In the last days

November 24, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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With all that is going on in the world today, I’m really surprised how little is being said on the latter days. The times that we are in seem, to me at least, to be those latter days. Much of scripture talks about what is coming in the last days. The Bible says that the last days will involve horrible events that continue to get worse. What is interesting to me is that the church seems to be saying very little about these times. Many pastors today won’t even touch the topic or what scripture says. Instead, they spend most of their time telling Christians how to be happy, wealthy, and healthy. They spend their time telling others what they want to hear and not warning them of what’s to come.

 

This, too, is in scripture. If many of America’s preachers do talk about the “last days”, they end up focusing on Joel 2. What’s even sadder is the fact that they don’t even focus on all of Joel 2. They only focus on the part the says what they like:

 

Joe 2:28  “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.

Joe 2:29  “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

 

This is all that many pastors talk about when they speak of the last days. The Bible says a lot more about the last days. They are times that both Christian and non-Christian alike need to know about.

 

In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul warns Timothy that the Spirit says that in the last days many will fall away from the faith:

 

1Ti 4:1  But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

1Ti 4:2  by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

1Ti 4:3  men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

 

Paul says that those who fall away from the faith will do so because they pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. They will also pay attention to the hypocrisy of liars who have been seared in their conscience. Peter says that these people will follow their own sensuality and malign the way of truth. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul again describes these people and warns Timothy about them. He tells Timothy that they “will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, reacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power”. Sadly, the churches of today seem to be full of these very people. As I said above, many of the messages being preached are focused on health, wealth, and happiness. They are messages that are based on scripture taken out of context and twisted to “fit” the desires of the listeners. All the while, the Christians and non-Christians who hear these messages sit oblivious to the truth of the times that we live in because they are focused on “what God is doing in their lives”.

 

It is sad that we are not warning others of what is to come. The Bible says that all of the things that we are seeing going on are signs of the end times. The time for Jesus’ return is constantly approaching closer to us. Christ Himself has spoken about all the famines, earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, and other events. The truth is that we are to be warning others of the judgment to come. We are to remind ourselves, and others, of the terrible justice that will come when Christ returns. The Bible says that when Christ returns, He is coming to bring justice to the world. Those who have rejected Him will be seen as an enemy.

 

So where are all the Christians? Where are those who are truly “watchmen on the wall” who are warning of the danger to come (Ezekiel 33:1-6)? Why are we not doing everything we can to tell others of what’s coming? Why have we allowed the church to be filled with people who preach false gospels? Why do we allow people to call themselves Christians when we know that they are not living according to scripture? Why are we so afraid to speak the truth to those around us who profess the name of Christ and mock Him with their words, their lives, and their actions?

 

What will it take for us to get off of our butts and actually start living the way we’re supposed to? What will it take for us to stop focusing on our bank accounts and our health and start focusing on the horrible, despicable, moral depravity that is IN THE CHURCH! I’m not even talking about the world(although there’s plenty of it there too)…I’m talking about the church. What would happen if we truly loved the Lord? What would happen if we truly held God and His Word as high and holy as it should be? What would happen if we stopped pretending that we’re living right and started actually living it out? Will it take us losing every freedom we have before we cry out to God? Will it take Christians losing the ability to speak out against sin to actually wake up? I doubt it. Most churches don’t speak out against sin as it is. Will it take Christians losing the freedom to worship openly before they start speaking up? Will it take Christians having to meet secretly in houses or underground before we turn back to the Lord? The things that the church has neglected to do should weigh heavily on her and cause her to grieve greatly. It should be something that drives each and every member of the body to take every opportunity to preach the truth.

 

When I say preach the truth, I’m not talking about telling them “Jesus loves you”. I’m not talking about telling them how “wonderful” Jesus will make their lives. When I talk about preaching the gospel, I’m talking about telling others that if they die without Christ, they will find themselves in an eternal hell without God. They will spend eternity in judgment because their sins were not paid for.

 

What will it take, church?

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Crossover apologies

November 24, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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I apologize for not having a crossover blog post on Wednesday. The person I was supposed to pick a design from never got back to me and it fell through! I will have one next month though! In the meantime, take a look at the other blogs participating and see what they’re blogging about!

 

 

https://ateasetees.wordpress.com/

http://www.blogbydonna.com/

http://getyergoat-goatgifts.blogspot.com

http://www.nanwrightart.com

http://randomshirts.blogspot.com/

http://skeetzteez.blogspot.com/

http://idesignbrian.wordpress.com/

http://www.shopkeeperdesigns.com

http://autismshowucare.blogspot.com

http://www.gocamelphotos.blogspot.com/

http://einselgaenger.blogspot.com/

http://beflip.blogspot.com/

The name of God is blasphemed because of you

November 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Christianity | 6 Comments
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Rom 2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

Rom 2:2  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

Rom 2:3  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Rom 2:4  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Rom 2:5  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

Rom 2:6  who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

Rom 2:7  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

Rom 2:8  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

Rom 2:9  There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,

Rom 2:10  but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Rom 2:11  For there is no partiality with God.

Rom 2:12  For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

Rom 2:13  for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

Rom 2:14  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

Rom 2:15  in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

Rom 2:16  on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Rom 2:17  But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Rom 2:18  and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

Rom 2:19  and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

Rom 2:20  a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

Rom 2:21  you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

Rom 2:22  You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

Rom 2:23  You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?

Rom 2:24  For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

Rom 2:25  For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

Rom 2:26  So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Rom 2:27  And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

 

I know this is a long passage. To be honest, I could have made it longer by putting up chapter 1 as well. The therefore at the beginning of the chapter connects it to what Paul was talking about in chapter 1. At the end of the first chapter, Paul talks about those who have turned away from God. They knew God and turned their back on Him. They didn’t/don’t honor Him as God and now they speculate foolishly about God and His creation. They call themselves wise, even though their fools. They worship the creature instead of their Creator. Because of this, God has given them over to their lusts. He’s allowed them to drift farther and farther away from Him because that’s what they wanted. They have gotten so far from Him that “women have the natural function for that which is unnatural” and “the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Paul then goes on to give a list of things that describe these people.

 

In the second chapter, Paul continues explaining and gets to the heart of the matter. It is something that grieves me to see happening today. Paul continues talking to the hypocrites and tells them that the name of God is blasphemed because of them. They have been judging others and practicing the same sins they’ve been judging. This doesn’t mean that Christians shouldn’t judge. I know many will throw out Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”. But, Jesus also said, in John 7:24, “judge not by appearance but by righteous judgment”. We are to judge with righteous judgment, and that judgment only comes from God. When we line up our lives and those of others to the Word of God, if there are discrepancies, we have a responsibility to point them out with the right attitude. We don’t become their judge and we don’t hold it over them, but we do let them know the truth of their predicament and what could happen if they continue to live in sin.

 

Paul also says that it’s not someone who calls themselves a Jew that’s a Jew. It doesn’t matter if you do the rituals. That’s not what makes you a Jew. If you call yourself a Jew and transgress the Law, you are no better than a Gentile. But the one who has had his heart circumcised by the Spirit is a Jew. Someone who calls themselves a Christian and does all the outward things to “prove” they’re a Christian but doesn’t obey the gospel, isn’t a Christian at all.

 

There are numerous people today in the church who live like this. They go to Sunday school and church on Sunday. They are there on Wednesday nights. They can pray out loud in front of others like nobody’s business. They can speak the “lingo” and have all the right Christianese phrases, but they hearts are far from God. They can mimic their pastors and teachers, but don’t know (or care) whether what is coming from them is correct. They feel good about themselves and want others to feel good about them. They chase prosperity and health and teach others to do the same thinking that they’re fulfilling the great commission. They judge others and practice the same sins. They think that they are above the judgment of God and are arrogant and self-righteous. They boast in the Law or in their own works. They know God’s will and choose not to obey it. They are confident that they’re living a righteous life and get upset when someone gives even the slightest hint that they might not be.

 

The most horrible effect of this, other than the fact that they’re deceived into thinking they’re Christians, is the fact that God’s name is being blasphemed because of them. The name above all names. The name by which every man, woman, and child will be saved. The name at which every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The name that is so holy to the Jews that they won’t even write it out. This name is being blasphemed because of those who call themselves Christians and don’t live like it. Paul tells the Romans that they non-believers are watching them and blaspheming the name of God because they see “believers” acting just as immoral and unholy as they are. Sadly, it’s still going on today and it seems to be even worse than ever.

 

I’ve talked to many friends who are waiters or waitresses at restaurants and they all agree that Sundays are the worst day to work. It’s not because of the fact that they miss church. It’s because of the “church crowd”. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that the “Christians” who come from church are some of the most rude, obnoxious, ungrateful people to serve. They don’t tip well (if they tip at all), and they have an air about them like they’re royalty. How does this look to those servers who aren’t Christians? They see the attitude of the “church-goers” and how they are treated by them, and have a horrible view of God and the church because of it!

 

There have been numerous times over the years of those leading a church being caught up in a sexual scandal. The world sees this and scoffs. To their eyes, God obviously isn’t powerful enough to help His people stay away from that. They see pastors/clergy/preachers as hypocrites (and they are) because they preach truth, righteousness, and chastity in the pulpit, and then disobey what they’ve just preached.

 

Another reason the name of God is blasphemed is because of the false prophets, false teachers, televangelists, and prosperity preachers. People like Peter Popoff talk all about God and say the right things in their “crusades” and bilk thousands of people out of millions of dollars a year. When it was shown that Popoff was a fraud, he wasn’t the one that was affected. It was God’s name that was blasphemed and Christianity was ridiculed. Popoff was just “another one of them preachers”. The same goes for the numerous (and the numbers seem to be growing) prosperity preachers. People like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Bill Winston, Jerry Savelle, Benny Hinn, and many others preach a man centered message that skews the truth of scripture and portrays a false Jesus. They teach that Christians should be healthy and wealthy because “it’s their right as Christians”. They teach that we have some sort of “mandate” from heaven to be rich and healthy. They teach that God needs our permission before He can take action here on earth. It’s all false. There is nothing in scripture that supports this. People who preach this type of message sound like a broken record. They preach the same messages and same scriptures over and over again. They take scriptures out of context to support their false teaching and constantly ask for money to support their ministry so that their followers can be “blessed”. But where does all the money that gets “sown” into their “ministries” go? I’m sure that some of it goes to good things, but is a 6 million dollar mansion necessary? Another more recent example of this is the Lakeland “revival” that took place in Florida. Todd Bentley, the leader of the revival, claimed that thousands were saved and healed. There were even claims that people rose from the dead. There was no documentation to show any of this. In fact, there were some cases of people dying because an expected healing didn’t come. And the shenanigans that went on just gave non-Christians another reason to blaspheme God’s name.

 

There are many instances of false prophets as well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say they’ve had a “Word from the Lord” and it hasn’t come to pass. Many of these people are the same ones that preach the prosperity message. There are others though. I lost track of the number of times that I heard someone say that God told them that John McCain and Sarah Palin would win the election because “they were raised up for such a time as this”. One prominent person who “prophesied” this was Dutch Sheets. In case you’ve been in a cave somewhere, that didn’t happen. So, according to the scriptures, those who “prophesied” this are false prophets. So what was the response of Mr. Sheets when his “prophecy” didn’t come to pass? It was because God’s people didn’t stand up and vote like they should have. Mr. Sheets said that this election was not the will of God. Um…whose will was it then? Doesn’t scripture say that God is the one that puts kings and rulers into place and takes them out? First, as a false prophet in the Old Testament, Mr. Sheets would have been stoned to death by the nation. Second, if I understand Mr. Sheets correctly, he’s saying that the reason the “Word” that God gave him didn’t come to pass was the fault of God’s people. Where is this in scripture Mr. Sheets? If we look in the Bible where would we find this? As a matter of fact, let’s just look at the book of Genesis and the “Words” God gave.

 

In Genesis 3, God tells Adam and Eve of the seed of the woman. Women don’t have seed. And yet, in God’s time, a young virgin woman conceived by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word came to pass, even though Herod tried to kill all the kids two years old and younger. Even though many other things tried to thwart the plan of God.

 

In Genesis 12, God tells Abraham that He will bless him and make him out of a great nation. In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham that He will give him a son of his own. Abraham had a son just like God promised, even though Abraham tried to do it on his own. It didn’t thwart God’s plan that Abraham had Ishmael. The promised child was still born. God’s Word still came to pass. God’s will wasn’t dependant on His people.

 

In Genesis 28, God gives Jacob a promise that his descendants would be given the land that he was resting on and that his descendants would be a great nation. That’s come to pass too, despite God’s people.

 

In Genesis 37, God gives Joseph two dreams. Both of them consist of Joseph’s family bowing down to him. In Genesis 40, Joseph receives the interpretation of two dreams. In Genesis 41, Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh. All of these things came to pass. Jacob and his sons ended up bowing to Joseph when he was made second in all Egypt. The cupbearer was restored to his position while the baker was hanged. There were seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Not only that, but the famine helped bring Israel into Egypt where another one of God’s plans was fulfilled. In Genesis 15, God told Abraham during the making of their covenant that his descendants would be strangers in a land that wasn’t theirs for four hundred years. When Israel left Egypt on the Passover, it was 430 years after they entered. They entered Egypt as 70 people and came out as millions. They were a nation.

 

Everything that God has ever spoken has come to pass, regardless of God’s people. Much of what the prophets of the Old Testament has come to pass. What hasn’t come to pass yet will come to pass in the future.

 

To be honest, I’m tired of hearing that people have a “Word from God”. Many of times, these “Words” use scripture out of context and twist the meaning to make it fit that “Word”. When these things don’t come to pass, how does that do anything to edify the body? What do non-Christians think when they see these people “prophesying” in the name of God and it doesn’t come to pass? IF all of these people are hearing from God and it’s not coming to pass, is God really all knowing or all-powerful? If this wasn’t God’s will, then is God running around making up backup plans? If all these people aren’t hearing from God, they are false prophets. If they’re not hearing from God, who are they hearing from? If they “hear from God” and they’re wrong, why should I believe other things that they say?

 

This is a sad commentary on how far the church has drifted from the truth. We love to hear what we want to hear and there seem to be a growing number of preachers who will speak exactly what we want to hear. They don’t tell us what we need to hear. They tell us what will keep us coming back and giving money. They will make us feel invincible and above God. They will build us up on a foundation of false scripture and present to us a false Jesus that loves what we love and hates what we hate. These are the people that Peter warned about in his second epistle. It is a call to repentance. The church is still losing its influence and we seem to be oblivious to it all. We need to stand up for the truth even if it means disciplining people, calling false prophets/teachers what they are, and holding our preachers up to the standard of the Word. We must not take anything for granted and when things don’t line up, we have to ask questions. Where are the real Christians? It’s time to start standing up for the truth!

Design of the Week 11/12/08 – Repent

November 12, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | 1 Comment
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This week’s design is call Repent. This design speaks about something very important to Christianity. If someone is to become a Christian, this is a requirement for their sins to be forgiven. Repentance is when someone turns from their sins and goes in the opposite direction. It’s a “one-eighty” for their lives. Repentance isn’t just saying you’re sorry though. It is acknowledging that you are a sinner and recognizing that you will go to hell if those sins are not forgiven before you die. Repentance also involves turning from those sins. It means that you stop doing those things because you understand that they grieve God and mock the sacrifice of Christ. It’s sort of like when you do something to grieve your spouse. When you say you’re sorry and then do the same thing again, you’re apology doesn’t seem serious or sincere. When you mean what you say, it will show in a changed lifestyle.

 

This change isn’t something that you can’t do on your own. Even repentance is a gift from God! When I talk about change, I’m not saying that everything in your life is going to be all sunshine and roses and that you are not going to have any trials, tribulations, or trouble. When you repent, accept Christ, and receive the gift of salvation, you have been saved and your sanctification begins. It is not an instant thing (contrary to many preachers today). I’ve seen some people who have been saved and are drastically changed and it’s an obvious thing. Others have been saved and changed but it’s not as obvious (most of the time this is because the person wasn’t as open, blatant, and aggressively sinful – but they’re still sinners). This doesn’t mean that one has been changed more than the other; but it means that they both have been saved and are being sanctified. Sanctification means to be set apart for the service of God. It means that we live our lives, say what we do, and think things that glorify God.

 

When someone gets saved, they are not going to instantly be a Christian they way that others are. They have been regenerated through the blood of Christ and have the Holy Spirit in them, but they still have to retrain their mind and grow in knowledge of what it means to be a Christian. This is part of the process of sanctification. This also means that they will stumble and fall as they learn and grow. Sadly, many in the church preach that if you still sin, then you aren’t really saved. They preach that when you get saved, you should be instantly holy and righteous. They should be blessed and highly favored. This puts undue pressure on new Christians and confuses them when their lives don’t line up with what they’re hearing. The Bible says, in 1 John, that if someone says that they have no sin, they are a liar. We are Christians because we have received the free gift of salvation. It’s not because of what we’ve done. As Christians, we still fall. We are still wrestling with the flesh and fighting those sinful things. The Christian life isn’t about living without sin, it’s about living for Christ in spite of sin. The Bible says that the righteous man falls down seven times and gets up eight. If you have sinned since you’ve been saved, you’re not alone. If you’re living in sin after saying you’ve repented, then I would have to question your conversion. When a Christian sins, they are so convicted and grieved, they repent and then they keep growing and living. When a false convert sins, they may or may not repent and they may not be grieved.

 

Repentance is necessary for salvation. It’s not a feeling or emotion. It is a knowledge of the reality concerning where your life is in respect to God’s law and His Word. If you haven’t repented for your sins, you aren’t saved. If you have been calling yourself a Christian and living a lifestyle of sin, then you’re not a Christian. Please repent and truly turn from your sins. It may be the last chance that you have…

Chasing the Blessing

November 12, 2008 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Today, I’m going to talk about something that aggravates me to no end. The modern churches around the world seem to spend a lot of time talking about and focusing on how God’s people (I probably should put that in quotes) should be “blessed”. These blessings take the form of financial, physical, spiritual, and relational blessings. Most Christians talk about being blessed when they get a windfall or a medical report comes back positive. They talk about being spiritually blessed when they “feel God’s presence” or they “see God working in their lives”. If their family is well and their marriage isn’t falling apart, they are “blessed”.

 

While I don’t have a problem with these things and while they could be considered blessings, it seems that the focus of many Christians is the blessings that make us happy, comfortable, and content. I have to ask, is this the blessing that scripture is talking about? The main scripture that many use to “claim” the “blessing” is found in Galatians 3:13-14.

Many talk about the blessing of Abraham. They talk about the great and precious promises that Peter talks about. They claim that these promises are given to us and that the church needs to be blessed so that the world will see God is who He says. I’ve heard a number of times that we need to be blessed so that we can bless others. I’ve heard that we should be healed and not sick. I’ve heard that we need to be spiritually “blessed” so that others can see and “feel” the power of God in their lives.

 

I’ve got some problems with this. First, the scriptures that are used to support this idea are taken out of context. The context of these scriptures is completely different. We’ll look at that in a minute. Second, they don’t agree with other scriptures. If you look at Job, the story is that Job is a righteous man. In fact, Job is so righteous that God boasts about him. From the conversations between God and Satan, we can see that what happens to Job is not because of something that Job has done. It’s God allowing Job to go through this. Job lost everything. He lost his family, his material goods, and even his health. This completely contradicts the idea that God’s children some how deserve to be blessed. It also contradicts the idea that God wouldn’t allow anything bad to happen to His children. This is ludicrous. You might be saying, “but that’s the Old Testament, and we’re in the New Testament era”. Ok, let’s look at some of the New Testament faithful. What about Stephen? He preached the truth to those who put Jesus to death and was stoned for it. Does this mean that he didn’t have enough faith? Jesus stood up for him! What about Paul? Paul went from be the greatest persecutor of the church to being one of the greatest promoters of the truth of the gospel. He says that the “thorn in the flesh” that he had was given to him. Timothy is encouraged by Paul to drink a little wine for the sake of his stomach and frequent ailments. What about most of the apostles? They spoke out for Jesus and preached the truth, spreading the gospel across the world and most of them were killed for it. Some were crucified; some sawn in half, some beheaded, some burned at the stake, and some were fed to the lions. How does this correspond to the belief that Christians deserve to be blessed and will be protected from harm and sickness. Take the life of Jesus Himself! If the Lord Himself was not spared from attacks and strife, why should we expect any different, especially when Jesus promised that we would have trials and tribulations? What about the believers today who have cancer and other diseases? Are they not healed because they lack faith?

 

In Galatians, Paul tells his readers that he’s amazed how quickly they are deserting their faith. He calls them foolish and asks them whether they have been received the Spirit of God by faith or by the works of the Law. He then tells them that Abraham was justified by faith and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. He tells them that Abraham had the gospel preached to him and that those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham the believer. When we get to verses 13 and 14, we see:

 

Gal 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–

Gal 3:14  in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

This scripture isn’t talking about the financial prosperity that many claim it does. It is a reference to the justification by faith. The blessing of Abraham isn’t silver, gold, donkeys, land, etc. It’s the blessing of being saved by faith. We Gentile Christians are spiritual heirs with Abraham. There is no biblical guarantee that Christians will be blessed. The verses above say that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law, but does that curse include poverty? There is nothing in scripture that says that. Just because we think that poverty is a curse doesn’t mean God sees it that way. When Jesus died, He provided Gentiles (as well as Jews) the ability to be saved and receive the promise of the Spirit.

 

As I mentioned above, another passage that many use is found in 2 Peter:

 

2Pe 1:1  Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

2Pe 1:2  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;

2Pe 1:3  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

2Pe 1:4  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

2Pe 1:5  Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,

2Pe 1:6  and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,

2Pe 1:7  and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

2Pe 1:8  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Pe 1:9  For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

2Pe 1:10  Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

2Pe 1:11  for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

 

Many “preachers” proclaim that the magnificent (great) and precious promises are financial/physical blessings. They claim that these are the promises that allow those who believe and “have faith” to live successful, happy, and “victorious” lives. They are the promises that Christians should be healthy and wealthy, that we should be “the head and not the tail” (Deut. 28). But, if you read the passage above, you’ll see that these promises are not financial. They are for us to have life and godliness. They are so that we can partake in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world by lust. They are so that we should have a number of qualities that portray us as Christians. The promises have been given to us so that we can be sure of our calling and so that we will be kept from stumbling. Because of these promises, the entrance into the eternal kingdom is open to us.

 

There are numerous other verses that are taken out of context to support these ideas of “blessing”. Some of these include Isaiah 53:5/1 Peter 2:24, John 4:4, and John 8:32,36.

 

Many people also look at things like “spiritual blessing”. Many times “spiritual blessing” is seen as an increase in “anointing”, “power”, “gifts”, or “revelation”. Is this scriptural? Is it really possible to get more anointing? Can you increase your gifts if the Spirit gives them in the first place? According to a hermeneutical understanding of scripture, the true spiritual blessing is the fact that those who repent of their sins and put their trust in Christ will have their sins forgiven and will enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

What are the possibilities? Can God provide money? Yes (think about Peter and the fish or Acts 4). Can God heal people? Yes. There are numerous instances of this in scripture as well as the history of the church since the writing of scripture. Will God heal everyone? No. That’s seen in the fact that people who believe in Christ get sick or diseased every day. Can God increase someone’s anointing? I don’t think that we see this in scripture. The anointing that Christians are given is from the Holy Spirit. How could that increase? Scripture says that Jesus grew in wisdom and power, but was this more anointing? Jesus was God, how could He increase in anointing? There is nothing that I can find in scripture that says anointing is increased…I would have to ask is it really more anointing or is it a better understanding of that anointing?

 

There is nothing in scripture that shows this view of the blessing, which is often associated with the Word of Faith and charismatic movements, and is creeping into other areas.

 

We need to have a proper and correct understanding of scripture. This means that it needs to be taken in context. This means that we need to be willing to change our lives, ideas, and beliefs if they don’t line up with scripture. Where are you?

Design of the Week 11/05/08 – Written in Stone

November 6, 2008 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is called

Written in Stone. When something is written in stone, it is unchangeable. It is something that will stand up against anything that comes against it. God’s law was written on two stone tablets (twice) and was meant to stand up throughout time. It is the standard that God will use to judge all mankind.

Unfortunately, God’s law is sorely misunderstood. Most people, including many Christians, see God’s law as something that man should live up to so that he can prove his goodness. That’s not what the Bible says though. The Bible says that God’s law was given to be a schoolmaster that leads us to Christ. Not one of us can live up to God’s law. To prove it, all you have to do is compare your life to God’s law.

If you’ve ever told lie, you’ve broken the ninth commandment. This makes you a liar. If you’ve ever stolen anything, no matter how small, how little it costs, or how long ago it was; you’ve broken the eighth commandment and are a thief. The seventh commandment says that you shall not commit adultery. Jesus said, “if you look at a woman with lust you commit adultery with her in your heart”.

In society today, most things are no longer written in stone. Things or people that we place our trust in today can disappear tomorrow. We hate it when this happens to us, except when it comes to God’s law. We ignore one of the few things that are written in stone. We can’t bear to think that God’s law will come down on us in judgment without repentance. We have to repent and put our trust in Jesus now more than ever. He is coming back soon and if you haven’t repented you will be seen as His enemy. You will stand before Him and be judged according to the law and found guilty. Your guilt will send you straight to hell.

God’s law was

written in stone and was meant not only for the Jews that it was given to through Moses, but for Christians and non-believers alike today. Please look at your life and compare it to the law of God. If you find that you have broken the law, you are a sinner, just like the rest of humanity. If you haven’t repented of your sins, you need to repent of your sins and put your trust in Christ. It is the only thing that can save you from an eternity in hell.

Don’t be lead astray!

November 3, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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2Co 11:1-6  I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.

 

By just this passage alone, we can see Paul’s concern for those who were part of the churches that he started. He was concerned that those new believers would be lead astray from their devotion to Christ and the truth that He represents. He specifically mentions being deceived, as Eve was (Gen. 3:1-13). He was concerned that they were hearing a false gospel, the real one being perverted by the Judaizers so much that it was truly a different gospel. The main purpose for his warning is the fact that he knew what would happen to them if they did stray from the true gospel.

 

If Paul were alive today, I believe that he be more concerned about those in the church today than he was when he wrote the passage above. Back in Paul’s day, the main detractors of Christianity were the Judaizers, who tried to get Christians to continue keeping the law, and the Gnostics who said that it was impossible to know God and to have absolute knowledge about anything. Over the last 100 years, the gospel of Christ has been changed, diluted, and perverted by a number of people. Some of them have done so to deliberately lead new or naïve believers astray. Without the true gospel, they have nothing to stand on in times of persecution or tribulation and they fall away from the faith. In a large number of American churches, a gospel other than the one that Paul preached is being proclaimed. The congregations of these churches are being taught to chase things other than God. They chase the lust of the flesh (homosexuality, adultery, fornication), the lust of the eyes (greed, covetousness), and the boastful pride of life (self-righteousness, works-righteousness).

 

They are also following other “Gods”. They follow strange doctrines (prosperity, God is love and nothing else, the perpetual virginity of Mary), myths (Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, evolution, New Age), and spout endless genealogies (Judaism, “the men in my family have been Baptist preachers for a hundred years). The pastors that are “leading” them are making them comfortable and tickling their ears, telling them what they want to hear and inoculating them against sin.

 

But, how are Christians supposed to combat these things? To deal with persecution, you have to know what Jesus said. You have to know that He said that it was going to come. You have to realize that there are people who are dying and going to hell who need to hear the truth of the gospel. To fight the different gospels being preached today, the first thing to do (again) is to know the truth of scripture. Jesus tells us in John 8:32,36 that we are to continue in His Word if we are to be His disciples. What I’m going to say next is probably going to upset a few people but that’s part of it. If you are going to be a true disciple of Christ, you have to check everything against scripture, no matter who says it or how well respected they are. You have to truly study scripture. You have to know what God said, how He said it, and the context in which it was spoken. We have to be willing to read scripture and change our lives to conform to it instead of the reverse. We also have to be alert. The false gospels that are being preached today (prosperity gospel, social gospel, feel good gospel, etc.) are subtle gospels that can easily deceive even those who have been “in church” for years if those people are not careful. To fight against the idols and chasing of other things, we have to repent. We have to put God first and put Him before anything or anyone else. There is only God, His Son, and His Spirit as they are presented in scripture. To fight being comfortable and having our ears tickled, we’re going to have to be honest. If you are sitting in church Sunday after Sunday (or whenever you go) and you never come to the point where you are convicted about some of the things in your life, either you’re perfect (you’re not) or you’re not hearing the gospel. If you go to church and you never hear about sin, judgment, and hell then something is wrong. If you’re pastor/preacher is always giving topical sermons or doing sermons series on the Beatles, then you are not getting the gospel the way that you need it.

 

There are other things that I think that we need to do as well. One thing is that we need to stop running the church as an entertainment business. We are not in the body of Christ to turn around and entertain anyone. We are in the body of Christ because of the grace of our Lord and His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection three days later. We are supposed to be telling others the truth so that they can escape eternity in hell. Another thing that I think the church needs to do is to start disciplining its members. Sadly, this would greatly reduce the number of people in the church drastically. I truly feel that many pastors are not pastoring but just standing up in front on Sunday for accolades or attention or because they feel that it is their “calling” or “duty”. If you don’t care enough about the people in your local church to discipline them if they are living in sin, then you need to reconsider whether or not you’re a pastor. One final thing that we as the body of Christ need to be doing is calling heresy what it is. We need to recognize heretics and call them what they are. If they are preaching a false gospel and leading others astray, they are heretics. This includes ideas like Modalism (which is something that TD Jakes believes), the prosperity gospel (being preached by people like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, and Benny Hinn), and the social gospel (which is espoused by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek). None of these beliefs are hermeneutically sound. They all present different gospels and different Christs than those found in the bible.

 

If we are truly going to change America and every other country in the world, then we, as the church and as Jesus’ representatives, need to present and live the truth in front of others. We cannot live our own truth and expect others to see Christ…


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