Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Carnal Christian

1 Corinthians 3:1-4  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  (2)  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  (3)  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?  (4)  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

            The title in which I have chosen for this devotional is a relatively new phrase to me.  I have known of the context, (what the topic is,) just had never heard the phrase.  Many of you will liken this to the term “backslidden.”  However, they could be synonymous, but in the context of these verses, they are not.
            The actual definition from The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is: “1. Pertaining to flesh; fleshly; sensual; opposed to spiritual; as carnal pleasure. 2. Being in the natural state; unregenerate.  3. Lecherous; lustful; libidinous; given to sensual indulgence.” 
            We as Christians generally define carnal as The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.  However, most Christians divide sin into many categories:  (It is just a white lie, a little lie.)  Yet, it is still a lie.  Carnality, in our minds, is as divided as our judicial system’s range of murders.  (Murder unintentional or intentional is still murder.  This is NOT a treatise against self-defense, or against the police officer, or soldier.)  God has never allowed varying degrees of punishment. We are the ones who want “Kings” to preside instead of God.
            Carnality is ANYTHING that you put between yourself and God with no intention of changing (repentance, unregenerate.)  Whatever is keeping you away from God isn’t necessarily sin.  For example, boating, fishing, or any other activity (in itself is not necessarily sinful) that keeps you from worshipping God, (but knowing what it is doing without any intention of changing,) is the problem.  (It is the location, which is the problem.)  Again, it is anything that you allow to get between you and God.  Consequently, you are a Carnal Christian.
            In pondering these things, it came to my mind that ALL Christians are Carnal.  There has been only One non-Carnal Christian on earth and that was Jesus The Christ.

Romans 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

(These verses tell us the truth.)  All Churches are carnal as all members within are “The Church,” and every member is carnal, some more, some less. 
            In the Parable of The Sower, Jesus defines the make-up of our average Church.    As a soul-winning Christian, (vv 3, 14) (“sower”) we present God’s Word: 

Mark 4:3  Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 

Mark 4:14  The sower soweth the word. 

As we preach, knock on doors, and hand out tracts, we will reach these four groups. The majority we meet are possibly those described below in (vv 4, 15.)   They are “by the way side” and are, (for the most part,) courteous, respectful, not saved nor concerned, a carnal worldly person, but not a Christian.

Mark 4:4  And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 

Mark 4:15  And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 

The “stony ground” group (vv 5-6, 16-17) are those who gladly receive God’s Word.  They believe for a while, but later realizing the cost: of their tithe, their time, and teaching/learning, they become offended and leave.
Mark 4:5-6  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:  (6)  But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 

Mark 4:16-17  And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  (17)  And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 

The third group are those (vv 7-8, 18-19) who “fell among thorns,” hear God’s Word, but too much is going on in their lives to concern themselves with eternity.

Mark 4:7-8  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 

Mark 4:18-19  And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,  (19)  And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 

The last group (vv 8, 20) that “fell on good ground” is the core of our Churches.  They are the tithers, soul-winners, musicians, and/or workers who keep the Church working under Pastoral leadership. 

Mark 4:8  And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

Mark 4:20)  And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

The first three groups described may be a part of our congregation, and for a period of time a member of our Church, but they are not necessarily Christians.  They may have professed, (as I did when I was nineteen,) but never had a personal relationship with Christ, just the head knowledge. 
            We must keep in mind as Christians:  we are all carnal to some degree, some more than others.  This knowledge must not be used as an excuse to walk in our iniquities.  

Romans 6:15  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

            My attempt in this brief dissertation is to get every Christian to look at his individual walk, and determine what he has placed between him and God.

Romans 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

We must strive to remove the roadblocks so we can receive God’s blessings and answers to our prayers.  We might even find fewer trials in our lives.  Jesus tells us:

John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

“We as Christians have The Commandments of Christ Jesus within His Word, The King James Bible.  We claim Jesus as our Saviour, as our King.  So, what keeps us out of Church, out of reading our King James Bible, from tithing, helping, soul winning?” 
            I know the answer Christian, just as Paul knew, and as you know.  It is sin.    It is whatever you consider more important than God.
            Paul teaches in our verses (1 Corinthians 3:1-4) that we must continue to grow.  We grow from babes to children, and then to adults in The Lord Jesus. 
            “Where are you?  Do you still require the milk and Pablum™  (H. J. Heinz Company), or can you grow with the meat of God’s Word?”

Bro John R. E Chastain,  Evangelist
Wylie, Texas

Fundamental Thoughts

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pass Through The Fire

Leviticus 18:21  And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

            Moses, the author of Leviticus, witnessed so many merciless atrocities that it may have become “old hat.”  Today, the merciless murder of millions no longer seems to concern us.  
            I recently visited The Holocaust Museum in Dallas, Texas, and witnessed horror (via film and photographs) of the extermination of the Jews.  Adolf Hitler and his progressive political party murdered approximately 12 Million in Germany.
            A Museum will be required soon to remember The Holocaust of Abortion.   As we do not have bodies stacked in piles, (estimates of 600 million to one billion unborn infants murdered) and we cannot dig up the communal graves, it will be “less moving” and likely “old hat.” 

Amos 1:13-15  Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border:  (14)  But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind:  (15)  And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD.

            The phrase, “For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four” has been a problem for me.  (I kept attempting to count the four transgressions.)  However, after much study and reading, I believe it relates to many transgressions, (maybe hundreds, thousands, or even millions.)   This phrase is used seven more times in Chapters 1 and 2.   In all these instances, “four” was added to account for the multiple atrocities that had occurred.   One atrocity in these verses was “because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead.”   (The “women …of Gilead” were descendants of Jacob, and their ancestors walked in the Exodus with Moses.  They not only killed Mothers and Children, but also Mothers with Child.)
            In this dissertation, I am paralleling the murdering of innocent unborn children with our current practice of “legalized” abortion.  Regarding “living in a day,” our real problem in either holocaust lies at the feet of Christians, Jews, and other religions who profess sanctity of life.  (We have not raised our voices in protest.  We will discuss this either with Jesus, or at the Great White Throne.)
            As was Damascus, Gaza, Tyrus, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Israel and Judah, God will judge our nation as He judged Ammon for allowing this ongoing perpetual mass murder.  (We as individuals must raise our voices and change our ballots to stop this horror.)    
            God tells us in The Book of Amos, Chapter Four.  “Amos 4:6 …yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”   The United States of America as a nation was founded, (as was Israel,) on Godly Christian principles.  God laid out the precepts, but “Progressivism” reared its ugly head around the turn of The Twentieth Century.    Since that time, our Governing body and our Churches have been turning their backs on God.   Our Churches have failed to speak up and define a “fetus” as a living child of God. “Amos 4:6  …yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.” (Our last Democratic Convention even booed God.)
            In Chapter Four, verse 12, God, through Amos tells us to “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God…”  (We must be prepared to meet God.  I have a hard time imagining it will be a wonderful, totally blessed meeting.)

2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

(It will be either a “good or bad” meeting.)  I have never walked into that type of secular meeting, and walked away encouraged.  This meeting is for Christians and Christians alone, those who are “in the book of life.” 
            (If you have not accepted Christ, your meeting will be at the Great White Throne.)

Revelation 20:11-15  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  (12)  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  (13)  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  (14)  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  (15)  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

            However, God, within this small epistle from The Prophet Amos, has given us the answer.

Amos 5:4  For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

Amos 5:6  Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

God is telling us in (vv 4, 6) that we will live if we repent and change our ways.  We as voting citizens, professing Christians, and other religious groups must take a stand and demand that we quit offering “thy seed [children] pass through the fire to Molech.”  (Molech is a false god that requires human sacrifice.) 
            We must “prepare to meet thy God.”  “Christian, are you ready?  Have you called your Congressmen and your Representatives and told them what you believe?  When are you going to do it?  Get prepared for The Meeting In The Sky.  It is coming.”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Baptist Evangelist
Wylie, Texas