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War

Some say online that we are in a culture war.  In my mind this war may be more about right and wrong.  Scripture says in Psalm 2 “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together, against the LORD and against His Anointed One: 3“Let us break Their chains and cast away Their cords.” It seems that many rulers in the West wish to reject Christianity’s God and replace Him with anything else that is possible.  We are increasingly in a fight to maintain our freedom of religion in the West as Christians.  Here in the province of Alberta, Canada,  the provincial government is trying to enforce Christian schools and other religious private schools to embrace and accommodate homosexuality.  They are doing this through the School Act and the recent changes  made to Human Rights laws in Canada by the Federal government under Prime Minister Trudeau.

There is a saying, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”.  This is the core of human nature.  Give us as individuals complete authority and power over others and we will abuse it.  The more power governments have it seems, the more abuses take place.

What are our religious leaders here in the West saying and doing about this issue?  From what I am reading online our Christian leaders are saying that we should generally accommodate the culture.  Efforts are being made by Christian leaders to try and do this. The Catholic religion’s Pope is certainly saying this very openly to the media even to the point of calling those who expose homosexual abuse within the Catholic church, ‘the Devil’s helpers’.

Thessalonians chapter 3 beginning at verse 3 says,  “so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.  In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know… I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.”

If adultery and fornication is unlawful and a sin against one’s own body in the Bible scriptures (which it is) , it also stands to reason that the act of homosexuality is also unlawful.

This isn’t the singling out of homosexuality by Christians. Where church leadership has failed believers is in the acceptance of fornication and adultery as the norm.  It is expected in society our leaders say, therefore, we can expect it in the church.  We have not addressed these issues properly in the church as the Apostle Paul would have done in his letters to the churches if he were still with us.   He didn’t accommodate the young man who was sleeping with his own father’s wife.  Paul would have provided good teaching and reasoning for the needed self denial.  He would have given the church a vision much superior to that of carnal sexual satisfaction outside of marriage.  In the case of this young man, he told the church to apply discipline, including banning him from fellowship, until the young man repented and changed his behavior.


Attaining the Resurrection

In the book of Philippians chapter 3 verse 10 Paul says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”.  (NIV )

Paul talks about the need to somehow attain to the resurrection from the dead.  This contradicts current church teaching that a simple prayer to Jesus to ‘save us’ qualifies us for the resurrection from the dead.  It is clear that this was not the teaching of Paul the apostle.   We know from  Bible scriptures that there will be a universal resurrection of all the dead, both the saved and unsaved, to attend the judgement seat of Christ.  We won’t have to attain to this resurrection.

So Paul must be referring to some other resurrection from the dead.  One that requires a fellowship of his sufferings.  One that requires us to become like Christ in his death.  We need to find and look at teachings that give us some explanation of this resurrection that Paul is trying to attain to.  There are teachings out there.  I’ve listened to a teaching that says the saints who are prepared (strong soldiers) will be resurrected for the purpose of the thousand year reign of Christ.  This is one teaching, there may be others.

Some of the current teaching in the church about the resurrection is not aligning with scripture in its entirety.  It has to, otherwise, it has error.  We must rightly divide the Word of Truth.  The saints cannot be strengthened and encouraged with false teaching.  We must have more openness from church leadership to other thoughts and a willingness to set aside entrenched historical teachings that are found to be incomplete.

This process of adjusting church teaching to include prior unrecognized truth is not unusual.  This is how particular church movements occurred in the past.  A good example is Martin Luther’s revelation of truth that the ‘just will live by faith’.

There are problems with teachings in the church -and/or- the current setup of how the church is operated.  This is indisputable by looking at the fruit.  The saints are stagnant.  Their witness is weak.  In some cases whole congregations of saints are largely worldly.  They are in church hoping that Jesus will somehow help them to obtain the fulfillment of selfish lusts.   This situation and condition of the saints lies at the feet of church leaders.


The Promise of Life

We read in II Timothy about a promise of life in Christ Jesus.  We read that this life and immortality was brought to light by Christ Jesus through the gospel.  Many churches  teach that a simple prayer is all you need to do to access eternal life.  This seems to be far from correct.  We need to enter into discipleship with the Lord.  The apostle Paul found himself chained up in a prison for his gospel of  “Jesus Christ being raised up from the dead and descended from David”.  This was a hard thing in those days for Jews and Gentiles to hear.

There is no doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ impacts and changes lives.  The gospel translates us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.  How will this gospel of eternal life work for the kingdom of God?  I am beginning to think that eternal life begins now in that we see changes preparing us for the kingdom, preparing us for the day and time in which we live.  Is it possible to see our bodies change from mortality to immortality while living on the earth today?

The Bible states that ‘the last shall be first, and the first shall be last’.  We who live in the last days may have a grace that was not available to those living earlier.  We might be the ones to obtain immortality in our body first, at least in part.  For sure we should be seeing changes in our personality by the rejecting of sin and our turning to righteousness and goodness. Our inner man should be changing from our old selfish nature to the lordship and the nature of Christ.

I am seeing some changes happening in my physical body.  My hair is turning from grey to more of a brown color.  I am 64 years old.  My body recently overcame a urinary tract infection by itself.  I am saying these things because I think we need to be careful as saints of God to not be so entrenched in a particular doctrine such as ‘going to heaven’ that we are unable to consider anything else.  We may be in the ‘beginning of the end’ of this age.  We need to be open to what God may do in these days.  We do have examples in scripture that can give some credence to this thinking of possible immortality here.  Jesus said that if it was his will that the apostle John live on until his return that this would be so.  Tradition says that people tried to kill John and were unable to.  One tradition says that he was put into boiling oil and still lived.  We also see examples of the Hebrew children thrown into the fiery furnace and surviving without a singe, and of Caleb in the OT conquering land and having the strength of a forty year old while in his eighties.  We are not without the witness of scripture.  We need to be cognizant of this and to not reject a new idea without some study and earnest consideration.


Wholesomeness

The Bible says that Jesus came to save us from our sins.  This has spiritual and natural components, I believe.  The world needs to be saved from sin.  If this only has a spiritual component then the world would remain in wickedness and sin while claiming it is holy. This is what is happening to the teaching of holiness today.  We are told in our churches we will sin, but that God accounts us as being righteous in Christ.  It does absolutely nothing for the state of the world to be spiritually holy while our actions remain wicked and corrupt, so to speak.   Our lives testify to the power and glory of God to change us from the children of darkness to the children of the light.  This is the true Gospel.

We need deliverance from sin, a complete freedom from sin, and God has provided for this through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.   God says he gives us a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a will to obey his commandments.  Once we were wicked, the Bible says, but now we walk in newness of life.  Once we committed atrocities, but now we do good works that others applaud and are grateful for and are encouraged to see still happening.

Wickedness and sin is increasing rapidly in the world.  We hear of unbelievable atrocities occurring in our own country and elsewhere.  It’s not just a small group of people doing these things.  We are hearing and reading about many people across all walks of life being charged or accused of unspeakable crimes against others.

 

 


Decisions between heaven and hell

A quote by a Canadian psychologist and university professor (currently a social media and You Tube sensation) who is rebelling against the recent Canadian compelled speech legislation,   “I believe we make a decision between heaven and hell with every decision we make.  I think that’s literally and metaphorically true.”

“Listen to them and obey them because they sit in Moses’s seat but don’t do as they do.  Your righteousness has to exceed that of  the Pharisees or you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” These are the words of Jesus to his disciples as recorded in the NT.

We make many daily decisions as disciples of Jesus Christ.  We need to understand how important it is that we make righteous decisions.  We cannot ‘go along with the flow’ unless we can maintain our integrity and honesty in that flow.  The psychologist above says that we will lose our soul if we do.  We must stay true to ourselves, Jesus Christ, and the Word of God.

The church in our day says that Christ will forgive you no matter what you do.  However, forgiveness from God requires repentance and truth from the believer and a turning away or ceasing from what action the believer did that needs forgiving.  Faith and repentance are the most important components of the Gospel.  Without repentance there is no forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  Without forgiveness there is no redemption in Christ.  This is clear in the Bible scriptures.  We are told in scripture to cease from our sins.  If this ability was not provided for by God, or if it was impossible for a believer to not sin, then God would not ask it of us.  It’s as clear as that in my mind.

There is a children’s song, “Every move I make, I make in you Jesus, every breath I breathe, I breathe in You.”  We as believers need to be very careful about what we are saying and doing.  We must not compromise or risk our very soul because we take sin lightly in our day.  Scripture says, “May your very mind, soul and body be preserved blameless until the coming of the Lord”.   The devil has compromised believers in our day by deceiving them into thinking that they can participate in the table of devils while also participating in the Lord’s Table.  This is not true.  Ananias and Saphira tried to do that by lying to the Holy Spirit about the amount of the selling price of their land.  They were struck down dead.  This is a warning sign given to us in scripture by God.


Culture and the Word of God

I read a teaching yesterday stating that the Word of God does not have to obey the rules of righteousness in a culture.  This teaching stated that God’s ways override culture.  The example they gave was Isaac taking Rebecca as his wife by ‘going into her tent’ suggesting that this is all that is required for marriage to be authentic and acknowledged by God.

I don’t think that this teaching is altogether right.  The way a culture has set up behaviors of propriety and rightness matters.  Some scripture that I thought of was Mark 1:44 where Jesus instructs the healed the man with leprosy to offer the sacrifices to the priest that Moses had commanded for a testimony to them.  In Acts chapter 18 the apostle Paul shaved his head when he made a vow.  This action was the custom of that day and place. When we follow the culture’s methods of showing righteousness we provide a testimony to them.

In this teaching that I read yesterday it was suggested that believers could co-habitate without a marriage ceremony or certificate and be married before God.    However, in the culture of the West cohabitation is worldly and is still somewhat inferior to being married.  To be a testimony to the culture here in the West would be to make a strong commitment to each other and get married.  The scriptures admonish believers to avoid even the appearance of ungodliness.

In other scripture God makes it clear that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is fornication.  This is an extremely serious teaching.  No fornicator will enter the kingdom of God scripture says.

There are other areas of teaching on this website that I feel are good and that my attitude has been given a bit of an adjustment that may have been needed.  What this shows us  as believers is that we must be discerning when we read something.  We have to read a teaching with scripture in the back of our minds to either confirm the teaching or cause us to pause and consider as we read.

I Thess. 5:21 “Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil.”

 


Fruit and Works

Scripture says you will know them by their fruit, meaning what we see concerning others we can judge.  The book of James says that if you do not have works you do not have faith.  Jesus said believe that I am who I say that I am because of the works that I do.  The works of Jesus were done openly for all to see and judge.  God has prepared good works for us to do the Bible says.  We are admonished in scripture to keep adding virtue and good works to our lives.

2 Peter 1:5 says  “make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control perseverance and to perseverance godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love. If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

The opposite of unproductive means to produce something.  Something that others can see and judge.  We must be adding goodness to our inner selves and to our behaviors as believers.  Works do not save us, but they are the witness of a work of Christ in us.  The scriptures are very clear on this.  Good works follow the believer.

Any church that teaches that good works are legalism and that a believer does not need  this visible witness is not teaching a balanced theology.  This is not rules following, but an outcome that is assured for the believer who is in Christ, and who applies the Word of God to their lives.  This is not legalism.  Legalism is following a list of rules thinking that by following these outward rules they are in good standing with God without the need for faith in Christ Jesus.