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Who ever said theology would be simple?
The writer C. S. Lewis once noted, "We can expect it [theology] to
be at least as complicated as physics”. Ironically,
it is modern thinkers and modern theologians who are simplistic.
Ask a traditional theologian whether killing is wrong or whether it is
just that someone should be poor, and his first response will be, "what are
the circumstances?" It's the
modern thinker who makes blanket simplistic statements like "killing is
wrong" or "poverty is wrong".
Theology comes from two words:
“Theos”, meaning God, and “Logos” which means “word”.
The term Λογος is applied to Christ only in John
1:1,14; Revelation 19:13; 1 John 1:1. It
comes from λεγω (lego), which is an old word meaning to lay
by, to collect, to put words side by side, to speak, to express an opinion.
Λογος is common for reason as well as speech.
The Stoics employed it for the soul of the world and Marcus Aurelius used
λογος/spermatikos logos for the generative principle in
nature. Heraclitus used it for the
principle that controls the universe.
Theology, from “God” and “word”, means the study of
God’s word, or more properly, the doctrine of God.
The doctrine of salvation, which is called soteriology, is simple; it’s
as simple as anything can be. “Believe
on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
Theology is not simple. In
Hebrews 5, Jesus is being called a high priest after the order of Melchisedec,
and Paul says in verse 11, “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be
uttered [difficult to be translated in order to make you understand; hard of
interpretation; why is it hard to make them understand?], seeing ye are dull of
hearing.” “You’ve grown dull
in your hearing.” It implies
deterioration on the hearer’s part. Plato
used the same word to say, “When they have to face study, they are stupid
[dull of hearing] and cannot remember”. In
[2 Peter], it’s talking about Paul and the wisdom that was given unto him, [2
The doctrine of salvation is so
simple a four-year-old can understand it. Theology,
or the study of God’s Word is not simple.
That’s what we’ve been looking at.
We’ve been studying line upon line and precept upon precept, as we’re
instructed to do in Isaiah 28:10, and comparing scripture to scripture to get a
more thorough understanding and a deeper and more accurate understanding of the
things of God.
I want us to do a quick review,
so we can get up to speed on where we left off. We started last week with looking at Psalm 1 and how it is a
good preface for the entire book of Psalms.
In this passage, the character and condition, and the present and future
destiny, of both the pious and the wicked are described and contrasted.
This is teaching that true piety is the source of ultimate happiness, and
sin is the source of misery.
Most people look at this Psalm,
and in fact, they look at most passages in Scripture as comparing those who are
either lost or saved, and they are in error when they look at it that way.
Don’t look on the ungodly in this Psalm as someone who is lost, look at
the ungodly person as if he’s a wicked or ungodly saved person.
I want you to look at this Psalm in that light, because obviously, if you
are saved, you know you should not take counsel or advice from someone who is
not saved. And failing to recognize
that a saved person could still be ungodly could lead you into grievous error.
It is the attitudes and thoughts that define whether a person is godly or
ungodly, not simply whether or not they are saved.
Verse 1 talks about the extreme
happiness involved in the phrase that follows.
It says, “Blessed is the man that
walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
You can see a clear digression here; a gradation of evil:
Walking, standing, and then sitting.
Marching after them, continuing with them, then you’re one of them.
Obviously, a person who is a
child of God should not go up to a prison and look for counsel and wisdom from
inmates. But, if you are a person
who wants to walk after God’s heart, you could go to someone who is saved,
looking for advice, but that person may not have the life you have, and that is
the key. If you know truths
pertaining to the coming Kingdom, Scriptures tell you that you have eyes to see
and ears to hear. When you go to
someone who doesn’t have eyes to see and ears to hear, you are not going to
get the counsel you really need. It’s
like the saying about the blind leading the blind.
It makes a real difference from whom you get counsel, when you seek it.
Many, many people who have known Kingdom truths have moved away from
those truths because they have received the wrong counsel from people
who have good intentions!
If you’re a child of God, you
should not march after the wicked or ungodly saved, you should not sit with, or
continue with those who offend, and you should not sit in judgment with those
who are mockers of the things of God. You
have accountability for your actions, and some actions could cost you dearly.
[2 Corinthians 10:4-5]
What are the strongholds? The
strongholds are the advice and ways of those who are well meaning.
The stronghold is being included in the ways and lifestyle of the teacher
that is giving you the wrong counsel. You
need to cast down imagination and every high thing that exalteth itself against
the knowledge of God.
is something that needs to be important in your life! You don’t need to be concerned with the imaginations or the
high things or the high opinions of others.
You need to be more interested in the knowledge of God, because that is
what stands. High opinions and high
thoughts of man are not going to stand. Take
the Word of God, take the Scriptures, and bring your thoughts into captivity, so
you will not be led astray by some other person, whether that person is truly
wicked and ungodly, or just a well-meaning but misguided child of God.
33:6 tells us that wisdom and knowledge will provide you with stability.
Where do you find true wisdom and knowledge?
[Matthew 6:13] shows us another
characteristic of the blessed man of God, and that is that he prays.
This passage fits into the practices of a blessed person of God.
The key phrase is, “deliver us from evil.”
Literally, deliver us from the wicked one.
Deliver us from the counsel, way, and seat of the evil and wicked one.
Deliver us from the one who offends us, or causes us to stumble.
The word translated as “evil”
is interesting. It is literally,
“the evil one”. Although it can
possibly refer to the devil, it generally refers to the evil person who seeks to
do us ill, whoever he may be. The
word “ponEros” is curious in that it comes from “ponos”, which means
“toil” and “poneO”, which means “to work”.
It reflects the idea that either work is bad, or this particular work is
bad, and so the bad idea drives out the good in work or toil.
This is a perfect example of human depravity. Our works are as filthy rags.
1 helps us understand the thought of being delivered from the evil one in
Matthew 6:13. What is at stake if
we take the counsel of the wicked? What
can we lose out on? Ruling and
reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ! That’s
what is at stake if we take the wrong counsel!
When it says, “Thine is”, this is, of course, a reference to God.
Thine is the Kingdom. Thine
is the Power. Thine is the Glory!
has a glory, but a Christian can also have glory.
What is the glory for a child of God?
We have the hope of glory. Do
we hope that we are saved? You
should know that you are saved! Acts
16:31 says simply, “Believe (aorist; an event, not a process like
justification) on the Lord Jesus and you will (not may) be
saved.” The hope of glory has to
do with the hope of ruling and reigning in the coming Kingdom.
It’s the hope of ruling in the millennial age! We need to be seeking first the Kingdom of God, and His
“Hope” as a verb means,
“to look forward to something, with implication of confidence about something
coming to pass, to hope, or to hope for; to look forward to something
in view of the measures one takes to ensure fulfillment; expect”.
The noun form is defined as, “the looking forward to something with
some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment, hope, expectation, that which
is the basis for hoping, foundation of hope, that for which one hopes, something
We find hope used in Colossians 1:26-27, which says, [Verse
the mystery [secret; has to do with initiation] which hath been hid from ages
and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
To whom God would make known what is the
of the glory glorious riches of this mystery (Paul’s gospel) among the
Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope
of glory:] This
mystery has been hid; it was concealed from ages and from generations.
Was salvation a mystery? No!
But this mystery is now made manifest to his saints.
It was made manifest to those who were already saved; those who were
living holy, separated lives! This
mystery is not being made manifest to lost people; it’s being made manifest to
those who have eyes to see and ears to hear!
This passage was written to those who had a hope and were
living their lives accordingly. They
are interested in ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ.
They were brethren. They
lived their lives in obedience to God. Matthew
7:21 says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in
heaven.” It’s talking about entering into the Kingdom of the
Heavens, not simply salvation.
They hope that they will stand approved before the Lord
Jesus Christ. They have a hope of
glory; they have a hope of sharing in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in the
coming Kingdom. But, many have
taken the words of the Bible and have changed their meaning.
Many say that hope is a sure thing, and that’s just simply not the
case. That contradicts Greek
scholars, Greek lexicons, and most importantly, it contradicts Scripture.
[Luke 23] The
Bible is consistent and the Bible is inerrant.
If that’s not true, then it’s confusing, and God is not the author of
23:8-9; we see Herod judging Jesus and it says…] We see Herod’s desire is successful. He desired to see Jesus, and he did! But when he hoped to see a miracle, that hope failed.
Hope in the Bible is not a sure thing.
We also have in Acts 24:26, which says, “He (Felix) hoped also
that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him:
wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.”
Felix released Paul in the hopes that he might receive money, and he
didn’t receive it. Hope is not
a sure thing. (The object of that hope is assured. The Bible specifically says that it is laid up for us.)
Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let
us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts
sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Assurance. Some things are
a sure thing. Hebrews 6:11 says,
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the
full assurance of hope unto the end.
Works. If you show
diligence, you may be assured of this hope and you may be assured that it has
been laid up for you. It’s not
salvation; salvation itself is assured, and it is not
acquired by works. Works have to do
with being faithful. Hebrews 11:1
tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen.” There’s no
assurance that we will be faithful. “To
whom God would make known what is the
riches of the glory of this mystery
among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of the glory:”
What is the hope of a Christian? It’s the hope of the glory; it’s the
hope of ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ; it has to do with the
coming Kingdom. And that’s what
the man in [Psalm 1] is seeking.
[Psalm 1:1, 2]
Verse 2 defines whom the godly are; it tells us the lifestyle of the
godly. It says that, “his delight
is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
The word “delight” has to do with purpose, pleasure, and desire.
His purpose, pleasure, and desire are found in the Word of God.
He meditates in that word day and night.
We looked at some of the meanings
of meditate, including “mutter” (talking to yourself), “roar” (preach
it!), “imagine”, “study”, “mourn” (emotion is involved; preach it
out with emotion!). Most
importantly, biblical meditation is the opposite of New Age meditation. New Age meditation requires you to empty your mind, which
opens it to all sorts of demonic influences.
Biblical meditation requires you to fill your mind with the things of God
and spend your time thinking, studying, emoting, and preaching the things of
Meditation helps us to think on the things of God, and
helps bring our thoughts into captivity unto the obedience of Jesus Christ.
When your mind wanders, get into the Scriptures and start reading and
meditating and force yourself to think on things that are right, pure, and
clean. During the night, when you can’t sleep, turn your thoughts
to the Word of God. You can make
the decision to work on your life and attitude to help you have peace.
Notice the “I wills” in these verses.
“I will meditate”, “I will delight”, “I will not forget”…
That is determination! Think
You can’t do that without commitment, dedication, and preparation.
There is no debate about “hiding thy word in my heart that I might not
sin against thee.” If you are
debating about whether you should meditate upon the Word; if you can’t make up
your mind; then you are not determined; you are not committed.
Ezra “prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and
to teach”. A lot of people today
prepare in their hearts to seek the law of the Lord, and to teach it, but they
will do it at a more convenient time. Notice
in this verse that “doing” comes last. You can teach a lot of theory without practice, and that is
what happens many times.
This passage tells us what the Word of God will do for a godly man.
In verse 7, we’re told the law of the Lord is perfect or entire and
complete. [Psalm 19:7] You don’t need anything else.
Now, if you have physical problems, you need a physician, just as Asa, a
king of Judah did in 2 Chronicles 16:12, when he had a really bad problem with
athlete’s foot. There are times
when the counsel of God is to go see a physician.
This verse tells us the law of
the Lord converts or restores the soul or the lifestyle.
It’s the soul where we make decisions.
It’s the soul where you make the decision to turn to the right or the
left or continue straight ahead. The
Word of God restores you back to the right path.
“The testimony of the Lord is
sure…” [It provides the support
to maintain your walk with Him.]
The law of the Lord “makes wise
the simple”. The simple are those
who are easily led astray.
“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the
heart…” It is difficult to
express the joy and rejoicing of the heart that you can experience in studying
the Word of God. As the Lord
unfolds Truth, there is joy and excitement, as in finding a nugget of gold or a
precious stone. It’s joyful!
[Psalm 19:8-11] We
don’t put the value on the Word of God that we should.
I think everyone can appreciate the value of gold and what gold will
provide; gold provides temporary security.
Gold is of no value unless you use it.
If it’s just sitting in a pile, it is of no use!
Turning our treasured possessions into cash turns our possessions into
something we can use, and would be profitable in everyday living.
If you use cash, though, your supply is depleted; but, you can use the
Word of God constantly, and it never diminishes.
You never run short when you are using the Word of God!
It satisfies. It doesn’t really take a lot of honey to satisfy, does it?
I bet you can’t sit down and just eat a jar of honey.
A bag of chips or a box of cookies, maybe, but you can’t eat an entire
jar of honey, because it will make you sick.
A little honey goes a long way. The
Word of God is “here a little and there a little”, and it will provide
Think about a tree. A tree
is something that is hard to move. The
godly man is not compared to a squash or a melon.
How long does it take to grow a squash?
Maybe three months. You can
step on a squash and just mash it. You
can’t do that to a tree. A tree
is stable and is hard to move.
This tree is planted by a river
of water. In other words, there is
nourishment for that tree. You may
get down to a single, solitary leaf, but that’s no time to quit!
[We once had a fig tree that we simply could not get rid of.
It had just one or two leaves and was growing under the foundation of our
house. Yet, it would produce one
fig after another all summer long!] Your
fruit is coming even with only one leaf. Even
with one leaf, you can still take courage that you are prospering.
Do not become discouraged, even if most of the leaves leave.
Keep in mind that fruit is seasonal.
A tree usually does not bear fruit continually.
There are seasons of rest.
What does it mean to be fruitful? [Jeremiah
17:7-8] This passage is a parallel passage. When trouble comes, it can be a time of anxiety and
carefulness, but if you are planted where your roots can get the living water,
you do not have to be careful in the year of drought.
Psalm 33:18-19 says, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is
upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul
from death, and to keep them alive in famine.”
We need to be bearing fruit.
Judges 9:13 tells us what the fruit is.
Many people think the fruit of a Christian is another Christian.
That could be a byproduct of fruitbearing, but if you are a branch and
all you produce is another branch, how fruitful are you?
Are branches the fruit of the vine?
If you had a branch on a grape vine and all it produced was sticks, what
would you do? You would cut it off
and cultivate one that would bear grapes.
The fruit of the vine is grapes,
and the Lord Jesus Christ is the vine. So,
the fruit of a Christian is definitely not another vine!
We don’t need another savior. The
fruit of the vine is the wine, and what does the wine do?
Judges 9:13 tells us, “and the
vine said unto them, should I leave my wine [not my branches], which cheereth
God and man?” The fruit of the
vine is the wine, and the wine cheers God and man.
The fruit of a Christian is that which helps to cheer God and man.
Here, we have the ungodly defined. The
ungodly are not meditating in the Word of God day and night.
The ungodly are not like a tree planted by rivers of water.
The ungodly are not bearing fruit. The
ungodly are not pleasing God. You
don’t have to be evil to not please God. If you make shipwreck of the faith, you are no longer
pleasing God. The ungodly man does
not delight in the Word of God. He
is like the chaff. As the wind
blows, so goes the chaff. The tree
may bend, but it is not driven to and fro as is the chaff.
The ungodly are rebellious
against the laws of the Lord. [Isaiah
30:1-2] The ungodly do not take
counsel from the Lord, but from others that are just shadows as far as wisdom
and strength are concerned. The
ungodly rebel against the Lord.
What about the chaff?
[Isaiah 5:24] The ungodly
are producing stubble and chaff from rotten roots.
The blossoms that would produce fruit turn to dust and no fruit is
produced. The ungodly person does
not prosper because he is cast away from the law of the Lord, which would
provide stability and control in his life.
The ungodly man despises the word of the Holy one of Israel.
Job esteemed the Word of God more than his necessary food and look at how
he prospered before the Lord and his friends.
Those who are tossed to and fro are not grounded in doctrinal truth from
the Word of God. The ungodly can be easily deceived.
Who is the Prince of the Power of
the Air? Satan.
Satan can toss you to and fro if you are not rooted and grounded in the
truth. [The air can easily blow the
chaff away.] If you are grounded in
the Word of God, Satan cannot toss you to and fro.
If the weapons of your warfare are in place, you do not move.
You do not take counsel from those who are not where you are in spiritual
growth. A teaching ministry will
establish a man of God and allow him to become a fruitful tree.
The word “stand” in this verse can be translated “to be raised
up”. The ungodly will not be
raised up, but will receive judicial sentencing.
The word “judgment” has to do with judicial sentencing.
Neither will offenders be in the congregation of the just.
This brings to mind Matthew 13.
Offenders will be removed. The
sinners who offend will be gathered out of His Kingdom.
There will be no place in the Kingdom for the ungodly; for those who
offend. The tares, who are saved, are part of
the harvest and they are harvested first. The
tares are those in the family that offend those who are trying to bring forth
fruit that glorifies the Father. The
tares are those who discourage the wheat. The tares are a picture of those who are lawless.
He will cast them into a furnace
of fire and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
[Matthew 13:43] This furnace of fire is not permanent, but temporary.
This furnace is not the lake of fire, but a temporary judgment for those
who are lawless and offend their fellow Christians.
There is a judgment coming for those who offend and hinder others from
bearing fruit. These who offend
will not stand in the congregation of the righteous.
What about the righteous?
[Psalm 1:6] In thinking
about “the way”, we are thinking about the lifestyle of the just.
The lifestyle of the ungodly is going to perish.
The ungodly will not bring fruit, therefore they will be cast away.
The just live by faith. The
righteous people who are just need to live by faith.
They need to be seeking first the Kingdom of God.
We should be taking counsel from those who are seeking first the Kingdom
of God and the righteousness, which is by faith.
They have the right perspective in their lifestyle.
But, we should not be confronting
the Lord. Proverbs 21:30 tells us,
“There is NO wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord
[confronting the Lord].”
The godly walk circumspectly.
[Ephesians 5:15-17] You need
to be walking circumspectly, and you do that by allowing the Word of God to
shine on the counsel that we receive, and we need to reject the counsel that
doesn’t agree with the Word of God.
The decision is ours to make, as
to which counsel to accept; whether to follow the ungodly or the godly.
[Matthew 7:13-14] Is this talking about salvation?
No. That would be a
salvation by works. It has to do
with our walk.
My exhortation is to not go the
way of the ungodly, but in the way of the godly. Don’t go the easy way, but go the right way.
You need to be careful with your lives.
You need to let the Word of God control your thoughts and your lifestyle.
Don’t let the counsel of the wicked control your thoughts and
The counsel today of many well meaning Christians is tradition, and not the Word of God. If someone’s counsel does not line up with the Word of God, reject it! May God help us to see the value of the counsel of the Word of God that we might be blessed!