Saturday, July 28, 2007

# 211:The Religious Who Do Nothing For Christ

This is a rather lengthy post, but worth reading a time or two. Just by chance, I tuned in to a sermon being given by D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., pastor of Carol Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 21, 2007. His sermon was on the last part of chapter four in the book of Ruth. That book is one of my favorites.

The part of his sermon that really got my attention was when he brought up 1st Corinthians 3:14-15. “If what he built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” I will continue shortly on the erroneous understanding of these verses, which has had a devastating effect on how inactive, secular “christians” are fulfilling the great commission in Matthew 28:19, etc.

By the way, Kennedy had been a pastor for over 40 years. This was his interpretation: If a person claims to be a Christian, goes to church every Sunday and does nothing spiritually constructive week after week, that person will remain in good standing with God, although because of doing nothing, he will suffer loss (his reward). This type of belief has been going on in many popular churches since who knows when. Keep this in mind: 1st Corinthians 3:14-15 is the only portion of Scripture mentioned in the New Testament that seems to imply what Kennedy is teaching. What a wise person has to do to learn the correct meaning of verses 14 and 15 is to keep it in context with the preceding part of chapter three, to see what Paul is really talking about.

I don’t know how wise I am; nevertheless, I will give it a shot. 1st Corinthians 3:6. “I [Paul] plant the seed [started the church in Corinth], Apollos waters it [teaches], but God makes it grow.” [God adds more members to the church]. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose [to teach the correct way Corinthians must live to please Christ, so they will continue in the faith], and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” If the church members in Corinth live in a way that is in accordance with the Will of God, they are the reward for Paul and Apollos. Let me continue. Verse 10-12. “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each should be careful how he builds.” Verse 13 is speaking in an allegoric way by saying if one builds by correct Godly teaching or by way of being a ear tickler, etc., the quality of each man’s work will be tested on the Day (the judgment). If the converts to Christianity are judged worthy, those Corinthian disciples of Christ are Paul and Apollos’ reward.

Repeating verses 14 and 15: “If what he has built survives [judged worthy of life], he [Paul or Apollos] will be rewarded. If it is burned up [most likely the disobedient], he [Paul or Apollos] will suffer loss [those “do-nothing” Christians who didn’t make the grade]; he himself [Paul and Apollos] will be saved, but only as one escaping through the fire.”

The above paragraph is a far cry from what the modern Christian church has been teaching concerning rewards. The rewards our present-day church leaders teach are great spiritual blessings in heaven (being great in heaven). That is, if they engage in works, deeds, and produce good fruit, which are one in the same. If that is the way many church-going people believe, and it is, the logic the comfy-cozy laity has concerning rewards is this: “Heck, I don’t really care for great spiritual blessings in heaven or being great; all I want to do is to get to heaven.” For that reason, all the good they are commanded to do (the difficult-obedience part of Christianity) goes out the window, and they naively think they still can get to heaven because they mentally believe in Christ, of course, by the prompting of the clergy.

That has been, and still is, the most devastating heresy of all heresies. That is the main reason why the vast majority of religious church-going people are “christians” who “do nothing” to promote the cause of Christ.

These next two verses are called “The Great Commission.” These words according to Matthew 28:19-20 are the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples: “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let me give a commentary on these two verses. “Go and make disciples.” The disciples were not yet called Christians until possibly twenty-five or thirty years later in the city of Antioch. That in itself says that every Christian is a disciple of Christ. What is a disciple of Christ? A pupil or follower of Christ; a member of the disciples of Christ; follower. The word “disciple” is taken from the root word “discipline.” Discipline means training that develops self-control, character or efficiency; strict control to enforce obedience.

“Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism is an outward and public display of an inward condition. Baptism never saves anyone. “And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Whatever Jesus Christ taught His disciples is what we are to be taught. The heart of that verse is the word “obey.” If that is true, and it is, what happens to those who do little or nothing for Christ? This blog is jam-packed with many of Christ’s teachings which we are commanded to obey. What happens to those who do nothing, simply by neglecting the New Testament teaching of obedience? Read on for the answer.

There are dozens and dozens of verses in the New Testament, along with this blog, that emphasize obedience to all New Testament (Christ’s) teachings, which are given to us through the written words of His apostles, etc. What I am doing is saying that, without obedience, there is no Salvation (zilch). Obedience doesn’t save; yet, as all-important as obedience is, it is no more than evidence of faith, love, and the fact that they belong to Christ.

Even an unsaved fool can see that the interpretation the vast majority of what organized religion teaches is false. Therefore, 1st Corinthians 3:14-15 can’t be saying what pastor Kennedy believes, along with many other misguided preachers. The grievous sin in obedience to Christ’s teachings is the neglected clauses silently hidden from view by the majority of the mainstream Christian churches. This is where silence is not golden, as the song says, but deadly.

If church-going people want to really get upset, let them check out just a few posts that clearly display a few of the hard-to-obey New Testament verses which are in plain sight but avoided like the plague. Click on posts # 58, 92, 142 and 170 for starters.

We as humans like to have conditions in our lives as easy as possible. And I truly understand. This is what the organized religion has done; it gave/gives us a gospel that is palatable and in agreement with our lazy, sinful human nature, while sacrilegiously using holy words to make their message sound acceptable and authentic. Scripture says over and over again, in many different ways, that this type of gospel will send all those who adhere to it straight to hell while holding their Bibles in-hand and joyfully praising Jesus Christ as Lord (boss).

Let us examine the word “reward” in the singular since it is only mentioned once as a plural in the book of Hebrews 11:6. When the author writes, “. . . he rewards those [plural] who earnestly seek him.” What was Jesus’ reward? Revelation 22:12. “My reward is with me [his chosen and faithful followers], and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:27. “. . . then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” What will happen to those who do nothing?

Having faith in Jesus Christ gives us Salvation: love for God and man/woman, which is the result of that faith; and obedience, which shows itself by our fruit and is undeniable evidence of our faith and love. The final result of being disciples/Christians is to multiply (make us fishers of men/women). Regardless of what gift we have been blessed with, we all have the duty to actively propagate the life of Jesus Christ. The word “mediocrity” is not in the Christian vocabulary.

Repeating, we all have different gifts of the Spirit, and at the same time we all have the obligation to produce fruit. No one is exempt. Preach this message to established congregations and they will vanish as quickly as a flash. That involves too much effort. They may silently ask, "Can’t we be do-nothing Christians like we were taught years ago?”

The word “reward” can mean benefits other than new disciples, e.g., as Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 9:18. “What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and not make use of my right in preaching it.” In short, his reward is not to get paid for preaching. Therefore, the word “reward” can mean earthly benefits, like working one’s buns off in making every effort to make the gospel prosper. Yes, that is a great reward. Christ was the very best person in the world; He is our only example of how to live. Our desire to be the very best Christian possible is the greatest reward of all. Without a doubt, that desire is our earthly reward, which will have eternal consequences.

Even though Salvation is given to us by grace, meaning we could never work for it, there are verses that seem to imply that our life with God in eternity is the reward for remaining firm to the end. Matthew 10:24. “And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple of mine, I tell you the truth, he will not lose his reward.” Jesus is implying that everyone has a reward in waiting. What reward is Jesus referring to? It sounds to me like that reward is eternal life. There are several other verses that imply the same principle.

In ending, when we are discussing rewards, it could get complex. But at the same time, never—I say, never—when anyone, including ourselves, is interrupting any portion of Scripture, should we attempt to compromise fulfilling our Christian duty of remaining true to Christ in obedience to all his teachings. When obedience, which is imperative, is lacking in the lives of do-nothing “christians,” Christ has no choice but to say, “Sorry, you failed the test.” Jesus may also say, “When anyone is preaching for profit, regardless of how loving and understanding he/she may seem, all that she/he said must be cross-referenced and double- checked to see if the truth is not only being bent, but twisted completely out of context by what is not being said.” And if Christ doesn’t say that on Judgment Day, I most certainly am saying it ahead of time as a legitimate and timely warning.

To make sure we are being told the truth, it is absolutely essential to know exactly what the New Testament teaches, and that won’t happen overnight. It will be like a tedious jigsaw-type challenge; in what was written 2,000 years ago, some verses may mean something different in today’s language. Examples : Luke 16: 9. “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourself, so that when it is gone you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Also, Luke 14:26-27. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sister—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” Just a few more: Luke 6:25. “But woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.” The most logical meaning to this verse is aimed to those who eat more than necessary, which is a waste, and become fat or obese. Luke 23:31. “For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Along with many, many more mystery verses. A Bible concordance will be a great benefit in finding all the words of whatever subject one is cross-referencing.

Something to remember: The perfect place for a con-artist to make a killing is in the ministry of Jesus Christ since most people who go to churches are not familiar with Christ’s teachings, especially the hard-to-live-by commands, and then, unknowingly, out of necessity, are forced to believe whatever is preached from the pulpit. Don’t get in that position.

Just remember this: Ted Haggard was the president of the National Association of Evangelical Christians and founder of the New Life Church. He was forced to resign as leader of both organizations after being caught in a sexual affair with a male prostitute. He was the greatest disgrace possible for organized Christianity.

Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker were two of the most popular TV evangelists for many years. Jim Bakker was jailed for swindling millions of dollars for his own private use. Tammy Faye died on July 21, 2007. (just a few days ago).

Jimmy Swaggart also was an extremely popular TV evangelist. He resigned his post after being found consorting with a prostitute.

All these popular preachers were expert con-artists. How many more are there getting a free ride while telling their audience exactly what they desire to hear, week after week?

Let me tell you about one preacher who beats them all: He is good- looking, has a fixed smile, and is always flattering his listeners by saying nice things about them. He presents himself in the most professional way. I actually got to like him, even though I am acutely aware that his message falls far short of telling his listeners what they need to hear and do to comply with God’s Will. I hate to say it, but I enjoy listening to him. He has more charisma than any preacher I have ever heard, and he can’t be more than 30 or 35 years old. He took over his father's ministry just 8 years ago. He always presents himself as a likeable person. He has a church in Houston, Texas (the Lakewood Church). His name is Joel Osteen.

His church, the largest in America, is packed every week and it holds—get this—30,000 people. For anyone to draw a full house every week, he has to be good with his words and demeanor. He has everything going for him except for preaching the vital part of the gospel message. In fact, if you listen to just one of his messages, except for a little variation, you have heard them all. He is on a roll; why should he change? The people love him. No one has a bad word to say about him. He was even presented in TIME Magazine as the best of the best. Luke has this to say as he quotes Jesus’ words: Luke 6:26. “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.”

If the Bible is correct, the attitude we all must be cautious of is being deceived. There are no less than 170 verses warning believers to watch out so that we don’t succumb to the beautiful words of deceit. One excellent way of deceiving is by using flattery. Listen to Romans 16:18. “By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” And also Jude 16. “. . . they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” And who doesn’t like being flattered? As long it is true. Webster definition of flattery: “To make or seem better or more attractive than is so; to praise too much, untruly, or insincerely, or in order to win favor.”

If you forget all else, remember this: A religious deceiver/con-artist who knows his stuff will never act, say, or do anything that will give him/herself away; he or she will always act loving and caring, along with many other positive actions. You may say, “If that is the case, how can we tell the real from the fake?” Only one way: to know God’s Will by becoming familiar with the New Testament, to the point where anything which is said or preached will automatically be computed as to its authenticity according to one’s rich knowledge of Scripture. How many church-going Christians can do that? That is where the problem originates and never ends. It is not an easy task to know God’s Word/Will to that degree. Lazy people (do-nothings) will automatically be disqualified from the ability to know and understand the truth concerning the way of faith, love and obedience. Of course, most of those who are lazy don’t believe they are lazy; they just have a different set of life’s priorities, and Bible study may shamefully be on the bottom of their list.

I just wonder if Osteen is aware of the harm he is doing to the cause of Christ by what he is not teaching. If he is, I would say he is the best con-man I have ever seen. Like George Bush; when Bush is lying, a certain look comes over his face, which I am sure many can detect. Joel Osteen, at times, has that same look of guilt, which cannot be hidden even by most expert con-artists. Check him out at You will be surprised. All I can say is not to get caught up in a pleasant-sounding ministry; that is, if you desire to live as the New Testament requires.

There are thousands like Osteen, although most likely, most are not as good a showman/woman. He is committing the gravest possible crime against God and Jesus Christ. That talented, brilliant, angelic man will go to the deepest hell there is for leading thousands of do-nothings to the grave, unsaved. How can a blog like this, which is dedicated to exposing that type of deceptive holy bull, survive by telling the truth as it was meant to be told by the few who have the guts to tell it like it is, regardless of criticism? Answer: No matter how evil the world becomes, God always has His few. Remember this verse: “Many are called but few are chosen.” And I know it is God’s Will that we will survive and thrive in our small numbers (approximately a couple thousand regular bloggers, if even that). We know the devil is interested in quantity, and therefore, he counts his followers while God weighs His few for quality. In the Christian world, big is most often, if not always, bad!

Osteen always starts his sermon with a joke (funny story) to get his listeners in a happy and receptive mood, and always ends with an invitation for the TV viewers to accept the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts. Continuing, he says, “and we believe you have been born again.” Accepting Christ as Lord and Savior is only the first crucial step to Salvation, which, if genuine, will follow with love and obedience. And then Osteen continues by saying, “Join a good, Bible-based church.” I say, “So the clergy (greedy for numbers and booty), most likely, will make the new converts into do-nothing christians.”

The last word of warning: If it sounds pleasant, most likely it is a partial truth or an outright lie. As I have said dozens of times in this blog, the genuine Christian life will be the most challenging in existence. The reason being, our enemy the devil has infiltrated—via camouflage, as “a ‘christian’ do-nothing,”—into our sinful human nature (the flesh), and to conquer its compelling ways, we must first recognize its evil intent and then put that nature into its proper place: last, as to importance. Scripture commands the use of stronger words by saying, “put our human nature to death,” an extremely difficult task. Check Romans 8:12-13, and the gospel of John 6:63.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

# 210: Forty Interesting and Shocking Notes

1) What is the driving force behind your life that makes you feel loved, valuable and secure, something which doesn't have the potential to be fleeting? This is a good question to ponder.

2) The things, events and relationships that make our physical life precious inadvertently make our spiritual connection with Christ less valuable, necessary or desirable.

3) There is no greater joy for a parent (God) than to see Himself in the lives of His children.

4) When anyone actively desires to change what they believe about themselves, that change of mind will eventually become a reality.

5) One of the reasons the health care system in America is in crisis is because 75% of its budget goes to chronic diseases and sicknesses, mostly for the care of the elderly.

5a) David Walker, Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office of the United States of America, recently proclaimed on CBS 60 Minutes News Hour that in 10 to 20 years, this country will be bankrupt, unable to pay its entitlements, e.g. Social Security, Medicaid, interest on our national debt, along with its other obligations. He said something has to be done, and now. We can’t continually keep spending more money than we take in [this is not a verbatim quote]. If you desire more info., check Internet Explorer: “David Walker Controller General on 60 Minutes CBS News.”

6) The only way for disciples of Christ to put wealth and prosperity into proper prospective is to actually experience the life of Jesus Christ.

7) In 1980, Americans were saving 10% of money earned; today that figure is 5%. What does that tell us about the way we live? Are we heading in the right direction?

8) Since our government can’t legislate morality, it shouldn’t have the right to legislate immorality. Personal morals/values must never be tampered with by any government or courts.

9) For those who truly belong to Christ, God makes them rich by making their needs and desires few. Desire makes poverty, regardless of whether one has millions or not even a red cent. True wealth comes from what one is on the inside, and not from what one has on the outside.

10) Any person who claims to be good is in essence saying that they are God. All humans are flawed.

11) God is my exclusive reason for living. What is yours?

12) God will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Worldly comfort can be a killer. Are you and I guilty?

13) Lasting joy—it comes from what one is and not from what one has.

14) The emptier one is on the inside, the more one needs on the outside.

15) There are no shortcuts when it comes to spiritual growth.

16) By all logic, faith which is not shared is impotent, is most likely lacking in knowledge, and will eventually fade into oblivion.

17) Genuine faith in God will always produce obedience in all that Christ teaches.

18) There is little or nothing in an affluent society that has the ability to promote faith, love or humility.

19) The less one has, the more it is appreciated. The more one has, the more complacent, ungrateful and lazy the person becomes.

20) To justify immorality in the name of love, gives evil an acceptable name. You know what I am talking about.

21) Money is loved because it trumps all other things of value. Money makes a person “king of the hill,” as it were. That is the reason wealth, with all the pride, power and security it promotes, is detestable to God.

22) Spoiled and lazy people have an aversion to anything that is inconvenient. Of course, instead of using the words “spoiled” and “lazy,” they use the word “privileged,” which is a handy-dandy, pleasant-sounding euphemism.

23) The only way a person can submit to the radical concept which genuine Christianity commands is to be actually born of another world: the kingdom of heaven.

24) Authentic Christianity is a continual, wholehearted love affair with Jesus Christ.

25) In what way does God’s love for you affect your life? Think about this question seriously.

26) Physical life is not just an instrument as a means in itself, as many believe, but a potential stepping stone, a doorway to real life.

27) The world image of Christianity has greatly diminished since Bush took office, since he claims to be a born-again Christian. I am certain many non-Christians say, “If that’s the way Christians act, thanks but no thanks.”

28) There is mercy and compassion waiting for all who believe Holy Scripture, love God with all their faculties, and obey the teachings of Jesus Christ, but sternness to those who disobey.

29) Faith in Christ will always express itself through love. Some may ask, “What type of love?” The type of love which is displayed by good deeds, works and fruit of all types.

30) The less we need, the richer we are.

31) Wealth allows the rich to buy what is not really needed. That is waste. All waste in the Christian life is unholy since it should/could be going to those less fortunate.

32) Being loved makes a person successful. Doesn’t everyone desire to be successful?

33) Some will say, “You must be crazy—wealth, fame, power, etc. are what make a person successful.” God says otherwise. Scripture dictates that “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:15. Could it be that God is wrong?

34) There are several reasons why Christ doesn’t have much good to say about wealth and financial prosperity: Wealth does not make anyone a better person. Wealth creates secret pride, which God hates, regardless of how kind and generous a person may be. Wealth does not promote Christian humility (considering others better than oneself). This is the main area where Christ turned our monetary value system upside down. This is an area which the majority of people who call themselves “christians”—and people of this world—will never adhere to. To them it is totally idiotic. It is their primary rationale to strive for the very opposite, by working their buns off, or by hook or by crock, or in hopes of winning the lottery. So the daunting question remains: Does God consider wealthy and prosperous people better or more important than the less fortunate?

35) Genuine Christianity is not a part-time job; it is a whole hearted, full-time devotion to the one we made Lord (Boss)—of everything we say and do—when we accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives.

36) Much of the foods Americans consume, which agree with our palate, may mean trouble for the stomach, along with the ensuing health problems. This is a somber warning to all Americans.

37) Do not believe every beautiful smile; a loving smile can conceal envy and jealously, etc., thus deceiving its onlookers.

38) The year of the S.O.B.s. Until this year, it has been a rarity for ordinary girls and ladies in public places to show off their breasts to the point where there is little left to the imagination. Quite often, we would see females sporting their boobs on magazines, TV or the silver screen, etc. Do they show them off because it is the style, or do they get a latent thrill from indiscriminately teasing the virile male gender? I am certain there are many reasons why the ladies desire to be showoffs. Are they aware that anything which is visually sensual is a mental/emotional aphrodisiac for most, if not all, males who are capable of copulation? I am certain Christian men like myself prefer not be exposed to this form of nudity. I have a question for the ladies. Send in comments and tell us boys the reasons for this action, other than it being a sign of the end times.

39) The tough love which Scripture clearly documents in the gospel will offend “christians” who are living for themselves in the name of Jesus Christ. This is where a majority of traditional Christian preachers are nothing more than a lot of theater and are not forthcoming to the laity. This blog will be a big help in exposing that ongoing battle: Religion vs. Christ.

40) A sure sign of Christian maturity is that when we don’t get our own way, it doesn’t ruffle our joy; we still maintain a genuine smile.

41) For many things in the Christian life, less is better than much, although we by nature desire an abundance.

42) Thoughts are a critical component of God’s invisible realm. They have an extremely long shelf life (till the end of time, i.e. judgment day.) They just hang around waiting to manifest themselves, by making their home in receptive individuals. For that reason, whatever we wish on others will, in time, come full circle and we will be affected—good or bad–when what we secretly wished on others ends up in our lives. Galatians 6:7. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Actually, this is a universal law. For that reason, and for love’s sake, we should wish good things on all other people, if possible—even our enemies. That also is a variation of the principle of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you love, you will be loved, if not by humans, by God. This is something to remember: Once a thought is manifested, try to destroy it. It can’t be done. (I didn’t say to forget it.) Have you ever wondered why a certain disagreeable or blessed event may have happened to you? Think back: Most likely, you wished that same thing on a certain person or persons, possibly years ago. This is for real; believe it.

43) True humility considers others better and more important than oneself. Do you and I have true humility? That is a distinguishing mark of genuine Christians, and can be translated as authentic Godly love for others. We have nothing to lose when we live in this manner except worthless, unwarranted pride and self-centeredness. All pride comes from the devil. Besides the devil and his human cohorts, who likes proud and self-seeking people? Not God.

Actually, we end up with 43 notes.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

# 209: “What Must I do to Inherit Eternal Life?”

There are at least three verses in the New Testament that mention the above sentence (title) in conjunction with loving God with all one’s faculties as a requirement for life, and three that mention obedience to God’s commands as a requirement for eternal life. I will quote all six to see if we can cut through the confusion and come to an accurate conclusion as to what is being said.

1) Matthew 19:16-24. "Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only one who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commands.’ ‘Which ones?’ the man inquired. Jesus replied, ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

2) This verse is similar to # 1 and # 3, and most likely the same incident. Mark 9:17-35. "As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’ Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’”

3) Luke 18:18-35. This section is most likely the same account as #1 and # 2. "A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered, ‘no one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, honor your father and mother.’ ‘All these I have kept since I was a boy,’ he said. When Jesus heard this he said to him, ‘you still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. Indeed it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’"

4) Matthew 22:35-40. This verse is similar to #5. "One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest command in the law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments."

5) This verse is slightly similar to # 4 and may be the same incident. Mark 12:28-34. "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which one is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. ‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying there is but one God and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, and with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And from then on no one dared to ask him any more questions."

6) This section is well-known as the story of the Good Samaritan and could be an elongated form of # 4 and # 5. Luke 10:25-37. "On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to enter eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered: ‘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.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ In reply, Jesus said, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have had.” Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “the one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”’"

Even though the authors of the same accounts use different words, phrases, clauses—and even leave out or add more or less sentences and paragraphs—the meaning of the doctrines of what they were writing are in agreement. As anyone upon close scrutiny can tell, some of their writings were copied from bits and pieces of manuscripts which might have first been written from memory by eyewitnesses and servants of the word, years before, by unknown persons. Remember, these three gospels were written anywhere from twenty to thirty-five years after—and maybe even longer after—the death of Jesus Christ. And after that many years, even the best memories may not always remember verbatim, even while being inspired by God’s Spirit. Nevertheless, the discrepancies or errors in these sections do not dilute or defile the meaning of the messages; and that’s where the value lies.

The question four of these accounts are asking is, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” And two are asking, “What is the greatest or most important commandment of all?” It is strange to say, but the same answer applies to all the above verses. Obey God’s greatest commands and love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. What shall we make of this enigma? The answer seems to be that we must love God as He requires and be obedient to Christ’s commands. But that is not the complete answer. In order to love God and be obedient, it must be a result of belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Therefore, the answer is to first believe in Christ;, second, love God; and third, obey, which always is the result of our faith and love.

The reason I am bringing up this difficult-to-explain and hard-to- understand subject is because on June 16, 2007, I was watching a Billy Graham rerun of a crusade that was first presented in 1974 in the province of Nova Scotia in Canada. I listened to Graham’s every word, although I didn’t agree with some of what he was preaching. The sermon he was preaching on was concerning the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. "On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to enter eternal life?’ He answered: ‘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.’" What Graham said next blew my mind: He said that no one since the world began has ever kept that command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” Does he know that obedience to that verse is the foundation which holdsup all that is written in the entire Bible? As it says in Matthew 22:40, "All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Another important aspect about our heavenly Father is that He would never, ever give us a commandment which is impossible to adhere to; plus, it is the most important of all commands. I am not certain the exact reason why Billy Graham, who is a Baptist, and others believe this way, but my guess is it makes the Christian life much easier to live by without having such a high standard continually hanging over their heads at all times. If you have children/a child, would you give them orders which they could not accomplish?

With the wave of his hands and the movement of his lips, he abolished the most important part of the entire Holy Bible: love for God. I have heard preachers imply what he said, but have never heard it said so blatantly. Then Graham came up with this statement: “How many of you are certain you are going to heaven? Do you sometimes have doubts? If you want to be certain where you are going after death, you need to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and thus be born again. Then you will know for certain you are a permanent member of God’s family.”

I think—in fact, I know—that he was implying that loving God with one’s all is not going to get anyone to heaven. You need to be born again. And that is true. What he was attempting to do is to delete the following short sentence which says in Luke 10:28, "‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’" Repeating, Bill Graham is a Baptist, and Baptists believe that once a person has accepted Jesus Christ and is born again, they can never lose their Salvation. They call it, “Once saved, always saved.” Click on post # 152: “Billy Graham: Man of God?” to get more details on Graham and the Baptists.

Now back to how Graham’s demonic deletion of the all- important part of Scripture concerning how we must love God. Let me quote the definition of love from Webster’s New World College Dictionary to give us an idea as to what love is according to human standards, and then compare it to our love for God. Love: "A deep and tender feeling of affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons."

Now here is the question I pose: Is it possible to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength? The answer is a resounding yes! When one has a wholehearted affection, attachment and devotion to God, what more can one do? Of course, we will know we have that form of relationship if we are obedient to all that God, through Christ, teaches. It is that simple. I must reiterate: That attachment to God and Christ can only come about once we have been born again. That new birth is tentative to our continued commitment to Him. If, by some chance, we unknowingly or knowingly fall from grace and are living in continual sin, that supposedly new birth, with or without our knowledge, never resonated with God.

There is a battery of evidence in the New Testament Scripture which corroborates the principle that everyone’s Salvation is conditional on obedience. Just these two upcoming verses shatter the “Once saved, always saved” belief, which many large denominations hold, including Baptists. 1st Corinthians 15:2. "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain." 1st Corinthians 10:12. "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful you don’t fall." For many more verses, click on post # 197: "If, etc." Displaying that truth is also found in many other posts as a germane part of this blog.

We must remember, God knows the future of every person on this planet. Therefore, those like myself who don’t believe in “Once saved, always saved” are accused of making God into an Indian-giver (today one is saved if they are good, and if tomorrow, one is bad, God takes away one’s Salvation, and so on). That is a stupid and ungodly argument. God is not an Indian-giver.

When we make a commitment (actually being born again) to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and eventually believe everything else Christ did to give us eternal life—to put it in human terms—at that time of conversion, our names are written, ritually and tentatively, in the book of life at the end of time. Only those who endure to the end of their lives are the one’s whose names will remain in the book of life; all the defectors’ (those who believed and obeyed only for a while) names are erased. That final step of erasing the names of the fakes could easily be called “The Revised Edition” of the book of life. Revelation 3:5. "He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never erase his name from the book of life."

In summation, if anyone is aware of a need for change in their lives for the better, the best place to go is to the One who designed us; He knows the type of life which is best for His creation. Therefore, go God’s way; make a commitment to Jesus Christ and become a child of God. There are no fees to join God’s club; it is given to us gratis by His grace. Then comes the difficult training; even though we will be living in the joy and comfort of the Lord, it will still cost us an arm and a leg along with a pound of flesh to live in obedience to Christ’s teaching; that obedience is evidence that we love Him, and that same obedience becomes the factor that produces results (fruit, works and deeds.) The reason why living the genuine Christian life will cost so much—not monetarily—and be extremely challenging is because we must continually win over the most unrelenting and powerful innate instinct all humans have been endowed with: our selfish human nature/survival of the fittest. It was taught by nature to always say, "Me first; I love me; who do you love?” and “Hooray for me and boo for you." Of course, we don’t use these self-centered words; instead, we live in a realm of euphemisms, using the word “prosperous” instead of “greedy,” and so on. No one wants to be called greedy, but most everyone loves to be called prosperous. This is the part of the Gospel many churchy Christian religions don’t touch, of which this blog glories.

Through the new birth, our Holy Spirit-inspired obedience is what will teach us how and give us the strength to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It is like joining the armed services. No one has to pay to become a soldier. But once enlisted, the difficult training starts and never seems to stop since the battlefield is the real training ground.

This commitment we make to Christ does not need any witnesses. We can do it solo. At that time, many lifestyle changes will eventually have to be made, but with the peace and grace we receive from the Holy Spirit, it still won’t be easy and it may take some time to live as we are directed. We may slip and fall—hopefully not—but if we do, we have a loving and merciful God who is full of compassion. Go to Him with a contrite heart and ask for forgiveness, and Christ will be waiting with open arms to make things right.

I am certain most everyone will need some guidance along the way. Studying the New Testament is the best course to go, even though many sections will be difficult, if not impossible, to understand. This blog will be a helpful companion in understanding and bringing to the surface many neglected and seemingly secluded Bible verses. I strongly suggest not joining any established church. They, most likely, won’t teach the unpleasant though absolutely essential stuff. Their main interest is to make us members (numbers count) and get our donations so we can enjoy their half-baked gospel message.

I am certain there are churches that attempt to follow the guidelines of the New Testament. To my dismay, I have not found one yet. Or start your own house church. Or to go to the extreme: Place an ad in the local news paper, etc., stating that you are looking to join a house church that lives in obedience to the teachings of the New Testament. Click on # 96: "The House Church." God bless all who take this post to heart, and He will. This post answers the question: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Friday, July 06, 2007

# 208 : Response to a Comment from My Inbox

# 208: Response to a Comment from My Inbox Comment: Just thought to check in on you, and now I'm sorry I did, but now I have to leave you with a comment.

You [jc] said,

Onward Christian Soldiers

Being Christian soldiers does not mean we will go to war against other nations that may be a threat to our security and freedom. In fact, we are commanded to love our enemies. This theme of love for our enemies is throughout the New Testament.

Don’t forget this: The world thinks we are a Christian nation since the majority of Americans claim to be Christians. But we are not. We are as atheistic as a nation can be, especially with Bush as the warmongering president.


It seems that all of your preaching is meant to denigrate Bush, our nation’s president. Bush is not only obligated by our constitution to protect and defend our constitution but also the people whom he serves. I wouldn't want his job, being a Christian and Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the greatest nation in history, He has certainly been forced to make some tough decisions and I agree he's made some poor ones, BUT; Decisions are always arguable at best. But slander is not a Christian fruit of the spirit, yet it remains the responsibility of the slanderer. That's you. Slander does not serve any useful purpose."

I would suggest that you continue to study the WHOLE Word of God, not just the selected passages that meet with your limited understanding.

Pray on that.

I have heard that the Word of God is like a lake of living water... shallow enough around the edges for a child to wade in and get his feet wet and be refreshed... but deep enough that the most profound of thinkers cannot fathom its depths.

Romans 13

Submit to Government

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake."

- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ jc This is my personal response to this individual: It might be wise for new bloggers to read post # 207 first to get a better understanding of what is being said. Just scroll down a bit to read it.

Concerning your first comment:

I agree with your first statement that Bush, as president of the United States, is obligated to protect and defend our constitution, country and the people whom he serves. Where the trouble comes to the surface is that he claims to be a born-again Evangelical Christian. If he truly is a genuine, New Testament-believing Christian, he should not have become our president, because a genuine Christian must be obedient to all the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Now, if your Bible is similar to mine, which is "The New International Version," you must be aware that there are a large number of verses which emphatically command how every real Christian must love their enemies. Those pertinent verses concerning love for our enemy are the ones you say are the only select passages I use; in fact, they are the very ones you and your churchy cronies avoid like the plague.

Now, here is the enigma at the present: How can our president defend this country from its enemies, with force when necessary, and still be obedient to Christ’s teachings of love for our enemies? This tells me Bush should do one of two things: abdicate his office as President so he can adhere to Christ’s commands, or renounce his commitment to Jesus Christ so he can continue to fight and kill in Iraq like other pagan politicians, without continually dragging the Christian religion into the dregs of hell. It will never happen. He can’t have/do both. As I have said a dozen times, Christianity is a religion of love, not killing and defending.

In regards to slandering Bush, here is Webster’s definition of slander: "the utterance in the presence of another person of a false statement or statements, damaging to a third person’s character or reputation: usually distinguished from libel, which is written." If I committed slander or libel against Bush by telling the coherent truth, let him, your church, or you take me to court. Think before you write.

According to the Word of God, I uttered or wrote no false statements about Bush. This evil war against his supposed enemies is a breach of the Christian constitution (the New Testament). Whenever I present these charges, I am in obedience to Scripture, always presenting unambiguous evidence. 1st Timothy 5:20. "Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that others may take warning." Sure!

The most egregious sin which Bush is guilty of, and is at the same time the epitome of all sins, is this: destroying his enemies, and allowing many American soldiers to die, etc. That is in direct violation to one of the most important commands that Christ Jesus gave us: to love our enemies in return for their hatred for us. That love command makes the Christian religion uniquely superior among all other world religions, even though it may sound absolutely ridiculous to those who are not actually experiencing the life of Jesus Christ. One must, in effect, be part of Christ’s body to believe and live as He did/does.

As a matter of fact, Christ could not have said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," if He did not give us the command to love our enemies. That command is an intricate part of God’s truth in His ability of winning over people like you and me who once were ungodly sinners. Listen to this verse: 1st Timothy 2:3. ". . . God our Savior who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth." That verse loudly proclaims that God has a loving desire for all sinners (those who hate him) to be saved. In principle, if God hated and destroyed all evil people—He could do just that, but his love for the lost will not allow Him—He would have no one left to save, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23.

Also, when Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as your self," He, without saying it, implied: If our neighbor was our enemy, should we not love him/her now that he is in need or should we just kill him/her because he doesn’t believe as we do, and is a potential threat to us? Let me repeat this. Love for our enemies is a major part of the second greatest command of all: to love your neighbor as yourself. What more can be said? God desires His ways to be our ways. That was one of the reasons God came to earth in the body of a human (Jesus Christ).

What Bush is doing by his ungodly, aggressive attitudes toward his/ours enemies is to present a false gospel (heresy) to all American Christians. This is what I mean: Since Bush is the highest-ranking American "christian," he also is—whether he knows it or not—the most influential "christian" in our country. This is what the apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:8. "But if even an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preach to you, let him be eternally condemned." Ouch!

You see, we are to expose false brothers (Bush) whose teachings or lifestyles do not conform to Christ’s gospel. That is why this blog has been a vanguard to the truth for the last two years, while handicapped religion—because of its blindness—remained silent. Check your concordance to see how many verses warn us about false brothers. In fact, it may just be that attempting to get American Christians, actually the whole world, to believe that it is God’s Will to fight any or all nations who in the future may be a possible threat to the homeland, is even more damaging than all the killing in Iraq. It is only fair to say that Bush is personally doing all the killing and destruction by proxy, by ordering this senseless war.

Since it seems you belong to a church which believes we should support Bush, you are between a rock and a hard place. For you to believe as the New Testament, along with what this blog, teaches, you must disassociate yourself from your beloved church, and thus lose your respected title as deacon. It is time for you to make a correct decision. If anything that is written in this response is not according to what Christ teaches in the New Testament, please let me and the readers of this blog know.

As to your derogatory statement pertaining to my limited understanding of Scripture, we all are limited to one degree or another. Since you falsely accused me of slander, etc., it is your duty to back up your statement in writing that I am failing in my attempts to present the whole Word of God. If I am guilty, I will be the first to acknowledge it.

By your saying to me, "Pray on that," which was aforementioned in the fourth paragraph, it sounds like you may be a spiritually disabled Mormon.

Now to the crux of your argument in Romans, Chapter 13:1-5. Verse one. "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities . . ." I add these words of Jesus to Paul’s exhortation: When a teacher of the law asked him (Jesus) this question (in Matthew 22:21): "‘Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’. . . Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God's.’" Paraphrased, most law-abiding people in the world, including myself, will agree that whatever laws regarding our inner actions with other humans, taxes, etc. which are mandated by our government, federal, state or local, must be obeyed.

Romans 13:2. "Consequently, he who rebels against authority rebels against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." True, but with this exception which Paul neglected to explain: repeating, give to Caesar only what is due him; with that in mind, we must never deny our Lord and Savior in any way, our allegiance to Him, or obey any laws that give us the right to violate our commitment to Jesus Christ. An example: Just because we can’t legislate morality, it doesn’t give us the right to legislate Biblical immorality; when, for the sake of equal rights, evil is called good (equal rights for homosexuals pertaining to civil unions and gay marriages, etc.)

Another “must” that is not talked about or practiced by many, since it has been negated by most conventional religions, is this: The apostle James make this teaching clear and concise in the book of James 4:4: "You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world [by your silence and indifference condones the evil and greedy ways of the world] becomes an enemy of God." [emphasis added]. James’s warning is more applicable in America at this time with all the freedoms we have. Although we are free to live to the point where “anything goes,” many of these liberty-type laws can easily suck us into the sinful trappings of the American culture (lifestyle of friendship with the world). It has happened and will continue to happen, but it happens so insidiously that we will be, if we aren’t already, incapable of differentiating between good and evil.

Of course, to keep this comment in context, chapter 13 of Paul’s letter to the Romans was referring mainly, if not only, to Christians living in Rome and concerning Roman law. That Roman law was the prevalent, if not the only, ruling body in the entire Mediterranean region. This seemed to imply that Paul was responding to rumors/suggestions, etc. that they (Christians) as citizens of God’s kingdom weren’t obligated to obey certain Roman laws. If true, that was why Paul was quickly refuting that notion. That could have been the reason for chapter 13.

Yes, God did establish/allow that barbaric empire to come into existence according to His foreknowledge of all events; otherwise, Christ could not have been condemned by a Roman governor or hung on a tree, etc., as the Old Testament prophesied. Check Galatians 3:13, or Deuteronomy 22:22-23. Hanging on a cross/tree was, at Jesus’ time, Rome’s primary form of execution.

Here is another reason. Just as The Lord said to Pharaoh in Romans 9:17, and also in Exodus 9:16, in the middle of all the plagues God was sending onto Egypt for not letting His people leave the land of Goshen: "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be displayed in all the earth." That statement infers, if asked, that God would also have poignantly said to Emperor Caesar, "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that my gospel could/would be spread throughout the entire Roman world.”

Above and beyond my hope of being with Christ for eternity, my greatest hope is to die for the cause of continuing the work of Christ—the sooner the better—for defending the truth as presented in God’s instruction book. Do you believe the fear of death has been destroyed by Jesus Christ? Now, our physical death is a blessed experience, a time for all to celebrate, which is the opening of the eternal door to the culmination of our faith; finally arriving with the anticipation of seeing my Lord Jesus face-to-face, although I know it is better that I remain for a little while longer for the sake of making sure this blog gets into the hands of those whose most earnest desire is to believe and live in a way that is pleasing to Jesus Christ. Check Philippians 1:21-24 to see if your church agrees to live in compliance with the reality of death, since Jesus Christ is our life-long paradigm (example, model), even in death. Also, the writer of Hebrews says in verse 3:15, "And free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."

In summation, for me to boldly tell the truth according to the New Testament, concerning pernicious acts committed by our President and Emperor (Bush), I would be subject to judgment if it weren’t for America’s freedom of speech. And even if there wasn’t free speech, as in a totalitarian regime, etc., I would still speak up for Christ and accept the proper punishment (torture, and finally, death).

In your first sentence, you said you were sorry you checked in on this blog. I am extremely grateful that you did, for your sake and mine, and for the benefit of all the bloggers who regularly subscribe to this Biblical blog. Try praying on this message with an unbiased heart, if you can. God bless.