There is a saying “You are what you believe.” Indeed your life does reflect that which is most important to you. From the heart you speak and the words that come out reveal your innermost being. Your view of God: your theology, dictates how you live. If your God is almighty, Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, working all things after the council of His own will or He is the Creator then you will live a life of humility, understanding that every breath you take is a gift from God. You will be thankful for the grace that He has lavished upon you and will breathe prayers of thanksgiving. If however you believe God is a manipulatable being who, yes created the world but who then stood back, relinquished His position of authority to man and now waits for man to ‘decide’ before He can act, well, this will be manifested in an attitude of pride and arrogance.
Your view of man and his standing before God gives a clear indication of your anthropology (the study of man) for this reveals either that you believe man is finite, a vessel created by God, the divine Potter, for His own purposes: that man is fallen, dead in trespasses and sins and unable to do anything to restore the relationship which was severed in the Garden by the presumptuous sin of Adam and Eve or contrariwise you will view man as having been created by God to practically a demigod: a being who has authority even over the Creator of the Universe. Those who hold to this teaching state that God is a gentleman who would never force Himself on anyone, who indeed cannot do anything in the hearts of men but who merely beckons to His creation, having provided a way for man, should he so choose, to unite with God, to ‘join with Him’ as a co-regent of the earth.
This second view of course is blasphemy, heresy, and wicked. But it is a view that has been embraced but many.
What I am about to do is to relate to you a scenario, a conglomeration of ideas which make up the doctrine of many ‘church people’ ‘pastors’ and ‘evangelists’ who are propagating another gospel. I say another ‘gospel’ because what is being taught by these men and women is a false ‘gospel’ that damns its adherents to the fires of hell because they have not believed the scriptures which exalt God and humble the pride of man. For indeed, the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ humbles the pride of man, exalts God and His glorious message of grace, demonstrates that God is God and we are not, that it is He who has saved us and not we ourselves; that we are His people, the sheep of His pasture, that He has chosen us before the foundation of the world and has written our names in His book of life; all to the praise of His glorious grace. This alone is the true Gospel which is able to save to the uttermost, all who come to Jesus Christ, having been drawn to Him by God the Father.
Now sit back and listen as I paint this picture and understand that this picture is widely accepted by multitudes simply because it exalts man and demotes God.
“Once upon a time, long, long ago on a faraway planet there lived a good god. This god was very much like you and me; a being who stands about 6’2” or 6’3”, weighs a couple of hundred pounds and has a hand span of 9 inches. The wisdom and power of this god were so great that he could visualize beautiful images and then turn the images into reality by utilizing a special power called the ‘force of faith.”
One day this god had a cosmic brainstorm. He decided to use the force of his faith to create something superb and special. He decided to bring a whole new world into existence; and not just any old world. It was going to be the most fantastic world imaginable. In fact, this wonderful world would be an exact duplicate of the mother planet where God lived.
After carefully visualizing every detail of this wonderful world, god went into action. Releasing the force of his faith, god spoke into existence the planet he saw in his mind’s eye. And was god excited. Looking down with fondness upon this new creation god named the planet, earth.
But this was only the beginning. Suddenly a host of brilliant new ideas began to flood god’s created consciousness. He began to visualize vast oceans and springs of water. He saw magnificent mountains and fertile fields. His mind produced flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder and plants, flowers, and trees blazed into existence. This god began to visualize life; birds, and animals of every shape and size. Yet there was more to come. After five days of vivid visualizations, god’s mind moved into yet another dimension. It was day six and in god’s mind’s eye, he saw the crowning jewel of his creation. As the details coalesced in his mind, god suddenly found himself focused on an exact duplicate of himself. So god spoke and suddenly out of the pristine soil of planet earth there arose another god…one exactly like himself.
As the image of this ‘god’ took form, god saw that he had outdone himself for there, before his eyes stood another ‘god’ with a body just like his own including the exact size and shape. Well, god had finally done it. He had thought the unthinkable and by the word of his faith had created a creature that was not even subordinate to himself. (Sound familiar?)
This new creation was nearly equal to his creator for he could think like god, be like god and do almost everything god could do! God called his carbon copy ‘Adam’ and gave him complete dominion and authority over all of creation. This creature had some much power that his creator could not do anything in the earth realm without first obtaining Adam’s permission.
Adam was truly a super being! He could fly like a bird; swim like a fish and even zoom through the universe without a space suit. With a single thought Adam could transport himself to the moon.
But god was not well pleased for even after creating this super being he realized that there was a piece missing from this puzzle. Brainstorming again, god finally figured out that Adam was as much female as he was male and so, why not separate the two. After obtaining permission from Adam, god caused a deep sleep to fall upon him and, opening him up, god removed the female part from the male part and poof; there before him stood a being of surpassing beauty. He had created woman…man with a womb…and he called the ‘womb man’ Eve.
Little did god know that these two beings were about to get him thrown off of his own planet. There were sinister plans afoot that God did not know about. You see, before he had created this planet, god had created a spirit world full of beings called angels and one of these angels was a being of surpassing beauty; Lucifer the morning star. Lucifer had great ambitions; he wanted to take over everything god had created and so he tried to overpower god only to be thrown off the planet. Also, god changed his name to satan.
Tumbling from his mother planet satan landed on earth where Adam and Eve would live one day. And he began to make plans to get back at god. Well, wouldn’t you know it, one day opportunity came knocking in the form of Adam and Eve who were wandering around the Garden of Eden. Satan instantly transformed himself into a serpent and cunningly tricked the two little gods into committing cosmic treason. For the price of a piece of fruit Adam and Eve sold their godhood to the devil who became the god of this world. He now had the title deed to the earth and all the legal rights to its inhabitants.
But god wasn’t ready to give in yet.
Realizing that he needed man’s permission to get back onto the earth, god immediately went to work. And after thousands of years, god finally found a man named Abraham who took the bait and became the vehicle through which god, if he was lucky, might one day win back the world he had lost.
You see, through Abraham, a second Adam would eventually come and if everything went according to plan man would be restored to godhood and god would get his earth back.
Now Abraham could had just told god to bug off but instead he decided, through a series of inducements, to by into the plan. They forged a covenant which would make Abraham healthy and wealthy and give god a foothold in his world.
In keeping with his promise, god made Abraham very, very wealthy and once again he began to visualize a brand new Adam who would banish the devil and give god back the authority he had lost. On the set day god’s spirit hovered over a woman named Mary and using the power of faith and positive confession the second Adam began to take shape with arms and legs and eyes and hair. The second Adam was named Jesus and as Abraham’s descendent he became very prosperous; living in a big house, handling big money and wearing designer robes. (The robe with out seams) Jesus was so wealthy he had to hire a treasurer (Judas) to keep track of all of his money.
Jesus too could speak things into existence using the power of faith and was able to overcome every trick that the devil threw at him. Even though he never claimed to be god, Jesus was able to live a life of sinless perfection and passed the test that the first Adam had failed. While He hung on the cross he became sin and when He died the devil took him to hell. But the devil had blown it on a technicality. He had not taken into consideration that Jesus had never sinned and so took Jesus to hell illegally. But suddenly Jesus began to come back to life as god spoke faith filled words into the bowels of the earth. He began to flex his spiritual muscles and after beating the devil up, took the keys of the earth and emerged from hell as a born again man.
And since Jesus was recreated from a satanic being to an incarnation of God, you too can become an incarnation of God, exactly like Jesus. As such you can have unlimited health and wealth. In fact it is God’s will that you have health, wealth and all good things. By using your tongue you can speak whatsoever you desire into existence and live happily ever after. The End!
Now is any of this true? In no way shape or form! Everything you have just heard is conglomeration of false doctrine; a false gospel which exalts man and demotes God. This doctrine turns men into little gods and makes the God of the bible, a poor, helpless creator who can only wait and hope that men will want to be with Him. Such a doctrine has proceeded from the filthy dungeon of the hearts of men who don’t want anything to do with the God of the Bible.
And what does the Bible say of heart of man? “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? Jer 17:9 It is in the heart of man that false doctrine is born and all false doctrine can be seen in one main characteristic; the exaltation of man and the demotion of God. The God of all false doctrine is an idol and in back of all forms of idolatry is the devil, who from the beginning has appealed to the heart of man and promised that man can become as God!
Now the truth of the matter is that whoever is born again, whoever is a believer in and a lover of Jesus Christ is so because God the Father had mercy upon that dear soul and in mercy has spoken life into what was a spiritually dead frame, has performed heart surgery granting the dead sinner a spiritual resurrection, a new heart and a new spirit, has raised the sinner up from the dunghill of sin of wickedness by the power of God. God the Holy Spirit drew the dead sinner to God the Son, by the sovereign good pleasure of God the Father and in all of this God and God alone has received all the glory and honor and praise for He has done great things.
This is the plain, God honoring, God exalting, man abasing truth of Scripture. And men hate this message! Sinners hate it because there is no place for them to receive glory. Church people hate it because there is no room for sinful man to get any credit at all and ‘we just don’t do things like that around here.”
Sinners of every stripe long to boast of what they have done and therefore the true message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is anathema to them for the scriptures leave no room for boasting. In fact the scriptures are so clear when they teach us this truth that the true child of God will be humbled into the dust and praise the God of heaven for His marvelous works to the children of men. This is a trustworthy statement; No flesh, saint or sinner, will glory in His presence; no one will boast of what they have done for when we all stand before the Great White Throne, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.
Why do men and women rail against God and shake their rebellious fists in His face when confronted with the truth of scripture? Why do ‘preachers’ contrive many ways to heaven? Why do men submit themselves to the ‘doctrines’ of demons rather than bowing before the Holy God of the Universe in humble adoration and submission to His divine decrees? It is because as Paul states in 1Co 1:18-30 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; THEY THINK ITS STUPID!
I am reminded of the account of the fiery serpents which had come at the command of God to kill the rebellious children of Israel. Follow along as I read the narrative found in Nu 21:5-9 “The people spoke against God and Moses, (Hint; Speaking against God is bad news) “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” Did you get that? There is no food or water (a denial of the facts as every time they needed water God provided it) and then an admission that yes there is food (Manna) but they don’t like it. They want something else. In other words, they are not satisfied with the provision of God.
Now some would say that the people were just exercising their civil rights and God really needed to bend a little. Does He? 6 “The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. The scriptures teach us that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. 1Sa 15:23 and we read in Revelation 22:15 “Outside (of heaven) are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. You can be sure that your sin will find you out and you will pay…unless you repent.
Picking up at verse 7 we read “So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.”
Now I’m going to speculate here but I am sure that there were some rebels who would not look at the bronze serpent…”How’s that going to help me? I’m dying here! These too thought God’s way was stupid and they died in their rebellion.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. Rom 9:19-24
The salvation of sinners is the prerogative of God not man. God chooses, God calls, God saves. The order of salvation is spelled out in Rom 8:29-30 where we read “For those whom He foreknew, (knew beforehand) He also predestined (accompanied that foreknowledge with previously determining the destiny of them) to become conformed to the image of His Son, (He saved them, regenerated them, made them new creations in Christ Jesus by His sovereign mighty power so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
And when did all this take place? Paul spells it out for us in Eph 1:3-14 when he gives us that great doxology of praise to God for His wonderful works to the children of men. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
And so we who are alive in Christ understand, by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit that God has had mercy on us. He has revealed Himself to us and so rather than seeing the cross as foolishness …unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, (speaking of worldly wise-men who have exchanged the truth of God for a lie) and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. When it comes to the truth of the word of God, 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? Think for a moment of the man Solomon. He was a mere man but God granted him wisdom that confounded all. There was no problem that he could not solve. His wisdom can be compared to the strength of Samson. Remember that his enemies thought they had him trapped in Gaza but when he was ready to leave, he walked outside, went to the city gates and lifted them, posts and all and carried them some 20 miles and deposited them on top of a hill that faces Hebron.
Now these are men who were empowered by God to do mighty feats. But we are talking now of a direct dealing with God Himself who makes all men look like stupid animals in comparison. Now there are worldly wise men who claim to know God and they also claim to have the key to unlock the mysteries of God. But they are merely deluded fools whose god is their bellies, whose end is destruction for like Simon the sorcerer, they too have set their minds on earthly things.
The truth of the matter is that apart from the grace of God it is impossible for men to know Him. Strive as they might they are merely groping in the dark for, like Cain, like Nadab and Abihu, they have refused to follow His direction. 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. In Ro 10:14 we read; “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.” 19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WILL I ANGER YOU.” 20 And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME, I BECAME MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME.”
God is the Author and finisher of our faith. But again, men will not listen to the truth for it is foolishness to them and instead they follow after omens, have their palms read, read their horoscopes all to find a larger meaning to life. Paul says in verse 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
We have heard the true gospel of Jesus Christ from the word of God today. And lest we should be puffed up, remember that we used to believe some of the false things mentioned today. But in mercy God took us aside and explained to us the way of God more accurately. And because of the grace of God we can say with Paul 1Co 13:11 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”
The Christian life from beginning to end is a journey in Grace. We were saved by Grace, we are kept by Grace and we will be carried home to heaven because of Grace. And all praise and honor and glory belong to Him who sits enthroned above the cherubim “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Ro 11:36