Basic Battle Training
Chapter 16: Motivations: Anger, Truth, Faith and Debt.
The motivations in this chapter, though not as obvious as the previous three, are still powerful within the arsenal of the properly prepared believer. To this they constitute a strong threat to the enemy and, as such, are targeted by him. These motivations have great need to be understood and implemented to be in proper orientation to the Kingdom of God, God’s mind, and our responsibilities in this world.
Anger? In Eph. 4:26 God teaches us to "be angry and sin not".
Anger in today’s culture is not often seen as "politically correct" and acceptable. Within Christian culture as well, the concept of righteous anger found throughout Scripture (as we will document), is frowned upon. The virtually exclusive picture of a loving God, coupled with the weak and even effeminate witness of the 21st century Church, provides little place for the Scriptures that we will cite and elaborate on.
Anger, by itself, can neither be viewed as good or bad. Rather it is the specifics of the situation that determines its "righteousness". Within a believer’s life there can, and should be, many instances where righteous anger should be shown as a witness to God’s mind. As we stated in Ephesians, we are even commanded to have such an attitude and action.
As ambassadors for The Father it might be helpful at this point to remember the obvious: God himself gets angry! The Bible is full of verses that speak of God’s wrath, anger and indignation.
· In Psalm 7:11 we are assured us that "God is angry with the wicked every day."
· In Ezekiel 8:18 God says, "Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."
· In Nahum 1:2 it is taught that: "God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies."
· Habakkuk 3:12 tells us, "Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger."
· In Zephaniah 1:2-3 God says, "I will utterly consume all things from off the land, I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land"
· In Zephaniah 3:8 God reiterates, "...my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy."
· Revelation speaks of God’s judgments on this world for its sins, including blood up to the horses’ bridles, one-third of all plants burned up, one-third of all men killed, etc., etc.
· Thessalonians 1:7-9 declares that Christ will come back "with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on all who know not God."
The nonsense that God is only a loving God and never gets angry stems from a politically incorrect cheapening of God’s holiness and a watering down of the severity of sin. As we have seen previous, God’s anger with Esau’s sin provoked Him to say that He indeed even "hated him" (Mal. 1:2-4; Rom. 9:13). In this, God’s righteous anger and judgment against the person who perpetrated it resulted in His promise “to lay his heritage waste, calling his descendants, the people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever"!
As His witnesses, we are to represent not only his Word, but also His actual attitude. Today this is hypocritically done from the safety of pulpit, but to the issues and people where they are actually found, the silence is deafening. The following provide ample evidence of not only God’s attitudes but also what our spirit and action should be.
· Our modern hymns are a far cry from the words of David, “the sweet psalmist of Israel “ proclaimed: He seeth the vengeance, He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked: Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth. ... Let the saints be joyful...and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon the heathen...." (Psa. 58:10, 6; 149:5-7)
· David further wrote: "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? I hate them with perfect hatred. I count them mine enemies" (Psalm 139:22-23).
· Jehoshaphat proclaimed God’s anger for loving those who hate the Him (God) (2 Chron. 19:2).
· Phineas got mad enough to run a javelin through two fornicators in the door of the tabernacle, and “God blessed him with an everlasting priesthood” (Numbers 25).
· Elijah got mad enough to “cut the heads off of 450 prophets of Baal” (1 Kings 18).
· Jesus himself “looked on the Pharisees with anger” (Mark 3:5), and twice, with the zeal of His Fathers house eating him up, drove the moneychangers out of the temple with a whip! (John 2:15; Matt.21:12)
The Cross and Judgment
God’s wrath and anger is abundantly clear in the Old Testament, but it is even more so in the New, which presents us with 2 graphic pictures of His holy wrath:
The blood soaked cross. Where His hatred of sin and love for the world reached to the point of crucifying His only begotten Son!
And Hell itself! The unquenchable, tortuous, inferno of Hell: the deliberate, eternal, fiery torture of unrepentant, rebellious sinners
So: just as God gets righteously angry at sin and those who practice it, should not Godly men feel, and express publicly, anger at the evils and evildoers in our day? Again and as stated Ephesians 4:26: God commands us to "be ye angry and sin not" (implying that it would be a sin to not be angry). He then continues with: "let not the sun go down upon your wrath” which, in context, means we should never stop being angry and demonstrative about the sin and evil we confront!
Nothing should drive us to serve God more than this one central fact: Our message is the truth and we have the answer to all that pertains to life!
· John 14:6: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man can come to the Father but by me.
· Proverbs 23:23: "buy the truth and sell it not"
· 1 John 3:18: "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
· 2 John 1-4, 9-11: "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever. Grace be with you...in truth and love. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth....”
· John 3:11-12 (to Nicodemus): "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"
· 1 John 1:1-3: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life...that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us...."
· 1 Corinthians 13:6 says Charity (love) "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth."
Satan is a tough foe however and wants none of God’s mind and truth proclaimed and known. Though bold public preaching of truth is the NORM in Scripture, it has become the EXCEPTION today. In contrast to the slick delivery and the worldly direction(s) of today’s Church, even criticism of boldly proclaiming the truth is often what is heard. Instead of encouragement what we hear is: "this isn’t the way to do it," or "you need to be more loving," or “you are being too forceful and bold” or "you won’t reach anyone doing it like that". And finally the ultimate dodge: “Preaching like they did it in the Bible is not for today”
But the truth we posses demands application well beyond what we see today! Jesus commanded in Mat 10:27: What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. What the disciples “heard” was, and is, THE TRUTH! Beyond this we see truth in many other areas. For example 150,000 Sodomites demanding our acceptance at one of their annual “parades”. Believers know the truth of this sin and it’s gravity, and with this understanding are responsible to disseminate that truth. (Read: Ezekiel 3:17-21 and 33:7-9)
Faith! "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)
Faith is the fuel that brings practical action to the truth we possess. Having the truth will not stimulate us to serve if we don’t have the faith to act on it. Perhaps part of the problem today is Satan’s successful re-definition of what it means to believe. Most today are lulled to complacency with the easyJesus message consisting of having "Jesus in your heart”, "being eternally secure," and "positionally perfect" plus, “we all gonna’ be raptured soon anyhow, so no need to panic”.
With these things in place, much incentive to strive is done away with and believers are lulled into a spiritual slumber (or worse, even apostasy). There are however, no such compromised definitions of "faith" in Scripture. Biblical faith always produces works:
James 2:14-26. "What doth it profit, by brethren, if a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? ...Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ... Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? ... Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. ... For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Titus 3:5, 8: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Hebrews 11: The "Faith Chapter," records the exploits of over a dozen great men and women of faith, noting that "by faith" each one did something.
2 Corinthians 4:13: "...I believe, and therefore have I spoken."
Matthew 12:34: "...Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
So how do you get more faith?
Sometimes the problem understanding faith is a misunderstanding of it’s dynamic. Faith is a living thing that needs nourishment to be sustained and grow. Biblically there is only one place that this occurs: within the study of God’s Word (Mat 4:4, Rom. 10:17).
The basic concept found in these verses is that the better you know God, the easier it becomes to believe in Him, trust in Him, and do what He says! Since a sizable number of believers do not study the Bible as they should, the resulting lack of work and motivation to serve Him is the unfortunate result.
Judging Ourselves! (I Cor. 11:31)
So then do we really “believe” that people are going to spend eternity in hell? Do we really “believe” that Christ is coming back? Do we really “believe” that He could return at any moment? Do we really “believe” that sodomy is a capital crime in need of strong rebuke? Do we really “believe” that abortion is wrong? From God’s perspective, the answer to these questions is only answered by what we do with such positions, not what we say.
Debt? "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
As the old hymn declares, "He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay."
We were guilty felons on death row awaiting execution, and the Judge himself sent His only Son to go to the firing squad for us so we could be set free. What greater debt could we incur with this sacrifice?
· 1 Corinthians 6:20. "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s."
· 1 Corinthians 7:23. "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
· Luke 7. In this chapter we read of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Accused for allowing this Christ told the parable of the two debtors, one who owed 500 pence and the other 50. Both were forgiven and Jesus asked His host which of the two would love his creditor most. The Pharisee correctly answered that it would be he who had been forgiven most. Jesus then applied this to the woman, saying, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Have you been forgiven much? Then how much then do you “owe”!
This then completes our four chapters on motivations for service. This arsenal of impetus and encouragement to shun the World and serve God and His Kingdom is further proof of His love and grace toward us. The opportunities we have, coupled with these things, open wide the door to a life that the Father intends and will remember.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, weather it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).
As we have shown, many attacks and misconceptions have worked together to blunt these tools of God’s instruction. Satan is a master at deception, discouragement and is well able to sidetrack us from the goal. It is our hope that through a proper understanding of this subject matter, with the verses and commentary cited, you will attain to the character, sharpness and savor with which to battle the enemy...and prevail!