Rooted and grounded in love


by Mike Ratliff

14 Τούτου χάριν κάμπτω τὰ γόνατά μου πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, 15 ἐξ οὗ πᾶσα πατριὰ ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς ὀνομάζεται, 16 ἵνα δῷ ὑμῖν κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ δυνάμει κραταιωθῆναι διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον, 17 κατοικῆσαι τὸν Χριστὸν διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἐρριζωμένοι καὶ τεθεμελιωμένοι, 18 ἵνα ἐξισχύσητε καταλαβέσθαι σὺν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἁγίοις τί τὸ πλάτος καὶ μῆκος καὶ ὕψος καὶ βάθος, 19 γνῶναί τε τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν τῆς γνώσεως ἀγάπην τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα πληρωθῆτε εἰς πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ θεοῦ. Ephesians 3:14-19 (NA28)

14 For this cause I bend my knees to the Father 15 from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth is named,16 that He may grant you according to the wealth of His glory to become mightily empowered in your inner being through His Spirit 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, having been rooted and grounded in love,18 that you might have strength to grasp together with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of His love, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

I would not pass the test for post modernism in any context. I am not politically correct nor do I care whether I am or am not. If that becomes a requirement for employment or something else that we view as temporally vital in this age, I will still refuse. On the other hand, as I walk through my day in this world, that does not mean that those around me are not exposed to God’s love through me. As I have meditated a great deal on this lately, I have done much repentance as well. When unbelievers see me, get to know me, et cetera, they should be drawn to Christ because they see evidence of His love being manifest through me. Is that always the case? Oh that it was! If we walk in light of Jesus Christ and Him crucified in all of our relationships, how can we be self-centered jerks at anytime with anyone?  Continue reading

Do you love the Lord or are you simply being religious?


by Mike Ratliff

16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16 (NASB) 

As the elect draw closer and closer to Christ in obedience and fellowship the more and more they will be seen to be identified with Him and will, therefore, be hated by the world, just as He was and just as He said would happen (John 15:18-25). If the visible church has invited the world in and has become so conformed to it that there is no difference, what will happen within these “churches” when the elect within become conformed to Christ as I shared above? It will be the same result. They will be seen as outsiders and troublemakers. They will be seen as people needing “sensitivity training” or as intolerable and close-minded. They will be seen as uncompromising and will, therefore, have to be driven out or, at least, ostracized. Not every church is in this sad shape, thank the Lord, but the number is growing, and intolerance for true Christian exclusivity and doctrinal purity in the U.S. and other Western Countries is growing and is starting to contaminate our churches.  Continue reading

Personal Holiness, Christlikeness and the Doctrine of Imputation


by Mike Ratliff

18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 (NASB) 

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22 (NASB) 

If you have ever listened to or read any defense made by those who claim to be Christians, but also “Gay” then you know that they are very loose with how they handle doctrine and very vital words within those doctrines. One of those key words is “love.” The Biblical definition of love from a Christian perspective is one of self-denial under the sanctifying hand of God. However, for those who are attempting to invade Christianity with their “Gay Agenda,” they redefine “love” from a self-focused, narcissistic bent that is all about seeking self-fulfillment above all no matter who else has to pay the cost. On the other hand, the genuine believer, is regenerate, saved by grace through faith according to the mercy of God, and is on the path or way of learning to deny self even to the point of loving their enemies as Christ commanded.
Continue reading

Love of this lost and dying world is a key marker of the apostate


by Mike Ratliff

15 Μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῷ· (1 John 2:15 NA28)

15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15 NASB)

There is a certain type of love that God hates. We find that in John 15:18-20)

18 Εἰ ὁ κόσμος ὑμᾶς μισεῖ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐμὲ πρῶτον ὑμῶν μεμίσηκεν. 19 εἰ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἦτε, ὁ κόσμος ἂν τὸ ἴδιον ἐφίλει· ὅτι δὲ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου οὐκ ἐστέ, ἀλλʼ ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, διὰ τοῦτο μισεῖ ὑμᾶς ὁ κόσμος. 20 μνημονεύετε τοῦ λόγου οὗ ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν· οὐκ ἔστιν δοῦλος μείζων τοῦ κυρίου αὐτοῦ. *εἰ ἐμὲ ἐδίωξαν, καὶ ὑμᾶς διώξουσιν· εἰ τὸν λόγον μου ἐτήρησαν, καὶ τὸν ὑμέτερον τηρήσουσιν. (John 15:18-20 NA28)

18 “ If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘ A slave is not greater than his master. ’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. (John 15:18-20 NASB)

God has no love for “love of the world system that is opposed to God.” Jesus made it clear in the passage from John 15:18-20 that those who are “of the world” are not of God nor are those whom He has selected from out of the world part of the world. This is why those who are still “of the world” hates them. I want to reinitiate here that there are plenty of apostate, “so-called christians” in our time who exhibit that very same hatred toward those of us who refuse to back away from Orthodox Christianity and God’s Word and being infallible and complete. In any case, John is telling us in 1 John 2:15-17 two important truths about genuine Christianity. First, the Christian loves God and fellow Christians and an absence of love of the world must habitually characterize the love life of those to be considered genuinely born again.  Continue reading

The Sermon on the Mount Part 9


by Mike Ratliff

18 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18 NASB)

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21,22 NASB) 

I listened to part of a presentation today via podcast from AOMIN.ORG’s “The Dividing Line” broadcast from May 3, 2012 by a young man claiming to be a “Christian Gay.” The definition of terms this young man used for “love,” for instance, was not Biblical, but was based in the same self-focused, narcissistic bent that all have who have not first become regenerate, that is, saved by grace through faith according to the mercy of God, and then learned to deny self under the sanctifying hand of God. His version of love was self-centered and all about self-fulfillment. That is not Christian love nor is it how any who are truly in Christ will operate in this world on a consistent basis. How did our Lord define it?  Continue reading

Knowing God Through Love


by Mike Ratliff

34 Ἐντολὴν καινὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν, ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους, καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους. 35 ἐν τούτῳ γνώσονται πάντες ὅτι ἐμοὶ μαθηταί ἐστε, ἐὰν ἀγάπην ἔχητε ἐν ἀλλήλοις. (John 13:34-35 NA27)

34 “A new command I give to you that you love one another; as I loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another.” (John 13:34-35 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

Continuing with the theme of self-examination with the goal of having my heart free from all idols, let us look a very stringent test our Lord gave his apostles, which they gave to the Church of how we can have both assurance of our own faith as well as the markers that will be present in genuine believers and absent in those who are false professors.  Continue reading

Rooted and Grounded


by Mike Ratliff

Τούτου χάριν κάμπτω τὰ γόνατά μου πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, ἐξ οὗ πᾶσα πατριὰ ἐν οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς ὀνομάζεται, ἵνα δῷ ὑμῖν κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ δυνάμει κραταιωθῆναι διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον, κατοικῆσαι τὸν Χριστὸν διὰ τῆς πίστεως ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἐρριζωμένοι καὶ τεθεμελιωμένοι, ἵνα ἐξισχύσητε καταλαβέσθαι σὺν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἁγίοις τί τὸ πλάτος καὶ μῆκος καὶ ὕψος καὶ βάθος, γνῶναί τε τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν τῆς γνώσεως ἀγάπην τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα πληρωθῆτε εἰς πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ θεοῦ. (Ephesians 3:14-19 NA27)

For this cause I bend my knees to the Father from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth is named, that He may grant you according to the wealth of His glory to become mightily empowered in your inner being through His Spirit so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, having been rooted and grounded in love, that you might have strength to grasp together with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God. (a personal translation of Ephesians 3:14-19 from the NA27 Greek text)

I would not pass the test for post modernism in any context. I am not politically correct nor do I care whether I am or am not. If that becomes a requirement for employment or something else that we view as temporally vital in this age, I will still refuse. On the other hand, as I walk through my day in this world, that does not mean that those around me are not exposed to God’s love through me. As I have meditated a great deal on this lately, I have done much repentance as well. When unbelievers see me, get to know me, et cetera, they should be drawn to Christ because they see evidence of His love being manifest through me. Is that always the case? Oh that it was! If we walk in light of Jesus Christ and Him crucified in all of our relationships, how can we be self-centered jerks at anytime with anyone?  Continue reading

God is Love


by Mike Ratliff

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16 ESV)

As the elect draw closer and closer to Christ in obedience and fellowship the more and more they will be seen to be identified with Him and will, therefore, be hated by the world, just as He was and just as He said would happen (John 15:18-25). If the visible church has invited the world in and has become so conformed to it that there is no difference, what will happen within these “churches” when the elect within become conformed to Christ as I shared above? It will be the same result. They will be seen as outsiders and troublemakers. They will be seen as people needing “sensitivity training” or as intolerable and close-minded. They will be seen uncompromising and will, therefore, have to be driven out or, at least, ostracized. Not every church is in this sad shape, thank the Lord, but the number is growing, and intolerance for true Christian exclusivity and doctrinal purity in our countries are starting to contaminate our churches.  Continue reading

Education and Relation: Truth and Love


by John Piper

Think with me for a moment about education and relationships. Some of you care deeply that education not ignore or marginalize relationships of love. They are essential in real, lasting, life-changing education. Amen.

So I turn to the Bible. I find in place of the words, “education” and “relationship,” the words, “truth” and “love.” So what does the Bible say about how truth and love relate to each other? There are at least four ways of talking about this relationship. Continue reading