Wednesday, December 28, 2005

For Such a Time As This

The previous ADF article stated near the end, "But with the enemies of freedom and decency more determined and better funded than ever, we cannot pause, nor even blink (John 15:5)."

I have some Christian friends who might object to that wording. I understand why and their concern. But let's face it. The Enemy of our souls does influence many people who do not know Christ to behave like enemies of freedom and decency.

In John Chapter 15, Jesus is very clear about what the Father will do with those "branches", meaning believers, He "takes away." Another translation says, "he lifts up." This terminology can appear to be confusing. The following James, Fausett & Brown Commentary helps clear this up:

"2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit . . . every branch that beareth fruit--As in a fruit tree, some branches may be fruitful, others quite barren, according as there is a vital connection between the branch and the stock, or no vital connection; so the disciples of Christ may be spiritually fruitful or the reverse, according as they are vitally and spiritually connected with Christ, or but externally and mechanically attached to Him. The fruitless He "taketh away" (see on JF & B for John 15:6; the fruitful He "purgeth" (cleanseth, pruneth)--stripping it, as the husbandman does, of what is rank (See Mar 4:19), "that it may bring forth more fruit"; a process often painful, but no less needful and beneficial than in the natural husbandry."

Also, let's look at John 15:6 Commentary:

"6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch . . . withered . . . cast into the fire . . . burned--The one proper use of the vine is to bear fruit; failing this, it is good for one other thing--fuel. (See Eze 15:1-5). How awfully striking the figure, in this view of it!"

Mark 4:19 informs us WHY such people may not be fruitful:

Mark 4:19 - 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. (KJV)

All of this is evidence of a "false convert." Those who genuinely abide in Jesus Christ cannot help but be fruitful for the kingdom.

I am not saying that every Christian needs to be a preacher, pastor, Bible study teacher, children's instructor, etc. We are not all gifted in the same areas to fit that "mold." However, we all are to be evangelists. Sharing the gospel of faith is essential to the Christian life. This can be done so many different ways, too. It can be as simple as posting a comment at a blog. It can be witnessing to someone who is distraught and without hope in their current earthly circumstances, and you share the gospel of hope in Christ with them. It can be ministering to the needs of the elderly in a nursing home. It can be political activity (as is the case with ADF) whose goal is to help regain our religious freedoms and liberty in a nation where opposing organizations (i.e. ACLU; Human rights campaign; Council for the separation of church and state; etc.) who are so actively, and desperately, trying to destroy any vestige of Christianity.

As Christians, we are all called for the same ultimate purpose. Preach and teach Christ and Him crucified to all nations. The particular way one does this can be very different. But I am of the belief that all are necessary and we should not mock, ridicule, debase, or exclude a person's efforts or ministry because, perhaps, we aren't "gifted" in that area of expertise. Do you know what I am getting at here? I hope so.

There are to many Christian individuals and/or groups "warring" against each other these days. We should not let denominational differences interfere with the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ himself, just prior to His Ascension into heaven.

For example. Bickering over when the Rapture will occur (some believe pre- tribulation, others mid, and still others post-tribulation) is unfruitful. In the end, it won't matter anyway. But whether a person has been born-again in Jesus Christ WILL MATTER TREMENDOUSLY and will determine where each individual soul will end up in eternity.

On the other hand, we must not be silent when a false gospel is being shared. We are warned about this in 1 and 2 Corinthians, and the book of Jude, to name a few. Scripture interprets Scripture. It is our ultimate source of truth. Anything that twists, goes against, or downright rejects what is written in God's Word must be exposed and dealt with.

2 Timothy 3:14 -
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];

2Ti 3:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2Ti 3:16
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2Ti 3:17
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

I realize that not all Christians think they need, nor desire to get involved in the political firestorms that are currently happening around our country. Personally, I think that is a mistake. But again, we are not all equipped the same way by the Lord to carry out the Great Commission. I would just ask that those Christians who think it is wrong to get involved to re-think their position on this.

The way I personally see it (again, this is my personal opinion here), Jesus' admonition to "keep His commandments" is continually being threatened by the forces of evil in this world and in order to combat them (with and through Christ, of course) is to confront them the way that ADF does. Their aim and goals are correctly guided. How do I know this? Because their moniker is, "Without Christ, we can do nothing." They realize that their victories are happening through the Lord. They are the "branches" and Jesus is the "vine" of their efforts.

In a former post, I mentioned how important it was for David to get the stone, put it in the sling and send it towards Goliath's head. There are many other examples where God told people in the Bible to do something before He ensured their victory.

Don't you think that God still guides us, and expects us to take action in a similar way today?

Are we to keep our heads in the sand, our voices silent, our money in our pockets, our arms of help empty, our legs of action still and let the secular forces of evil run roughshod over our nation?

What about our children and grandchildren? How will this affect them?

Aren't we called to realize that it is each Christian's moral duty to live, wait, watch, and work in such times?

Aren't we called, especially, to manifest the character of Christ in our present circumstances?

John Chapter 15:

The True Vine
15"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He *takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you* will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Love and Joy Perfected

9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

The World's Hatred

18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'*

The Coming Rejection

26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Or lifts up
NU-Text omits you will.
Psalm 69:4

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