The Dispensations of Innocence, Conscience, and Civil Government

Topic: Dispensationalism


Levi Durfey 


A few weeks ago, at a pastor’s conference in Wyoming, the pastors of the Northern Plains Independent Baptist Fellowship had a speaker go over the basics of of Dispensationalism. 


It was a lecture format, and I felt like I was back in college, but I was unexpectedly refreshed by it. So I’ve decided to spend a few weeks reviewing the basics of Dispensationalism with you. 


Specifically, I want to cover the seven dispensations found in the Bible. When we’re done, we will have an overview of the Bible, and a way of making sense of how God worked in each dispensation. You’ll find it helpful to follow along with the outline.


Along the way, we’ll answer some tricky questions that people have—like, how were the Old Testament believers saved before Christ came?


First, however, let’s briefly tackle the question:


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Not Ashamed! — Romans 1:16-17


Levi Durfey 




When I was in high school, there was a new kid, whom I liked, but my friends didn’t. I don’t remember why they didn’t like him. Perhaps they, like many kids, didn’t need a reason to not like the new kid. 


They committed all sorts of mean practical jokes against him, and I caught in the middle, participated with them. We superglued the dial on his combination padlock that he had on his locker, we used a magnet to erase his computer disks, and things like that.


One day, he caught me in the Industrial Arts classroom and said, “I thought you were my friend.” Never were more convicting words spoken. I was and still am ashamed of the things I helped do against him.


What does it mean to be ashamed of something? It is to be guilty or embarrassed because of something you did. We can be ashamed of actions, of words, attitudes, or even who we are.


In Romans 1:16-17, Paul wrote that he was not ashamed of his association with the Gospel—of his relationship with Jesus Christ.


16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:16–17)


What does it mean to be ashamed of the Gospel? Being ashamed of the Gospel means being ashamed of Christ. It’s watering down your faith out of fear of offending someone. It’s not speaking about Jesus when you should. 


By the way, the Gospel is not the same as a certain kind of politics. Some Christians are very loud about talking about politics, but they suddenly get quiet when speaking about the actual Gospel.


Perhaps the most infamous example of being ashamed of Christ is Peter’s denial of Christ:


69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech betrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. (Matthew 26:69–74)


We’re hard on Peter, but would we have done any better? 


It’s easy for us to be ashamed of the Gospel. We’re driven to be ashamed of the Gospel by a culture that wants us to be quiet. We are told that we’re arrogant if we teach Christ is the only way to Heaven. We’re told that we’re anti-intellectual if we believe in a supernatural deity that came and died for our supposed sins.


Jesus and His Gospel has always been a problem for people. Paul, when he wrote to the Corinthian church, said: 


18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)


People don’t like to be told that there is one way to be saved. They don’t like to hear the preaching of the Cross. And they go out of their way sometimes to make a believer feel ashamed.


In Romans 1:16-17, Paul gives two reasons not to be ashamed of the Gospel. In verse 16, he says it is because it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. In verse 17, he says that he is not ashamed because the Gospel reveals the righteousness of God by faith.

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Jesus Is Great! — Colossians 1:15-17



Levi Durfey 


Alexander the Great is considered one of the most successful generals of all time. But he died at the young age of 32 and his empire was divided up several different ways. Maybe he wasn’t so great after all.


Here’s some more people who have “the great” tacked onto their names—see how many you know: 


Peter the Great (1672–1725), Catherine the Great (1729–1796), Roman the Great (after 1160–1205), Frederick the Great (1712–1786), Mubarak the Great (1840–1915), and Charlemagne, a.k.a., Charles the Great (died 814). 


How did you do? Remember any? Even if you remembered some of them from history class, how many of them really influence us today?How many really deserve to have “great” tacked on their names? None. Zip.


Now, it’s true that there are people from history whose influence still is felt today. Muhammad, Buddha, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, just to name a few. But are they really great? Didn’t they do bad things as well as good things in their lives? Were they perfect? Did they have godly ideas? 


There is only one person who can truly be called great, and that is Jesus. And Jesus is great in ways that no human being could even come close to being great.  I mean, first, our text tells us that…

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Be Confident In God — Psalm 46:1-11


Levi Durfey 


Psalm 46 has become one of my “go to” psalms when I need to encourage myself or someone else to trust God in what seems to be an impossibly hard situation. 


This psalm was a victory song, which was sung after a battle that was won by the Lord. Although we don’t know for certain, the battle that it could be referring to is when the Assyrian King Sennacherib (suh NAK uh rib) had his army surround Jerusalem in 2 Kings 18-19. They taunted the Jews—are you really going to trust in king Hezekiah and his God?


So Hezekiah rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and prayed to the Lord:


19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only. (2 Kings 19:19)


Please note, for the benefit of your own prayers, that Hezekiah prayed for the Lord to save them for the Lord’s glory, not just to save his own skin. Is what you pray for something that would be for the Lord’s glory—or only for your selfish purposes? And the Lord answered Hezekiah’s prayer:


35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. (2 Kings 19:35)


A massive army was destroyed in a single night by the Lord. Jerusalem was saved; God had come through for His people.


This psalm encourages us to rely on the Lord as our refuge. It encourages us to have a radical confidence in God despite impossible odds. It encourages us to be confident in God’s help, in God’s presence, and in God Himself.

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