Turning from Our Vile Images to the Image of Christ

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  A PROUD LOOK, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil,  a false witness who speaks lies,  and one who sows discord among brethren.


A GENERATION WITHIN THE CHURCH WHO LOVE THEMSELVES, BUT DON’T LOVE GOD

TWENTY YEARS AGO, YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE THOUGHT A DAY LIKE THIS COULD BE SO ACCURATELY DESCRIBED IN THE SCRIPTURE, AS WE NOW SEE IT TODAY. 

IN THIS TEXT, PAUL, AN APOSTLE OF GOD IS WRITING TO TIMOTHY, A YOUNG PASTOR, FORETELLING BY THE HOLY SPIRIT THE CONDITION OF WHAT THE GENERATION WITHIN THE CHURCH WOULD LOOK LIKE WHEN THE LAST DAYS COME.  WE’RE IN IT NOW.  TAKE A LOOK…

2 Timothy 3:1-17 (THE LAST DAYS)

1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 

13while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


REMOVE THE VILE IMAGES OR GOD WILL DEAL SEVERELY

IN THIS TEXT, WE SEE THAT GOD THAT GOD TELLS EZEKIEL, HIS PROPHET, TO TELL GOD’S PEOPLE TO REMOVE ALL OF THEIR VILE IMAGES AND DETESTABLE IDOLS.  AND IF THEY WILL DO SO, GOD WILL GIVE THEM A NEW HEART AND NEW SPIRIT.  BUT THEY MUST LEARN TO CAREFULLY FOLLOW AND OBEY GOD’S COMMANDS.  IF THEY WILL KEEP GOD’S COMMANDS AND LEARN HIS DOCTRINE, THEN THEY WILL BE GOD’S PEOPLE, AND HE WILL BE THEIR GOD.

Ezekiel 11:14-21 (REMOVE THE VILE IMAGES)

14The word of the Lord came to me: 15“Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and all the other Israelites, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’

16“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’

17“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’

18“They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 

21But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”


GOD’S WRATH WILL COME ON THOSE WHO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH

TO THOSE WHO REFUSE THE MERCY AND GRACE OF GOD, WHICH CALLS ALL MEN TO REPENT OF THEIR SINS, MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, A DAY OF GOD’S JUDGMENT AND WRATH WILL COME. AND WE READ IN THIS FIRST TEXT, JESUS TEACHES US WHY PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO COME TO THE LIGHT – BECAUSE THEIR DEEDS WILL BE EXPOSED.  

YET, AS  WE READ IN THE SECOND TEXT, GOD’S WRATH IS BEING STORED UP AGAINST THOSE WHO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH WITH THEIR WICKED DEEDS, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE TRUTH HAS BEEN REVEALED.

AND IN THE FINAL TEXT, WE SEE THAT IF WE RECEIVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND DO NOT TURN, BUT DELIBERATELY TURN AWAY FROM GOD’S COMMAND, BUT CONTINUE TO SIN, THEN THEIR IS NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SINS.

John 3:16-21 (MEN LOVE DARKNESS MORE THAN LIGHT)

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Romans 1:18-32 (WRATH OF GOD AGAINST THOSE WHO SUPPRESS TRUTH)

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 

29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 

32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Hebrews 10:26-31 (IF WE DELIBERATELY SIN, THERE IS MORE SACRIFICE FOR SINS, BUT FEARFUL EXPECTATION OF GOD’S JUDGMENT)

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 

29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


REPENT – TURN ARROGANCE AND PRIDE INTO HUMILITY, AND LAUGHTER INTO MOURNING

REPENTANCE IS A CHANGE OF MIND, A CHANGE OF HEART.  IT MEANS YOU HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU WERE DOING WAS EVIL THE SIGHT OF A HOLY GOD, WHO WILL JUDGE EVERY PERSON ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.  

AND THIS REALIZATION HAS LED YOU TO CHANGE YOUR COURSE OF ACTION, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD. YOU CANNOT EARN YOUR SALVATION OR ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOOD DEEDS APART FROM CHRIST. RATHER, YOU RECOGNIZE YOUR NEED TO TURN TO GOD AND BELIEVE IN CHRIST’S GOSPEL AND POWER TO SAVE YOU FROM YOUR OWN SINFUL NATURE AND DESIRES.  

Romans 1:16 (GOSPEL OF CHRIST EMPOWERS US)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

James 4:1-16 (DON’T BE FRIENDS WITH THE WORLD)

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 

3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 

5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 

6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

11Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

2 Peter 3:3-18 (MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE FOUND SPOTLESS, BLAMELESSS, AND AT PEACE WITH GOD)

3Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 

7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 

15Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.


BECOMING MINDFUL OF THINGS OF GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT

AS BELIEVERS, FOLLOWERS, AND DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, WHO HAVE CONFESSED CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOUR AND LORD, IT’S CRITICAL THAT WE HAVE OUR MINDS RENEWED DAILY WITH THE WORD OF GOD.  

THAT IS THE PURPOSE THESE “APOSTLE’S DOCTRINE”.  THESE ARE THE WORD AND COMMANDS OF OUR GOD GIVEN TO GOD’S PEOPLE TO PREPARE A SPOTLESS BRIDE, PREPARED AND READY FOR JESUS WHEN HE IS REVEALED FROM HEAVEN.  

YET, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING TEXTS WHICH HIGHLIGHT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS COMING FOR A PEOPLE AND SPOTLESS BRIDE WHOSE MIND AND CONDUCT IS ON GOD, NOT THINGS OF THIS WORLD.

I Timothy 5:11-15 (DON’T BE IDLE BUSYBODIES WHO SERVE SATAN)

11But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15For some have already turned aside after Satan.

Romans 12:1-3 (DON’T BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED)

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Romans 8:1-39 (BE CONSCIOUSLY MINDFUL OF THE THINGS OF GOD)

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ  Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 

3For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

5Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 

6The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 

7The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

9You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

12Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 

32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 

34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 


REPENT AND FOLLOW JESUS

EVERY PERSON WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF CHRIST, CONFESSING JESUS IS LORD MUST LEARN TO FOLLOW HIM AS LORD. FOR HE WILL SAY TO MANY, “WHY DO YOU CALL ME LORD AND DO NOT THINGS WHICH I SAY?” (Luke 6:46)

IN THIS TEXT WE LEARN THAT JESUS WAS TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL, SATAN.  THOUGH JESUS WAS BORN SINLESS, HE WAS STILL THE SON OF MAN, AS MUCH AS HE WAS THE SON OF GOD.  JESUS WAS FACED WITH MANY TEMPTATIONS – TO PROVE WHO HE WAS, TO RECEIVE FAME AND GLORY OF THIS WORLD, ETC.  

HEBREWS 4:15 SAYS, For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

AND YOU WILL SEE THIS FOR YOURSELF AS YOU READ THIS TEXT.  ALTHOUGH THE TEMPTATION OF THE DEVIL CONTINUED THROUGHOUT DIFFERENT TIMES HIS LIFETIME, HE RESISTED ALL THE TEMPTATION OF THE DEVIL.  AND BY OVERCOMING SIN, HE COULD BECOME SIN ON THE CROSS FOR ALL WHO REPENT OF THEIR EVIL DEEDS (WHICH IS HAVING A CHANGE OF MIND AND HEART), AS WELL AS PUTTING THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST FOR THEIR ETERNAL SALVATION.  

YET TO BE SAVED, REQUIRES NOT ONLY TO BELIEVE IN HIM, BUT FOLLOW HIM AND LOVE HIM MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF, AND HE PROMISES TO GIVE THOSE HE LOVES EVERLASTING LIFE.

Matthew 4:1-22 (JESUS WORSHIPPED GOD, NOT HIMSELF)

1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 

3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

12When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

17From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19“Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”20At once they left their nets and followed him.

21Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Sal, Servant of the Lord

Preparing God's elect for the time and coming of Jesus Christ.