Friday, October 14, 2005

# 97: Faith and the Supernatural

If you happened to find this blog by chance and you desire to be the very best Christian you can possibly be, today is the day you finally hit the jackpot—spiritual jackpot, that is. Again, if you don’t desire to be the very best you can be, today may be a time of soul-searching. As you read more of this blog, one thing you will notice is that there are many verses taken from the New Testament that emphasize the requirement of many seemingly impractical, difficult, unnatural, and virtually impossible demands, as quoted in post # 92: “Deleted Verses From the Book of Luke” and posts # 2 and # 31: “Hard-Edged Bible Verses.”

All the commands, requirements, admonishments, directives, imperatives, etc. in the New Testament have one purpose: to guide those who actively desire to be the very best Christians they can be, by God’s free grace, to enter into the realm of perfection (the mature stage of Christianity). In the book of Matthew, this realm of perfection is called The Kingdom of Heaven, and in the books of Luke and Mark, it is called The Kingdom of God. Not that we are perfect as we enter into this pure and holy realm, but because of our faith in God, by His grace, we are given/credited the status of Jesus Christ along with His perfection. And with Christ’s status, we will/must grow into that perfection, more and more each day. Let me attempt to be more descriptive as to what this perfection consists of. God is love; more rightly, selfless love. For about three years, Jesus Christ shows us what that love consists of. The Bible is the vehicle God chose to demonstrate to us, step by step, what it will take to acquire/be given this perfect, selfless love. It is the loftiest goal possible in anyone’s life, to say the least. Initially, because of God’s grace, it didn’t cost us anything when we first accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; but as soon as we get into the obedience part of faith, which is a must, it won’t come easy or cheap. It will require our all in every way. And then, by some chance, if we decide that it is too difficult or unnecessary to be obedient to all which the Scripture requires, salvation is invalid without obedience; without knowing it, we are kicked out and grace is withdrawn. Because of our initial response, we may still believe we are in the good grace of God, by the prompting of the clergy; but that is where the majority of us are fooling ourselves—let’s hope we are not in their number.

Have you been a Christian for some time, yet you are not aware of what the Gospel message is attempting to make you into? Here is the answer: Repeating, the Gospel message is attempting to form you into a person who has the love of God in you—not just in words, but in the actual possession, to a greater degree every day, of Christ-like, selfless love. Do you say, “I have been born again, have received the Holy Spirit, go to church, etc.; what else is there for me to do?” Those rituals are just the first baby steps in the Christian life. You can’t just stay there; you MUST grow. Anything that doesn’t grow is either dead or about to die. Or, if by some chance, your life has been heading in a different direction—caution—you may be just barely alive, if even that.

That may be the reason all those active Bible verses that need a response in post # 92 seem so absurd. But even if a few of them are discarded or ignored, it will be impossible to receive/acquire Christ-like selfless love. And without that love, a person is a nothing in God’s sight. Could that be the reason why the modern Christian church is in a lifeless condition? I am not only attempting to expose the Christian churches’ emptiness but also to display the way to God’s agape love and power. I really shouldn’t have to tell any genuine born-again Christian the correct way, because it is right in front of anyone who reads, or should be reading, the New Testament. But to understand the depth of what one reads in a book that was written about 2,000 years ago is an imperative issue. That is my main purpose for writing “Religion's Crime Against God.”

Therefore, the mark of a genuine Christian is not how much he/she knows about Christ or how many thousands go to your mega-church, or how much wealth God has “blessed” you with, etc. But does he/she live in accordance with all of those extremely vital, hard-edged Bible verses which, when activated/obeyed, will display the power and Christ-like faith which selfless love is able to produce? And with this activation, the most difficult-to-obey Bible verse will start to come to life: “pray continually.” 1st Thessalonians 5:17. The reason this verse seems impossible to obey for most is because our lives and minds are constantly cluttered with worldly matters. Get rid of the worldly stuff and then God will have a fighting chance to keep our minds on spiritual matters. One could say the New Testament is a book intent on cleanup, attempting to clean our lives of worldly matters, thus making room for Godly desires. As three Gospels unanimously point out: “. . . but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:19, Luke 8:14, Matthew 13:30. No fruit, no life.

The reason organized Christianity doesn’t go this route is because the message the Bible and I advocate is extremely unpopular. The church, with its congenial message, counts success and holiness in large memberships and financial riches to build even bigger churches and keep the clergy dressed in silk and satire–oops, I meant satin. The larger and richer a church, the more certain it is preaching “straight from the Bible.” Ssssure! A pleasing, make-believe, incomplete or holy-bull type gospel.

Selfless love is not just caring for family, catering to one’s wealthy friends, giving to one’s church, being a pillar in the community, being a member of the board, being an officer of your church, or being just a good and honest guy/gal. God-type love goes far beyond all that perfunctory stuff. In fact, the love of Christ is so rare that one can’t find it where it is expected to be located: in religious establishments. Well then, where is it? You tell me, and I will go to the ends of the earth to be in its company–“However, when the son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8.

Another prerequisite to living in this realm of perfection, which displays itself by Christ-like love, is that we must abandon any personal ambitions, however good and necessary they may seem, that don’t further the cause of Christ. This abandonment, along with adhering to ALL Biblical requirements, produces the faith and power that Jesus Christ had/has. With that spiritual equipment, one is able to venture into a realm that very few are able to be a part of. That is the realm of the supernatural. Without powerful Christ-like faith, it will never happen; but it shouldn’t be that way. Listen to these next verses: “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.’” Luke 17:5-6. “. . . or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has FAITH IN ME will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:11-12. “. . . ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there” and it will move. NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU.’” [emphasis added]. Matthew 19-20. In essence, this is what Jesus is saying: It is only normal and natural for His disciples [hopefully us] to be performing miracles. Actually, it will be God doing them through us, as we make every effort to become the very best Christians possible. What right does any church have to dogmatically dictate that these aforementioned verses are not relevant in this modern culture? If we can’t believe these verses, should we believe the rest of scripture? Or, are many other verses out of date also? They are there for a very specific reason; cut them out of our message, as has been done, and the heart of the Gospel has been severed.

The main reason we are not seeing the type of holy miracles that Jesus was talking about is because today’s modern “Christians” do not feel it is necessary to believe and love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, as it is described and required in the new Testament and to which I often refer. Another aspect of obedience to God’s hard-core commands is that He reads our motives more than our actions when we aim to fulfill His prophecy. Remember, it is in our power to perform these miracles, which is what He expects of us. Again, it should not be an oddity, but the norm. That is one of religion’s worst crimes against God. But then, in order for anyone in their right mind to believe and obey this radical—though Biblical—message, it must be accompanied by the supernatural in order to substantiate its validity. And at this time, but only at this time, since we also have so little faith, it is not yet possible. But just wait and see what God is about to do. As I mentioned in a previous post, would any of the Jews 2,000 years ago have believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God if he hadn’t validated His claims with spectacular miracles? Repeating, we must also authenticate our hard-edged Biblical words before anyone will believe us.

I am not talking about what one sees on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, done by Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and performed by fakes like B.H. These people are money-grabbing showmen/women. Anyone who truly knows and UNDERSTANDS Holy Scripture will see through their fake performances. In fact, it has been documented twice on a national TV news magazine: after follow-ups of those who were supposedly cured of their maladies, none that were interviewed were actually healed. The crying shame is that those who are naive in spiritual matters keep piling their hard-earned money into the clergy’s ever-present treasure chests, so they can keep being tricked and loving every minute of it while they are forever singing “Be like Jesus is my song.” That is another of religion’s deceptive crimes against God.

I end this section with a sobering question. This, by all means, is the most poignant, heart- piercing question that should be asked of all individuals who profess being genuine born-again Christians. What are some of the important and good things we don’t do, but ought to do, or what money do we not spend, but could spend, to advance the cause of Jesus Christ? This question should be pondered until eternity.

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