Proverbs 30:7-8 The words of Agur. ‘Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,…’ (ESV)
We are living in a world rife with falsehood and lying in our day. Corruption has permeated our societies and the hearts and minds of men. We hear of corruption all over the world today. Leaders stealing resources from their countries to amass and hoard wealth for themselves. Lying seems to be an everyday occurrence for many leaders and even average persons going about their work and daily lives. I recently took my car in for a check-up. I needed front brakes they said in their report back to me. I took my car to another shop recently to have this work done. I was told that my front brakes had over 50% of use left and no replacement was necessary. This is not an isolated incident, but rather a common occurrence here in Canada. There is no assurance that anyone is telling you the truth anymore in the business world. This situation undermines trust. Truth and stability is being taken away from people.
No liar is going to enter the kingdom of Heaven the Bible says. We believers need to be mindful of this. We cannot do as the world is doing in our day. We must be trustworthy. We must speak the truth and be honest with others and ourselves. Speaking truth is becoming a challenge for us in the West because the expectation in the workplace from our bosses is that we will be dishonest if needed, we will be a ‘team player’ for the company.
We live in this world the Bible says but we are not of this world. Pick up your cross the scripture says, and follow after Christ. He will make a way for you to do this.
The Bible states that the kingdom of God is within. Jesus stated that his kingdom is not of this world, yet we know that the kingdom of God is going to be manifested in the earth. God’s kingdom is eternal and cannot be defeated or done away with. King Jesus is immortal.
In the Old Testament (OT) we see a kingdom of Israelite people representing a nation under God in the earth. God says in the OT they are his people, and he is their God. He ruled and reigned over them. He established the laws of the land, the religious rules, and the priesthood to serve him. The people were subjected to his discipline and at times his rejection, but God always maintained a remnant of people to continue with him.
We understand in our day today that we believers are in God’s kingdom. To enter by the narrow gate the NT says. Broad is the gate that leads to destruction and many enter by that gate the Bible says. The narrow gate refutes the church teaching in the West that says God accepts everyone. There comes a point when God is very exclusive about who he accepts. To hear church teaching in the West is to believe that God does not hold anyone in the church accountable, that there is nothing we could do to be rejected by God, because he loves us so much.
We need to get a grip on our lives. We head into eternal life within our heart and mind through a renewal by the Holy Spirit and then a renewal without in our body. There are tremendous things ahead that we know only in part. What is being taught today is obstructing and obscuring the way into the kingdom of God. The church today in the West is changing Biblical doctrine to better suit our culture. We are inundated here by social, political, and judicial pressure to conform to ideologies that oppose Christ and the kingdom of God. When all is said and done here in the West I believe that God will have an eternal remnant. Some say that this remnant will have a glory and perhaps an aspect of immortality revealed in them here on the earth before the physical return of Christ. This may be so. My own experience is that my hair appears to be reversing from light gray to a darker color of gray and brown. I’ve been noticing this progression for two or three years now. The Bible teaches that the saints progress from glory to glory. That the glory of the Lord is going to cover the earth as waters cover the sea.
We may not be grasping or understanding the kingdom of God as we should in our day and we need to be aware of this.
If we look at the books of the New Testament (NT) we see a recurring theme. Avoid sin at all cost, and do good. This is a requirement for the believer. The NT books declare and teach what sin is. These books also declare that fruit has to be produced by the believer. The modern church teaches that this fruit consists of inviting people to church services. The NT declares that this fruit is a person’s goodness, righteousness, fairness, and justice. This fruit demonstrates holiness by the believer. The church today in the West teaches that a believer cannot be holy. Churches here teach that holiness is not about your behavior, that holiness is an abstract concept applied to you after you have said a prayer to God.
This teaching is clearly not correct when we read the NT. The believer has been moved from the power of darkness to light in the NT. They are no longer defenseless against sin. They have protection against temptations in Christ. A believer is to use the tools that Christ has given to them to increase their goodness and holiness. The reading of the Word to renew their mind, praying to call upon God and to hear from God, the accepting of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and with this acceptance the believer receives power to resist sin.
The idea of a believer needing to obtain holiness is also portrayed in the Old Testament within the statutes and rules given in the Law of Moses. The OT Israelites were to perform certain requirements such as washings, learning what was clean and unclean and abstaining from the religious activities and practices of other nations, sacrifices were to be continually made for their sins, etc. These were actions and requirements that had to be done and performed by the priesthood and the people.
The current teaching in the West undermines the importance and even the requirement of the believer to seek after righteousness.
I watched a movie yesterday titled, ‘The Other Sister’, made in 1999. This movie is listed as a romantic-comedy. This is a feel good movie about a young mentally challenged girl named Carla who had to be sent away from the family to attend a boarding school when she was quite young. This was necessary because of her challenging behaviours and the risk of her two sisters getting physically hurt by her. The movie begins with her return home from this school when she is a young woman and her struggles for independence from her protective mother. While trying some classes at a technical college she meets a young man on campus who is also mentally challenged. They fall in love and eventually get married. One of Carla’s sisters is gay, and is living in another city involved a live-in sexual relationship. Carla’s immediate family is very wealthy and socializes with the upper classes in her home town. Like I say, this was a feel good movie that did not portray the likely reality. At the end of the movie your heart is warm and you think to yourself, it’s not so bad.
What would be the likely reality? Carla and her husband would live in their own apartment and their parents would be largely responsible for supporting them for the rest of their lives. Most families however, would not have this option because they would not have the needed wealth to do this. We see the gay sister in bed briefly with her lover and think… they’re just sleeping together. We forget that there is sexual perversion that has gone on in this bed behind the scenes. What does this do to someone inside their heart and mind? The dad is always home and involved with the family. The reality? He hasn’t made this kind of wealth as a doctor without working tremendously long hours and establishing a very successful business career. This takes a lot away from a family. The movie does not indicate that he is retired, and the likely reality is that he would want to keep working and building up his empire until he is not able to work anymore. Carla’s second sister has been living together with her boyfriend and gets married to him in the movie.
This family is portrayed as a loving, quirky, but deep down healthy, very nice family, who has some different kinds of things going on in their lives. None of these things in the movie affect their inherent goodness or upstanding values. This is a false narrative that people watching this movie are being told and shown. It’s no wonder that people would say “it’s not that bad “. They may have little else but this type of movie to gage their opinions and facts upon. Today’s young people do this all the time with the movies that they watch. It seems they to try to make sense of their world through what they see on their technology screens. This is not reality. However, they can defend a position staunchly based upon what they have seen and what they have been told through the media. ” I know what that’s all about, I’ve seen the movie.”, and “Why are you being so prejudiced?”, and “There’s nothing wrong with it, you’re just being a bigot!”
Our church leaders say that there is no serious sin today. One sin is as bad as another to God no matter how small or insignificant it may be. This teaching is not Biblical. The Bible states that there is serious sin. One such sin is sexual inappropriateness. Another is idolatry. We see these types of sin being dealt with in the Bible. The children of Israel were chastised and punished for idolatry and given over to their enemies. Sexual sins were dealt with. Adultery was punishable by death or divorce. The Bible states that there is a kind of sin against the Holy Spirit which is unforgivable. Mainly calling what He does devilish. The Jews accused Jesus of being empowered by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. That generation living in the time of Jesus will be held accountable in the judgement by many who went before them.
There is perhaps a seriousness about sin that we do not fully appreciate in the West. We are largely being told in the West by our church leaders that there are no consequences of sin from God. He forgives all our sin all the time, because Jesus died for our sins on the cross. Some say that this confusion has happened by mixing up the salvation experience that we have with God by grace, and applying this same grace to the requirement God has for the saints to live righteously. I tend to agree. These are two different things that are taught in the Bible. This makes sense when we consider the admonitions and exhortations that the epistles give to the believer concerning how we are to live in God now that we have become saved.
Sin produces death the Bible says. As we partake in sin we are losing ground in Christ. We become hardened to sin. We become darker in our hearts and minds. Sin often produces more sin. We excuse ourselves of our sin. We justify it and rationalize it. We move deeper and deeper into darkness. The Bible says that we are the children of light and that we are to live in the light as He lives in the light. We are to conquer our sin not excuse it. There is nothing in the Bible that justifies the believer who continues to sin. This only happens in the imaginations of sinful men.
I’ve been reading a couple of articles and recent commentary on what to do if you think your Pastor may be a narcissist. The counsel is that you try to get along. If you cannot, then you should probably think seriously about leaving your church. You would be in a no-win situation. Another article suggested that you find a couple of elders and arrange to meet with the Pastor in order to work out the problem. This would happen after you have tried to talk with him privately to resolve the issue. This is good counsel if you are dealing with a reasonable person. A true narcissist is not a reasonable person. Their agenda is the only valid one and anything or anyone that gets in the way of this agenda will be destroyed. A true narcissist requires control of others. They are unable to accept the opinions of others. Others must think how they do. It’s not a matter of getting along with your narcissist Pastor, it’s about them needing to completely overcome and devour those around them. They strive to take over others’ identity, and life. Nothing else is permitted. They will keep persisting in this way until they either succeed or others are destroyed. They never give up this goal.
Narcissists are very deceptive. They lie without conscience. They do not feel guilt or remorse for any of their actions. They simply do not care for others the way we would think that a Pastor should care. This is the problem. How can a person like this shepherd a congregation of God’s people? They simply cannot and should not. They need to be removed from church leadership. Believers need a healthy Pastor who is looking out for them and guiding them in their path with God. The Bible says that a good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep. A narcissist would never do this willingly. He/she would save themselves and destroy the sheep if need be. A narcissist believes that their survival is paramount above everything else.
The church needs to find a way to detect a true narcissist. A narcissist will train others to be narcissists as well. This is called secondary narcissism. A secondary narcissist will be like a true narcissist and have the same characteristics. Some believe that there are many secondary narcissists in our society in the West. The church needs to identify these individuals and remove them from ministry.
In my own experience with a severe narcissist I believe that they can be saved. They can have a true salvation experience. The issue with a narcissist is their unwillingness to acknowledge that they have any faults that are harmful to others. A narcissist believes that their narcissism is a good thing and has no desire or willingness to try to make changes. They will not be honest with a therapist. You cannot trust or believe a narcissist. This is not how the Bible describes a true leader of God’s people.