Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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November 30, 2012
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November 30, 2012
False Prosperity Gospel, God Promised To Provide Our Needs And Not Our Wants, The Danger Of Wealth, Lukewarm Church Of Laodicea, Timing Of Book Of Revelation, Laodicea Destroyed, Spiritual Adultery With The World, Seek First The Kingdom Of God, God's Scriptural Promises To Provide Our Needs, Warning Regarding Promiscuity In The Churches, Dangerous Sex Cults, Mormon Renegades, David Koresh And The Branch Davidians, The Children Of God Or Family Of Love Sex Cult, Sharing, Loving Jesus Revolution, Flirty Fishing, How To Avoid Pornography And Other Lusts Of The Flesh, Walk In The Spirit, Battle Of The Mind, Renewed In Our Minds, Bring Into Captivity Every Thought, What We Decide To Do After The First Glance, My Web Surfing Habits And Brushes With Nudity And Pornography, To Walk In The Spirit We Must Have The Conviction Of The Spirit, Past Feeling, Conscience Seared With A Hot Iron, Cauterize The Wound And Deaden The Nerves, Diligently Study God's Word To Strengthen Your Resolve And Conviction, Fight The Good Fight Of Faith, Closing Remarks, Suggested Reading Resources
As I concluded in part three, by compiling verse lists as I do on a regular basis, we can acquire much greater clarity regarding what certain words and verses actually mean. We have already seen that the word "lust" is derived from the Greek word "epithumia", and that it refers to a forbidden desire, longing or craving. Armed with this definition, I realized how some of the aforementioned verses can be more precisely applied to our current time. For example, consider the following verse:
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
James 4:3, KJV
Exactly what does James mean by this? Well, if we apply it to our own time, it is the perfect exposé of the false so-called "prosperity gospel" which appears to have flooded the world. My friends, this false doctrine is not just being taught in the United States. From several online conversations I have engaged in, and a few Facebook pages I have visited, it is my impression that this damnable heresy is also prevalent in places such as Africa as well, where we might least expect it to occur. What the Apostle James is basically saying in that verse is this: "Brethren, you are praying for and asking for the wrong things. Your petitions to God are misguided. They are motivated by your selfish, fleshly desires. That is why He is not answering your prayers. Rather than ask for things that you want, ask for things that you actually need."
Does that sound familiar to you, my friends? "Oh Lord, please give me a brand new car. Oh Lord, please give me a big, fancy house. Oh Lord, give me a pile of money. Oh Lord, please make me famous." I have taught for many years now, that this isn't how the Lord operates. God promised to provide our needs, and not necessarily our selfish wants. Most of us probably can't be trusted with great wealth anyway. It would probably cause us to get the big head and backslide from the Lord. No doubt, we would become comfortable and worldly, just like the Church of Laodicea, of whom the Apostle John writes the following:
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Revelation 3:14-19, KJV
On a side note, while some Bible scholars believe that the Book of Revelation was given to John towards the very end of the First Century, similar to a number of other students of the Bible, in more recent years, I have been leaning towards the belief that it may have been written considerably earlier than that. In fact, as I will be explaining more fully in a future series, I suspect that Revelation may have even been written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. If this is the case, it may interest you to know that Laodicea -- which was an affluent, wealthy city that was located in Phrygia, which today forms a part of southwestern Turkey -- was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 60 or 66 AD, and then rebuilt. The question which arises in my mind is this: Is it possible that Laodicea was destroyed by God because the Christian Church there never repented of its sins? Is this possibly how the Lord spewed Laodicea out of His mouth?
At any rate, returning to our discussion of James 4:3 and what the verse means, if you personally doubt that James was rebuking the brethren because they had slipped into a kind of "prosperity gospel", then read the remainder of his Epistle, beginning with the very next verse, all the way to the end of chapter five. What you will discover is that James lambasts the rich and the elite, and chides the brethren for desiring to be friends with the world. Consider the very next verse:
"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."
James 4:4, KJV
So you see, James was chiding the Christian brethren, because they wanted to be just like the children of the world. Some of the brethren apparently wanted to have, and were praying for, the very same material things as the rest of the sinful world of their day. As I have said before, the "prosperity gospel" is nothing new. Satan has been preaching it for many millennia. As I mentioned a moment ago, the Lord promised to provide our needs, and not necessarily our selfish wants. As I point out in such articles as "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God", there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that God will provide for us -- sometimes in miraculous ways -- if we are truly placing Him first in our lives, as well as seeking His highest Will for our lives, and obeying that Will once He reveals it to us. This Biblical truth is supported by verses such as the following:
"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:"
Isaiah 59:1, KJV
"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart . . . I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
Psalms 37:4, 25, KJV
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Malachi 3:10, KJV
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Matthew 6:33-34, KJV
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
Matthew 7:7-8, 11, KJV
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Matthew 21:22, KJV
"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:6-7, KJV
"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Luke 12:22-31, KJV
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Romans 8:32, KJV
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19, KJV
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
1 John 5:14-15, KJV
Returning to our previous discussion, with my new expanded understanding regarding how the word "lusts" is used in the New Testament, what I also discovered hidden in the previous set of verses appears to be a warning against promiscuity in the churches, as well as against dangerous sex cults. As we learned in part one of this series with the example of the Church at Corinth, the Early Church did in fact have to deal with problems that were of a sexual nature. If we consider that both the Greek and Roman cultures were very sexualized societies, and that the First Century Church was founded in the middle of this environment, it really shouldn't surprise us that the Apostles had to deal with such issues. Corinth must have been one wild city. In particular, consider the following verse that I shared with you in part three:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV
Keeping in mind that "lusts" refers to forbidden desires and illicit cravings of the flesh, it seems that Paul is warning that a time would arrive in which sound Christian doctrine would be rejected, and backslidden Christians would seek out teachers who would teach things which would cater to their carnal desires. In other words, these backslidden Christians would seek out and support teachers who would in fact approve of and encourage their carnal sins. Tragically, if that does not perfectly describe the backslidden, modern Church which now permits gay and lesbian pastors, priests and ministers, and which blesses gay and lesbian relationships, then I don't know what does. These practices are most definitely not sound doctrine. They are damnable heresies which are only designed to justify the sexual sins of these misguided, wicked people.
The previous verse is also highly suggestive of modern sex cults. In recent decades, how many times have we heard or read about a particular cult leader who not only engaged in sexual relations with the female members of his sect, but who in fact claimed that it was his God-given right to do so? We have heard of renegade Mormon leaders who still follow the "old ways". Many of you will likewise be familiar with David Koresh -- or Vernon Wayne Howell -- the deceased leader of the Branch Davidians cult who had multiple wives, as well as multiple children by those wives, in the cult. There were also allegations of sexual relations with minor children. I discuss this cult in such series as "Heaven's Gate, Suicide and Other Death Cults".
However, by far, of the modern, so-called "Christian" sex cults, the most notorious one that I am personally aware of would have to be the Children of God. Over the decades, this cult has undergone a variety of name changes, including the Family of Love, the Family, and a host of other local names which it purposely uses to try to conceal its true history and identity. They may be in your neighborhood, and you may not even realize it. That is just how deceptive they are.
As I point out in such articles as "Women Shepherds: The Family Sex Cult Exposed Again!", this cult takes the cake when it comes to the issue of sexual promiscuity. With their controversial doctrines of "sharing" -- consensual sexual relations with other cult members, whether they are married or not -- the so-called "Loving Jesus Revolution" -- young members engaging in sex with older members -- and "flirty fishing" -- cult women freely prostituting themselves in order to win people to Christ -- this cult was notoriously in blatant violation of a variety of Biblical teachings. It is a cult which is governed by lust, and not by love, as it claims. It is a very deceptive cult which will not hesitate to lie to the public in order to protect its secrets and inner workings. For years now, it has claimed that it no longer engages in the aforementioned sexual practices.
There are no doubt many other such cults which claim to be Christian, which probably engage in similar sinful practices. However, being as I don't have the time, or the interest, in keeping track of such things, I am not aware of them. The few examples I have provided here should be sufficient proof that what the Apostles wrote almost two millennia ago, is in fact occurring in our present time. But the question which we need to address is this: How do we avoid these lusts of the flesh? How do we steer clear of pornography, sex cults, peep shows and other things which cater to our base, carnal desires?
In part three of this series, the Apostle Paul gave us the answer when he stated "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh . . . If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Okay, but what does it mean to walk in the Spirit? How exactly do we do that? As I noted earlier in this series, quite often these temptations of the flesh begin with a simple look, or a quick glance. That is all it takes for Satan to plant the seed of temptation in our hearts and minds. It is by understanding this point that we can begin to learn how to walk in the Spirit. As I point out in other articles, it is in our own minds where the real battle is being waged. This is made quite evident by verses such as the following:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV
"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;"
Ephesians 4:23, KJV
"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled"
Colossians 1:21, KJV
"For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
Hebrews 12:3, KJV
"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"
1 Peter 1:13, KJV
The First Century Apostles clearly recognized that if we are to lead a victorious Christine life, if we are to resist the temptations of the flesh which Satan hurls our way, if we are to walk in the Spirit, then we must be renewed in our minds; we must gird up the loins of our minds; we must bring into captivity every thought, and we must have the mind of Christ. Basically, we need to build a spiritual wall around our minds so that Satan cannot penetrate it.
Believe it or not, but the first look or glance is not the most dangerous one. It is what we decide to do after that first glance. Let me give you a simple example. Because of this ministry, I am probably working on my computer close to seventy-five per cent of each day. As some of you will know, I spend a lot of time making new graphics for my Facebook timeline. As a result, I am always surfing the web and using the Google search engine to find graphic elements that I can use in my timeline images. I also conduct a lot of research for my articles as well.
If there is one thing that we all realize, it is that one never knows what he may find on a particular page until he gets there. You just never know what a web page developer has in store for you. Even if you aren't purposely looking for pornography, you may still have something thrown in your face which you really don't wish to see, and when you least expect it. That is just the nature of the Internet. I'll be honest. I see sexy women, half-clad beauties, bare breasts -- and sometimes worse -- on a regular basis. If, like me, you use the "images" link on Google SERP's -- Search Engine Results Pages -- you no doubt know exactly what I am talking about. No matter what search term you use, there will always be some clowns who will find ways to attach those search terms to a sexy image.
As I said a moment ago, it is what you do after that first glance, whether the image was expected or not. It is in this precise moment that the real battle occurs; and that battle occurs in your mind. If you are walking in the Spirit, you will tell yourself, "Nope. I shouldn't do this. It is wrong. It is displeasing to the Lord." As the Apostle Paul writes, you will flee youthful lusts. You will get out of there, or at least ignore it.
As I explained earlier, that individual had literally dozens of lesbian pornography links in the "likes" section of his Facebook page. They all had tempting little images. I could have very easily clicked on any one of them and engaged in some porn. However, I did not do that. I wasn't even tempted to. Please don't get me wrong. I am by no means boasting by saying this. I am not a spiritual giant. I simply had the conviction that it was wrong. You see, to walk in the Spirit, we must have the conviction of the Spirit. That is precisely what that man does not have. In fact, as I said earlier, he is outright resisting the conviction of God's Spirit on his mind and heart. I have written about this very same issue in previous articles. Allow me to share the following verses with you again:
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
Ephesians 4:17-19, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
1 Timothy 4:1-2, KJV
Please notice some of the descriptive phrases that Paul uses in the previous verses. He speaks of having our understanding darkened, becoming ignorant -- or lacking in knowledge -- and suffering from spiritual blindness in our hearts. Please note what Paul writes next to further emphasize what a terrible state this is. He says that people become "past feeling". In other words, as I mentioned earlier, they become numb to the conviction of God's Spirit speaking to their mind and heart.
In that second set of verses, that is exactly what Paul means when he talks about their conscience being "seared with a hot iron". I believe he is describing the process of cauterization. When a doctor cauterizes a wound with a hot iron, electricity, or with some other agent, not only does the tissue become very scarred, but the nerve endings are deadened as well, so that the person can no longer feel anything in that part of their body. This was a common practice in times past. It helped to prevent infection, stopped the bleeding, and caused a wound to heal more quickly. Of course, it was also very painful as well, but nevertheless necessary.
So that is what this particular individual has done through his own hardness of heart. His conscience has been seared with a hot iron so that he has become past feeling, and no longer feels the conviction of God's Spirit working in his life.
What about you? When you see that first tempting image, or that first video, or that first link which is beckoning you to click on it, whether you expected to see it or not, how do you choose to react? In that brief moment when the battle is raging in your mind, and your spirit is warring against your flesh, and your flesh is warring against your spirit, how do you choose to respond? Do you yield to God, or do you succumb to the lusts of your flesh? Please remember what I stated earlier. In order to walk in the Spirit, we must have the conviction of the Spirit. "How do I acquire the conviction of the Spirit?" you may be asking yourself. The answer is really quite simple, and is revealed in the following verses:
"BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word."
Psalms 119:9, KJV
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalms 119:11, KJV
"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 15:3, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
Quite simply, the more you dedicate yourself to the serious study of God's Word, and the more that you memorize it and hide it within your heart, the stronger you will also grow in a spiritual sense. God's Word will begin to act like a spiritual sentinel in your life; and just like the spiritual sword that it is, it will convict you of sin. It will provide you with the strength and the conviction to say "No! I will not do this! It is wrong! It is a sin! It is displeasing to the Lord! I will resist these youthful lusts! I will not yield myself to the addiction of pornography!"
That is how we learn to walk in the Spirit, and by so doing, resist the sinful lusts of the flesh, so that sin does not reign in our bodies, exactly as the Apostle Paul wrote. It may not be easy, and you may not win every single battle; but cheer up, because by God's Grace, we are winning the war! Allow me to leave you with the following verses for your encouragement and inspiration:
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:10-11, KJV
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
2 Timothy 4:7, KJV
With these verses I will now bring this series to a close. I hope that you have found it informative, and I pray that it has been a blessing and an inspiration in your life. Most of all, I hope that this series has provided you with both the spiritual strength and the conviction to resist pornography and other youthful lusts in your life.
If you have enjoyed reading this series, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this series, or which are related to topics which were discussed in this series. All of them are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
Are You Just a Baby Huey?
Beholding the Evil and the Good
Going Down the Highway
Halloween and Samhain : No Room for Compromise
Have You Sold Your Soul for a Pound of Flesh?
Light Up and Die!: The Smoking Addiction
My God is a Shocker
Nephilim: The Giants of Genesis
Oh Be Careful Little Eyes!
One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews
Science and Technology: The Forbidden Knowledge?
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Sex, a Bowl of Soup, and the Nature of Angels
Speak the Pure Language of Truth
The Battle is Not Yours Alone!
The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?
The Fruits of Disobedience
The Gay and Lesbian Agenda: To the Point!
The Heavenly Vision: Have You Got It?
The Judgment of Angels, Demons and Men
The Lord Will Lift You Up!
The Salvation of Animals: Fact or Fiction?
The Urantia Book: A Dangerous New Age Doctrine!
When Sin is No Longer a Sin