. God tells us not to set dates and He has a real good reason for this restriction: His Word is at stake. Those who set dates invoke God’s Word as the giver of that date. When that particular day comes and goes and the event doesn’t occur as prophesied, God’s Word is seen by many as being false. God actually puts more emphasis on His Word than on His name. Even professing Christians begin to doubt His Word as these dates continually come and go and the Rapture hasn’t occurred.



So, many turn away from God or won’t allow the truth of His Word to cross the threshold of their minds because of false predictions. These false prophets like to publically proclaim their message so they may be seen as having some sort of higher communication link to God. Yet when their prophecies fail, instead of the public seeing them as rip-offs trying to garner a little fame and fortune, there is no substantial condemnation, nor are they scoffed at. Instead they’re simply given another chance to achieve their goal. For instance, in the state of California here in the US there is an individual who continually declares the date on which the Rapture of the Church will occur. Many of his parishioners have lost their livelihoods because they listened to this crackpot. Invariably the dates come and go producing nothing. Yet his congregation stands undeterred by the reality that he does not to speak for God. Last year he once again announced to the world the exact date of the Rapture. When he is deemed a failure again, will he lose his position of prominence in that congregation? Probably not.



How does the public view God when the predictions of these false prophets fail? The lost world loves to see this occur, they only see what they want to see and their attempts to convince themselves of the foolishness of believing in a God is reinforced. Since these presumptuous prophets say they speak for God, the convictions of the lost are magnified with each failed prophecy. Are you beginning to see why God placed such a severe punishment on these false prophets?



God wants us to understand who He is and why He does what He does. God draws a line in the sand as to how much information we are given concerning the future. Yet, these false prophets continually cross that line. They remain steadfast as they stand against God’s Word. They know that their predictions won’t be seen as false, but merely delayed. Thus they can garner a huge following among the gullible and biblically illiterate of the world. Most of the time false prophets are only out for monetary gain and popularity. They give no thought to how much they tarnish God’s Word. By the way, God’s Word is not only seen as tarnished by the lost but also by many Christians who remain biblically illiterate. Over time, God’s Word is dismissed and made to be irrelevant in the eyes of those who are perishing.



In today’s society God receives the brunt of the blame for just about everything, including the predictions by the false prophets. When God’s children are sinful He gets the blame. If His children refuse to be the salt and light on this perishing planet, the lost won’t hear His Word. God is diminished in the minds of those who are perishing each time a believer fails to stand up for Him. When His children set exact dates for events which have been prophesied in the Bible (such as the Rapture) but God has not given the exact date, this only reinforces doubt in the minds of those who are already in the camp of doubting Thomas.



It has always been the nature of man to blame God. God knew before He created us what our nature would be, thus He gave us His word (the Holy Bible), to guide us and to keep us from listening and following the advice of the false prophets. Yet, because of the foolishness attributed to the human heart, His word is ignored and man is continually being deceived.



The New Testament has its share of warnings concerning false prophets. The Apostle Paul was concerned about false prophets so he declared to the Corinthian church “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 14:37. In other words, if you have something to prophesy about you must allow the Word of God to be the ultimate authority.



Jesus warns about becoming deceived by these self-promoting false prophets. “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:11. How many of those who claim the name and blood of Christ today actually heed His warnings? Paul tells us in First Timothy to “…refuse profane and old wives' fables…” 1 Timothy 4:7a. Yet many are being deceived daily by the very fables Paul speaks about.



Although false prophets can and do deceive many, another factor that many neglect, or simply refuse to consider, is that Satan is behind the scenes pulling the strings of such folks. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 1 Timothy 4:1-2.



“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers…, Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:10-1, 13b-16. Where is that rebuke today?



Now let’s see what kind of punishment God holds for these foolish false prophets. Even though today the false prophet is no longer stoned God does have a plan for those who refuse to turn to the truth. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:10. One such false prophet will get what is coming to him; will this be the end for all who claim to be prophets of God but are in fact falsely representing Him?



“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22. It’s up to us individually to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings. Believers are to accept His warnings as truth, always being on the watch for deception. No matter what, we should never fear those who say they speak for God and yet are nothing but liars.



God bless you all,



Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

All scripture is from the KJV and God breathed