For our struggle is not against flesh and blood


by Mike Ratliff

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12 (NASB) 

In the passage above the words “Put on” translate the Greek verb ἐνδύσασθε (endysasthe) the second plural, aorist middle imperative case of ἐνδύω (endyō) which means “clothe.” This is a command for believers to clothe themselves with the “full armor of God” and never take it off. Why? The Church and God’s truth are continually under attack by our enemy. We ἐνδύσασθε this whole armor in order to stand firm in the evil day. Well, this is most definitely an evil day when truth is seen as something to be bargained away or shunned while lies and that which only appears to be the truth is elevated as if it is the truth. Therefore, we must become discerning and wise and that means we must consistently wear this armor.  Continue reading

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood


by Mike Ratliff

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12 (NASB) 

As we study the Greek underlying our translations of Ephesians 6:10-20 pertaining to the “whole armor of God” we learn that Christians are commanded to ἐνδύσασθε or to put on the whole armor of God once-for-all and never take it off because it is to our benefit especially when we find ourselves in circumstances where we are in the minority standing firm as our Lord commanded. Why? The Church and God’s truth are continually under attack by our enemy. We ἐνδύσασθε this whole armor in order to stand firm in the evil day. Well, this is most definitely an evil day when truth is seen as something to be bargained away or shunned while lies and that which only appears to be the truth is elevated as if it is the truth, therefore, we must become discerning and wise and that means we must consistently wear this armor.  Continue reading

How are Christians to handle professing Christians who prove they are apostate?


by Mike Ratliff

1 This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:1-4 (NASB) 

How should those of us who are in the light of God’s truth live in these last, apostate days as so much of what calls itself “Christian” is anything but? In Paul’s second epistle to Timothy, we have just such an instruction. Chapter 3 can be broken down into two distinct parts. Part one runs from v1 through v9 and addresses the apostate nature of those who oppose God’s truth. Part two begins in v10 and runs through v17 and addresses how the man of God should live in an era dominated by wicked men who profess to be Christians. As we study these letters of instructions, it is imperative that we never forget that false teachers, preachers, prophets, and leaders have always plagued the Church. False doctrines are allowed by God to arouse His people to address them and lead the godly remnant out of that darkness into the light of His truth. Our doctrines have been primarily developed through perilous times such as ours. God uses the fires of persecution and tribulation to refine His people and grow them unto Christlikeness. Therefore, let us walk according to the godly instruction of the Apostle Paul given to us in his Spirit-inspired words. Continue reading

Rulers of the darkness of this world


by Mike Ratliff

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12 NASB)

As we study Ephesians 6:10-20, which in most New Testaments is labeled as “The Armor of God” or something similar, we need to pay close attention the reason God has given us this armor and, therefore, why it is necessary for us to put it on and keep it on at all time. The Church and God’s truth are continually under attack by our enemy. We take up this whole armor in order to stand firm in the evil day. Well, this is most definitely an evil day when truth is seen as something to be bargained away or shunned while lies and that which is only appears to be the truth is elevated as if it is the truth. Because of this, we must become discerning and wise, therefore, we must consistently wear this armor.

Continue reading

A Fool and His Folly


by Mike Ratliff

10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.. (Titus 3:10-11 NASB)

Secular humanism, relativism, pluralism, et cetera are worldly philosophies that have invaded the visible Church. These ways of the world when applied to the Church are some of the things that “stirs up division” within the Body of Christ. Other things that cause this would be majoring in minors such as taking things from the Bible that are not explained in detail enough to be taken literally because they are given to us in an arbitrary fashion. Some take these minor points and make them major points in the gospel stirring up division. Also, some simply want to argue. They hate the truth and are not interested in it being explained to them in detail. These are the ones Paul was speaking of in Titus 3:10-11 (above). It is a total waste of time to contend with these people continually. There comes a time when, through God’s wisdom, that we move on and have nothing to do with these divisive people. Continue reading

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong


by Mike Ratliff

13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NASB)

The sad state of the visible Church is both the product of the famine of hearing solid preaching of the Word of God and the cause of it. When the Word of God is seldom heard or read or taught then it’s purifying power is muted. The world and its ways now coexist with the visible Church. Genuine believers are new creations, God’s workmanship, and because they are new creations they now crave the pure milk of the Word of God. It is necessary for their Spiritual Growth and their new character craves it. This is not an attribute of the natural man. The unregenerate have no desire to know the Word of God and really don’t like to hear it preached to them. Therefore, the genuine believers in those churches which are apostatizing by neglecting the Word are leaving to find church homes that still preach it, teach it, and hold it as the revealed Word of God. Continue reading

Standing firm as a good soldier of Christ Jesus


by Mike Ratliff

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13 ESV)

The Christian has been called by God to serve the Lord Jesus as His bondservant (δουλος). This role of bondservant also includes being His obedient disciple and valiant warrior. I grew up in an era in which there just was not much turmoil in the churches I was part of. The Pastor was considered the one who should take moral stands on issues and proclaim the truth to those in darkness, but the rest of the folks in the church did not consider themselves soldiers of Christ Jesus except when they sang songs such as Onward Christian Soldiers. However, times have changed. There are some preachers these days that deserve a proclamation of “woe” such as this one from the Prophet Isaiah.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20 ESV)

Continue reading

Fumbling the Ball


by Mike Ratliff

32 Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ὁμολογήσει ἐν ἐμοὶ ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὁμολογήσω κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν [τοῖς] οὐρανοῖς· 33 ὅστις δ’ ἂν ἀρνήσηταί με ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἀρνήσομαι κἀγὼ αὐτὸν ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν [τοῖς] οὐρανοῖς. (Matthew 10:32-33 NA28)

32 So everyone who confesses me before men I also will confess him before my Father who is in Heaven 33 and whoever denies me before men I will also deny him before my Father who is in Heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 a personal translation from the NA28 Greek text)

What does it mean to confess Jesus before men? Is it what so many say in our time that it is a simple profession of faith that you are a “Jesus Follow?” Or as so many do in that they point to their religious affiliation? One thing is made clear in Sacred Scripture; if one does profess to be a Christian then that “faith” that is presented will be tested. The test will be along some line of demarcation that divides what is genuine faith from what is of the flesh or of this world. Of course, there are three results of these tests. Christians go through the fires of tribulation and stand firm and their faith is strengthened as the Holy Spirit works through that test to reveal the truth of their faith to them and also to those whom God intended to see it for his own purposes. However, genuine believers can also fall badly as their faith is tested as did Peter the night of our Lord’s trial in which he denied our Lord 3 times and also when Paul had to confront him about his hypocrisy when the Judiazers came to Antioch (Galatians 2:11-13). In both cases Peter failed the test because of “fear of men.” Did this make him an unbeliever? Of course not! No, these tests were used by God to reveal to him problems with his walk in which he needed to confess and repent. On the other hand, there is a third result in which disingenuous faith is revealed and these false believers immediately fall away as their faith is revealed to be not supernatural, but of the flesh or of the world. I covered this in this post back in 2006.  Continue reading

Rulers


by Mike Ratliff

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV)

As many of you know, Rick Warren did not personally speak at the Desiring God conference. Instead, a video of him speaking was presented. I have not watched it yet, however, I will do so tomorrow and probably report on it from that. One of my friends has already done this and has said, “Rick Warren’s Lecture at the Desiring God Conference was a circus of Blatant Bible Twisting and Pelagianism. John Piper owes us an apology and must publicly rebuke Warren for his false teaching” I intend to watch both Rick Warren’s lecture or sermon or whatever it is tomorrow as well as listen to my friend’s sermon analysis, but until then I must focus on where God has had me over the last few days. I have been studying the Greek words in Ephesians 6:10-20 pertaining to the “whole armor of God,” et cetera. As I thought through this in light of what is going on with Rick Warren at the Desiring God pastor’s conference this concept of ἐνδύσασθε or to put on the whole armor of God once-for-all and never take it off because it’s to our benefit things seem to come together very well. Why? The Church and God’s truth are continually under attack by our enemy. We ἐνδύσασθε this whole armor in order to stand firm in the evil day. Well, this is most definitely an evil day when truth is seen as something to be bargained away or shunned while lies and that which is only appears to be the truth is elevated as if it is the truth. Therefore, we must become discerning and wise and that means we must consistently wear this armor.  Continue reading

Authentic Christians in the World


by Mike Ratliff

One positive that has come from the Manhattan Declaration has been the opportunity for many of us to deepen the clarity and difference between nominal Christianity, which is not genuine, and Biblical Christianity. What is the difference or differences between the two? It would be beyond the space and time here to go through each version of nominal Christianity showing the doctrinal fallacies of each. The best way to explain the difference is to show very clearly what Biblical Christianity is so that not only will it be plain to all, the Holy Spirit may very well draw many from darkness to light, to wash them with regeneration as they, by faith, repent and walk with the Saviour from now on instead of looking to their religiosity as their justification.  Continue reading

A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus


by Mike Ratliff

12 Indeed, all who desire to v live a godly life in Christ Jesus w will be persecuted, 13 while x evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and y being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13 ESV)

The Christian has been called by God to serve the Lord Jesus as His bondservant (δουλος). This role of bondservant also includes being His obedient disciple and valiant warrior. I grew up in an era in which there just was not much turmoil in the churches I was part of. The Pastor was considered the one who should take moral stands on issues and proclaim the truth to those in darkness, but the rest of the folks in the church did not consider themselves soldiers of Christ Jesus except when they sang songs such as Onward Christian Soldiers. However, times have changed. There are some preachers these days that deserve a proclamation of “woe” such as this one from the Prophet Isaiah.

20 Woe to w those who call evil good and good evil, x who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20 ESV)

Yes, God has called some to be elders and pastors and deacons. However, all Christians should consider themselves soldiers for Christ on the front lines. I know that He has called some of us with the speaking and teaching gifts to fight it out with the enemy in specialized ways, but all genuine believers should enter into the battle with prayer and encouragement for those in the thickest part of the fight day in and day out.  Continue reading

Living a Godly Life in these Apostate Last Days


by Mike Ratliff

1This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them g I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, h that you should remember the predictions of i the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come j in the last days with scoffing, k following their own sinful desires. l They will say, “Where is the promise of m his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:1-4 ESV)

In several discussions with my friends, both in church and online, many have expressed the surprise about the direction from which comes most “persecution” of those who hold fast to God’s Truth. Over the years we have always “assumed” it would be those outside of the ranks of professing Christians who hate God and His truth that would be the those on the attack. However, as the growing apostasy of the visible Church has very quickly deepened over the last several years, more often than not, those wielding hateful words and using the ways and means of the world in attempts to silence their critics and continue to spread their false doctrines are those who profess to be Christians. Also, as we have seen over the last several posts, a profession of faith is absolutely no guarantee that one is really a Christian, no matter how must they are admired by their adoring followers. It appears that the slippery slope of apostasy has already claimed these people, therefore, how should those of us who are in the light of God’s truth live in these last, apostate days as so much of what calls itself “Christian” is anything but? Continue reading

Our Field of Battle


by C.H. Spurgeon – from Faith’s Checkbook for June 17

For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deuteronomy 20:4)

We have no enemies but the enemies of God. Our fights are not against men but against spiritual wickednesses. We war with the devil and the blasphemy and error and despair which he brings into the field of battle. We fight with all the armies of sin–impurity, drunkenness, oppression, infidelity, and ungodliness. With these we contend earnestly, but not with sword or spear; the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

Jehovah, our God, abhors everything which is evil, and, therefore, He goeth with us to fight for us in this crusade. He will save us, and He will give us grace to war a good warfare and win the victory. We may depend upon it that if we are on God’s side God is on our side. With such an august ally the conflict is never in the least degree doubtful. It is not that truth is mighty and must prevail but that might lies with the Father who is almighty, with Jesus who has all power in heaven and in earth, and with the Holy Spirit who worketh His will among men.

Soldiers of Christ, gird on your armor. Strike home in the name of the God of holiness, and by faith grasp His salvation. Let not this day pass without striking a blow for Jesus and holiness.