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Self-Pollution! (A Study of Jude verse 8)

We live in a fallen, polluted world. And sometimes the biggest polluter of us . . . is us (“we” for you grammarians). How do we pollute ourselves? And what are some of the pollutants we must avoid?

I. They Don’t Know God!

First of all, these false teachers are described as “ungodly.” That’s the beginning of self-pollution — a lack of relationship with the living God.

II. They Pollute Their Own Bodies!

God cares very much what we do with our physical bodies. Romans 12:1-2 challenge the believer to present his body as a living sacrifice. Biblical Christianity is not anti-body or anti-matter. As C.S. Lewis says, “God likes matter. He created it!” And I Corinthians 3 and 6 teach that our bodies are temples in which the Holy Spirit Himself dwells!

III. They Reject Authority!

This rejecting of authority isn’t necessarily an explanation of their self-polluting, but it is an attendant sin that greatly impacts these false teachers. We presently live in an anti-authority culture. And resisting duly-elected authority is anti-God!

IV. They Abuse Angels!

How do they do this? The text doesn’t really tell us. But that category of created beings — angels — are spiritual spectators for whom there is no salvation. They are God’s servants to do His will. Those who fell are now called demons. The rest of the angelic world are “confirmed in holiness” (as theologians put it), so there will be no further angelic rebellion in heaven. We are not to worship angels. We are to be aware that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. What angels do, as Thomas Howard put it, is most of the time none of our business!

Today’s Challenge: Ask God how you may presently be self-polluting. And pray for specific help from the Holy Spirit to ingest, both physically and spiritually, what best helps you in your walk with Christ!

 

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2020 in Jude

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Angels)

Ah, marketing! Angels are very much real — both the evil ones (demons) and the good ones. Nowhere in Scripture are we encouraged to communicate with angels and certainly not worship them! I like how Thomas Howard puts it. He says that most of what angels do is none of our business most of the time! We’ll join the angelic chorus when Jesus returns and worship Him as He deserves. But, alas, the angels can’t worship Him from the perspective of redemption.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 89)

Psalm 89

A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-6-32-01-am

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
    that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
    and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
    your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
    Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
    he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
    You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

You rule over the surging sea;
    when its waves mount up, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
    with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
    you founded the world and all that is in it.
12 You created the north and the south;
    Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
13 Your arm is endowed with power;
    your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.
18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 Once you spoke in a vision,
    to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
    I have raised up a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
    with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
    surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
    the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
    and through my name his horn will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
    his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
    the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
    and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever,
    his throne as long as the heavens endure.

30 “If his sons forsake my law
    and do not follow my statutes,
31 if they violate my decrees
    and fail to keep my commands,
32 I will punish their sin with the rod,
    their iniquity with flogging;
33 but I will not take my love from him,
    nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant
    or alter what my lips have uttered.
35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—
    and I will not lie to David—
36 that his line will continue forever
    and his throne endure before me like the sun;
37 it will be established forever like the moon,
    the faithful witness in the sky.”

38 But you have rejected, you have spurned,
    you have been very angry with your anointed one.
39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant
    and have defiled his crown in the dust.
40 You have broken through all his walls
    and reduced his strongholds to ruins.
41 All who pass by have plundered him;
    he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
    you have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 Indeed, you have turned back the edge of his sword
    and have not supported him in battle.
44 You have put an end to his splendor
    and cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have cut short the days of his youth;
    you have covered him with a mantle of shame.

46 How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
    How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how fleeting is my life.
    For what futility you have created all humanity!
48 Who can live and not see death,
    or who can escape the power of the grave?
49 Lord, where is your former great love,
    which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
50 Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked,
    how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations,
51 the taunts with which your enemies, Lord, have mocked,
    with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.

52 Praise be to the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2017 in relationship

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (Angels)!

Screenshot 2016-01-05 19.38.15

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2016 in angels

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon: Our “Spiritual” Age

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The commercialization of celestial beings — who would have ever thought we could come up with that?! Angels are real, but as Thomas Howard somewhere says, they are none of our business most of the time!

Hebrews 1 emphasizes the fact that all the angels of God are to worship the Lord Jesus! He is to be the center of our attention. That’s true spirituality!

Your thoughts?

 

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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in angels

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon (spiritual world)

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What a perceptive comment! C.S. Lewis talked about how as a culture we would focus on spirits, but miss the Spirit, God.

I have books in my library about how to talk with your guardian angel, Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 8.10.20 PMpraying to angels, and even worshiping angels. Needless to say, these are shelved in my CULTS section!

Angels on greeting cards look benign and harmless, overweight cherubs strumming harps. Biblically, when angels showed up, people wet their pants (the Bible doesn’t really say that — but it can be clearly inferred!). We are not to seek out angels, but recognize that they do God’s bidding. And so should we.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 91)

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most HighScreen Shot 2015-03-31 at 7.11.10 AM
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 7.13.58 AM
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 71)

Psalm 71Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 5.49.25 AM

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long.

Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
    those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue him and seize him,
    for no one will rescue him.”
12 Do not be far from me, my God;
    come quickly, God, to help me.Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 5.52.59 AM
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
    may those who want to harm me
    be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 As for me, I will always have hope;
    I will praise you more and more.

15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
    of your saving acts all day long—
    though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
    I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
    and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.

19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
    you who have done great things.
    Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles,
    many and bitter,
    you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
    you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
    and comfort me once more.

22 I will praise you with the harp
    for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
    Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
    when I sing praise to you—
    I whom you have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
    all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
    have been put to shame and confusion.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 5 of 10)

FirefoxScreenSnapz689When we look around us at an  unbelieving world, what is the Christian to do?  Wring his hands in despair?  Keep focused only on his own walk with God and ignore the world?  No, we have seen in this one-chapter letter of Jude that we are to, first of all, keep ourselves strong in the faith (vv. 1-4).  We must, however, be aware of attacks on the Christian faith (vv. 3-4).  Third, we saw that we must be prepared to do battle for the truths of Christianity (vv. 3-4).  In our last post we realized that we must acknowledge that the Lord who delivers is a God who also destroys (vv. 5-7).

Let’s look at our fifth response to an unbelieving world and it is this —

Step #5-  We must Realize the Dangers of False Teaching (vv. 8-10)
8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

False teaching is not innocent.  Contradicting the truths of God’s Word must not be viewed as simply alternative viewpoints or different perspectives or another set of religious opinions.  Jude tells us these false teachers, who give way too much authority to their own dreams, “pollute their own bodies” (v. 8).  FirefoxScreenSnapz695Self-pollution comes from false teaching.  An air of unteachableness marks them, for they “reject authority,” not wanting to be corrected.  They also “heap abuse on celestial beings.”  I’m not sure what Jude means by this expression, but we know that we are to have a healthy respect for, but not undue attention on, the members of the angelic world God created.

To illustrate his point, Jude gives us a view into the angelic world, citing the archangel Michael as one who turned to the Lord in his dispute with the devil about the body of Moses (v. 9).  Apparently Jude is alluding to the Jewish Testament of Moses (approximately the first century A.D.).  His point is that Michael “knew his place” and deferred to the Lord in dealing with the devil.  Jude stresses that these FirefoxScreenSnapz697contemporary false teachers slander what they don’t understand — and what they do understand will destroy them. (to be continued)

“The sin both of men and of angels was rendered possible by the fact that God gave us free will.”
― C.S. Lewis

Questions:
1.  We often think of false teachers and their teaching as negatively impacting others.  What are some effects of false teaching on the teachers themselves?

2.  How do we achieve a biblical balance between not thinking too much about angels and giving them too much attention?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in unbelief

 

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