AVENGE NOT YOURSELVES
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
In these three verses there is enough of the spiritual mindedness of the true believer in Christ revealed to show us that there is very little true Christianity in our world today. For even among those devoted to the practice of organized religion these spiritual qualities are noticeably lacking. For when any negative ‘issue’ is deemed worthy of religion’s attention, organizational structure rather than personal godliness is turned to. But our verses clearly state that God’s spiritual way of dealing with evil is to personally overcome it with good.
Therefore our Lord asked the rhetorical question, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) And he wasn’t just speaking of the specific grace of the gift of faith. He was referring to the whole embodiment of Christian belief and deportment. His apostles bear this out as he gave the Holy Spirit to them to refer to the same understanding.
The Apostle Paul writes of this to his spiritual son Timothy. 2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
The Apostle Peter was also concerned about there being any semblance of godliness at the end time. 2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
And when the Apostle John received The Revelation of Jesus Christ, He already wrote of one of the seven churches of Asia as having within them the synagogue of Satan. See Revelation 2:9. And another already had that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. See Revelation 2:19.
In Christ’s parable of the sower, as recorded in Matthew thirteen, there were four types of soil. These represented the different kinds of individuals exposed to the gospel of the kingdom of God. Out of the four, there was only one who heard with saving results. For even though the stony ground hearer is originally said to receive the word “with joy,” he has not depth of root and withers away. The thorny ground hearer also at the beginning seems to be a true believer with an enduring faith. But he also brings no spiritual fruit of any endurance. It is only the good ground hearer who is shown to be one out of the four kinds of religious professors who endures. Matthew 10:22b “…he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
So of all those who join the church, buy a bible, get baptized, seem to change their morals, and begin to attend religious services, not all of them are actually true believers. Not all of them are true christians. Most of them are on the broad way, having only a “form of godliness.” Therefore we do not really know that many true christians. We only know a number of religionists.
For the general call of the gospel has a moral affect upon the soul’s of those who are not of the number of the ‘chosen’. Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen. 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
And our lesson deals with this scriptural passage which, as has been previously stated, reveals that the quality of soul, which regenerating grace always brings forth, is rarely seen in the practice of organized religion today. Is that too harsh of a statement? Then consider one of the most quoted passages used in religion.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
But actually, verse ten is usually never included with these verses. For even those religionists who even insist on “salvation by grace alone,” do not go on to admit that salvation is always, without fail, “unto good works.” Yes! It is “not OF works.” But it is always, “unto good works.” For verse ten clearly reveals that these good works are as much “before ordained” as those who are ordained to receive the grace and faith!
The Apostle James reveals that any so-called faith without the evidence of godly ordained works is but a demon faith! And that is no true faith all. For personal godliness within the soul of the believer is the one thing that separates and distinguishes his from demonic faith! James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
And personal holiness is the distinguishing trait which reveals the difference between the good tree and the bad tree. For the bad tree does have leaves. And it has all the outward appearance of the good tree. BUT IT HAS NO FRUIT UNTO PERFECTION! Matthew 21:18 ¶ Now in the morning as he (Christ) returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Mark 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
The ‘flesh’ (that is the natural, unregenerate man), always manifests itself by its works. So also, the Spirit always manifests its character by its fruit. Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Personal godliness and persevering faith are the strong evidences of the true redemption of the soul. For it is impossible to possess these spiritual qualities without the redemption by the grace of God having applied true, saving faith! And the expression of these qualities are the very ‘weapons’ which overcome evil! Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (That is, you shall bring upon him the utmost shame.) 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
And it is with this patient endurance of trials, while expressing the qualities of the truly redemptive heart which brings God himself to confront those afflicting hypocrites! 2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 ¶ Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 11 ¶ Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Peter 5:8 ¶ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 ¶ But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Your soul’s servant,
Pastor Gene Breed
July 29, 2023