Pride Humility and Servanthood


by Mike Ratliff

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44 ESV)

Humility for the Christian is not optional. That is, if a Christian is going to walk before the face of God as one who brings Him glory while growing in Christlikeness and shedding all vestiges of worldliness, then the part of that that is both container and major ingredient of it all is genuine biblical humility. The enemy of humility is pride, which in no way ever can be the basis for godly preaching or teaching or in walking in repentance as a way of life. In fact, those who walk according to the flesh, the proud, are shunned by God for they see themselves as having a form of righteousness outside of His that will be acceptable for entrance into the Kingdom of God. Also, the true servants of God cannot be so or serve Him from any basis other than humility.  Continue reading

Biblical Humility What It Is and What It Is Not


by Mike Ratliff

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

One of the main contentions of the Emergents is that it is an arrogant thing to teach from the Bible as if it is absolute truth. They say that the truly humble are those who confess to know nothing precisely, but only in a nebulous sort of way. This is primarily an attempt to appear humble to the world by seeking common ground with everyone, which is only possible if truth is held loosely so there is room for compromise. In the world’s eyes this does appear to be humble, but is this biblical humility? In my time off over the last several days I discussed this with several of those very close to me. In response to my reiteration of the Emergent position on truth and humility my daughter responded almost instantaneously with the following passage (the part in the bold, which is John 8:32).

As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:30-32 ESV) Continue reading

Down Time


Since my two seizures and the travel restrictions associated with my condition, the death of my nephew, and my grandson becoming ill with a double ear infection, my family has been struggling a great deal because we are so spread out. I will be traveling to visit my son-in-law, daughter, grandson as well as my parents who are in assisted living over the next several days. My Neurologist has given me clearance to travel now that my medications are stabilized. I will try to get back to writing sometime early next week. Please be in prayer for us, but especially for God’s Truth to become manifest as such in His Church.

Soli Deo Gloria!

By Grace Through Faith


by Mike Ratliff

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 ESV)

The more I deal with those who are adamantly against the fact that God’s Word is absolute truth as they claim the correct way to understand the gospel is as if it is some sort of smorgasbord or rotating buffet in which the sound doctrines taught to us from the Bible are simply one of untold numbers of various ways to God, the more amazed I become at the abject spiritual blindness exhibited by them. These same people want an understanding of the Bible that is loose and easy to hedge. Why? It is so they can include every person on planet earth as on “a” path to God regardless of status as a Christian or not. This multi-path concept to God is a perfect seedbed for the apostate authors such as Brian McLaren who wrote A Generous Orthodoxy. McLaren and those like him are rethinking “Christianity” so that it becomes the all-inclusive container for all religions as seen is this fine post by Pastor Ken Silva. This is the fifth post in the series. I highly recommend that you read all five. The end-product of this rethinking of Christianity is not Christianity at all. It is an open-ended, man-made false religion that has as its foundation the philosophies of men, not the Word of God.  Continue reading

Alive in Christ


by Mike Ratliff

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV)

In the passage above (1 Timothy 4:7-8) the Apostle Paul used the Greek word ευσεβεια in v8, which is translated here as “godliness.” What is godliness? The word ευσεβεια in this context describes the condition of devotion and piety toward God. Godliness is a good translation, though it could also have been rendered as “holiness.” Godliness is a word which encapsulates the whole of true religion and is is called “godliness” because piety toward God is the foundation and the principal part of it. In the Greek, when this word is used to describe a devout worshipper of God, it also carries with it the general sense of a pious life or a life which is morally good. My brethren, this is the description of those who are truly alive in Christ because this is also the description of Christlikeness when it is applied to to genuine believers belonging to the Lord Jesus. Continue reading

The Call to Sound Doctrine


by Mike Ratliff

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:5-11 ESV)

Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. What is the aim of the charge of a true discipler? It is to produce the good fruit of of love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. That is the good fruit of genuine prophet of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, our Lord Himself told us in His Sermon on the Mount how to discern whether a prophet was false or not.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20 ESV) Continue reading

The Two-Stage Christian Life


by Mike Ratliff

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, (Romans 1:1-5 ESV)

In last night’s post, What the Gospel Is and What the Gospel Does, I made the following statement about Romans 1:1-5 (above), “This is a summary of the two-stage life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The first stage leads up to His death on the Cross then the second stage is a second life when He was raised up in glory by God’s Spirit.” In this post I would like to show how those effectually called unto Christ by the Father are also called to parallel our Lord’s two-stage life. He was incarnate as a human even though He is the second person in the Holy Trinity. In John 1:1-3 we learn, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” This is referring to our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though He is God, He came to earth as one of us, though sinless. From that moment of His incarnation, He lived in the first stage in this sin-sick, and fallen world. He was tempted in every way that we are. He grieved, wept, was rejected, was tortured and was executed though He was innocent. He died and was buried. This ended the first stage of His life as the God-Man. Three days later He was ressrecrecterd from the dead, this began the second stage of His life in glory by God’s Spirit. Continue reading

What the Gospel Is and What the Gospel Does


by Mike Ratliff

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ESV)

I had a retort this morning concerning my last post., Emergent Fallacies and the Dummying Down of the Church, which sent me back to my own time of God drawing me out of the darkness into the truth. The person attempted to derail the content or focus of that article by implying that God could save people any way He wanted so why should we be so narrow and judgmental. The one complaining insisted that he knew of many people that were “emergent,” but who loved the Lord and were excited about serving him, et cetera. However, they would not fit the mold of what I would define as Christian. The reason that sent me back to my own time of renewal in 2004 was that I remember that very statement coming across my lips in my excitement of what God was doing in me. I remember it like it was just the other day proclaiming to my wife that God could save any one any way He chose and we were wrong in placing limits in our theology on this. However, I did not hold to that fallacy very long. In fact, it was less than six months later that I went through an intensive study of theology and from that I gained a more precise understanding of the Gospel, what it is and what it does, and why this is the one and only way God has designed to save His people.  Continue reading

Emergent Fallacies and The Dummying Down of the Church


by Mike Ratliff

I listened to a fantastic interview today on Crosstalk Radio from the 17th. It featured Ingrid Schlueter interviewing Chris Rosebrough. The title of the show was “Emergent Heresy – A Warning.” One of the most difficult things for me over the last few years has been in addressing the heretical things that the emergents were saying, but it seemed that there was absolutely no foundation or structure to their confusing attacks on the truth while using some of the same doctrinal words that we us in Christian Orthodoxy. This interview tied much of the confusion together for me so that I now understand that simply addressing a salient heretical point here and there with them is like trying to kill a swam of mosquitos with an ice pick. This issue really isn’t that these Emergents are messed up theologically, but that they are not Christians at all. Their religion is not Christianity, it is some other hashed together conglomeration of philosophies that have become anchored in our churches because the source of their followers are coming from our youth groups who are easily duped into their lies because they have grown up in churches in which there is no solid Biblical training. Their local church has been fed a dummied down theology that is void of biblical truth.  Continue reading

Are You Following Jesus Christ or That Other Jesus?


by Mike Ratliff

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7 ESV)

When we go through trials and tests I believe we need to do a great deal of self-examination. We should seek the face of our Saviour and as the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this eon, but be transformed in the renewal of your mind, in the trying of yourselves, in what is the good and well-pleasing and perfect will of God! (Apostolic Bible Polyglot) In our tough times we are humbled by our God and as we turn more and more to Him, He changes our entire mind-set. He transforms us according to His perfect will as we respond in obedience and repentance. It is through this that God prepares us to be His servants who can help others who are suffering. However, there is another aspect of this. He also cleanses us of the pollution of compromise. Our spiritual senses become razor sharp. Yes, we do take on more of our Saviour’s character and in this we also are given a level of spiritual perception that can easily spot the counterfeit that is leading so many professing Christians into apostasy. Continue reading

Always There


by Todd Agnew
I’ve been leaning on things I’m finding unstable
I’ve been standing on things that are unsure
I’ve been surrounding myself with things I’m finding
Unable to fill me
Unable to still my trembling soul

CHORUS
But You’re always there when I turn around
Even though I’ve been running for so long
You’re always there when I cry out
Even when I’ve been silent for so long
You’re always there when I need You
I need You

I’ve been reaching for things that are no good to me
I’ve been wrestling with things that are bringing me down
I’ve been losing sleep over things that really don’t matter
I know You want better
But it’s so hard to see Your side

CHORUS
But You’re always there when I turn around
Even though I’ve been running for so long
You’re always there when I cry out
Even when I’ve been silent for so long
You’re always there when I need You
I need You

Can You hear me
Can You hear me calling
Cause it’s been so long
And I’m sorry
That it’s been so long, so long

CHORUS
But You’re always there when I turn around
Even though I’ve been running for so long
You’re always there when I cry out
Even when I’ve been silent for so long
You’re always there when I need You
I need You

CHORUS
But You’re always there when I turn around
Even though I’ve been running for so long, so long
You’re always there when I cry out
Even when I’ve been silent for so long, so long
You’re always there
When I need You
I need You
© 2005 Integrity Music

The Revelation of God’s Glory Through Believers


by Mike Ratliff

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:3-7 ESV)

On top of my own medical issues over the last few weeks our family has also suffered the death of nephew not much younger than my son. My daughter was close to him. She has been having quite a few emotional issues since the start of my problems and then with my nephew’s death right in the middle of it, her emotional strain has really concerned my wife and I. I had a long talk with my wife today about what is going on. I told her that I felt like that man whom the robbers beat and left for dead on the side of road and no one would stop and help him except a Samaritan. Well, the one who has stopped and helped me and is sustaining me through all of this is my Lord Jesus. He is not only sustaining me, He is also opening my spiritual eyes to many things that I was overlooking before. It is as if scales have been peeled away from my eyes. My spiritual orientation has changed as well. That part of me that used to look out for number one seems to have been hacked to pieces. In his place is a deep desire to do whatever my Lord wants any way He wants. This also has changed how I look at my fiery trials in light of eternity.  Continue reading

Called to Be Holy


by Mike Ratliff

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. (Luke 12:33-36 ESV)

One recurring warning throughout the New Testament is that Christians should live in such a way that they will be ready when their Lord returns. What would that life look like? How should we live in order to be ready when He comes and knocks? I doubt that it would look like the self-indulgent, pop-culture oriented, heavily marketed, so-called Christian lifestyle that waters down the gospel and breeds “Christians” who are both theologically and scripturally ignorant. They follow “another Jesus” whose creators have designed to fit the image that draws the crowd they want. The “followers” of this “other Jesus” resent any call to live lives of repentance before a Holy God who is to be feared. What does the life look like that is prepared for our Lord’s return?  Continue reading

A Life Pleasing to God


by Mike Ratliff

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:17-23 ESV)

God is Sovereign. I find it tragic that that statement can raise the ire of so many professing Christians. These same people will get just as angry when passages such as Romans 6:17-23 (above) are taken literally showing that the lost are slaves (δουλοι) of sin with no ability to become free from that slavery without the gracious breaking in by our Sovereign God who, in a supreme act of mercy, makes those dead in their trespasses and sin, alive through the washing of regeneration. These new creations who were totally incapable of knowing God and His truth and their lost condition before Him, by His grace through a faith that is now spiritually alive believes the Gospel and receives Christ as Lord and Saviour. Our God is Sovereign and we should rejoice that this is so because if it is not, then we are left to ourselves to somehow find a way to pay back the wages of sin, which is death. God is the ultimate promise keeper and He is merciful and gracious. Continue reading