Saturday, December 29, 2007

# 233: Supply and Demand

In all things, supply will not appear on the scene unless there is a demand. That fact implies that for every single commodity we have with us at this time, we as a nation/world have created a demand. When the demand slows down, out of necessity, the supply will have to slow down also. This is kindergarten truth, and yet this principle spills over onto spiritual matters.

There is a constant tug-of-war between our human nature and God—the New Testament uses many verses calling our human nature our sinful nature. We all, at one time or another, have experienced the strength of that nature we were born with. The reason it is called sinful is because it is self-centered. And that is sinful in God’s eyes.

In Holy Scripture there are multitudes of verses that do not sit well (are unpleasant) with our self-centered nature. And there are just a few verses which seem to pander to our human nature. This is what religion per se has done out of necessity: It favors hearing the verses which are pleasing to our human desires, and neglects many/most of the verses that demand we make every effort to adhere to, what I call hardcore, distasteful verses.

What the clergy—not all of them—does in a sneaky way is to talk about worldly things that are pleasant to listen to, and then they make them sound spiritual by mentioning the Bible and then injecting the name of Christ or God, or some trivial spiritual matter. On top of that, to make the laity feel good about themselves, they pile up numerous accolades such as “God has many blessings just waiting for you,” and that they (the laity) are the holiest people in this city, etc. A person who is a master of this technique is Joel Osteen. His church is the largest in America, over 30 thousand paying members. When people hear what they want to hear, they come back again and again. The demand for this type of preaching has caught on like wildfire. Preachers aren’t stupid—although, in God’s sight, they are—they go where the money is. Therefore, the supply is great.

It was inevitable that an easy-to-live-by gospel would eventually come to pass. Scripture gives several warnings to us to be on our guard against such preaching and teachings. 2nd Timothy 4:3 predicted this type of gospel, which is no gospel at all. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers, to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Romans 16:18. “Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” The apostle Paul says in Acts 20:29-30, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and will distort the truth in order to draw disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning you night and day with tears.” It was easier for these early disciples to be led astray, because the New Testament was not yet formulated in the first century. But, there is no excuse for modern-day Christians/disciples to be deceived. Christian Bibles are everywhere. Exposing that type of teaching is what this blog is all about.

Now take a church that preaches what is needed for Salvation; their members are few and far between. The only ones who can tolerate the truth of the good news are genuine disciples of Christ. The demand for this type of truth is not very great; therefore, there is a small amount of supply (Godly preachers who don’t value money). Church leaders are/must be the least in their congregations, and most likely the poorest. Many will say, “That is absurd.” Jesus said in Luke 9:48, “. . . For he who is the least among you all—he is the greatest.”

Another trick is to preach on things that build up individuals in their comfort zone: things like politics, sports, entertainment, current events, etc.; of course, don’t forget music with a worldly beat and a funny story to get everyone in the desired mood. The only distasteful subject most churches bring up is that they need money to meet their expenses. And guess what? The knuckleheads oblige, since the Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Yes, but not to every phony who claims Christ as his Lord, but to alleviate genuine need. One can quickly spot a phony: those who do not stress obedience to all the teachings of “their” Lord.

I really can understand why modern Americans demand that their devotion to God through Christ be easy and effortless. Most things in our “people-pleaser culture” are “I want it now,” and “I don’t want to pay too much for it,” and “I want it to be effortless,” like putting it in the microwave, or going to a restaurant which has fast service, or driving instead of walking or biking. We have been pampered for so long that we are spoiled rotten. That is why this effortless form of Salvation has caught on, especially in the last 20 years or so.

What can be done about it? Have you ever tried to take a dish of ice cream away from a small child until they eat the healthy food first? If Christ came down to earth in person and preached against the vast majority of people-pleaser Christianity, He would have little or no effect. This blog has been preaching Biblical Christianity for over two-and-a-half years with very little results. I am certain Christ’s teaching would be similar to what this blog teaches.

It is extremely difficult for anyone to change their mind concerning what genuine Christianity is. Even if Christ performed mighty miracles, just like the Pharisees, they would/could not change. There is little hope for the vast majority of easy-does-it churchgoers. What angers me is that Satan is so effective in how he operates. For those who cannot change, one thing I would suggest to these gullible people is to spend their money and devotion on things that give earthly benefits, instead of feeding the clergy the delicacies of life. The New Testament guarantees that all those who don’t live as Scripture dictates will end up in hell to spend prime time with the mastermind of this easy-to-take deception.

Mega-churches are the main culprits for these false Gospels, regardless of the fact that they are increasing by leaps and bounds. They are on a roll. For those who may be slightly aware of their suspicious messages, I strongly recommend this: Read or listen to the New Testament every day. Many will say, “I just don’t have time.” That is a poor excuse. Time can be made by negating things that are important to you now, and making learning what is taught through God’s instruction book for life, a priority. While reading, highlight all the verses that seem unreasonable, unpleasant or impractical for anyone to adhere to. They are the ones of greatest importance, which many never have heard before. No better advice can be given by Christ or this blog. Of course, this reading/listening must be inspired by God’s Holy Spirit/the right motive, which will allow some to change course.

In ending, yes, to a small degree, we can change this supply-and- demand syndrome. But first we must become aware of the demonic deception which is dressed up in godly silk and satin with soothing words of comfort, which so many are engaged in. The best part is the result of those who decide to take the straight and narrow path, where not many travel. For them, the final result will mean a gigantic transformation: eternity with God. My continual prayer is that many bloggers wise up and realize the potential seriousness (a hot burning hell) when going the easy way, where the supply and demand is great.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

# 232: The Faith of a Little Child

There is something very special about little children which is exclusive to them: the ability to believe what they are being taught without doubt. As they mature, their powers of reasoning allow them to doubt and question many things that don’t seem reasonable. And that is good, so they can live a life that is founded on intelligence and understanding, and thus make correct decisions.

What little children do is to have faith/trust in their mom and dad, etc., that they are telling them the truth. Of course, there is an exception: the story about Santa Claus—I have a three-year old granddaughter who, as I was visiting with her yesterday, asked me two tantalizing questions: “How is Santa Claus going to fit down our fireplace?” Along with that, she asked, “Can Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer really fly?” I didn’t know how to answer. So I put the question to her father. He responded, "We don’t know." Even though she had doubt about the answer, she put her doubts aside and believed. She had faith in her father that he was telling her the truth.

Jesus speaking in Matthew 18:3. "And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’" Also in Luke 18:17. "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Now the difficult question: How do adults put their doubts aside concerning the truth of what Jesus is saying and believe a highly unnatural event? Where/how does an adult get this child-like faith?

There is something all children have in common: a need for their parents. Although they may not be aware of it, it is a desperate need. If their parents abandoned them, most likely, they would die. I am certain, as very young babies, they are not aware that their mother and father conceived them, but they are the only things/persons of value to them. Does this information give us a clue as to what is needed to have child-like faith?

We got a little bit ahead of ourselves. As adults, when we are aware that our lives are not what they should be and in need of a change for the better, that may be the first necessary condition for us to be open to the thought of God coming into our lives. That need may be one of many. This may be the reason Christ said, " Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." Luke 6:20. This verse does not say that “all” the poor will inherit the kingdom of God. What that verse implies is that they have conditions in their lives (poverty) that make it more conducive (better chance) to being aware of a need for God, since the poor are always in need of one thing or another.

That may be the reason why many New Testament verses look down on those who have it made on earth. James 2:5. "Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?"

Concerning the wealthy and prosperous: If Christ asked you to choose one of the two—God, or your wealth and prosperity—which one would it be? Some would say, "What is wrong with having both?" Bad idea. Here is Christ's answer: Matthew 6:24. "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Mark 4:19. ". . . the deceitfulness of wealth . . ." There are many more verses that say the same thing. Just one more. What is the most valued commodity in America? Wealth ! Luke 16:15. "What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight." Do we value, or desire highly, that which God detests? Let’s not lie to ourselves; it will do no good, but only bring harm. Let’s be honest, and then pray that somehow God will bless us to make the right but humanly undesirable decision.

Then the question comes up: Why would well-satisfied people desire or have a need for God, when their favorite song is, "Everything’s going my way"? To leave their good life and all the pleasures and security would be a tough decision. If the wealthy profess to be Christians, it is only with high and mighty empty religious words, regardless of how much they say their money is doing to "promote" the works of Christ.

What they are promoting is themselves as role models, silently implying that it is a blessed thing to have money, riches, prosperity and wealth. With such a strong argument, who would win—wealth and prosperity?—or having a wholehearted desire to live the life that Christ represents? Mega-churches are the ones who welcome these people of high standing in their community. Where is their child-like faith? Faith is not necessary for them. Their only need is to hang on to what they have or to get more. I personally guarantee, these faithless people will find "legitimate" excuses to hang on to their wealth and still keep praising God. I am certain there are many of their silent alibis which we haven’t heard yet.

Now getting back to child-like faith. Need, either known or unknown, is the catalyst for a desperate desire that removes doubt, since there may seem to be no other viable alternatives. That need is for a heavenly Father who will care for us. In that case, need trumps doubt. Ask yourself this question (no cheating): Do you and I have a desperate need for what God offers? What I mean is a need so urgent that without it being fulfilled, life is if no value. In that condition, nothing can stand in our way, not even doubt.

A sad thing to say is that not many in America have that kind of need for God. The vast majority of church-going American Christians have it made in the shade. How many in that category have childlike faith that removes all doubts?

It is fair to say that most, if not all, American Christians, the wealthy and not so wealthy, believe they are going to heaven when they die. Who am I to say otherwise? But the New Testament says something totally different. What has happened is the Christian life has become a minor addition to our every day lives, with little or no consideration of what the Christian life is all about: Just go to church and be good; that means don’t kill, steal, or commit adultery or any other serious crimes. Sure ! Many ungodly and selfish people believe they are Christians and, are therefore going to heaven. Their only sin may be excluding God from their daily lives, except on Sunday for an hour, which makes them about 99% ungodly. Just for some to say we are going to heaven doesn’t mean a thing to God; "Keeping God’s commands is what counts." 1st Corinthians 7:19.

The question remains: Are there any doubts in your lives that all these Godly words may possibly be a big hoax, propagated by church leaders just to keep us under their thumbs, to enchant their greed for money and power? I hear a few saying, "Well, just in case that is true, we will keep this worldly life worthwhile so that we at least can say we enjoyed life while on this earth." You see, doubt never puts all its eggs in one basket. It always saves a few elsewhere, just in case. Doubt is one of God’s biggest enemies and one of Satan’s biggest allies. Therefore, let us become like little children in our faith, not only with our mouths but with our lives. Let me leave you with this poignant question: Could we or would we continue to desire to live if Christ was not the main focus in our lives? Our answer to this question may tell much more about the degree of our faith and/or doubt than we really desire to know.

Continuing, Christ said in John 7:7, ". . . but it hates me because I testify that what it [the world of religious hypocrites] does is evil.” In the same way, many religious leaders and those who believe their words of pleasant deceit hate me and this Biblical blog for exposing (testifying according to the New Testament) their greed for money and numbers, in the name of Christ.

For more information on the harm wealth may do in the Christian life, click on post # 153: “Anatomy of Wealth,” or post # 116: "What Money Can and Cannot Buy/Do."

For those who got on this blog through a directory, the Table of Contents may be at the very end of the page. An easier method to get to the Table of Contents is to click onto this blog:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

# 231: "Christ in You . . ."

Colossians 1:27. ". . . Christ in you, the hope of glory." That is the open secret which makes Christianity potentially the most powerful religion on this earth. When the New Testament uses the words “‘Christ in you,” it is implying that the Spirit of Christ is in you. The Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, and the word “Spirit” alone (with an uppercase “S”) are one and the same entity.

Since we can’t visually see spiritual entities with our human eyes, this subject can become ambiguous as to who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit and who isn’t. And how do we know with certainty that you or I are indwelt with God’s Spirit? This is a touchy topic which can lead to misunderstandings and false beliefs.

I really didn’t want to write on this topic; that was all the more reason to write on it. It is a difficult topic to explain in a coherent way and even more challenging to verify. The first time the giving of the Holy Spirit is mentioned is in Acts 2:3-4. "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them [the twelve apostles]. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." The question comes up: Did they know what they were saying to one another? For sure, it was that they were filled with the Holy Spirit, telling them that the promised Holy Spirit was now in their midst.

The next several verses explain the reason for their speaking in other tongues. Even though they, the 12 apostles, were most likely speaking in Aramaic, Jews from sixteen surrounding countries, all of whom spoke different languages or dialects, heard them speaking in their own language. No need for interpreters. Now that is an excellent reason for speaking in other tongues. We could use that today, especially when missionaries go to foreign countries, or in churches where there is a large number of people whose native language is not English. To my knowledge, this is not happening.

Before we go any further, this verse is of vital importance: Romans 8:9. "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." This verse and other similar verses are implying that those who belong to God (disciples of Christ) are indwelt with the God’s Holy Spirit; that is Godly logic.

Romans 8: 8 says, "Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." That makes only two groups of people; we are either controlled by the Spirit of Christ or the sinful nature, with no in-between. That is as harsh as a verse can be.

Of course, now the question comes up: How do we know with certainty that we are possessed by the Holy Spirit or by the sinful nature which we are born with? This, most likely, is the question of the century. Another challenging question: Once a person believes he/she is indwelt with the Spirit, is that a permanent union? There is no definite answer in Scripture. But there are two possibilities. A person may be indwelt with the Spirit of God for many years and then it may fall away. Will the Holy Spirit be forced to leave since it is impossible for the Spirit to compromise its holiness with a life of sin, or was it never given in the first place? There are several clues in Scripture.

The apostle Paul had a dear friend named Demas. Colossians 4:14. "Our dear friend Luke, the doctor and Demas send greetings.” This verse implies that Demas was a Christian like Paul and Luke. 2nd Timothy 4:9. "Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved the world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica." Here are a few more: 2nd Timothy 1:15. "You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes." Timothy 6:10. "Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1st Timothy 5:15. "Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan." 1st Timothy 6:21. "Which some have professed and in doing so have wandered from the faith."

Here is another question: Is it possible for a person/s to live a Godly and holy life without being indwelt by the Holy Spirit? I would say yes, good fakers! Did these fakers believe at the time they possessed the Spirit? Your answer is as good as mine. With all these unanswered questions, anyone can understand why I didn’t what to write on this subject.

Now, let’s say these "brothers" were sincere in their devotion to Christ. Did their sincerity come from the Spirit or from their sinful nature? My personal opinion is that they had the Spirit and it left when their lives turned ungodly.

Now, let’s turn to modern-day Christians. There are several denominations, namely the Pentecostal, many of the Charismatic, a few Evangelicals, etc., who believe they have the Spirit. Some of them believe that is why they speak in tongues. There is Scriptural evidence that occurred when hands were laid on them. Acts 10:44-48. "`While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues [other languages] and praising God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." Pentecostals call this being “baptized in the Holy Spirit.”

If some are not confused at this time, just wait. Did this water baptism make them disciples for life, regardless of whether some turned away from the faith? I doubt it. You see, I know/knew some people who claim to be Spirit-filled, that live/d such unworldly lives, which make speaking in tongues and being indwelt by the Holy Ghost a sham—the word “Ghost” is the word used in the old King James Bible.

Even though speaking in tongues is validated by Scripture, there is, most likely, no reason for tongues in modern Christianity. The reason I say that is because about 35 years ago, I was marginally associated with them, and when I saw how they lived, I realized speaking in tongues was fake. Here comes that tough question: What is the functional purpose for speaking in tongues in a church building or when one is alone? Quickly some will say, "Others will interpret what is being said to build up the church." Sure!

I ask, What keeps Satan from coming in and screwing up the whole process? The reason I say that is because it was reported by a creditable source, that while a person was speaking in tongues in a church building, a person from the country of Swahili was there visiting, and when the speaker was done speaking in tongues, the foreigner said that person was continually cursing God in the Swahili language. Even though that was an isolated incident, it is possible for Satan to have his way with people who claim to be possessed by God’s Spirit. They may believe, since they can speak in tongues, that they are possessed by the Holy Spirit. Then if they live in a way that displeases God, and they still can speak in tongues, they believe they still have the Spirit of God in them. In such a case, Satan, the great deceiver, is at work.

Therefore, even though I attempt to put Godly logic behind what the New Testament teaches, speaking in tongues by people who claim to be indwelt by the Holy Ghost is something which is beyond my spiritual ability to accept. Therefore, at this time I will reject that speaking in tongues is evidence that one is indwelt by the Spirit until it blends in with other Scripture in a way to help us to become the best Christians possible. Repeating, now I think you will understand why I didn’t want to write on this subject. Now comes the 64-dollar question: Under all the above questionable circumstances, how can anyone know with absolute certainty that the Holy Spirit is living in them? This is a complex question. Some will say, "I just know it in my heart." Another will say, "I believe it because I have faith in God, etc." These reasons may be true, but they all can be potentially faulty.

A better way of knowing is to follow New Testament Scripture and the requirements commanded for all Christians. In order to do that, we have to know Scripture like we know the palm of our hand. If we don’t know the ins and outs of Biblical decrees, we have to rely on what others tell us. In these circumstances, we may expose ourselves to credulity (gullibility), especially when this teaching comes from professional Christians.

If we believe we have the Holy Spirit and don’t adhere to what is commanded, it is almost a sure thing that we are being deceived. And even when we attempt to live in a way that is in accordance with the New Testament, the motive behind our actions is a determining factor. The motive must be genuine faith and Agape (Godly) love.

I am not a professional Christian. The motives of professionals, most likely, are financial—I receive no financial compensation whatsoever. For that reason, my motives to write according to God’s Word are, most likely, closer to divine truth than you would get from most Christian organizations. Therefore, when digging for what is required to make as humanly certain as possible that we have God’s Spirit, this blog will be an indispensable source. I have been diligently studying the New Testament for about 43 years, make certain that many of the ambiguities in Scripture are slanted toward becoming the very best Christians possible. That is not a heresy. Many may believe it is impossible to live as is required; therefore, God’s grace will cover that impossibility. I will continue to challenge that false belief by saying it is God’s grace that gives us the power to live as required.

Another question: Can a person have God’s Spirit without knowing it? I have to say yes. To possess that Spirit is to be in the loving control of another entity (God). He will not force anyone to do anything they disagree with, as holy as it may be. But we must remember, the reason He entered our bodies was because of our desire, which was prompted by faith in Christ and our love for God and our needy neighbors, along with our wanting to be obedient.

As previously mentioned: "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." For the life of me, I can’t see how anyone can believe, live and love as the Holy Spirit desires without His Spirit. A person can’t even fake it to a point that it won’t be made known to those who are indwelt with the wisdom of discernment. There is that much difference between what the Spirit desires and what our human nature desires.

I believe if we have a wholehearted desire to stick to the aforementioned rules of how we can know with a certain amount of confidence, concerning our status with God through Christ, we will be on the straight and narrow road to eternity. This I can say with no ambiguity: It will be the greatest challenge of our lifetime to abandon our human nature in exchange for God’s Divine nature. That change is what starts and continues to happen when God through His Spirit enters our being.

Even though I brought up many unanswered questions, as I am about to bring this post to a conclusion, I now don’t regret bringing many unanswered questions to the surface. You see, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what makes the Christian religion so special; it actually is Christ doing His work through our mortal bodies, as it says in 1st Corinthians 6:19-20. "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price." There is no other religion which can claim that God is walking this earth at this time through His Spirit-filled people. Amen!

I will continue to pray that many bloggers will take this post to heart, and desire to live in a way that will welcome the Holy Spirit into their lives; that is, if He is not already there.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

# 230: Satan Doesn't Care!

Satan is not fussy and has no guidelines for anyone to join him in his seductive work. He prides himself on religious people of any religion joining his league. They could be Buddhists, Hindus, Islamists, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Christians, atheists, Mormons, agnostics, skeptics, or whatever other types of religions and cults there are in this world.

Satan doesn’t care what type of stature or fame they have risen to in life. He especially loves to attract famous people like George W. Bush, Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, and the majority of popular televangelists.

He doesn’t care if people claim to be born-again Christians, as long as they don’t obey all of the teachings of Christ.

He doesn’t care if a person was voted the most loving person in the world, as long as he/she disregards most New Testament commands.

He doesn’t care if they are affluent philanthropists like Bill Gates, as long as they are unaware of the importance of adhering to N.T. decrees.

He doesn’t care what Christian church we go to, as long as we believe we are destined for heaven, without knowing what the criteria are concerning what is commanded in Holy Scripture.

He doesn’t care if a preacher has millions watching him/her on T.B.N. while he/she rips off their hard- earned money and promises them a ten- fold return on their money, as long as they aren’t told about all the hard-edged verses that are unnatural to our sinful human nature .

He doesn’t care if people have given 10% or more of their money all their lives to their church, as long as they believe it is unnecessary to obey Christ’s commands since they are already saved Christians.

He doesn’t care how obedient people are to man-/woman-made religious rules, as long as they believe that obedience is just to gain rewards in heaven.

He doesn’t care if we give all our money to the poor and for other Godly purposes, as long as we believe it is impossible to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

He doesn’t care if we desire to be the best Christians possible, as long as we believe obedience is a trivial matter and Jesus will have to just keep forgiving us.

He doesn’t care if we appear to be the best Christian in our church, as long as we keep watching porn on the Internet.

He doesn’t care if we pray and read the Bible every day, as long we skip over the verses that command obedience to all that Jesus teaches.

He doesn’t care if the most respected Christians in the world, people like Mother Teresa or Ruth Graham, live only, as it seems, to please God, as long they continue to obey and propagate the teachings of their churches. Mother Teresa is a Catholic; that church rejects no one as long as they keeping going to church every week with money in hand; Ruth Graham, a Baptist, believes “once saved, always saved,” thus negating all or most of the verses stressing the importance of obedience till the end.

Actually, this list of excuses and alibis for ignoring the commands in the N.T. could just about be endless. Get this: For anyone who believes obedience is not an intricate part of God’s plan of Salvation, the N.T. has at the least 124 verses using the word “obey” or variations of it, including the word “disobedience.” And the Old Testament has that many, if not more. Those verses say that obedience of what is taught in the N. T. is of absolute importance.

Click on post # 215: “Obedience” to view 45 of the 124 verses which emphasize obedience and much more.

One of my biggest personal concerns is that complacency doesn’t creep into my life without my knowledge. Then, I would be doomed while still praising Jesus Christ. That is why Satan loves complacency in people who call themselves Christians; it is one of his favorite silent killers.

Never, ever forget this: Satan never gives up on anyone, regardless of how holy and saved they may be. Scriptural proof: When the devil was tempting Jesus, the devil said to Jesus in Luke 4:7, “So if you worship me, it [all the kingdoms of the world] will all be yours.” Verse 13. “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” Repeating, if Satan didn’t give up on Jesus, the holiest man that ever lived, he will never give up on the whole seven billion of us.

With this in mind, what complacency does is allow us to lower our guard. And that is when Satan comes in and has a silent feast on our souls as we keep on singing, “Everything’s going my way,” all the way to the gates of hell. Webster says this about complacency: “quiet satisfaction: self-satisfaction or smugness.” When we feel secure with our spiritual position in the arms of Christ, we must never take advantage of our security by disobedience to Christ’s teachings. The apostle Peter says this in 2nd Peter 17: “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men [who might they be?] and fall from you secure position.” This verse and many more are evidence that no one is exempt from falling away, and usually for lack of obedience because of complacency.

Though there are 12 verses warning us to be on guard at all times, I will quote just two of them. 1st Corinthians 16:13. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”

2nd Timothy 2:14. “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.” We never could do it alone; the Holy Spirit must continually inspire us.

Here is a down-to-earth illustration of why obedience is so important. Let’s suppose a philanthropist who owned an auto dealership gave you an expensive sports car, free of charge. Only two conditions: You must have a driver’s license and you must drive the car every day as a form of advertising, so that those who see it might ask you about it and want to buy one.

Now let's say that car is the gift of Salvation, given to us free of charge (grace). Driving that car is the way we show the love we have for the giver. Only one thing is missing: the gas to run the car. If we don’t, for whatever reason, put gas in the car, it just won’t run. And if we don’t drive the car, the wealthy auto dealer will take the car back. The only reason the car was repossessed was because we didn’t buy gas to run it, and thus show it off. That fuel is obedience. The fuel, though not mentioned in the initial agreement, was implied, although it was mentioned later that we must buy the fuel with our own money. Under those conditions, with no fuel, that car is of no use to us or the giver while it just sits in our garage, hidden from view.

In the same way, the free gift of salvation was God’s (the Spiritual Philanthropist’s) response to the faith and love we have for Him and His Son Jesus Christ, which in turn will produce obedience, which is no more than the vital evidence to God and man/woman that our belief/faith and love is genuine. Without obedience to Christ’s commands, the initial part of God’s plan for Salvation (the free gift) becomes nonexistent and worthless to God, to you and anyone else. The only way to display obedience according to N. T. Scripture is through production of holy, selfless results (good works, fruit and deeds), which are one and the same.

To learn of the many verses that expose the silence of the clergy, click on post # 142: “Conspiracy of Silence.”

Don’t let Satan trick us; he doesn’t care how holy and religious we may be, as long as we believe we are secure (unmovable) in the grace of Jesus Christ; and we should be secure in our Salvation. But with that security, we must be on guard against complacency in that security, and never, ever neglect the necessary ingredient: the fuel (obedience).

To learn more of Satan’s tricks, click on post # 227: “Exposing Satan’s Schemes.”

If you found this blog on a Christian directory, you may have to scroll down to the bottom of the blog to view the table of contents, or just click on

In conclusion, be certain of this: Our Almighty God also never gives up on us, but is adamant, even more so than the father of lies, about lovingly coaxing us to Himself. If there is a ghost of a chance, we will become aware of our sins of neglect concerning obedience and repent; then we will have a merciful God who will forgive all our foolish mistakes and be there by our side, actually in us, to encourage and strengthen us in our endeavor to continually overpower the deceitful works of the evil one. Satan doesn’t have a chance, even with all his persistence, when we have a wholehearted desire to be obedient to Jesus Christ. Let this be our prayer, that God will bless us all with His power and love. Hallelujah!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

# 229: To Judge or Tolerate?

The liberties and equal rights given to us by our Constitution are precious. And yet there is a dark side to these wonderful rights. The result of that seemingly priceless gift is in conflict with much of what is taught in the Christian’s only instruction book, something many of us forgot: Every and any Christian teaching must come only from the original source (the New Testament).

And yet, in America and the world, we see many versions of that teaching which are in discord with what is unequivocally commanded. Since they (all unbiblical “christian” groups) have the liberty to believe as they like, who is there to stop them from calling themselves genuine Christians?

That has been the biggest failing of Christendom. Then we say to ourselves, "If they choose to believe as they do, no sweat off our backs." That type of tolerance for all types of Christian religions condones (it’s okay and acceptable by me) the evil they do, and the good they don’t do. Then you wonder why many thinking people (intellectuals, etc.) call the Christian religion and our God a lot of hogwash. And they have a right to believe that way. Deviating from obeying the actual words of Scripture by many/most “christian” groups has been the fuel needed by atheists to believe as they do. The apostle Paul writes to believers in Rome to reprimand them concerning ungodly actions: Romans 2:23. "God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles [non-believers] because of you."

Of course, no genuine Christian should or could use force to get anyone to believe as the Bible dictates. But we have an alternative: Openly rebuke them as to the error of their beliefs. 1st Timothy 5:20. "Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly so that others may take warning." Do we do that? Absolutely not. We say, "Who are we to judge?" And in its place we tolerate any belief system, insisting, “It is none of our business.” We have freedom of religion in the U.S.

Along with that, they say (according to Matthew 7:1-2), "Do not judge, or you will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Only thing is, go down to verse 5. "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (First we must clean up our own lives, and then we will be able to judge the other person/s correctly.) This section is instructing us that we must judge others who are not living according to Christ’s commands, thus keeping the Christian religion pure and holy.

Of vital importance, our judgment must be with loving concern and compassion for the spiritual welfare of those we are critiquing, and at the same time we must welcome with open arms the judging of ourselves, if and when others see we have wavered from Scriptural truth. This type of attitude would, most likely, keep Christianity in its highest degree of purity to its original intent. Then those who don’t adhere to Biblical- based judgments should be classified by those who do as belonging to a religion other than Christianity, to their dismay.

On the other hand, tolerance—which accepts many/all beliefs and actions as acceptable even though they may be contrary to New Testament truths—is a ferocious enemy of all that is holy and true. America coddles this type of action under the guise “freedom of religion,” which our Constitution mandates.

How would Jesus Christ respond to all the false varieties of the religion which uses His name, if He was living in the 21st century? He would do just one thing and continue doing it: harshly denounce them, in no uncertain terms, as He did to the religious leaders of His day. Let’s quote just a few verses from Matthew, Chapter 23, verse 24. "You blind guides. You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." Verse 25. ". . . but inside you are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Verse 27. "You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean." Verse 28. “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." Just one more: Verse 33. “You snakes. You brood of vipers."

Also see Matthew 11:20. "Then Jesus began to denounce (judge) the cities in which most of His miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.” Verse 23. “If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day."

It is no wonder the religious leaders so desperately wanted to kill Him, and finally did. He would not and could not tolerate all the evil they were doing—mostly being hypocrites—in the name of Jehovah God.

Another thing to consider: Just about all the writers of books of the New Testament criticized/judged its readers as to correct teachings in accordance with The Father’s Will. For the most part, those holy men would/could not tolerate erroneous beliefs or actions, again, using corrective words (judgment) to counter their false beliefs and actions.

In the 21st century, the damage the Christian religion is doing now—again, not telling what needs to be told—is many times worse, since there are millions more people who call themselves Christians but are not. They believe “Once a Christian, always a Christian,” regardless of whether they obey Christ’s commands or not.

How would Christ treat the religious leaders of today who live like hypocrites by not telling their listeners the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but only what they desire to hear, which many times is personally up-building? Answer: The same way He denounced the leaders 2,000 years ago. Again, our mission as disciples of Christ is not so much personal up-building, but furthering the cause He started (making our Father known) with all our energies.

Listen to the words the risen Christ says to the churches in Revelation 2:2. "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested [judged] those who claim to be apostles but are not."

Christ speaking to the church at Thyatira: Revelation 2:20. "Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess." How many modern-day Jezebels does the "christian" church not only tolerate but embrace?

Since we are His ambassadors and disciples, we must act the same way, since Jesus Christ is, or is supposed to be, our only role model (paradigm).

Concerning 1st Corinthians 3:15: "The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment." The question comes up, How can we tell a spiritual man/woman from the counterfeit? Only one way: by the type of fruit, good works or deeds one produces, thus having a wholehearted desire to obey all the commands in the New Testament, regardless of how absurd they may seem. That obedience must come from the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus, and not from just blind obedience. The only thing I would add to the aforementioned verse is this: The spiritual man/woman in all his/her purity and honesty must not only welcome, but animatedly desire, judgment/critique by others who are spiritual, since we all have the potential to be less than Christ desires.

In ending, starting 2,000 years ago, if lack of tolerance was practiced and Godly judgment was welcome as described herein, our Christian church would, most likely, be one united in faith, love and holiness. As it is, regardless of what we do at this time, the problem of favoring tolerance and not judging all who disregard what is commanded in New Testament Scripture is beyond repair. All we can do about it at this time is to point “christian” denominations, cults, etc. to the Word of God, hoping a few will realize what it means to be genuine Christians, and not to mimic the truth with just empty words of faith, love and obedience. Amen.