Tuesday, October 04, 2005

# 92: Deleted Verses From the Book of Luke

It is a crime against self when a person eats unhealthy but tasty foods and passes on those that are full of nutrition but not that appetizing. It is also a high crime against God and Jesus Christ when people who call themselves Christians adhere to Bible verses that take little or no effort to implement, and ignore those that are hard-edged (those that would interfere with the easy, modern lifestyle.) Although this blog does point out many benefits when the Christian life is lived according to Scripture, its main emphasis is to openly display those Bible verses that have purposely been deleted from the message organized religion preaches. This infraction is extremely damaging because it nullifies all the good—to put it lightly—the gospel is meant to accomplish. I know better than most how unpopular and unpleasant this truthful Gospel message is to those that have become complacent (just going to a church building on Sunday, if that; and being good, whatever that implies).

With that said, at this time I am going to bring out those seemingly “hidden verses” from only one Gospel: the Book of Luke. Mind you, they are only a small portion of such verses. If anyone is serious about their faith/devotion to God through Jesus Christ, these verses can no longer be dismissed. The only problem is that to accept them as a paramount part (our part) of God’s plan of Salvation, it requires a radical lifestyle change, and most are not willing or able to be transform from their comfortable “Christianity”. Comfort can be, and most often is, an enemy to the Gospel of Christ.

The worst-case scenario is to accept these hard-edged verses intellectually as necessary and important, though highly impractical to live by in a worldly sense, and then not desire/attempt to implement them into one’s life. It would be better if one never knew anything about their presence in the Bible.

I will start with chapter one in the book of Luke and end in chapter twenty-one. I will give you my spiritual understanding after each verse.

Luke 1:50. “His mercy extends to those who fear him.” Our God is a loving God; why should we have cause to fear Him? That is the general attitude in the modern church. Fear is a negative word, and therefore we have deleted it from our spiritual vocabulary. Without fear of God’s retribution, there is little, if any, incentive to walk the line—God’s line—unless it is easy and we feel like it. As Christians, many believe we can take or leave whatever, if you will.

1:51. “. . . he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.” We in America are the proudest people in the world—mostly proud of our affluence, wealth, and country. In this powerful and rich country which we are so proud of, we have no real need for God except as a semblance of goodness and godliness. We silently say, God, please don’t call on me; I will call you if and when I need you.

1:52. “. . . but he sent the rich away empty.” In the complete New Testament, God says not a single good word about being wealthy. The only way wealth is accepted as a good thing in the Christian life is if a new, rich convert has an active desire to spend his wealth on promoting the cause of Christ, and at the same time, gives up his/her easy life of comfort. If that rich lifestyle wasn’t given up, others would also desire to be rich and still be Christians. Then the Christian motto would be “Who can be the richest and give that much more money to the church?” In no time, wealth would be the holy grail of all Christians. Isn’t that the motto in America today, if not the whole world? In fact, there are more Bible verses that bad-mouth wealth rather than murder, adultery, theft and many other serious offenses. Having extra is a no-no in true Christianity. You might be saying that there is no logic in not saving for a rainy day or other seemingly necessary future expenses. I will agree; living God’s way makes no sense to the unregenerate mind. He turns most values upside-down. How far from the mark (Christ’s mark) is organized religion? The Apostle Luke brings this subject up again and again in his Gospel. I will only touch on them as they come up.

2:14. “. . . and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” That is a lot different than the King James Version, which says “. . . and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The latter includes all people, even extremely evil people. I don’t think so.

6:20. “Blessed are you who are poor.” I won’t comment on this one since I wrote a long post on this subject several weeks ago.

6:24. “But woe to you who are rich.” My understanding has already been given above.

6:46. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” We call on the Lord when we are in trouble, but do we do what He commands in the New Testament? You answer this one.

8:14. “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” How many of us have good intentions when we first accept Christ as our Lord and Savior? But as we soon find out, it is difficult if not impossible to break away from the good things this world offers. How many of us are/have been in that position, and don’t mature into fruit-bearing Christians? Fruit bearers are the only type of genuine Christians.

10:25-27. Jesus was asked, “. . . what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “. . . ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “. . . Do this and you will live.” This verse dogmatically states that there is a prerequisite for eternal life. Loving God in an active way with all the aforementioned attributes is an arduous and daunting thing to live by.

12:19-20. “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” No comment—this verse speaks for itself.

12:51. “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Looks like Jesus is a family breaker, as you read on through verse 53.

13:24. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and not be able to.” The only ones who will be trying to enter through the narrow door, but will not able to, are those who believe they are Christians but have not lived according to God’s commands. The narrow door signifies that only a small number of people will be accepted; therefore, only a small door is needed to enter through into the hereafter.

14:11. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Here is a quality: true humility, which is missing in the whole of Christianity.

14:26. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.” This verse needs some down-to-earth explanation. Not to take away from this critical verse, but the word “hate” in this context means to love less. In other words, as much as we love our family members, we must love Christ even more, and make Him more important—which will not be easy to do—or we will not be eligible to be his disciple. The work of Jesus Christ must be number one in all we do.

14:33. “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Christ is referring to God-inspired poverty. In other words, how can you be eating a big meal while your neighbor and his family have nothing to put on his/her table? True Christianity advocates equality. A Christian can’t have more than his/her immediate needs as long as there is another in need. The principle behind this verse advocates sound Christian doctrine, which is taken lightly by counterfeit Christians.

16:13. “You cannot serve both God and Money.” This one has been an easy one for the wealthy to circumvent. They say you can’t out-give God; the more you give to your church, the wealthier God makes you. They often quote 2nd Corinthians 9:7: “. . . for God loves a cheerful giver.” The first big error is that the more one gives to their church, the more they can propagate their misguided religion of comfort and wealth, meant for all who love God. The only way these rich people can ever get right with God is to seek out and find all the Bible verses that their churches don't tell them about. If they believe and live by them, then they won’t be wealthy for very long. The undeniable fact is this: It will most likely never happen. That is the damage wealth does to most people. That is like trying to take all the ice cream, candy and sweets away from a little child that was used to having sweets all his/her life. Wealth is more addicting than any other habit we can acquire, including drugs, sex, and to a degree, food. Actually, wealth is more desirable than just about anything else. Now we can see why it is important for the organized church to include the wealthy in their roster. It isn’t that the wealthy can’t break the habit of living a wealthy lifestyle; it is that they enjoy it so much that they don’t want to. So they just keep piling their 10 %–or whatever—into the church coffer and hope for the best. The main reason wealth is so damaging to Christianity is this: If an equal situation existed where a decision had to be made between wealth or God, the winner would most often, if not always, be wealth. Wealth or the desire for wealth is God's biggest competitor when it comes to receiving devotion. Rich “Christian” people don’t openly say or think they are devoted to their wealth, but they are, or they wouldn’t be wealthy for much longer. Now it is clear why wealth and God cannot coexist. “You cannot serve both God and money.” That is the reason for the next Bible verse.

16:14. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Is money highly valued? Even health and happiness can’t compete with wealth. Undoubtedly, wealth is highly valued by most, if not all, people, and that is the reason it is detestable to God.

18:22. “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This is another stipulation before one can become a follower of Jesus Christ.

19:27. “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.” This is Jesus using a parable of what will happen to those who don’t desire to have Jesus Christ dominate over how they believe and live.

21:17. “All men will hate you because of me.” At least a dozen verses in the New Testament say how genuine Christians will be hated. The main reason for this hate is because they (the hated ones) will be exposing the evil (sins of omission) of men and women that claim to belong to Christ.

This post will be extremely difficult for most to take as Bible truth. But I can truly and honestly say that the benefits of believing and living accordingly to the above verses will outweigh the seeming sacrifices that will be required to put them into practice. Amen.

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