Friday, July 15, 2016

By Rev. Max Solbrekken, D.D.
     "Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change.  And when we are right, make us easy to live with."  - Peter Marshall
     This message is a biblical response to the erroneous ‘Extreme Grace Doctrine’. It is a warning from Almighty God to a lukewarm carnal church in this end-time hour! It is also the solution - A return to God and a total commitment to the cause of Christ!   
   "For if ye thoroughly AMEND YOUR WAYS and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment... If ye oppress not... Behold ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.  Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, we are (saved) delivered to do all these abominations?         
     "Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye...that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord... AMEND YOUR WAYS and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  Trust ye not in lying words, saying, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temples of the Lord are these.
     "Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?  Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord... Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you that it may be well unto you." (Jer. 7:2-11, 23)
    What a powerful message from Almighty God to His people Israel in the time of Jeremiah the prophet. Since His message is ageless and His Word always the same and because SIN is universal and as old as the Devil himself (since he fell from Heaven as the archangel Lucifer), it is a Message for the Church today, as well!
     The temptations, pitfalls and snares of Satan are still the same, as is the weakness of the flesh!  Nothing has changed, except that Satan is trying harder and more diligently than ever - to trap, ensnare and captivate God's people, in this end-time!
    WHY? Because for him and all of us - time is running out! (John 4:35-36; Rev. 10:6, 12:12). Not only is Satan in a hurry to destroy, defeat and torpedo God's plans, purposes and Kingdom, but we are also in a hurry to stand up and be counted for Jesus.
     We are in a hurry to destroy his efforts in order to plant the flag of Jesus in every area of the globe and drag down Satan's evil kingdom, by preaching Christ's glorious gospel with signs following! (Mark 9:15-18)
     The Christian community is equipped to do the job in Jesus' dear Name, upon the authority of God's Word, by the blood of the everlasting covenant and by the power of the Blessed Holy Spirit!  Even though we are saved by trusting in the precious blood of Jesus Christ and His atoning work on Calvary's cross for us, many in the Christian Church walk in defeat, confusion and the weakness of the flesh! Some born again, Spirit-filled Christians cannot overcome the evil habits of lust, pride, envy, hatred, loose tongues and covetousness!
     There are those among us who still hold grudges, are unwilling to forgive, smoke tobacco or marajuana, get drunk occasionally and commit fornication and adultery. Many Christians talk too much, carry gossip, are negative, critical and bitter!  And some are gluttonous and serve the belly more than God.
                        WHY SHOULD THESE THINGS BE?
   Recently, I agonized before God for an answer to these seemingly never ending problems. Like St. Paul, I too cried out, "O wretched people that we are, who shall deliver Believers from slothfulness, mediocre Christian commitment, lukewarm response to missionary endeavour and a weakness to honour the appetites of the flesh instead of the bugle call of the Spirit"?
     It was the great Apostle to the Gentiles, the man who wrote more than one-half of the New Testament who confessed, "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For that I do I allow not; for what I would that I do not; but what I hate, that I do...For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do". (Rom. 7:14, 15, 19)
     He pin-points the works of the flesh, the conscience, and the Holy Spirit of God in our lives.
Three laws are at work in our members:
1. The Law of God in our inner man. The Word of God in our inner man is ‘our conscience’.
2. The law of sin and death in our members.  That is the natural, carnal nature we are born with.
3. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. He liberates  us from "the law of sin and death".
    God has given us all a conscience which is "The Word of God in our Members" to convict us and show us our wayward ways.  "The Law of Sin and Death" is inherited from Adam and Eve.
   "For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
     "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous." (Rom. 5:17-19)
     Only the miracle of the New Birth - repenting of sin and embracing the gospel - makes us free from the dreadful power of sin and death. And St. John emphasizes, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with the other and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sins". (1 John 1:7)
     St. Paul writes, "But thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". (1 Cor. 15:57)
                            RECIPE FOR SANCTIFICATION!
     God said: "Be ye holy for I am holy, saith the Lord". (Lev. 11:45). Is it possible to become holy as God demands?  Can human beings rise to the place of total separation from sin - in thought, word and deed - and be renewed in our minds to such a degree, that we are sanctified wholly?
     Let's see what the Bible says on the subject!  And remember that God would not ask us to do that which we were unable to do, for He is not unreasonable or unjust. However, it is only by the Holy Spirit's enabling power through the Blood of Christ that we are able to qualify!
     Here is what St. Peter says on the subject:
    Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness," (1 Peter 3:11). St. Paul admonishes us: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you". (2 Cor. 6: 17)
     It is evident that God wants us to be a separate people, but how does this process of sanctification work?  What agencies are employed in the cleansing, separating and keeping aspects of ‘holy character building’?
    1).The Word of God:
    “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Ps. 119: 11); “For the   Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb.4: 12)
    “Wherefore lay apart the all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word which is able to save your souls.” (James 1: 21)
   “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2 Tim.2: 17); “And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
   “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect (mature), thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim.3: 15-17)
2).The Blood of Jesus:
   “But if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7); “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1: 8, 9)
     “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same; that through Death, He might Destroy him who had the power of death, that is the Devil. And Deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2: 14, 15)
     “According as He hath CHOSEN us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
    “To the praise of the glory of His GRACE, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Eph.1: 4-7)
    3).The Holy Spirit:
   “There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
   “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make life) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
    “For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of Go. For ye have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom. 8:1,2,10,11, 14-17)
     4).The Name of Jesus:
     “And these SIGNS shall follow them that believe; In My name (JESUS) shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents (St. Paul in Malta); and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them (Pentecostal preachers in some Soviet Prisons); they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 17-18)
     “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My (Jesus) Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My (Jesus) Name, I will do it.” (John 14: 13, 14); “If ye abide in Me (Jesus), and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15: 7)
     “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have CHOSEN you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My (Jesus) Name, He may give it you.” (John 15: 16)
    “And in that day (after Christ’s ascension) ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My (Jesus) Name, He will give it you.” (John 16: 23)
Hitherto ye have asked nothing in My (Jesus) Name; ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
     “At that day ye shall ask in My (Jesus) Name; and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for that Father Himself loveth you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16: 24, 26, 27)
    5). Our Own Will:
    "Refrain tonight, and that shall lend a hand of easiness to the next abstinence; the next more easy; for use can almost change the stamp of nature, and either curb the devil, or throw him out with wondrous potency."                              - Shakespeare
     “Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man Will do His will, he shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.” (John 7: 16, 17)
    “And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
     “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8: 34-38)
     The Bible says: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the LIFE also of Jesus might be manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the LIFE also of Jesus might be made MANIFEST in our Mortal Flesh.” (2 Cor. 4: 10,11)
    So important is this great truth that St. Paul repeated it. If we are serving Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth, His LIFE will be in us and will manifest itself in our spirit, soul and body! People will recognize His life in our entire being, including healing and health in our mortal flesh!
     Here is another great Scripture text that brings out that truth: “And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your WHOLE spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5: 23)|
     What does that mean? St. Paul is praying that our Living Saviour Who dwells within us will preserve our WHOLE person, namely, spirit, soul and body perfect without sin, fear, sickness or demon influence until we see Jesus face to face! 
     He desires us to be spiritually, mentally and physically sound, healthy and well as we wait for the Coming of Jesus. He states further: “Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24)
     The Bible says: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them (evil spirits): because GREATER is He that is within you, than he (Satan) that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4); “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…” (Acts 17: 28)
    “Whosoever shall confess that JESUS is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 15-17)
     “For all the promises of God in Him are Yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now He which establishes us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, Who hath also SEALED us and given the EARNEST of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Cor. 1: 20-22)
     “Now thanks be unto God which always causes us to TRIUMPH in Christ…” (2 Cor. 2:14); “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Phil.4: 13)
    “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.8: 37-39). Amen.