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Persecution, Equality, Freedom and Salvation in America

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 3, 2016

Persecution Increasing

There is no doubt that persecution of Christians is on the rise in America, although in comparison to what Christians in other countries experience, we should admit we still have it easy.

The headlines warn us: Christian-owned businesses are under attack. Bow down to the governmental beast, or your buying and selling will be hindered. People who don’t want to fund abortion or contribute to the LGBT lifestyle because of personal and biblical convictions are being fined and threatened. I just saw that a Christian dating site has been told it must allow homosexuals to create accounts looking for same-sex partners. These are all signs that biblical truth has been rejected by the majority in this country, and sin is being protected–even promoted–by law. The foundations have been destroyed, and the righteous are headed for serious trouble–

For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psa. 11:2-3)


The Pursuit of Equality (It’s Not Fair!)

The true equality God has given to men is that each individual has equal opportunity to turn from evil and do good to the glory of God. The redemption in Jesus’ blood was offered to one and all, rich or poor, white or black, male or female.

The world has its own idea of what equality looks like.  As unbelievers embrace the devil’s doctrine, first we see abominations (according to God) being considered equal in moral value to righteousness. Fornication is “normal,” homosexuality or gender-bending is “an option,”  killing a baby in cold blood is a “choice,” and drone-bombing civilians in other countries is “heroism.”  The person who disregards God’s law is considered equal in morality to the person who doesn’t. There is no right or wrong; every man does what is right in his own eyes. That’s the devil’s brand of equality. And it has sold quite well in this country for decades.

It wasn’t long before this moral relativism gave birth to a greater evil yet–now good is called evil, and evil is called good.  The murderer of the innocent is protected by law, and the one who rebukes him is ordered to step off the grass or go to jail. The immoral person is celebrated and paraded down the street naked with police protection, while the person who rebukes this wickedness is put on the terrorist-watch list.

These are the times we live in. They are very dark times. And under pressure, some Christians are saying things like this–

“Why is the government picking on Christians, but not Muslims or atheists? Isn’t that hypocrisy? No fair!” And a chorus of disgruntled voices answers, “Amen, this isn’t fair. We need to fight for our rights.


The Promise of God to Christians:  You Will Suffer Injustice

I truly believe the “Christian right” news is toxic to the spiritual health of American Christians. We are constantly warned that we are victims losing our rights–rights that are nowhere promised us in Scripture. We are urged to fight back, to take our nation back (as if we aren’t pilgrims), etc. There is an underlying culture of fear and anger that works like a poison in our hearts, and sets us up to fight the wrong battle with the wrong weapons for the wrong prize. We fight flesh and blood with carnal weapons for the prize of earthly stuff that is vanishing away, and vainly imagine that we are spiritual warriors.

So why are Christians persecuted, while Muslims and atheists and others are allowed to get away with what they do? Why the hypocrisy? It’s really simple–Because of Jesus. The world hated Him, and the world will hate His disciples. Nowhere did Jesus say that the world will persecute unbelievers, those who are deeply involved in false religions, or lukewarm name-only “Christians.” He said the world will hate disciples of Jesus, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) The world accepts all those who are following a false way.  The world will not accept the True Way, because the god of this world (satan) is at war with Him.

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (John 15:18-21)

Notice Jesus did NOT say, “Be outraged at the injustice! Get into a panic-induced hysteria and form a militia and protect your turf! Elect officials who will give you what you deserve!” Instead He spoke often of the other-worldly peace and joy His people would have while suffering. Rather than responding to pain with “This isn’t fair,” the early Christians responded with rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41).

I understand when the heathen seek “equality;” they are trying to appease their guilty conscience which condemns them loudly before a holy God.  But it troubles me to hear Christians complaining about unequal treatment. As much as I agree that persecution of Christians is evil and wrong, it is the very life we are called to. It is exactly what we have been promised. Funny how we like to stand on the promises that sound cheerful and fun, but side-step the promises that we must through tribulation enter the kingdom of God.

The world is always going to do what is evil and wrong, in accordance with its master’s will. And we disciples of Jesus need to endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3), knowing that our current troubles will be eclipsed by the great joy that is coming. Let’s call off the pity-party and get suited up for battle–not a battle against flesh and blood, but against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12) Let’s quit allowing the “Christian right” to direct our hearts into angry and fearful reaction, and let the witnesses in Scripture direct our hearts into faith and patient overcoming.

Are we prepared to go the extra mile, not just theoretically, but in actual practice? Are we prepared to endure hardness and injustice, or are we chafing at the unfairness of it all? Many will fall away in the furnace of affliction.


The Pursuit of Freedom

Beware of the pursuit of “freedom,” which unbelievers idolize, because if you seek that first, it will take you far away from God’s kingdom.

 

Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it.  For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. (I Cor. 7:20-22)

The more you pursue earthly freedoms, the more bondage you will enter into. You will live in constant terror of what you might lose. You will fear and despise the very people God sends you to with His good news, perceiving them as a threat to your freedoms. You will be self-protecting instead of self-denying. You will be carnally minded and abiding in death. And you might even learn to defend your faithless life by twisting Jesus’ words, as so many do. Beware!

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:31-32, 36)

Remember that Jesus spoke these words to Jews who claimed they had never been in bondage to anyone due to their parentage. Jesus insisted they were slaves–not of Rome–but of their own sin! Jesus isn’t impressed with the “freedom” Americans sing about and idolize either. He knows that all but the small remnant is still under complete bondage to sin, from the lowly average working man to the elite politician making false promises to heal what he cannot heal.

Jesus isn’t carrying our silly flags and working for our domination over other people so we can pursue happiness. Jesus isn’t celebrating the bombs bursting in air (what a sick thing to celebrate), or one country’s independence from another. He knows what is in men’s hearts–a desire not only to be free from other people’s control, but also to be free from God’s control. He raises up and He pulls down kingdoms, all with one underlying goal–to turn the hearts of individuals to repentance and faith in Him.

Jesus is actively tearing down all the idols we trusted in, that we may see that He alone gives true freedom.  Like the idol Dagon fell again and again, breaking up into pieces, the idol of earthly freedom is being destroyed that we may see the folly of trusting it. The Christian/religious right (part of the apostasy) keeps setting the idol back up and urging Christians to find their hope in it, rather than in Christ. Do not be led astray by them.


Many False Saviors

Some who profess Christ are so deceived and blinded by their attachment to this world, that they imagine a wicked idolater like Donald Trump can be some type of savior. Savior of what, I must ask?–this pile of ruin our collective sin has brought about? And savior from what?–can this slave of sin Trump save us from judgment? I’m sorry, but he works for the same devil the other politicians work for. Do not be deceived by the many false prophets telling us to support this wicked person. They expose their own apostasy and blindness. If they had stood in the counsel of the Lord, they would turn you from sin to righteousness, rather than from righteousness to sin. If you love God, keep your hands clean. Some trust in chariots (Republican nominee) and some in horses (Democratic nominee), but we [the faithful] will remember the Name of the Lord our God! (Psa. 20:7) To trust in man is to depart from the Lord.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5)

God’s people are set apart, not entangled with the evil of the wicked who attain greatness in the devil’s kingdom. If you are the ambassador for Christ you claim to be, then be about the Father’s business of reconciling people to God, not the business of electing a new Caesar. Do not follow the apostasy; follow Jesus! This kingdom called America, though it reaches far and wide like the Roman kingdom of old, and does so with unceasing pride, will come crashing down like all the rest. And so God humbles all the mighty and the proud.

It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. (Isa. 24:21-22)

The kings of the earth cannot save you. They can’t even save themselves. They too are slaves, ensnared by their own lusts. There is only one who saves–

Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isa. 45:22)

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Posted in Apostasy, False Teachers, Judgment of God, Suffering | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Freedom, Slavery, and Peace

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 20, 2016

America, Land of the Free

It is well known all over the world that American culture exalts personal freedom. There is value in personal freedom if that freedom is used to do good. We are never to use liberty to indulge the flesh, but rather to serve one another (Gal. 5:13). If we are free in the flesh, our freedom is never to be a cloak for wickedness; we are to be servants of God (I Pet. 2:16). A people ruled by God are expected to use–and not abuse–freedom properly.

Unfortunately in America, “freedom” has indeed become a means to indulge the flesh, and a cloak for wickedness. Certainly I do not indict every person in America, but the nation in general. God causes every individual to reap what he has sown, and God also repays nations according to what they’ve sown collectively–the Old Testament prophets were very clear on this.

Contrary to what many whitewashed history books claim, a trail of wickedness can be followed back to the beginning of this nation.  All is open and naked before the eyes of God, even if patriots wearing rose-colored glasses refuse to see. Rebellion against the king, genocide and oppression of native Americans, and oppression/exploitation of Africans all laid the faulty foundation for a nation which would grow proud of its freedoms and wealth. While the sins of its youth were swept under the proverbial carpet for generations to come, America has never recovered, but has only gotten sicker and sicker as its rotten harvest materialized. Like all other earthly nations–and especially empires, it will be cast down from its lofty position in the delusional notions of man. The works of carnal man are all destined for the fire.

Carnal vs. Spiritual

The Bible teaches us to look beyond the carnal and the natural world, to see the Truth. Its truths, penned by the Holy Spirit of God, cannot be received by carnal man, but only by the spiritual man. It is only the spiritual man who can “judge all things” correctly (I Cor. 2:14-15). God has revealed in Scripture that many of man’s definitions and traditions are not rooted in truth, and this is why we must have our minds renewed (Rom. 12:2), so that we do not judge as the world does. For example, God redefined “family,” teaching that those who do God’s will are His family, not the people biologically related to Jesus (Matt. 12:50). He redefined the word “Jew,” teaching that a person whose heart is circumcised by the Spirit is counted as a Jew (Rom. 2:28-29). And He redefined the traditional perception for “Abraham’s seed,” showing that Jesus and His converted disciples are the true seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16,29).

In the same manner, His definitions for words like “freedom,” “slavery” and “peace” are quite different than the world’s definitions. It is very important that we also define these words Scripturally as we judge the things of this life.

Sin Brings Slavery

Scripture says everyone who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34; Rom. 6:16). Regardless of what history books and patriotic songs say, and despite our feelings, here is the truth: This nation has become a nation of slaves who desire “freedom” to continue in sin. Even the churches are turning the grace of Jesus Christ into lasciviousness–or a “license to sin.” And so the “free” are enslaved by their sins, but they do not know it. And God has allowed their chosen slavery to bring forth a harvest of misery. Even the rights they once had as citizens are slipping away. They didn’t want a righteous King–Jesus–to rule over them. They wanted no king but Caesar, and God has given them what they desired–tyrannical kings who also reject righteousness for “freedom” to indulge their own lofty desires.

The movement by the “religious right” to “take America back” is blind. What is it people wish to return to? They want less oppression and control over them, less taxes, an easier life–and, generally, freedom to continue living as they please. They want freedom to escape the harvest that’s been sown over decades. There was little uproar while the seeds were being sown–seeds of materialism, hedonism, “free sex,” widespread nudity, baby-murder, etc. But now that the harvest is bringing death and oppression and taxes and laws we don’t agree with, they want change. Unfortunately most don’t seek the change of our hearts to submission to God, but only change in circumstances so that they can continue as before without consequences. Changing leaders and political parties cannot bring about true freedom to a people who’ve been enslaved by their own lust.

The unbelieving Jews of Jesus day were told that God was going to punish their nation because they would not gather to Jesus. Much like America, they loved their rebels (Barabbas) and they plotted to overthrow their oppressors. They played political games and they raised up new Messiahs for the people to believe in (as explained in the works of Josephus). But judgment was not averted by any of these. And our judgment will not be averted either, unless there is wide-scale repentance (which seems unlikely at this time.)

True Freedom

It is true that we are more oppressed here than ever before, and the laws are getting increasingly evil. Justice is being perverted in many ways.  God sees all, and those responsible for furthering wickedness will be judged.

But sinners are slaves, and they must remain slaves until they repent. It is an unalterable truth.

Spiritual truths have a way of showing up in the material world; God has ordained it so. Our sin which brings spiritual death also brings physical death. All creation labors and groans under a kind of slavery with man, waiting for redemption and the “glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:19-22).

This is not a liberty that is bought with violence and treaties and political promises. This is a true liberty that belongs to God’s children by virtue of their adoption in Christ. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36) “Free indeed” is not freedom as the world defines it. It is true freedom, seen and experienced only by the spiritual man. Are you seeking and preaching this true “freedom,” or the carnal freedom that leaves men dying in their sins? Even if a righteous man was elected in this nation, he could not give freedom to its citizens. Freedom is found in the Son of God.

Renew Your Mind

The following precious verses can get the church on the right track if only she will believe God, rather than believing the lies of the world.

For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. (1 Cor. 7:22)

Did you get that? We are not defined by the world. If we have earthly freedom, we are yet slaves to Christ. If we don’t have earthly freedom, we are still free in Christ. Certainly if earthly freedom is possible, we should use it to benefit the kingdom; but not having earthly freedom is no detriment to the gospel. Therefore it shouldn’t be an object of our devotion. Listen to Paul:

Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Tim. 2:8-10)

Are we enduring all things for the elect’s sake, knowing the Word of God is not chained? Paul saw with spiritual eyes that earthly freedom was not the issue. Yet I hear Christians today saying our freedom of religion is based on a man-made constitution, and we need to fight for this constitution. No, friends, our freedom to practice our Christianity was given by God’s command, and we are free to practice it until we die. We are to speak the Word of God openly and faithfully. And if we are locked up and denied our “freedom,” we don’t despair in the slightest because God’s Word is not chained. Everywhere it has been sown, a potential harvest can multiply, and all the devils in hell can’t prevail against it, chains or no chains.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:1-4)

Many “Christian” Americans are focused on earthly freedom, just like the world. Here is why: Christ is not truly their life. Where our treasure is, there our heart is also. Where is your treasure? Is it above or below?

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matt. 10:28-31)

Americans have an insane fascination with guns and self-defense. I am not against guns; they can be used righteously. However the root of America’s fascination is FEAR and PRIDE–fear of death, and the pride of life. If you watch news headlines, you know that guns are not the security people wish them to be. Many accidental deaths occur, ironically, in families that bought guns to keep them safe. Totalitarian rule will also descend upon this people with the help of guns and other weapons. And there is no out-gunning such a government, as some foolishly think to do. True security is being in the Father’s will, and being ready at all times to pass from this life to the next.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Heb. 11:13-16)

Are you a stranger and pilgrim on this earth, still seeking a homeland? Or is this wretched, spiritually lost wilderness called America your homeland? God will give you “an opportunity to return” to being tied to this earth (earthly minded and dead) if you want that. But if you desire the better country–the heavenly country–then God won’t be ashamed to be called your God.

Peace

The world loosely defines peace as being not at war, and living in relative ease. America is supposedly a peaceful nation, but the truth is that it’s been at war 222 of the 239 years of its existence. Many don’t realize that, because they’ve never had to dive into a bomb shelter.

America has been chosen by the earthly powers-that-be to take control of other countries for the coming New World Order. Please do not be deceived by the “God has blessed us” rhetoric. Many a rich, wicked man counted himself blessed by God right up until the day God slew him. And every nation taking up arms to fight reassures itself that God is on its side. Why do those who rightly condemn the lies of prosperity preachers refuse to condemn the lies of nations which use the same logic–“See how God has blessed us?” We may feel a sense of security because the bombs are all dropping elsewhere, out of sight and out of mind. But knowing God will punish the wicked, we should know this is a false security and a false peace. The so-called war on terror is actually a war OF terror; we are foolish if we think we are the only nation not inundated by propaganda cleverly designed to deceive us into state-worship.

Look even deeper into life in America, and it is impossible not to see that Americans have no peace. Suicide, drug abuse (legal and illegal), lust for entertainment, phone/television/video game addiction, alcohol abuse, gender confusion, sexual perversion, child murder and molestation, porn-addiction…really, where is the peace? People are driven from one vice to another in their endless quest for the elusive peace that never comes.

Nations are just groups of people. They fight for their peace, but lasting peace never comes, because there is always some new wrong that has to be righted with violence, and the violence begets more violence.

There is only one nation at peace, and that is the Body of Christ–that holy nation abiding in the Prince of Peace. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus from all nations, to help people transition from their perishing kingdoms to the everlasting kingdom. This is the best way to make peace.

Apostasy in the Church

The Church is supposed to be a light on a hill, but in many cases the light within churches is dark (Matt. 6:23). This apostate church is still defining words by the world’s dictionary, saying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. Like Laodicea, she looks at her poor blind self, and declares that she is rich and full of godly insight. She leads other blind men into a ditch. Her pastors are destroyers, working for satan.  They are teaching greed, immorality, and the world’s way of obtaining peace and liberty. They stand the flag beside the pulpit, unwilling to die to the world, and unashamed of their idolatry. They assure others that they can, in fact, serve two masters after all.  They bless and pray for their military members, even as those members disobey the commands of Christ. They regurgitate the tired lie that “these men and women are fighting for our freedom,” and conveniently forget to mention that they are committing suicide in record numbers because they have no peace.

The faithful Church leads people to the peace that only Jesus gives–a peace not at all like the world gives.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Did you notice Jesus paired the absolute certainty of tribulation with the absolute certainty of peace in Him? Are you letting God define your peace, or are you seeking the peace the world gives? There is no peace for the wicked, but there is unlimited peace for the righteous despite their tribulations.

Conclusion

We need our minds renewed by the Word of God, so that we seek after the true freedom and peace that are in Christ, rather than the illusory freedom and peace (slavery) offered by the world. Politicians and party lines cannot not help us.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (Psa. 118:8)

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. (Psa. 146:3)

In fact, trusting in man is a departure from the Lord (apostasy)! Please note the contrast in these verses:

Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. (Jer. 17:5-8)

We are most certainly in “a year of drought” spiritually speaking, yet we need not fear if we are trusting the Lord. He has appointed us to go and bear fruit, and has enabled us to do so under the worst earthly conditions–even loss of material things, imprisonment or threat of death. If we really trust in Him, He will see that we are well-watered and filled with peace, free indeed, and raised up with Christ over the limitations of the flesh.

God bless you!

Note: This post is written to American Christians, because I have a burden for this specific people, but it can be applied in other nations as well.

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The Course of this World

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 1, 2014

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Eph. 2:1-3)

Every day you can see the course of this world and people simply walking in it. This is especially obvious during the holidays, during which Americans spend billions of dollars on things that have no value.

It doesn’t take self-denial to follow the course of this world. You just go where the world leads (away from Christ and toward other things), and as long as you walk in that mainstream toward the other things, the world accepts you.

A quick look at the news, and a look around us at the devastation in people’s lives, reveals that the course most are walking in is not headed to a good place. Hopefully we ourselves have cried out to the Savior, and the Lord Jesus Christ has made us alive and delivered us from “the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” If we truly have been delivered from that spirit, we are now walking with the Spirit who works in those who obey God! There is a sharp division between children of disobedience, and children who obey God. It is the difference between death and life.

It is interesting to me, this new obsession with the “zombie apocalypse.” People are storing food and learning self-defense, fearing that zombies may one day attack them. They do not realize that they themselves are the zombies because they are dead in their trespasses and sins (as I also once was), and they will never be able to live by bread alone. Even those who quit their televisions and learn how to “live off the land” (both good things in themselves) are still in darkness and death if they do not have Jesus, and if Jesus does not “make them alive.” And so we are surrounded by those who are dead, and who feed on death. Halloween with all of its glorification of evil and darkness is just one of many fruits on the tree that is rooted in death, and headed for destruction. It is one symptom of a society that has embraced death by sin.

It is horrifying to see that the mainstream has channeled right through the western church and swept away multitudes of so-called Christians. And the wolves–ever multiplying in our “judge not” and “tickle my ears” churches–are getting much more bold in their lies. In spite of God’s many warnings that we must not love this world nor follow its ways, these teachers tell us we can do so without consequence, and even that God will be pleased to use us in our compromise. They have managed to turn the truth on its head for those who did not receive a love of the truth. Such people, who first turned away their ears from sound doctrine, hurry like lemmings onto that wide road, assured by their fable-teachers that God does not object. But these are not hapless victims; they have rebelled against the Truth and strengthened one another in evil rather than taking God’s Word seriously.

Meanwhile, those who speak the real truth to them are legalists and Pharisees and other names which qualify them for mockery and rejection.

Jesus warned this would happen. He said the time was coming when the mainstream church would abuse the people of God (Matt. 10:17; 23:34). This is because the mainstream church is moving along with the course of this world. This world hates the people of God, especially when they testify that its works are evil (Jn. 7:7, 15:18-19, 17:14; I Jn. 3:13).

If you have light and life, hold onto these and let no man take your crown. Abide in Jesus, the narrow Way that leads to life. Steadfastly endure whatever comes and do not change course one degree. The course of this world will–literally–run its course, and destruction will be at the end. And then will come the hour in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:28-29)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I Jn. 2:15-17)

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The Purpose of God’s Power

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 10, 2014

God’s power comes to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ to enable us to “rise from the dead” (spiritually) and walk in newness of life. Both the gospel message and Jesus Himself are called “the power of God.” (Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 1:18, 24) To see a person born again as a new creature is the greatest miracle I can think of–much more amazing than a physical healing.

God’s power is also given to the born again believer to enable him to wage spiritual battle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The believer is given the spiritual armor of truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God (the Sword of the Spirit), and prayer. (Eph. 6:10-18) I note in this passage that while Paul seeks boldness to speak as he ought, he does not seek to be free of his chains! (19-20) While he has an awareness of all the power available to him, he does not try to misuse that power. He would later explain, “I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.” (2 Tim. 2:9)

That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. (Col. 1:13-14)

Paul says believers are strengthened by God’s power forall patience and longsuffering with joy.” Isn’t it a bit trite, then, to speak of that glorious power as the means by which we secure some temporal thing? Has His strengthening been provided so we can win the lottery and ensnare our own souls? Or is it provided so that we can be patient in tribulation (Rom. 12:12) and joyful in longsuffering?

How many times have we heard people say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) They often mean that they can get the new job, or buy the new house. But what was Paul’s context in that verse?

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. (Phil. 4:11-14)

Paul did not say that the power of God would shield him from distress, abasement, hunger or need! Rather he said the power of God would strengthen him to be content even when suffering.

Many false teachers have reinterpreted the concept of God’s power through the (very American) filter of materialism, self-preservation, and self-exaltation. These deceivers decree that money will flow into their bank accounts. They have body guards and idolatrous followers who believe whatever they say. They put on circus-like shows where they make people shake or laugh or fall down. Yes, there is a power at work when you can get thousands of people to give you their money after you’ve spent two hours lying to them. And there is a power at work when you can demonize people and they claim it is the Holy Spirit. But this is not God’s power; it’s the power of satan (Acts 26:18; 2 Thess. 2:9).

This false “power” is nothing new. The Old Testament prophets spoke of their lying contemporaries, how they were given to covetousness and were like greedy dogs which never have enough, only looking out for themselves. (Jer. 6:13; Isa. 56:10-11) Jesus warned that we must not give into covetousness (Lk. 12:15), for such will not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:10). Jesus also warned us about self-preservation–He said if we love our lives in this world, we will lose them! But if we hate our lives in this world, we will have eternal life. (Jn. 12:25) God’s power was not given to us so that we could have the best of earth. God’s power was given to deliver us from the power of darkness (which rules the earth) into the heavenly kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God. (2 Tim. 1:7-8)

Posted in False Teachers, Occult & Lying Wonders, persecution, Suffering | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mike Bickle’s Bridal Paradigm & the Gnostic Bridal Chamber

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 6, 2014

Mike Bickle, founder of International House of Prayer (IHOP), teaches what he calls “The Bridal Paradigm.” He claims that until the global Church sees herself as the cherished Bride (in the way Bickle presents it) and is crying out, “Come, Lord Jesus” in a spirit of lovesickness,  Jesus cannot come back. His “Bridal Paradigm” teaching focuses on the Song of Solomon, and encourages believers to imagine themselves being ravished by Jesus, being the object of His attraction, etc. Sensual songs are written and performed so that people can imagine, dream and feel intimacy with Jesus. The bridal identity of the Church is stressed more than other biblical identities (such as sheep following a Shepherd, servants obeying a King, priests serving under a High Priest, children adopted by a Father, etc.). This imbalance leads to great mischief, especially since there is a lack of sound doctrine otherwise preached in these so called “houses of prayer.” (Read “Love and Death in the House of Prayer” if you want to see how much mischief can be caused by these errors.)  What is preached in IHOPS is generally visions and imaginations, loosely backed up with bits of Scripture ripped from context.

Most concerning to me is that Bickle teaches that the Church is stunted due to not having knowledge of his version of the “Bridal Paradigm.”  Think about that. According to this puffed up man, the global church needs secret knowledge that has been given only to him. That is pure gnosticism, my friends. It is a worship of knowledge, and a belief that by Bickle’s secret knowledge we shall be saved.

In researching gnosticism, I came across what is called “The Bridal Chamber” teaching of the gnostics, and alarms started going off in my mind. This teaching apparently dates back to early gnostic writings (Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Philip), and stressed a kind of carnal knowledge of “the Christ,” or a marriage between “the Christ” and Sophia (“wisdom” which supposedly comes from inside us). You can research this for yourself, as there are plenty of pro-gnostic websites still promoting the ritual of the Bridal Chamber, like this one, which even claims that the spirit of “Sophia” arouses in us a “desire to pray.” How about that?!  It just so happens that Bickle also promotes repetitive, in-house prayer as the means to save the world, in direct disobedience to the Great Commission (which is to be carried out while we pray without ceasing).  Lest you think it is a stretch to connect Bickle to the gnostic bridal chamber ritual, he has gone on record promoting what he calls “chamber experiences.” (Mike Bickle, Song of Songs, 1998)

Further, there is evidence that Bickle’s “divine kiss” teaching, which supposes that we receive the Word through a kiss (source) is exactly like the “holy kiss” teaching of the gnostics! (Pro-gnosis site here, scroll down to “kiss” and take note of how similar this teaching is to Bickle’s, in that a kiss supposedly brings the revealing of hidden knowledge).

I tried to find Christian sites which had drawn a connection between the dangerous teachings of Mike Bickle and the gnostic Bridal Chamber teaching. I found none (which is not to say there are none). I believe there is a spiritual connection, and the same doctrines of demons that were circulating in the Apostle John’s day are still being taught today through deceivers like Mike Bickle. There is nothing new under the sun. Satan uses the same old lies to deceive those who have not received a love of the truth, because he finds that those lies continue to work!  As long as people desire experience over unchanging Truth (another element of gnosticism), they will continue to be led astray by their experiences. They will continue to look down their noses at the “uninitiated” who warn them of the deception, proudly assuming they have secret knowledge which gives them a one-up over others.

People who are drawn in by Mike Bickle’s teachings no doubt think his revelations are “deep” and “exciting.” I give this warning to all such people: Beware that you do not follow satan’s so called “deep secrets” (Rev. 2:24, NIV). It just may be that the teachings appear “deep” because they are, in fact, the “depths of satan.” (same verse in NKJV).

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Hear & Do the Sermon on the Mount

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 30, 2014

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matt. 7:24-29)

Thus ends the “Sermon on the Mount” which began in Matthew 5.

When Jesus instructed His listeners to “hear these sayings of Mine” and DO them, or else be destroyed, He was teaching them as “one having authority.” Do His sayings carry that much weight? They do.

So what are the sayings we must do from the Sermon on the Mount? (If you’d rather read Jesus’ actual words than my summary following, please read Matt. 5-7, then skip ahead to the bold type at the bottom of this writing. Otherwise, keep reading.)

Here is a summary of what we must do, in my own words:

1. We must be “poor in spirit” to enter the kingdom of heaven. (5:3)

2. We must mourn appropriately to be comforted. (5:4)

3. We must be meek to inherit the earth. (5:5)

4. We must hunger and thirst for righteousness to be filled. (5:6)

5. We must be merciful to obtain mercy. (5:7)

6. We must be pure in heart to see God. (5:8)

7. We must be peacemakers to be called sons of God. (5:9)

8. We must be willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake to gain heaven. (5:10-12)

9. As “the salt of the earth,” we must not lose our flavor and become good for nothing. (5:13)

10. As “the light of the world,” we must be willing to challenge the darkness with our light, rather than hiding it away as if ashamed. (5:14-16)

11. We must not break “the least of these commandments” or teach men so. (5:17-19)

12. Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees and scribes; we must be inwardly clean, not just outwardly clean. (5:20)

13. We must go beyond the letter of the law to the Spirit of it in our obedience. Example: in addition to not murdering or committing adultery, we must not allow hatred or lust in our hearts. (5:21-28)

14. We must attempt to be reconciled to our brother if he has something against us, or else our worship of God will not be accepted. (5:22-26)

15. We must deal with our own temptations and sins to the point of hurt unless we want to be cast into hell. (5:29-30) “Make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14). “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:4)

16. Except in cases of sexual immorality, we must not divorce lest we cause another to commit adultery. (5:31-32)

17. We must not swear by anything; we must be people who keep our word. (5:33-37)

18. We must not “resist an evil person,” but turn the other cheek even if he is violent. “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is not to be the creed of the New Covenant Christian. (5:38-39)

19. If we are sued, we must be willing to give up more than was asked. (5:40)

20. If we are compelled to go a mile, we must be willing to go two. (5:41)

21. We must not turn away from those who ask for charity or to borrow from us. (5:42)

22. We must love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who use or persecute us. We must go beyond the “goodness” of the world, which loves friends and hates enemies. We must emulate the Father, who blesses both good and evil people in this life. (5:43-48)

23. We must not do charity with a motive of being praised by men, but instead a motive to please God. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:1-4)

24. Our prayers must not be motivated by a desire to look spiritual before men, but to please the Father. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:5-6)

25. We must not pray with “vain repetition” as if, by it, we can coerce God with many words. (6:7-8)

26. Our prayers should acknowledge God’s glory and kingdom, our submission to His will, our trust in His providence, active forgiveness of others and asking forgiveness, and asking for strength to overcome temptation. (6:9-13)

27. We must forgive others, or we will not be forgiven! (6:14-15)

28. Fasting must not be used as a show of pretended spirituality, but is between us and the Father. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:16-18)

29. We must value and store up heavenly treasure rather than earthly treasure. (6:19-21)

30. We must keep “a good eye” (focus on what is heavenly) lest we be filled with darkness. (6:22-23)

31. We must not attempt to serve both God and money. We must love one and hate the other. (6:24)

32. We must not worry about even necessities (food and clothes), but trust God will provide what is needed. (6:25-32)

33. We must have as our highest priority the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, not our basic necessities. (6:32-34)

34. We must not judge others hypocritically, while ignoring our own sins. (7:1-5)

35. We must discern to whom we should “cast pearls.” Forcing truth on those who do not value it will only hurt us. (7:6)

36. In our pursuit of God’s kingdom and righteousness, we must ask, seek, and knock, trusting that God will respond by giving us the good things we need. (7:7-11)

37. We must consider how we want to be treated, and treat others accordingly. Sincere benevolence toward God and men fulfills both the Law and the Prophets. (7:12)

38. We must choose the narrow way and difficult road that leads to life, even though only comparatively few others will be on it. To choose the easier, more popular way will end in destruction. (7:13-14)

39. We must beware of false prophets, and judge them by their fruits, lest we be destroyed like sheep ravaged by wolves. (7:15-20)

40. We must go beyond calling Jesus “Lord” and prophesying/doing wonders in His name. We must do the will of God and refuse to practice lawlessness/disobedience. Otherwise we will not be allowed entrance into heaven. (7:21-23)

These are the sayings from the Sermon on the Mount that we must hear and do lest our house be destroyed!

I have been told that I take this Sermon “too literally.” I am urged to accept either the American version or the Dispensational version of this Sermon, instead of the actual Sermon Jesus delivered.

The American version twists it to make it more accessible to the lawless, the haughty (proud to be an American), the non-meek (who take the earth by force), the unmerciful, the non-peacemaker, the lover of earth’s treasure, the pretender at spirituality, the despiser of the poor and the stranger, the unforgiving, and the one who places his own earthly needs above the kingdom of God. It does this by claiming Jesus did not mean what He said, but meant something different. Meekness, peacemaking, mercy, etc., are said to be applicable only in situations where being such doesn’t cost much. How very convenient! (One commenter on this blog said that if I would not literally pluck out my tempted eye, then I also did not have to literally love my enemies. This ridiculous logic is destructive and reveals a purposeful disobedience to Christ.)

The dispensational version of this Sermon simply claims that only physical Jews need obey it! Even more convenient! With this version, we don’t even have to rationalize away this or that uncomfortable part; we can just reject the whole thing outright as long as we are Gentiles. Oh, how the western church has sought out many inventions!

I reject those adulterated versions of Christ’s Sermon as lies from the devil!

I reject the notion that I can take Jesus less seriously than I do, and still live.

I reject the notion that Jesus respects self-centered American ideals more than He respects the selfless ideals of His own kingdom.

I reject the notion that we can try to have both, and still please the King of heaven.

I reject the notion that Christ’s words are for some other people group other than those who hear His words.

The words of Jesus are spirit and life. If I hear them and do them, my house will stand firm. If I do not, my house will be destroyed. I believe the same applies to YOU, no matter who you are.

As Jesus would say, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And let the one who hears also DO–lest, hearing only, he deceive himself!

Posted in Apostasy, Christian Life, False Teachers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Insight from Balaam’s Prophecy #2 — Set Apart from the Nations

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 14, 2014

Insight #2 — The ancient, earthly nation of Israel was blessed while obedient AND separated from the nations.

Part of Balaam’s prophecy concerning ancient Israel is as follows:

“How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him; there! A people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations…Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!” (Num. 23:8-10)

It is interesting that Balaam saw Israel as a righteous people “dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations.

God had commanded Israel to be careful not to worship idols as other nations (Deut. 12:29-30; 2 Kin. 17:15). They were to be set apart to worship only God.

In Num. 24:8, Balaam prophesied that God would “consume the nations, his enemies.” Are all the nations God’s enemies? Although the Canaanite nations of that day were in view in the prophecy, it seems that Scripture supports the idea that nations in general are His enemies.

In Psa. 2, “the nations” are said to be conspiring against the Lord and His Anointed. They are God’s enemies, but they are promised to the Son, Who will break them with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. Daniel wrote about a righteous kingdom that would consume all others (Dan. 2:44).

It should be understood that this ancient Israel, which was separated from the ungodly nations, is not the same as the Israeli state that exists in the Middle East today. The modern state of Israel, though it has the same name, does not have the same purpose or the same right standing with God. It is a nation like all other carnal nations, recently founded and defended not by righteousness and a command of God, but by an armed military (and its allies) which forcibly took land from people who already lived there. It does not even pretend to appreciate our Messiah Jesus–the Prophet to Whom Moses said Israel must listen (Deut. 18:15-19). It is not what Paul called The Israel of God in Gal. 6:16.

Unfortunately, even ancient Israel eventually decided they wanted to be like all the nations, and God declared that this desire was a rejection of His reign over them (I Sam. 8:4-7). Israel replaced their true King (the Lord) with a carnal king, and also followed the nations in their idolatry, greed, and other wicked behaviors. The true Israel of God–or “people of God”–is faithful to Him, but ancient Israel had become a harlot nation just like all the rest. This is why God said to those who were known as His people, “You are not my people.” (Hos. 1:9) It is also why Paul later wrote, “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel.” (Rom. 9:6)

Eventually the land vomited them out for their rebellion, though a remnant was able to return later, out of which Jesus was born. In His birth and subsequent death and resurrection, the promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his Seed was fulfilled. The other physical land promises had all been fulfilled as well (Josh. 21:43-45). Many of the promises written in the prophets are meant to be applied to the spiritual Israel of God (a “new man” of Jews and Gentiles united in faith) which is saved through Jesus’ sacrifice. I know this is contrary to what most churches (and famous storytellers like Tim LaHaye) are teaching, nevertheless I am confident the Scriptures bear this out. Not only was Christ’s suffering predicted in the law and prophets, but also His kingdom–which has no end. He said this kingdom does not come with observation but is within the hearts of those who submit to Him (Lk. 17:21), and that it is “not of this world.” (Jn. 18:36) He declared that His kingdom was “at hand” when He walked on the earth…why?–because it was future? No, but because it was here. All who repented and put their faith in Him would be translated into His kingdom–the kingdom that is not of this world, or not reckoning itself among the nations. Members of this kingdom are ambassadors to the kingdoms of this world. Their true citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).

So who is the Israel of God? It is the remnant of the faithful from every nation (including ancient Israel) who are all joined into one new man (Eph. 2:15) whose Head and Redeemer is Christ.

“Out of Egypt” God called His Son Israel, wrote the prophet Hosea (11:1). And Matthew came with greater light to tell us that this Son is Jesus (2:15). He is the absolute fulfillment of the foreshadowing events. Ancient Israel was a typological vine (Isa. 5), but Jesus is the True Vine (John 15:1). Nathanael was a carnal Israelite by blood, but Jesus called him an Israelite indeed because he had such an honest character (John 1:47). Zacchaeus was almost certainly a Hebrew by birth, but Jesus named him as a son of Abraham after his repentance and salvation (Lk. 19:8-9). The Pharisees could trace their lineage to Abraham, but Jesus denied their relation to him based on their works (Jn. 8:39-44). When they came unrepentant to John the Baptist, he told them their physical relation to Abraham meant nothing, but God could raise up children to Abraham from the stones (Matt. 3:7-12). Paul told the Gentile Galatians that God had indeed raised up children to Abraham, and his descendants are those who have faith (Gal. 3:7).

And this Israel of God is still not reckoning itself among the nations! It’s allegiance is to God, and therefore it is persecuted everywhere it exists. Yes, ALL nations will hate Jesus’ disciples (Matt. 24:9).

Moses was a good example of a man who could have had power and pleasure as part of a strong nation, but he chose affliction with the people of God and the reproach of Christ as greater riches (Heb. 11:24-26). The reproach of Who?!–of Christ, even in Old Testament times. The faithful people of God were always connected to Christ by faith, even before He came in the flesh.

Abraham likewise left his homeland. The very land of Promise (ancient Israel) to which he journeyed never became for him the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Word. It was to him like a foreign country. This was a man with his spiritual eyes opened! His longing was for the city God Himself would build, in a heavenly–not an earthly–country (Heb. 11:9-16). He was a continual pilgrim on this earth, as all of God’s true people have been (Lev. 25:23; I Chron. 29:15; Psa. 39:12; Psa. 84:5; Psa. 119:54; Heb. 11:13; I Pet. 2:11).

Is this mindset that we Christians have today? Are we willing to be separated from our earthly homeland, wherever that is? Are we able to make righteous judgments about the nations and their status before God, or is our judgment clouded with sentimentality, whitewashed history, and the false teaching of carnally minded men who make lots of money off their careless theories? Do we see that the land promised (and given) to ancient Israel is still just another foreign country? Are we longing for the heavenly country? Are we separated in our hearts from the nations (enemies of God), so that we can be a light to them, in full contrast to their darkness and idolatry? Have we pledged our allegiance to Jesus, so that He can speak to the nations through us, or are we pledging allegiance to His enemies? Are we divided and doubleminded? We cannot serve two masters despite what many voices teach. We will love one and hate the other.

We had better choose carefully. God’s people are set apart.

Note: For more study on a biblical understanding of Israel, some of the clearest teaching I have found on this subject can be read here or watched here.

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Insight From Balaam’s Prophecy #1–Blessing & Cursing

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 13, 2014

Introduction: Although I consider Balaam to be a prophet who fell from grace according to 2 Pet. 2:15, Jude 11 and Rev. 2:14, I believe his prophecy recorded in Num. 23-24 was inspired by God (see 23:5, 16; 24:2). As such, it contains some very important truths.

At the time when Balaak wanted to curse Israel through the prophet Balaam, Israel was being obedient to God. Therefore God’s blessing was among them (Num. 23:21). Balaam was not permitted to curse them.

Insight #1 — No one can curse someone God has not cursed. God only curses those who deserve to be cursed. God decides who is blessed and who is cursed.

How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced? (Num. 23:8)

Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, So a curse without cause shall not alight. (Prov. 26:2)

The cursed includes idolaters, those who dishonor their parents, thieves, those who lead others astray, those who pervert justice or oppress the weak, the sexually immoral, those who slay the innocent (including aborting parents and their murderous “doctors”), and those who disregard God’s law in any other way (Deut. 27-28). Scripture also declares that the proud (Psa. 119:21), those who trust in man or flesh rather than God (Jer. 17:5), and those who care nothing for the “least of these” (Matt. 25:41) are cursed.

In the charismatic church, I have noticed a strange paranoia that is identical to what is seen among remote superstitious pagans who feel they must make certain offerings or perform certain rituals in order to keep from being cursed. It is not uncommon for a professing Christian to surmise that some person has cursed them, and to blame all unfortunate events on this curse. Sometimes the Christian will feel they must give money to a ministry or make a trip to a certain place to get free of the curse. One such couple I knew believed a neighbor must be cursing them, or else the car would not have broken down, and the woman would not have tripped and cut her head open on a rock. They spent their time wondering where the curse was coming from, and had no peace.

False teachers take advantage of this ignorance of God’s Word, and exploit the gullible to gain followers and money. Just as a witchdoctor gets paid to keep his devotees “blessed” through witchcraft, these sophisticated liars sell thousands of dollars worth of books and cd’s which supposedly offer “the keys to success” their followers are convinced they need. It is the same deception re-packaged; there is nothing new under the sun. The only key to success is obedience to God’s Word, and this is a message we are to freely give to all.

I have also seen false teachers “curse” anyone who questions their doctrine, so as to insulate themselves from proper scrutiny. Do not be deceived. We are to examine every teaching carefully by God’s Word and warn others if it deviates. If you love God and obey His teaching, you will not be cursed. Neither will you be cursed for judging a man’s words by Scripture. However the godly will suffer trials and/or persecution in this life (2 Tim. 3:12; Acts 14:22).

Conversely, if you disregard God’s Word, you will be cursed, and no rituals or offerings will deliver you from reaping what you sow.

There is also gross ignorance in the church regarding the blessing or cursing of nations. Many think our nation can abort children, spread pornography and false teachings all over the globe, love violence and every kind of sexual perversion, neglect the proper teaching of our children, and yet still be blessed if only we do certain religious things right (such as “go to church” or “vote conservative” or “support Israel militarily.”) This is a lie. As a nation, we are reaping exactly what we have sown, and we will continue to reap what we sow. God is not bought off by hypocritical prayers offered by public officials. He is not blinded to what we are doing by religious rituals. America will continue to fall until she is destroyed, unless she repents. All nations that forget God are turned into hell, without exception (Psa. 9:17). But any individual who turns to God in repentance can be saved from this perverse generation (Acts 2:40), just as some Jews turned to Christ and were saved, while their countrymen continued to rebel until they were destroyed.

How about the blessing of God on the corporate Church? The proud American, apostate church (not the true disciples who are walking in the truth) is largely responsible for this nation’s destruction, and she is cursed. She was supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, but she has followed after the same idols loved by the world. She wants earthly power (dominion), earthly riches and the praises of wicked men (woe to her). The light within her is darkness, her testimony is hypocritical, her adulterous heart is divided. She has been a friend of the world–perverting God’s truth lest she bear the shame of the cross–and made herself an enemy of God. Yet she throws a few crumbs of false devotion to God and expects His blessing. She is deceived and is deceiving others! Many are her false teachers, like unclean birds in a cage, squawking out their lies: Give us money, and you will be blessed! Support other ungodly, Christ-rejecting nations with the arm of the flesh, and you will be blessed! Look at our financial prosperity–see how blessed we are! We have need of nothing! Look what our programs are doing! Look how beautiful our buildings are!

And all the while, because of SIN, the people are cursed and under strong delusion. Their money will soon fly away, their programs will be exposed as not being founded on God’s Word, and their buildings will become rubble.

BUT–those members of Christ’s Church whose “house” is founded on obedience to God’s Word will endure! (Matt. 7:24-25)

In summary, those who love and obey God’s Word will be blessed, and those who hate and disobey God’s Word will be cursed. God has decided this, and no one can circumvent it.

The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just. (Prov. 3:33)

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Biblical Confession

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 12, 2014

The word, “confession” may conjure up all kinds of definitions in people’s minds, depending upon their religious background. Some believe that confession is merely saying “sorry” for your sins, and that this can be done once daily or weekly while sin is ongoing. It is generally believed that as long as this “confession” is being done, God is ignoring the sin. Others believe that confession is listing as many sins as can be remembered to a priest so that he can forgive those sins which are listed. Some believe that if some type of penance is added to the confession, or money is given to a church, this increases the likelihood of finding forgiveness.

I am thankful that despite our different religious backgrounds, we can know the Truth, and the Truth can set us free. We can be forgiven and redeemed, but we must learn what God requires. Following are some biblical truths about the confession God accepts.

1. When we realize we have sinned, we must humbly confess our own unfaithfulness to God, confess that God has justly judged us, and accept our guilt (and its consequences.) For many, they confess without humility, with excuses, and hoping only to escape the just judgments they are reaping in their lives. “Yes, I sinned, but here is why I am justified, and why I don’t deserve my circumstances.” This is not acceptable to God.

But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. (Lev. 26:40-42)

2. Confession involves being fully exposed and honest, hiding nothing, coupled with forsaking what was done. If we are still hiding things from God or others we have wronged, we have not properly confessed.

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psa. 32:5)

He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (Psa. 28:13)

3. Biblical confession is accompanied by turning from sin and being willing to learn from God how we should walk (repentance).

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk. (I Kings 8:35-36)

4. Confession is accompanied by doing God’s will and separating from evildoers who will lead us astray. If we continue to keep evil company, we will continue in sinful habits (I Cor. 15:33). Someone who insists on being the companion of fools will be destroyed (Prov. 13:20) because he will be led away from doing God’s will.

Now therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives. (Ezra 10:11)

5. Biblical confession should be accompanied by making restitution whenever possible. If we stole something, we should pay back with extra to prove we understand how unjust the theft was. If we lied about someone, we should do what we can to restore the person’s reputation. The “extra” demonstrates that we know we are indebted to the person we wronged. If we are truly humbled before the Lord, He will guide us in how to make restitution when it is possible. The restitution does not cancel our sin (this comes through God’s forgiveness and mercy), but proves our hearts are changed.

When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the Lord, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged. (Num. 5:6-7)

Zacchaeus said to the Lord, “Look, Lord…if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Lk. 19:8-9)

6. Confession includes acknowledgement that Jesus is alive today even though He was crucified for your sins, and the honest profession that He is the legitimate LORD (Master) of your life.

…That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom. 10:9,10)

7. Proper confession, as it is defined by Scripture, is one of the conditions of receiving God’s forgiveness.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I Jn. 1:9)

8. Biblical confession (along with its accompanying humility, forsaking sin, submission to God, etc.) must come before baptism. Baptism of an unrepentant, unchanged person means nothing to God (despite what many churches teach!)

Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. (Matt. 3:5-6; also Mark 1:5; Acts 19:8)

9. Biblical confession will be done by all people, sooner or later. But only those who voluntarily humble themselves and confess Biblically in this life will be saved. God is just, and will make all men acknowledge how they have rebelled and resisted His Truth. Isn’t it wise to make peace with Him now–through the means of salvation He has offered (Jesus)? Today is the day of salvation if you can hear His voice. He will not strive with rebels forever, but will close the door of salvation and punish them.

For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Rom. 14:11; also Phil. 2:11)

10. After we are redeemed, we need to confess personal as well as corporate sin. This involves examining ourselves regularly to judge (discern) the rightness or wrongness of our actions. If we determine what we have done any wrong, we confess and repent. We should also acknowledge any sin the church is doing as a whole. There is no room, in Christ, for walking in darkness and hiding sin. Too many churches are covering up sin rather than exposing it. This is dishonoring to God, and brings injury and spiritual confusion to many people. We have the examples of godly men, Daniel and Nehemiah–

Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God…(Dan. 9:20)

…Hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. (Neh. 1:6)

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

11. All believers are priests in the spiritual kingdom the God (I Pet. 2:9), and as such, can confess sin to one another. This is for the purpose of accountability, praying for one another, and teaching one another (Rom. 15:14; Col. 3:16).

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (Jam. 5:16)

Please note: Nowhere in the New Testament are sinners commanded to confess their sins to a priest in order to be forgiven. Our healing, forgiveness and redemption comes from God, through our High Priest Jesus, not from any other man. Jesus is the only mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5). He alone is able to save, and we must come to God through Him. (Heb. 2:17; 4:15-16; 5:9; 7:24-25) If any person or organization teaches that you must come to God through a man (whether he calls himself a priest or not), do not believe it or submit to it. Believe the Scriptures.

God bless you!

Posted in Christian Life, False Teachers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Religion of Morality

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 25, 2014

Before getting started, I want to make very clear that I believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ makes the most moral people on earth, and without holiness no man will see the Lord. Antinomianism (lawlessness) is the devil’s doctrine, and immoral people are not accepted in the family of God. We must be born again, and those who are born again will not live immoral lives.

The purpose of this paper is to expose a subtle deception satan offers to those who are willing to accept any particular moral code for their behavior. It is a religion of morality void of the born again experience, and void of a living relationship with the Living God. One of the signs that someone is walking in this false religion is that his morality is based on a system created by men, though it may include elements of true religion, and almost always cloaks hypocrisy of some sort.

Ask professing American Christians to define this false religion, and most likely they will refer to the Pharisees in the Bible, and say that Jesus was against them but loved to eat with sinners. There is some truth in this statement, yet not the whole truth, and therein lies the deception. I have written more about Phariseeism here: LINK

Unfortunately, many who profess Christ as Lord think that by refusing to judge between good and evil, they have sided with the sinner-loving Savior. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are commanded to judge between good and evil, and to choose the good and reject the evil.

However, the way of Christ is the way of the cross, and the cross requires a complete crucifixion of the self, not a mere moral tweaking of the old man. When Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again, He was not speaking to a male prostitute but to a devoutly religious man whose morality was not enough. And while many pride themselves in being far, far from Pharisaical due to their refusal to judge between good and evil, they are in fact Pharisaical because they think their particular form of morality has made them right with God while they do not know God or follow Him from the heart.

Buddhism offers man a moral code that forbids killing people, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxication. Hidden beneath that “moral” covering, however, is a heart that remains selfish because a man cannot be born again without the Spirit of God indwelling him when he repents of sin and turns to Jesus in obedient faith. The Buddhist may refrain from drinking alcohol, but he will meditate until he reaches a mental trance state that offers him the same “escape from reality” that alcohol or drugs would. Buddhism has also redefined “sexual misconduct” so that fornication is not classified as misconduct so long as there is “mutual love.” This is contrary to the commands of God, who has forever outlawed fornication. This is a good example of how men rewrite “morality” according to what they think is right. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. (Prov. 21:2)

Islam offers man another moral code by which to live. One site claims that “Islam…furnishes us with the means to determine good and evil conduct.” (LINK) Of course, this is a standard written by men and not God. So while condemning hypocrisy, for example, Islam forces people to convert against their own wills, perpetuating more hypocrisy. While strict dress codes at least appear more moral than the near nudity other societies accept, history is replete with examples of Islamic people who were not truly moral (including their revered prophet). Repetitive prayers give an appearance of godliness, but none of this gives the Muslim assurance that his sins are forgiven, and there are many testimonies of ex-Muslims on youtube that bear this out.

Even the Masons, satanic at core, practice a form of moralism. They deliberately draw into their lodges people who seem to be upstanding, morally responsible citizens. These highly visible to the public, low-level initiates are deliberately kept ignorant of what is going on at higher levels, where open Lucifer-worship is embraced without apology. Most people therefore see the Masons as a “do good” organization. Even satan will do good short-term, if it helps him perpetuate evil in the long term.

And now I must digress a little into less comfortable waters. The average professing American Christian has no problem picking out the problems in Buddhism or Islam. They might even concede that Masonry is suspect. They may agree that Catholicism or Mormonism or some other group is wrong. But rarely will the evangelical protestant look in the evangelical protestant camp and discern the difference between true religion and the religion of morality.

I attended a church for some time that had made up its own code of morality. This code wasn’t written out in their official doctrines; rather it was a sort of unspoken status-quo. Those who adhered to this status-quo were considered spiritual (and given awards!), and those who did not–for whatever reason–were seen as inferior Christians. This moral code included strict attendance to several services per week (where is that in Scripture?), being a cog in the machine of their “programs” no matter how unbiblical the programs were, and supporting the “building fund” monetarily (even though the present building was only sometimes at capacity by their bringing in as many unbelievers as possible, and it was not yet paid for. Adding on unnecessary debt and filling the church with tares are both unbiblical practices.)

In “Sunday School,” which people had to attend or be subjected to constant hounding, every person had to fill out a card designating “points” for reading the lesson, being on time, memorizing a verse, doing some sort of outreach that week, etc. Those who accumulated enough points got an award and their name called out in Church. Now, keep in mind that many people filling out their points cards were not even saved. They had been visited by someone from the church, pressured to come, subsequently pressured to attend Sunday School, and pressured to fill out the points card. Some of these people went on to be recognized in the church and to receive rewards before men, yet a quick look at their personal lives revealed a frank denial of true discipleship. Some real saints had jobs that required them to be away (not having perfect attendance), or sick children or spouses to tend to at home, and these saints were not recognized because they had not acquired enough points.

Now I ask you…is this not a religion of morality? Does this kind of churchianity really advance the Kingdom of God? Or does it fill a building with hypocrites who are learning to judge themselves by a false standard?

I recall one time a dear brother questioned the points system, and he was told that “at least we aren’t asking you if you are looking at pornography. We are just asking you if you did your lesson or got to church on time.” This brother responded by saying he WANTS to be asked, rather, if he is looking at pornography. How much does the leadership care about its people if it’s only concerned with externals?

You see, it is very easy to check some external boxes. Many churches that don’t utilize this blatant point system still have a series of boxes they expect their congregants to check, and once those are checked, the congregants are assumed holy. There is actually very little real accountability going on, sometimes because the congregants are not even saved, and sometimes because there isn’t time or energy–after jumping through all the moral boxes–to pursue a more intimate relationship with the Body of Christ. After “going to church” 3 times in a week and “doing the program” that doesn’t seem to be working, who wants to pursue more? The real believers are exhausted, and the unbelievers who–for whatever reason–submit to the church’s code are distracted from what they really need to do (be born again.) The gospel might be preached occasionally (usually a watered-down version), but these churched unbelievers instinctively realize that the church will accept them if they just fall in line with the man-made code.

This is happening all over America. The moral codes and levels of coercion vary, but the result is always the same. People have established for themselves ANOTHER JUDGE of their morality other than the Word of God. Add to this varying degrees of false doctrine, and apostasy is in full bloom. The pornography watcher no longer needs to fear that his sin will take him to hell, since he has perfect attendance and a doctrinal defense some of the “experts” agree with. And since he doesn’t look at pornography IN CHURCH (he knows that would be wrong), he is accepted by all. He may also have a habit of swearing when he gets angry, or cheating on his taxes, but his association with a supposed house of worship makes him feel supremely safe. No doubt he draws the line at certain sins (just like Buddhists, Muslims, etc. also do).

One specific way I see this false Christianity spreading is through the so-called “Religious Right.” Now no true Christian wants to see babies murdered by abortion or homosexuality being embraced. However, truly reforming society has never come by laws. True reformation begins at the grass-roots level where people embrace the gospel and are changed. Because they are changed (no longer wanting to kill babies or practice homosexuality), they stop asking for laws that permit them to do evil.

The Religious Right is made up of a conglomeration of people who are deceived into thinking that the “complete package morality” offered in the born again experience is of secondary importance to the forced specific morality imposed by laws–laws that are again subject to change at any time, according to the whims of the people. Millions of dollars are spent to fight laws that later give way to even worse laws. Let us be honest. How many babies have been saved by the Religious Right, with all of its money and unending rhetoric? How many homosexuals have been converted from the errors of their ways through this means? I am not saying a Christian should not abhor the gross wickedness of child-murder and perverted sexuality. I am saying we have been deceived into thinking God’s program for changing the world has changed. It hasn’t and it won’t.

What happens when Christian superstars rally people to fight on the hill of morality?

All of the efforts of Christians go to fighting those one or two moral evils. And it’s not too harsh to say that many of these Christians are hypocrites who defend other moral evils. But as long as they think they are “fighting evil,” they feel relieved of the responsibility to examine their own lives and see if they are really in the faith of Jesus Christ.

When did Jesus set up laws in the government by which to curb the evils of His day? When did His apostles take on this extraordinary work?–Never. It is not enough to chop the dead limbs of abortion and homosexuality off the tree of mankind; the axe must be laid to the root, and it can only be laid with the Gospel. The root is self-will. The root is not abortion, homosexuality, or the removal of prayer from schools. These are fruits that sprang from the root of self-will. The great commission is to teach people to obey Jesus rather than themselves. If the root is struck, a change in fruit will follow.

Yet today it is considered vogue for Christians to enter bitter political debates which they think somehow advances the cause of Christian morality on the earth. Dear Reader, do not be deceived. Though I hate child-murder with all of my being (and go to clinics to stand against it), outlawing child murder will not make us a Christian nation. The reason child murder is protected is because people have murder in their hearts. They need new hearts.

If a person decides not to murder, but never gives up the self-will to Jesus, how long will it be before murder is again on the table? It won’t be long. Sometimes a man who won’t murder his own child will go murder someone else’s child if only his “morally superior” country’s leaders tell him to.

Consider this: every nation on the earth, including America, has propagandized its own people to believe that its own ideals and interests are morally superior to those of other countries. Early in American history, the “religous right” (though not called that yet) justified the killing of Native Americans (and other crimes) in the name of “Manifest Destiny.” This was the belief that God had given an elite group of people the right and mandate to take the whole country from the east coast to the west coast, even if that goal could only be reached through violence. Oh, there were apologists even then who preached this message in the churches. And there were pew-warmers that were accepted because they checked their various boxes at the appropriate time. But none of this is the faith handed to us by Christ and His apostles and prophets. Yet this seriously bastardized version of Christianity is still being promoted by the notoriously war-hungry religious right. Many well-meaning Christians get caught up in their rhetoric, not understanding that this partisan group does not and cannot represent Christ, even if they do appear to give lip-service to a few of His morals.

Let us remember that when Puritans were putting to death “heretics” (who were sometimes real Christians) in Boston, they were at the same time enforcing a code of strict morality. But it wasn’t the faith of the Lord Jesus that drove them to murder their neighbors.

Early in Martin Luther’s ministry, he taught that Christians could not kill their enemies. Later his doctrine changed, and he began justifying killing in certain circumstances. What caused him to change his stance? Was it new illumination in the Scriptures?–No, his personal power base was threatened. And this is the same hypocrisy manifest in the Religious Right today. There are loud claims of moral superiority, but the reality is there is as much corruption on the right as there is on the left. Often, “conservatives” are more ready than “liberals” to kill complete strangers if there is something in it for them. I have recently done a great deal of research, and what I find in the government of this nation is sweeping corruption of the most vile kinds, including drug trafficking, people trafficking, prostitution, pornography production and promotion, and pedophilia. Do not be deceived into thinking that only the other party is participating.

And what is it that professing Christians are really after in America, I wonder, when they rail against how things are. Are they zealous for Jesus? If so, why aren’t they teaching people Jesus’ words rather than the words of Patrick Henry? Do they really care for their unborn neighbors?–Why aren’t they gathering outside abortion clinics to plead with mothers not to kill their children and offer help? Do they really want homosexuals to receive the new birth in Jesus Christ and be set free? How many are actively sharing the faith once delivered with such people? It can be so pleasing to the flesh to stand on a moral high ground and declare that all our trouble was caused by someone else. It’s alot less pleasing to the flesh to empty self, become a servant to all, and live Jesus’ words day by day among friends and enemies.

I believe that the average Joe Christian is not really that concerned with the spread of sin, except where it infringes on his own personal piece of the American Pie. We want the rewards of capitalism, and freedom to do what we want. Who doesn’t want these things? And these things aren’t inherently evil, but they become evil when we are willing to deny the teachings of Jesus to have them. And our hypocrisy is exposed when we “fight to get America back” to what it was before, and don’t acknowledge that what it was before was merely a more moral society that was still plunging headlong into hell, chasing the idols of materialism and freedom to do as one pleases.

Everywhere we hear the lament about the good old days. The good old days weren’t as good as we think. The unrighteousness had not fully bloomed and fruited yet, but it was surely being planted. Isn’t it telling that we cry when the harvest comes in, but we didn’t cry when we (as a nation) were having fun planting it?

My heart cries for there to be real repentance among those professing to be saved in this country. At some point we have to stop pointing out the other denominations and look at our own. We have to stop blaming one political party and excusing another. We must go beyond our propensity to view our country as superior to others, and realize we have all sinned grievously in myriad ways. We must look past our record of attendance at church, and look at how much we attend upon the Lord Jesus and obey His Words from the heart. We must stop sneering at the unchurched sinner while excusing the love of the world that has gripped most of our churched children (and adults!) The hypocrisy must stop. If there is to be any lasting moral change in this nation, it will begin with real born again believers who subject their lives to Jesus Christ and live according to His teachings in such a way that their holiness is indisputable.

But this–true religion–is not for the faint of heart. When you begin to chop at the root of things with a spiritual axe, and point out the hypocrisies of the various groups, you will burn bridges behind you. No longer will you fit in with them or find a semblance of rest in their numbers. If you don’t join their acceptable moral crusades, they will cast you out because you don’t further their agendas (and they do have agendas which are very different from God’s Kingdom agenda). Remember that any number of Jews would have been glad to have Jesus lead them physically against the Romans, and would have rallied behind Him. But who wants to follow someone who is leading His disciples to crucifixion and death and being the perpetual offscouring of the earth? (I Cor. 4:13) Who wants to, for the (future) joy set before him, endure the painful cross (right now)?

Yet this is the ONLY way to bring true moral change to mankind. All other religions are vain, and that includes nominal Christianity as it is known today in its compromised and impotent state. It may pick and choose a few moral hills to rally on, but it won’t deny the Self entirely and obey the Lord Jesus in all of His teaching. Such a morality can never save. It is just another road that leads to death.

Posted in apostasy, Christian Life, False Teachers, Preach the Gospel, Repentance | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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