Saturday, March 08, 2014

Useless Striving


Recently a preacher/politician, which is an oxymoron, named Mike Huckabee said that God was the “midwife when America was born”. Besides being blasphemous, it openly reveals a level of idolatry which rivals the golden calf of Israel. But there are many professing believers who see the country known as America as not only God favored but as God birthed in a direct sense. It is very easy to reveal the open idolatry of such views but it is also very difficult to unpack all the latent idolatry as well as all the deep and critical compromises inherent in such fabrication.

Most of the evangelical church which happens to live in America views America as a divine instrument. It is quite revealing that if a sinner made a profession of faith to Christ but later became an abortion doctor who was gay and married his partner would be considered as never having been redeemed. But even though America is consumed with all kinds of perversion and sin believers still consider it as a divine creation. What does that tell us? It tells us that the idolatry of nationalism is extremely strong and unyielding.

And there are many reasons why this kind of deception is so strong. Of course it is pleasing to the flesh. It comes with songs and parades and holidays and pledges and historical stories of nostalgia. But perhaps the greatest strength of nationalism is because we have been indoctrinated from birth. And since liberal and conservative both embrace it no one actually questions it. Even Christian schools push it further into our hearts and minds until being patriotic becomes a fruit of a true Christian.

But at the core of such passion is a perspective that America is treated by God as a singular entity. What I mean is that many believe God deals with America as a whole and curses or blesses the nation cumulatively and all the individuals within that country bear the consequences. But nowhere in the New Testament are we taught that God deals with countries. We are clearly taught that the gospel is for individuals. You see Jesus did not die for America or Spain or Israel. Jesus died for individual sinners. And that fact openly reveals there is no redemption for a country or a government or any organization. There is only redemption for sinners one at a time.

So when you attempt to breathe spiritual life into something that never had spiritual life in the first place you are on a fool’s errand. And that fool’s errand is not innocuous. It has many deep and varied consequences, the most diabolical is it dilutes, misrepresents, and changes the very fabric of the gospel. Instead of the great commission being the only true agent of spiritual transformation, now professing believers seek voting blocks, legislative majorities, and democratic processes to effect spiritual change. And they think they are doing God’s work by breathing upon a stone.

If we see through the eyes of the Spirit and of the kingdom of God we will see an eternal difference between the souls of men and the creations of men. And until we see that distinction men will continue to worship the creations of men. The Scriptures clearly teach us not to worship God’s creations so how much more the work of men’s hands? It is a tragic spiritual infidelity and a monstrous sin. While souls are dying all around us professing believers are engaged in earthly matters. You cannot manipulate the fallen natures of men to believe and act like Jesus. Is Je4sus a moral arbiter or is He the Savior of mankind? The teachings of morality are only effective within the body of believers who have the Spirit. Those who do not have the Spirit cannot know true morality. Yes they can have a show of godliness but in the end it will only bring death.

So the journey away from the gospel continues. It is filled with sound and fury, but it signifies absolutely nothing. And this great departure has had profound effects upon the church. Perhaps the most profound effect is that most of the church no longer preaches, believes, or even knows what the gospel is.


Michelle said...

Powerful stuff.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Rick, the sting of your post is painfully true. What would our churches look like if we did not have the political golden calf to ride in on as the flag is raised high and the names of Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and yes, Mr. Huckabee along with the dominionist zealots have replaced the Name of Jesus Christ and His teachings.

Who are we that our God is mindful of us?

Anonymous said...

How true. It's so disheartening and it stings, to hear this group of christians in the US behave as though they are the only parts of the Body that really matter. Instead of acknowledging other christians around the world as their true spiritual brethren, they seem to forget them, and are so self-absorbed with the elitist mentality of 'we are the best'. Bloggers, christian sites, authors, christian magazines, all write as though they can't see past their borders and that Jesus is totally pre-occupied with them and their politics and that they hold the key to keeping the whole body intact.

They seem to believe that their existence as a nation is so much more important than other nations. It really makes for schoolyard favoritism. There seems to be no self-awareness from this group of christians. They never notice how hurtful this is to the rest of us.


There is a sense that they God, the U.S.A and Israel are the only thing that matters to Jesus, and the rest of us are chopped liver.

Anonymous said...

Dear J., your observations are like salt that bludgeoned the wound. I cannot offer debate as words of truth brought me back to a time when I believed all that I was told in the name of "conservatism." Some call it "god's favor" but I will call it "brainwashing" as most preaching and teaching within our churches reinforces narcissism and elitism which feeds the force of nationalism.

Dear J., I did not vote in this last election and God, the Holy Spirit has not convicted me of a "sin." There is no sin in not voting for any heathen political candidate; no Scriptural reference can be found in the New Covenant where we are to bow down to governments/beast systems.

With this said, I want to share this with you as it grieves me to no end. When asked by conservative, fundamentalist
Christians this question, "Did you vote in the last election?"
My response being "No, I did not," well then, the conservative flesh rises up and the verbal attacks begin and the constant berating until the battle is won; victory being getting one to vote again in the next election; for their candidate!

We have replaced that shining city on the hill, God's glorious kingdom that we, as born again believers are in longing, for a land called "America" that we believe is a Christian nation that we have been indoctrinated into believing as truth.

I believed this lie for years until God, the Holy Spirit delivered me out of this rotten political bondage for the stench was death itself. As I convey my heart to you, it is with brokenness and humility that I can only PRAISE our FATHER, who are in Heaven for this deliverance for the love of politics is a spiritual death camp. And those who run this camp and live in it are living in spiritual harlotry rarely exhibiting the fruits of God, the Holy Spirit.

How could I live this lie for so long and not see it? Simple.

In those times I did not read my Bible, study nor meditate upon it, nor listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I was lazy, prideful and gluttonous in my religiosity, sitting under pastors who worshipped the spirit of this age. It was far easier to sit in church and have someone else teach me as I said amen, amen, amen, amen, like a bobble head with no mind. That was me. Jesus was not my true shepherd as he was replaced with cold hearted, boastful, prideful, arrogant and haughty pastors and church leadership teams. I lived in idolatry believing in man and his ways and it was killing me.

So the words of this post brought back remembrance of which I can express gratefulness for I can now say, there is such joy in the suffering for Jesus Christ.

I love you J. wherever you are and have respect for you insightful observations concerning the signs of the times. God, the Holy Spirit is still working, still moving, and still calling out those for His Name's sake.

Praise the Name of Jesus. There is no other.

Cherie c. said...

Part 1

Psalm 51

Oh Lord, my spirit and my heart cry out this Scripture to You. May this be what I, we strive for this day. The time waxes worse and worse Lord, just as You said it would. May this be our prayer too, as David prayed Lord, in his time.

There is nothing new under the sun the Word of God says, so Psalm 51 is apropos for today. May He grant us mercy we do not deserve. May He bless you, my brothers and sisters, and me with:

Psalm 51:17
a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. This is a blessing.

Psalm 51
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

This is what we should strive for. Does no one understand that a broken and contrite heart is pleasing unto God? Do we think we are so much better that we should prance around with pride because He has revealed Himself to us? Many in the world's church say to people, "thus saith the Lord" that we should not question them. Many call themselves prophets, prophetesses, or apostles, or having heard directly from God, this is a lie of the devil from the pit of hell. Do not be deceived. God's Word is where we hear Him. His Gospel. Psalm 51 packs so much information for us today.

Psalm 51:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Do you see what we must do to then go and preach the Gospel to all creatures?

Please read Psalm 51 today. It is a prayer we must all pray everyday. The Whole Counsel of God.

Cherie c. said...

Part 2
We all know the following:

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

But did you know:

Proverbs 5:23
He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

Job 33:16
Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

Proverbs 1:2
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

The church we see today strives for things other then what is spiritual and good and holy.

They despise the instruction we read in Psalm 51 and the very Words from the mouth of Jesus.

Proverbs 5:12
And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

Proverbs Chapters, 13,15,16, 19 all speak about instruction and the consequences of not hearing and understanding. When we seek that which is ungodly as we see the church today striving for I am saddened.

Jesus said seek that which is above, but that takes knowledge. And those who seek to lead the sheep astray have no knowledge because they refuse to hear it or they are blinded by the lie of satan. Or they are angels of light subverting God's Word right in the pulpit. Just like the Lord Jesus said would happen.

Jesus said:

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

I pray I never know what it is to wax cold my love for the Lord and His Word. All of it. Not just the good parts, the hard to take parts too. Whole Counsel of God. To me this would be judgement to wax cold.

Lord, many who visit Pastor Rick's blog are part of the world's church. Please have mercy upon this sinner Lord and hear my prayer. My prayer Lord is that they hear, understand and become broken and contrite Lord and be saved. Many profess You, but few possess You Lord. May they see themselves in Psalm 51 Lord. May we all see ourselves in Psalm 51. May what we strive for is You, Your Glory, Honor, Praise Almighty God, Abba Father. May the Sacrifice Jesus made upon the cross be renewed in our hearts today Lord. May we fall upon our sore knees and repent, worship and be every thankful. Be broken and contrite. And through Your Holy Spirit Lord may we never wax cold the love You have given us. Oh Lord, time is so short and my heart cries out that all may come to a saving knowledge of You. This is my prayer Lord God. In Jesus Name and with thanksgiving I pray.

Love you all.

your sister in Christ Jesus

Anonymous said...

Amen, Cheri, alleluia and amen.

Praise God for those mighty Scripture verses! Alleluia dear sister!

Anonymous said...

Halleluia! Anon. 6:51 and others here. Love you all too, and thanks for the verses, Cherie!

I know there are so many true loving christians in the U.S. They're all over, but the loud brayish voices of those who seek public attention are the ones who say they speak for all christians; and we know this just isn't so. They don't speak for the rest of the country's christians. They make a mockery of Christ and turn souls away from entering in, because of their anger and bad fruit. Otherwise, if true christians could show the Lord's fruit in public, many would be drawn to Him.

I got caught up in the eschatology and bible prophecy too, believing and bobbing my head yes, to teachings from great prophecy teachings, all seeming though to come from the U.S. We here in Canada soak it all up like a sponge. Much of the teachings were biblical, but the nationalistic pride started to overcome the teachings, where bible teachers were believing that there was a war against evil that mighty militaries could fight for the Lord. They started to believe that elected men were the key to determining victory or defeat. Revelation will happen despite who is set on thrones. It is scary to hear the powerful christians turn our Lord's return to a mighty battle of wills, where they believe His reward to nations who control the banks, the oil and the wine. The angels of Revelation aren't going to spare only one nation, or powerful military nations, so they can fight against other powerful military nations. Everyone will believe the many lies told by those who profess Christ. It's so strange that this new thought forgets that we are all pilgrims and multitutdes in the valley of decision before He returns. So wonderful to think about how Jesus is not a respecter of persons. Halleluia!!!

I'm so thankful for my U.S. brothers and sisters, and I pray a great revival for us all, in the U.S., and in Canada and around the world.


Cherie c. said...

J, for someone who is looking from the outside of the US in, you could not be more spot on dear sister. The arrogance of the American Christian is embarrassing to say the least. And our confined and persecuted brothers and sisters pray for us to know His sufferings, not as a jester of meanness, but out of love for this fallen culture. How we should pray to be more like them.

I hold no allegiance to any one or thing but the Lord God. Waiting for the police to arrest me someday.

This faith is lonely, scarey (at times)but I have never had more joy, peace and love than being in the faith. The cares of this world no longer weigh me down, or cause me too much concern. I do still struggle with it, but it gets less and less everyday. It is a victory when my husband says he misses the old Cherie? Better believe it. Glory to God! Salt is what we should strive to be and I do NOT take any of the Glory for me, it all belongs to the Lord.

Love you sister!

Mike Williams said...

In America we are willing to accept collective blessings for ourselves because God is so pleased with us for being a "Christian" nation. But when God confronts us with systemic racism that deprived generations of African-Americans of dignity, liberty and prosperity, we claim that we're not responsible because we didn't personally participate in the things that people before us did to others. We'll grab the "individual" exemption from this collective sin of the nation when it suits us. But when it comes to God's blessings, we drop the individualism like a hot potato and claim that God treats us singularly as a people. We'll switch back and forth in a heart beat, depending on what's in our self-interest in the moment. Jesus said, "How long will I put up with this perverse generation?"

Anonymous said...

I'm again reminded of my boyhood, when I was idolatrously led to believe that God wanted the world's peoples (especially Americans) to regard this country as a substitute for Himself, and that we were all morally obligsted to keep the USA in a pristine "Garden of Eden" condition through socio-political involvement - without Him, of course.

On top of this, I was taught that God was obligatng Americans to make themselves so mega-intelligent that they would be able to always prevent ANY bad, negative, unpleasant, tragic, or even inconvenient thing from happening, rendering His assistance unnecessary for the most part. ("In my day, everybody always did everything right all of the time.")

All this was labeled "old-fashioned common sense". I think the Bible had another term for it.