Monday, November 30, 2009

Water Walking

Admittedly OMW has been put on the back burner for all of November. That should change quickly in December. :)

Oh and the Walking on Water stuff is going to be three parts now. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What do sheep do?

Do sheep obey commands? Or do they follow where their shepherd goes?

Are sheep naturally orderly or do they need a sheep dog to keep them in line?

Do sheep wander off and need to be fetched?

Do sheep ever continually wonder off and need to have their legs broken so they can learn to trust the Shepherd?

Just a few questions on this day of many "Faith and Works" posts here at OMW.

Why Work?

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I work many hours each week in ministry. I'm not an overly faithful servant of the Lord, so I don't want you to hear any such bragging in this post.

I spend a lot of time talking here at this blog divorcing Good Works from the process of Eternal Salvation. Why? Because Eternal Salvation truly is free to us. Truly. Not just in some complicated "mystery" way that we "can't really understand." Surely not in some way that makes God look like a liar when He declares it as a "gift." Eternal Salvation is truly free.

So why do I work. Why am I sitting at this computer while I can hear my wife cleaning the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon when I truly desire to just hang out with her for a while? Why? Because the time is short.

It happens SO often here (and elsewhere) that someone I'm talking with will be trying to make everything in the Bible about Eternal Salvation. Then when I tell them that the Gospel is the Gospel and everything else is everything else they accuse me of not being mindful of the full counsel of God. We saw this here this past week in a comment I felt I had to delete.

The Dispensational "view" of the Scriptures truly does allow one to see the full counsel of God and to properly obey it. See I know that my works don't show that I'm saved, for there are unsaved people who do the same things I do. I know that when I'm not working that this is no more an indication of my salvation than my work is. So why work?

Well first, I'm not looking to impress anyone. Not myself, not God, and not you. What I do know is that the Church (of which I am securely part) has been given a clear and all important mission. Mark 16:15 I also know that the time is very short. I know that the Church has a narrow window of time to accomplish this mission. I'm doing my part.

How is my faith involved? I know that the Lord will provide for my needs. I know that if I do what He says to do that He'll take care of the things that need to be taken care of. This is how faith played in the works of the "Heroes of the Faith" in Hebrews 11. They were willing to do the things God asked them because they trusted him. Doing them wasn't trusting, it was their trust that allowed them to do them.

The walk of a disciple is FAR from easy, but the only risk is loosing that which you don't need. Why work? Because God is telling me to. I don't have to, but I can. If I don't I will suffer correction - believe me I am WELL experienced in this department.

Which gets me to the TRUE reason I work - the Lord has disciplined me.

I want to be clear: I don't work because I'm saved. I don't work because of some great gratitude that I have. I don't work because I've been transformed into Super-Christian. I work because the Lord by His Holy Spirit has disciplined me. This includes the full knowledge of my ability to sin and my need to walk by HIS power Gal 5:16. I'm new in Christ, but my flesh is the same old stinky junk it was the moment before I came to faith.

I don't work because I'm a Christian. Because I'm a Christian the Lord has disciplined me, and this IN MY CASE has resulted in some small measure of maturity that results in some small measure of work.

Great runners are not fast because they agreed to become runners. Great runners are developed by great coaches, but not every runner who signs up to be trained attains the same level.


Mat 20:1-16
1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’
8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
I love this parable.

With it as an introduction let's consider this situation. Your work contract reads exactly as follows;
"You shall be paid (at the agreed rate) for attending your place of employment. Additional rewards shall be paid to you based on performance (in your place of employment) at the completion of this phase of your career pending exacting evaluation. Instances of good performance will be rewarded, but instances of poor performance will detract from the overall reward paid out."
I should note that this article stems from my considering things from Fred Lybrand's Back To Faith. This book is a technical, challenging and even exciting read. I highly suggest you read it.

Please consider these 8 questions;
  1. Will you be paid if you show up?
  2. Will you be paid if you don't show up?
  3. Will you be paid if you show up but do not work?
  4. Will you be paid based on how much work you do?
  5. Will you be paid if you show up but are unwilling to work?
  6. Will you be paid if you are willing to work but never actually show up?
  7. Will you be paid for good work you do from home?
  8. Will you be paid if you for good work you do in your place of employment?
Now I don't want anyone to think that I THINK that Salvation is a payment we receive... I struggled with wording the work contract properly.. and that's as close as I could get. A bit of grace?

Scripture tells us that Christians are "created in Christ Jesus for good works." Eph 2:10 but that we are saved by Grace through Faith, not based on works. Eph 2:8-9 and that our salvation is available to the ungodly one who does not work Rom 4:5:-8

Interestingly enough Rom 4:1-5 speaks to my discussion above;

1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness

We are created in Christ Jesus TO work, but our salvation has nothing to do with work. We are saved by "showing up" not by being willing to work.

Your willingness to work doesn't save you. That's "Willingness" just like the people in John 6:28 had. They were willing to work, but Jesus said that instead of being willing to work they had to attend the place of employment - they had to believe. John 6:29

Willingness to work is not faith. Willingness to trust is not faith. Only actually trusting is faith.

When you trust the Christ of the Gospel 1 Cor 15:1-11 then you will be saved and in doing so you'll be "attending your place of employment." Salvation is free, just show up.

How To Walk On Water Without Sinking

I wanted this article to be more involved than it will be. Time is a factor, and truth is I have another subject I want to move on to. :)

There are seemingly endless deep theological insights contained in Mat 14:22-33 but I'm interested in "how to walk on water." Peter did it, and I think we can too.
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
In my last article I talked about the idea of walking on water being akin to salvation by grace through faith. Nothing to do with effort (whether God-powered or man-powered), and everything to do with being above the water. You can't swim if you're walking on the water was a sort of catch phrase.

My point was, you're not living a way that is acceptable and so you are saved NOR are you saved and so living a way that is acceptable. The fact is in Scripture that you are acceptable to God ONLY through Christ's full and final payment. You do not "become acceptable" and then "remain acceptable" until you are "finally" accepted. You are accepted the moment you are IN Christ. Your acceptability is based ONLY on that.

That was my point in my last article, but this one is slightly different.

Peter wanted to walk on water. The difference between Peter's attitude and that of our Lordship Salvation friends is that Peter wasn't expected to do the work. Peter didn't say Lord I am willing to swim to you! No Peter called on the Lord and asked Him to call him out on the waters. Peter didn't say I'm willing to get wet so I can get to you! Peter didn't say I'm willing to risk my life for you!

Peter said, in effect, Lord by your power let me walk on water too! So it happened.

But Peter doubted and became afraid, he did not "persevere to the end." Peter had not been transformed into a supernatural Water-Walker. No Peter was still every bit flesh and blood. His carnal fears gripped him and took over the supernatural walk that he had been given the privilege to experience.

Peter then cried out the the Lord to be saved from the predicament he found himself in and the Lord IMMEDIATELY did so. Peter didn't have to come to Him in fealty, in submission. Clearly at that very moment Peter was not exercising what our Lordship Salvation friends would express as "True Saving Faith" for immediately after saving Peter Our Lord and Saviour said to Him "Ye of little faith, why did you doubt?" Peter looked away. Peter turned from Christ to observe the World, and suffered the consequences of doing so - however it did not change his Eternal Salvation. Not only did it not change the fact of his salvation it did not even indicate the state of his salvation.

So how can WE walk on water? We must have the same faith that Abram did, and that Peter did when he stood in the boat. We must trust in the Word of God. Contrast this with what our Lordship Salvation friends might say. Peter, why did you doubt? Are you really trusting the Lord? Why were you not willing to walk all the way to the Lord? Why did you fall away? Could it be that you were never indeed one of us? Peter, you need to check yourself to see if you are indeed in the faith. True Christians do not fall back.

Of course we can check the rest of Peter's life and see that it took many years before the one whom Jesus claimed to have already washed clean became anything at all like what the Lordship Salvation proponents claim a real Christian is. Worse, what a sinner must agree to become in order to be saved.

Walking on water is as simple and easy as Eternal Salvation is (this could be said in vice verse as well).

Look to the Lord only, be assured by His Word (not your own) and you won't touch the water. You'll be lifted above it. Are you catching this? Peter didn't call to the Lord and say "Lord, make me to be able to walk on the water!" Peter didn't call on the Lord to say "Lord, PLEASE change me!" When Peter was still looking at the Lord, "Peter" was not on Peter's mind. Only Jesus was on Peter's mind.

Please consider the object of your faith. Are YOU the object? Are the things you DO the object? Is your FAITH the object? Are you only sure if you're saved if you see something in yourself?

Are you only saved so long as you're walking on the water?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you work with audio?

Hi, I'm looking for someone to offer some semi-skilled time on a weekly basis for the cause of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Canada. If you are a committed Christian who has some experience working and are possibly willing to help spread the Gospel in Canada (or know someone like this) would you post here?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is it better to receive or not to need?

I'm sitting in a coffee shop avoiding writing an episode of TCC Radio.

Do you think it would be better to receive a million dollars or not to ever need a million dollars?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Walking on Water is Not Swimming

Here's a silly question; Have you ever considered that walking on water is not the same as swimming? What about how walking on water doesn’t even involve swimming? This article is going to argue that if you are in fact walking on water, you can not be swimming at all.

You know, those who are sceptics of the Bible often come up with all kinds of explanations of why the Disciples thought Jesus was walking on the water in Mathew 14:22-27. They say everything from it’s a made up story to He was walking along the shore, or even floating on ice. The truth is no one confuses walking on the water with anything else. Actually if someone had never seen, or had a person walking on water properly described to them a person might think that “swimming” is akin to walking on water. However, if one has seen it they would never confuse the two. So, just like the skeptics of the Bible, skeptics of walking on water minus swimming can come up with all the explanations they like and still not change the truth.

For the purposes of this article I'll state that Justification in Christ (which is the prerequisite of Eternal Salvation) is sort of like walking on water. Works based (religious) Justification (and therefore Eternal Salvation) is sort of like swimming. If one is Justified in Christ they are supernaturally lifted above the mire and anything they do there has nothing to do with keeping themselves above it. Such a one is not swimming. I'm also going to state that Eternal Salvation includes resurrection unto life which is recently being referred to as "Final Salvation" by some Brethren.

Readers may remember a long conversation with Lordship Salvation (LS) proponent Mark Pierson here. After I read Mark’s affirmation that no one who understands LS also rejects LS I asked for anyone who believes in LS to proclaim the Gospel to me so that I could understand. For many days I dialogued with Mark about his view of Salvation. I painstakingly examined his presentation using the definitions of terminology that he supplied. In the end, I found that the LS position is exactly as I (and many others) have understood it to be, and I continue to reject it.

After that, Mark asked me to visit his blog and repeat the same or a similar conversation there with him. In the mean time the Lord was working on me about my desire to debate people. I really don’t know how future conversations here at OMW are going to play out but I knew repeating the same debate at Mark's blog would not be profitable. He has suggested that I wished to only converse with him within the safety of my own blog or those of my friends. Such a view doesn't actually seem reasonable in that Mark was given complete freedom of uncensored expression here.

Mark asked me to share the Gospel with him at his blog. That’s not the sort of thing you can just say “NO!” to. So I gave him a link to a YouTube video of the Gospel in one minute. His reply to this video was to suggest what someone who is in gross sin might say in response to this video. The supposed person said they didn’t want to give up the sin they were in. Of course the sin was inflammatory and fully in the realm of the fleshy nature of mankind. Such that ought not even be named among the saints. Eph 5:3-4

I proclaimed the forgiveness of sins, and Eternal Life in Jesus Christ and Mark’s supposed person said “But I don’t want to stop sinning!” as a rebuttal to the idea that the Gospel I proclaim is false. I believe it is the inflammatory nature of the sin Mark chose that is of issue to him. Mark didn’t choose speeding.. or picking your nose, or not telling the people around you that you love them… no he chose gross adultery. Why? Well I can only assume that adultery is a worse sin than those other I noted in Mark’s eyes. However, we’re told in Scripture that one sin is like another because the same God who said thou shalt not commit adultery also said thou shalt not murder. James 2:10-11 It is the falling short of God’s perfection that is sin, not the details of the issue.

So what is it that Mark is saying? Is he saying that a person must be willing to give up adultery in order to be saved?

Here read his comment yourself;

So Kevin, thanks for telling me the Gospel in a minute.

I have some pressing questions for you -You see, I am a married man. Here's
the problem: I've met somebody else, one of my co-workers. She also is married.
At first we were just friends. Then, over the course of time, we both discovered
that we complete one another. We both feel like we are soul-mates. Yes, we have
gone on to be intimate. We really love each other.

Now even Sunday-school kids know that God has said "Thou shall not commit
adultry". If I were to become a Christian would I have to give this woman up? I
can't see myself ever being able to do that.

Of course that is what Mark was saying and has consistently said. Well here’s something to consider. If your unsaved neighbour gives up adultery are they any closer to Heaven? Are they any more worthy of being saved? If the person that Mark makes up DID give up adultery would they be saved then? Or would there be another sin they’d have to give up? If so, then how many? If not then why not? Is there a Biblical example of what sins you can continue in and what ones you may not in order to be Eternally Saved?

Let's get back to swimming and walking on water to see if we can reconcile some of this.

The modern Reformed Calvinist Lordship Salvation proponent will claim that it's not the works (the swimming) that saves (keeps one above the water) but that everyone who is saved will work.

When Paul says that the one who believes and does not work is justified, he is sort of saying that walking on water doesn’t involve swimming. Romans 4:5-8 Paul is surely saying that justification is "apart from" works. The righteousness that a Believer has in this life is accounted, and imputed. It is not actualized until we are glorified (experience this "Final Salvation"). 1 Cor 13:12-13, 1Jn 3:2 The one who is walking on water is not swimming. If one is swimming, or working to be saved then they are not walking on water. They are either truly not saved, or they are acting like it. The idea of works proving that someone is saved is well and fully addressed in Dr. Fred R. Lybrand's wonderful new book "Back To Faith." This book examines the phrase "It is therefore faith alone that justifies, but the faith that justifies is not alone" in great detail. I think it would be foolish to try to offer here what he so excellently offers in his book so I will not. Often people will point to our works as proof of "true saving faith." Unfortunately this is a great perversion of what is written in James 2:14-26. I address this idea of examining your works to see if you're in the faith in my book Fail-Safe for Fallacy but surely not as well as Dr. Lybrand does in his. For the purpose of this article I want to iterate; swimming is not walking on water. If one is walking on water, they can not be swimming. I also wish to point out that looking at swimming for proof of walking on water is absurd.

However, if you teach someone that their works prove their salvation, will they not try to swim? Isn't the consistent question of the lost "What must I DO to be saved?" Acts 16:30, John 6:28

Beloved reader, the answer to this question is always the same - BELIEVE (put your trust in) the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 16:31, John 6:29. Not "really believe and prove it by working"! No, we are never told to test our faith by our works.

What is true saving faith? That is the question. If you have faith in Christ alone, then your faith finds validation in Christ alone. If your faith is not in Christ alone then it will find validation in the various things your faith is in. If your faith is in Christ alone you can not have your faith in anything else. So, in the swimming/walking discussion if you’re walking on water you can’t swim, and if you’re trying to swim you're either a very confused water walker, or your not a water walker at all.

True saving faith is trust and assurance. We read this in Genesis 15:1-6. A fearful Abraham came to believe God, or rather trust God and be assured by His promise. This was accounted as righteousness. Abraham didn’t look for validation of God’s promise in some aspect of his own life. He didn’t look for “evidence” of God having saved him. He didn't look at his performance in view of how he should serve this glorious and faithful God. He trusted God, and was assured that God would fulfill His promise. The issue was settled. With regard to our conversation Abraham walked on water and did not swim. Nothing he did or didn't do had reflected the truth of his being above the water. Why? Because he was above the water ONLY because God faithful. Not because Abraham was made faithful. God alone is faithful.

If I trust and am assured by God then I need not look anywhere else. If I do not trust God and or am not assured by His promise then I must look elsewhere for my assurance. If I’m assured by anything else than God’s promise then I do not have faith in Christ alone.

If I am swimming I am not walking on water.

If one is Justified then they can set aside the wondering if they are saved and start operating in the trust they have for God. Instead of constantly looking inward to find validation of their confidence as those who check their works do, the one who knows he is justified simply gets on with the work of the day. If your justification is based on God's faithfulness, then you are assured as surely as His Word is true. Heb 6:13-20

Let’s spell it out. You don’t do the works that we read of in Hebrews 11 if you are not sure of God’s promises. You don’t do those works unless you already know you are saved. These works are not evidences of salvation, they are evidences of getting past the milk and onto the meat. Leaving the beginnings of faith and moving on to perfection, not laying the foundation of repentance again. The person who is looking to their works for validation of their confidence doesn’t have the kind of faith it takes to do those works. Their faith is not “in Christ alone.” They are still trying to swim instead of realizing they can simply walk.

This concludes part 1 of this two part series. In the next article I’ll be looking at how Peter was able to physically walk on water, and what happened when he sank. God willing this will shed some light on how we too can stop trying to swim and start truly walking on water.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Greatest Show on Earth

Richard Dawkins has released yet another book. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. Some may ask why I would link you to a way to purchase such a book. Well truly, if the Bible can not stand up to such as Dawkins then it surely fails any reasonable expectation of what the Word of God would be. In other words, Dawkins' arguments are laughable.
Looking back on these books, I realized that the evidence for evolution is nowhere explicitly set out, and that it seemed like a good gap to close. ~ R. Dawkins
That quote ought to be truly funny to anyone who's had to endure a conversation with someone who claims that Dawkins' books have provided undeniable evidence for Evolution. The idea of quoting this to the next person who quotes Dawkins' assertion of the idiocy of anyone who denies Evolution after hearing his arguments has me on the verge of a giggling fit. has a short article which looks at some of the Straw-man Arguments and Just-So story telling that Dawkins uses in his latest work. They're also preparing a full response in the form of a book.

Been sick

Well, I haven't finished the article I've been working on. Believe me, I don't like reading "I've been busy" blog posts any more than you guys do. I have been busy, and sick though. :(

I'm sorry for the delay. I'm thankful that many of you check here for new content. I promise to have this article up in the next couple of days. I'm struggling a bit with the tone right now.. prayer is always welcome. :)