Friday, April 19, 2013

The Battle for Our Minds, Part III

The Mind Screen

In order for us to effectively retain God’s Word and deflect Satan’s influence we must develop a mind screen. Satan will take every opportunity to remind us of past sins to prevent our spiritual growth or to stop us talking to others about making Godly choices. We must combat his attempts to thwart our sanctification by being alert to his activities. When those self-doubting thoughts enter our mind we must immediately say “No” to their attempt to take control of our well being. Once we learn to recognize them for what they are, we can change our thoughts by the Holy Spirit’s help to bring in thoughts that Paul informs us of in Philippians 4:8-9.

As we remove the inappropriate thoughts we must replace them with wholesome thoughts. When the bad gets ejected we have a spiritual vacuum within our minds waiting to be filled. This is where God’s mind screen comes into play. He has given us the formula to fill the vacuum. It is found in Philippians chapter four verse 8 which says,

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Carefully reading this verse we can see there is one strong verb. It is “think” on things. It does not say “feel” or “experience” or some such other less strong words. This is a command to cause us to consider, ponder, dwell as well meditate. When we “think” on the proper things we crowd out the Devil’s attacks. Furthermore this verb is a present tense indicating continuous action. In other words, “don’t give up!” Keep on thinking these good wholesome thoughts.
The Holy Spirit is commanding us to do this. We must remember that it is not simply Paul’s opinion that this renewed thought process would be helpful to us. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16) so with God as the energizer for us, He knows that we can accomplish this. He is not going to give us a burden greater than what we can handle. With His help in giving us the appropriate categories of thoughts to rest our minds upon we can effectively screen out the unwholesome thoughts and preserve our mind’s purity. Some of these categories are narrow in scope, others led into another category, but each category describes an important characteristic to know.


We must not dwell on speculation or concepts that we know are false. Lies and false ideas corrupt our world-view and allow us to begin to embrace them as possibilities. This brings in doubt and complicates the pure truthful and logical world view God wants us to have. Some want to escape reality and live in a make believe world so they don’t have to deal with the difficult situations they face in life, however this causes the situation to worsen and they cannot cope with it. Some people will do anything to avoid the reality they live with including escaping into excessive amounts of entertainment. When we fill our minds with an excessive amount of fiction we are building a world view that will not help us deal with our problems. Actually they do just the opposite as they sow the seeds of mental distress.


This concept refers to that which inspires respect. This is the opposite of being flippant and frivolous. We must not pursue those types of thoughts. Instead we must engage our minds in thoughts that are dignified, noble, serious and valuable. This does not preclude any fun. Our fun as Christians is not a desperate attempt to fill the Spiritual void unbelievers experience. We have seriousness of purpose and self-respect. Respect can only be earned, even for ourselves as we evaluate our own self worth. We are children of the living God and as such have great value to Him because He bought us with a huge price (I Corinthians 6:20, 7:23). As we realize this and continue to “think on these things” God lets us know how precious we are to Him. Realizing that we belong to Him as chosen children lets us think on the honorable concept of God’s love for us.


This word means just, upright, righteous and conforming to the principles of God’s Word. This means that we must look at things from God’s perspective. We regularly are hit with false philosophy through the media, teachers, friends and relatives. Most do not even realize that they are giving us false satanically driven information that is contrary to Scripture. Television and cinema now endorse extra marital affairs, homosexuality and abortion among other unbiblical activities. The present firearm debate following mass murders refuses to acknowledge that excessive violence and sinful activities portrayed in current movie and television fare has a direct effect on the perpetrators. Billions of dollars are spent annually on advertisements to affect the demand for products and services because the purchasers realize that it works. When we fill our minds with things that are not right they become our influencers, and this includes ads that encourage purchasing visual media that promotes violence with weapons. Violent video games, television, movies and literature, including comic books, all fight against being accountable and responsible in our behavior.


Here Paul speaks to moral purity that is the absence in anything that stains, blemishes or corrupts us, particularly related to sexual matters. If you engage in, or think that it is okay to engage in premarital and extramarital sex, you are bringing the devil right into your mind to compete with the Holy Spirit. If you take in sexual visuals or read novels that embrace sex of any sort outside of a committed heterosexual marriage you are leading yourself into acceptance of these things. The more fill your mind with these images, the more you will begin to hate your spiritual state and never get any real satisfaction in your live. As a Christian you will become riddled with guilt as you try and play act our your Christianity. You must drive these desires out by constant exposure to God’s Word and avoid any contact with the material that provides you with the impurity which harms your mind. When we are careless about what we put into our minds our children and loved ones see it as an endorsement for those things. Before you expose yourself to unwholesome things ask yourself, “Is it pure?”


This refers to that which is attractive, pleasing, winsome, amiable or agreeable. Some say it mostly refers to amiability. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14) so he can make the sinful seem lovely at first glance. Genuine loveliness represents pleasantness and graciousness, which fosters peace and harmony. When someone makes an inappropriate remark or increases strife and tension within us, we must forgive them so that we do not harbor disagreeable thoughts, which will upset us and take us off God’s desire for us to be at peace. If the individual continues to attack us or does not ask for forgiveness we do not need to stay in their presence and allow them to afflict us. Start thinking about things that inspire love and harmony. Test the thought by asking “Is it lovely or amiable?” If not start thinking on lovely things.

Good Report

This essentially means to be of good repute or to think and speak good things of other people. Do not gossip. If we know uncomplimentary things about others and dwell on them sooner or later we will begin to gossip. It is so easy to do and we must avoid it. Believer’s thoughts should be admirable and not gossipy or condescending. If we think on the bad stuff it will come out and others will know that we are not of good report.


This word rises above the mundane, transitory, or hollow things of this world. We must think on things that are associated with God’s glory and power, which have eternal value. We must rid ourselves of thoughts associated with status, power, wealth and material possessions. If we dwell on these things they begin to drive our behavior and it is not toward excellence. It will lead us to the mundane, away from the glory of God and a deepening relationship and knowledge of Him. If we fix our attention on an eternal perspective of anything it lets us escape Satan’s pitfalls.


This means to think on things, which have the praise of God. Since we have the mind of Christ available to us we can ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” This is a revealing question because it will let us know what the enemy is trying to do. His attack will be subtle so we should let Jesus in to our thoughts to change the enemy’s unpraiseworthy thought. Something is not praiseworthy unless it has God’s approval.

These characteristics present a formidable challenge to us. It can easily be handled if we stay in God’s Word and continue to grow in His grace and love. We can enjoy a healthy mind when we stay close to Him when we think on things that:
  1. Are true and real
  2. Are worthy of respect
  3. Are conforming to the principles of God’s Word
  4. Are morally pure
  5. Fosters peace and harmony
  6. Speaks well of others
  7. Rises above the mundane
  8. Brings praise from God

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Battle for Our Minds, Part II

Spiritual Protective Principles

Godly Provided Armor

In the Battle for our Minds it is important to realize that God has given us the tools to help us in the battle. This is the Christian’s armor. It is described in Ephesians chapter six. In Ephesians 6:17 we see the helmet of salvation. It is important to see why God named the helmet of the head, which is a covering of the mind, salvation. When we are resting in the safety of our salvation we have the Holy Spirit’s protection and can make the proper response to Satan’s attacks. We are easily able to say you can’t touch me! When we are saved Satan or his demons can tell us anything in order to lead us astray into danger. We know better and can fight back by saying NO; I won’t think like that or let those ugly polluted thoughts into my mind.

Spirit Filling

Ephesians 5:18 tells us And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” The fundamental principle that the apostle is trying to convey to us is that we must allow the Spirit to control our thoughts and therefore our lives. The comparison made here is that of an alcoholic who is under the complete control of that mind controlling substance. Christ revealed one characteristic of the Holy Spirit when He said in John 16:13a “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” When we properly relate to the Spirit, Satan cannot have any influence on our minds. Satan will attack us at our weakest moments and issues. The Holy Spirit will protect us at all times so Satan will not be successful. So therefore we must be constantly feeding the Spirit with God’s Word and beautiful thought categories given in Philippians 4:8.

Know God’s Word

This principle is of the upmost importance. We must learn and know the Bible well. We must know the “Whole Counsel of God” not just a few verses here and there taken out of context. Our brains function similarly to a computer. In fact computers were designed with our minds as the basis for the engineering design of a central processing unit of a computer. One factor of computer technology is its ability to process information regardless of its quality. Our minds will do the same thing. If we bring garbage in it will put garbage out but affect our soul while it is residing in our mind and being processed by it. We may bring information into our minds and it will be stored away for future use unbeknownst to us. While we may not be conscious to the “hidden” data it will surface at a later time reminding us of what we took in. This is like a Trojan horse virus in a computer. If it contains pure information we can use for proper purposes. If it is bad it will harm us when it resurfaces and has probably been infecting through its influence on our thoughts all along. This is one more reason to prevent the evil from entering. The only way to do that is to first be fortified with a complete knowledge of Gods Word and secondly to avoid the pollution Satan wants to instill within us. It will make us pure.

Psalm 119:9 tells us this in the form of a question and answer:

[Beth] How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word (ESV).

Consider what the apostle is telling us in Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (KJV).

We must constantly feed on the Word of God through memorization, Bible study and fellowship with other believers that are growing in the Word of God. Satan wants to take us away from serious Bible study and from other believers who are growing daily in the Word. Genuine Bible study is not an emotional centered mindless experience. It is a logical practical and rational understanding of what God has for us. When experience is elevated above the rational doctrine expressed in the infallible Word of God we are setting ourselves up for any wind of false doctrine that will come our way. God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit that will send Satan and his demons away from us. If we rely on the subjective imprecise emotionalism that accompanies experience we are ignoring logic and objective truth for the subjective.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Battle for Our Minds, Part I

Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you (KJV).


Watch how Paul concludes this section of the book of Phillipians. He does it with a summary of six items that are objects of a wholesome thought life. As we know Paul frequently had debates with the Greeks (Acts 17:22 etc.). The Greeks were quick to debate the foundations of virtue. They believing that God was unknowable frequently argued that one should simply be the best that one could be. The Greek word Paul used here for virtue is arĂȘte (Strongs G703), which to the Greek simply means excellence. The word is also linked with human knowledge and is used interchangeably by them with knowledge. Hellenistic thought concluded, “Virtue is knowledge.” Therefore they reasoned that the study of human knowledge is the highest form of human happiness and ability.
Paul in his debates with them asserted that God has revealed Himself to us, is knowable and all truth and knowledge emanates from Him, not from the human being He created. The Bible is revealed truth. Christ says that He is truth (John 14:6). The problem with the Greeks approach was, it was arbitrary or subjective. Consider the following quote of Aristotle from his Nicomachean Ethics:

“Virtue (arete) then is a settled disposition of the mind determining the choice of actions and emotions, consisting essentially in the observance of the mean relative to us, this being determined by principle, that is, as the prudent man would determine it.”

It is therefore important for us to see the struggle Paul had to bring Christ and revealed truth to the Philippians. The Greek scholars were debating him frequently and had several hundred years of scholarly thought to draw from in their arguments with him. We should realize that this Greek thought has influenced our western societies. They did not know from whence knowledge came or virtue either. It is clear from Aristotle’s comment that the so-called principle came about through a “prudent man”. Our present day legal system draws on this reasoning when determining what a normal response of a human should be in various situations. They refer to the so called prudent man by saying the normal response of any situation should be judged by what the “ordinary man of reasonable prudence” would do. So in any humanistic explanation for life and knowledge and especially virtue we are left with no specific definition. This is why Paul and us today must advance God’s Word as the only revealed truth. We can rely on it as it has been proved repeatedly to come directly from God and contain the highest standard for all thought and behavior.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Apostasy and Bad Bible Teachers Go Together

Apostasy can be defined as the departure from the truth that one professed to have. It does not mean that they actually ever possessed the truth. Apostates do not actually possess the truth. Rather, it is a departure from a truth they professed to have because of an affiliation with a particular church. Consider them to be frauds in Christianity. Apostasy has been going on for a long time. With the Emerging Church movement it is infecting Bible and other independent churches. But it came into the main line denomination many years ago. In terms of sheer numbers the main lines have demonstrated that the apostasy is huge.

How does this happen?

One typical example of the apostasy occurring is the infiltration of the liberals into the hierarchy of the Presbyterian Church USA. Upon hiring a new minister into the denomination they were required to affirm their belief in the Westminster Confession of Faith. The Rev Milo F. Jamison, a premillennial dispensationalist had grown to not hold to it and was thrown out of the denomination in 1933 for daring to believe the Bible as it was written instead of following a creed or confession alone. He questioned a fellow Princeton grad applying for a ministerial pulpit position. Jamison knew that the man did not believe in the Confession either or any other creed. He was a liberal. Jamison asked him: “How could you tell the examining committee that you believe in the Westminster Confession when you really don’t?” The man answered: “I kept my fingers crossed during the exam.” So the liberal lied to get into the denomination. Once the liberals got in they took others in along with them and began to populate the hierarchy of the denomination. They wanted the church’s money and power as well as its prestige. Soon they gained control and dominated the Presbyterians and caused schisms. So where did the denomination go wrong? (1)
Presbyterianism and other denominations put earthly, man-centered pursuits in place of the entire “Whole Council of God.” They believed creeds, confessions, loved power, property, and money instead of the pure sweet milk of the Word alone. They prided themselves on their educations especially the secular schools they attended. The liberals easily entered and caused dissention with the fundamentalists once they gained power. They captured Princeton Seminary in 1929 and Union Theological Seminary at least forty years earlier. The Episcopal Church had gone liberal a generation earlier than Princeton’s departure from orthodoxy. They fell even before Union. To be sure there are many new Presbyterian churches that have left the old denomination and started fresh with proper doctrine.

The New Testament clearly predicts in two NT passages that there would be an apostasy in the latter days.

The first is found in 2nd Thessalonians.

II Thes 2:1-3 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

 The second passage is: I Ti 4:1

I Ti 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

 The prophetic word says that there will be a falling away in the last days.

This is a vivid description of the Laodicean Church from Revelation chapter three.

Three NT passages describe the character of the apostasy.

I Tim 4:1-3 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

The source of the apostasy is demons, for apostates have essentially given in to seducing spirits and are preaching a system of doctrine, which is a doctrine of demons. Furthermore, they speak lies through hypocrisy, and their conscious’ have stopped working.
The second passage is found in II Timothy.

 II Ti 3:5   holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

In verses 1-4 there is a description of the general character of the world in the last days, and it can hardly be denied that these elements are true in this present day. Verse five centers on the religious front, where the last days will be characterized by men having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Apostate ministers, retaining the clerical garb and church titles, have a form of godliness. But they deny the power thereof, for they have denied the true power of godliness. They claim to trust in God but are actually trusting in worldly methodologies.
The third passage is found in II Peter 2:1-22

2Pe 2:1-22   But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the  sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

Reading through the passage, we don’t see Peter displaying any attitude of love or tolerance toward the apostates. The Bible and particularly the Lord Jesus do not display any toleration toward apostasy and both castigate it very severely, as these verses clearly show.

Peter also tells us what the mark of an apostate is. What they teach are called destructive denials.

The teachings of the apostates are indeed destructive heresies. The content entails denying even the Master that bought them. In other words, the content of apostate teaching involves the denial of the Person (the Master) and work (bought them) of the Lord Jesus. Other NT passages provide more specific aspects of this denial. First, a denial of the Trinity is dealt with in 1 John 2:22-23.

1 Jo 2:22-23 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also].

1st John 4:2-3 comments on a denial of the Incarnation:

1 Jo 4:1-2 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

The same is true of II John 1:7

2Jo 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist

Third the denial of the Second Coming of the Messiah is the concern of II Peter 3:3-4

2Pe 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.

So the teachings of apostasy involve the destructive denials of the Person and work of the Messiah, especially with regard to His place in the Trinity, His deity, His incarnation as the God-Man by means of the Virgin Birth, and the fact that He is coming again physically. Basic to all these denials, of course is the denial of the God breathed origin of the Scriptures themselves.


At the heart of theological liberalism is an attack on the authority of the Bible. A central attack is to question the traditional authorship and historicity of the Pentateuch and other parts of Scripture. The result is to question or openly deny Old Testament prophecy and the dating of the writing of Old Testament books. Two examples of this are:

Julius A. Bewer, Union Theological Seminary Professor: “The dates and figures found in the first five books of the Bible turn out to be altogether unreliable” (Bewer, The Literature of the Old Testament, 1940)

A more recent illustration of liberalism comes from the pen of John Shelby Spong, a bishop in the Episcopal Church in America. “Am I suggesting that these stories of the virgin birth are not literally true? The answer is a simple and direct “Yes.” Of course these narratives are not literally true. Stars do not wander, angels do not sing, virgins do not give birth, magi do not travel to a distant land to present gifts to a baby, and shepherds do not go in search of a newborn savior. … To talk of a Father God who has a divine-human son by a virgin woman is a mythology that our generation would never have created, and obviously, could not use. To speak of a Father God so enraged by human evil that he requires propitiation for our sins that we cannot pay and thus demands the death of the divine-human son, as a guilt offering is a ludicrous idea to our century. The sacrificial concept that focuses on the saving blood of Jesus that somehow washes me clean, so popular in Evangelical and Fundamentalist circles, is by and large repugnant to us today” (John Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture, Harper, 1991, pp. 215,234).
Liberalism in theology is similar to liberalism in politics. Both want to secularize their respective societies to the Humanist tenets. They put their faith in evolution, historical relativism, progress through science, the benevolent state, and getting others' money. To do this they must quiet the Bible fundamentalist with his revealed truth. They refuse to believe the miracles and their truth regardless of the evidence for them. Once the liberal has infiltrated the upper echelons of fundamental seminaries they can spew their poison to future generations of pastors and cause fights within the denominations. The doubt their baseless theories and criticism of the Scriptures ignites is enough to cause splits and finally the strong political force of the denominations bleeds into the political arena. People begin to believe the error that comes from the “authorities.”
The denominations lost their battles because they did not know how to fight and win. They should have left the denominations en mass immediately instead of fighting! Some did to be sure but not enough did and many stayed in because “this is where they have always been.” They were more wedded to denominationalism than Christ and His Word. Further they did not want the fight. They just wanted it to stop because it confused them. We all know that God is not the author of confusion (I Cor 14: 33). We must separate from them. The Lord has commanded it.

(1) North, Gary. Crossed Fingers How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church 1996, Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler, TX pg 19