Author: Charles Heck

Does Anything “Get By” God?

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

Do you remember when Jeremiah asked the question about who can know the heart because it is deceitful? This question communicates that no man can understand it, but Jeremiah would go on to say it is God who searches and knows it (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Nothing gets by God.

God in omniscient – He knows all and sees all. As Charles Spurgeon wrote,

“God knows all things naturally and as a matter of course, and not by any effort on his part. Searching ordinarily implies a message of ignorance which is removed by observation; of course this is not the case with the Lord; but the meaning of the Psalmist is, that the Lord knows us thoroughly as if he had examined us minutely, and had pried into the most secret corners of our being.” (The Treasury of David, pg. 258)

There is nothing outside of God’s knowledge. A.W. Pink wrote in his book Gleanings in the Godhead,

“God knows everything; everything possible, everything actual; all events, all creatures, of the past, the present, and the future. He is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell. … Nothing escapes his notice, nothing can be hidden from him, nothing is forgotten by him. … He never errs, never changes, never overlooks anything.” (pg. 19)

God never discovers anything. He is never surprised or never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor does He seek information or ask questions. He has never learned and will never have to learn. He knows all things past, present and future, all things actual and possible.

In the western Pacific Ocean sits the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the oceans on the planet. It is deepest at 6.8 miles down (or almost 36,000 feet) in a place called Challenger Deep. It is a place where no sunlight can penetrate (Psalm 139:1-3).

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Every word we even consider using God knows. Every word in our vocabulary He knows. Even before our brains began working and coming up with something to say, God knew everything we would consider uttering. Every feeling or idea or resolve or goal or doubt or perplexity is known by Him.

God knows us better than ourselves.

You think He is aware of good and evil in the world? You think He will let evil get away with evil (Exodus 34:7b)? You think He won’t reward those who honor and glorify Him (Revelation 22:12).

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Greg Gilbert, Why You Cannot Ignore Jesus

Image result for greg gilbert“When someone claims to be your God, you really have two choices, right? You can reject the claim or you can accept it. What you can’t do, at least for very long, is suspend judgment and just see how it plays out. Jesus claimed some amazing things about himself, and also about you… Whatever you wind up thinking about Jesus, the fact remains that he makes strong, even evasive claims about you and your relationship to God. Sure, you can ignore those claims – you can ignore anything if you try hard enough – but when somebody says, ‘You are a rebel against the God who made you, and his sentence against you is death. But I have come to stand in your place, to take that penalty and save you,’ that’s something you probably should pay attention to” (Greg Gilbert, Who Is Jesus?)

Just In Case You Missed It – October 15-21, 2017

  1. 3 Lessons from the Life of John Bunyan” by Austin T. Duncan (The Master’s Seminary).
  2. Be a Boaz in Your Business” by Rachel Starke (The Gospel Coalition). The way Boaz treated Ruth “in the workplace” is a template for men everywhere when it comes to being above reproach.
  3. Pastors’ Housing Allowance Tax Break Overturned” by Gene Veith (Cranach: The Blog of Veith). Not encouraged with this news.
  4. Two Indispensable Requirements for Pastoral Ministry” by Kevin DeYoung (The Gospel Coalition). Liking your people and liking the Bible you preach to them – you gotta have these or you won’t “do well” in pastoral ministry.
  5. Why You May Be Tempted to Neglect Your Church” by Tim Challies.
  6. Willow Creek Chooses Co-ed Pastors to Succeed Hybels” by Kate Shellnutt (Christianity Today). As if it couldn’t get any worse at Willow Creek!

 

Q/A Friday: Should a Christian Use Hypnotism?

Hypnosis is when someone’s mind is induced to a state of consciousness where a person supposedly loses any power of voluntary actions and is, thus, responsive to suggestions or directions given by others. It comes from the Greek term hypnos, which means “sleep”; it literally is translated “to put to sleep” in ancient Greek literature. The use of hypnosis was not popularized until the late 18th century.

For the Christian, the use of hypnosis – no matter what the reason may be – is not a wise choice.

#1 – We are never to give over our mind or bodies to the control of someone or something else. When it comes to our mind and body, there are two options for who controls us – God or sin (Romans 6:16-23). The individual who choose to be hypnotized is willingly giving their mind over for control to someone else – not God.

#2 – Usually one who is hypnotized is looking for a solution to a dilemma, and it is the aim of the hypnotist to help them discover that solution within themselves. The problem? Solutions to our problems are not found from within but from without. Our turning for help should always be the Lord Jesus Christ who already endured hardships like us (Hebrews 12:2). Paul said in Romans 7:18 that nothing good dwells naturally within him. Only the Lord can give us the needed direction and guidance and we do not find Him by emptying our minds and giving another person control over it.

#3 – Hypnosis a means by which we let our guards down, and the Bible teaches us to guard ourselves (Proverbs 4:23). When we choose hypnosis, we are vulnerable and susceptible to evil attacks.

#4 – Hypnosis is an enemy of self-control. Self-control implies that we have mastered our own bodies and not that we have given control to another (Galatians 5:22-23).

While there is no direct “do not participate in hypnosis” in Scripture, it is unwise to choose this method for any reason. It is recommended that one struggling with hypnosis seek a biblical counselor for assistance in addressing whatever concerns them.

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please email it to charlesheck@cox.net or post your question in the comments section.

Spiritual Fathering

I can identify several men and women who have had a significant impact on my life – especially when it comes to my walk with the Lord.

The 1st pair would be my father and mother. I grew up in a Christian home for the most part, seeing my Dad pastor churches ever since I could remember. It was a Christian environment where the Gospel was welcome, lived and spoken. They both mentored me in the ways of life at an early age and gave me spiritual direction during my earliest of decisions.

When I was in junior high, I met a man named Travis. I usually credit Travis as being the one who led me to Christ. While he wasn’t the 1st person to preach the Gospel to me, he was the one God used to water the seed that had been planted. His selfless love and genuine compassion for me broke through my hard heart. Travis was also the person who, after I made a profession of faith, fathered me in the spiritual disciplines.

I had another mentor when I was attending college. He was my Resident Director named Scott. Scott fathered me through some of the biggest questions everyone asks when they were in college: “What is my purpose? What are my spiritual gifts? How can I discern the will of God in the major decisions and minor ones?

When I moved back to Tulsa after seminary, I had an older man named Michael who fathered me. His wisdom is priceless and his devotion to my walk with the Lord is wonderfully encouraging.

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Today, I have three fathers (elders at WBC) – Mark, Warren and Grady – and in 2014, and I have written more about them here.

Discipleship is fathering. It begins when a believer makes disciples through the proclamation of the Gospel, but it doesn’t end with conversion. It continues with this new believer needing a lifetime of sanctification, which discipleship assists in accomplishing.

Paul told his spiritual son, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).

The father who taught me how to study the Bible, Howard Hendricks, once said,

“Every disciple needs three types of relationships in his life. He needs a ‘Paul’ who can mentor him and challenge him. He needs a ‘Barnabas’ who can come along side and encourage him. And he needs a ‘Timothy,’ someone that he can pour his life into…Have men and women in your life who challenge you, men and women in your life that you can help, and men and women in your life you can give your life to.”

Spiritual fathering is what we do and what we are a part of. Who fathers you?

Test the Spirits

The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives though to his steps” (Proverbs 14:15).

A “simple” man is not an ordinary man. The Hebrew word implies the idea of being naïve. He believes what he is told. He takes what he hears “at face value” without measuring whether or not they are true. Everything is believable. He is rash in his decision-making and careless in his behavior. He is a gullible man, which is why Solomon says that he “believes everything.”

A modern-day analogy may be the person who is duped into thinking the need for what an infomercial is selling or that news is accurate just because it is spoken from a reporter on television.

The “prudent” man, by contrast, measures things with accuracy. He is, you might say, Berean (Acts 17:11) and always looking to measure what he hears according to what Scripture teaches.

The truth that resonates from this proverb is timeless. Jerry Bridges has said that “to believe every word of God is faith; to believe every word of man is credulity.”

In our day, there are so-called preaches claiming new revelation or additional interpretations that no one in church history have ever discovered. The “simple” will believe what he hears from preachers like this, because of their giftedness in communication or because the listener refuses to study out things he hears.

The Bible teaches us to test the spirits to evaluate whether or not they are from God (I John 4:1).

Don’t believe everything you hear and make sure everything you see is verifiable.