Author Archives: Luther Wesley

About Luther Wesley

A Christian, husband, and father rambling along in the Grace of God

Death and Grief

The Last Enemy

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, (ESV)

We will all face it. It will come. Its dark tendrils encircling us. Its cold breath moving slowly over us drawing us ever further into its icy grip. We cannot escape. We cannot run. We cannot hide. We will drive the ever present reality of this dark specter to the very back of our minds, ignoring it until we can run no longer. Our eyes grow dim and our legs grow weary. We can no longer escape  judgement day. We can no longer defer the payment we are to receive as the sons of Adam.  The shadow may come quickly or slowly, peacefully or violently, but it will come.

We will say our last goodbye. We will have our last meal. We will say ” I love you ” one final time and have our last kiss. Our eyes will close to see no more in this present world.

We can cry, we can fume, we can shake our fists at Heaven and earth to no avail for we deserve our reward. We deserve death. We deserve the grave. The very best of our deeds are tainted and corrupted by sin and we cannot claim innocence when standing before the just Judge. We came from the dust and to the dust we shall return as the breath of life departs from our bodies.

We will Grieve

When death comes to our homes, when it touches those we love, we will grieve. We will grieve time no longer to be had together. We will grieve missed opportunities and wasted moments. We will grieve senseless arguments and futile grudges that pride did not let us put away. We will grieve over those lost too soon and those that life carried far away.

We will cry and laugh. Shout and whisper. We will console and be consoled but life will never be the same. In this world we will never see their smile, hear their laugh, or feel their touch. We will cry ourselves to sleep and awaken to find that the world continues, time marching ever onward with so many seemingly oblivious to our hurt. To the ache and pain that lingers. To the shadows that darken our days.
Our grief Is not without Hope

Romans 6:23 b

but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)

1 Thessalonians 4:13
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (ESV)

The shadows will not and cannot last for those in Christ. The Last enemy, death, has been defeated. Though we will face it death has no power. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we do not have to fear this
evil. He is with us. He carries us. He strengthens us. The Spirit is our Comforter who never leaves us.

This hope is not without foundation or cause. It is not a leap of faith into the darkness or the hedging of our bets.  He, Christ Jesus, has risen and conquered death and for those united to Him by faith we have the promise of eternal life. The wages of our sin have been paid, our debt is gone, and the curse broken.

Though our eyes close in death and darkness they will open to life and glorious light. Though we grieve and mourn for a time a great and wonderful reunion is on the horizon. It is coming. Jesus is returning and He is bringing those saints who have fallen asleep with Him.

They will be raised for death has no hold on them. Our elder brother is the firstfruits of the resurrection and what was sown in death will be raised in life. This mortality will put on immortality and this corruption will become incorruptible. Death will be no more and our grieving will end. The victory is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have hope and it is in Christ. We have assurance and it is in Christ.  He who began a good work in us will complete it as He is the author and perfecter of our faith.

If you do not have this hope call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved. The call has gone out to repent and believe and ignorance cannot be claimed. Repent and believe and be a part of this great reunion of all believers from all times.

Sola Deo Gloria

Scriptural support for the Trinity

While the doctrine of the Trinity has been most widely accepted by orthodox Christians since the early days of the church there are still some holdouts to this blessed, biblical, and orthodox doctrine of God. 

Below is a question and answer with scriptural support from the Westminster Larger Catechism dealing with the Trinity. 

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names (Isa 6:3, 5, 8; with John 12:41; with Acts 28:25Jer 23:61 John 5:20Ps 45:6Acts 5:3-4), attributes (John 1:1Isa 9:6John 2:24-251 Cor 2:10-11Heb 9:14), works (Col 1:16Gen 1:2Job 26:13John 1:3), and worship (Matt 28:192 Cor 13:14), as are proper to God only.

Hosannas Shame and a Borrowed Donkey

Our Lord, the Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One Who walked on water, fed the five thousand, healed the lepers, caused the lame to walk and the blind to see…… HE entered the Holy City of Jerusalem lowly and riding upon a donkey.  This man, who was and is God incarnate, the Eternal Son, and the Second person of the Trinity…..who had already condescended to take on flesh and the role of a servant…..rode in on a borrowed colt.

He rode in with the throngs of adoring people shouting ” Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, ” laying palm branches and robes in the dust upon which the donkey could walk.  These people, many of whom would soon cry, ” Crucify Him, ” wanted the worldly blessings of a Messianic King….the restoral of the Kingdom to them……the ousting of the pagans from their Promised Land, but that was not the goal here….it was not the endgame of the King.

He was soon to liberate many of them in a way that they did not foresee, though war, hardships, and near genocide would envelop the land, they would be free…..

Free from the guilt and shame of sin.  Free from the anger and fear that haunts the nights.  Free from the legalistic  burden of the Law in the futile effort to earn peace with God.  His people would soon be free.  Free from the bondage and the curse we were born into…..free to worship the Father in Spirit and Truth.  They, and not only them, but all that would follow in the faith; by believing in the Son of God would enter into the Covenants of Promise given long ago to Father Abraham.

Jesus, looking to the Cross, rode into Jerusalem knowing what lay ahead…..He knew the shame He would endure…..the pain……the rejection…..the burden of our sin…..being forsaken by the Father……This Jesus who rode Triumphantly into Jerusalem on the back of a colt would be led away carrying a criminal’s cross…..scourged, mocked, spit upon, naked, and humilated…this King came to save His people.

Amazing Love, how can it be, that you my King should die for me……

How many there that day would have guessed, that by Friday, all their hopes and dreams would be crushed?  Where would you have been that day….watching this itinerant rabbi ride into town on a donkey or off going about the daily grind; lost in the cares of this world with no thought of the next……Who, apart from the Godhead, was fully aware of the world changing events soon to take place?  Who would have guessed it?  Not many of those there that day……

It most certainly was a Triumphant Entry….just not in the manner that they hoped.  What are you hoping for?

God bless and Keep the Faith

 

The covenant of marriage 

Covenant
: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement : compact
a : a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action
 
Our God is a Covenant making God as is readily seen in the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.  The various covenants in The Bible including the Abrahamic, Noahic, Mosaic, Davidic, and of course the New Covenant are important as they attest to God’s dealings with man in His redemptive purpose.  There is, however, one specific covenant instituted by God not listed above that was instituted by God: The Marriage Covenant.
 
A Man and a Woman
 
Matthew 19:5

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

 
This is how the Creator of the universe defines it.  Male and Female joined together as Christ is joined to His Church.
 
I am happily and passionately married to my wife of nearly ten years, Mindy Kay, and I recognize the importance of a Godly marriage.  She was created by the very hand of God as a help-meet for me ( May the Lord have mercy on her ) in my sojourn in this strange land.  She is a nurse, a cook, an exhorter, and a comforter.  She is a mother and an educator….drying the tears of three unique and wonderful boys all the while making our house a home.  She is my complementarian partner not only in ministry  but in the whole of life and I thank God for her.
 
My goal, as should be every husband’s, is to love my wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for Her.  I am called to be the ProtectorProvider, and Priest in our home and in the lives of our children and may God grant me the mercy and grace required for such a task.
 
I ask you now, today, wherever you are at, to pray for not only mine but for marriages around the world.  Pray for purity, commitment, and honor to be present in the lives of men and women.  Pray for the steadfast assurance that God is with us; that the love within marriage would be unconditional.  Pray for your pastor’s, elder’s, and deacon’s marriages as they and their families serve God, the Church, and you.  Pray that your children would find a godly mate and that they would be one.  Pray for our families…….

The Word of Aberrant Faith

The Word of Faith Movement, also known as Prosperity Theology, is alive and well especially in American Christianity; with much of the credit(?) being given to TBN ( Trinity Broadcasting Network ) and its myriads of ( supposed ) preachers of the word and pastors of the flock. Word of Faith Theology is extremely hard to pin down as it does not have an official statement of faith, a creed or confession, and is not even a denomination, though many of its adherents would fall into various Pentecostal/Charismatic circles.

Never the less, one of its main controversial tenets is how those who follow it define faith. They most often use a definition akin to Positive Confession which states:

we are created in the image of God thus we have the ability to release faith-filled words creating reality.

Compared to E.W. Kenyon’s thoughts:

Man is a little god, created in ” God class “, and therefore can use the same faith that God has to speak things into existence.

Some of the most outspoken propenents of this doctinre today are Paul Crouch ( founder and president of TBN ), Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and Jesse Duplantis.

They have been quoted as saying the following:

Kenneth Copeland: God did not create the world out of nothing, He used the Force of His Faith. (Spirit, Soul and Body, #01-0601, Tape #1)

Benny Hinn: Sow a big seed, when you confess it, you are activating the supernatural forces of God. (Praise-a-thon (TBN), recorded November 1990)

Joyce Meyer: in her book, writes, “Words are containers for power” (The Name, The Word, The Blood, p. 37).

Creflo Dollar: Whatever you believe, you must speak.

Jesse Duplantis: “I said to Paul, you went through great persecution.” “Yes,” he answered, “but I kept the faith. I focused my life on faith. That’s how you get things done. . .Never change the message because of the hearers. Speak what God gives you”

This theology, naming it a claiming it, in nearly all of its permutations, can be traced to E.W. Kenyon and subsequently to Kenneth ” Pop ” Hagin.

Hagin is quoted as saying in one of his articles:

“You Can Have What You Say”:

“Often you create your own negative situations yourself with wrong thinking, wrong believing, and wrong speaking. So start believing according to God’s Word. Then begin making positive confessions of faith and victory over your life. … You will never receive anything from God beyond the words you speak. … If you don’t like what you have in life, then begin to change the way you are thinking, believing, and speaking. Instead of speaking according to natural circumstances out of your head, learn to speak God’s Word from your spirit. Begin to confess God’s promises of life and health and victory into your situation. Then you can begin to enjoy God’s abundant life as you have what you say!”

Kenyon’s introducton of New Thought into the Church and its viral spread throughout the 20th Century has lead to confusion on what Faith is in the Church and in the life of the Believer.

The following exchange between Kenneth Copeland and Paul Crouch is endemic to the problem:

Copeland: The Force of Faith is in the Spiritual Realm a great deal like certain forces in the natural realm. It is spiritual force, like gravity is a natural force, and electricity is a natural force of power.

Crouch: A measurable Natural Force.

Copeland: It’s a measurable force, its conductible, perceptible to the touch…

Crouch: ….Does God use faith??

Copeland: Surely

Crouch:…The critics say God is God. He doesn’t have to use faith….He’s the object of faith.

Copeland:..waith a minute….what does that mean? Object of faith. I don’t know what that means.

The Reduction of God

There are more than a couple problems with that exchange but first and foremost it reduces the Infinite Creator of the Universe to using a natural force to create and reach His desired ends. Does God use natural Laws? Yes, He does and through Christ all things are sustained ( Colossians 1:16-17 ). It is through His sustaining power that these laws continue to function and through their temporary suspension ( miracles ) that He demostrates His power over them.

Does God give grace and faith to fallen men allowing them to come to Him? Yes, but God, who is the maker of all things is not subservient to Creation or a spiritual force akin to gravity.

By making God the user of an invisible force they are attempting to bring Him down to their level and raise themselves up to His. Now man has the same power that God does, we can create our reality, and the Giver of life is relegated to ” faith-force co-opt ” providing your faith needs since creation.

The Object of Our Faith

Also, we should realize that Christ, the God-man, is the object of our faith. He is the objective reality, embodied in the story of the Gospel, which declares Him to be the Christ, our sinless and Risen Lord, who purchased a people for Himself by the shedding of His precious blood. The Person of Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has accomplished, is the object of our faith…our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and Righteousness. He has secured the new birth, justification, sanctification, and ultimately glorification for those who believe in Him. Without the Objective reality of Christ, the Cross, and the Empty Tomb there is no Gospel and our faith is in vain.

Not only is our faith in Him, He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith ( Hebrews 12:2 ). It is by grace throught faith, not of ourselves, ( Ephesians 2:8-9 ) that we can come into a relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is not the mystical manifestation of a spiritual ” force ” that operates indepedently of God Almighty…..faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen ( Hebrews 11:1 ). Our Great Hope ( 2 Corinthians 3 ) is the resurrection of these frail bodies into our glorified state ( 1 Corinthians 15 )….and it is only because of Christ that we have this hope.

It ( faith ) is not only the substance of our hope, but it is also the evidence of things not seen. Remember what the Risen Christ told Thomas

John 20:28-30

28And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.

29Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

We have evidence, but this evidence means nothing without eyes to see and ears to hear ( Deuteronomy 29:4, Isaiah 6:10, Jeremiah 5:21, Matthew 13:15, Romans 11:8 ). It is only through the working of the Holy Spirit in one’s life and the drawing of the Father to the Son that life and faith is even possible.

WE cannot create new worlds by speaking them into existence. WE cannot produce wealth and health by naming it and claiming it. Though our tongues are dangerous ( James 3 ) they are not divine. Faith is not a force that is wielded by those skilled in the arts of Prosperity, it is not activated by the speaking of the right words but is rather, the knowledge of, and trust in, the giver of all life, Jesus Christ. I pray that by the working of the Holy Spirit that you will be lead into all Truth and have the faith that saves.

What do you think?

The Walk of the Living Dead

And as it is appointed unto men once to die,
but after this the judgment:
Hebrews 9:27

This is our lot in life as sons of Adam: Birth and the walk of the Living Dead. The span of years offers both good and evil, the sublime and horrific as all things pertaining to life are found between those two little words. A Mother’s kiss, a Father’s stern rebuke, hurts by friends or the simple joy of a warm spring day with the clouds drifting lazily by in a deep sea of blue. The loss of loved ones and the birth of new ones are woven into this tapestry that we call life.
Continue reading

Sin Tragedy and the Christian Worldview

The Sorrow of Loss

Columbine. Aurora. September 11th. Hurricanes. Floods. Disease. Family and Friends. We all must face and deal with tragedy in this life. Whether it is Global, National, Local, or within our closest circle of family and friends it will come knocking at our door. The hurt is sharp and piercing…..driving deep into our hearts all the while making life seem unbearable. How do we come to a place of grief and healing during tragedy? Is it possible to come to terms with the loss of loved ones in this life?
Continue reading