The Immutable Counsel of GodBro. David Chancellor
10/6/2002 6:00 PM
Do we have what it takes to firmly declare the truth? Do you know the truth? What happens if you firmly declare the truth, and Satan gets stirred up?
The Unchanging Counsel of God
John 17:17; Hebrews 6:17; Matthew 4:4
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
thy word is truth the immutability of his counsel but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God
Gods word is truth. Truth is not a certain set of doctrines. It is not an agreement between ministers. It is not defined by who teaches it, but, rather, the teacher is defined by the truth. Its backwards if we look up to a minister and say they preach the truth simply because we look up to them. If they teach the word, they teach truth.
Gods word is the immutable (unchanging, permanent) truth. What God says will surely come to pass. No one can resist his counsel. Its folly to resist or ignore the counsel of God. Its unchanging, settled, and permanent. What God has established, who can destroy? What God has destroyed, who can establish? God put aside the old covenant, who can bring it back? He has established a new covenant, who can destroy it? What God opens, who can close? What he closes, who can open? What God accepts, who can reject? What God has rejected, who can accept? God has said it, and thats how it is. Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.
Because what God says is immutable truth, we must live every word he speaks. To take away from his covenant is to take away from the bread of life. To add to it, poisons it. Gods counsel gives life. What does it mean to live by it? Nourishment, strength, and sustenance come from Gods counsel. By his counsel, were saved, able to please him, directed, warned, and corrected. No aspect of our lives are not benefited by his counsel.
God is not the only source of counsel, but he is the only source of immutable counsel. We can benefit from the counsel fo others in both a practical and spiritual sense.
The Practical Counsel of Men
Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 24:6
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
This is not spiritual wisdom, but rather, it is practical wisdom. The king is wise to rely on his advisers to make good decisions. The President relies on his cabinet to help him make decisions. When it comes to the things of life, you dont have to go it alone. When building a house, its smart to consult various people who know about all the details of building houses. Whether its jobs, education, projects, etc., dont hesitate to ask the saints for help and advice.
The Spiritual Counsel Coming from Men
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
This isnt practical advice, but it is the counsel of God coming from man. It can be a great benefit to seek spiritual counsel from the ministry. This is what theyre supposed to do. God has given the ministry for counsel. The ministry does this by helping people to understand the counsel of God. The goal of the minister is to help you to find and understand the counsel of God.
I have not shunned to declare To shun means to withhold (the active form of the word) or to shrink or to cower away from (the passive form of the word). The counselor of God must bring forth the counsel of God even when it is hard, or when it goes against his own bias or inclination. Even if it isnt popular, or if it wont be accepted well, he must give all the counsel of God. Though you have a multitude of counselors, never forget that it is Gods counsel that matters the most.
A Grave Responsibility
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
This describes the relationship of an old covenant prophet to the Lord, and what would happen if he didnt deliver the word God gave him. If the ministry shuns declaring all the counsel of God, its your soul that perishes. If he declares it, and you shun to hear it, youll still perish. Its upon you to seek out the immutable counsel of God for yourself. This is your responsibility. Focus on what happens to the hearers. Its the hearers responsibility to make sure that the messenger isnt shunning delivering the counsel of God. You cant give this responsibility to someone else.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
The ministrys responsibility is to declare the immutable counsel of God. It is the hearers responsibility to search and see if those things are so. Search out the meaning of things.
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
the determinate counsel This counsel delivered Jesus to the cross. The multitude of counselors can be wrong. From a practical sense, looking to others for advice is good. Keep in mind, though, that they can be wrong. If you understand the immutable counsel of God, you must hold to it even if the multitude of counselors goes another way. Determinate decrees, appoints, clarifies, declares and ordains. God doesnt run his church by this kind of counsel. This is a political, rather than a spiritual, counsel. The decisions and outcomes of this counsel are the counsel of men.
How Politics Work, or Politics in Action (ex: Office Politics)
John 7:45-53 (The Political Endorsement)
Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house.
The determinate counsel had sent some of their officers to capture Jesus. This is politics in action: the political endorsement. These wanted to know if any of the officers or rulers believed the message of Christ. There were rulers who believed, but wouldnt confess that they did. In a political body, truth is decided by what other people teach. Gods church isnt run this way. In a political body, truth is decided by whether someone pre-eminent has taught it. Dont shun the truth of Gods word, regardless of who believes it. Ask, is it Gods immutable counsel? In political religious bodies, allegiance determines where it stands. If it is the immutable counsel of God, it doesnt matter if Jerusalem endorses it or whether it comes from Galilee. The counsel given by the determinate counsel isnt spiritual counsel, but rather is a sectarian and carnal counsel.
Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
In a political religious body, there is a fear to stand for what you believe. Fear keeps things in order. This isnt how things are done in Gods church. Gods church doesnt function in this manner. This describes a sectarian church. These loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Whose acceptance do you value more? The answer will determine whether you can stand for truth or not.
How to Respond to Such Politics
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
When pressured not to stand for Gods word, the correct response is: Whether it be right in the sight of God What is right in the sight of God? Find what is right in his sight and stick with it. This is your only consideration. Should we listen to God, or to you? You judge They expressed that there was an immutable counsel that they had to listen to. They said, We can only speak what weve seen and heard.
For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
There are men who are true, who will not shun declaring the immutable counsel of God, and helping people find that immutable counsel. This is the goal of the ministry. Whether men are true or not, God is true, and his word is truth. His counsel, alone, is immutable counsel.