Why legalism destroys churches and kills Christians

What if your church’s elders passed down a fiat that members could not take more than 1,999 steps on the Lord’s Day without facing church discipline? One more step would be too closely akin to taking a long trip and that is a no-no on the day God set aside for worship.

What if they forbid you to carry your Bibles to church because such heavy lifting would too closely resemble work? Anything heavier than a dried fig is strictly taboo on this day, they say.

Or, what if they added a clause in the constitution and bylaws that members must not leave a radish in salt because that vegetable might become a pickle and pickle-making is work, which is, of course, forbidden on this day.

And, they added sub-paragraphs to the constitution that prescribed disciplinary action for those found guilty of other activities on the Lord’s Day such as carrying a pen (lest you be tempted to write with it), carrying a needle (lest you be tempted to sew with it), helping those who are sick but with non life-threatening maladies (it can wait till Monday), looking in the mirror, spitting, removing dirt from clothes. You get the picture.

Real-life legalism

Such boorish legalism would make both a congregation and its elders miserable and would likely lead to an elder election. Yet, these were merely a few among the dozens of Sabbath laws added to the Torah by the Pharisees who lived in the Roman Empire during New Testament times. Ironically, the Pharisees and their scribes were the theological giants of the day, yet in Mark 2:25-26 and in other passages in the four Gospels, Jesus asks them, “Have you not read?” In other words, don’t you understand the Scriptures? Jesus tweaks the Pharisees in John 5:39 with similar words, telling them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

In the Mark passage, the Pharisees are watching Jesus—who is a rabbi—to see if he breaks their rabbinic laws related to the Sabbath. In the final verses of Mark 2, they charge Jesus with spiritual criminality because his disciples pick the heads of grain while walking through a field and eat the kernels to satiate their hunger. Jesus points out that David and his band of brothers ate the showbread in the tabernacle with divine impunity while on the run from Saul (1 Sam. 21:1-6). At the outset of Mark 3, Jesus heals a man with a lame hand in direct violation of the Sabbath laws of the Pharisees.

Of course, the Pharisees are infamous for encrusting the moral law of God with hundreds of their own manmade laws and traditions. And we get the idea from the New Testament that trying to obey the laws as a means of salvation made them a miserable people. 

Small wonder.

Alive and well today

While few of us today seek to follow the Pharisaical model, this level of misery is alive and well among those who misunderstand the complementarity of law and gospel and seek to earn favor with God through both keeping the law and misappropriating it to extrapolate a set of personal convictions—often related to modes of dress, music, movies, etc.—that become a system of expected ethical norms to which they hold both themselves an other Christians. As Spurgeon once said of the legalist, “His slogan is, ‘You cannot be spiritual unless you are uncomfortable.’” 

Indeed. 

The law of God as a ground for salvation, as a means of accruing merit, leaves the worker exhausted, miserable—and lost. The law as a guide to salvation is a terrible taskmaster.

For this reason, discussions of law and gospel remain vital and deeply practical. After all, in 1 Timothy 1:8, Paul wrote, “The law is good if one uses it lawfully.” But how can Paul say the law is good? Elsewhere, in Romans 7:11, Paul says sin came alive through the law and killed him. In Galatians 3, Paul says the Law once held us captive and he calls it a “guardian.” If the law kills, holds us captive and leads the Pharisees to lead such shriveled up lives of pure misery, then how is it good?

Rightly divided

I think Paul gets at it earlier in Romans 7:7, “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have know what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’” The law exposes our sin. The law shows us the holy, spotless character of God. The law produces despair in us—not a despair the leads us to forego attempting to merit any favor with God and drives us to the only place it can be found—in union with Jesus Christ, in his person and work.

Rightly appropriated, the moral law of God unmasks our self-righteousness and exposes us for who we really are: sinners devoid of the righteousness necessary to salvation, sinners hurtling headlong toward a just destruction at the hands of a holy God, sinners in desperate need of a mediator before God.

It shows us that we have indeed sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It points up our desperate need for the gospel. As the Puritans so well put it, the law breaks sinners, the gospel heals them. Calvin saw three good functions for the law: it serves as a mirror, clearly showing our sin, it reveals the will of God (as a guide to sanctification), and it works to restrain evil—protecting God’s people from the machinations of unbelievers.

The law left the Pharisees (and their disciples) miserable because they viewed it as a vehicle to glory, a means of salvation. They used it unlawfully and the result was a shrunken, joyless, bitter existence. This is the result when we misinterpret Scripture and replace the grace of God with legalism. But rightly understood, the law of God is good, unmasking our self-righteousness and exposing our depravity. It sends us running for cover in the righteousness of Christ won at Calvary through his selfless love. It liberates us to rest from our labors at keeping the law, and leads us to green pastures of deep and overflowing joy in Christ alone.

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).

The post Why legalism destroys churches and kills Christians appeared first on Southern Equip.

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There is evidence of collusion to get a presidential candidate elected

WINTERY KNIGHT

Left to right: Comey, Lynch, Clinton, McCabe Left to right: Comey, Lynch, Clinton, McCabe

Nobody knows American politics better than Michael Barone. In this article for Real Clear Politics, he explains what we now know about collusion during the 2016 presidential election. This piece was tweeted by Brit Hume AND Hugh Hewitt (of MSNBC) so you know it’s fair and balanced.

First, here’s the status of the Russia collusion investigation:

The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Donald Trump’s dealings in Russia and candidate Trump’s off-putting praise of Vladimir Putin.

It was fueled by breathless media coverage of such trivial events as Jeff Sessions’ conversation with the Russian ambassador at a Washington reception — and, of course, by the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. But Mueller’s prosecutions of Trump campaign operatives were for misdeeds long before the campaign, and his indictment of 13 Russians specified that no…

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Why Are We Afraid Of Death?

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

Just a week ago I was in the hospital after having a procedure on my heart and guess what? Here I am, thank God! But not everybody makes it through surgery. In fact, not everybody makes it home from work.

It brings up the question of the ages: What happens to us after we die? Well, that depends.

What if I died on the operating table? First of all, this video wouldn’t exist. My body would’ve been prepared for a funeral, and my spirit would be on its way to be with my Master and Savior in Heaven; the One who created us all.

You may be thinking, ‘how can I be so sure?’ Faith. The Bible offers assurance of eternal life with Christ in Heaven for those who believe.

I realize most people would rather not think about it, but ten out of ten people die. Life comes to…

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Watch this Amazing Video on How Soros “Rents” Evangelicals to Push Social Justice

George Soros, who disguises his cash through a chain of various foundations, before he gives it to Southern Baptist and other evangelical institutions…

Pulpit & Pen has been exposing George Soros’ funding and partnership of Russell Moore and James Riady’s funding of Ligon Duncan. In reality, both Soros and Duncan have been funding numerous groups and speakers who are represented at the The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. However, much of their funding is “Dark Money,” contributions that come not directly from Soros or Riady, but from a series of “foundations” (sometimes the cash goes through nearly a dozen foundations before it reaches places like SBTS, TGC, the ERLC or RTS).

Watch this incredible video which helps demonstrate how the cash-flow from Globalist-Marxist forces is used to “rent” evangelicals to push their agenda.

Please keep in mind that Jim Wallis is a political ally of Russell Moore, with the two regularly appearing together at partnering together on the Soros-Funded Evangelical Immigration Table.

The money is dark, but we intend to keep shedding light on it.

The post Watch this Amazing Video on How Soros “Rents” Evangelicals to Push Social Justice appeared first on Pulpit & Pen.

Weekly Watchman for 04/20/2018

Friday is Listener Comments & Questions Day

When we first come to saving faith in Jesus Christ we are on fire but still immature in the Christian faith. With the myriad of Christian teaching and television out there ranging from excellent all the way down to flat out heresy, how do we help new believers understand the difference between biblical truth and human error and deception? What should we say to a new believer who really enjoys listening to Joel Osteen for example?

This is one of your questions we will cover today. Other topics you want to discuss include:

The resignation and legacy of Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church

The “13 reasons Why” documentary of teen suicide.

Mysticism and emergent theology creeping into churches.

Is the Pope right about atheists going to heaven if they have their children baptized?

Were the Founding Fathers just godless bigots and slave owners?

The Christian struggle with occasional sin and hypocrisy.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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He Said What?!

In our final segment we discuss more controversial comments from Pope Francis, this time regarding an apparent statement that “good atheists” go to heaven. And one thing that makes them good? Baptizing their children.

With each passing year we see more and more dangerous, incorrect theology infiltrating a growing number of Christian churches and denominations. False beliefs that would have been soundly rebuked a few decades ago are now being discussed within churches. Satan is a master at twisting the truth and appealing to our human emotions and desires, and he is working his plan through perhaps well-intentioned but spiritually naive people.

Pastor Mike Abendroth of No Compromise Radio joins us to discuss this and other recent issues including how we find the correct spiritual balance between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will and responsibilities.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Big Brother is Watching and Waiting

George Orwell’s chilling novel about a futuristic state of government control and censorship seems to be unfolding right before our very eyes. The left, infamously touting their cause as one of respect and tolerance, has shown itself mean and spiteful toward anyone who dares publicly oppose their ideology. They are now willing to intimidate those who speak out against their agenda because they know they can get away with it for the most part.

Freedom of speech is under attack in our nation and when it is finally vanquished, sharing the gospel and the Word of God as truth will be punished. Today’s discrimination and mocking of Jesus Christ and His followers will be replaced with outright hatred and persecution. But hey that could never happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave, could it?

Today we focus on the intensifying attacks against the Word of God and those who trust in it. From Christian churches being vandalized to leftist politicians all but saying people who believe in the Bible shouldn’t be allowed to serve in government, the attacks are real and intensifying with each passing year. We had better wake up!

John Loeffler of Steel on Steel radio joins us to talk about the attacks on our freedom of speech and religious expression along with what he calls “The 5 Stages of Persecution.”

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Destroying a Generation Through Tolerance

As we become a post-Christian nation the natural effect is that absolute truth becomes a thing of the past, replaced by “individual morality”. As we have systematically ushered God and His Word out of government and public education, we are seeing a generation of youth deceived and manipulated because they have been taught that God is a myth and it is up to them to make the world a better place.

Our youth have been led to believe they are being empowered to lead this world when in reality they are being conditioned for slavery to serve the elite of the new world order who consciously or not are serving the father of lies, Satan himself.

In our final segments we will look at how government and media are polluting the minds of our children through harmful legislation and television series such as “13 Reasons Why” which documents suicide among teens and has reportedly led to more suicides by youth who watch the series.

But first, where did we start to lose our children and what can we do to fight and reverse the influence of the radical left that has its fingers everywhere including education, government, media and increasingly even mental health care? Dr. John Rosemond joins us to discuss the dilemma and what we can do about it as parents.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Understanding the End Game

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in an event or time that we fail to take a step back and look at the big picture. If you take a snapshot of what is happening in the world these days it might look like this: A decaying moral society; leaders who care more about their personal wealth and power instead of serving those they lead; an imminent major war in the Middle East; and an overall feeling of anxiety permeating every aspect of society and the lives of many. Yes a simple snapshot at any given time can paint a powerful picture… and the picture we see these days is not a pretty one.

But God has given us His Word so that believers might not be deceived by what we see around us. We are to take note of what is happening around us so we can understand it in context of God’s promises. And our guest this morning is a voice of reason and hope for such a time as this.

Gary Kah of Hope For the World has written insightful books on the coming one world government and one world religion, all the while encouraging believers to always maintain the eternal hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gary joins us this morning to look at the crisis in Syria that has the world on the brink of another huge war, along with the accelerating movement toward a one world government and religion where humanity will pledge its allegiance to the enemies of God.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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This ‘n’ That for 04/20/2018

  • Sadly, it seems that we need to be reminded of this basic fact.
  • Conrad Mbewe always says things well.
  • If you need a list of “Christian” musical groups/artists to avoid, here you go. If they have Christine Caine’s endorsement, it’s safe to say they aren’t safe.
  • This is sad on so many levels.
  • Speaking of our Creator, I thought this was fascinating.
  • Does Elyse Fitzpatrick want us to date and marry Jesus? This is nonsensical. Stay away!
  • Michelle Lesley shows us how Jesus handled hurt.
  • I enjoyed this sermon from Pastor Jerry Wragg on the comfort of the doctrine of the rapture.
To say that God dwells in heaven is not to say that He is contained there. But it is uniquely His home, His center of operations, His command post. It is the place where His throne resides. And it is where the most perfect worship of Him occurs. It is in that sense that we say heaven is His dwelling place. —John MacArthur