Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?

Philip Henry
In this day and age, we have lost some of the valuable truths that were once preached and taught by men like Philip Henry, who was the godly father of Matthew Henry, the author of the famous Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Philip Henry was born in 1631 and died in 1696 at sixty-five years of age.  What follows is an excerpt from The Life of Rev. Philip Henry, A.M. by the Rev. Matthew Henry, V.D.M.

[Excerpt begins]


He preached the Ten Commandments
In the years 1677, and 1679, in the course of his ministry at Broad Oak, he preached over the Ten Commandments, and largely opened from other texts of Scripture, the duties required, and sins forbidden, in each commandment. For though none delighted more than he in preaching Christ and gospel-grace; yet he knew that Christ came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill; and that though, through grace, we are not under the law as a covenant, yet we are under it as a rule; under the law to Christ. He was very large and particular in pressing second-table duties, as essential to Christianity. We have known those, saith he, that have called preaching on such subjects, good moral preaching; but let them call it as they will, I am sure it is necessary, and as much now as ever. How earnestly would he press upon the people the necessity of righteousness and honesty upon their whole conversation. A good Christian, he used to say, will be a good husband, a good father, and a good master, and a good subject, and a good neighbour, and so in other relations. How often would he urge to this purpose, that it is the will and command of the great God, the character of all the citizens of Sion, the beauty and ornament of our Christian profession; and the surest way to thrive and prosper in the world. Honesty is the best policy. He would say, that these are things in which the children of this world are competent judges. They that know not what belongs to faith, and repentance and prayer, yet know what belongs to the making of an honest bargain; they are also parties concerned, and oftentimes are themselves careful in these things; and therefore, those who profess religion, should walk very circumspectly, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed, nor religion wounded through their sides.

Legal Preaching?
[How sensible he was of the dislike frequently felt to practical preaching, as well as of the importance of such preaching, appears in the following extract. Having explained, a course of sermons, the Redeemer’s sayings, as recorded in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, he pressed, in his last discourse, the importance, the necessity, of doing, as well as hearing, from the divine assurance,-- that a stormy day is coming shortly, when hearers only will be found fools, and suffer loss; whereas hearers and doers will be owned for wise people, and will have the comfort of it. What ado, he remarks, some one will object, is here about doing; doing! If I had preached, he proceeds, these sermons, I know where, I had certainly been called a legal preacher, if not a papist, a Jesuit, a preacher of works; and some would have said, we will never hear him again. If to preach on these things be legal preaching, then our Lord himself was a legal preacher, for you see they were his sayings all along that I took for my text to each sermon. Such a preacher as he was, may I be, in my poor measure. I cannot write after a better copy. I cannot tread in better steps. His sayings must be done, as well as heard, that we may answer his end in saying them, which was to promote holiness, --that we may approve ourselves his true kindred, --that God may be glorified, --that our profession may be beautified, --and that our building may stand. But they must be done aright. The tree must be good. All must be done by faith, and in the name of the Lord Jesus. Hebrews xi. 6. Colossians iii. 17. --with evenness and constancy, --with humility and self-denial, --in charity, --and with perseverance, and continuance.

Do all you do as those who are under a covenant of grace, which, though it requires perfect, yet accepts of sincere, obedience. While the hand is doing, let the eye be looking at Jesus Christ, both for assistance and acceptance. This is the life of faith. Be resolved in duty. Look often at the recompense of reward.

Thus he preached, and his constant practice was a comment upon it. One thing I remember, he was more than ordinarily enlarged in the pressing of, which was, --upon the ninth commandment, --to speak evil of no man, from Titus iii. 2. If we can say no good of persons, we must say nothing of them. He gave it as a rule, -- Never to speak of any one’s faults to others, till we have first spoken of them to the offender himself. He was himself an eminent example of this rule. Some that have conversed much with him, have said, That they never heard him speak evil of any body; nor could he bear to hear any spoken evil, but often drove away a backbiting tongue with an angry countenance. He was known to be as faithful a patron of offenders before others, as he was a faithful reprover of them to themselves.

Whenever he preached of moral duties, he would always have something of Christ in his sermon; either his life, as the great pattern of the duty, or his love, as the great motive to it; or his merit, as making atonement for the neglect of it.

[Excerpt ends]

A Bold Non-Conformist
Philip Henry was a bold, non-conformist preacher.  In 1662, England enacted a new law called the Act of Uniformity that standardized acceptable doctrine, and was radically opposed to all that Puritans like Henry stood for. Philip chose to stand by the Word of God and preach the truth, being ejected as a minister from the Church of England, losing his living, rather than comply with The Act of Uniformity, and enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while.  According to an article by the European American Evangelistic Crusades, "Philip thus left his charge at Worthenbury, Shropshire, and took up residence a few miles away at Iscoed, Flintshire...a Christian community that lay ‘under the cross’ of state harassment and persecution."

According to Wikipedia, the act, "Prescribed the form of public prayers, administration of sacraments, and other rites of the Established Church of England, following all the rites and ceremonies and doctrines prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. Adherence to this was required in order to hold any office in government or the church...An immediate result of this Act, over 2,000 clergymen refused to take the oath and were expelled from the Church of England in what became known as the Great Ejection of 1662. Although there had already been ministers outside the established church, this created the concept of non-conformity, with a substantial section of English society excluded from public affairs for a century and a half."

As a matter of fact, that act was still partly in force in Great Britain at the end of 2010.  And look how far they have fallen!  According to Wikipedia, " The Church of England, the mother church of the Communion, currently maintains (according to the statement Issues in Human Sexuality) that same-sex partnerships are acceptable for laypersons but gay clergy are expected to be abstinent."  On the other hand, in 2003 the Episcopal Church, which is the American body (province) of the Anglican Communion, approved Gene Robinson to the bishopric of the diocese of New Hampshire. Bishop Gene Robinson is the first openly gay (non-celibate) clergy to be ordained to the episcopate..."  Moreover, the article continues, "The Anglican Church of New Zealand has decided to allow non-celibate homosexuals to become clergy."  They are no different from the apostate Roman Catholic Church, whose own Pope Frances Supports Homosexuality.

The reason that The Church of England, The Episcopal Church, and The Anglican Church of New Zealand have fallen so far away from Scripture is because the foundation was faulty all the way back to the seventeenth century.  It was not built upon the foundation of the Jesus Christ and His Word, which Philip Henry had based his life and ministry upon.  Therefore, if you have a problem with Philip Henry's life and ministry, then take heed to what has now become of the Church that once rejected him and men like him.

Putting it All Together
I want to meet this great man of God some day in heaven.  As Tim Challies states, "Matthew Henry was raised by godly parents in the Puritan way (daily Bible reading, prayer, self-examination, etc.)."  As you can see, I underlined almost everything in this excerpt for emphasis.  I highly recommend reading the entire book.  Although I have not read every page, I would like to, if I had the time, and have read portions of it, which are extremely edifying.

Philip Henry preached over the Ten Commandments, the duties required, and sins forbidden, in each commandment. He delighted more than anyone else in preaching Christ and gospel-grace. "Yet he knew that Christ came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill; and that though, through grace, we are not under the law as a covenant, yet we are under it as a rule; under the law to Christ."  Such good moral preaching is necessary, and as much now as ever!

He was very sensitive to the dislike his listeners frequently felt to such preaching on the need to practice righteousness.  But he was also keenly aware of the importance of such preaching.  He taught a sermon series on the hard sayings of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7).  And he concluded by emphasizing the importance, the necessity, of doing, as well as hearing.  We can be sure that a stormy day is coming shortly, when those who only hear and do not act upon the Words of Christ will be found fools, and suffer loss; whereas hearers and doers will be revealed to all as wise people, and they will enjoy the comfort of it.

He knew that some one would object to all this preaching on "Doing; doing!"  In 1662, the year his son Matthew was born, England had pass the Act of Uniformity, which forbid the preaching of any doctrine that did not comply with the Church of England.  But Philip was a non-conformist.  He was aware that if he had preached such sermons from the pulpit in the Church of England, he certainly would have been called a legal preacher, and a preacher of works.  He knew that some would have said, "We will never hear him again." But as he said, if to preach on these things be legal preaching, then our Lord himself was a legal preacher.  For you see they were our Lord's sayings all along that Philip took for his text to each sermon. He wanted to be such a preacher as Jesus was, and so do I.

Let those who consider legalistic the articles I have written take heed to this wise man's words, who lived so many centuries ago.  I refuse to preach the cheap grace that is uniformly preached in churches throughout the world, which is used by so many as a license to sin.  I will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Costly Grace.  He is the source of salvation for all who obey Him (Heb 5:9).

Obey the Gospel of God (1 Pe 4:17).  Live for the will of God (1 Pe 4:2).  It is hard for the righteous to be saved (1 Pe 4:18a).  That is why we must live for God and for His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for us and rose again (2 Co 5:15), which means we now live for righteousness (1 Pe 2:24).  The end of all things is near (1 Pe 4:7), therefore, we ought to live holy and godly lives (2 Pe 3:11b). Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), and if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).  As we are keeping His commandments and abiding in His love we are not endeavoring to keep up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel of Christ.

I encourage you to read the other articles I have written on the need for obedience in Working God's Way and Eternal Destinations, as well as right here in Seeking the Lord, which provide a clear and biblical response to the concerns that some of my teaching is legalism, especially the following ones, beginning with the first three articles in the left-hand column.

Is Obedience Optional?
The Law of Christ 
Faith Works!
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The Cost of Discipleship
The New Covenant
Costly Grace
Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
Righteousness by Faith not Law
The Obedience of Faith
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God
Aim for Perfection
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Walking in the Perfect Will of God
Pressing on Toward the Goal
Obedience by the Spirit
                        

Author's note Also see The Ways of Life, The Spirit's Law of Life, The Spirit of the Law, The Apostasy Parables, and my other articles called, Obedience by the Spirit, The Person of the Holy Spirit, Baptized with the Spirit, and Restored Truth. You can access the Main Directory for Seeking the Lord, or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?

The Word of God is our basis for living, and the Holy Spirit leads us into all Truth. Every true sign and wonder, including every revelation and prophecy, must confirm the written Word of God and conform to it. We must hold fast to that which is good and reject all kinds of evil. So what are we to do with revelations that claim the Lord has said he hates the practice of His daughters wearing trousers or pants, such as the ones I have written about in Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations.

Someone might object by asking, “Did I hear you say it is a sin for women to wear trousers? What verse in Scripture tells you that trousers are for men only? Deuteronomy 22:5 is the verse that is always quoted.  However, that is one of many other laws in that chapter. Why not obey all the other laws in that same chapter?  Many girls, who have claimed it is sinful for them to wear trousers, do wear them in youth services or in the house.  Is this not hypocrisy? Don’t condemn what has not been condemned in Scripture. The Bible does not condemn this practice.  Rather, it simply teaches us to dress modestly.”

For the sake of this article, please allow me to reply to that objection, assuming that someone reading this may actually share that perspective.  If you are suggesting that cross-dressing is not detestable to God, then you will give an account for that before him. Are you suggesting men wear that which pertains to a woman?  Scripture says explicitly:

"A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” (Deu 22:5)

If you agree that Scripture teaches us cross-dressers are an abomination to the Lord our God, then why do you defend women’s trousers? 

If you will research the origin of trousers, you will find that God’s holy people in the Bible never created them for women. Ancient Hebrews wore robes, which were drawn up when working or running (2 Kings 4:29; 1 Kings 18:46). However, trousers have been a style of clothing developed especially for men to wear while running, performing heavy manual labor, or during battle.  We should avoid all that is worldly and immodest.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1Jn 2:15-17)

Is Deuteronomy Irrelevant to us Today as Christians?
First of all, we should remember that our Lord did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill, and said that not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass until all is accomplished (see Mt 5:17-20).  So the Law and the Prophets have not been abolished.

Secondly, we know that the Law is good if one uses it properly.  The apostle Paul said, “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.” (1Ti 1:8-11).  Notice he said the law is for the ungodly and the unholy, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.  Since cross-dressing is unholy, ungodly, and is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, then Deut 22:5 may legitimately be applied to the practice of women wearing trousers (see The Law is Good if Used Lawfully).

I think Deut 22 is a great passage of Scripture to read and understand in the Spirit. As partakers of the New Covenant, we now read the Old Covenant with the veil removed, since in Christ it has been taken away (2 Co 3:14).  For example, building a parapet around your roof (22:8). That's a wall around a flat roof, so that a guest walking there does not fall and die. God expects you to love your neighbor as you love yourself, and consider them even when building a house, lest their blood be on your hands.  He says,

“When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.” (Dt 22:8)

And God also sees every sparrow that falls to the ground (Lk 12:6-7). So of course the Lord wants you to let the mother bird go free, so she can reproduce more offspring. It's God's wisdom to prevent extinction of the animals He created.  He says,

“If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.” (Dt 22:6-7)

And when it comes to wearing clothes of mixed fabrics (e.g., wool/cotton), which the Lord Himself warned us about (Dt 22:11), that must also be great wisdom for our lives!  Certainly there is a spiritual lesson in this verse, regarding the purity of our hearts.  But there are plenty of verses about having a pure heart, and this verse seems to speak plainly of a practical matter regarding our clothing. I know of one sister in Christ who wears only clothing made of 100% cotton or pure wool, for the sake of her health, since it is healthier. God our Creator knows what's best for us.  He says,

“Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.” (Dt 22:11)

Synthetic Fibers Are Harmful to Your Health
Science is always proving the Bible to be true. One day we may find that the electrostatic charge that is on mixed garments (e.g., cotton/polyester or cotton/wool) or garments made of synthetic materials (e.g., polyester, acrylic, Spandex polyurethane, olefin, or rayon) is actually harmful to the body. If we discover scientifically that it causes cancer or skin problems, then everyone would be changing to only pure cotton or pure wool clothing. They all care about their physical health and want to save their lives.

But when we don't understand the reasons why God requires certain things of us, why do we scoff or make excuses or call such things legalistic? It's because of our own ignorance. Do we know better than our Maker?

In fact, in writing this article, after I wrote the two previous paragraphs, I did discover that “chemically treated natural and synthetic fabrics are a source of toxins that adversely affect your health.”  An article called The Top 6 Fabrics You Should Avoid Wearing lists the following as harmful to your health: polyester, acrylic, rayon, acetate/triacetate, nylon  and anything static resistant, stain resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain proof or moth repellant.

There is another article called The Clothes that Kill You Slowly but Surely, which amazingly confirmed my suspicion that synthetic fibers may contain harmful electrostatic charges.  It states: “Electrostatic charges accumulate in synthetic clothing. There are stories of shocking mini-explosions from mixing layers of synthetic clothing with synthetic carpeting. And get this: synthetic undergarments contribute to infertility in men.”  The article goes on to state: "Today's clothing (a $7 trillion/year industry) is manufactured using an astounding 8,000 synthetic chemicals...Nowadays, clothes also contain toxins like formaldehyde, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated chemicals (Teflon) to provide "non-iron" and "non-wrinkle" qualities. Insecticides are even applied in the name of good health...For half a century, skin and chemicals have been interacting… creating problems like infertility, respiratory diseases, contact dermatitis, and cancer...The more synthetic clothing you wear, the greater your risk of absorbing toxic chemicals that harm your health.”

All of these points somewhat indirectly confirm what I had suspected, and which I had written down in this article before doing a quick bit of research on it.  I had stated that we might find out that mixed fibers contain electrostatic charges that are harmful to your health, and I did not even know about the studies. By the way, the studies did not directly prove my point, but only confirmed the possibility that the same issues they have found in synthetic fibers may also be true of mixed fabrics.   Whatever the reason is for God giving the prohibition against mixed fabrics, it must have been in His wisdom that He did so.  My main point here is that if God said it, there is a very good reason for it, which we do not need to know, if we trust Him.

These days it is nearly impossible to find affordable garments made of purely organic materials like 100% cotton or 100% wool.  I agree that in many countries like the US, it would be a very difficult – if not impossible -- task to find an entire wardrobe (i.e., undergarments, shoes, pants, dresses, shirts, coats, mittens, hats, and pajamas) like that for an entire family on a tight budget.  I am not suggesting you go out and do that! But I am demonstrating that the laws in Deuteronomy 22 are full of wisdom, and our Father knows best.  The Law is still profitable for addressing that which is ungodly and the unholy, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.

In Deut 22:11, we see that the Lord’s heart is for His holy people to even wear clothing that is pure, so that everything about us is pure. This still has relevance for today.  Even Jude speaks of “hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (Jude 1:23).  God’s heart hasn’t changed.  But the clothing we buy in the stores has changed, and it is not pure. Therefore, it is important to pray and fully commit everything we buy to into the hands of God through prayer with thanksgiving, destroying the satanic powers it may come with, and purifying it.  And I want to be clear that I am merely pointing out the wisdom of Deut 22:11; I am not saying you need to wear textile of a single, natural fabric in order to be justified before God. We are not under Law, but under grace, and we have been released from the Law.  We are justified by faith in Christ. 

Arguments from Culture
Some people try to argue from culture, by attempting to show that certain cultures have customs that other cultures would consider cross-dressing.  One example is the Scottish kilt.  They argue that what appears to be women’s clothing to other cultures is men’s clothing to the Scotsmen.  If you research the kilt, you will find that it was originally much longer, covering the legs down to the ankles.  They shortened the kilt to make it easier to work in them.

And now they have turned them into a decorative costume, which not only exposes the naked legs below the knee, but has many worldly aspects to it that disqualify it as a Christian garment.  In fact, Scottish custom states that a true Scotsman should wear his kilt without underwear, which is certainly immodest.  So this is nothing more than a worldly custom. And just because it has been made to resemble a women’s mini-skirt, we cannot use it to prove that the biblical command against cross-dressing is either subjective, depending on what country you are in, or irrelevant in the 21st century.

You can argue your position based on culture, defending women’s trousers, but that is a dangerous approach.  If we realized just how much satan has corrupted the cultures of the world, we would be shocked.  Demons are behind extra-biblical cultural practices, since satan is the god of this world.  If you say that we cannot base our doctrine on anything extra-biblical, such as prophecies or revelations, then how can you use culture as the basis for your doctrine that women should wear trousers?  Since the Word of God is our standard, then everything else must measure up to it, including prophesies, revelations, and cultural practices.
 
A Case from Christian or Hebrew Queens or Princesses of Old

In fact, if we do the research on Christian or Hebrew Queens or Princesses of old, we will find them depicted wearing dresses, not trousers. Jewish and Christian noble women would never wear trousers, since that would not befit royalty. You might find a female warrior from a pagan culture, such as the Amazon Indians, Egypt, or Babylon, depicted on an ancient vase with trousers, but not a Hebrew or Christian one.

Can you imagine a Hebrew or Christian queen, such as Queen Elizabeth or biblical Queen Esther sitting on her royal throne, wearing trousers?  How about imagining a princess in her royal carriage wearing trousers?  If you were going to play that part in a movie, do you think the costume designer would choose pants for your character?  If they did, and you were the actress, wouldn’t you be disappointed they did not cloth you with a proper princess dress? 

One might even say that the traditional wedding garments worn by brides throughout the centuries express an inward desire of women to look like a princess.  That is why they wear gowns and not trousers on their wedding day.  Can you imagine a bride wearing trousers? I have never seen one, and think it would look very strange. 

The Bride of Christ
As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are kings and priests.  The apostle Peter said, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1Pe 2:9).  The apostle John wrote, “And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:6).  Again the saints in glory sang, "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." (Rev 5:10). 

We are also the royal Bride of Christ (as depicted by my daughter in her artistic rendition above), according to the apostle Paul (Eph 5:25-27).  That includes every male and female one of us, who are betrothed to Jesus Christ our Lord.  And He is in the process of sanctifying us “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Eph 5:27)  But it’s not just a passive process that happens spiritually without any participation on our part.  In heaven they sang, “"Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." (Rev 19:7).  The Bride of Christ must make herself ready.  It’s not only an inward preparation of the heart, but one of the body, too. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Th 5:23).

The sisters in Christ are not only the Bride of Christ, but also daughters of the King, His royal princesses. They should desire to be a worthy Bride such as He is coming for right away, and put off every worldly, unholy practice, including those related to how they dress.  In fact, we men, too, must look at how we dress and be sure it is appropriate for those who profess the name of Christ.
 
Origin of Women’s Trousers in Modern Christian Culture

If you want to know whether trousers are women’s clothing or not, it’s worthwhile to do a study on their origin.  Women in countries like Korea have been wearing trousers since at least the 15th century, but it was unusual for them to do so without a covering skirt. However, in modern Christian culture, only men wore trousers until about a century ago.  Women in the Western Christian world began to wear them during the 1900’s feminist movement, when they began to perform jobs that were traditionally done by men, such as coal mining.  An 1890 census reported that out of 369 occupations, women were represented in 360 of them.  And by 1900, ladies in the U.S. employed away from the home comprised 20% of all women in the country.

When they first began to wear trousers, they wore men’s trousers, since women’s trousers did not exist.  Afterward, a French designer named Paul Poiret became one of the first to design pants for women. In 1913 he created loose-fitting, wide-leg trousers for women.  It was only much later in the 1960’s that it became fashionable for women to wear them.

And even to this day, at public restrooms (WC) around the world, if the sign on the door is a person in trousers, it still means that restroom is for males -- not females.  This is an internationally recognized symbol. Although Arabic countries may show a man in a robe, rather than trousers, you will never see a ladies' room identified by the symbol of the person in trousers.

"She Wears the Pants in the Family"
Have you ever heard the expression, “She wears the pants in the family”?  I know that this is considered sexist and offensive to many, but I am merely making a point by using an expression.  It means that the wife in a particular family is the dominant partner, who is the head of the household.  It means that she is the most powerful person who makes all the decisions in the family.  Where did that idiom come from?  It originally meant that the wife functioned in the role that was traditionally held by the husband in the family.  It’s just another example that proves pants or trousers were not ladies’ garments until the sexual revolution and the feminist movement of the 1960’s.

Argument from Hypocrisy
Someone might argue that there are some girls who claim it is biblically wrong for them to wear trousers, and yet they themselves wear them in certain situations.  I would agree that this is a type of double standard.  But just because someone is inconsistent in living out his or her Christian beliefs does not give anyone else a license to sin.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  And just because there are hypocrites in the world does not mean there cannot be sincere followers of Christ.

Follow the Money Trail
Since today's clothing industry in the US is a $7 trillion/year business, and since most clothing would not meet biblical standards of godliness, we must ask some hard questions.  Who are the people getting rich from this great evil?  Follow the money trail, and I can assure you that you will not find godly Christians at the very top of that industry.  Any godly woman knows it is very difficult these days to find modest clothing.  All the styles have changed and the way they design the cut of the garments, they are not made for modesty.  The clothing manufacturers are getting rich by selling garments that are unfit for a godly woman to wear, and I am sure they would not want anyone to interfere with their lucrative business.  It’s no wonder the enemy gets so angry when people preach against this. 

I am reminded of the incident in the Bible, during the apostle Paul’s ministry, when those who had made a good income making idols had become furious with Paul that he was hurting their business. By preaching the truth of the gospel, Gentiles were turning to Christ from idols, and no longer buying from the craftsmen that sold them.

“About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, ‘Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.’ When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’” (Act 19:23-28)

When Paul’s biblical preaching threatened their income, they started a riot. That’s similar to the way some people act when you uphold the biblical dress code for women.  They get angry and protest vehemently.  It’s like they are crying out, ‘Great is the Queen of the Coast!’  ‘Great is the Queen of the Coast!’  They are supporting the ungodly clothing manufacturers, and the demons that inspire their popular, worldly designs.  They don’t realize that they are standing up for a bad cause.

The Scripture says: “Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’  Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.” (Ecc 8:2-5)

The reason well-meaning Christians stand up for such a bad cause is that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2Co 4:4).  They think that verse only applies to those who have never given their lives to Christ, but they themselves have become unbelieving “believers”!

Demolishing Strongholds
Those who are preaching this message of holiness are causing something like an earthquake in the heavenly realm above the earth.  It’s shattering and demolishing the strongholds of satan. 

The apostle Paul said, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2Co 10:3-5)

Through the Word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Take Heed Lest You Fall
The apostle Paul said that if you think you stand, take heed lest you fall.  Do you think you stand, and that the Lord has no issue concerning cross-dressing?

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." (1Co 10:12-14)

We all face many temptations in our lives.  But no matter what the temptation, it is common to all men.  You will never be able to use the excuse that this temptation was unique to you, and more difficult than any that others have faced.  When I have been tempted, and prayed to God for the way out, I have found that the cross is the way out.  If I will deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus in that situation, then I will have victory.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Mat 16:24).

Love the Truth
You’ve got to love the Truth.  If you will approach this matter with an open mind, sincerely wanting the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, you will find it.  I know this from personal experience, since that’s how I came to know Christ.  When a friend first told me I was searching for Jesus, as a nineteen-year old soldier in the US Army, I didn’t believe him.  But when I searched the Scriptures and asked God to show me the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, then the Truth set me free, and the Lord Jesus Christ saved me (see The Truth Set Me Free!). He is the Truth!

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (Joh 14:6)

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (Joh 8:31-32)

I elaborate further from Scripture in my article, “An Open Mind that Loves the Truth,” on the biblical way to approach this matter of cross-dressing and godly attire with an open mind.

Confirming Divine Revelations
I mentioned in my introduction to this article that several people have received divine revelations from the Lord warning against cross-dressing.  Here are just a few excerpts:

In Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetaga, I wrote that the Lord told him to give this warning: "A man should not put on the attire of a woman, and a woman should not put on the attire of a man or harlot: silver, gold, attachments, changing of skin, painting of eyes and mouth, or fixing of any artificial thing (Prov 7:1-27). The Lord has spoken; now obey. I will curse them that disobey."

In Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, I wrote that he testified: "When we arrived to hell, a young lady saw me afar off and shouted, 'Oh, have you come to help me out of this place?' I could not respond to her question. Then she began to tell me the story of her life. She said, 'I was a member of a Pentecostal Church. My pastor told me that wearing trousers, as a lady, was not a sin against God..."

In Margaret O. Amure Back from Heaven, I wrote that sister Marguerite O. Amure died and went to heaven and hell after a long illness, and was gone for 21 hrs. Although she had been serving the Lord for many years, she was going to hell.  In addition to hatred and unforgiveness, she was also being judged for wearing makeup, immodest clothes like trousers, and jewelry.  The Lord told her that this way of life is not fit for heaven.  They don’t live like this in the kingdom of heaven, so anyone who lives like this on earth will not be fit for heaven. She warned women not to wear those things. She said, “if you do, then you will be judged by the same Scriptures I was judged by.”

The Lord spoke to each of these people separately and independently without any collaboration between them.  Some of them were even guilty of committing this sin before the Lord warned them.  And He gave them many other warnings for the Church besides women wearing trousers.  Therefore, I urge you to begin by reading Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, and then listening to the entire testimonies of each person highlighted in that article, as well as the others I have mentioned above.

Those Who Practice Abomination
Finally, perhaps you thought that abominations were limited only to the law of Moses; however, this is clearly taught as part of the New Covenant. At the end of the book of Revelation, we learn that those who practice abomination will not enter the holy city, the new Jerusalem. It says, "And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rev 21:27).

Moreover, according to Scripture, those who practice abomination end up in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. It says, "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Rev 21:8). Therefore, since the Lord said it is an abomination for a woman to wear that which pertains to a man (Deut 22:5), then it should be quite plain to see from Scripture that no woman who wears trousers will enter the holy city, but will go to the lake of fire.

Note: The Greek word for abomination in Rev 21:27 is "bdelugma", meaning "a foul thing or detestable thing; an abomination." This same Greek word is used in Deut 22:5 for "abomination" in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for "abomination" in that same verse is "tô‛êbah", meaning "something disgusting (morally), that is, (as noun) an abhorrence; especially idolatry or (concretely) an idol: - abominable (custom, thing), abomination." There is absolutely no difference between the meaning of "abomination" in Rev 21:27 and Deut 22:5. It is the same exact word.

Likewise, the word for "abominable" in Rev 21:8 is "ebdelugmenois", which comes from the root word "bdelussomai", meaning, "1) to render foul, to cause to be abhorred 2) abominable." Obviously the words "ebdelugmenois" and "bdelussomai" are directly related to "bdelugma". This proves that both Rev 21:8 and 21:27 are related to Deut 22:5 in the sense that they all speak of abominations and/or those who practice such things, otherwise known as those who are abominable.

For more on this topic, please see my article Abominations in the Sight of God.

Putting it All Together
Why can’t Christians understand and accept that trousers are not women’s clothing and should not be worn by women according to Scripture?  Why can’t we realize that they are immodest and worldly, rather than godly attire? Why can’t we let go of women’s trousers? It is because trousers have become a modern type of golden calf.

There are some people who say that we should not talk about these matters, and we should focus only on the Lord, and on being Christ-centered.  Yet God cares about purity and holiness.  And this matter of bodily purity cannot be separated from a Christ-centered life.  It is definitely God’s heart.  People who don’t see this do not really know who Jesus Christ is.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The "Christ's Bride" drawing is from my fifteen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix, and may be found in the art gallery at A Brush with Life.

Author's note Also see Garments of Godliness, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Garments of Righteousness, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Abominations in the Sight of GodCrucified with Christ, The Law is Good if Used Lawfully, An Open Mind that Loves the Truth, Faith Works!, Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetaga, Pleasing the Lord, and Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? My daughter has also written a lovely poem called Cross Bearing. You can access the Seeking the Lord Main Directory or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

An Open Mind that Loves the Truth

Sometimes when people come to God for confirmation, they do so with a closed mind. They come to Him wanting Him to tell them what they want to hear, and that prevents them from getting His opinion on those issues.  It prevents them from knowing God's will. For example, there are the matters, which I have posted in Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Three Divine Revelations, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, and A Warning for Married Christian Couples,  just to name a few.

Love the Truth
You’ve got to love the Truth, buy it, and sell it not (Pr 23:23).  If you will approach this matter with an open mind, sincerely wanting the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, you will find it.  I know this from personal experience, since that’s how I came to know Christ.  When a friend first told me I was searching for Jesus, as a nineteen-year old soldier in the US Army, I didn’t believe him.  But when I searched the Scriptures and asked God to show me the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, then the Truth set me free, and the Lord Jesus Christ saved me (see The Truth Set Me Free!). He is the Truth!

I want to be very clear what kind of open mind I am not talking about.  I am not talking about being open to every idea that comes along, nor do I mean being open to every religion’s beliefs, as if they all represent the Truth.  To do so is like having a well in front of your home, which is open at the top, above the ground.  If it were left uncovered, and any time someone comes along and asks to dump something in it, you allow them to do so, people would come and dump sewage, used engine oil, and all kinds of toxic substances into your well.  Since the spring that supplies the well is your source of pure drinking water, you would be foolish to have that sort of openness to your well.  You need to guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Pr 4:23). No man comes to the Father, except through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (Joh 14:6)

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (Joh 8:31-32)

It’s the same way with anything.  If you approach it with a closed mind, you will only succeed in holding onto your old ideas and ways of thinking, as well as your old way of living.  Like an old faucet that has been closed for so long that when it is turned on it only gushes forth with rusty water, your mind will only gush forth with corrupted, corroded, polluted ideas. 

Renewing of Our Minds is Needed
Sin has a noetic effect.  That means it has a negative influence on the mind’s ability to function correctly.  It leads to warped thinking and spiritual blindness. We’ve become conformed to the world more than we even realize!  This is why we need Jesus Christ to transform us by the renewing of our minds. 

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.” (Ro 12:1-2)

There are too many unbelieving believers! We cannot begin to fathom how much we have been conditioned, programmed, or brainwashed by the world and the traditions of men. The term “world” refers to this present world system we live in, which is ruled by the god of this world – satan.  

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor 4:4)

Culture and Traditions of Men
Much of what we call culture or fashion is actually the world.  Then there are traditions of men, which are teachings of men that are not from God.  Although they may have a form of godliness, they deny the power thereof.  Although religious men in positions of spiritual authority may teach them, they are not the Truth. 

As I demonstrated in my article, Tradition vs. Truth, they actually keep us from obeying God’s Word.  God commands us to love and do good.  But the traditions of men say things like, “You cannot heal on the Sabbath, since that would be work,” or “You are no longer obligated to help your parents, because you have dedicated that money to God through a solemn oath.”  Beware of the traditions of men!  Don’t be deceived into hell by them!

The Voice of the Lord
You had better make sure you are listening to the Lord’s voice and not the voice of men.  (See Hearing the Lord's Voice). The Lord is the Good Shepherd of the sheep, who leads His sheep lovingly and wisely into paths of righteousness (Ps 23:3).  Sometimes He uses His staff to do so, and other times He may use His rod (Ps 23:4b).  His sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not listen to a stranger.

“But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (Jn 4:5)

Strangers are those teaching traditions of men or anything contrary to God’s holy Word.  It could be your pastor, who knows that you, as a sister, are living with your boyfriend or cross-dressing, and yet only speaks of grace, telling you that you are “free,” rather than confronting your sin.  It could be a commentary of the Bible, or a preacher on TV.  It could be your Christian brother or sister – even a member of your own family.  Will you love them more than God?  They will not be able to deliver you when you stand before the Lord in the judgment.  If you did not act on His Word, He will tell you, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Mt 7:23)

Peace or Division
The Lord said we must love Him more than father or mother – more than our own flesh (Lk 14:26-27).  When we do so, it will bring division, because He did not come to bring peace on the earth, but a sword.

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Lk 12:49-53)

His Word is sharper than any two-edged sword!

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (He 4:12)

Doctrines of Demons
A closed mind refuses to even consider the possibility that something could be true.  It says, “Everyone knows the world is flat, not round.”  It says, “There’s nothing wrong with living together with my boyfriend, because we love each other.” It leads to bigotry, prejudice, and false teachings.  It leads you to approach a subject with your preconceived notion, and reject anything that does not agree.

We should have a closed mind to anything contrary to God’s Word.  We should not open ourselves up to strange teachings and doctrines of demons.  We must make sure we only listen to the Lord’s voice.  But when we are challenged, reproved, or corrected from the Word of God by someone, we need to take it to the Lord.  We must search the Scriptures to see if these things are true.

If apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, have properly equipped you, then you will be prepared for works of service (Eph 4:11-13).  Then every new teaching you hear will no longer sway you.

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph 4:14-16)

You will be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.  You will become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

The Whole Body Builds Itself  Up
From Him the whole Body builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  This means that you are not an island.  No church or individual has a corner on the Truth.  You need the other members of the Body, and we need you.  Just because the Lord has not revealed something to you or to the group you belong to, it does not mean it is not true.  If the Lord revealed everything to you, then you would possess all knowledge, and you would cease to need the other members of the Body.  No matter whether you are a teacher of the Word, who can explain the Bible well.  No matter whether you are an apostle or prophet, and the Lord has genuinely given you exceedingly great revelations, you still need the other members of the Body.  So don’t close your mind to what they say in the name of the Lord, but search the Scriptures to see if it is really so.

Scripture Meditations
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Ac 17:11)

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (Jn 16:13a)

"Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." (Pro 4:23)

“I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes. In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin.” (Ps 36:1-2)

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 4:3-4)

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Pr 12:15)

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (He 3:15)

“The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.” (Pr 14:6)

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Pr 14:12)

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” (Is 5:20-21)

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness." (2 Thes 2:9-12)

The Challenge
Don't be deceived by all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.  Don’t just gather around yourself teachers to say what you want to hear.  Don’t turn you’re your ears away from the Truth. Don’t assume that your way is right, just because it seems right to you, but listen to advice.  Even though the way you have been going may appear to be right, it could still lead to death.  Don’t stand up for a bad cause, and call evil good or good evil.  Don’t put darkness for light or light for darkness, and don’t be wise in your own eyes or clever in your own sight.  Make sure you are listening to the Lord’s voice, and not man’s.  Don’t harden your heart to the Lord’s voice. Don't refuse to love the Truth and so be saved.

Love the Truth and keep your mind open to what the Holy Spirit would say to you.  No matter who you are, you still need the other members of the Body of Christ.  Listen to the revelations that I have presented in these testimonies given in the name of the Lord Jesus, and search the Scriptures like a Berean to see if what they said is true.  Pray about it and ask the Lord to confirm to you if these things are true; the Holy Spirit will lead you into all Truth.  Then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.

If any man wants to see the Lord, he must walk in truth, righteousness, and holiness.  That is the only standard for heaven. The Lord still loves you, but His standard is high, His mercy is only attainable in the world.

Attribution notice: Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note Also see Garments of Godliness, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Faith Works!, Keeping Sundays Holy, Separation from the World, The Highest Form of Slavery, and Is Tithing Required? You can access the Seeking the Lord Main Directory or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy

Dear God-seekers, I want to speak to you today about keeping your body pure and holy in God's sight, because your body matters.

First, I'd like to say a few words about sex.  The Lord created sex for married couples, and I am talking about husband and wife. Fornication and adultery are sins against your own body, as well as the other person's body.

The apostle Paul wrote: "Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body...Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (1Co 6:13,18-20)

Paul explicitly said that immorality is a sin against your body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are to flee immorality (1Co 6:18). The Scriptural standard is still complete sexual purity.

The churches in Pergamum and Thyatira tolerated sexually immoral people in their midst, and the Lord had this against them (2:14, 20). For we are to avoid unholy associations with so-called brothers, who are sexually immoral (1Co 5:9-11), because there must be no immoral or godless person among those who are the disciples of Christ (Heb 12:16). No unholy person has any inheritance in God’s kingdom (Eph 5:5).  The Lord revealed to the apostle John that unholy people will inherit the lake of fire, not the kingdom of Christ (Rev 21:8), and those outside the holy city are the unholy people (Rev 22:15). 
 
However, immoral sins against your body are not limited to sexual acts committed physically between two people. Any impure or lustful thoughts or acts you commit by yourself or with anyone else are also immoral sins, according to Scripture.

Moreover, in addition to your physical acts of sexual immorality, and the thoughts and intentions of the heart, you also need to be sure that you keep your body pure and holy in terms of the attire and adornment you wear, as I explained in Garments of Godliness. Likewise, on another blog in my article, Faith Works!, I explained this in more detail, but I would like to share an excerpt from it here. 

"Paul stated when he wrote in Galatians 5: '"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.' (Gal 5:19-21)"

"To those who say that what a woman wears externally does not matter, and that jewelry, makeup, and other artificial adornments are not a problem for Christians to put on their bodies, this is what the Lord says.  He says the 'property of Jezebel' that the daughter's of God are wearing just like the world are not pure.  They are not of God.  Jezebel 'painted her eyes and adorned her head' to make herself sexually attractive, in order to deceive and seduce men, probably in the hope that Jehu would not kill her (1 King 9:30b).  That is impurity. It is also sensuality, since it lends itself to exciting sexual desires.  And can also be idolatry, since they love those things of the world that they wear, just as the men likewise love them.  They do not want to part with them.  And it also causes men to idolize women, as if they were goddesses, because of the way they are artificially adorned with worldly things.  It also leads to lust and envy, as well as carousing, and 'things like these.'  Paul clearly forewarned us that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God; they will miss heaven."


"To those who insist that the property of Jezebel is not impure, sensual, or idolatrous, I say that you are badly mistaken.  Don't you know where all those worldly things originally came from? Do the research as far back as you can go, and see for yourself. Those things were introduced into the world by satan through his angels."

The apostle Paul wrote:

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." (1 Thes 5:23-24)

"What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.' Therefore, 'Come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. 'Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' And, 'I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty.' Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”  (2Co 6:16-18; 7:1, NIV).

"...The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit..." (1Co 7:34b)

"And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (Rom 6:13)

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." (Rom 12:1)

"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience." (Col 3:5-6)

"I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." (1 Tim 2:9-10; cf., 1 Pet 3:1-6) 

Putting it All Together
Paul explicitly taught that we must keep our bodies holy and pure, and so did Peter.  These days it is popular to eat things that are considered "pure and natural".  There's nothing wrong with that.  But we must not neglect the more important matters in the sight of God, and that includes keeping our bodies holy, pure, and natural, the way God created them.

The Lord created sex for married couples, which means fornication and adultery are sins against your own body. The Lord will cast anyone committing these sins into hell, if they do not repent.  It doesn't matter how many souls you have evangelized or how gifted you are spiritually.  It doesn't matter how much money you have given to charity or any other things you have done. You cannot earn your way into heaven by your gifts or your good works.

The Lord created us in His image, and it is sin to change the image of God, by making ourselves look unnatural or putting artificial things on our bodies.  That includes jewelry, makeup, hair attachments, unnatural hairdos, tanning cream, bleaching cream, tatoos, body piercings, dying the hair, perming or relaxing the hair, gold teeth, fake fingernails, fake eyelashes, expensive clothes, or anything that is immodest, impure, immoral, worldly, or unholy.

Without holiness, no man shall see God's face (Heb 12:14).

It's not legalism to obey God's Word.  If this is an area where you know you have not been walking in obedience to God, then please repent and amend your ways.  Change your life, so that you don't perish in hell.  The Lord Jesus still loves you!  But His standard for heaven is high, and He is not changing it for anybody.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.  The "Pure Water" image is courtesy of Wayne Consultants & Mfg. Inc.  The image of the hands under pure flowing water is courtesy of the BHR Group, copyright © 2011 BHR Group, a trading name of VirtualPiE Ltd.

Author's note Also see Garments of Godliness and Faith Works!, as well as my other articles called, Obedience by the Spirit and Baptized with the Spirit. You may also like Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Called to be Blameless, Keeping Sundays Holy, Restored Truth, The Highest Form of Slavery, and Is Tithing Required? You can access the Seeking the Lord Main Directory or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

The Spirit of the Law

Dear God-seekers, in my previous article, The Spirit’s Law of Life, I indicated that the Law of the Spirit and the Law of Christ agree with the Law of God.  Having posted that, I feel the need to write to you today about the Spirit of the Law to ensure that I am making myself clear.

I can say with the apostle Paul that I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as a follower of Jesus Christ, and I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets. I have the hope in God that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” (Ac 24:14-16)

If you need to know God’s definition of sin, read the Law and Prophets. For starters, in order to get an elementary level of understanding, go back and read The Ten Commandments, and realize that none of them have been abolished, not even the Fourth Commandment -- not one (Ex 20:1-17; Mt 5:17-20).

So am I suggesting we seek by the flesh to fulfill only the letter of the Law? Certainly not! The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.  As the apostle Paul said:

"He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Co 3:6)

The Scripture states elsewhere, "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves." (Heb 10:1a).

As a Gentile follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am not looking for instructions about circumcision, various gifts, sacrifices, food, drink, and ceremonial washings (although I can still learn about God through those passages).  Nor am I looking for laws to perform with regard to religious festivals, New Moon celebrations, or Sabbath days, since all of these are "things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Col 2:16, 17). 

By the way, the word for the Sabbath is the Greek word "sabbaton," which means "the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension...the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath (day), week."  (Strongs). The apostle Paul's statement that "no one is to act as your judge in respect to...a Sabbath day," simply means not to let any man judge you with regard to this.  You must not let any man judge you with regard to how we keep the Sabbath, as the Pharisees did in accusing Jesus of breaking it by healing on that day, or doing anything else that is good and right in God's sight, or breaking traditions of men on that day.  You must keep it holy according to God's Word, and He will be the one to judge you if you truly break it.  One application of this is let no man judge you for not keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, as some people are known to be quite judgmental of others in this regard.  As I said, you must do what is right in the sight of God.

Since we know Paul agreed with the Ten Commandments, and everything written in the Law (Ac 24:14-16), and he upheld the Law (Rom 3:31), and he said that what matters is the keeping of God's commandments (1 Co 7:19), we know he was not suggesting we break the Fourth Commandment.  Some think he may have been referring to the plural form of Sabbath (as in "Sabbaths"), rather than the weekly "Sabbath Day."  If so, that would refer to other “special Sabbaths”, like what we would call national holidays that occur throughout the year.  Likewise, he may have meant "weeks," such as "the Three Weeks of Sorrow" and "the Seven Weeks of Comfort".  If so, that would explain why he said that these are "things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Col 2:17). Therefore, I am not suggesting we break the Fourth Commandment. But we are living according to the Spirit that gives life, and not the letter.  That means that we most surely honor the Lord’s day and keep it holy (1 Co 16:2; Re 1:10).  (See my blogs Resting from Work, Keeping Sundays Holy, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II, and The Lord's Day).

Moreover, it’s a higher standard spiritually than what is written. Remember, Jesus explained God’s standard regarding the commandments in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5).  God looks at the thoughts and intentions of the heart, and His standard is high. This means we should always uphold the spirit of the law, and ask the Lord what His heart is for us today for His holy people with respect to these things. His heart is always that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as ourself. (Mark 12:29-31) His heart is always that we restrain sensual indulgence (Co 2:23) by the power of the Holy Spirit, taking up our cross. His heart is always that we pursue holiness, know the Truth, and seek His righteousness (Mt 6:33; Heb 12:14, Ro 14:17; Jn 8:32-36; 14:6). His heart is always the message of the cross, repentance and forgiveness of sins, believing the gospel of the kingdom, and following Jesus in His eternal purposes (1 Co 1:18; Ac 2:38; Jn 3:16-21; Jn 4:24) Lk 13:5; Lk 24:46-47). His heart is always preaching the gospel of salvation to all creation, and rescuing lost souls from perishing in hell. (Mk 16:15; Lk 15:1-7; 2 Pe 3:9). His heart is always to destroy the works of the evil one (1 Jn 3:8). His heart is always for us to do good, do what is right, obey His commands, help the weak, the orphans, and the widows, and keep ourselves unstained by the world. (Ps 82: 3-4; 1 Jn 3:7-8; 5:3; 2:15-17; Jas 1:27).

The Holy Spirit may lead you to celebrate a special Sabbath found in the law, as a time of putting aside everything else to seek Him personally or corporately, or He may lead you to celebrate a Jewish feast found in the law as a time to worship the Lord Jesus, who is typified in all the feasts. But if you are not led to do so, don't let any man judge you with respect to such things.

By the same token, you will be viewed as odd or even judged, in these last and evil days, if you do not celebrate the so-called Christian holidays on the certain days -- and in the worldly ways -- that the apostate Church celebrates them. But if you are going to look for feasts and holidays to celebrate by gathering together, and you feel a need for that, then why not look at the Hebrew feasts that are already in Scripture? Aren’t they good enough?

Obedience is Essential for Disciples
Here are just some of the other blogs I have written, which provide a clear and biblical response to the concerns that my obedience doctrine is legalism, especially the first three in the left-hand column:

Is Obedience Optional?
The Law of Christ 
Faith Works!
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The Cost of Discipleship
The New Covenant
Costly Grace
Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
      
The Obedience of Faith
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God
Aim for Perfection
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Your Rewards Are Based on Your Practice
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Walking in the Perfect Will of God
Pressing on Toward the Goal
Obedience by the Spirit
                        

Putting it All Together
We should believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets.  The Lord Jesus did.  The apostle Paul did.  The apostle John did. The apostle James did.  If you think I am being legalistic, then you will have to also call the Lord Jesus and the apostles legalistic!

Let’s get back to the Bible and seek to live our lives according to God’s Word, not according to the letter, but in the new way of the Spirit. "We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." (Rom 7:6b). Do not rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), and if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thes 3:12-4:1).

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The "Holy Spirit" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note Also see Part One of this article, called The Spirit's Law of Life, as well as my other articles called, Obedience by the Spirit, The New Covenant, and Baptized with the Spirit. You may also like Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Garments of Godliness, Keeping Sundays Holy, and Is Tithing Required? You can access the Seeking the Lord Main Directory or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.