The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

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Jesus Divides and Brings Together

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 25, 2014

Jesus Divides

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matt. 10:34-39)

If you have ever felt the sting of rejection from your own family due to your allegiance to Jesus, then you already know the meaning of this passage. Family bonds are very special, but can be an idol in our hearts that tempts us to leave Christ. This is why Jesus was careful to say that we must be willing to “lose our life” for His sake. Any bond that we count more important than our relationship with Jesus will make us unworthy of Jesus. When Jesus (Truth) came, that Truth did not bind the nation of Israel together in perfect harmony; instead there was division among the people because of Him. (Jn. 7:40-43) Those people who accepted Him were given the right to become the sons of God, and those who rejected Him were condemned for hating the Light and loving darkness because their deeds were evil (Jn. 3:19). Then those who were born Jews according to the flesh persecuted those who were born Jews according to the Spirit (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 4:29). Then, as now, there was a division between darkness and light.

The apostle Paul said we should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11) We are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Cor. 6:14-16) As the temple and habitation of God’s Spirit, true believers cannot have fellowship with unbelievers, and especially with those who CLAIM to be God’s people yet walk in sin (I Cor. 5:9-13). This division God has put between light and darkness is very important, and it is something we must accept, lest we deny Christ in an effort to serve two masters. There are many today attempting to make alliances between the righteous and the wicked (for example: the Christian church and unbelieving Israelis), and thinking this honors God. It does not honor God. There is no fellowship between light and darkness, and any attempt to create fellowship where none should be only results in a leavening and weakening of the Church.

Jesus Brings Together

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Col. 1:21-23)

Through the body of Jesus, we are now reconciled to God, no longer divided from Him–that is, if we continue in the faith.

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Eph. 2:11-18)

At one time the Gentiles were considered aliens of the Commonwealth of Israel, but in Christ they are brought near and made part of the Olive Tree, along with born again Jews. Jesus put to death enmity between Jews and Gentiles through His body and His cross. Those who repent and believe become one family and love one another, regardless of their ancestry. They are “One New Man” (the Body of Christ, who is One.) They are one holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:21).

He made known to me the mystery…which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel (Eph. 3:3-6).

Through the gospel itself, which is the power of God to every Jew or Gentile who believes, each person is made a fellow heir of the same body! And so, in Christ, all believers are brought together.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28)

There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:11)

Christ brings together races, sexes, rich and poor. In Him, they are simply family–children of the living God.

Summary

Jesus both divides and brings together. We need to have His mind, and seek His will about who we should join with, and who we should be separated from. The world divides itself up according to races, nations, sexes, economic status, popular fads, etc. But rather than being conformed to the world, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we can prove God’s perfect will (Rom. 12:2).

When the world says the righteous and the wicked should join hands in fellowship, you must refuse! When the world says you should deny the words of Christ, you must not! When the world says sinners belong in God’s assembly/congregation/church, you must put away from yourselves the wicked person (I Cor. 5:13).

When the world says you should choose your family over Jesus, God’s Word says you must choose Jesus, even if it means being put to death (Mk. 13:12-13). When the world says you must choose your nation (or another nation) over another, God’s Word says your allegiance is to be to the kingdom of God first (Matt. 6:33), and your responsibility to all the nations is simply to make in them disciples of Jesus (Matt. 28:19). When the world says you should agree with the rich and the powerful, God’s Word says such favoritism is sin (James 2:1-7). When the world attempts to teach you to see men through prejudiced eyes, you must choose to see “every creature” as a possible recipient of God’s mercy (Mk. 16:15). When the world says you should call down judgment on those who reject you, Jesus says, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Lk. 9:55-56) When the world says it is righteous to hate your enemies, Jesus says, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:43-44)

All the judgments of God are correct, both when He divides and when He brings together.

God bless you!

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The Vanity of Video Games

Posted by israeliteindeed on January 13, 2013

Video games are not harmless.

They are vanity. They are fake. And they consume our time, attention, and effort in doing fake things.

Have you noticed how consumed kids/teens/adults can be by video games?–So consumed that they forget to eat, they detach from real relationships, and they accomplish very little in the real world.

They beat fake dragons while the real dragon (satan) is effecting their spiritual ruin.

They fight fake battles while the real battle rages around them, and they do not know that they are mortally wounded and losing “life” by the minute.

They overcome fake enemies while their real enemies–satan, their flesh, slothfulness, indifference, etc.–destroy them.

They feel a fake sense of accomplishment, while their lack of diligence in the real world is shameful and obvious to others.

Their conversation with friends centers on the delusional fake things each one does in his games.  Gamers do not encourage one another to love and good works, but to time-wasting, character-eroding vanities.

Someone will say I am a legalist.  I am not. I am not making a sweeping statement that if you ever play a game, you are lost.  But I have seen what involvement in these games does to people, particularly the younger, tech-savy generation.  I wish I had not allowed my children to play these games, but I did. And we are all still reaping the fruit of that decision. My goal here is not to condemn the gamer, but to point out the vanity of it all, in hope that someone with ears to hear will receive a warning given in love.

Often parents or teens think when adulthood comes, the teens will magically become diligent in the real world. But most often they don’t. They have practiced pursuing vanities so long that they are become vain themselves. They are willing to lay down their lives for fake people, fake strategies, and fake battles.

Some don’t keep jobs. Some keep jobs but give their families no attention when they are home. They give the time they should be giving to Bible study and prayer to games. Instead of teaching their children to follow Jesus, they teach them how to win the next level. Instead of teaching their children how to overcome the flesh, satan, and the world, they teach them how to beat the game.  They pass on their vain behavior to their children.  Essentially, they prostrate themselves before IMAGES created by men, and sacrifice their lives, and the lives of their families, to these images.

Unless they turn from this vanity and idolatry, a terrible harvest will be reaped due to their lazy & indifferent preoccupation with things can do no good. The way out of this is to REPENT of giving time and attention to such things. Seek God’s forgiveness for this sin–for it is sin–and set your affections on things above–the things that are real.

Be a true disciple of the Word of God, disciple your children, and take the Great Commission seriously. The real battle will rage whether you pay attention or not. If you don’t pay attention, your soul and the souls of your children may be lost.

…they followed vanity, and became vain…(2 Kings 17:15)

They that make them (idols) are like unto them… (Psa. 115:8)

Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? (Jer. 2:5)

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. (Jonah 2:8)

Turn from these vanities unto the living God. (Acts 14:15)

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