The following represents the unexpected spiritual lessons, principles or truths I (pastor Scott) have learned over the course of 18 years (or 150,000 plus hours) of deep study and reflection on God’s Word and the shepherding of His people. They – according to my repeated and effective use of them in counseling over the years, also represent those truths most essential to maintaining the proper perspective and behavior in the covenant community, avoiding the pitfall of apostasy, and obtaining our eternal heavenly prize. As such, it is my humble opinion that every Christian should immediately adopt them and diligently endeavor to see that they are constantly brought to mind.
- You are what you do versus what you fantasize or feel (Pro 4:23, 27:19; Mat 12:33-37 w/15:11, 18-19; Pro 20:11; Mat 7:21-23, 21:28-32; Rev 20:11-15; 2Co 5:9-10; Joh 5:28-30; Joh 8:51).
The thinking/speech of people who DO NOT understand/reject this biblical truth: “I know I did/said those things, but that’s not me (iow: that behavior was an anomaly); “I know I am an immature/new Christian but I can handle it” (e.g. Gal 6:1 = The “spiritual” or mature [i.e. those who – thru their actions over time, have demonstrated faithfulness] are the ones to be involved in the process of restoring those excommunicated – versus the immature/weak, since the possibility of being “tempted” or falling into the same sin is very real. The point then NOT TO MISS: We may have all the best intentions – or feel that we are strong enough to handle something, but it is our actions [most esp. our prior actions] that most determine our true identity/ability).
- Real change (or repentance) requires extreme ownership versus excuses or denial (Jam 1:22-25; Mar 9:42-50; Luk 13:22-28; Rom 1:18; Joh 9:39-41).
Taking extreme ownership seems scary (as though it will destroy us to do so). In reality however, when we do, such action becomes the catalyst and energy that leads to change (we are hard-wired to turn from those things we find truly ugly) (e.g. pastor Rowe’s seminary letter). When people are not extremely honest w/themselves or taking extreme ownership of their situation, they forfeit this necessary catalyst and energy and their attempts at change/repentance end up looking more like the so-called “definition of insanity” = doing the same thing and expecting different results (which inevitably ends in further failure, short-coming or sin). Hence the reason so many fail to truly repent – but also change other failures/short-comings (e.g. their health, their weight, their economic state in life, their self-discipline, control over their emotions, precision in thinking, skill and abilities, etc.).
- If you are having problems w/the leaders or the teaching of Christ Covenant Church (i.e. you believe them or their teaching to possibly be wrong/unrighteous), then ask yourself this question, “Why are the majority of members not having these problems?” since the answer you provide will also reveal the solution to your problems.
Unless you can prove (according to the biblically required evidence) there is something wrong/unrighteous – as well as a massive conspiracy to hide from others what you (supposedly) so clearly see, then the answer to this question wb something to the effect of, “I am the only smart person or thinking person in this church” or “I am the only one using my brain” or “(I am) the only one who is concerned about doing the right thing or being righteous”. IOW: everyone else is turning their brains off or are too stupid to see what’s going on – or just don’t care (manipulated, mindless zombies who think they are serving Jesus but are actually bowing down in a pentagram and giving their souls to satan). What such answers reveal as the only reasonable, sane and biblical solution to your problems: you admitting to – and repenting of – your ridiculously high, arrogant, conceited and delusional view of yourself (Rom 12:3a w/16; you are the Bible’s definition of a fool – Pro 12:15, 26:12; Isa 5:21; “right in his own eyes” = believing yourself to be the only one smart enough to know what is right – Deu 12:8; Jug 17:6, 21:25; also Jud 1:8-10; 3Jo 1:9-10).
- Never act like you do know what you don’t know (Deu 29:29 w/Deu 17:6 w/19:15…16-19 w/1Co 4:5; Pro 18:17; Rom 12:3b – “sober judgment” = judgment according to the Law – 1Ti 5:19; Mat 18:15-17; Jam 4:11-12 w/Deu 18:20; Psa 19:13).
Unless the biblically required evidence exists (Deu 17:6), you don’t think or believe anything (good or bad) – about anything they say/do. As a result, you are not negatively affected by what they say/do – in suspicion of what they say/do – or passing judgment on what they say/do. As it relates to your brothers/sisters in Christ this means you trust and believe them and their actions to be good/righteous even though such actions may confuse, surprise or go against your personal preferences or opinions. IOW: you give ZERO thought to anything being wrong and think only the best in relation to them. BTW: this is not shutting your brain off. Rather it is using it in the way God prescribed (no knowledge = no judgment). This is how we practice justice in all things and show true love for all people (Lev 19:15-16 w/18).
- Never act like you don’t know what you do know.
5.1. What acting like you don’t know what you do know looks like = You play dumb to (and attempt to cover up) what you know is really going on in your heart or life – or the life of others.
5.2. What never acting this way looks like = Practicing justice and love in relation to all people and all things! In the form of: transparency and courageous, justice seeking honesty (w/yourself and w/others) (Lev 19:17-18).
5.3. (Pro 21:2) “right in his own eyes” = Act dumb about what you know is wrong/make something that is wrong look right; “but the Lord weighs the heart” = God knows what we are attempting to hide as our real intentions/motives/thoughts (Pro 24:12; Psa 10:11-13; Psa 36:1-2; Heb 4:12-13; Jam 5:16; e.g. Watching tv shows/movies/videos/reading or listening to stuff you know is sinful but play dumb to – esp. if confronted by others; [movie] Shazam! ~ “We all have a bit of superhero in us, it just takes a little magic to bring it out.” = A young boy is transported to the Rock of Eternity, a magical temple hidden in another dimension. He meets the ancient wizard Shazam, last of the Council of Wizards, who grants him magical super-powers for fighting evil; [tv] Breaking Bad [synopsis] = A struggling and depressed high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with stage-3 lung cancer turns to a life of crime by producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine to secure his family’s financial future before he dies; e.g. Pretending/acting like the spiritual state of friends and family is okay when you know it is not – Eze 33:7-9; e.g. Covering up/not exposing the sin/rebellion of your brother/sister [this includes spouses and children] – Eph 5:11-17; Pro 26:17-26; Pro 27:6; Deu 13:12-14 w/8). At the heart of all self-deception is the lie that I can play dumb to what I know and God wb fooled into thinking my rebellion was done in pure ignorance and w/the best intentions in mind. Hence the reason most who apostasize do so under the banner of “fighting for righteousness/God” – Joh 6:66).
5.4. POINT NOT TO MISS = Acting dumb to what you know to be true (about yourself or others’ spiritual walk/heart) means you have begun the process of toying w/a different gospel – one that that believes such folly (and hiding) wb accommodated by God (Mat 7:13-14; Psa 10:11-13).
- Making the grade and making improvements are not the same thing.
6.1. Making the grade = Living a life characterized by obedience (i.e. faithfulness) to all those commands of God you are aware of as a covenant member.
6.2. Making improvements = You are doing better in your obedience than you used to – but are still not characterized by it in relation to all His known commands.
6.3. You must be found faithful to all of those commands you know as a covenant member to get to heaven (Jam 2:8-11; e.g. Deu 6:1-9).
- Only after receiving approval through God’s process of justice, can you refuse to submit to the authority, instruction and/or discipline of the elders in Christ’s church and expect to go to heaven.
7.1. Refuse to submit to the authority, instruction and/or discipline of the elders in Christ’s church = Choose to ignore/disobey/condemn what the pastor(s) of a legitimate, biblically-defined church (i.e. assembly of professing believers preaching and practicing the biblical gospel w/a biblically qualified pastor – Act 11:19-26) tell you to do –including what is taught in the pulpit.
7.2.Only after receiving approval through God’s process of justice = We must bring our accusations/case for not submitting (to the elders) before the church’s court and be found innocent by the process of justice established by God’s as the means for dealing w/such cases or accusations in the covenant community.
7.3. Expect to go to heaven = The person guilty of such a crime is viewed as apostate by God (i.e. guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit).
7.4. (Mat 18:15-20) “church” = Her courts/judges: elders w/the support of the Scriptures and the congregation (Mat 16:18 -19= The church is built – or established, on the authority of her elders. Hence why v19 w/Joh 20:21-23 = Jesus passed on to them the authority of the HS, He possessed while on earth – Mat 12:22-32; see also Heb 13:17 and Act 15:13-22). To therefore not “listen” to what the elders say (which would therefore include what they teach – e.g. Gal 2:1-2; Act 15), means that Jesus also stands against you as one who has committed blasphemy of the HS and permanently forfeited your former justification/salvation (17b-20; Heb 10:26-30; Deu 29:18-20; Deu 17:12 w/Num 15:30-31).
The process of justice for determining unrighteousness: 1) making your brother/sister (elder) aware of their crime (15; Lev 19:17), 2) refusing to function as a malicious witness/refusing to make accusations w/o the necessary evidence (16; 1Ti 2:19; Deu 17:6, 19:15-16), 3) taking it to God’s established court/judges – i.e. the elders and congregation, to investigate and pass judgment (17; 1Co 6:1-5; Lev 19:5; Deu 16:18, 17:4, 9, 19:18).
 Paul makes the members of the church subject to censures for the correction of their vices, and intimates the existence of tribunals from which no believer is exempted. This power, as we have already stated, did not belong to an individual who could exercise it as he pleased, but belonged to the consistory of elders, which was in the church what a council is in a city. If no society, or, no house with even a moderate family can be kept in a right state without discipline, much more necessary is it in the church, whose state ought to be the best ordered as possible. Hence as the saving doctrine of Christ is the life of the church, so discipline is, as it were, its sinews; for to it is owing that the members of the body adhere together, each in its own place. Wherefore, all who either wish that discipline were abolished, or who impede the restoration of it, whether they do this by design or through thoughtlessness, certainly aim at the complete devastation of the church. The legitimate course to be taken, as shown by Paul is not for the elders alone to act apart from others, but with the knowledge and approbation of the church, so that the body of people, without regulating the procedure, may, as witnesses and guardians, observe it, and prevent the few from doing anything capriciously.