Thursday, September 30, 2021

Freedom in Christ Lesson 4: The World’s View of the Truth

Lesson 4 Podcast:  Lesson 4 Podcast

Freedom in Christ Lesson 4: The World’s View of the Truth  


Focus Verse:

Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.


Objective: To understand that Christians need to make a definite decision to turn away from believing what the world teaches and choose instead to believe what God says is true.

Focus Truth: The world we grew up in influenced us to look at life in a particular way and to see that way as “true”. However, if it doesn’t stack up with what God says is true, we need to reject it and bring our beliefs into line with what is really true.   


If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

Do you think that the way you look at the world and what you believe would be very different if you had been brought up in a different culture?

John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


Ephesians 1:17-23 (NKJV)
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21  far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


1 Corinthians 1:30 (NKJV) 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—


Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


What is “The World”?

We’ve looked at some fundamental truths: who we are in Christ and the fact that faith is simply a choice to believe what God tells us is already true. In the next three sessions we’re going to turn our attention to the things that try to deflect us from the truth. We have three distinct enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

First, in this session, we’ll look at the world and how it tries to make us look at reality in a way that is opposed to how God says it actually is.

The world is the system or culture we grew up in and live in. That will vary greatly according to where you are from and when you were born. I’m going to talk about it almost as if it were a person with its own thoughts and deeds. It isn’t. However, there is someone behind it, Satan, whom Jesus called (John 12:31) “the ruler of this world.” To a significant extent, he is the one who pulls the strings behind the world and works through it.

Let’s look at the three main tactics the world uses to try to divert us from the truth.

Tactic 1: Promising To Meet Our Deepest Needs

Its first tactic is promising to meet those deep needs we all have. We were created to have the kind of life Adam had: 100% acceptance, the highest significance, perfect security. But that wasn’t the life we were born into. From our first breath we didn’t have the spiritual connection to God that we were meant to have. Yet we were created with those in-built needs for acceptance, significance, and security that our connection with God would have fulfilled.

When we were growing up and instinctively started looking to fulfill those deep needs for acceptance, significance, and security, up popped the world and said,    “No problem! I’ll show you how to get those.”

It feeds us false formulas:

Performance + accomplishments = significance

Status + recognition = security

Appearance + admiration = acceptance

Those are lies. But in the absence of a spiritual connection to God, we naturally fell for them. Or as Paul put it, we naturally “followed the ways of this world” (Eph 2:2).

1 John 2:15–17 is a key passage in understanding how the world tries to suck us in:

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

According to the passage, there are three channels through which the world works:

The Lust of The Flesh 

The more we buy into the world’s lies and act on them, the more unhelpful patterns of thinking become established in our minds, which then become default ways of behaving.

The Lust of The Eyes 

The world shows me things that it claims will meet my needs for acceptance, significance, and security that God created me to have.

The Pride of Life 

This is simply the temptation the world throws at us to boast about our life, based on the lie that it’s possessions or achievements or connections that make us significant.


Pause for Thought 1


To help people understand their vulnerability to the world’s promises to meet our God-given needs for significance, security, and acceptance.


In what ways has the world tried to make you feel insignificant, insecure, and unloved?

In what ways has the world promised you significance, security, and acceptance?

Do you recognize these “false formulas”?

Performance + accomplishments = significance

Status + recognition = security

Appearance + admiration = acceptance

How can you counteract “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:15–17)?


Tactic 2: Painting A Complete But False Picture Of Reality

Essentially the second tactic of the world is to give you a distorted view of reality but feed it to you as the real thing.  How we see the world is called your “worldview.”

Just as we pick up things like language from our environment, we also pick up beliefs, values, and ways of behaving. We are influenced by our family, our schooling, our friends, the media.

So without even realizing it we all develop a way of looking at reality that we believe is true. But if your worldview is faulty, it will lead to faulty judgments about what happens in your life.

1.    A Non-Western Worldview

If you were brought up in Africa or Eastern cultures you may well have absorbed the belief that the universe is controlled by a kind of universal power that runs through everything and by spirits of many types.

If something bad happened to you,  you would probably begin to suspect that someone might be manipulating this universal power or the spirits against you by cursing you or doing some kind of magic. 

You would probably turn to a shaman or witch doctor to sort out the problems with this universal power.

If this is how you see reality, chances are that you will be living in constant fear that someone else might have a better control of the powers or that you might somehow unwittingly upset a spirit that would then turn against you.

2.    The Western Worldview

Most people brought up in the West don’t turn to a witch doctor if things start to go wrong. Instead we tend to look for logical reasons and try to fix the problem. 

The Western worldview tells us that what is real can only be known through scientific methods. If we’re ill we’ll turn to a doctor who will use scientific methods to try to make us better.

3.    The Postmodern Worldview 

The “Postmodern” worldview — has been emerging in the West in recent decades, which is something of a reaction against past generations’ reliance on scientists and experts.

The younger you are, the more likely you are to be suspicious of experts in general but particularly suspicious of those who make strong claims to certainty. In fact you may well have come to see anyone who has strong convictions as being on a dangerous line that ends with extreme, fanatical terrorists.

Whereas previous generations saw truth as something revealed by God or discovered by science, increasingly we test whether an idea is valid or not purely on the basis of our own personal experience. If it feels good to me, it’s OK. Each person is free to make up their own version of truth based on their own experience.

So politicians can say what people want to hear even if it flies in the face of facts and get a strong following. Groups on social media promote even the most outlandish views and members reinforce each other’s beliefs.

That is why Christians are under pressure to agree that all religions are equally true. Saying that we respect the right of other people to different beliefs and that we are happy to dialogue with them is no longer enough. There is a pressure to agree that their beliefs are just as “true” as our own.

Younger Christians are happy to say that Jesus is their truth but hesitate to go further and talk about Him as the truth.

This has led to what you might call “extreme tolerance” where practically any behavior is acceptable. People in previous generations used pornography, indulged in binge drinking, used drugs, or had multiple sexual partners, but would usually have acknowledged that those things were wrong. Increasingly, people don’t see these things as inherently wrong as long as they make them feel good. In fact the only thing that is seen as wrong is saying that what someone else is doing is wrong!

The bottom line is that people are increasingly absorbing into their worldview a belief that there is no real, solid, undergirding truth.

The Biblical Worldview: Truth Does Exist

So, what is true? That there is a spiritual power flowing through the universe that we can manipulate? Something that only science can uncover? Whatever feels good to you?

Which worldview is right?

None of them!

If we were to take that virtual reality headset off, get rid of the values and beliefs that our own particular culture instilled in us, what would the world actually look like? 

The Bible claims to be God’s revelation of reality to the people He created. If that is right, then taking off that headset would mean that what we would see would correspond exactly to what the Bible tells us. That what the Bible says is “how it really is.”

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

What! Are we saying that only one view of reality can be right? Isn’t that a bit, well, intolerant? 

Consider the most important question facing everybody in the world: What happens when you die?

Hinduism teaches that when a soul dies it is reincarnated in another form.

Christianity teaches that souls spend eternity in either heaven or hell.

Spiritists think we float around as ghosts.

Atheists believe that we have no soul and that when we die our existence simply ends.

Can all those things be true at the same time? To put it another way, does what you believe will happen to you when you die make any difference to what will actually happen? Or will the same thing happen to everyone when they die regardless of what they believed before the event?

Surely, if Hindus are right, we will all be reincarnated. If Christians are right, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. If atheists are right, all of our existences will come to an end. If spiritists are right we’ll all float around as ghosts. But they simply can’t all be true at the same time.

So it’s clear that there is such a thing as real truth that exists whatever individuals may choose to believe.

We are not proposing a version of truth that we have made up ourselves. The Bible has been tested and found reliable by millions of people over thousands of years.

In fact many of those ordinary people have found that, by choosing to believe it, they have been able to accomplish, or be a catalyst for, extraordinary things.

We may find it difficult to advance an unfashionable argument. But are we really being helpful if we encourage people in their view that there is no truth when Jesus has said very clearly that He is the truth?

Pause for Thought 2

Objective: To reinforce the concept that we have all been heavily influenced by a non-biblical way of looking at reality.


How different would your worldview be if you had grown up in another part of the world or at a different time?

 In what ways do you identify with one of the three worldviews discussed here?

When we talk to people about Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God, how can we not come across as arrogant?


Tactic 3: Not Replacing Core Beliefs

The third tactic of the world is to get us to add our Christian beliefs to our existing worldview rather than replace it, so that our core beliefs remain the same. 

For example, in an African country, the leadership of a missionary organization was ready to hand the church they planted over to African leadership. Two men were candidates for the position. Now what I’m about to say might sound silly to you, if you were not brought up with an African worldview, but one of them went to a witch doctor to get a charm to enhance his chances of being chosen as the church leader. Why did he do that? He was simply reverting back to his core beliefs, because they were deeper than his newer Christian beliefs.

How are those brought up in the West affected by the Western worldview which in effect denies the reality of the spiritual world? Some parts of the Church have tried to get rid of what they consider to be unnecessary supernatural “baggage.” They deny the miraculous and the existence of angels and demons.

Most of us recognize the reality of the spiritual world, at least intellectually. However, the Western worldview encourages us to live our lives and exercise our ministries as if the spiritual world didn’t exist.

When something goes horribly wrong in our lives, many Christians blame God. Why? Influenced by the Western worldview, they leave Satan out of the equation who, the Bible says, is a thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).

What about when someone has a mental or psychological problem? The medical profession, influenced by the Western worldview, tends to ignore the reality of the spiritual world.

We say we believe the Bible, but isn’t it true that many of our decisions are made on the basis of what we think rather than on what God is saying? We say we believe in the power of prayer but do we spend time praying, or do our actions really demonstrate that we believe that we can sort out our lives on our own and use prayer only as a last resort?

Holding on to our core beliefs leads to a shaky foundation for our faith.

Os Guinness says: “The Christian faith is not true because it works; it works because it is true. . .  It is not simply “true for us”; it is true for any who seek in order to find, because truth is true even if nobody believes it and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. That is why truth does not yield to opinion, fashion, numbers, office, or sincerity — it is simply true and that is the end of it.” Time For Truth, Os Guinness (Baker Books 2000), pp. 79–80 

Each of us needs to come to a point where we realize that what the world has caused us to believe is so contrary to what is really true that we make a conscious decision to throw it away. We need to make a conscious choice to believe what the Bible says, to make the Word of God our core belief system.

If we don’t, it will lead us to compromise and we’ll be “double-minded” and “unstable in all our ways” (James 1:8).

I’m going to say a prayer that you can pray with me if you want to make a firm decision to base the rest of your life on what God says is true.

Lord Jesus,

No matter what the world throws at me, I am making a decision today to believe only what You say is true in Your Word, the Bible. I choose not to be double-minded any longer but to trust You and make the Bible the core of what I believe. I renounce and turn away from my previous worldview and make a new commitment today to base my life on the truth in Your Word. I trust that You will be faithful to me. In Jesus’ name.




Objective: To give people an opportunity to reject aspects of their original worldview and embrace the truth in god’s word.

The concept of “renouncing” and “announcing” is fundamental to the freedom in Christ course and participants will become well used to it. To renounce something is to reject it or turn away from it.

Spend some time in prayer throwing out your old worldview and choosing to see the world as God says it actually is.

You might find it helpful to say “I renounce the lie that [my old false belief], and I announce the truth that [truth from God’s Word].” For example: “I renounce the lie that the unseen spiritual world is not real, and I announce the truth that it is just as real as the physical world we can see.”

“I renounce the lie that financial success brings real security, and I announce the truth that I am already perfectly secure because no one can snatch me out of God’s hand.”

“I renounce the lie that I should be worried that someone may have cursed me, and I announce the truth that I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms far above all other spiritual powers.” 




 How will understanding that we all grow up with a particular way of looking at the world help you as you talk to people who are not yet Christians? 



At the end of each day take five minutes to review how your old worldview has reared its head during the day to try to persuade you to compromise the truth of the Bible. When you identify it happening, take time to renounce the false belief from your previous worldview and make a commitment to base your life on the truth of the Bible.


Anderson, Neil T.; Goss, Steve. Freedom in Christ Leader's Guide: A 10-Week Life-Changing Discipleship Course, Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.



Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2 - Purity 537


Am I a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 2   - Purity 537

Purity 537 09/29/2021  Purity 537 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a roadside meadow and tree line underneath a cloud filled September sky comes to us from yours truly as I felt moved to just stop and grab this moment of simple scenic beauty while I was driving through the Westerlo NY area on September 21st, which was if you don’t recall, the last day of summer of 2021.  

I share it for its simple beauty but also because it features a road which represents moving forward and making progress.  It’s Thursday and I share pictures of pathways or roadways of some sort today as a reminder or an encouragement to take the opportunity to step on, or keep walking on, the path of Christian Discipleship that is defined by a life walking in the Spirit and which leads to the growth of the fruit of the Spirit and increasing levels of maturity in our Christian faith.  It just also happens to be the path that leads to freedom. 

I teach am teaching the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries this evening at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY and invite anyone local to join us at 6:30pm.  For those not within driving distance of the church, I have already uploaded a podcast version of the teaching for the first three lessons and will be uploading the fourth installment after tonight’s class. So if you want to be encouraged in your faith, to learn something new, or to be equipped with the tools to overcome, or to help others overcome, personal and spiritual conflicts join us for class.

Well yesterday, we started a series in where we started an investigation in to the question of “What is a Christian?” or “Is this person a Christian?” And as the Children’s show “Blue’s Clues” was in the news recently because they celebrated 25 years of programming, I was motivated to channel the inquiring spirit of Blue and that inquisitive theme to help us look at the questions of our faith and to help us examine the “clues” that would tell us if people we encountered were “real” or authentic Christians.   

Yesterday we looked at the significant “clue” of church membership or attendance as a good indicator but not a guarantee of whether someone was an authentic Christian. 

So today when I asked “Blue” (FYI, one source states that Blue signifies the Healing Power of God ( which “clue” we would be looking for today, in my imagination, “Blue” was holding a small mirror.  

In our dialog, with me asking questions and Blue murmuring as she does, I was able to discern that before we started looking for anymore “clues” about other people’s authentic Christianity,  Blue wanted me to make sure I was a real Christian!  

So I thought about the question? What in my life made me know I was a Christian?  Now while our self-examination may prove helpful to determine whether those around us are Christians, it is the question of our identity as a Christian that is really the most important thing that we can investigate and confirm.  

Blue really turned the tables on us today because while we started to look for “clues” in the outside world about other people, she wanted us to “play fair” and put ourselves to the test too.     

So if someone were to ask you when you became a Christian or how you became a Christians, what would you say, boys and girls?    

Well the “state of grace” that determines whether or not someone is a Christian has to do with whether or not we are “saved” from God’s wrath by having a reconciled relationship with God through putting our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord in Savior.  

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) tells us
9  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now this verse tells us that we are “saved” only if we confess (agree with) that Jesus is our Lord and that we believe in our heart that He was raised from the dead, meaning that we believe that Christ’s dying on the Cross was meaningful, that it paid the cost of our sins, and that Christ’s resurrection proved that He was the Son of God and God the Son.  Confessing with our mouths “the Lord Jesus” means we not only publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ as our Savior, but agree to live according to what Jesus taught, to be obedient.  The Apostle Peter, who was able to walk on water when he obeyed Christ’s call to “come” wrote:

1 Peter 1:13-15 (NKJV)
13  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14  as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,.

I point to this verse and the fact that our conduct should be changed when we become Christians because many people don’t understand the implications of “confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus” and I wanted to make it clear that there is more than just “saying a prayer” to being a Christian. 

But let’s make first things first.   Although we as Christians are supposed to become holy in our conduct, our entrance into God’s kingdom starts with that verbal confession. We must name and proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior before we can successfully live like a Christian.  

We can’t become holy first, nor are we required to.   That’s like going through boot camp before you sign up for military service.  It doesn’t work that way.  You sign an agreement with the service and then the kind and gentle drill sergeants will train and encourage you to become a soldier.  Like military service, when you sign up to be in Christ’s army you are literally signing your life away.   

So if we are looking in the mirror, and trying to determine if we “look like a Christian”, we should stop and ask ourselves: “Have I honestly confessed the Lord Jesus with my mouth, and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead? Did I sign my life away to be saved and agree to make Jesus my Lord?”   

For me, I can point to a specific time and place when I did that. I heard a gospel message on the radio and because of it I really believed “in my heart”, not just intellectually, that God had raised Christ from the dead and that if I made Christ my Lord I would be saved.

So have you ever done that, boys, and girls?

If you don’t believe in your heart that Christ was raised from the dead by God,  that whole idea will just seem like nonsense to you, and you will be hesitant to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.

You won’t want to tell your friends, coworkers, or family. You won’t want to tell anyone about this crazy story of how a man dying on the cross has meaning and purpose. That Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is used to cause a reconciliation with an unseen God and man and that it gives eternal life to anyone that names Jesus their Lord and Savior.

So, hopefully most of you reading with this will say you have done this. You have confessed the Lord Jesus.  If you haven’t and want to, say this prayer:

Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner. I know my sin deserves to be punished. I believe Christ died for me and rose from you grave. I trust Jesus alone as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Well if you said that prayer, you just signed “your life away” and joined God’s kingdom as His beloved child.  You are a Christian. You no longer have to fear death because you have been forgiven of all your sins and have eternal life.

From this point forward, because you named Jesus as your Lord, you should endeavor to follow the One who saved you by reading the word of God and applying its teachings to your life, step by step, one day at a time. 

Our Christian faith is not about perfection its about progress.  We don’t beat ourselves up when we fail, we pick ourselves up because God’s forgiven us and is encouraging us to walk into the abundant life that He wants us to experience.

So keep walking and talking with God, our faith doesn’t have to be complicated it just has to be continuous. So rejoice in your salvation and take another step today towards the good things that God has prepared for you.  


This morning’s meditation verse is:

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
11  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!


Today’s verse teaches us why we should read the Bible and meditate on its truth.  

Well as we may have welcomed some  people into the kingdom today, they may be wondering “Now What?” 

Well the good news is that you can rest.  You no longer have to fear what happens when you die. You have been given eternal life because of God’s grace. You didn’t have to earn it. You should be filled with joy and gratitude for having been shown the truth of the gospel and for receiving forgiveness and new spiritual life.   

The next step? We should learn about the God who gave us mercy and grace by reading His word. Start with the New Testament to learn all about Jesus and pay attention to His teaching to learn how we should behave as Christians.  Think about those truths as you go about your day and try to live according to them.  

That’s what today’s verse is teaching us and motivating us to do. For if we hide the truths of God’s word in our heart, we might not sin against God.”   I like the fact that the verse says might. I like to imagine that God understands that we won’t be perfect in our walk but still encourages us to express our love for Him by reading His word, meditating on it, and doing what it says. 

So if you don’t have a regular practice of reading and meditating on God’s word, start today and commit yourself to a regular practice of drawing close to God by studying His word.   

The Bible is true, and today’s verse encourages us that if we hide its truth in our hearts we just might not sin against God.  So put the word to the test by hiding it in your heart, and experience its power to transform your mind and change your behavior, not because you are trying hard but because you are learning to be the person that God has made you to be and because He has given you the power to become it,


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Blended Family’s

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

The Blended Family

God's Recipe for Success


June Hunt


Do you feel that the mix of your family is basically a mess? If you mix flour, sugar, eggs and oil together... it takes some work to get them to blend. But when the mixture is exposed to the heat of an oven for just the right amount of time, a chemical reaction occurs that bonds the separate ingredients into a delicious dessert. Likewise, when members of a blended family are subjected to the heat of new living conditions and differing personalities, it takes some work to come together as a connected family unit. Each individual needs to make every effort to promote peace and build one another up so that the family will be bonded in love and in unity.

"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." (Romans 14:19)

I. Definitions

Blended families, with their many challenges, have been around for a long time. They are formed for different reasons. When a spouse with children remarries after the death of a partner, the situation is difficult. But when the family unit becomes a blend of his children, her children and their children, the recipe for success requires a great deal of understanding and forgiveness.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

A. What Is a Blended Family?

  • The blended family is a family unit in which one or both of the spouses have been previously married and bring a child or children to the relationship.
  • The word blended means "mixed together." It suggests a combining of separate units into an integrated whole.
  • The stepfamily is a family unit in which at least one spouse has a parental relationship with a child based on marriage, not blood.

B. What Is a Nuclear Family?

The nuclear family is a traditional family unit composed of...

  • one husband and one wife
  • one marriage
  • one or more children from one union

C. God's Heart on Remarriage

  • Remarriage is permitted when the marriage covenant is broken by...
    • death
      "By law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man." (Romans 7:2-3)
    • —defilement (adultery)
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
    • —desertion and divorce (a controversial position)
      Only because of a hardened heart on the part of the one who leaves—God's heart is one of reconciliation.
      "But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace." (1 Corinthians 7:15)
  • Remarriage is not permitted...
    • to an unbeliever
      "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:39)
    • to a former spouse who has married another
      "If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)
    • —to a divorced person whose spouse has not broken the marriage covenant
      "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
  • Remarriage is not God's preferred state for everyone.
    "I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:7-9)

Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys – Biblical Counseling Keys: The Blended Family: God's Recipe for Success.

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------




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Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Is This Person a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 1 - Purity 536


Is This Person a Christian, Blue? – Checking the Clues 1   - Purity 536

Purity 536 09/29/2021 Purity 536 Podcast

Good morning

Today’s photo of a view of, and from, the Adirondacks Mountains comes to us from a friend who recently has made it a goal to be ADK 46er, an individual who has climbed all 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks. With this first excursion, my friend, and future family member, conquered 2 of the Adirondack’s peaks, declaring that they have 44 to go on their quest and captioned this photo: “This is NY” to point out that the Empire State was more than just New York City.   

I share this pic not only to get “brownie points” with a future in-law, but because of its natural beauty and because it is Wednesday, and I didn’t have a better photo to represent “Hump Day” and to also highlight the fact that  sometimes we have to question and challenge our ideas and preconceived notions about what something “is”.  As my friend’s photo’s caption might challenge and expand the ideas of what some people might think of as “New York”, I have decide to begin a series where we question or challenge the ideas of what a “Christian” is and, as “Steve” from the children’s  show “Blues Clue’s” recently remade an appearance to encourage all those childhood viewers that are now adults, I have decided to have some fun with the idea of “checking for clues” by looking at different aspects of the Christian faith or religion in general to help my friends to determine if some one is a “real” or authentic Christian.

Now please understand, coming into the kingdom of God is only possible through making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, so whatever topic I examine is not necessarily a way to determine if some one is saved or not, although the topics I discuss may indicate the fact that some don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  No, this series will serve to be more of an indicator of the level of someone’s spiritual maturity or commitment.  The idea is that the more “clues” we find that indicate someone is a Christian, the more likely they are a Christian.  

I was motivated to make this investigation into “what a Christian is” by several friends who have the desire to find a Christian life partner.  As someone, who was convinced that they would probably spend the rest of their life alone because of the spiritual wasteland and Christian desert in Post Christian American Society, I can understand the difficulties in finding a suitable mate that actually has faith in Christ that is authentic. 

So the first “clue” that should be looked for in trying to determine if someone is a Christian is: Church membership and attendance.   

Now while we don’t know the spiritual condition of people’s hearts and it is theoretically possible (although we may have our doubts) to be a Christian and to not be a member or regular attender of church, church membership and attendance is a “clue” that you definitely would want to find in your investigation of someone you are interested in when looking for a Christian mate.  

The Bible says that we are not to forsake the assembly of the saints but should exhort one another to come together as Christians to worship the Lord and fellowship with one another as members of the body of Christ.  

So boys and girls, our first question is: if you meet someone you are interested in who says they are a “Christian”, but  they don’t belong to a church or they don’t go to church services regularly, should we turn and run for the hills?        

No, although you might want to lace up your running shoes and be ready to bid that person a fond farewell, you should ask them why they don’t attend church before you rule them out.  

Because of ignorance, corruption, and abuse many people may have some very personal reasons for not going to church.  So listen to their reasons and their story. When you do, listen to how they speak about their faith and the circumstances around why they have chosen to forsake the assembly of the saints. 

If there is no story, and they “just don’t go” or “have better things to do” or “get bored in church”,  that person, if a Christian at all, doesn’t have a mature faith and may be very ignorant of what a relationship with God is and is most likely in bondage to sin, of pride if nothing else more explicit.   

If there is a story of abuse or offense about a particular denomination or church, it would be wise ask if they tried other churches.  The idea here is we are looking for “clues” about the person in front of us and their faith and character, not the institutions or organizations they encountered.  How did they respond? Are they forgiving? Have they essentially ended their relationship with God because of what happened? Do they have or understand what a relationship with God is?   

The bottom line for people we find who don’t attend church is that we want to know what there understanding of the Christian faith is. Most likely they may intellectually have some facts about faith but generally MOST of the people in our “Christian” society are woefully ignorant of the doctrines of grace and what a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ looks like and means experientially.   

Oh and that also applies to the MOST of the few people you find that actually do belong to or go to church. 

One saying about the authenticity of one’s faith based on church membership or attendance is that “just because someone hangs out at a garage, it doesn’t make them a car.”      

So like Jane Goodall, we should observe our subject of interest in their natural habitat to see how the person who “goes to church” behaves.  Actions and attitudes that we observe in our “church going” subject may be invaluable clues to the condition of their personality and level of maturity.  

These “clues” may lead us to the conclusion that our subject is indeed a Christian but reveal that they are not “husband or wife” material. We can meet and fellowship with all kinds of Christians with various levels of commitment, devotion, and maturity but just because they are a Christian doesn’t mean we have to be joined to them in holy matrimony.  

So kids, this “first clue” of church attendance is a big one on our quest to solve the mystery of “what is a Christian” and should be taken very seriously.  While the equation “No church attendance = no faith” isn’t a law that set is set in stone, it could be a principle that adequately describes the vast majority of people that “no church attendance” applies to.   

But as I pointed out, if we are interested in someone, we should listen to their story and try to discern level of understanding and watch how they behave.   If we are discerning we will make far less mistakes in our relationships, but we have to keep our eyes open for the “clues” that will tell us if some one is a “real Christian”

So keep walking and talking with God. He is with us always so go to Him for wisdom as you walk through this life and consider and apply what His word tells you so you can experience the fruit of the Spirit and discover His good and perfect will for your life.    

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Romans 14:9 (NKJV)
9  For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Today’s verse reminds us of the fact and purpose of Christ’s death and resurrection and the spiritual state of reality.  

As always context is king in understanding the Bible so when you look up a verse and it is referring to something previously stated, we should look to see what it is referring to. 

Verse 8 basically states that if we, as Christians (because Romans is a letter to the church in Rome, right?) if we live or die, we live to the Lord or die to the Lord, and we are the Lord’s.  

So “this end” mentioned in today’s verse is referring to Christians being the Lord’s possession or children”.  Christ’s death and rising again was for “this end” – that we would be the Lord’s”  

So why did Christ die and rise again? So that we would be the Lord’s.  

So Romans 14:9 can serve as a “proof verse” for not only the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection but it can also be used, along with verse 8, to express why Jesus died and was resurrected: so that people would become the Lord’s, that the people who put their faith in Jesus Christ would be His.  

The second part of this verse eposes the fact that there is a  spiritual reality beyond death.  The phrase “Lord of both the dead and the living” indicates that there is life beyond death, just in case you weren’t convinced by the fact that Jesus came back from the dead!

This verse directly contradicts the atheistic or materialistic view that all life is extinguished  when we die.  Christ’s resurrection proves there is life after death and today’s verse indicates that He is Lord over both the realm of the living and dead. 

Those who die are given their final destination based on their relationship with Christ with those who have placed their faith in Him being welcomed into “paradise” where there are “many mansions” as scripture says, and those who haven’t placed their faith in Christ, the one’s he “never knew”, being consigned to the “outer darkness” where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, in Hell.  

So rejoice over the fact that Christ died and rose again so that we could be “the Lord’s” and endeavor to represent God’s kingdom by telling people about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Lord doesn’t want anyone to perish so share the hope of Jesus Christ and pray that those without His saving grace will put their faith in Him and make Him the Lord of their lives.  


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk. 


Today we continue to share from June Hunt’s Boundaries: How to Set Them, How to Keep Them.


As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:

Frequently Asked Questions

Too Much Help

Question: "How much help is too much?"

Answer: Consider the following boundary issues:

  • —By allowing a needy person to be dependent on you, do you feel more significant?
  • —Under the guise of being a "giving person," are you being a modern-day martyr in order to attract attention?
  • —Do you ever think, How could you do this to me after all I've done for you?
  • —Examine your motives. Pray that you can discern the driving force behind your need to help.

"A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart" (Proverbs 21:2).

Rejected by In-Laws

Question: "My parents have rejected my wife ever since we've been married. They don't include her in family functions. I go without her to weddings, birthdays, and graduations. How can I get my parents to accept her?"

Answer: As her husband, you are called to love your wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). A tangible way to express your love for her is through actions that convey you value and cherish her and are willing to "lay your life down" for her. Until now, you have been accepting of your parents' hurtful choice to exclude your wife from family functions.

For your parents to accept your wife, they need a motivating "reason" to accept her. Presently they have no motivation because no consequences have been attached to their failure to accept her. As long as you go alone to family affairs, you are communicating that excluding her is permissible. This is dishonoring to your wife. As a member of the extended family, it is only right that she be invited to normal family functions.

Therefore you must explain to your parents that in the future, either you and your wife will both come or you will both stay home. And you must be consistent 100% of the time, unless you or your wife literally "can't make it." Consider conveying to your parents the concepts contained in the following statements. . . .

  • "I love my family very much and always want to be at family occasions."
  • "Because I'm married, my wife is part of our family and should be included in our family functions."
  • "Since the two of us are united as one, if you don't accept my wife, then you don't accept me."
  • "When you don't respect her by ignoring her, you are also showing disrespect to me because she is my choice for a lifelong mate."
  • "Beginning today, I expect for my wife to be included in our family get-togethers and to be treated with acceptance or else we will both stay home. Ultimately, the choice is yours."
  • The Bible presents the following principle in both the Old and New Testaments, in four different books of the Bible—Genesis, Matthew, Mark, and Ephesians. . . .

"A man will leave his father and mother and he united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

(Ephesians 5:31)


Question: "My teens have become the targets of a cyberbully. What can I do to protect them from being bombarded with this kind of abuse?"

Answer: With the increase in use of cell phones and e-mails, cyberbullying is a serious issue. If your teen is being bullied online or through mobile or social messaging, it is critical that you take immediate action. . . .

  • Use parental controls, filtering software, and online tracking programs.
  • Talk with your teen and be sensitive to changes in mood relative to online activity.
  • Look at their communications with them and immediately address abusive messages. Don't be dismissive or flippant. These verbal attacks are hurtful and harmful, and your teen needs your protection and steadfast support.
  • Communicate all cyberbullying to the appropriate school administrator and authorities.
  • Make copies of all abusive and threatening correspondence and keep in a file as documentation if needed for further action.
  • Delete abusive messages with your teen so that they know you are there for them.
  • Talk often and pray with and for your teen.
  • As you help your teenagers take actions that will protect them, also remind them that their identity is not in what others say, but like Jesus, who was unjustly slandered, they are to entrust themselves to the ultimate Judge who judges justly. . . .

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

(1 Peter 2:21-22)

Tough Love for Teens

Question: "I had my teenage son arrested and jailed after he was caught drinking with some of his friends. Did I handle this situation correctly?"

Answer: Yes, you did the right thing. Consider these reasons for letting your son spend time in jail:

  • Underage drinking is illegal.
  • When a person is in the wrong, they need to suffer the natural repercussion (pain) of their wrong behavior. The pain needs to outweigh the pleasure of the sin . . . otherwise people will keep going after the pleasure.
  • As a parent who loves your son, you have the responsibility to discipline your son and correct his behavior. Tough love . . . often is precisely what teens need.
  • Look at the heart of this insightful "'The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.' Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? . . . No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:6-7, 11).

"Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

(James 5:20)

Because the concept of boundaries began with God, the best relationships have boundaries.
They protect both your heart and your home.

Biblical Counseling Keys: Boundaries: How to See Them - How to Keep Them.


---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------




Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts ( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.


Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship