These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
1 Corinthians 10:11
I wonder how many of us have read the Bible this way – as containing a series of examples for us to learn from. Both the Old Testament, and the new, are full of illustrations of what to do, and what not to do.
We find in this portion of scripture (1 Corinthians chapter 10) that Paul is talking specifically about the lessons to be learned from Israel’s idolatry. There are those who think idolatry isn’t an important issue, but it was important enough not only for Paul to address is specifically here, but to be warned against, time after time after time throughout the scriptures.
It is no small thing to have an idol. It is not an innocent thing, it is not a harmless thing, and it is certainly not a thing winked at by God.
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.
In context here, what was Paul preaching about? He was troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in Athens, and was preaching to the people about the real God, the One True God, and how He should not be viewed in the same manner as these idols. And Paul was right, as the idols he was preaching against were not merely things made of stone, wood, or metal, but an abomination to God Himself.
But what is idolatry? Is it merely the worship of some kind of statue? No, there are many forms of idols. Ephesians 5:5 tells us that a greedy person is an idolater, worshipping the things of this world. We see from this verse, that even at this point in the Church’s history, it was well known and taught that the definition of idolatry has a broader scope than merely bowing before an object or giving food offerings to a statue of a false god.
One website states:
Idolatry is the universal human tendency to value something or someone in a way that hinders the love and trust we owe to God. It is an act of theft from God whereby we use some part of creation in a way that steals from honor due to God. Idolatry conflicts with our putting God alone first in our lives, in what we love and trust (see Exodus 20:3-5; Deut. 5:7-9; Romans 1:21-23). In idolatry we put something or someone, usually a gift from God, in a place of value that detracts from the first place owed to God alone, the gift Giver. That thing or person is an idol. The way out of idolatry is always to love and to trust the gift Giver without interference from any gift or any thing other than God. We will then be able to love and to appreciate gifts appropriately, neither giving them too much power nor failing to be thankful for them. We will then be free indeed, and not in bondage or addiction to anything that cannot fulfill us or give us peace.
This is true, and idolatry is theft from God. There are many things in our world today that are made idols. Money, clothing, people, gadgets, food, entertainment, even brand names. And there is a part of creation very widely idolized by many Christians today that simply should not be – that part of creation is men, particularly men of the celebrity kind. These celebrities are worldly, they lead people away from Christ whether knowingly or unknowingly, and yet many in the Church see no problem with embracing them and what they stand for.
These celebrities, of all fields, be it movies, music, sports, television or what have you, all lead people away from Christ. They teach that it’s okay and actually encouraged to seek fame, and fortune. They teach that it’s okay to take the Lord’s name in vain, and then to thank Him with empty words when they are presented with a little golden trophy that tells the world how “great” this human being is instead of God. They teach that it’s okay to sin, to act like the world and then call yourself a Christian when it’s convenient.
But the fact is this kind of behaviour will only appeal to a heart uncircumcised. A true follower of Christ will be disgusted, offended, and upset by these idols and how they are leading so many people astray.
It’s a sadly all too common thing these days for people to lash out at the preaching of obedience to Christ by crying ‘don’t judge me!’ supposing to back up their position by adding such phrases conveniently pulled from scripture such as ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ and ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’. But are these scriptures even fully understood? The fact is…by most people, they’re not.
First of all, if someone is preaching obedience, or preaching against specific sins, or are addressing you personally, and in your mind (or by your mouth) your response is ‘don’t judge me’, you should examine your heart honestly. There is something in there that causes you to say that. Often this is the response of someone who is under conviction but fighting against it.
The cry of our hearts as children of God should be:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Understand that God doesn’t only speak through His word (the Bible), He also speaks through His servants. He will use men and women who truly know Him to preach and teach His truth – and that includes preaching against sin. God is Holy, and God doesn’t wink at sin.
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now He commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him.
Acts 17:30 (NLT)
I’ve heard it suggested more than once that if one were to just go about their business never judging anyone in any way shape or form ever…that God wouldn’t judge them. This logic is flawed. God is the supreme judge…He will bring (is bringing) His judgement to the world, and He will judge every single one of us. God’s judgement begins in the House of God. No warped theory or head buried in the sand will be able to avoid that.
His judgements have come to the world in the past, and they come now, to wake up His sleeping Bride and to deal with those who continually reject Him. The hearts that can turn to Christ He will draw to Himself…no matter what it takes to do it! And those who will continue to rebel against Him…will pay for it!
Then, when the time comes, He will judge the dead, and reward His servants the prophets, as well as His holy people, and all who fear His name, from the least to the greatest. And He will destroy all who have caused destruction (corruption) on the earth. (Revelation 11:18)
For the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:17
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement
Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
It would be far wiser to listen to the uncomfortable conviction and turn away from sin, then to put up the walls of ‘don’t judge me’, and block out the warnings against sin. And it’s better to heed God quickly, and not resist Him. Such warnings are delivered with love and trembling, though you may not see or feel it. Such warnings are delivered to try to spare you from God’s judgements and snatch you from the brink of Hell – but ultimately it is up to you whether you heed them or refuse to listen.
‘Judge not…’ on the surface this verse would appear simple enough, but we have a problem if that is the case. Humans make judgements both consciously or subconsciously all the time. You judge the weather when choosing your clothes. You judge whether food tastes good or not. You judge whether you like certain colors or not. You judge whether something is clean or not. You judge whether someone is treating you the way you want them to, or not. We spend our days doing a lot of judging.
What this verse is specifically referring to is rash, harsh, fleshly judgement – the kind that does no benefit to anyone. The kind that says, ‘You‘re not attractive enough to be my friend’, for example, or ‘your words aren’t smooth enough so I won’t listen to you.’ These are fleshly judgements that serve no good purpose.
But there is a righteous judgement that benefits the tender hearted. This is a judgement intended to correct. The same way that parents correct their children, God will give correction to His children, because of His love. God has a clear path for us to follow, but often times we can get sidetracked, wander, or stray completely. It is God’s love and mercy that puts us in a place where we get confronted about what we do wrong…no matter how he chooses to deal with us.
For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.
God tells us we will know people by their fruit – this is also judging, because you cannot examine a fruit without making a judgement about it, whether it is good or bad.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Moreover, we are given in God’s word clear directions on how to judge:
Fear the LORD and judge with integrity, for the LORD our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.
2 Chronicles 19:7
God actually commands His servants to judge righteous judgement. For example, He asked Ezekiel to ‘judge the city of murderers (Jerusalem) and to confront them about their sins!
Will you judge, son of man? Will you judge the city of murderers? Then tell it about all the disgusting things that it has done.
Ezekiel 22:2 (God’s Word)
So…judge not? Judge not a harmful, useless, fleshly judgement. Judge not the way the world does, with no godly motive. Judge not to condemn, but to point and to lead closer to Christ and to lead to obedience to Christ.
– – – – – – –
‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…’
This verse quotes Christ. Yes, it is true Jesus said this, and we all know the story of what happened when He said it. But most people who quote this to defend themselves forget key facts surrounding this quote.
I would point out that the stones were intended not to bring the woman to repentance, but to simply fill the letter of the law by killing her. Without a doubt, those holding the stones weren’t looking at her with love, but with hate for her sin. They had condemned her.
Christ stepped in and spared her life out of love. But there’s something else, too. He told her to ‘go and sin no more’. The same is asked of us, by Jesus. He spares our lives when we ask him to save us and repent…and He tells us ‘go and sin no more’ (John 8:11), to be ‘perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect’ (Matt 5:48).
The question is, are you saved? Saved from what? Did Christ save you from idolatry? From lying, cheating, and stealing? From adultery or fornication? From lust, pornography, or other addiction? If you want to be saved from hell, you must also be saved from sin. That’s not to say the people of God never stumble, but we are absolutely not permitted to habitually, wilfully sin, using God’s grace as an excuse to do so. The same rule applies to all of us…if we sin, when we become aware of that sin, we must repent (turn away) from it.
It is not casting stones at a person who is in sin to tell them that they are in sin. It is stating facts. It is not casting stones at a person to tell them they need to repent, it is love.
My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
Music is never just ‘entertainment’. Music is a language more profound than regular human speech. It is spiritual – whether you use it to worship God or not. Music has the ability to influence the mind, the body, and the soul. It can inspire, and it can encourage action. What message is your music giving you?
Music’s purpose was to praise and worship God. Does the music you listen to, and the music you make, do that?
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.-Colossians 3:16
If the message about Christ, in all it’s richness, fills your life…you won’t need and you won’t WANT the songs of the world! The songs that praise sin instead of God will disgust you. If you’re still ‘entertained’ by songs that promote violence, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, and all other manner of sin – songs by singers who mock God – if you really can’t see that there is something wrong with this…then you don’t really know Jesus yet, and you are burdened by the yoke of the secular world.
I know what it’s like – I was there. After I got saved I still listened to secular music (in smaller amounts than before, listening to more and more Christian music), but I didn’t part with my secular music right away. I knew something was wrong and that I should probably ditch it, but I “liked” it. I was ensnared by it, brainwashed and hypnotised by the melodies and lyrics of the world that I’d gotten so accustomed to. Looking back I see it as so foolish – but I was in direct rebellion of God!
God mercifully gave me the nudge I needed to get rid of it! He used a situation with the man who is now my husband, to give me the fatherly slap in the face I needed to see that it was idolatry in my life and it needed to go! I listened to the Holy Spirit’s conviction this time and deleted every secular song I had on my computer and threw out every secular CD I owned. Over 3000 songs on the computer, well over 100 CD’s.
But I didn’t stop there. Music is not the only secular brainwasher. I also deleted scores of secular movies and threw out an entire garbage bag of nothing but DVDs and videos. “What a waste of money to throw them out” the flesh said. “What a waste of money buying this trash in the first place!” the spirit said!
The comic books, the romance novels, everything except text book type educational books went out. And I’m glad it did! I regret the time I wasted with my nose buried in silly books, playing pointless games in unhealthy amounts, and listening to noise that did everything it could to distract me from and block out the voice of God!
I praise God that it didn’t work forever – He broke through it all and stirred my heart. He caused me to realize the sheer vanity of it all. Even before I got saved He was there, that small voice in my head, surfacing every once in a while to tell me that my gaming was meaningless and a pointless waste of precious time. I’m so glad that Jesus was always there…not just waiting for me to wake up, but giving me the nudges that, in time, stirred me from my media-coma-sleep.
It is terrible to be living in such a way that your main goal in life is to be entertained. It is awful to be enslaved by worldly amusements that leave you dry, always wanting more. The music may give you a fleeting sense of ‘happiness’ but when the music stops, it’s gone, you’re dry again, you seek out more to fill the void – a void that only Jesus can fill.
Real joy is found only in Jesus, and real freedom too. To trade slavery to the flesh to slavery to Christ is the wisest thing to do. If you are dry, seek Living Water. Stop drinking from the poisoned worldly cistern. It will only make you more and more ill, and draw you away from Christ, though at first you may not notice it happen.
I know what it was like to not want to give the secular stuff up. But I’m on the other side of it now and I’m telling you I don’t regret it for one second. Sure, when I did part with it, there was a small part of me that still wanted to cling on to it – that’s the flesh. I pushed my flesh aside to obey God, and the next day He told me through a devotional that I did the right thing. It wasn’t a daily devotional, it was one in a devotional Bible. A bible I usually didn’t use. That day though, I just flipped it open, and the first thing my eyes landed on was:
Since that day there have so many reassurances, so many ways that the Lord has shown Himself to me…things I never would have seen while blinded by the world. Thank You, Jesus – You are so wonderful.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.-Ephesians 5:17-19
I can tell you exactly what the will of the Lord is. The will of the Lord is that He be your ONLY God, and that you OBEY Him. Get rid of your idols. They aren’t stone and wood anymore…they are many things. And I can assure you 100% that secular music, movies, TV, sports etc IS idolatry. They even call themselves with idolatrous terms. “So and so is a hockey STAR. This girl got to meet her IDOL. Next time on American IDOL” and so on.
None of the world’s “entertainment” is going to draw you closer to Christ, and if you truly walk with God, you won’t be entertained by it…so why keep it? If you refuse to get rid of it…there’s the proof right there that it’s an idol to you, because you’d rather keep it then obey God.
And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
Here we have an archaic display that reminds us of the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ blood sprinkled on you is a sign of a covenant that you made with God. A covenant that you made to turn from your sins and follow Him, understanding that you are a sinner in need of a saviour, and that He is the only Saviour.
Here is something that a lot of people seem to forget: obedience. Just as the Israelites agreed when they heard the laws of God to obey them, we must in this day be obedient to Christ. The history of the Israelites is supposed to be an example to us – of what NOT to do! They agreed to obey God, but time and time again they became too comfortable and complacent when surrounded by the blessings and protection of God.
They lost their fear of the Holy One of Israel. They decided to chase after foreign gods, to go each his own way and do whatever he wanted, committing spiritual adultery and falling into all kinds of perverse sins. They listened to false prophets who told them that all would be well, and God would keep protecting and blessing them.
When the real prophets came in, warning them of danger and telling them to repent, they mocked, attacked, and by many means persecuted God’s real messengers.
Do you want to know who the real false prophet is? It’s the one who won’t warn you of danger! It’s the one who won’t tell you to repent! It’s the one that preaches smooth things – the one that tells you, it’s okay, keep living like you are, God will keep blessing and protecting us – even increasing our blessings.
Do you want to know who the real prophet is? It’s the one that warns you about your sins! He makes you feel uncomfortable because he’s trying to shake you out of a deep, spiritual sleep. He warns you that you need to repent, because God is holy, and if you refuse to repent, you are choosing judgement rather than mercy.
So will you learn from the Israelites bad choices? Or will you repeat them?
With all the forms of entertainment and distraction in the world today, it’s very easy for people – for Christians – to forget the brevity, and the very gravity of life. How you follow and serve Jesus Christ is not a game. Neither is it a game when you disobey Him.
Christians need to walk in repentance. The attitude that says, “I don’t need to repent, I’m already under the Blood,” is dangerous and at best erroneous. The fact that so many of the people harbouring this attitude are using it to whitewash wilful sins of idolatry makes it a tragedy.
You can call a teacup a plate, but that doesn’t make it so. Likewise, you can call sports idolatry and attachment to secular entertainment innocent fun, but that doesn’t make it so. It’s worldliness. It’s filthy. It’s enmity with God.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
You can try to excuse it with the ‘we’re only human, God understands’ statement. Yes, you are only human, yes, God -does- understand! He understands perfectly what’s in your heart and knows you don’t want to give up things that He would have you give up! And since you don’t want to give them up, even if they weren’t idols in the first place, they are idols now, because your unwillingness to let go of them is you placing them ahead of God on your priority list.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“Yet without sin.” Jesus faced temptation as we do, but did not sin. Jesus has the power to help you overcome any addiction. He has the power to help you be rid of those idols. All you have to do is decide that He’s more important, and then ask Him to show you what to get rid of, and ask Him to help you do it!
He helped me conquer addiction to secular television, movies, books, and music. He helped me defeat videogame addiction. If He can do it for me, He can do it for you! He is more eager to help you, than you are to be helped.
Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
2 Thessalonians 2:15
Going to the books section of Amazon.com, and entering the word ‘Compromise’ in the search window returns more than 273,000 results. Fortunately, the first book on the list is by noted evangelical theologian Norman Geisler and author Ron Rhodes: Conviction Without Compromise: Standing Strong in the Core Beliefs of the Christian Faith.
Is it possible to be a Christian without compromising? One has only to read the New Testament to see that neither Jesus nor Paul ever compromised on matters of theological truth. And when Peter did, he received a stinging rebuke from Paul. (Galations 2:11)
Yes, there is room for concession at times on practical matters. But when it comes to giving in to critics of Christianity in order to spare their feelings, the Bible knows no such strategy. Christ and His gospel are a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:8) to those who choose to disagree.
When your faith or stand for Christ is challenged, ask yourself who’s disappointment you’ll regret most, the critics of Christ, or Christ Himself.
It is better to die for a conviction then to live with a compromise.
(The above text was taken from Pathways by David Jeremiah)
– – – – –
Compromise is not something that should be in the church or in a Christian home. Compromise is what says, “Okay, do things the way the world does them, it’ll make our faith more cool and approachable”. Compromise makes allowances for pet sins that should, according to an uncompromised Word of God, be repented of, and purged, turning away from them completely.
Compromise is what raises generations of young people that have had the lines of what is right, what is wrong, and what is acceptable, so blurred that what should be viewed as wrong is accepted, and even lauded! With such an environment, at times it becomes difficult, without help, to distinguish what is okay and what isn’t…until one steps back and with a nudge in the right direction, sees things for what they really are.
Compromise is the enemy of Christianity. Compromise desensitizes us to things that ought to offend us. Compromise is one of Satan’s ways of infiltrating the church with the filthy things of the world, painting them as innocent, desirable, harmless. The same way he tempted Eve with the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he tempts the saints of God with the lure of things that feed the flesh, starve the soul, and rob it of the desire to be in pursuit of holiness with the same basic whisper: “Did God say you shouldn’t? Oh, He’s wrong, it’s okay, it doesn’t hurt anyone.” When these things DO hurt people, whether it is realized or not, there are consequences to choices that involve feeding the flesh over feeding the soul.
Compromise is something I recently fell victim to, and so I speak from personal experience when I say that it’s as deceptive as the devil who uses it against you. There’s a whisper that tries to convince you that “it’s harmless” but in reality, it isn’t. But I thank God that like Peter, my poor choice was quickly seen and rebuked!
I saw what I had, regretfully, missed before and I repented of it with tears to Almighty God, who used this incident as a reminder to me that it is so important not only to stay on guard, but to continue to lean on Him for sight, because the things that tickle the flesh grieve and starve the soul, and they grieve God! Not only this, but it was used to show me that what the world considers trivial, can very easily be a very serious thing that offends God much. And what offends God should not in any way be entertaining to Christians. It can and will hinder your growth in Christ – be rid of it!
“14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”
2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1
So it boils down to a choice: Do we want to serve only our flesh, and by doing so, serve Satan, or do we want to serve Jesus Christ?
Serving Jesus Christ means following Him, which means by extension an uncompromised Word of God, and not compromising on His teachings and doctrines. It means choosing to be set apart from the world, because you cannot serve two masters. (Luke 16:13) It means putting pride aside and accepting proper correction and chastenings if and when you start to stray from your chosen path. It means repenting…not just once when you get saved, but any and every time that you become aware of something that you did that was wrong in the eyes of God. It means obeying God’s commandments out of love for Him and striving for holiness, knowing that his opinion matters infinitely more than the opinions of men.
To serve Satan…all you have to do is nothing. You may think you can sit on the fence and serve neither God nor Satan, but Satan owns the fence. He is pleased if you try to stay neutral, because if you’re neutral, you’re not serving God. And if you’re not serving God…that only leaves one other that you can be serving.
My choice is Jesus…and to let Him lead me like a little child, for I am His child. And though I may be relatively small in years, and in widsom, though I am small in strength, what I do have is His, because He has given it to me. The best possible use for all of His gifts, are to use them for Him!
- “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
- Luke 16:13 (KJV)
This should be a very familiar verse to Christians. These words were spoken by Jesus Himself. This statement states very clearly an important spiritual truth; there’s only two masters you can serve, and if you serve one, you -cannot- be serving the other, no matter how much you try to convince yourself, or others. And there is -no- convincing God – He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He judges rightly.
Make no mistake. You -are- a servant. Either to God, or to Satan. If you are not actively, seriously, serving Jesus Christ and seeking His face, if you wilfully sin, then you are not a servant of God. If you serve your flesh, by indulging in sinful behaviour, putting other things ahead of God in your priorities, failing to keep your thoughts captive, then you do not serve God. Instead, you’re a slave to sin (John 8:34), and as a slave to sin, are a servant of Satan.
However, as Jesus Himself said, ‘a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.’ (John 8:35-36). I love how the King James version puts it: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Free indeed and a child of God! But this doesn’t mean that, if we’re children of God, that we don’t need to -serve- God. We serve God because we love Him, and after all the things He’s done for us, and all the things He will do, wouldn’t it be incredibly selfish of us to assume that we need do nothing for the Lord of this Universe?
Now, returning to Jesus’ words in Luke 16:13. He says ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon’. What exactly is mammon? Mammon is according to some translations, money itself, but I think it’s more specifically the love of money, in other words, greed. As we know, the love of money is the root of all evil. Mammon is also a false god. So in other words, if your pocketbook is your biggest priority, if your worldly gain means more to you than God, than you’re not serving God.
Anything in this world that takes more priority in your mind and heart than Jesus becomes an idol in your heart. Whether its music, movies, video games, material possessions, people…anything. But more than this, when you change God to fit what you think God should be, instead of taking Him at His word, you’re fashioning yourself an idol in your heart. When you say things like ‘my God wouldn’t let people go to Hell’, for example. Jesus talks about a Rich man who ends up in Hell in Luke chapter 16.
Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’”
What I find interesting is the end of this parable, where Abraham says, “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.” Someone -did- rise from the dead – Jesus – and sadly, many people won’t listen to Him. Returning to the point though, we should take God as He is, and at His word. When we try to mold Him into what we think God should be, we’re making for ourselves an idol, and stop believing in the True God.God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn’t change.
- And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
- Matthew 16:26 (NLT)
Earthly wealth and goods pass away, they’re temporal and in the end, worthless. But Jesus Christ is worth more than all the wealth in all the Earth. He is greater than the entire Universe! Oh what sorrow awaits for those souls that fail to recognize Him as Lord. How much is your soul worth? It’s worth enough that the God of this Universe took on human flesh, suffered a most horrible death, and rose again, to wash away the sins that stain the soul for those who would call on Him, believe in Him, and then -follow- Him by dying to self and -obeying- His commandments.
Nowhere in those commandments does it say “pray a sinner’s prayer then go on as you did before”. No – we are to be set apart from the World. We are to forsake the things of the flesh. Forsake the secular media. Forsake addictions and lusts of the flesh. Keep your thoughts captive – it may not be sin to be tempted but it’s sin to wilfully entertain the thoughts those temptations bring, as much as it is sin to pursue those thoughts into deeds. Bring these things to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help you overcome the things of the flesh that bind you and keep you distracted from Him.
- Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
- Romans 12:2 (NLT)
- Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
- 2 Corinthians 6:17
We shouldn’t bear an attitude of ‘what can God do for me’. Rather, our attitude should be, ‘What can I do for God’? With humility, remember the reality of the fact that we can do -nothing- for God by our own strength and power. Anything we do that’ll fulfill God’s purpose can only be done with God’s mercy and strength. Our human frailty will fail in times when we should be bold for Christ.
I want to finish this post by saying something to those who feel like God isn’t answering their prayers: bear in mind that God answers, but the answer to many prayers may be ‘no’. We shouldn’t expect God to give us everything we ask for. We are His servants, not His master. But remember that God will give His children what is best for them, and will make sure their needs are provided for – their needs, not their wants.
God has answered an uncountable number of prayers for me, and I’ve noticed something. When your heart is right, and your motives are right, mountains can be moved. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the sovereign hand of God working in my life. In His amazing love He’s blessed me by putting me in a place where I am not only loved by Him, but I have it in my heart to love Him back, a heart that’s hungry for Him and seeking Him constantly.
He’s blessed me with great gifts…being raised with the knowledge of Him, having family members who love me and living in a country where there’s freedom to love the Lord. He’s blessed me with a wonderful, loving husband that I cherish. Only God could be responsible for all of this. The God who did all this for me, is the God I serve. His name is Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings.
Whether it seems like your prayers are answered or not, God heard you.
- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
- Romans 8:28 (KJV)
So if your heart is right with God and you truly love Him, just trust Him. Commit everything to Him, your life can be in no better hands, and rest assured He hears you, He cares for you.
- Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
- Luke 12:24 (KJV)
If your heart isn’t right with God, there’s no better time to make it right. He can meet you anywhere you are – just call out to Him and repent for not living the way He’d have you to live. Ask Him to help you be the person He’d have you to be, and make efforts to become that person out of your love for Him – do as he commands. Ask Him for His grace and strength when things get tough, and remember, there’s nothing in the world that you can suffer that is more than what Jesus suffered for your sake because of His great love for your soul.
This is rather a long post, I’m aware. It deals with something troubling, and my soul won’t rest unless I write this all out. I don’t write this to spark debate. I know in whom I have believed, and I know what I believe. I did write this, so that if you read this, and happen to come across one of the misguided individuals who believes this falsehood, you’ll have been forwarned.
Recently my spirit was grieved deeply to see a certain gentleman on YouTube, proclaiming a bold-faced heresy. This man’s entire focus is dedicated on spreading the false doctrine that the Bible, the Holy Scriptures given to us by God Himself through the authors, is itself, the Mark of the Beast. Further, he declares that God is the one who showed him this, and is convinced that this heresy is accurate.
Sir, if you’re reading this, I hope and I desperately pray that you’ll see your error and repent of this insult to God’s Holy Word.
It’s bad enough to spread such falsehood, which will confuse many, and be gladly accepted by those poor souls looking for any excuse to not read the scriptures. But to say that God gave you this ‘illumination’ – that’s an abomination. This kind of message is purely demonic.
Can you honestly tell me, that Almighty God will allow this slander of His Word to go unpunished? That the God of this Universe, would allow His precious scriptures to become corrupted, as is the suggestion? It is God’s Word – He has always protected His word. If it were able to be corrupted or snuffed out, it would have by now, but it has not.
Why? Because God’s Word is a sacred thing. God has kept it, preserving it so that believers everywhere may have access to His true word, untainted. I cannot believe that my Sovereign God would allow His word to be corrupted, and then while still corrupt, be spread to billions of souls searching for Him.
I cannot accept the statement that, since the Bible contains 66 books, it must be the Mark of the Beast. This teaching is Satanic!
To quote from his channel:
“The bible is the greatest deception that has ever been. It is the spirit of blasphemy that has always been since the beginning robed in covers with pages in between. When you except it as the word of God then you have openly said that you love the spirit of Satan which he has had since the beginning. All flesh is controlled by the mark of the beast. The only way out is to tear up your bible in Jesus name (with the spirit of Jesus), Hollow words wont do it. You have to tear it up and love the Holy ghost. Then you will be free and not have taken the mark of the beast.”
Sir, this above paragraph is the blasphemy. Mixing a little truth with a little heresy doesn’t make this heresy less evil. It makes it more disturbing to see. God’s Holy Word is given to us by God! To call it blasphemy is to blaspheme God Himself! Your suggestion that it’s the mark of the beast implies that God must be the Beast. Your suggestion to ‘tear up your Bible in Jesus name’ is a complete and utter insult. Words cannot convey how utterly wrong this is. This is straight from Hell.
You seem to think that people who appreciate the Bible think it will save them. Of course the scriptures themselves don’t save, only Jesus saves, but the scriptures are here for a purpose, and that is to educate us, God speaks to us through them.
To truly love Jesus is to want to know all about Him, and the best source for that is the Bible itself. To look for reasons why the Bible can’t be the infallible word of God is purely demonic and can only come from a heart that isn’t truly right with the Lord. A heart that -is- truly right with the Lord will hunger not only for God’s presence, not only for time in prayer, but for time in study of His Word!
To quote his channel again:
“Jesus is the word of God, he was and is and always will be. He is coming back with the name the word of God. He came to fulfill the letter and send the spirit. The letter kills and the spirit gives life. Satan took the letter and made it an image and caused the exact thing that Jesus came to do away with to be worshiped above God. The bible you hold as the word of God is blasphemy. You have denied all that the father sent the son to do.”
Yes, Jesus is the Word. We know that. ‘The Word became flesh’ is a very familiar statement. He IS coming back with the name the Word of God. But these facts don’t diminish the Bible. They don’t disprove the Bible. The rest of the above paragraph makes my insides churn.
Do you know what really makes any part of scripture a dead letter? Dead preachers trying to give a message from it without prayer. An atheist with a hardened heart looking at it without an open mind. A false prophet using verses out of context to back up heretical theories that are not of God. These things make it a dead letter. But a person filled with the Holy Spirit and burdened with a message truly from God, who draws upon scripture, this gives life, because this can lead hearts hungering for Christ to Him.
How, by holding a Bible, is someone automatically worshipping it above God? If they are, they’re misguided, certainly. Once again, how can scriptures be blasphemy when the contents were God-given to the writers? How is the bible an ‘image’? Especially when it’s of God himself, not some pagan idol? If you ask me, the one who denies the Bible, especially the New Testament, is the one denying Jesus, by wilfully ignoring the record of His teachings.
To quote yet again:
“without the bible all you would have is called, drawn, and filled Holy ghost people of God. They would love him, hear him and be led by him. Instead you have a book so everyone for the cost of only five dollars can act like they know Jesus.”
Is this suggesting that no one who reads the Bible is called? What a baseless and ill-educated statement. There are many people who love Jesus, hear Him, are led by Him – who read scriptures and give them the respect they deserve. People filled with the Holy Spirit, who led God lead their lives. Without any scripture, what you rely on is word of mouth alone to spread the Gospel, and all it would take is one person who misunderstood something, to warp the Gospel and mislead countless people.
Without any scripture, passing the Gospel through the generations would be like a thousands of years long game of ‘telephone’ in which fact after fact is twisted, misrepresented, and soiled. How do we keep this from happening? Simple! A written record of the scriptures, that must be reverenced and carefully translated, fact checked, and treated with care as it is handed down through generations.
I won’t even address the rest of what he says except this one thing: he states essentially, that “Satan wont let Holy ghost filled people live in this world.” Well, sorry but that’s incorrect. Of course, many Holy Spirit filled men and women have been in situations where they ended up becoming martyrs for Christ. But not all. The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost, and it hasn’t left. God preserves many Holy Spirit filled people, He wouldn’t allow them to just all die, until none remained. Then who would reach the lost?
To conclude, I’m deeply saddened by this gentleman. I’ll be praying for him, that he’d see his error. We should be leading souls to Christ if we truly love him. Not pushing false gospels on them. Not causing divides in the body of Christ. Not claiming God gave us a message when the message is so contrary to -everything- that has been preached by Holy Spirit led people to this point.
I am by no means calling Constantine, the Popes, or King James saved, or Holy Spirit filled. Only God knows their secret selves and where they abide now, whether it be in Heaven or Hell. But I know God used them, whether they intended to be used or not.
In my humble opinion, if you’re calling yourself Christian, love Jesus, and are literate, you’ll read the Bible out of your love for God.
I implore you, when you hear sound Biblical teaching – don’t just say ‘amen’ or clap your hands to it, or say, ‘Brother, preach it’. Examine your heart and life against the preaching you are hearing, and if you find yourself lacking in one or more things – repent and take care to fix those things with God’s help. Your heart’s goal should be to please the Lord in every area of your life. Not to simply pay lip service to Him on Sunday and act as a Christian during the service to make your peers think you a Christian. No, not at all – I feel that’s an insult to God, actually.
Going to church is good, and I support it, but I think it’s more important that you go with the right heart, then the simple act of going. I would also say that not attending church does not mean a person is backslidden, or some kind of heathen. To judge your brother who doesn’t attend church in these kinds of lights without knowing their heart, isn’t right. Only God can make that judgement with complete accuracy.
Likewise, attending church does not make you a Christian, nor does it save you. It’s completely foolish to think that by simply attending church you’re somehow earning your way to Heaven. Repenting of sin with a genuine heart and asking Jesus to save you, to wash you of your sin, and to lead your life saves you. Loving Christ as your Lord, and trying your best to live like Him, makes you more a Christian than walking into a Church on Sundays. There are people who attend church regularly for years, that never fully surrender to God, that never accept Jesus into their hearts, regardless of how many invitations are given, no matter how many times a loving minister pleads for their soul. And there are people who do not attend church for any of a plethora of reasons, yet they seek the face of God earnestly. They feed their souls through scripture, and worship the Lord their God with authentic adoration.
There has to come a point when you accept that doctrine applies to you as much as anyone else. Yes, it’s easier to spot someone else’s flaws than your own on times, but when those flaws are pointed out to you, your responsibility is not to scoff but to seriously consider what’s been addressed. Seriously think about your ways and actions and prayerfully ask God to not only search your heart but reveal to you what things you need to change. Then further, your responsibility is to work on those things and strive to change for the better.
It would be even better to examine yourself this way without the prompting of another brother or sister. It would be better if your heart were so set upon the things of God, that your desire to please Him is so strong, that you vigilantly guard your heart against ungodly things.
The attitude that says ‘this message is meant for someone else’ whenever sin is being rebuked is dangerous. Let us look internally and search ourselves. There needs to be an attitude in us that takes sound doctrine to heart. There needs to be an effort from us to put sound teachings into practice on a day to day basis, that decides to live for Christ and not for the fleeting pleasures of this filthy world.
Christ’s death on the cross was not so that we could continue to live as the world. It was so that you could be free from the absolute bondage of this world. And if you think you were never in bondage to this world – well – there’s a term for that, it’s called Stockholm Syndrome. You’ve been captive to Satan for so long that you’ve come to relate to him and no longer see him as any threat to you.
If you’ve come to Jesus and have grown in Christ even a little, you will have come to realize, at least partly, what the bondage really is. A mental and spiritual slavery in which you once searched for anything and everything to fill the hole in your soul that only Jesus Christ Himself can fill. Music, movies, sports, drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality – Satan uses these temptations and more to distract people into a self-indulgent, godless life.
Jesus can free you from this bondage if you ask him to. Does it mean one prayer will end all the temptations? No, not in the least. Satan will still try to tempt you in an effort to separate you from Christ. However, as you grow in Christ, you should fall into these traps less and less. When temptations arise, you can choose to call on Jesus for strength to deny the temptation, should it feel to difficult to overcome on human strength.
To get back to the point – if you’ve been calling yourself a Christian but haven’t recognized the things of the world as bondage, I urge you to prayerfully re-examine that opinion. Search scriptures instead of simply listening to the words of men, which are so easily corrupted by opinion.
Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
2 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT)
This scripture succinctly encapsulates the main point of what’s on my heart. It says it with clarity. If you truly love God, don’t be playing around with the filthy things of this world. Don’t be dabbling in fortune telling and horoscopes. Don’t be idolizing celebrities and sports stars. Don’t live in such a way that the only ‘Christian’ activity you do is to go to church. We are supposed to be lights unto the world – how can we ever do that if we live in the same darkness that the world does?
Listening to correct teaching is well and good…but so much better to take it to heart, and put it into practice, too.
I found a video on YouTube that was slightly fascinating and somewhat troubling to watch. On one side, is the maker of the video, stating a warning to False Gospel teachers. His main point is a warning against the teaching that salvation is through perfect obedience to all of God’s commandments.
On the other side, are the people he’s addressing. One person says that Jesus’ blood doesn’t cover all sin. Several, who state repeatedly the notion that you must stop sinning, if you sin at all you’re not saved and you’re going to Hell, and so forth.
It appears these involved in this video, on both sides, aren’t expressing themselves completely. The clear truth of the matter is as follows:
Jesus died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It is ONLY through Him that we can be saved. Salvation is a gift, it is undeserved mercy, and it only comes through Jesus. There is -no- other way to Heaven.
Works do NOT win you your way to Heaven. The scriptures clearly state this and even tells us why. You can only be saved through Jesus by repentance, making Him the Lord of your life, and putting Him first, choosing to serve Him for the rest of your days.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Obedience is fruit of salvation. The more we love Jesus, the more we will -want- to obey Him, and serve our selfish desires less. You don’t obey God’s commandments to be saved. You obey them -because- you’re saved, and it’s a sign of your love for your God. While works don’t earn you your way into Heaven (you could never do enough to, even if that -was- a way), once saved, you should be doing good works out of love for God and your fellow man, instead of sitting idly and attending only to your own interests.
If you are a born again Christian, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to sin, and that nothing you do can ever be called sin because you’re ‘born again’. As humans we all have times in which we stumble and fall. But once we are born again, those occasions should be fewer and fewer as we grow in Christ.
God’s grace isn’t just detergent to wash the sin stains out of your soul. God’s grace is God given strength and help to overcome sin on a continual basis when temptations arise. Think about this for a minute: when someone takes the higher path when at first they felt like doing something else, how often is it said, “It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t (fill in the blank). That’s not just an idiom. For the born again believer, if you’re faced with a temptation to sin and overcome it – it is by God’s GRACE that you did it, and God should be glorified for it.
When you repent for sin, you don’t just repent once and then all past, present, and future sins are washed away. That’s not how it works. Your past sins are forgiven, yes. But you cannot continue in current sins, saying to yourself, ‘it’s okay, Jesus saved me.’ Or that, ‘God doesn’t mind this because it’s not hurting anyone’. Those wilful sins -must- go.
Those idols you clung to before coming to Jesus must likewise, go. Not all idols are statues and pictures, in our society the most common idols are television sets, movie, tv, sports and music ‘stars’. The simplest definition of an idol is anything that’s more important to you than Jesus.
You -must- make a conscious effort to pursue a perfect, sinless life – yes. However, it’s the earnest pursuit of perfection that matters – not realized perfection. God knows your heart. God knows if you’re trying to obey and please Him. He also knows if you’re harbouring impurity in your heart, and He also knows exactly what those impurities are.
If you’re a Christian and you do sin, and you repent of that sin, you are still forgiven. But this is not an excuse for wilful sinning. It’s not permission to hold on to an addiction. It’s mercy extended by God to sinners – and we are all sinners. If we say we do not sin we are liars.
We all have sinned. Every single one of us. And that’s why Jesus’ blood is so precious. He is the only one without sin, yet He died to cleanse us of ours. We are the ones who deserve to be hung on a cross! Yet by His mercy we are spared.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
1 John: 1:8-10 (NLT)
So, don’t say you don’t sin. Or have not sinned. If you do so, not only are you a liar, you’re calling God a liar, and God cannot lie. Confess your sins to God, repent, and ask Him for help to not do those sins again.
“An idol isn’t necessarily a statue or image; it’s anything that we love more than we love Jesus Christ. Both now and then [in the future], both sooner and later, Jesus Christ must be the unrivalled Lord of our hearts.” -David Jeremiah
This particular quote puts in absolute clarity a vital issue that sadly, seems to be ignored by many professing Christians. It states the very simple truth that anything put ahead of Jesus Christ, our Lord, becomes an idol in our hearts – and this is a problem that MUST be addressed.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
In order to have a genuine Christian walk, Jesus must be at the centre of everything. No one is greater than He, no one loves you and I like He, and we are His creation. Knowing this, it’s only fitting that the greatest priority of our lives be Jesus. To commune with Him, to praise Him, to share Him and all that He has done for us. However, all too often thoughts of Jesus and all that He is fade away and things of the World creep in, distracting the Christian.
Secular media such as music, movies, games, and television often become rampant obsessions that consume valuable time we could be using to spend in quiet time with God in study, prayer, or praise. Time we could be spending showing loved ones affection is spent glued in front of a screen, being hypnotised by destructive messages, both obvious and subliminal. If you think that secular media is solely there for the purpose of entertainment – you’d be very wrong.
Not only is the vast majority of what’s on television carefully constructed to get your attention and keep it, it’s satanically inspired, designed to subtly manipulate your mind into acceptance of many things that go against Christian values. This includes what the secular world deems acceptable behaviours, coarse language, crude humour, and of course, idol worship (pop stars, sports stars, etc). Commercials and product placement in TV shows, music videos, and movies encourage greed by inciting the desire to have the ‘new hot thing’.
Characters with loose morals and music videos displaying lascivious sexual acts brainwash children into thinking it’s okay and even healthy to grow up to be a generation of fornicators. Supermodels, actresses, and pop starlets who undergo plastic surgery, crash diet, or do drugs to maintain mainstream society’s idea of beautiful teach many both male and female, to view women who don’t meet those standards as being somehow worth less than these fabricated beauties.
All of this is not only unhealthy, it’s un-Christian.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater–has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
I praise and thank Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my repented sin, and for the continued help and strength to distance myself further and further from these things which corrupt the mind and heart so efficiently.
If we are serious about our Christianity, we should be forsaking the things of the World. If we are serious about our Christianity, as we grow in Christ, much of what will have entertained us in the past will no longer be enjoyable. We need to set ourselves apart, and separate ourselves from the secular poison that separates us from God.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
1 John 2:15
This is not exclusive to the secular media, though the media is a big factor. Any material possession you cling to, any person in your life you love more than your Saviour – these all become idols, when you don’t have your priorities straight. All possessions – houses, cars, boats – all of it, will deteriorate and be as nothing one day. But Jesus and His Word is eternal.
To put this in another perspective, think of how much you love your loved ones. All that love that you feel for your spouse, child, whomever is closest to you in this life. All that love you feel for them, you should be feeling, and much more besides, for Jesus!
Let no other name but the name of Jesus Christ be magnified. He is the only One worthy of praise.
Dad, I need your help.
You’ve given me many gifts, and in my foolishness, I’ve misused many of them. I know my mistakes hurt you, and I’m very sorry. You only want what’s best for me, and everything You do is good. Everything you allow to happen must also serve a purpose, but Dad, I’m hurting because of the pain my actions have caused others. I have caused some hurts that can’t be undone, and I regret it so much – only you can ease those wounds, Dad, and I’m begging you to.
I know You saw me crying today. I also know You bottle every tear. No one loves me like you do, Dad. So it’s to You I run with my troubles and my weaknesses.
Please help me to push my pride aside for Your sake, and the sake of the things You would have me to do. Help me to bring comfort instead of pain, joy instead of sorrow, delight instead of disappointment. Dad, it’s being a disappointment that breaks my heart most right now. I’ve disappointed you, and I’ve disappointed the only person I love almost as much as I love you. I know you know my heart and forgive me. I know you still love me. I know the one you’ve given me to love still loves me too, but there’s something there that’s broken and only you can fix it. I know you work on your own time, and I don’t mind waiting for that, Dad, but please – I beg you to fix it. What I have broken only you can mend.
Help me walk in truth, Dad. You told me to wear all those pieces of armor, and I left the Girdle of Truth at home. Because of that I left myself vulnerable and fell pray to attack more than once. Because of that, the rest of the pieces have taken some damage, Dad. Especially my shield of Faith. Never let me forget any of these pieces again. I bring the armor which you gave me back to you, Dad, and I’m asking you to inspect them, and to mend them so that they’re stronger than before.
So please Dad, fix my armor, and heal two hearts. I know it’s a lot to ask…but I’m your daughter, and I won’t trust anyone else with this.
In Jesus’ name,