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Over the last many years God has been burdening my heart in a great way.  We live in a time period where the mindset of Old Time Religion is snickered at and often put aside for new ideas, a different direction, and a very dangerous slide in the wrong direction.

The more we listen and watch – the less discernment we see.

There is a quick condemnation of judgment and the cry for everyone to be less judgmental and more accepting. Ephesians 4:14 cautions us, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”  The wind is blowing today and it is sad to see that there are many who say that they are following the Lord, yet, in their very actions there is a resemblance of the world more so than the Savior.

For some time now I have been studying II Peter 1:5-10. In these verses we find some very detailed ingredients that will equip the believer so that we might never fall. At some point in a saved life it is the believer’s desire to please the Lord, no matter the opposition. In no way would I question someone’s heart, but I would be willing to call into questions someone’s actions. You say, “That’s judging!” I would have to agree. Matthew 7:1,2 clearly instructs to “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:”

This passage is not telling us NOT to judge, but instead it is cautioning us that if we do judge we better be ready to be judged by the same standard.

In I Corinthians 2:14,15 we are told that “…the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they re spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth al things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”  We judge people and things according to their actions, all the time. We judge people when we are driving as we evaluate what they are about to do so that we can be proactive for our safety and the safety of our children. We judge what stores we will shop at by the products and/or discounts they have to offer. We judge children by their behaviors, and often, when a child misbehaves we judge their parents. We judge children so that we might decide if our children will be allowed to play with them or not, and we do so based on the behavior that we see. The fact that we are so concerned about judging things or situations has led us to the point that we have allowed certain things or people to influence our families and us, which has done more harm than good to us spiritually.

Over the last many years there has been a shift in sound doctrine.

It seems that as long as someone still preaches salvation by grace through faith that they can listen to whatever music they want (as long as it is labeled “Christian”) and all is ok. As long as someone says they have a desire to please the Lord they can dress however they want. We are looking more and more like the world and sounding more and more hypocritical all the time. Oh, we are saying that we do not want to be like the Old Time Religion crowd because they are hypocrites, but in turn, are doing the same exact thing we condemn others far to the other extreme.

I would be the first to agree that there are problems in many (not all) churches. Matter of fact, there are problems in ALL churches because ALL churches are made up of imperfect people. Though we understand that there are different groups within fundamentalism, we would like to believe, and I think I can say that we have friends within every group. I am not a fan of the “camps” that have been created. I am not for speaking against another brother in Christ, nor am I for slamming another college or church for something that their pastor feels led of the Lord to do. We should be for discernment and protecting our family and ministry from influences that could be and are become very detrimental to Bible based Old Time Religion. We must be vigilant in guarding the church against the sounds of the world in our “Christian” music. We must remain steadfast in guarding our families from churches and institutions that allow you to “come as you are, and stay as you came”. We want people to come as they are, but by the grace of God our prayer should be that they do not stay as they came.

There is a wondering working power in the blood of Jesus Christ!

There is a pragmatic approach that is sweeping our nation, and world, by storm. This idea that as long as we are reaching people with the gospel, the method by which we do so does not matter, is false doctrine and more than dangerous – it is sinful! Sinful in the fact that we are not doing it as Christ taught but doing it as we think best. The fact that people are coming to our churches is not evidence of Spiritual Growth. I like what one evangelist said, “Road kill grows too!” He said that in context of churches growing, but not by the Spirit of God, but by the methods of man. There is a big difference between swelling and growing. Something or someone that grows due to swelling is because it is rotting or there is an infection that needs to be dealt with. Something that is growing has the right root system and the fruit that is being produced is a direct result of the root system that has found some good soil.

The idea that “God knows my heart” has become a misapplied passage taken out of context.

Of course God looks on my heart, but man cannot. The Lord spoke those words to Samuel, as the man of God was about to anoint the next king of Israel. God is assuring Samuel that He (God) knows what He is doing. The Lord is telling Samuel that He is about to have Samuel anoint a ruddy youth to be the next king. This was in total contrast of the head and shoulders above every other man, good-looking king that Saul was. God uses that statement to say, “Trust me Samuel”. You will be looking on the outward, but I will be looking on the heart. Certainly Samuel would have found great comfort if he had had the time to watch David in the field with the sheep. David may not have looked like a king, but his actions, if Samuel had been given time to view, would have depicted a man very capable of the position.

The emergent or progressive church has taken that passage and applied to church and are now allowing Contemporary Christian Music under the guise that it pleases God because He knows their heart. Dress standards are under attack under the teaching that it’s not how you dress because God know my heart. Ironically we live in a generation where many people talk about loving God, but are not appearing to be godly! It is almost as though we are ignoring the passage in Matthew 5 where we are commanded in verse 16 to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” What we do, how we look, and how we talk does matter! Our song services resemble a concert more than a church service. Our dress is reflective of the world more than a Christian. Our language borders on repulsive with our sound byte sermons and our watered down sermonettes that are supposed to help people grow.

Is it not ironic that we have made the worship leader, worship team and worship songs the focus of the church service?

Yet, in the establishment of the local church in the book of Acts (which the emergent and progressive churches like to refer too) and through the Pauline Epistles we see that there was very little emphasis put on the singing and much emphasis put on Preaching and Prayer.

When the unsaved were being addressed there was much preaching going on. Oh, and I do not see that Peter or Paul preached an Expository Message each time they stood up to lift their voice like a trumpet. There was some positional preaching going on. When Stephen stood and preached in Acts there was some pointed preaching about the cross and the fact the people listening were to blame for the death of the Messiah. The ideas that people have to be coddled and cradled through preaching a new idea. Yes, we need to love people, but love often comes with good Old Fashioned, Isaiah 58:1, style preaching. A Pastor should be able to teach and preach, but he definitely needs to know how to be Spirit filled and be willing to PREACH THE WORD OF GOD! Singing is very important to the Lord, but so is preaching and prayer. Please do not take me wrong – singing is a necessity.

From Genesis throughout Scripture we see God’s emphasis on sing. The largest book of the Bible is a songbook – Psalms.

In the establishment of the New Testament Local Church there was a lot of prayer. John chapter seventeen is the Lord Jesus praying. What a prayer! Through the New Testament we find prayer meetings that got through to the throne of grace. Oh that we would get back to the day of answered prayer! Remember, the disciples did not ask the Lord to teach them a song, or how to develop a sermon outline. They desired that He teach them to pray!

As I was reading II Peter 1:5-10 I came to that phrase, “…and if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” It shows us that the eight ingredients given in those five verses must be active! As we tune up a car to keep it running, so we must tune up our faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and our charity. The redundancy of these ingredients shows us that the order that we place them into our lives is very important. Notice how the Lord, through Peter, repeats the previous ingredient before stating the next.

[5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
[6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
[7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

It is evident here that the Lord was saying that it must be in this order. I cannot say that it IS the only time that the Lord is redundant in how He gives the instruction, but up until now it is the only time that I have seen Him repeat the prior before stating the next ingredient.

We would all agree that each one of these ingredients is critical in every Christian life. Let us take some time to focus on the word knowledge. In these verses the word knowledge means detailed understand or the science of. Today, it is evident that there are many who have no idea why we are who we are as independent fundamental Baptists. Many do not know why we have the high standards in dress and music, why we preach the way we do, and we try not to change. So, when we do not have the detailed understanding, from the Bible, as to why we do what we do, we are easily swayed and are prone to change.

Please stay with me. As we have watched people, and ministries, change through the years we have often wondered “why”. Why would someone go from being one thing and change to something else? Why are our music and dress standards changing to reflect the world from which we have been saved, and why are we ok with this!

Influences. We are changing because of influences. We are reading authors that do not believe like we believe. Matter of fact, many of the authors that we are patterning our message, music, and methods after are not even Baptists. II Peter 2 defines the times we live in very accurately,

II Peter 2 reads,

[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
[2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
[3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
[4] For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
[5] And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
[6] And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
[7] And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
[8] (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
[9] The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
[10] But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
[11] Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
[12] But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
[13] And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
[14] Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
[15] Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
[16] But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
[17] These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
[18] For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
[19] While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
[20] For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
[21] For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
[22] But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

The very crowd that many are reading after are laughing at sound doctrine.

But, because they make some sense we begin to consider their ideas and once applied we are seeing that there is growth. It is not the growth that will cause us to reproduce, nor is it the growth that will sustain the next generation, but it is a temporary growth that will, more than likely, leave nothing for our children that even comes close to resembling the Old Time Religion for which the coming generations will long. Maybe these are the times that Paul cautioned Timothy about in II Timothy 4:1-5 when he said,

II Timothy 4:1-5 reads,

[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
[2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
[3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
[4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
[5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

It appears that we are being influenced more by men who say that they are godly than we are by God who IS godly.

We know where the hyper-Calvinist authors stand, where the protestant revivalists stood, and where the emergent and progressive author’s stand, but do we know where God stands? Many accuse the Independent Fundamental Baptists of being harsh, and a failing movement, but I beg to differ. Oh yes, we have our brutish pastor’s with the IFB movement, and we have our harsh, hobby-horse preaching, and our no substance preachers just like every other movement, but we are not defined by them. May I interject that Baptist’s are not Protestants, we are not Armenian, and we are not Calvinists.

So, when I read after those authors and do not know WHY I am WHAT I am I will be easily led astray by their flattering words of false doctrine and direction.

We have grown accustomed to studying the ways of man instead of the ways of God. We are spirit led instead of Spirit led. We have detailed understanding of men of our day, but do we have a detailed understanding of God and His holy Word?

The Lord was so specific in His order of these ingredients found in II Peter 1:5,6. So, what happens when we add the ingredients OUT OF ORDER? We become spiritually anemic and we compromise. We never grow to the spiritual level that Christ wants us to and therefore we are not able to stand when the winds of false doctrine blow.

Today, everyone wants to talk about loving the brethren and loving the world. I agree with both of those! From the moment of salvation we need to be soul winners. We need to be kind one to another. However, too many of our young leaders are adding the ingredient of brotherly kindness before they have added the ingredient of knowledge. Because these ingredients are being added OUT OF ORDER the young leaders, and some of the older leaders, are compromising a very distinct stand that they have taken for many years, or that they have been raised up in, because they do not have a detailed understanding of why they do what they have done for so many years. Brotherly kindness, as we see in the list of ingredients, is at the end of the list. Maybe the Lord was adding all the other ingredients so that when we get to the point that we fellowshipped with someone who was a little bit off in a doctrine we would not be swayed, but equipped to help them instead of them hindering us.

Not everyone can read a Calvinist author and be unaltered doctrinally and directionally. The word knowledge is used several other time in the first ten verses of II Peter 1:1-10. Knowledge in verse 8 means recognition of. Why do I point out the difference you may ask? Let’s look at the verse.

Let’s break II Peter 1:8 down together when it says, “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

These things – has to do with the eight ingredients of verse 5 and 6
In you – they are not to be carried around in a bag, they are to be inside of me. Food does not benefit me if I buy it and leave it in the cupboard. I must prepare it and consume it in order for my body to benefit from the nutrients that the food provides. It is not enough to know these ingredients are here – I must digest them in my Christian life.
Abound – To have enough to spare; overflowing. It is not enough to just have them; they need to be overflowing.
Barren – not fruiting; not producing; with no useful result; lacking in something. This is not the desire of anybody let alone a believer in Christ.
Unfruitful – unprofitable; unsuccessful; not fertile
Knowledge – recognition of

Let’s put it all together. If we do not have faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly-kindness and charity IN us and ABOUNDING we will be unproductive and unprofitable when it come to recognizing our Lord Jesus Christ.

The fact that our “Christian” music and dress standards (to name a few) resemble the world give evidence to the fact that we have added some ingredients OUT OF ORDER resulting in the sad fact that because these are not IN us and ABOUNDING we have no knowledge (recognition) of the fact that the Lord is NOT in the direction that many of our churches and spiritual leaders are heading.

It is so very important that these ingredients are in us, and that they are added in the specific order outlines by our Lord.

He was emphatic in his order evidenced by His redundancy in passage. If we are focused on brotherly kindness before we have the proper knowledge it is very easy to be led away with the enticing words of those who are causing many to error from the truth of God’s Word.

Commentaries and well-spoken authors do not reveal the accuracy, nor do they give credibility to the Bible.

The Bible reveals accuracy and gives credibility to the Commentary or well-spoken author. Just because something makes sense to you does not mean it lines up with the truths of God’s Word. Before you question your doctrine or direction take time to evaluate the order by which these ingredients have been added to your life. If you are in pursuit of brotherly-kindness but you do not yet have the knowledge of WHY you believe WHAT you believe – do not change because everyone else is changing. Do not get frustrated with a leader who will not change. Grab hold of the Bible and let it grab hold of you! Figure out what God says about the subject! Get the knowledge, that detailed understanding of what God says and you may be surprised to see that where you are standing is where God stands, or maybe you need to get back to where you once stood because through Scripture study you discover that it’s not God that’s wants you to change – it’s you and your influences! Proverbs 24:21 says, “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:”

May we learn to be vigilant? It is so very important that we do not add these ingredients OUT of ORDER! When we do – compromise is just around the corner.