Tag Archives: prove

Prove All Things Part 3

Please see Prove All Things Part 1 and Prove All Things Part 2

     The Word of God says that Christians have been given all the tools and the abilities necessary to think more clearly than anyone, to see the truth absolutely clearly, to discern wrong from right, to be able to discern in all matters.  Abundant power is at our disposal to act on those judgments.

We’re expected to study, search, think and mediate on His word, and  trust that we will find the answers to our questions.  God can speak!

 Ps 119:97-101:Oh how I love your law! I meditate on it day and night

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies.I have more insight than all my teachers

I have more understanding than all the elders, for I obey your precepts

I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I may obey your word

You have the mind of Christ. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:5

How about this verse for clarity?

Evil people don’t understand justice,

but those who seek Adonai understand everything. Proverbs 28: 5

     We never need to consult the wisdom of the world on any important matter. It offers us no reliable or true guide in the making of decisions.

What happens when we don’t use the standard?

     ‘Error, superstition, bigotry, and fanaticism attempt to repress free discussion, by saying that there are certain things which are too sacred in their nature, or which have been too long held, or which are sanctioned by too many great and holy names, to permit their being subjected to the scrutiny of common eyes, or to be handled by common hands. In opposition to all this, Christianity requires us to examine everything – no matter by whom held; by what councils ordained; by what venerableness of antiquity sustained; or by what sacredness it may be invested. We are to receive no opinion until we are convinced that it is true; we are to be subjected to no pains or penalties for not believing what we do not perceive to be true; we are to be prohibited from examining no opinion which our fellow-men regard as true, and which they seek to make others believe. No popular current in favor of any doctrine; no influence which name and rank and learning can give it, is to commend it to us as certainly worthy of our belief. By whomsoever held, we are to examine it freely before we embrace it; but when we are convinced that it is true, it is to be held, no matter what current of popular opinion or prejudice maybe against it; no matter what ridicule may be poured upon it; and no matter though the belief of it may require us to die a martyr’s death.” -Barnes

     We are fully equipped to be leaders in this culture. What’s more, we have a lot of freedom in this particular culture to exercise that leadership.  I think we squander that opportunity. We have conformed to the culture of this world.

Why don’t we lead?  Why do we follow the blind?

     How much have we conformed? We have bought the premises  that we Christians are a marginal sub-culture; that we are nearly powerless to influence the world around us; that it is too uncomfortable to move out of step  with the world around us. We act out of the fear of man when we look to our peers for reassurance in making major life decisions.  We put ourselves under the influence of peer pressure. And worst of all, we don’t even question those other sources; we don’t apply discernment or wise counsel from an unquestionable source which is freely available to us. We don’t test all things.

We want our families to look like everyone else’s. We don’t want our kids to feel different, and to be left out.

And we certainly don’t want to be identified with those Christians who … fill in the blank.

Be careful. Perhaps those Christians with whom we are so uncomfortable are doing exactly what God is telling them to do. He may even be trying to tell you something similar.

We have conformed to the world’s thinking when we believe we have a right to maintain a standard of living like our neighbors, a standard which is comparable to royalty at any other time or place. We have completely bought the world’s under-evaluation of women and mothers in the home.  We act as though we ought to seek the world’s good opinion in the court of popular culture.  We have an aversion to extremes, when truth is truth, no matter where it leads.  We have adopted the world’s definition of relationships, and the world’s standard for conducting relationships.  We willingly share cynicism and pessimism with a hopeless world. We assert that we have the right to make decisions to suit ourselves which would impact His kingdom!

In our women’s Bible study last week, we were looking at David facing Goliath. He was the only man among all the men in the nation of Israel who wanted to challenge the giant.  He was a man after God’s own heart.

But what made him different?  You could name a lot of things about David that made him special, things that end up making him a magical kind of person who could do what he did.  But I think it comes down to one thing.  Those other soldiers who weren’t willing were no cowards in battle. But they were all thinking with the group, responding to peer pressure. David was the only one who was willing to step out of the crowd and act on the behalf of God’s name and reputation.

We have to be willing to do the same.  God wanted all of the Israelites to be like David—and they could have been.  There was nothing magical about David.

David also knew that God would give the victory—it wasn’t up to David.  He could step forward out of that crowd because he trusted God to do as He had said.

We act as though everything is up to us to orchestrate and make happen.  But God is there! God has a special place and task for you if you step forward out of the crowd, and listen to Him instead of the voices in the world.

Now all of us, if we’re believers, have already stepped out in a major way!  We already have declared that we’re different from the rest of the world.  We believe we are willing to suffer for our beliefs. But are we willing to suffer for being different?

Here’s the application to Titus 2:3:

The decisions that women make…all women, married, single with families or without….define the culture.

2 Timothy 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

     We must step out from the crowd.  We must wade against the relentless current. Our culture is not to be trusted for sound advice for walking a Christian’s path. We must recognize that we are necessarily, positionally living lives which are in opposition to the world’s purposes. We have to expect to be different!

     How much do we impact the culture by our distinctiveness…and how much can we…if we become people who really prove all things, and who live every bit of our lives acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

Who is the person who fears Adonai?

He will teach him the way to choose.

He will remain prosperous,

and his descendants will inherit the land. Psalm 25: 12-13

 

 

 

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Prove All Things: Part 1

 

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. I Thessalonians 5:21

Who is the person who fears Adonai?

He will teach him the way to choose.

He will remain prosperous,

and his descendents will inherit the land. Psalm 25: 12-13

The responsibility to “prove all things” is one we all share, and its application should be a practical and fundamental motivation in our everyday lives. This is what I sought to put into understandable terms when I had the opportunity to speak to the women’s fellowship at our church.When I looked into the phrase “prove all things” in I Thessalonians, I discovered some things I hadn’t expected.

Let’s look at the passage.

19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything.  Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.  NIV

19 Don’t quench the Spirit, 20 don’t despise inspired messages.21 But do test everything—hold onto what is good, 22 but keep away from every form of evil. The Jewish Bible, Tanakh

Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible.  Check out everything, and keep only what’s good.  Throw out anything tainted with evil.  The Message Remix

And then we have this…

18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…   King James

According to J.C. Ryle: “St Paul says to us, ‘ Prove all things.  Hold fast that which is good.’ In these words, you have two great truths:

I-The right, duty, and necessity of private judgment.

II- The duty and necessity of keeping firm hold upon truth.”

So here are the questions I had to answer about this passage.

~If we are to test everything, and hold on to the good, then are we to discard something?

~If we are to test all things, how are we to do that? What standard are we to test them against?

~Do we do that?

~What kinds of things are we to test? Spiritual matters alone?

~What kinds of things are spiritual matters? Do these things impact how I live my life?

~If we are to apply this testing to practical decisions and preferences, are there other legitimate standards by which to test those?

~ What are they? Do we use those other standards?

What We Throw Out

First: If we are to test everything, and hold on to the good, then are we to discard something?

Avoid every kind of evil. Hold onto what is good”…Do you see a gray area? Hold on to the good, but keep away from every kind of evil. Abstain from it, throw it out.

What is found not passing the test is called evil, and we are commanded to separate ourselves from it.

The Sources We Use

Next: If we are to test all things, how are we to do that? What standard are we to test them against?

What are some sources of advice we usually go to?

Our common sense… people we respect as peers…premises from a surrounding culture…expert advice…our best judgment based on our beliefs? Do you have any others?

 I submit to you that while living in the midst of a culture which is intrinsically contrary to God’s thinking, that in practical terms, we make decisions all day long which are influenced by that culture. Without examining and without proving.

We swallow our culture’s premises without a thought.

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.  Prone to leave the God I love.” We are!

We sometimes declare that we’re to use our common sense. And we tend to do this when it’s the last refuge we have, in cases where hundreds of years of culture and the most obvious Biblical references stand against our wishes. But Scripture does not seem to recognize our common sense as a reliable source of wisdom.

Pr 14:12  There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Psalm 53:3 Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Is 53.

Our own way is called iniquity. My way of acting is called iniquity. Left to my own devices, my own reasoning, my own judgment, I choose iniquity.

Is there an area where God has not spoken and so it’s up to our common sense?

Pr 3:5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

There’s that universal word again—all.

How many things are we asked to prove?  “Prove all things.”  That means everything including the ones you thought were settled.  Test them all over again!

Getting Advice from Our Culture

Barnes Notes on the Bible:  “Prove all things—Subject everything submitted to you to the proper test. (I Cor 3:13)…they were carefully to examine everything proposed for their belief. They were not to receive it on trust; to take it on assertion; to believe it because it was urged with vehemence, zeal, or plausibility. In the various opinions and doctrines which were submitted to them for adoption, they were to apply the appropriate tests from reason and the word of God, and what they found to be true they were to embrace; what was false they were to reject. Christianity does not require people to disregard their reason, or to be credulous. It does not expect them to believe anything because others say it is so. It does not make it a duty to receive as undoubted truth all that synods and councils have decreed; or all that is advanced by the ministers of religion. It is, more than any other form of religion, the friend of free inquiry, and would lead people everywhere to understand the reason of the opinions which they entertain.”

My pastor, Robert Kinzel: “We are swimming upstream—big time–against the culture.” “The ship is going down…you don’t want to go with it!” AND “When you begin to look for guidance outside of God’s word, you’re in trouble!”

Here is a description of the unbelieving culture of any time:

Romans 1:21-23: …Although they know who God is, they do not glorify Him as God or thank Him. On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking, and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened. Claiming to be wise, they have become fools!  

31: brainless, faithless, heartless and mindless.

 If the world is filled with people who go their own way, whose god is their bellies, who don’t refer to Almighty God in the way they lead their lives, why would be go to the world, the culture, for advice?  Are these the sources we use to help us make important decisions about our lives?

And here is Romans 12:2: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will

What is the True Test?

I started looking for a definable test.  What was the standard I ought to use? And I was shown this:

Commentary: The prophecies  “ must not be accepted with credulity but are to be tested by more objective revelation and especially the touchstone of Christ’s Lordship. (I Cor 12:3) and His Incarnation.” (I John 4:1-3).

I John tells us how to discern between spirits; this was the test the early Christians were to use.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

And here is the ‘touchstone of Christ’s Lordship’: I Cor 12:3:

Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says ‘ Jesus be cursed’, and no one can say,’Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.  

So the test that we apply to a premise or idea is whether it  acknowledges  the Lordship of Jesus Christ; and whether it acknowledges that Jesus is who he said he is.

Please read  Prove All Things Part 2 and Prove All Things Part 3