What is the Biblical Evidence of Being Filled With the Spirit?


by Mike Ratliff

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 ESV)

As we have seen, the passage Ephesians 5:18 is a command. The verb forms of “do not get drunk” and “be filled” are both present tense, imperative mood, passive voice. The imperative mood equates to a military command and something the Christian does control. Neither not getting drunk with wine unto debauchery or Spirit-filling are optional, but rather mandatory for Christians. You may ask, “how so?” This is clearly shown to be the will of God in Ephesians 5:17, just one verse earlier, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Never forget my brethren, God would not give us command unless we were being put in charge of carrying out the command, so it’s up to us to obey.  Continue reading

Be Filled With The Spirit


by Mike Ratliff

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-18 ESV)

As we saw in yesterday’s post Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?, the Apostle Paul was making a very deep contrast in v18 (above) between the people being controlled by evil as they seek ecstatic spiritual experiences in any way other than the only way God has prescribed for His people. That way is to be filled with the Spirit, which is to be controlled by Him in the sense of having one’s life permeated with Him. In this post I would like to take a closer look at the contrast Paul made in v18 between the process of “being filled” with wine using the word μεθύσκεσθε, which is translated as “get drunk” in the ESV and the process of “being filled” with the Spirit using the word πληροῦσθε, which is translated as “be filled.” It should be obvious these are different words and mean something totally different, but many today misinterpret Spirit-filling to be something that causes one to lose control and become mindless such as in the “laughing revival” for instance. Let’s take a closer look at these words.  Continue reading

Redeeming the Time


by Mike Ratliff

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 ESV)

It seemed that the moment I posted Are You Walking Circumspectly? that the pressure came to bear upon me from nearly every direction in an effort to distract me from doing that very thing. To walk circumspectly is to walk in light of the gifts of wisdom and discernment from God. However, we all have people and circumstances in our lives that are the sources of fiery tests and trials that are allowed by God to buffet us so that we will see clearly our dire need of His grace and cause us to draw closer to Him in repentance. It doesn’t help that we are at the height of ragweed season where we live and the older I get, the worse my symptoms to that become. Lay on top of that circumstances that are clear affronts to our concepts of what is “fair” and “right” and given no recourse then our emotions can certainly take over. As I reflected on these things before I prayed and sought God’s will for this piece I actually “felt” completely unworthy to do this. How can I teach from God’s Word when I have been struggling so much with my own battles over these very things?  Continue reading

The Day of the Lord Will Come


by Mike Ratliff

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36-44 ESV)

I am no “expert” on eschatology. All I know is that the Jesus and writers of the New Testament say over and over again that the Day of the Lord is coming and we need to be ready, but most will not be ready. If you look at the current trends in the Missional movement, its adherents seem to have abandoned any concrete concept of a Church age that will end with the Lord Jesus returning in judgment against those outside of His Kingdom. To be honest, I grew up with a lot of that eschatology stuff with those very complicated charts with arrows and lines running all over the place and I must admit that I understood them only when those presenting them spoke, but when I read the Word of God for myself, I couldn’t find what they were talking about most of the time. I think they were overcomplicating things. Let’s look at one passage from 2 Peter that deals with this.  Continue reading

Where is your Blessed Hope?


by Mike Ratliff

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11:14 ESV)

The following is a quote from a sermon by John MacArthur titled ‘The Undying Faith of Christians Facing Death’ in the context of Matthew 24.

“There are false Christians today in the world, there were in the past, there will be in the future. The world is always full of false Christians. There are more false Christians than true ones. I’m afraid to say there may be more false prophets than true prophets. They’re certainly more false representatives of Jesus Christ than true representatives of Christ. But as things get worse, as persecution escalates. The false are going to fall away, they’re going to fall away for reasons that He gives us here. “False prophets will lead them astray,” verse 12, “because of iniquity being increased, their love will grow cold,” they’ll hold on to their sin. The world as it moves is going to get worse and worse and worse. The world’s evil is going to escalate and escalate, we’re seeing it in our own culture today. And people love their sin and as their sin is legitimized, as their sin is normalized, as their sin is legalized they’re going to cherish their sins more openly and more publicly and they’re not going to be interested in the things of Christ and suffering for the cause of Christ.”

That statement really shouldn’t have surprised us. It didn’t me. I’m really not very good at this apologist stuff in that I get discouraged very easily as I research the doctrine, sermons, and what is said by false prophets, and so-called christian leaders. Over time, I need to get away from it and rest in my Lord for awhile and get refocused on where my hope really lies. These jokers talk a lot about ‘vision’ and ‘hope’ and ‘transformation’ et cetera, but it doesn’t take very long to see that they are looking for all that from within. They see the potential to be within themselves to do it all. Their hope is in themselves. They may throw God and Jesus around a lot in there sermons, but the focus is all about what they can do and how God has to bless them because they are doing or because they have developed and are pursuing their visionContinue reading

Always Learning and Never Able to Arrive at a Knowledge of the Truth


by Mike Ratliff

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6 ESV)

always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7 ESV)

Carefully read both passages above (1 Timothy 2:3-6 and 2 Timothy 3:7). Notice that the Apostle Paul used the exact same phrase “knowledge of the truth” in both. This a translation of the Greek words ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας in both passages. Notice also that in 1 Timothy 2:4 that Paul clearly is referring to believers coming to an understanding of God’s saving truth in Jesus Christ, however, in 2 Timothy 3:7 he is describing people are are unable to do so. What has truth to do with salvation anyway? I read some articles and emails today from some of these Emergent types and they are of the opinion that there is no such thing. However, here we must do two things. We must stand firm and tell it like it is.  Continue reading

That Is Not The Way You Learned Christ


by Mike Ratliff

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—  (Ephesians 4:17-20 ESV)

Earlier today I was listening to an episode of Dr. James White’s “The Dividing Line” from August 10th. In it, he played part of a “debate” that took place on a radio show in England. The person Dr. White wanted us to hear was a man who professed to be a Christian, but was what I would call a perfect example of the product of “Liberal Mainline Christianity.” He denied the verity of Scripture. He denied the deity of Christ. He denied the bodily resurrection of Christ. Well, you name it, whatever we believe by faith as Christians, he denied. I found it interesting that I listened to that after I had studied two Greek words from the passage I placed at the top of this post that are ματαιότητι, which is translated in the ESV as “futility” in v17 and ἄγνοιαν, which is translated as “ignorance” in v18. That mindset which looks at what we call “Orthodox Christianity” and our completely firm stance of non compromise on any of it with a jaw dropping arrogant, bullying attitude stance is what we are encountering more and more throughout the visible church because most of it has been given over to the darkness it loved more than the light of truth. Those with this mindset simply cannot comprehend God’s truth nor do they love Him or those who belong to Him and follow the Son. Continue reading

Is a Paraphrase Equivalent to God’s Word?


by Mike Ratliff

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18 ESV)

With the posting of The Man Centered Gospel vs The God Centered Gospel yesterday, and the ensuing discussion with friends on this topic, it is apparent that God is showing us that the dividing line between genuine Christianity and that which isn’t is that the former is centered on God and His glory while the latter is on man centeredness and sees God in various ways that are incredibly short-sighted, unscriptural, and all rooted in the very lie that Satan used to deceive our parents in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). As we back away and examine things from this perspective it is an amazing thing to see how all of the apostasy and bad doctrine we have been examining for last several years has all been rooted in lies that feed from a man-centered view of God’s Word, doctrine, and Christianity as a whole. Continue reading

The Man Centered Gospel vs The God Centered Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

 

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:22-25 ESV)

Back in 2005-2006 as God was working to root me out of my old church as the leadership there was attempting to convert it to a Purpose Driven/Seeker Sensitive Church, I became involved in the discussion forum at the old Slice of Laodicea Blog. This came about because I was seeking answers. It was through this that I became friends with Ken Silva and later became part of the CRN discernment team. One thing that struck me during that period that had never occurred to me before that I now see more and more apparent every day is that God’s true Church is a remnant of what the world sees as the visible church. I can remember Ingrid saying that in her blogs and comments and those who were bound and determined to shut her down and silence her would simply lose it. Continue reading

Thinking Godly


by Mike Ratliff

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians (4:8 ESV)

Philippians 4:8 is one of the most profound statements in the New Testament. This is part of the Apostle Paul’s closing statements to the church at Philippi. His epistle to the Philippians is a wonderful letter, full of encouragement and deep spiritual truth about how to live this Christian life no matter what fiery trials we are going through. In chapter 4 v8 we come upon this profound statement and we stop. We ask if this is even possible for us. How can we do this since we must live in this life in which we are pulled in every direction and so must find the time for such things. Perhaps a deeper look at the underlying Greek would help. Continue reading

The Christian’s First Love and Works


by Mike Ratliff

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. (Jeremiah 2:1-2 ESV)

As I think back on that startling, abrupt, life-changing time immediately following God graciously brining me into knowing Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, justifying me and placing me on that narrow road of sanctification, I remember my deep devotion to all things related to my faith. Some of those things were obviously part of the trappings of religiosity, but, primarily, I remember not being able to get enough of God’s Word and that is still the case. He has since that time chiseled and burned away much of the dross and worthless stuff from me that hindered me in my pilgrimage. It should be no surprise though that much of what was taken away were things, ministries, and people that I clung to desperately thinking they were vital parts of what made up “my walk.” In my case, my “first love,” which at times had diminished as I served religious things and worked at my religion with much vigor, has actually grown much deeper as the focus has been removed from all that to simply loving and obeying my Lord. Continue reading

The Nature of a Truly Transformed Heart


by Mike Ratliff

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:10 ESV)

Some “evangelical leaders” in our time will tell you that transformation is actually part of the gospel and that the evidence of salvation is how busy a person is in “working in church ministry.” No where in God’s Word is transformation given as part of the Gospel. The Gospel is based in who Jesus Christ is and what He has done to be the propitiation for the elect. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, including the elect. No one is able to do any work of any kind to deserve or earn salvation, that is, justification. However in Ephesians 1:3-23; Ephesians 2:1-10, the Apostle Paul gives us God’s solution. Notice that nowhere in these passages is the transformed life mentioned as part of being justified. Yes, Paul mentioned in Ephesians 2 that Faith was a gift and that tells us that it is a product of regeneration, and that God saves us unto good works, but that is not the same thing. Paul tells us more about the transformed life in Romans 12:1-2. Notice that this is talking about spiritual growth after salvation and is not part of our justification at all, but is part of our sanctification process. Notice also who is in control of this process. Is it a local church or a ministry or is it God? Continue reading

Jesting


by Mike Ratliff

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4 ESV)

As we saw in the post Couneterfeit Love, the sixth characteristic of counterfeit love is jesting or “crude joking” as stated in the ESV (above). What is this and is it that big a deal? Here is Ephesians 5:4 from the Greek New Testament, “καὶ αἰσχρότης καὶ μωρολογία ἢ εὐτραπελία, τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία.” A word-for-word translation of this verse is here, “and shamefulness and foolish words or coarse joking, which not is proper, but more good favor.” The word I translated here as “coarse joking” and the ESV as “crude joking” is εὐτραπελία or eutrapelia. Some Bible translations render εὐτραπελία as “jesting.” This is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used. Let us dig a bit deeper. Continue reading

Counterfeit Love


by Mike Ratliff

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6 ESV)

In Ephesians 5:1-2 the Apostle Paul gave us exhortation to line up our lives with God’s standard of self-sacrificial love that mimics His own for His beloved Children.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV)

He then, in vv3-7, gives us the opposite, which is counterfeit love. This form of fleshly love always results in impurity of life. I find it amazing how I find so many professing Christians ready to call what I am teaching here “legalism” because they want to embrace the very things Paul lists in these verses which are Satan’s perversion of God’s creation. Continue reading