Mike Ratliff – False Prophets and False Prophecy Then and Now

1 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord! 3 Thus says the Lord God, “Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. 4 O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. 5 You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. 7 Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, ‘The Lord declares,’ but it is not I who have spoken?”’” Ezekiel 13:1-7 (NASB)

A false prophet is one who claims to teach the truth from God and His Word, but who actually teaches from the counsel of his or her own heart. God is forever unchanging. He is immutable. His ways never change. His standards never change. At the time of Ezekiel, the kingdom of Judah had become consumed with idolatry. The people mixed Temple worship of YHWH with the worst forms of idol worship. They had taken on the culture and religion of the nations around them. Their culture had become pluralized. They were no longer a separate and unique people from the rest of the nations. The mechanism in people that powers this is compromise. The standard for God’s people has always been to be eternally focused with God in control. Compromise always moves God’s people to make decisions that are temporally focused because obedience to God is always counter to the demands of culture and the temporal.

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Mike Ratliff – We Must Remember that God is Sovereign

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth: “May your peace abound!
2 It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me.
3 “How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His dominion is from generation to generation. Daniel 4:1-3 (NASB)

The deepest, widest blind spot that most professing Christians have is that they are convinced their religion pleases God. Pride disguises itself in many different ways. One that I have noticed in most professing Christians is a form of self-righteousness that sees their religion as making them so well-pleasing to God that anyone who is not part of their denomination or church could not possibly be right with God. Pragmatism springs from a desire by spiritually blind Christian leaders to mimic what other “successful” preachers or pastors do to grow their congregations or baptize huge numbers of converts. When these manipulating processes “seem to work” the first result is actually a deepening of that spiritual blindness. Why? Idolatry always produces spiritual blindness. This blindness keeps those in it deceived into believing a lie. What lie? The lie is that God is not totally sovereign and needs their help to further the Kingdom. Their religious efforts may appear to “work,” but since the results are the fruit of fleshly methods and the works of men they only lead to cultivating pride. However, we must remember that God is Sovereign.

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Mike Ratliff – All Things are Open and Laid Bare to the Eyes of Him to Whom We Must Give Account

7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
9 “When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
10 “For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
11 “Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.” Psalms 95:7-11 (NASB)

Preaching or teaching from God’s Word is nothing to trifle with. The responsibility that goes with each is eternal. Those who minister through the Word will be held accountable. We must ask each time we preach or teach, “Did I treat what is Holy as it deserved? Have I fallen into doing my ministry perfunctorily?” Those of us who teach must never do so in way that is in any way motivated by anything other than our love and devotion for our Lord. Yes, there will be circumstances that we respond to and use as inspiration or input, but, even in that, we do a tremendous disservice to our Lord if we don’t go to Him in prayer first before we respond, write, preach, or teach. While the leader has a huge responsibility to minister by the Spirit, those who hear the truth from God’s Word will also be held accountable.

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Mike Ratliff – Thinking from a Transformed Perspective

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

Philippians 4:8 is one of the most profound statements in the New Testament. This is part of the Apostle Paul’s closing statements to the church at Philippi. His epistle to the Philippians is a wonderful letter, full of encouragement and deep spiritual truth about how to live this Christian life no matter what fiery trials we are going through. In chapter 4 v8 we come upon this profound statement and we stop. We ask if this is even possible for us. How can we do this since we must live in this life in which we are pulled in every direction and so must find the time for such things. Perhaps a deeper look at the underlying Greek would help.

Here is v8 from the NA28 Greek text:

Τὸ λοιπόν, ἀδελφοί, ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ, ὅσα σεμνά, ὅσα δίκαια, ὅσα ἁγνά, ὅσα προσφιλῆ, ὅσα εὔφημα, εἴ τις ἀρετὴ καὶ εἴ τις ἔπαινος , ταῦτα λογίζεσθε·

The way Paul structured this sentence, we need to look at the end for our verb, λογίζεσθε· or logizesthe, which is the plural, present tense, imperative mood, middle voice form of λογίζομαι or logizomai, which means to put together with one’s mind, to count, to occupy oneself with reckonings or calculations. In the New Testament, it is used to instruct believers to become oriented to the facts established by God, with the result that it now becomes the term for the judgment of faith. In other words, all our thinking, pondering, and questioning are put into the context of God’s standards. The present indicative middle verb structure is talking about continuous or repeated action so this is a command to live a certain way. In other words, Paul is telling us, all Christians, to live our lives as Christians to think a certain way “continually” or as a way of life. What way?

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Mike Ratliff – What is Antinomianism?

4 Πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν καὶ τὴν ἀνομίαν ποιεῖ, καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία. 5 καὶ οἴδατε ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ἐφανερώθη, ἵνα τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἄρῃ, καὶ ἁμαρτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν. 6 πᾶς ὁ ἐν αὐτῷ μένων οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει· πᾶς ὁ ἁμαρτάνων οὐχ ἑώρακεν αὐτὸν οὐδὲ ἔγνωκεν αὐτόν.
7 Παιδία, μηδεὶς πλανάτω ὑμᾶς· ὁ ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην δίκαιός ἐστιν, καθὼς ἐκεῖνος δίκαιός ἐστιν· 8 ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστίν, ὅτι ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς ὁ διάβολος ἁμαρτάνει. εἰς τοῦτο ἐφανερώθη ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα λύσῃ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ διαβόλου. 1 John 3:4-8 (NA28)

4 Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that he was manifested to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 No one who abides in him continually sins; those who continually sin have not seen him or known him.
7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one practicing righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous 8 The one practicing sin is of the devil for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this cause the son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:4-8 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Antinomianism means “opposed to law.” Antinomian views are those denying that God’s law in Scripture should directly control the Christian’s life. Dualistic antinomianism appeared early in the Gnostic heresies. The Gnostics taught that salvation was for the soul only, making bodily behavior irrelevant both to God’s interest and to the soul’s health. The conclusion was that one may behave riotously and it will not matter.

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Mike Ratliff – The Root of a Godly Focused Life

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:17-20 (NASB)

Ungodly focus is the focus that everyone has except for the Spirit-filled believer. This focus is oriented to self. Believers who are self-focused are either baby Christians or they have succumbed to Satan’s attacks against them. These attacks are designed specifically to render each believer powerless and without a Christlike testimony. He does this with temptations, fiery darts, that are designed to bring believers to be self-satisfied, self-sufficient, and spiritually arrogant. Of course, these are the marks of a Christian who is not humble, but whose pride is in control.

Satan, our adversary, is the devil. The word devil means slanderer. Here is one description of him by our Lord Jesus Christ.

41 You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” John 8:41-47 (NASB)

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Mike Ratliff – What are Destructive Heresies?

1 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. 2 Peter 2:1 (NASB)

False professors and false prophets have one thing in common. They are convinced that the ‘religious paradigm’ they love, cherish, follow, and proclaim is true. Of course, they come to this conclusion through what some of them refer to as their ‘thinkology.’ In other words, what makes it true in their hearts is their own acceptance of it. The deciding or defining standard, which is used by these people, is their own value system. They oppose clear Biblical truth because “they just don’t believe it” while they embrace humanistic forms of Christianity simply because their ‘thinkology ‘ gives them a green light.

I am not discounting God working in His people to increase their knowledge of Him, teaching them the truth, so that they will believe, repent, and be saved. No, God does that and uses the truth in our salvation and spiritual growth. No, I am not arguing against that, but notice the difference between the two approaches to knowing what is true and what is not. Those who love their own version of the truth more than God’s truth are using their ‘thinkology’ which is corrupt because it has as its foundation nothing more than humanistic philosophy. On the other hand, those whom God has drawn into His light by His grace are led to believe the truth from a completely different foundation. This foundation is not humanistic philosophy, but instead is God’s Word.

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Mike Ratliff – The Fruit of the Fear of God

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13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NASB)

The total lack of the fear of God is what marks the ungodly. (Romans 3:18) On the other hand, genuine believers in scripture are described as those who do fear Him. Tragically, when moral issues between professing Christians and the unchurched are compared there is very little difference. There is the same level of divorce, adultery, pornography, dishonesty; et cetera in both groups. This should not be so.

What is wrong? The sin level has risen in the visible Church because there is the same level of fear of God in it that the lost have. In other words, there is no fear of God before their eyes. They actually fear men more than God. This sad state of affairs in the Church actually parallels the apostasy of Israel and Judah in the Old Testament.

Isaiah 5 is the conclusion of God’s evaluation of His people, which began in Isaiah 2:1. In Chapter 5 God compares His people to a vineyard, which He cultivated, but which did not bear fruit.

1 Let me sing now for my well- beloved
A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard.
My well- beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
2 He dug it all around, removed its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
And He built a tower in the middle of it
And also hewed out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected it to produce good grapes,
But it produced only worthless ones. (Isaiah 5:1-2 NASB)

Isaiah is singing this song to the Lord whom he loves. Who owns the vineyard? God does! He placed it on a very fertile hill. That would be the planting of Israel in the Promised Land. However, on a spiritual level, He gave them His Law and sent them prophets. This signified in Him digging it and clearing it of stones. This is the planting of God’s truth within them. This truth shed light into the darkness removing the stones of confusion and the ways of men and of legalism and self-righteousness. God did everything possible to point the Israelites in the right direction via the Law and the prophets. There should have been good fruit, but instead there was only bad fruit from this vineyard.

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Mike Ratliff – For the Wrath of God is Revealed From Heaven

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18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (Romans 1:18-19 NASB)

The wrath of God is something that is never part of a seeker-sensitive, emergent, or pop-culturally relevant type of church. Nor is it ever part of those who have abandoned the Word of God as being the authoritative, infallible, inerrant, and complete Word of God. In other words, any form of liberal leaning religious group that calls itself Christian, but who is on the road to apostasy also, through their unbelief, has a total misunderstanding of the Wrath of God. Lest we forget, in God’s economy, just calling oneself a Christian does not make you one. Those who say they are but really are not believers are unregenerate and are just as lost as those who openly reject the Gospel and Christ Jesus as Saviour.

Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post, Romans 1:18, here it is from the NA28 Greek text, “Ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων,” The first word, αποκαλύπτεται is the present tense, indicative mode, middle voice form of ἀποκαλύπτω or apokaluptō, “to uncover, make visible, or make known.” This verb structure tells us that the action is taking place “constantly.” Therefore, when Paul wrote in v18 that God’s wrath αποκαλύπτεται, he was saying that it is is revealed now and is continually being revealed and will be continually revealed as long as the condition which provokes it exists.

The word translated as “wrath” is ὀργὴ, “anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath.” However, this is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed capriciously at people whom God does not like. Instead, it is a a settled, determined response of a righteous God against sin (cf. Psalm 2:5, 12; 45:7; 75:8; 76:6, 7; 78:49-51; 90:7-9; Isaiah, 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15, 16; John 3:36; Romans 9:22; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:5, 6).

I have listened to many of the objections in the debates done between Dr. James White with Roman Catholic Apologists, Atheist Apologists, and militant Arminian Apologists. This next statement may be insightful or it may incite some to send me hate mail. In any case, here it is, “All three groups of people resort to the same argumentation when all of their points of contentions are addressed Biblically. They all fall back on a denial of the Doctrine of Original Sin.” They hate the God of Reformation Theology because He is wrathful, et cetera. We do not have the time or space to go into all their points here, but suffice it to say that natural man wants a god who just loves, loves, loves and does all he can to save everyone. Forget all that stuff about original sin and that offending the righteousness of a perfectly righteous and Holy God and that His Wrath burns against all sin as it should as we see in the rest of v18. Natural man suppresses the truth although the evidence from conscience, creation, and God’s Word is irrefutable. In any case, these people choose to resist and oppose God’s truth by holding fast to their sin (cf. Psalm 14:1; John 3:19, 20).

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Mike Ratliff – If You Love Me, You Will Keep My Commandments

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15 Ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με, τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσετε· (John 14:15 NA28)

15 “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments;” (John 14:15 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In this post we will look at John 14:15-31, which is last part of the dialogue between our Lord and His disciples in the upper room after the Passover Feast just prior to His arrest in the garden on the other side of the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem (John 18). Never forget my brethren, our Lord did not come to bring all people together. His message was one of division. That was what He said. Also, His ministry was to reveal the Father (John 1:14, 18), to bring glory to Him. In this post we will see that our Lord even further defines who it is who are truly His.

15 Ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με, τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσετε· 16 κἀγὼ ἐρωτήσω τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἄλλον παράκλητον δώσει ὑμῖν, ἵνα μεθʼ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ᾖ, 17 τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, ὃ ὁ κόσμος οὐ δύναται λαβεῖν, ὅτι οὐ θεωρεῖ αὐτὸ οὐδὲ γινώσκει· ὑμεῖς γινώσκετε αὐτό, ὅτι παρʼ ὑμῖν μένει καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται. (John 14:15-17 NA28)

15 “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments; 16 and I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper that He may be with you into the age, 17 the Spirit of Truth, which the world is not able to receive because it does not see Him nor know Him, you know Him because He will remain in you.” (John 14:15-17 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In v15 our Lord begins with “Ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με” which literally says, “If you love me…” The verb “love” translates ἀγαπᾶτέ, which is the plural, Present Tense, Subjunctive Mood, Active voice of ἀγαπάω or agapaō, “to love as a direction of the will.” The present, subjunctive structure as, in this statement by our Lord is a clear “if…then…”” sentence. Also, the verb tense speaks of continuous or repeated action. Our Lord is saying, therefore, that those who are His are those who love Him as a life pattern, as a way of life and through this, they will keep His commandments. The reverse is also true. Those who are not really His, will not keep His commandments and the root cause of that is that do not love Him for only those who are truly His, love Him this way. Also, The Lord shows us here that we have another παράκλητον (v16). I translated this as “Helper.” In this passage the noun παράκλητον is the Accusative, Singular of παράκλητος or paraklētos, “An intercessor, consoler: – advocate, comforter.” Of course, this is the Holy Spirit. Only true believers have Him and they have Him “into the age.”

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