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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Know the Word

             The number one excuse I hear people use for not sharing their faith and serve God is fear. We will discuss that in a moment. The second greatest reason people give is that they do not know God’s word. My question is, why not? Why do you not know the Word of God? Do you not own a bible? The majority of churches in this world will gladly give you a bible for free. The Gideon’s give millions of bibles away yearly; therefore, not owning a bible is not a valid excuse. Even those who cannot read are without excuse since the bible is readily available in audio.

Not only is the bible readily available in our modern world we are blessed to have unlimited accesses to some of the greatest bible scholars along with an abundance of wonderful study materials. Therefore, not knowing the bible is a poor excuse. It represents laziness and callousness on your part. I Timothy 4:7 tells us to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” If you don’t know God’s word you have only yourself to blame.

The excuse of fear is invalid as well. Fear is a lack of faith. Romans 10:17 tells us, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” When we study the Word of God, God builds up our faith. I have seen Christians who have sat in church pews for decades that are still babes in Christ. I have also seen brand new believers rapidly grow and mature in their faith. What makes the difference? One is indulging in the word and the other is not.

As already discussed, Satan is a liar. He is not only a liar; he is a very good liar with thousands of years of experience. When he came as a serpent to deceive Eve in the garden the bible describes him as, “more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” However, Satan’s only power over us is his lies. Therefore, if we know the Word of God, and stand firm on the Word of God, we have no reason to fear the lies of the devil.

Colossians 2:8 warns us to, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Satan’s false prophets are in abundance. They look Christian; they might even speak some Christian truths from time to time. But, the consistency of their message will drastically conflict with that of God’s. The root of their message is deadly and destructive. But, how will we know unless we know the word of God?

The Greek word translated into “spoil” in Colossians 2:8 literally means to “carry you off” or to “capture you.” In other words, Colossians 2:8 is warning us not to become a “spoil” of war captured and taken away. HBCS translates it this way, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.” Satan would love nothing more than to capture you as a spoil of war. However, if you know the word you will not be tricked by philosophy or empty deceit of the traditions of man. You will stand firm in victory through your faith in God’s truth-His word.

Not only do we stand firm in the truth of God’s word, we also fight the good fight with it. It is our greatest tool to defeat the lies of Satan and win over those who have been taken captive. II Peter 3:15 says, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” What better way do we have to make a defense of our faith in Christ than “the word of God (that) is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart?” (Hebrews 4:12).

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Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Dealing with False Prophets

In Revelation Jesus told John to write to the seven churches in Asia. The first of those churches was the church of Ephesus. (Revelation 2:1-7).  Jesus praised this church for putting to the test those who called themselves apostles and were not. By proving that they were not apostles and indeed false prophets they protected the integrity and true teaching of the church. We also find Paul in II Timothy 6:20 instructing Timothy to “guard what has been entrusted to you.”  What was Timothy entrusted to? What did he need to guard? The church. Timothy was the pastor of the church of Ephesus. Guarding and protecting the church from false teachers was planted in Ephesus DNA from its very beginning. For this reason, Jesus praised the church.

We test those who claim that they are of God with the authority of God’s word. If they fail to line up with God’s word they are false prophets. Let’s be clear though. We can have doctrinal differences with other Christians who are truly Christians. We simply disagree on certain subjects. One can believe in a pre-tribulation rapture while the other believes in a mid or post-tribulation rapture and another doesn’t believe there will even be rapture at all. I am a very solid pre-tribulationist. I personally believe that the pre-tribulation rapture is abundantly clear in scripture. Does this mean that I should view anyone who believes otherwise as a false prophet? Of course not. Christians can and will disagree on a variety of issues. However, a false prophet is one who denies the fundamentals of the faith such as the person and the work of Christ, along with the means and method of salvation. Once we have determined who is a false prophet we must then ask the question, “How do we deal with those who are sheep in wolves clothing; those who claim to be of God and are not?

First, don’t get distracted. Paul told Timothy to, “avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.” II Timothy 6:20-21. If Satan can’t trick us into his lies he will try to distract us from sharing truth. He is perfectly happy with us stomping out embers as long as we are ignoring the forest that is ablaze. If this happens he still wins. If we get caught up into debating “worldly and empty chatter” rather than proclaiming the truth of God’s word we are losing that battle. We must stay focused on the task at hand. When dealing with false prophets, stick to the simplicity of the gospel.

One of Satan’s greatest distractions is to try and bring guilt upon the proclaimer of truth. When the proclaimer of truth calls a false prophet out for being false the devil will say, “You are being judgmental and Jesus said we shouldn’t judge.” However, within the context of scripture that Jesus said “Judge not least you be judged” (Matthew 7:1) He also said, “Beware of false prophets.” (Matthew 7:15). Don’t bother acknowledging the lies, stick with the truth, for the truth will set you free.

Secondly, although we do not need to be distracted by their deceit we need to pay attention to their deceit. Paul said in Romans 16:17, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned.” How is their deceit impacting our witness? How is their deceit impacting non believers? How is their deceit impacting the church? When we understand their deceit we are better equipped to counter act it with truth. In the mid 90’s I spent some time in Salt Lake City. Prior to going I studied what Mormons teach and believe. As a result I was better equipped to share the truth of God’s word. Because of this I saw many place their faith and trust in the Jesus of the bible-the true Jesus. Does this mean that we need to become intimately familiar with every lie Satan ever told? Of course not. He is such a great liar I doubt that is even possible. It does mean that we should be intimately familiar with the Word of God. God’s word is truth. The greatest way to counteract a lie is with the truth.

Lastly, we need to turn away from false prophets. Paul continued in Romans 16:17-18 in saying, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites.” Paul said to turn away from them. We should have nothing to do with them. When the true church disassociates itself from those who are false we make a clear and distinct statement, stating, “We are not of you and you are not of us.” Some would say that this is unloving. However, when we do not make a clear and bold statement of disassociation we are in danger of making others think we are in acceptance of the lies which makes them much more susceptible to receiving it which sets them up for destruction. Which is more unloving? If they choose to repent from the lie and turn to the truth, we will receive them.

Our heart should be as God’s heart, not wishing that any should parish and that all would come to repentance. However, when our clear testimony of truth has been presented and they refuse to come to the truth and are set on following the lust of their flesh rather than the truth of God’s word we sever ties, especially if they are in our churches. The time must come when we wipe the dust off our feet and move on. We continue to pray that the seeds of truth that was planted continue to work in their lives bringing them to the truth.

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Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Satan is a Liar

As an active witness for the Lord we must remember two great truths, first God’s word is always true, second Satan is always a liar. From the beginning of time Satan the liar has tried to disprove God’s word. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden giving them the freedom to eat of every tree in the garden with one exception. God said to Adam in Genesis 2:17, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Eve knew the command and the warning of God. However, Satan came with his lies to convince her that God was holding out on her. Satan the liar tried to convince Eve that God was the liar. He said to her in Genesis 3:4, “You surly will not die.” He directly contradicted God. We know the rest of the story; therefore, we know who tells the truth and who the liar is. Jesus Himself said of Satan in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan’s tactics have not changed. He will first try to convince people through his lies that God’s word is not true. If he cannot succeed in this tactic he will then try to twist and warp God’s word removing the truths of God with lies that Paul calls, “doctrines of demons.” (I Timothy 4:1). God’s word time and again warns us of those who proclaim these lies of Satan. The bible calls them false prophets.

When dealing with these false prophets we must remember our truths, God’s word is always true and Satan is always a liar. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Satan is the author of the lie; the false prophets are simply believers of and proclaimers of the lie. Does this make them innocent? Of course not. This simply reminds us of the essence of our battle. It is a spiritual battle with spiritual implications rather than a physical battle. Our struggle is against Satan and his demons, not his false prophets. God’s heart is to win over those who have believed the lie. Not to destroy them. If they choose not to repent from the lie, the lie will destroy them.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” In other words, just because they look and act Christian doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. We need to listen to what they are proclaiming and ask ourselves, “Does it line up with the consistency of scripture?” In John’s warning of false prophets he tells us, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1). How do we try or test these false prophets to see if they are wolves in sheep’s clothing? With the Word of God! Does their message line up with God’s word or does it directly contradict it?

Again, remember our truths, God’s word is always true, and Satan is always a liar. In the fact that God’s word is always true, God’s word never contradicts itself. One extreme of the lies of Satan is that one must do good works and deeds in order to be saved. Satan will lie to them telling them that they have to earn their salvation by the works that they do. This clearly is a contradiction of Satan. Scripture after scripture tells us that we are saved by faith and not of works.(John 3:16, Romans 3:22, 3:24, 3:26, 3:28-30, 4:3, 4:5, 4:11, 4:16, 5:1, 5:9, 9:30, 9:33, 10:4, 10:9-10, 11:6, Galatians 2:16, 2:21, 3:5-6, 3:8, 3:14, 3:22, 3:24, Ephesians 1:13, 2:8, Philippians 3:9, I Timothy 1:16). Titus 3:5 tells us that we are not even saved by acts of righteousness. The clear consistent teaching of God’s word is that we are saved by faith. Faith plus anything equals nothing.

The other extreme in Satan’s deception is that God is okay with sin when the consistency of God’s word says He clearly is not. Satan will lie and tell people that they can live in sin and be in right relationship with God. However, I John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Satan will even go so far as to try and redefine what sin is and is not. However, God’s word is clear as to what sin is and is not.

Paul said in II Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” I have no doubt that this time has come and that this is the day that we are living in. As faithful stewards of God’s word we must stand firm on the truths of God’s word. We are the light bearers of the truth. If we stop bearing that truth and cower down to the masses the world will live hopelessly in the dark.

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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God’s Word is Powerful

How many times have you heard a sermon or sat in a bible study and never heard the Word of God proclaimed? The preacher or teacher may dance all around the truths of God’s word but if the Word of God is never proclaimed the teaching and preaching is incomplete. God said in Isaiah 55:11, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” This promise is for the Word of God, and not our own. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” God’s word is powerful all by itself. Our opinions, ideas, and illustrations are nothing compared to the power of God’s double edged sword. It must be proclaimed. Powerful preaching is immersed in the Word of God. It is The Word of God that is powerful-not our own.

Paul told Timothy to “preach the word.” (II Timothy 4:2). If I am going to proclaim the truths of God, what other choices do I have? None! God has given to us His word to let us know who He is, who we are, where we have come from, and how we turn to and trust in Him. He has given to us His word to let us know His standards, His statutes, and His requirements for our lives. He has given to us His word so we can know Him. Apart from the Word of God we would know none of these wonderful truths.

Not proclaiming God’s word is as foolish as a food critic describing the meal he ate without telling you what he ate, who the chef was, or the restaurant in which he ate the meal. Whether we are witnessing one on one, leading a small study group, or preaching to the masses, we must proclaim God’s word. Our word cannot penetrate the heart of the hearer and can often be misunderstood leading others astray. When we point others to the author of not only the bible but their very lives we are pointing them to the very one who can rewrite and renew their lives.

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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Follow Me

Repentance means to turn away from something. It is making a u-turn, going the opposite direction from where you were going. Repenting from sin is turning away from the sin. Biblical repentance not only requires us to turn from sin, it calls us to turn to Jesus. Repeatedly throughout the gospels Jesus says, “Follow Me.”

Biblical faith in Jesus isn’t simply believing facts about Jesus, it is also following Him.  James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Although Satan probably won’t admit it, he believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He was there. He saw it. Too many people today have a Christmas and Easter type of faith. They believe the facts of Christ but have never committed their lives to following Him. I am a huge Mustang fan. For this reason I know all kinds of facts about men who influenced Mustangs like, Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and Steve Saleen. Yet, I have never met any of them. I have never had a personal relationship with them. I do however know Jesus, because I have committed myself to following Him.

Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Clearly we need to believe the facts about Jesus. God did raise Him from the dead and that should be our foundation of faith. However, that alone isn’t good enough. Along with our foundation of faith we are to confess Jesus as Lord. This is our statement of faith. If Jesus is Lord over our lives we follow Him every day in every way.

In the tenth chapter of Mark we find one who obviously had great respect for Jesus. He came to Jesus knelt before Him and called Him “good teacher.”  He inquired of Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he needed to keep the law. The young man quickly responded to Jesus that he has kept the law since his youth. Jesus then told him to go sell everything you own, give it to the poor, and follow me. Jesus was showing him that he hasn’t really kept the law. Although he had respect for Jesus, he was unwilling to obey Jesus and unwilling to follow Him. Many people in our world today have great respect for Jesus, yet they too are unwilling to obey Him and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” Notice that He said “you must.” The requirement for following Jesus is denying yourself and taking up your cross. We need to remember that the cross was an instrument of death. It was the form of execution for the day. In other words, just as we talked about in being born again, Jesus is saying if we are going to follow Him we must die to self and follow Him. We need to have more than just respect for Jesus. We must have total surrender; a surrender that leads to denying ourselves and obedient service of Him. Jesus said we must.

While sharing the gospel with the lost we must make it abundantly clear that if they choose to accept Christ as their savior and Lord they are entering into a lifetime commitment. We need to make it clear that this walk should impact and influence every area of their lives. We have way too many Sunday-go-to-meetin Christians in our society who don’t mind going to church on Sunday morning but won’t allow Jesus to impact their daily lives.

We need to clearly communicate the fact that entering into a relationship with Jesus is a onetime decision. It is a death to self and life in Christ decision. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” At the same time we need to clearly communicate the fact that following Jesus is a commitment that is renewed daily. Paul also said in I Corinthians 15:31, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

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Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Praying for a Great Awakening in America

My heart is to see revival in our churches leading to a great awakening in our nation. God has stirred in my heart to call on all Christians to pray and fast for 40 days seeking God for revival in our churches and a great awakening in our land. The prayer and fast will begin on February 18th and go through March 29th, Easter Sunday. I am asking Christians to pray for 30 minutes a day during an agreed upon time. My hope is to have intersession being lifted up to the throne of God 24 hours a day for 40 days. During that time I will email those who commit to this challenge a daily prayer guide along with a daily devotion that will coincide with the prayer guide. America is in desperate need of revival and revival will not happen unless we humbly seek the face of God and pray. (II Chronicles 7:14). There is power in numbers. So, will you join us? If you feel God calling you to participate in this email me at reclaimingtheland@ilovejesus.net and write prayer in the subject box. If your heart is for revival share this information with everyone you know.

In the name above all names, Jesus

Rusty Kuhn

For more information about the heart of Reclaiming the Land Ministry visit: www.reclaimingtheland.com

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Repentance Required

            After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty day’s with His disciples opening their eyes to the scriptures teaching them the reason He came so they could proclaim the gospel to all creation.  Jesus told them that one of the requirements of accepting the gospel message was repentance from sin. Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What did Jesus mean when He said “repentance for forgiveness of sin?”  When we believe on Jesus we believe on all of who He is, all of what He has done, and all of what He has taught.  Jesus preached repentance of sin and holy living. True faith in Christ requires repentance from sin.

After Peter preached the first gospel message just after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit the crowd was pierced to the heart and asked Peter, “What shall we do?” They wanted to know how they were to respond to the gospel. Peter said they needed to repent. (Acts 2:38).

Sin hinders our relationship with God. It was our sins that Jesus went to the cross to pay for. When we choose not to repent we are telling God that we are not truly interested in a relationship with Him and that we would rather live our lives our own way through our own strength and wisdom. Make no mistake, people who refuse to repent refuse relationship and fellowship with God. John said in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words, if we say we are walking with God yet we are living in open rebellious unrepentant sin, we are liars.  However, I John 1:6 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  We walk in the light when we have repented of our sin and received the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that paid for our sin.

Paul went so far as to tell us not to associate with any “so-called” believer who is unrepentant and living in sin.  He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepentant individual only gives them a false since of salvation.  If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

In the next chapter, he gives a non-comprehensive list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul said, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Does this mean that anyone who has ever been drunk or stolen anything will not be saved? Of course not.  Paul is declaring their identity. This is who they are and how they live. This is the identifying mark of their lives. They are identified as a drunkard or a thief or whatever the life of sin is that they have not repented of.      Paul went on to say in the next verse, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Such were some of you, but not anymore, for they had repented and were washed with the blood of Christ. The Christians identity is found in Christ-not sin.

Does this mean that those who slip into sin from time to time are not saved? Galatians 2:11 tells us that Paul opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Peter was being a hypocrite acting one way in front of the gentiles and another way in front of the Jews. Was he condemned to hell for his hypocrisy? Of course not.  Peter was very much a saved man that loved Jesus with his whole heart. He was eventually martyred for his faith. He however, slipped into sin and needed someone like Paul to help set him straight. Those who are indentified with sin due to their lack of repentance are not saved. Christians can and will slip into sin from time to time. However, since they have a relationship with God, they will be convicted of their sin and repent. An unsaved person will live in sin with absolutely no conviction or remorse and be perfectly happy it.

When we share our faith with sinners, we must preach repentance.  A gospel proclaimed without repentance is no gospel at all. We are setting the hearer up for failure if we do not proclaim the need to repent. Not preaching repentance is as foolish as a patient going to see a doctor for a chronic cough. The doctor not wanting to pry into the patient’s personal life by telling him he needs to stop smoking simply gives him cough syrup instead. Smoking is clearly the root of his problem, just as sin is the root of our separation from God.

When preaching repentance we must do so with the love and compassion of Christ.  While preaching repentance we must have a heart of love desiring the sinner to turn from his sin and trust in Jesus. God will not bless the efforts of the self righteous who simply want to condemn the sinner for his sin. We must get the log out of our eye before we can get the spec out of others. Remember, such were some of us. We once were sinners in need of salvation. Who are we to condemn others for their sins? We repented and received grace. This too should be our heart. It most certainly is Gods.  For this reason out of an act of love and compassion knowing the destructive power of sin, we preach repentance.

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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