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Wednesday, September 28 2011

What Two Things Must We Overcome?

From the Christian perspective, "overcome" means to repent of the ways of the carnal-minded world and live according to the right way of God. The ministry of John the Baptist was a call to repentance, in order to be able to truly "walk" with the coming Messiah (see Friends Of Jesus). Their "confessing their sins" wasn't a matter of seeking forgiveness by confessing to some other sinner, but rather actively repenting before God so that Christ's Sacrifice would be applied to them (listen to our Sermon What Was Nailed To The Cross?).

"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [see What Did Isaiah Know About Jesus Christ?], saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey [see also What Was Strange About John The Baptist?]. 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 3:10 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire [see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?].

3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire [see Baptism Of Fire]: 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor [see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff], and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:1-12 KJV)

According to the Word of God, without repentance, there is no salvation.

"20:11 And I saw a great white throne [see What Will Heaven Be Like?], and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works [see Works Means Obedience]. 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-15 KJV)

"22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." (Revelation 22:14-15 KJV)

"He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous"

We must first strive to overcome sinful behavior by repentance - an active and deliberate effort to obey the LORD, according to His Word, not our own. That is what makes a true Christian (see the Fact Finder question below). But true repentance ironically produces something else that must be overcome - the ever-present trap of self-righteousness that is found in unrepentant people.

The Pharisee and the Publican The apostle Paul was a repentant Pharisee who became one of the greatest servants of Christ. But Paul recognized that he was still a sinner - a repentant sinner living in a world that paradoxically makes it easier to sin when one is trying the hardest not to sin (see Concupiscence).

"7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 7:10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:8-24 KJV)

Paul was a truly righteous man who knew that he was far from perfect, not a self-righteous man who claimed to be perfect. A prime example of the principle was that of a self-righteous (and therefore unrepentant) Pharisee, and an honestly-repentant, but imperfect (as all people are) publican.

"18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14 KJV)

True Christianity is as much about first, truly repenting, as it is ever thereafter not sinning by self-righteousness.

"4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:1-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: What are the Biblical principles of true repentance?

The Way To Salvation: Step 1
The Way To Salvation: Step 2
The Way To Salvation: Step 3
The Way To Salvation: Step 4
The Way To Salvation: Step 5
The Way To Salvation: Step 6
The Way To Salvation: Step 7
The Way To Salvation: Step 8
The Way To Salvation: Step 9
The Way To Salvation: Step 10


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This Day In History, September 28

48 BC: Roman general Pompey (Cneius Pompeius Magnus; see also Ancient Empires - Rome) was assassinated in Egypt by a soldier under orders from Ptolomy and Cleopatra (see The Ptolemies).

1066: William the Conqueror invaded England. He was later was crowned king after defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

1542: Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo "discovered" California (it wasn't a discovery to the native-born people who were already there).

1867: Toronto became the capital of the Canadian Province of Ontario.

1871: The Parliament of Brazil passed the Law of the Free Womb, thereby granting freedom to all children born thereafter to slave mothers.

1895: Louis Pasteur died at age 73. The French chemist made many important discoveries involving bacterial diseases and vaccination against them.

1922: Amidst strikes and general political turmoil, Benito Mussolini and his Fascists marched on Rome. King Victor Emmanuel III had him form a government.

1928: The Parliament of the United Kingdom outlawed cannabis with the passing the Dangerous Drugs Act.

1928 Scottish biologist Sir Alexander Fleming discovered a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory. It was later named penicillin.

1953: Astronomer Edwin Hubble died at age 63. The Hubble Space Telescope is named after him.

1961: A military coup in Damascus, Syria ended the United Arab Republic, a union between Egypt and Syria.

1978: The Israeli Knesset ratified the Camp David Peace Accord that had been signed between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

1987: Palestinians ("Palestine" is an English word that originated from "Philistine") began their "Intifada" against Israel.

1995: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat signed an accord to transfer much of the West Bank to the control of its Arab residents.

2000: Riots by Palestinians began when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.



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Copyright © Wayne Blank