Newsletter #253 - November 1999 - By Shepherds Chapel - http://www.shepherdschapel.com/

God's Word is filled with His promises to you. Most of those promises are proceeded by the word "if". "If" means there are conditions. Many people ask, "Why doesn't God bless me?" The simple answer is that they are overlooking the "ifs". If you don't do your part by meeting the conditions, God is not obligated to bless you with His promises.Let's begin our study in Genesis with God giving Cain some good advice.

Genesis 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the LORD said unto Cain, "Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

You can normally "read people like a book" by their countenance. Here comes God's advice to Cain who was of that wicked one (1 John 3:12).

Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."

God is fair. Even Cain could have been accepted, if he had met the conditions. God is also fair in judgment. The choice is yours. God will keep His promises, if you do well. Father also keeps His promises in judgment, if you don't do well. Each of us are responsible for our own blessings or chastisement. Which do you deserve? Satan also utilizes "if". We are going to turn to Matthew where Christ taught us how to handle Satan.

Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred.

The closer you grow to our Father, the more Satan will try to draw you away with temptations. He will always attack your weakest point. You should be prepared, and handle the temptations like Jesus did. Learn to "take name and kick dragon". Be ready for Satan's "ifs".

Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.' "

The Word of God shows you how to handle Satan. Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. Jesus didn't argue with Satan. You will never go wrong, if you follow His example.

Matthew 4:5 Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto Him, "If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, 'He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash Thy foot against a stone.' "

What is this? Satan is quoting God's Word! There is only one problem, Satan twisted the Word of God (compare to Psalm 91:11-12). Satan will do the same with you. Do you know God's Word well enough to recognize when Satan twists Scripture? Satan added "at any time" which would be tempting God.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, "It is written again, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' "

Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 in answer to Satan's false quote. Will Satan give up at this point?

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto Him, "All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me."

Here we see Satan's big "if". You see, that is all Satan wants from you. He wants you to worship him instead of Jesus Christ. Many will have just that opportunity in this generation.

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.' "

What defense does Jesus offer? The Word of God. The Word of the Shepherd should be your defense against Satan's attempts to steal you very soul. Let's continue with a condition that Jesus Christ made.

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

This is one "if" you had better not overlook, if you ever need forgiveness from the Father. At one time or another, we all fall into that category. When someone has repented of a sin against you, forgive them.

Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Again, the choice is yours. The choice seems fairly simple to me. This applies only to those that deserve forgiveness. God doesn't expect Christians to be second-class citizens who allow bullies to run over them. Let's turn to a doctrinal letter. Paul is writing to Timothy, and you, concerning preachers that teach with nothing but "hot air".

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

Vain jangling means speaking with empty words. I hope you never get to ride 500 miles in a car with someone who is full of vain janglings.

1 Timothy 1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

This type of teaching promotes the traditions of men, not the Word of God. It is the Word of God that is important, not the words of men.

1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

Now, that makes sense. The law is good, if man utilizes it according to the law. The law is good; man is bad. We are going to continue with Paul's teaching in 2 Corinthians. I like the Scriptue because it warns us about what we should be careful of today.

2 Corinthians 11:1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

This is a bad translation. What Paul actually meant was, "I'm going to be very serious. Listen closely".

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Satan beguiled Eve, and she conceived Cain. Paul warns us that Satan wants your spiritual virginity. If you allow your mind to be clouded with the traditions of men, your spiritual virginity is at risk.

2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Paul doesn't want you to be deceived and lose your spiritual virginity to antichrist. The false christ will return before Jesus Christ returns at the 2nd advent.

2 Corinthians 11:5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. 6 But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

Paul had the right to brag. He was very knowledgeable in God's Word. Let's pick it up in verse 13 as Paul continues his warnings concerning false teachers.

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

The word transforming should be translated disguising. They are pretending to be apostles of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Satan will return as antichrist disguised as Jesus. Many will be deceived. Be careful.

2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

God is against those that hunt souls to make them fly (Ezekiel 13:20). Yes, today we have false teacher sleading people to Satan's doctrine of rapture from the very pulpits from which they should be hearing the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is very appropriate that judgment begins at the pulpits.

2 Corinthians 11:16 I say again, let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. 17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

You may think I am foolish; however, Paul is saying, "I tell you the truth".

2 Corinthians 11:18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.

The thought themselves to be wise, but they were allowing the false teachers to make fools of them. Get ready for some more "ifs".

2 Corinthians 11:20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

Christianity is suppose to set people free. Unfortunately, the false "super preachers" are leading God's children into shackles. They exalt themselves to the point were you questions aren't worth an answer. They exalt themselves above God's Word, when they say, "You don't need to understand the Book of Revelatin". In conclusion, let's turn to the Epistle of John.

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

The truth found in God's Word dispels all darkness and confusion. Those that say the love Him but haven't a clue concerning God's plan do lie.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

We all fall short. Thank God for His gracious forgiveness whereupon repentance we may receive forgiveness and be cleansed.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

There was only One that was capable of living in the flesh without sin.Any other that make that claim is not being truthful with themselves or God.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Remember, there are conditions. We must forgive those that have sinned against us, and we must repent of our sins and confess them to our Father to be forgiven. These are promises you can claim, if you don't overlook the "ifs".

In His service,
Arnold Murray