AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH MAY 30, 2010
A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
I Kings 13
THE LION, THE CALL AND THE COMPROMISE
The result was sure and soon. A lion met him on the way back. What could and should have been safe passage, now was not. BECAUSE he had added to the word of God, and EATEN and drunk before his return, therefore his life was at once forfeit. This in fallen denominations and false sects may lead to results as the children grow, or sooner; but the folly is real, the cost is certain.
Therefore, do not play with fire, do not assert yourself, but obey the commandments which are made for your own good, and even if 'reason' seems to tell it otherwise, with short-term inducements, these are but rebellion. Thus the Lord performed not one but TWO great signs.
Firstly, the evil schism, like a sect or changing denomination, adding to or subtracting from or polluting the Bible, is to be avoided, and condemned. It may NOT be remained in, as if a sanctuary. Secondly, avoid palliatives, and do NOT put credence in those who remain, like the old prophet. Step out and be clear-cut, and do not be spiritually seduced. It is not enough to say, one should also do. It is not enough (useful as it is) to speak the truth, for one should seek also to live it.
One should seek at all times to keep one's heart pure, to avoid compromise, to eschew, loathe what flies to the border of permission and then quietly crosses the line as if it had not noticed the thing. One should be building up a kingdom in the fear of the Lord, and not in the pleasures of self-satisfaction, even if it SEEMS spiritually satisfying to do so. It may SEEM physically satisfying to the adulterer too; but the result comes later.
Avoid perilous entanglements, and if you pay for it, it is well bought.
Do not accomplish clever subterfuges, such as saying, How else will we testify if we do not have fellowship with idolators, such as Romanists (cf. SMR pp. 1032ff.) ? How does this accord with the word of God ? As we have just seen, it is a categorical quarrel, and thus rebellion. What is the alternative ? It is to wait on the Lord, to preach and teach the Gospel and the word of God, and to leave it to God what opportunities you have, and to consider Him wise enough to know how to be mighty to save, and to use His own methods, while constantly seeking for the souls of the lost.
That is faith.
It is not fidgets. As to the young prophet, fidgets killed him, and that after all that he had done. One is sorry for him; but he repeated so clearly both to King and false prophet, what were the commands. All he omitted, after much obedience, was to keep to the VERY SIMPLE road he was told to follow in his conduct. He simply did the exact opposite, imagining he had found some place for compromise.
Compromise with your taste for lamb or beef, for some reason, if you will; but that is mere taste. If you compromise in your course for God, that is like driving on the wrong side of the road. Why do it ? this is not the law of man but of God.
There is then no law now ? Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, you perhaps quibble (Romans 10:4). The topic ? It is the efforts of some Jews to "establish their own righteousness" by good works (10:3). In THIS respect, doing that, trying to put yourself in the clear before God by good works, you really trying to make of yourself a fount of righteousness. It will not do. In that context, Christ is the END of the law. There is no way through whatever. HE DID it (Romans 10:6-13), by coming down from heaven and paying (Romans 3:23ff.), so that seeking to use the law as a way to establish your righteous standing is illusory, shocking. Christ has paid. What do you think YOU are doing!
No, in fact, Christ declared this, that if you love Him you will KEEP HIS WORDS (John 14:21ff.). Are these not filled with commands and directions ? How then is one now to be lawless ? Does not Paul declare clearly in I Corinthians 14:37, this, that " if anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord."
Why then give commandments if they do not command! Why call Him Lord if His word is not to be obeyed ? As Christ declared directly (Luke 6:46), "Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and not do the things I say ?"
Christ, He is not cheer leader but God in human form, and what did He say in Matthew 5:17ff. ? It was that every last item of the law and the prophets would be fulfilled. But what of the sacrificial system and much more already fulfilled ? Why, since it IS fulfilled, then it is past (as in Hebrews 8:13).
We work now by grace ? Of course, nor did David fail to show it, for example, nor Joseph! to his brethren. But the MODE of our being saved because of the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10-13) merely the more fully exhibits the necessity for spiritual peace and communion with the Lord, of not now going on in the same road which occasioned the murder of Christ, that as sacrifice He might atone for the breach of righteousness which God defined.
As Paul put it, in one dramatic regard, Will you join the body of Christ to a harlot ? That is, if you are part of His body (I Corinthians 12ff.), will you then, using the imagery, by yourself in fornication, join Him to that! Will you except a spiritual harlot ? (cf. Revelation 17:1ff.,18:4). You are to disjoin yourself from what is disjoining itself, while claiming to be Christian, from what forsakes His teaching. Indeed, instead of breaking His words, rules, laws, you should not only be preaching the Gospel, but TEACHING HIS COMMANDMENTS. Who said so ? Jesus Christ said so, indeed in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20.
What sort of teaching is involved in that ? It is this sort: "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Notice how greatly the Lord was with the young prophet of whom we read in I Kings 13, with miracles multiplying. Yet notice no less, that when he erred from his appointed path, CHANGING the commandment in practice, even while still mouthing it, both to the King and to the old prophet, then there was a penalty. Well, you may say, a penalty is a penalty and so be it. However, when the offence is to trade off the word of God explicitly held, and seen, and known, for something else, smudging and sludging about, then you are becoming specious, unsavoury, misleading, and your impact can overall be a blight. So was the young removed by the temptation of the old, because he 'seemed to be all right'. This is the very word of some who stay in colossally disobedient churches, impudent, intransigent, self-assured sites, who think this or that pastor is fine. How is it fine to stay by Samaria ? Do the eyes deceive ? Is truth a convenience ? Are words for appearance, while life is for the living!
POSSESSED BY THE LORD OR BY DISINCLINATION
Christian, if you are going to be steadfast, immovable (I Corinthians 15:55), valiant and courageous, sincere and love a pure heart, if from the heart you want that, then consider this. It is a SPIRIT which is needed. The Holy Spirit of God should FILL the Christian's heart (Ephesians 5). Wine is contrasted. Both lead to signal changes in man, one for the intemperate, and the other for the holy.
Man also has a spirit, and Paul prays for the entire sanctification of our spirits (I Thessalonians 5:23):
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely;
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body
be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."
Observe the certainty of it, the necessity of it. It is not an option for the 'saints', for Paul is talking to the saints as the church recipients of his letters! (as you see in the first chapters of the epistles to the Ephesians and the Philippians). Your spirit needs to be sanctified completely. This, be assured (I John 1:7ff.) does not make it perfect. It does however, like honest sweat in toil from the heart, have meaning. It is not a matter of being devious, but circumspect. It is not a matter of avoiding duty, but doing it, of disdaining responsibility, but meeting it. Nor is it a matter of mere duty, wholly insufficient as a motive, but most helpful for all that: it is a matter of love. Does a mother HAVE to be told not to leave a hundred nappies lying about without cleaning, of the danger to the health of her child and household ? Not normally, no not at all, for her heart is in it.
Faith has the heart alive in the thing believed in, provided three things are present:
First, it must be faith in what is there, and not in a dream.
Secondly, it must be faith in what is able to control the situation, having power, authority and all necessary practical presence.
Thirdly, it must be authorised faith, since trusting in what disdains or rejects your trust is irrelevant.
ALL these conditions are fulfilled in Christ, the resurrected Son of the eternal God, the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity, the only perfect human being that ever was (Adam having had a varied career!): He is there. All power is given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:19-20), so that is covered. Thirdly, not only has He authorised faith, He commands it as a condition, and when it is present, He declares this, that all things are possible to the one who believes (Luke 1:37, Mark 9:26, Matthew 9:23), and we learn from Paul that He is able not only to do more than we think or ask, but exceedingly much more (Ephesians 3:20).
By faith, then, one is filled with the Spirit, alerted to good, aided in its performance, lives in love, desires the uttermost and ultimate glory of God, and seeks humility and holiness. It is, as we see in I Thessalonians 5, not only authorised, but sought by God!
Having faith the size of a mustard seed avails! (Mark 11:23-24, Matthew 17:20). It is HE in WHOM you trust that matters. It is that you DO trust which prevails. The Lord pities His people as a Father His children (Psalm 103:13), and instead of having any of His sheep go West, He sets their sins as far from them as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12).
This episode, then, from I Kings 13, teaches us that making compromises with Biblical commands, truth, perspective, directive, is fallacious; this is not the way in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a haven, and His is the power, and whatever time seems to toss at us, yet it is known to God, and whatever the test, yet in Him one must act faithfully. Possess the promises of God, and rejoice: by faith.
It is rather like using electricity in this respect (Acts 5:32). It is powerful and useful and not to be intimidated or directed; but once go with it, and there is a remarkable result. If this is so with the things created, with their limitations, how much more when one is in true accord with the God who has no limit to His power, but very decided limitations on the way people may desire to use it. He is neither dupable nor culpable, but accessible by faith, in Jesus Christ, the eternal atonement, the everlasting redemption, who has carried the anchor of faith in those who are His, into the eternal realm already. From His love, nothing will separate those who are His, and the way in is by HIM as the door (John 10:9,27-28). In His love, then walk, which is better than a known way; and yet what is needed HAS been made known; and fudge factors do not work, except to secure evil.
Keep therefore to Him, and do not add, subtract or compromise, so that HE alone is your rock, and then you will not be rocked; be valiant and let the Lord keep you. Fear nothing and no one but God, and then you find the Lord takes pity on those who fear Him (Psalm 145:8,17ff.). He desires it. Please Him by doing it; for HIS pleasure is good, HE Himself being good and without variation or iniquity. To have his love on top of all that, is beyond a marvel; it is that glory which is found in eternal life, that from God who IS glorious, there being none such as He.