Christian authenticity is radical Christianity


by Mike Ratliff

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
But after that no one dared question Him. Mark 12:28-34 (NKJV) 

The rabbis of Jesus’ day engaged in an ongoing debate to determine which commandments of the Law were “light” and which were “weighty” (Matthew 23:23). It reminds me of the debate in certain circles of the visible Church today in which some are concerned with how far they can push their “Christian Liberty.” This concept is no more biblical than that of the rabbis attempting to compartmentalize their religion. Does our Lord’s answer to the Pharisee in Mark 12, Matthew 22, and Luke 10 have any significance to the Christian? Continue reading

Great is the mystery of godliness


by Mike Ratliff

14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:14-16 (NKJV) 

The best place for a Christian to be is at the Cross, before the Saviour, in complete agreement with God that without His saving Grace he or she would be on their way to Hell, and without His sustaining Grace he or she would lose all ability or desire for His godliness. In fact, Christians are in a great deal of trouble when they think otherwise. Yes, we are commanded to obey God and to seek His Holiness, but we are completely unable to obey Him; neither are we able to seek His Holiness unless He first gives us the Grace to do these things in the Spirit. In fact, if we try to do either in our own abilities, i.e. according to the flesh, we will fail miserably and find ourselves in an impossible situation of trying to attain favor with God by our own efforts in our own ability. This is a form of legalism, which leads only to frustration and disillusionment.  Continue reading

Standing firm in God’s truth no matter the cost


by Mike Ratliff

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”
23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. 27 No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— 30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:22-30 (NKJV) 

Several years ago I got into a comment and email exchange with a fellow who insisted that God will not condemn anyone to an eternity in hell. He said that it is only a temporary place that will be emptied when all things are reconciled to God in eternity. It did no good to use clear scripture references to show him that he was ignoring a great deal God’s truth. One thing that struck me was his stance that Romans 5 was blasphemous in reference to the doctrine of Original Sin and condemnation for all men by it, but there is justification and life for ‘the many’ (Romans 5:12-17). Was this a case of ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?’ Continue reading

Sanctifcation and Regeneration


In response to yesterday’s post, Who will and who will not inherit the Kingdom God God?, my friend Stuart Brogden sent me the article below, which he had written in response to some people that we both know who contend that the redeemed person is no different from a reprobate. Some of them say Christians are still Totally Depraved, not a new creation. Both of us have contended with them. I asked if it would be ok if I posted the article and he said yes. Enjoy and be blessed. By-the-way, some of you may know Stuart by his online name of “Manfred.” 🙂 Continue reading

Who will and who will not inherit the Kingdom of God?


by Mike Ratliff

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 1 Corinthians 15:50 (NKJV) 

There are only two religions in the entire world. There is genuine Christianity and then every other form of religiosity including humanism and atheism. All but genuine Christianity are opposed to the truth and are part of the rebellion against the sovereignty of God. Genuine Christianity is made up of those who have been redeemed from the slave market of iniquity. This slave market preys on people and keeps them in bondage to the flesh. On the other hand, Genuine Christianity, which is the Church, is spiritual. Those in it are adopted into the family of God. Those in it who are still alive right now await the completion of their redemption. Those in it who have already died are with the Lord now. Those who remain are in process. This process is their progressive sanctification, which is the mortification of the deeds of their flesh, which is sin. However, all outside of the Church are in their sins and can only operate in the flesh. Continue reading

The Tower of Babel error


by Mike Ratliff

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9 (NKJV) 

The emergent movement and actually all forms of “Christianity” that has a problem with preaching the whole Gospel and the Law in order to “remain relevant” and to “not offend” seekers, such as the Purpose Driven paradigm are, in fact, repeating a very old error. As we study Genesis 11 we see the gathering together of all people into one group by the settlers of Babel in disobedience to God’s commands. In this post we will compare those people on the plains of Shinar who attempted to build the Tower of Babel and draw all people into one place in defiance of God’s command and those in our time attempting to build massive churches through pragmatism, watering down the Gospel, and nullifying the Word of God. We will show that the error of those in our time attempting to build larger and larger churches is simply a repeat of  the same error committed by those in Genesis 11.  Continue reading

The Lord tests the righteous


by Mike Ratliff

4 The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold,
His eyelids test the sons of men.
5 The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalms 11:4-5 (NKJV) 

According to some professing Christians, if anything unpleasant comes into their lives then it proves that God is displeased with them. They say it proves that God is punishing them. Also, they proclaim that the ones suffering are simply victims in the ongoing battle between God and Satan. Is there another explanation? Let’s see! Continue reading

To live is Christ, to die is gain!


by Mike Ratliff

4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 (NKJV) 

It seems that most of what we post here has to do with the Gospel. It is vital that we do that. On the other hand, the way we handle it here and the way we demand that it be handled in our churches has, at times, been quite unpopular with certain people who have issues with preaching the Gospel and law together as well as how genuine Christians are called to walk in repentance until they are taken home to be with the Lord forever. Our focus has been on the eternal at the expense of the temporal and the flesh. We have looked at the necessity of living lives in which we deliberately seek to work with God in mortifying our sin. To certain apostates such as Rob Bell, that is simply putting people into slavery. However, our response should always be, “What does God’s Word say about the Gospel?”
Continue reading

Our Comforter and His work


by Mike Ratliff

25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:25-26 (NKJV)

25 Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν παρʼ ὑμῖν μένων· 26 * ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν [ἐγώ]. John 14:25-26 (NA28)

On the night prior to our Lord’s crucifixion and death, He promised that He and the Father would send to His disciples the Helper, the παράκλητος, the Holy Spirit. This Greek word, translated as Helper, means a lawyer or assistant in a legal question. Its Biblical context, however, describes a person who provides encouragement, counsel, and strength. In John 16:7-11, which will be the focus of this post, our Lord promises to send “another” παράκλητος, One like Himself who will carry on after Him the teaching and testimony that He began.  Continue reading

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling


by Mike Ratliff

19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” Acts 5:19-20 (NKJV) 

6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (NKJV) 

Learning, knowing, and then responding according to God’s will to His truth is NEVER done subjectively. No, we are told that those who are truly in Christ walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:6). To do this we must know God’s truth and respond by faith and this is not done through mysticism or feelings. No, in fact, when we encounter those who claim they are receiving direct input from God outside of His Word how should we respond? Shouldn’t we remain in our position of walking by faith and not by sight, going boldly to the throne of grace in prayer, seeking the truth in the Word of God? I submit that seeking truth outside those parameters will only lead to deception, not the truth.  Continue reading

The Death of my Mother


by Mike Ratliff

1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:1-8 (NKJV) 

Earlier this week I took a a few days off to drive to Pawhuska, OK, stay in a cabin at the Osage Hills State Park near there, and take scenic and wildlife pictures at that park and at the nearby Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, which has one of the largest Bison populations in the United States.  In any case, I got my Bison pictures on Thursday, got back to my cabin then received a call from my sister that our Mother had died. She was 91 and had been in hospice care for the last several weeks. Her death was not a surprise. It was expected and both of us expressed relief that she was no longer suffering and was now with her Saviour as promised in the Word. On the other hand, there is now a person we love dearly who is missing. We comfort ourselves with the fact that my Mother was a woman of faith. She knew and loved her Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. I also know from Sacred Scripture that I will also go home to be with my Saviour in His timing and will also see both of my parents and all those loved ones who have passed before me again.

Here is a link to my Mother’s Obituary.

 

Therefore put to death what is earthly in you which is idolatry


by Mike Ratliff

13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13 (NKJV) 

Compromise is the order of the day. When God’s Word is forsaken and replaced with the subjectivity of Man’s wisdom then what do you expect? When a so-called “Evangelical leaders” can ignore what Sacred Scripture says very clearly about Homosexuality being a sin just like murder and that no practicing homosexual will inherit the Kingdom of God and still call what they teach “Christianity” well then what we must understand is that what we are dealing with are people who want to be included as practicing Christians while remaining unrepentant of their sins. No matter how much Scripture twisting these false teachers try to do, they cannot change what the Apostle Paul wrote and taught about repentance being an integral part of our salvation. If we compare what Paul taught here with what our Lord Jesus clearly taught we see no difference. That part about if we want to come after Jesus we must deny ourselves, take up our Crosses, and follow Him costing us everything, that is a life of repentance my brethren. I wonder how many professing Christians in our time really understand that…  Continue reading

Have you left your first love?


by Mike Ratliff

1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord:
“I remember you,
The kindness of your youth,
The love of your betrothal,
When you went after Me in the wilderness,
In a land not sown.
3 Israel was holiness to the Lord,
The firstfruits of His increase.
All that devour him will offend;
Disaster will come upon them,” says the Lord.’ ” Jeremiah 2:1-3 (NKJV) 

Christian, think back to those early days of your walk with the Lord. Your entire value system seemed to be turned upside-down. You loved God and your devotion to your Saviour was the most important thing in your life. Old sins had no power over you. You were full of joy and wanted only to serve the Lord Jesus with your all. At the same time, you also discovered that your relationships changed. You could love others with a deeper and more sincere love that was active and compassionate. Would this describe your relationship with the Lord Jesus and all those around you today? Continue reading

Enjoying Christ’s fullness as mine


by Mike Ratliff

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. John 1:14-16 (NKJV) 

There is a certain hysteria currently amongst many of our 21st Century Puritans. While I gladly count myself as a Puritan, I also know that our enemy desires to shackle and nullify our witness and divert our focus, by feeding our heightened perceptions as to what is godly and what is false with misleading and derogatory information that cause us to turn on one another. Having experienced this against my own ministry since its inception I can say that it is very frustrating and eye opening. Continue reading