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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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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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Vengeance is Mine

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 20, 2014

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21)

When the prophet Jonah was called to go to a people–who had persecuted his own people– with a message that God would forgive them if they would repent, he was more than reluctant. Only after nearly perishing in the ocean did he agree to obey. After they repented at his preaching and received God’s mercy (chapter 3), Jonah admitted his motive for running away was that he didn’t think they deserved that mercy!

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” (Jon. 4:1-2)

No one deserves mercy. That’s what makes mercy what it is. Jesus rebuked His disciples when they were too willing to call down fire on a town that did not receive Him (Lk. 9:51-56.) His rebuke was not a soft one; He said they were of another spirit!

There is a vengeance and a destruction that is coming–the Day of the Lord. God’s enemies will be destroyed; we can be sure of that. In fact, they are already abiding “under His wrath.” (Jn. 3:36)

But ambassadors of God’s kingdom who are sent out with the Great Commission are not sent out to bring His wrath. They are sent out with an offer of God’s mercy on the conditions of any sinner’s repentance and faith. Unfortunately, some feel like Jonah–none too keen on seeing certain subsets of humanity receive God’s mercy. Or, they would like to see those people redeemed, but only if it doesn’t cost THEM something. Sometimes, being swept up in the worldly mindset produced by patriotism, and controlled by that mind instead of the mind of Christ, they leave the ranks of God’s ambassadors and join the ranks of the world’s destroyers of men. They may destroy by firing the weapons; they may destroy by supporting those who fire the weapons.

But our instructions, if we are God’s children, are very clear in the Romans passage above. These instructions are repeated in different ways elsewhere in Scripture also. It isn’t that God’s instructions aren’t clear or abundant enough; it’s that men don’t want to obey. They’d rather run from their responsibilities because they deem other people groups too far gone to be recipients of God’s mercy.

But as God revealed His heart concerning the lost to Jonah (4:10-11), He will also reveal His heart to us, unless we are content with that “other spirit” that insists we take vengeance in our own hands. Unfortunately, many professing Christians are so taken up with the importance of their earthly country and personal safety, those perishing things trump the value of men’s souls in their eyes. They are thus easily caught up in fleshly reactions to men, rather than spiritual war with spiritual weapons against spiritual principalities.

If Jesus came in the flesh today, pitying the souls of Muslims and calling us to be willing to die for them, He would likely be cast out as an apostate by the American church.

If a false savior came passing out carnal weapons and instructions for how to take Jerusalem from the infidels, he would gain some popularity–but only among those who are first rejecting the true King’s instructions.

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How Does God Deal With Terrorists?

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 19, 2014

God’s people have always been called to do what nations as a whole generally won’t do. While Christians are called to love their enemies, that doesn’t mean they can force their whole nation to love its enemies (they can, however, share the gospel, and some will respond with faith and begin to love their enemies.)

Also, the word “terrorist” can mean one thing to an American and another thing to someone from, say, Gaza or Hiroshima. One man’s terrorist can be another man’s hero (carnally speaking, of course.)  One of the problems with Christians jumping on the “We need to kill the terrorists” bandwagon, is that their own nation has the same potential to be a terrorist entity, and cover its own dark deeds with media stories of a certain spin, while neglecting to tell the whole story. It is quite possible to be supporting terrorists even as you think you are defending against them.

Another problem with jumping on that bandwagon is that it leads directly away from Christ and his kingdom mission.  The Assyrians to whom Jonah was sent were wicked and violent people, as the following article explains.  Did they “deserve” the mercy which Jonah was so sure God would give them if they hearkened to His warnings? Of course not!

Please read the following article about how God used his very reluctant prophet to reach out to a “terrorist” nation even under the Old Covenant, and consider whether your thinking needs to be changed on some level, especially in light of the New Covenant.

God bless you!

How Does God Deal With Terrorists?
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IS IT TOO LATE?

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 4, 2014

Many times I have read through God’s prophecies of judgment on other nations, and trembled as I recognized how applicable they are to my own people! Haven’t we been given much, and haven’t we squandered it? As current events grow ever more alarming, how many in the church are responding with real repentance? As you read this post, I pray that you will know the seriousness of God’s Word. When disregarded, this Word brings tremendous severity upon the rebellious. May we humble our hearts to both receive and obey the Word, that He might have mercy on us once again. With Hoshi’ana, I pray it is not “too late.”

Hoshi'ana

Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed
howl for her; take balm for her pain,
if so be she may be healed.
We would have healed Babylon,
but she is not healed: forsake her,
and let us go every one into his own country:
for her judgment reacheth unto heaven,
and is lifted up even to the skies.

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

Judgment is not “at the shore,” or “at the door,” it is HERE.  ISIS is here. Are we surprised? Does not God’s Word claim that He will set enemies against us if we remain in willful disobedience to Him?


America, keep slaying your children, and keep spitting in the face of the One who created and prospered you. Keep creating laws that are abominations in the sight of God. Do you think God doesn’t see it?

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Do we weep when…

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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 »

Perishing From the Assembly

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 25, 2014

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (Jn. 10:14)

In the rebellion of Korah, the dissenters falsely declared that the Lord was among “every one of them.” (Num. 16:3) Moses responded that the Lord would show who was His and who is holy, and He would cause the one He chooses to come near to Him (vs. 5). It was clear to Moses that the Lord was not, in fact, among every one of them. The Lord demonstrated who were His and who were not by swallowing the rebels alive into a pit. They perished from among the assembly (vss. 32-33).

Today there are so many who claim that the Lord is among them while they rebel against God’s chosen Leader (Jesus Christ). But what did Jesus say? He knows His sheep, and they know Him. They believe He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, so they follow Him (Jn. 10:27).

I remember telling a young man who unashamedly admitted living in fornication that he was not the Lord’s sheep. He kept telling me how sad it made him feel for me to say such a thing, and he pressed me to confess that he was the Lord’s sheep based on his having prayed a prayer at one time to be saved. I refused. How could I claim he was the Lord’s sheep when Jesus said His sheep know His voice and follow Him, refusing to obey the voice of a stranger? (Jn. 10:4-5) After trying for two years to get this young man to come to a place of repentance, he still defended his sinful lifestyle and wicked heart. He still argued against holiness and obedience to the Lord every chance he got, most often while “fellowshiping” with other Christians. The true sheep do not do these things, and such “fellowship” is worthless, as light is forever divided from darkness. When we figure out we are in the presence of an unrepentant Korah, we need to, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” (Num. 16:26)

The Apostle Paul may have been referring back to the rebellion of Korah when he wrote the following:

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Tim. 2:19)

Despite the deceitful words and conjured-up doctrines of religious rebels, the Lord does know those who are His. He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver, testing and proving and perfecting that which is real (Mal. 3:3). His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matt. 3:12)

Who shall draw near to the Lord? Is the Lord with us just because we insist He is? Can we be close to the Lord while disregarding His Word?

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. (Psa. 24:3-6)

What about the disobedient who insist that God is with them?

To these He says,

What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? (Psa. 50:16-17)

Just as Korah perished from the assembly, so these will perish from God’s assembly if they do not repent. They may hang around the congregation of the righteous, but they will not remain there. The wheat will be gathered to Christ, and the chaff will be thrown in unquenchable fire. They may fool some people for a time, but they will not fool the searching eye of the Lord. Many will go alive into the pit with choir robes on.

Religious people who feverishly work to draw more disobedient disciples after themselves are often admired and followed by many. They can have the biggest churches and appear to have thriving ministries. Nevertheless, they are late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots…for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 12-13). Don’t be fooled by appearances; one day after Korah made his bold claims against God’s authority, he was destroyed. The Lord knows those who are His.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psa. 1)

Posted in Apostasy, Judgment of God, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Treachery of Unbelief

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 20, 2014

 

I will be drawing select verses from Numbers 14, but you can read the entire chapter here for context.

Moses had sent the leaders of each Israelite tribe to spy out the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give them. When they returned, ten of the leaders gave the Israelites “a bad report,” faithlessly proclaiming, “We are not able!” (Num. 13:32). Caleb, however, boldly proclaimed, “Let us go up at once….we are well able to overcome it.” (13:30).

How did the people respond to this mixed review? Did they recall to mind God’s promises and the way He had so gloriously delivered them from the Egyptians (Exo. 14)? Did they consider how God had fed them miraculously in the wilderness, and provided water and shelter from hot days and cold nights by His fire and cloud? –Hardly. Instead they complained against their leaders and declared their wish that they were already dead! (14:2) Then they voiced their suspicion that the Lord had victimized their families, and decided to choose a leader who would lead them back into the bondage of Egypt (14:3-4).

Joshua and Caleb, horrified at this mass apostasy, tore their clothes and exhorted the people with the following main points:

1. The land is an exceedingly good land! (14:7)

2. IF the Lord delights in us, He will give it to us. (14:8)

3. ONLY DO NOT REBEL AGAINST THE LORD…the Lord is with us…do not fear them. (14:9)

How did the congregation respond to this show of faith?

They decided to stone Joshua and Caleb with stones. (14:10)

Note that the progression of the people into full apostasy was as follows:

1. They believed a lying report rather than believing God’s Word, even though God did have servants (Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb) who were speaking the truth faithfully.

2. They neglected to bring to mind the glorious victories God had already given them, or to trust His promises.

3. They complained and claimed to be victims.

4. They chose a replacement leader who would lead them back into bondage.

Is this not the same progression we see in professing Christians today? While God does have a few servants who remind us that we are well able to overcome all things in Christ, the majority of voices proclaim that we are victims of a God who has sentenced us to a losing battle until the day we die. Most choose to ignore the promises in God’s Word, and hold fast to the lying report instead. They complain against the truth tellers (verbally stoning them, if not literally), choose replacement teachers who tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3), and return like senseless animals to the vomit they had once left behind (2 Pet. 2:22).

While this may seem like average Christianity to those of us who have been pickled in this apostasy for years, it is really nothing short of treachery and rebellion against God.

God’s response to the unbelieving Israelites was to declare that the people had rejected Him (14:11). He was ready to disinherit them and start over with Moses. Moses pleaded for and acquired pardon for the people (19-20), but the Lord still firmly decided that none of those who rejected Him would ever see the land previously promised them (23). In fact, He said they had despised the land (31), just as Esau had despised his birthright before he lost it forever (Gen. 25:34). God called them an “evil congregation who are gathered together against Me” and proclaimed, “You shall know my rejection!” (34-35)

A few questions:

Are we victims of a God who has sentenced us to a string of losing battles, as so many say?

Does God smile upon our unbelief?

Is it a small thing to gather together against Him, to refuse to listen to His voice, and to reject Him?

Will He really reject those who reject Him?

Lest you think I am drawing a false parallel between the Old Testament Israelites and New Testament Christianity, the apostle Paul drew this exact parallel so as to warn all of us upon whom the ends of the ages have come (I Cor. 10:1-12). He very plainly warned us not to do as the Israelites did, lest we be destroyed in like manner as they were.

Who will inherit the land (salvation)?

But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. (Num. 14:24)

Reject every false report, believe God’s Word and follow Him fully. In Christ, we are well able to overcome!

Posted in apostasy, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Warning Others About False Teachers

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 5, 2013

Jesus said:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Jesus desires us to examine a teacher by his/her fruits. Nowhere in Scripture are we forbidden to test a teacher. In fact, Jesus commends the Church at Ephesus for testing those who claimed to be apostles and exposing them as liars (Rev. 2:2). The Bereans were commended for testing Paul’s teaching by the Scriptures they had (Acts 17:11).

Paul wrote:

Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned (from the apostles, prophets, and Jesus), and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom. 16:17-18)

The underlined words are so important. Often a person will spend a long time drinking from the polluted well of false-teaching, and when someone comes along exposing the lie, they will attempt to use this Romans passage to “mark” the truth teller as false! The truth teller is wrongly labeled as divisive. This is a satanic sleight-of-hand designed to keep the deceived in their error. In truth, the divisive person is the one who divides you from the doctrine that was given in Scripture. Such a person is to be noted (or “marked” in the KJV) and avoided.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Pet. 2:1-3)

Peter wrote that heresies are destructive. They cause people to destroy themselves and others, and they bring the way of Truth into disrepute. They are constructed with deceptive words. That is, on the surface the teaching may sound good. The false prophet may have an appearance as a messenger of light. But he brings deception, causing God’s Word to be seen in a different light than it was intended to be understood.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

Selfish desires and itching ears will cause people to love fables over truth. If selfish desires and itching ears weren’t so plentiful, the market for false teaching would disappear. False teachers depend on itching ears that want to hear their twisting of the truth. If nobody listened, they would have to get another job!

The deceived can be very sure of themselves that they are not deceived at all. Pride seems to precede and accompany deception. The proud man will not receive correction. He knows it all already. He delights in thinking he is so spiritual and learned, he cannot be deceived. Woe to such a one. We need to remain humble and teachable, and always examine our hearts in the light of God’s Word, making sure we don’t have any proud ambitions hindering us from obeying the Truth.

Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:30-31)

This passage gives insight into the selfish desire of false teachers to have disciples for themselves. They may say they want you to love and follow Jesus, but they place themselves in between you and Jesus, subtly making it appear that you can only be close to Jesus if you follow what they themselves teach. Paul knew how grave the danger was going to be. How passionately he warned them with tears for three whole years!

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words… As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught…Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power…Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Col. 2:4-10; 18-19)

I’d like to highlight some important aspects of this passage:

1. Deception often comes through very persuasive words. The speaker may have a dynamic and charming personality, or be powerfully convincing. These things are sometimes mistaken for “the anointing” of the Holy Spirit, but they are not.

2. As we have received Christ, so we should walk in Him. And how did we receive Him? By simple faith. We believed the Word of God, repented and began to follow Him. False teachers often have gimmick teachings that supposedly make one closer to Christ. But no one gets closer to Christ by their gimmicks. We draw near to God by faith. God is not far from us, and does not need men’s gimmicks as an alternate mediator. If you did not need that gimmick to be born again, you don’t need it to walk in Him either. We are complete in Jesus. We don’t need that book, we don’t need that new thing, and we don’t need that understanding of Scripture that has supposedly been “restored” by some new voice claiming to speak for God.

3. False teachers often delight in false humility. If you don’t have the Spirit of God, or if you have been grieving Him by your own pride, you may not be able to discern false from true humility. They will say things that on the surface appear humble, but there is an underlying look at me, look what I have experienced, look how spiritual I am, look at how important my personal revelations are.

4. False teachers have a fleshly mind that puffs them up in pride. They love to talk about angels and supernatural experiences. They intrude into things they have not seen. They don’t see themselves in humility, connected to all other Body parts beneath the Head, submitted to the absolute authority of Scripture, and needing the constant nourishment of others. Today, there are scores of such teachers, and the blatant worship of angels is rampant especially in the charismatic church. Followers, wishing to have such ecstatic experiences for themselves, by which to prove their own spirituality, leave the simplicity and humility of Christ to chase something deeper or higher than what others have.

Naming Names

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11)

These specific false teachers were exposed by name in the New Testament:

Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 1:15)
Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17)
Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. 3:8)
Demas (2 Tim. 4:10)
Alexander the Coppersmith (2 Tim. 4:14)
Diotrephes (3 Jn. 9)
Balaam (Rev. 2:14)
Jezebel (Rev. 2:20)

False teaching is public. If we don’t name the names of false teachers in our midst, how will others take heed? Our silence is complicity, and it speaks volumes of our character. Though silence about false teaching might be seen as love, it is not love. Love warns of danger. False teaching is the most dangerous thing on the planet. By it, Eve was deceived. And by it, the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one today (I Jn. 5:19).

See also Division in the Church

Posted in apostasy, False Teachers, Occult & Lying Wonders | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

We Were Once Disobedient

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 13, 2013

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 3:3-6)

Yes, we were ONCE foolish, disobedient, deceived, and serving various lusts and pleasures.  But now we serve Jesus.

We ONCE walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (satan), that spirit who works in all disobedient children (Eph. 2:2-3). We ONCE conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, but if we are saved, we are not doing these things anymore.

Why?–The kindness and love of God our Savior has appeared to us, and it has not left us unchanged. When we deserved judgment, He offered us forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus. His kindness, meant to lead us to repentance (Rom. 2:4), has done its work in our hearts. Because He loved us selflessly, we have learned to love Him (I John 4:19).  And because we love Him, we now give Him our willing obedience (John 14:23).

It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. What does this mean? Does it mean “works of righteousness” are unnecessary? Are they, as so many claim, “legalism”?

Paul writes later in this same chapter that the saints should be taught to “maintain good works.” (vs. 14)  We are changed and saved by God’s mercy. But beware of those who use Scripture to “prove” that we don’t have to obey God. Anyone who uses Scripture to promote unrighteousness is working for satan. It is one thing to acknowledge that we needed the undeserved mercy of God in order to be reconciled;  it is quite another to presume upon that mercy and continue willfully in unrighteousness.

If you were an employer who just caught an employee stealing from your company, you would have several options.  The most viable options are these:

1) You could terminate the employee immediately without any second chances to protect your company.  This perfectly legal option offers the least risk to the employer, and the least redemptive opportunity to the employee.

2) You could extend mercy to the employee, in hope that this mercy will change his heart and behavior, making him a valuable asset to your company in the future.  This is a risky option. Some people, given a second chance to do wrong, will take full advantage and do more wrong.  They may even mock the employer behind his back for being so gullible. Others may, in light of the undeserved kindness of the employer, feel a new sense of gratitude toward him, and commit to honesty from that time forward. An employer would only choose this option if benevolent concern for his employee outweighed concern for personal risk.

 

Applying our analogy to the Christian life, God has chosen option 2. We should have done everything He asked, but we were disobedient. We squandered His blessings and refused to steward our lives appropriately. We blackened His Name and robbed Him of His glory. He could have terminated us without mercy, and He would have been completely justified. But He chose the riskier course for Himself, in hope that some hearts would be changed by His mercy.Thankfully, some hearts have been changed. Some have responded to His mercy with repentance and willing submission.

Others mock Him by continuing willfully in sin, even after knowing the truth about His sacrifice on their behalf. They have insulted the Spirit of Grace.  The sacrifice of Jesus–which they claim gives them license to continue robbing God–only condemns them because they are still adversaries  (Heb. 10:26-31). They have not been made friends and children of God. They do not cry, “Abba, Father,” and submit to Him in grateful response to His mercy. They instead trample the blood of Christ beneath their feet by continued disobedience.

If you, a merciful employer, forgave the debt of a thieving employee, only to later find that he had continued pillaging you with the understanding that that your mercy gave him every right to do so, how would you respond?

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh, will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit, will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Gal. 6:7-8)

Dear reader, can you say that you were ONCE disobedient, but the kindness of God in Christ has changed you? It is true that no one can be saved by works.  It is also true that no one whose works do not change–in response to the mercy of God–can be saved.

Posted in Judgment of God, Legalism, Once Saved Always Saved, Repentance | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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