Thursday, May 21, 2015

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Transformation in a Chaotic World

        As we move into a more committed life in following the Lord Jesus Christ, we should expect more resistance from those who have little or no understanding of God and His Word.  Jesus warned us that we would be reviled and persecuted for His name’s sake.  As we seek to submit our will to the will of the Lord, our lives should begin to manifest a continual growth and change, and what is known as the fruit of the Spirit.  As the old hymn says, He wants us to come to Him “Just as I Am,” but it is not in His plan for us to stay “Just as I am.”  From before the beginning of our life, God already knew for what purpose we have been made, for it is He who has designed us.  All along, He has had a plan, design, and process, a path for us to take by which we might become a light to shine forth into the darkness of this world.  In the beginning, we may start out as just a tiny little flame, but over time He works within our lives.   He adds the richness of the oil of joy of the Holy Spirit to brighten our flame.  The light is not of our own making, and does not depend upon our own abilities or talents, but rather upon Him, as we become less of ourselves, our old nature, and more of Him, our new nature in the process of being transformed into the image of God.  It is this process of transformation, being made more and more into His image, which will necessarily make the believer stand out as different and changed from the inside out.  We should not be surprised when this change does not gain approval in this increasingly secular and godless world.  While professing tolerance as the key to peace among men, the world will be increasingly more intolerant of those who hold fast to, and abide in the truth of God and His Word.

          It is popular today for even the “religious Christians,” those who are generally Christians in name only, to join in with secularists to promote the idea that mankind can, and should, put all differences aside and just love one another.  This belief is based upon an erroneous assumption that man is basically good and that true love is established and obtained through the brotherhood of mankind, with or without faith in the God of the Bible.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Without the biblical God, love is only temporal at best, and void of eternal value at worst. 

          There are those that are busily promoting the idea that all religions should join together as one body, putting all differences aside, as if that would remove all cause for conflict and division among men.  Those within this group are the same ones that are, knowingly or unknowingly, doing all they can to promote a one world government and economic system, as well as a one world religious system, believing that this would create an earthly utopia where mankind will exist in peace and harmony with one another.  They ignore the lessons taught by past history, where people were under the tyrannical control of such people as Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot (of Cambodia), just to name a few.  Several common features tie each of these regimes together with similar results: no Jesus, no freedom, tyranny for all, and the slaughter of millions.  The more we shut the door to the influence of Jesus in our own culture, the more we are preparing the way for the same results to come upon our own nation, and eventually in the world at large.

          The more our current seeker friendly churches preach the feel good message to biblically illiterate congregations, the more we prepare the way for the emerging church that has an appearance of godliness, but lacks the power of God.  In these apostate churches, you will seldom see a cross, or hear the truth about sin, Hell, or God’s judgment and wrath.  Instead of teaching obedience to the Lord, as in ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” they present Jesus as some genie whose sole purpose it is to fulfill the purpose of creating “My Kingdom come, my will be done on earth, and forget about any such thing as Heaven.”  It is within these walls that one is more likely to find what I would call replicas of Simon, as found in Acts 8.  He was a man who was out to exalt himself, not Christ.  He was known to be a “big man on campus.” Making himself great through the use of sorcery.  He even made the pretense of being a Christian, going so far as to be baptized.  I think he would probably be equal to the con man today that would seek to be behind the pulpit, not to preach Jesus Christ, but rather to place himself in a position of power in order to manipulate the people for his own personal aggrandizement and gain.  Like Simon, they think the power of the Holy Spirit, and even Christ himself, is something to be peddled and sold.  When Simon saw how the Holy Ghost was given to the believers in Samaria by the apostles Peter and John, through the laying on of hands, he offered them money, “saying, give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.  But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” (Acts 8:19 - 21)  Believe it or not, there are multitudes of Simon con men types that are busily seeking to rewrap the good news into a different gospel to make it into a more sellable commodity for those who want the blessings of God without having to accept the personal responsibility of submitting their will to the will of God.           

          In this politically correct world, the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that there is no salvation on earth through any other name than the Lord Jesus Christ, has been changed to a “new and more acceptable gospel.”

This new gospel of pluralism promotes the idea that true religion, for today’s more enlightened individual, is rather like going to worship in a cafeteria style smorgasbord manner, offering each ‘seeker’ a more equal, fair, and all inclusive menu from which to choose – a little Buddhism, a little Islamism, a little Hinduism, Paganism, a bit of ‘religious Christianity,’ Chrislamism, or even Noneism (Atheism). However, none of these religions provide for forgiveness of sin; they are all based on man’s ability to earn salvation through their own idea of good works. 

          There is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood.  When the Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary, and Jesus was conceived in her womb, the contamination of sin through the seed of man was removed from the person of Jesus Christ, who came to this earth as all man and all God, that we might know God the Father through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus, the Son of God and only sinless man, is the Lamb of God.  As such, He alone was able to die, taking all our sins upon Himself, that our sin debt might be marked paid in full.  He proved that He was who He said He was, the Son of God, not only by His miraculous works on earth, but also by His resurrection as witnessed by over five hundred throughout the period of forty days after He arose from the dead.  Furthermore, His ascension back unto Heaven was also witnessed by many.  He offers the gift of salvation to anyone who will choose to believe in and receive Him as personal Lord and Savior.  This personal relationship is the basis for the difference between Christianity and all other religions of the world.  Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith, and as such, has become a stumbling block, for there are many that will not accept that He is the one and only path to God the Father.   In truth, Christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with God the Father through faith in Jesus, the Son of God. 

          Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to live within the believer when the believer invites Jesus to come into his heart to be his Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit leads and guides the believer into understanding God’s truths, transforming him into the image of God by the power of His word.  There is no transformation without true salvation.  The child of God does come to God just as he is, but not to stay as he is.  The good works that a Christian does is the fruit of the Spirit, not done to earn salvation or glorify one’s self, but rather done to give all glory and honor unto God.  The manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is the evidence, proof, and reflection of the power and love of God in our lives.  Our lives are meant to be lived to fulfill God’s purposes and desires, not those that emanate from our own will, but those that emanate from the will of God as we submit our will to His.

          Jesus came to divide the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, which represent the difference and division of the believer from the unbeliever.  It is God’s desire that all would choose to become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  Unlike the false god of Islam, He never forces anyone to believe. He beckons to all, but leaves it up to the personal choice of each individual to believe and receive, or not believe and reject Him and His free offer of salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.  God does not condemn anyone; by our own choice of rejection, we condemn ourselves.

          Jesus was and always will be a stumbling block and a divider in this fallen world.  Mankind is forever trying to create his own path to God through a belief in his own goodness, and collective salvation through our own good works and the brotherhood of mankind.  Once again, the favorite mantra of the politically correct is that we can all get along and have peace if we put our differences aside and just love one another.  Man is forever trying to deny the existence of the biblical God.  Whether we choose to believe in Him or not, He exists as all creation proves.  He will allow us to choose to reject Him, to be our own god, and believe that we have no need of Him or His forgiveness of our sins. 

          No wonder the world continues to demand that we put our differences aside and come together in the “love and brotherhood of mankind.”  Under the assumption that mankind, and not God, is the measure of all things, there is no need to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, and strength.”  There is no need for the Cross, the blood of Jesus, or forgiveness of sin.  Man can then be free to make up any standards for right and wrong, as he goes along, to suit himself, or even to have no standards at all.  This is nothing more than a denial of the truth of the Triune God of the Bible: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It is the spirit of antichrist which renounces the Cross, the deity of Jesus, and man’s need for forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus, the only possible Savior, and often the existence of Heaven or Hell. 

          For all those who promote and accept the idea that there are many paths to God, here is the inconvenient truth:  there is no salvation, no forgiveness of sin, without the shedding of blood.  Have we no understanding of the word remission?  Remission means cancellation of a debt, charge, or penalty.  Can any of us honestly say that we have never sinned?  Can any of us assert that we can ever do enough good deeds to clear our slate clean of our sin debt?  If any of us thinks that we have not sinned, we will have succeeded in living a life of sheer delusion.  Has anyone, other than Jesus, lived a sinless life, and given His life to pay our sin debt, and thus provided the free gift of salvation through faith in His work on the cross?  No, not one!  Jesus is a divider because He is exclusive; there is no salvation through any other name in Heaven or earth through which one can be saved except through the name of Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4: 12)  Therefore, just as a woman can not be a little bit pregnant, no one can be a little bit born again.  Either you believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man can come to the Father, except through Him, and no other, or you don’t believe.   

          The world teaches pluralism (all gods are equal), inclusion and universalism (all are going to Heaven regardless of what or who they do or do not believe in.).  Accordingly, all gods are equal and acceptable, or even no god at all.  Each person is free to create his own path to his own source of “light.”  Some even believe that there is no such thing as good and evil; living by the mantra “Do as you will as long as it does not bring harm to others.”  Of course, under that concept, even what you think does or does not bring harm to others, is left up to your own opinion.  This is in complete opposition to the Bible which teaches that we are to Love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and strength.  That means to love Him first, that all other love might then come into proper place in our lives.  We are not to have any other gods in our lives- not anything or anyone.  This being His truth, set by Him, how on earth can we think that we can join in the unity of faith with all other religions, when other religions require that we become inclusive in acceptance of all other gods, including paganism as in the Buddhist religion?  To be inclusive necessarily means that we must exclude the One True God; what do we not understand about God’s commandment to have no other gods before Him? (Exodus 20: 3; Deuteronomy 5: 7)  To be a Christian, one must accept that there is but one true God, and all others are idols and false gods.  Christians can not have it both ways.  God has said, if Baal is god then worship him, but if God is God then worship Him.  The person who thinks it is okay to believe in a little bit of Jesus, Buddha, Allah, or any other gods is not only double minded, but is the same as an adulterous wife who deserts faithfulness to her husband and defiles her marriage relationship by going after other men, making herself into a harlot.

          People, who are in the world and of the world, will see no problem in the belief that there are many paths to God.  For them, being inclusive of all gods, or no god at all, is the supreme evidence of being truly tolerant and good.  They will define belief in the one and only God of the Bible as being bigoted, intolerant, and evil.  There you have it!  The secular world, consciously or unconsciously, has thus proved the truth of the bible, for they have fulfilled the scriptures by creating a world for themselves in which evil is called good, and good is called evil.  Refusing to believe the truth, they have believed the lie.

          Christians are supposed to be in the world, but not of the world.  The deeper one goes in his walk with the Lord, the wider becomes the gulf between the believer and the unbeliever.  The believer, because of his faith in God, is enabled to still love the unbeliever because God loved him first when he was still lost in his sins.  He understands that godly love exists only because of the grace and mercy of God, who saves us from sin and death.  He understands that he has no righteousness of his own, but only that which has been imparted to him as a gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  He understands that he is no better than others, but that His God who saves is better and above all else, both seen and unseen.  He understands that, except for the grace of God, he also would still be lost in sin.  He understands that all that he is, and all that he has, was received from God.  He understands that this world is but a temporary home, and this life is a gift of God during which we are going through the process of being refined in the Refiner’s fire, to overcome sin by the word of our testimony, in Jesus our Lord.  Our focus is not meant to be upon ourselves or this world, but upon God and His work in us, to make us fit for our future eternal home with God in Heaven, being made totally new, eventually receiving our glorified bodies.

          People, who are still focused on the things of this world, and man as the measure of all things, will live according to relativism, refusing to believe the unchanging ways of godly right and wrong, absolutes set by God in His word.  Instead, tolerance of all things worldly, and the changing morals and values that he makes up as he goes along, are his only guidelines, made to suit his own opinions and that which seems to be convenient to him at any time or place.  His ways can not be trusted from generation to generation as the unchanging ways of God can be trusted, for mankind’s ways, without God, are continually being changed or redefined to suit himself, not God.  As long as we are on this earth, in an earthly body, we need the help of the Holy Spirit in our struggle against our old nature and the powers and principalities of the darkness of this world.

          As we draw nearer to God, being transformed more into the image of God is naturally going to make us the object of ridicule, persecution, and hatred in the sight of the world.  The world will try to silence our voice and marginalize us in an effort to reduce and even remove our influence in this “new world” which they think is the making of their own hands.  The world persecuted, hated, and crucified Christ.  Why would we, who follow after Christ, think the world would treat us any differently?  For our boldness and tenacity of holding fast to our faith in Christ and the truth of His word, we can expect greater persecution as the world itself becomes more and more contaminated by the spirit of doubt and unbelief, while it is increasingly preparing the pathway for the arrival of the Antichrist.

          Already anti-Semitism is on the rise, and Christians and Jews are being persecuted and slaughtered by the hundreds and thousands, simply for their faith.  The world doesn’t mind if we mention God, but mention the name of Jesus and all those who are of the world will shout, “Offense, offense!”  The mention of Jesus, in some parts of the world, is already equated as a crime, punishable by death.  Pastors are already being jailed for teaching the truth of the full gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s standards for morality and absolute standards of right and wrong have been deemed as unacceptable in the eyes of mankind.  Therefore, be not surprised when even families are being divided, because those who don’t believe find it easier not to love you, but reject you because of your faith.  These are perilous times.  If we are to stand strong in our faith, we must stay rooted and grounded in His Word, that we may not be deceived by the world, our flesh, or Satan.  There already exists a great falling away from the faith, just as the scriptures have prophesied.  Becoming more and more different in the eyes of the world will bring greater persecution to each and every believer, but we are to count it all joy, and an honor to suffer for our faith in the Christ who gave His very life for us.  He counted His sacrifice worth it that we might be saved and given eternal life through Him.  May we who have believed, stay rooted and grounded in the word of God, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, count Him worthy above all costs, even if it means our death, that we may endure to the end, trusting in God and proclaiming forever our faith in the One True God - the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

** It is my usual practice to sight scriptures from the word in an effort to provide the reader, not just the statement of my own words, but rather to direct the reader to the truth of the word of God itself.  However, in this writing, I have not followed my usual practice.  As always, it is my intent that no one should take my word for anything, for my words are still just my own words, though I make every effort to make sure that what I write is in line with the truth of the word of God.  It is always my intent and endeavor to encourage the reader to study the Word that you may be “a workman that need not be ashamed.”

          I can tell you what I know about Jesus.  I can even introduce you to Him, but then if we stop there, you will have only gained some head knowledge about Him without really knowing Him for yourself.  Jesus is a very unique and special kind of friend.  He has been there all along and has known you even before you were born.  He’s been waiting patiently for you to want to get to know Him.  To get to know Him personally, you have to be willing to spend time with Him, that you may know Him, instead of just knowing about Him.

          Most of what I have written herein is found within the Gospel of John.  John, the Psalms, and the Proverbs are excellent starting points for your study with a purpose to draw nearer to God.  As you dine upon the word of God, you will find that it truly is the Bread of Heaven that satisfies the soul.  God’s word, the Bible, is not just a book written by men, but was written by men as they were inspired to write God’s truth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  How else could the prophecies of the Bible, such as the coming of Jesus in the form of a baby and the crucifixion of Jesus be foretold hundreds of years before they occurred? (Isaiah 7: 14; Numbers 24: 17, Isaiah 53; Psalm 41: 9; Zechariah 11: 9, 12; just to site a few from the Old Testament.)  No mere men can prophecy with such truth and accuracy.  But then there are those who still reject the truth of His word, even when confronted with the truth of the prophets of old, who spoke and wrote the truth as the Holy Spirit came upon them and directed them to say, “Thus saith the Lord.”   All of God’s word is truth; sweeter than honey and more precious than silver and gold.  In these perilous times, if you want to be a child of God and a part of the Kingdom of God, you and I must seek to know, love, and serve the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and strength.  If you seek Him, you will find Him.

          If you truly want to know the Lord, experience His presence and direction for your life, I implore you to set a time aside each day to come into His presence through prayer and the reading of His word.   Allow Him to write His word upon the tablets of your heart and recreate you as a living epistle of God, for the entire world to see, being read by others, to bring glory and honor to God who has loved you first.  I recommend that you use a study Bible which is accompanied by commentary notes to enhance your understanding.  Personally, I have chosen the King James Version of the “Life Application Study Bible.”  You may choose the New King James version for easier reading.  I do not recommend the newer versions of the Bible for many have become corrupted and even changed to be more suitable in the eyes of the politically correct world.  Do not be deceived; hopefully, you do not want to be conformed to the world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your mind by the washing of the water of the word, that you might have the “mind of Christ,” being made more and more daily into the image of Christ.  As you draw near to Him, He has promised to draw near to you.  This is your opportunity to know the love of God, the greatest love that can ever be known by man.  Open you heart, invite Him in today, and begin your journey in the joy of knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.  Remember, for any relationship to grow and blossom into a true and deep love, it takes time, effort, and a commitment to spend time together to really know one another.  God has promised to never leave or forsake you.  He is always there, waiting for you to come to Him.  He’s waiting patiently with His arms opened wide, a smile on His face, and a warmth in His voice, calling out to you with compassion and love that is greater than any love you have known or will ever know.  How can you resist so great a love?   “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word.”  In the power of the Holy Spirit, through the truth of His word, heed the call of His voice to believe more deeply, that you may receive understanding of the Lord more abundantly, that you may know Him more dearly, and experience the fullness of His love more completely.

          The Bible foretold that, in the latter days, times would be perilous and there would be a great falling away from true biblical faith.  Well, brothers and sisters in Christ, I believe that those days are not coming, but are already upon us.  You can not be prepared to stand against the deception and doctrines of demons that are already in the world, and even within the Christian church itself, unless you are diligent to study the word of God for yourself.  You can not assume that all preachers or all believers are rooted and grounded in the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of God.  You can not trust that all knowledge is godly knowledge, or that all knowledge leads to truth.  Not all of what man has decreed to be knowledge leads to truth, for it is not always based on what God has decreed to be truth.  The only way to guard against being deceived is to study the word of God that you may be rooted and grounded in the word of God, not easily led astray by the manipulation and intimidation of the world at large.


Below are just a few scriptures to encourage you to continue to study

The word of God:

John 3: 3

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3: 16 - 18

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 6: 28, 29

“Then said they unto him,[Jesus] What shall we do, that we might do the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him who he hath sent.”

John 6: 40 (Jesus said unto them)

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

I Tim 4:1

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”

II Tim. 2: 15

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

II Tim, 3: 15- 17

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, and thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Hebrews 12:2

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

          All religions have teachers, preachers, profits, and philosophies. Christianity, which includes Messianic Jews, is singled out as different, having no other religion equal to it, because it is the only religion that provides a Savior, Jesus Christ.  Though He taught, preached, and prophesied magnificently, He came not for that purpose.  Instead, He came to die on the cross to pay our sin debt, and be the Savior of all who would choose to believe in Him.  If all you want is good teaching, preaching or philosophy, you can find that in any other religion.  However, if you are seeking forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God the Father, salvation, and eternal life in Heaven, that can only be found through a personal relationship and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  There is no forgiveness of sins except through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection.  Without His resurrection our faith is all in vain.  Yes, Christianity can have no equal, for there is no other Savior than Jesus Christ.  All other religions are in vain for they offer only teachings and dependence upon good works which are insufficient to enable mankind to reach God’s standards for perfection.  All men fall short of the mark; no man can lead a sinless life to earn his own salvation.  Therein lies the key; we are saved by the grace of God through faith, and even that is a gift of God, lest any man should think he has a right to boast concerning himself.  Jesus himself has informed us that there is no other philosophy or religion that is equal to or acceptable in the eyes of God.  Exclusiveness, not inclusiveness, is commanded, not suggested,  by the God of the Bible:

Matt. 22: 37

  “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” 

Deut. 5: 7

“Thou shalt have none other gods before me.”

John 14: 6

 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [It does not say ‘a way,’ ‘a truth,’ or ‘a life’.  He made it clear, with no ambiguousness, that He is not one of many paths or options; He is the only choice, path, or option.] 

Acts 4: 12

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

I Cor. 15: 14

“and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and our faith is also vain.”

I Cor. 1: 17- 19

“For Christ sent me [Paul] not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words; lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish [die in their sins, not born again of the spirit] foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.  For it is written I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  

          The choice is yours and mine to make: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions?   If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, follow him.  And the people answered him not a word.” (I Kings 18: 21)  Will you choose to follow Baal, or any other god? Or will you choose to believe in Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior?  Be not double minded for “if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3: 25)

          Serve the Lord thy God with a joyful and grateful heart.  Praise Him with all your heart, and rejoice in Him at all times.

Titus 3: 4-

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward men appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

Romans 12: 2

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

May the Lord bless and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you, and grant you His peace.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen


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