Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Kidnapping of the Bride


II Tim.3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment and immediately underwent a sweeping brainwashing. By April, she had embraced her captors to such a degree she was trusted to help rob a bank for which she was later convicted. Now when someone is kidnapped and subsequently joins their abductors it is called the Stockholm effect named after a famous bank robbery in Sweden in which the captives developed an affection for their captors.
In the year 1517 a young monk nailed the 95 thesis's to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and the Reformation was born. Now Martin Luther was very flawed as a person who sometimes had a heart for God and sometimes had an appetite for wine. He was a rabid and vitriolic anti-Semite, but just as God uses imperfect people like you and me, God chose to use Martin Luther. Although the Holy Spirit had much work to accomplish in the theology of the church in subsequent generations, the main theme of this mighty move of God was that salvation was by grace through faith alone and that all teaching must be based solely on the revealed and written Word of God. Miraculously, the Lord had revived and reestablished His church and separated her from the apostate Roman Church.
In later years the Holy Spirit weaved fabrics of revival through America, England, Wales, and other places where saints sought the Lord in prayer and a Sovereign God heard their cries and graciously sent a fresh move of His Spirit which initially brought the believers to glorious repentance, and eventually reached lost souls for the glory of God. There were always some doctrinal differences, but for the most part they were non-essentials that did not affect salvation. Christ was preached, the Word of God was held high, and salvation was by grace through faith alone. Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and other denominations strove to advance the kingdom of God.
By the 20th century the Industrial Revolution had matured. With the new technologies, primarily of travel and communication, greed, avarice, competition, and capitalism took a quantum leap in Europe and the western world cultures. As the kingdom of darkness prospered, it cast its eyes on God's bride, only to find that she was gazing back over the wall of God's Word and onto the growing and attractive evil. From that point on it did not take much coaxing to allure the bride out of the protection of the Word and into the excitement of the humanistic culture. One stroll around the devil's dance floor and the bride was mesmerized while not even aware that the evil one was closing the door behind her. She had been abducted and she didn't even know it. As a matter of fact, she was enjoying her new found friends and wonderful freedom, all the while not seeing the shackles that had been placed around her legs. She was in bondage by the one who had promised her freedom.
No longer would the church have any criteria by which to test new converts for their own good. No longer would God's people have to sacrifice anything, on the contrary, they could now lay up for themselves enormous amounts of treasure on this earth and actually teach that it was God's will. Worldly leaders? Yes! Fleshly entertainment? Yes! Millionaire preachers? Yes! Mesh with the culture? Yes! Sanitize the message? Yes! Her dance card was full and she was having the time of her life dancing with Rome, Mormons, liberals, physiologists, politicians, Carnegie, Peal, universalists, and anyone else who at least believed in a god. And to soothe her conscience she changed God's Word to accommodate all her hedonistic ways.
Most egregious of all, as the bride lay in Lucifer's bed, she turned and asked if they could have a membership drive designed to attract as many sinners as possible. Lucifer not only agreed, he said that he had many great and effective ways to reach people. But most importantly he insisted that God's Word must be thoroughly camouflaged since that was what turned people away to begin with. The bride agreed. Lucifer said that there were some principles that could be used as they kicked off their campaign. What do people want; What do people like; What do people need; What makes people happy; and what parts of the Bible do people most strenuously object to - cut them out. The bride wasn't completely convinced, but Lucifer said it all was to reach as many people as possible, "After all wasn't that what God wanted?". That made sense to the bride and she quickly acquiesced and the planning began. Upon these new tactics Lucifer would hang a few token Scriptures and pronounce his theological work of art a "masterpiece". And by and large the church has entirely bought this "masterpiece" and hung it in the gallery of thousands of pulpits for all to admire.
Now this little metaphorical narrative is either the musings of a Spiritual paranoiac, or it is an accurate representation of the subtle deception that continues today throughout the church. And against the backdrop of the August Word of God it appears much, much worse than we can imagine. And like a gigantic and multi-pronged python, the deceptive tentacles of the spirits of anti-christ have wrapped themselves around the hearts of the pulpits of most evangelical churches today and have crept down into the pews and are now squeezing the truth out of the hearts of God's people. And anyone who "cries aloud" with a warning against this obvious departure are rejected as trouble makers and divisive. But in the example of Luther, even though the bride has fallen in love with her captor, should we not still attempt to rescue her? Just because her captor is upbeat and friendly should that absolve us from speaking the truth? Just because her kidnapper offers us a peace treaty, should we sign it? Just because her abductor has a much more fleshly and attractive message, should we change ours to compete?
Some of us know first hand what we are talking about. Some of us have danced on the purpose driven dance floor and being fully deceived we sincerely thought we were helping God out with our creative strategies. And by some gracious miracle, we were rescued by the Spirit of God and mercifully debriefed. So do not think we hate those still trapped in the "cotton candy" ballroom of humanism with a thin layer of "lip synched" Christianity. No, we love them and we will continue to raise the bullhorn to our mouths and loudly exhort them to "come out from among them and be ye separate, says the Lord". The only hate we have is for the one that kidnapped her in the first place. His works are evil, his message is death, his gospel is counterfeit, his words are lies, his plan is deception,

but his time is short.

Lord Jesus, send us your power to destroy the works that the Deceiver has wrought. Let your powerful Word begin unraveling this humanistic avalanche and set the captives free. Fill us with your love, make our words strong and clear, keep us ever humble, and in ALL things...


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Christianity Without Jesus


There is scant interest in Jesus even within the church. There are conferences by the thousands about everything but Jesus and people will travel and spend thousands just to attend and be motivated or moved or learn something. But where are the conferences that are completely about Jesus? Jesus Himself exhorted us to learn of Him and yet we treat Him as a doctrinal fait accompli and in no need of any thorough or passionate pursuit.

The church salivates for more “how to” messages and more studies about aspects of our lives. In fact most of the western evangelical church is a study of humans rather than a study of Christ. It is humanism all dressed up as church. Yes, there are commandments in the New Testament about marriage and children and work and other aspects of our lives, but the overarching and reoccurring theme is Jesus. And while we study life adjustments or emotional controls or philosophical and psychological counseling and treatment the reality is that most of these issues could be treated with a stronger and relentless pursuit of knowing Jesus.

But long ago the church looked in the mirror and instead of abhorring that which it saw it become infatuated with itself. And professing believers became a project which by and large was without Jesus. A healthy marriage, a healthy self image, a healthy bank account, a healthy body, a healthy career, and in general a well rounded and balanced citizen of earth is now the ecclesiastical goal. But that is not Christianity at all.

It is astonishing just how much Jesus has been marginalized and removed as the centerpiece of our journey. In other words He is no longer Lord of all. The carnal sirens have all but drowned out Christ. I cannot even begin to imagine just how much the Spirit grieves over what has become of the visible church, which by New Testament standards is not the church at all. Let us individually renew our faith and pursue the knowledge of Jesus beyond what we think we knew yesterday, and let us walk that pure path which seeks the glory of God which is found in the face of Jesus Christ.

And be aware that this journey is not about finding more facts about Jesus. It is about finding more and more life in Jesus and having your life transformed into His.

Listen to what pastors and preachers say about the crisis in Gaza and you will understand who are following Jesus and who are not. The blind allegiance to the secular nation of Israel is against any and all the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. I heard John Hagee, a heretic of epic proportions, say that we must cut off all humanitarian support for the Palestinians until they acquiesce to certain demands. I guess “love your enemies” was added by evil scribes and was not part of the teachings of Jesus.

The entire thing has been manipulated and fed to western believers. The conflict in the Middle East is not our affair nor does it have anything to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But while we sit in air conditioned safety it caresses the flesh to take sides with fallen nations, and we refuse to see that Israel in the Old Testament was a shadow of the coming church. They were God’s people and just like the church they were almost always compromised and filled with believer and unbeliever alike.

Josh.5: 13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

We should not be interested in being on anyone’s “side” but God’s. The things of this world are actively working against the purposes of Christ and His kingdom. But it is so easy to get caught up in the politics of it all and make judgments based upon what we perceive as right and wrong because we see things through American eyes. But until you see that it is ALL wrong and that there is no one that doeth good, no not one, then you will continue to make all kinds of carnal judgments about who is right and who is wrong.

And worse yet if you listen to preachers who are more American than Christian then you will make judgments about which nations God loves and favors. And that, my friends, is heresy at its zenith. Repent and allow your heart to awaken to the things and teachings of Jesus. This world’s undertow is filled with strength based upon reason and political perception and the ebbs and flows of man’s exercise of his own power. And the western church has heard the voices of these evil sirens and by and large the church has not only invited the world into the church, but it now follows hard after the world and all its fallen machinations.

Beware all ye that desire Christ. It is impossible to follow Christ and the world. And in this day and time of great spiritual deception you may well be confronted with reassessing the very foundation of what you were taught and what are lies still being spread as God’s truth. The deception is much more sophisticated and much more powerful than we can almost imagine. In fact, somewhere decades ago an intersect was crossed. And at that juncture the faith called “Christian” became so contaminated and so off course that it now turned its back on Christ and headed for greener pastures. And the sheep began to feed in that pasture and the grass was plentiful and sweet. And the visible church grew in numbers and buildings and financial power and political clout.

And so today the church is no longer interested in Jesus. It is consumed with finances and material goods and careers and success and college educations and entertainment and television and sports and activities and singing and founding fathers and famous preachers and glossy teaching materials and church advertisements and elaborate conferences and whatever is happening in the kingdom of this world. But as for Jesus, well, we can just paste His name on whatever we want and declare that is who He is and what He desires. And in the end the western church will glow with modern buildings and wonderful music and compelling oratory and an atmosphere of excitement, but alas, it is just spiritual wreckage all dressed up as God’s church. The axe head is at the bottom of the water and most are not looking for it because we have made our own axe head which is much more interesting and alluring. God help us all.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Sham of Western Christianity

This thing we call “Christianity” is a sham and a farce and in many cases it is eternally dangerous. It stands upon creeds and doctrines and certain morals and material blessings. It not only does not follow Jesus, it is not interested in knowing what Jesus actually taught. And when you discover the treachery of this organized religion and turn from it your journey has only just begun. I remember years ago when I began to read the words of Jesus anew and afresh and with an open heart. I began with Matthew chapter 5. It was only a couple of chapters before I was overwhelmed and completely undone because I could plainly see that I had been hoodwinked into following a religion and not Christ.
And to be honest I am still uncovering more of the religious hypocrisy every time I read His words. 
And to be perfectly honest every time I read His words without ecclesiastical refraction I also see my own major league shortcomings as it pertains to obeying His words. But no one can even attempt to obey His words if we distort and ignore and dilute His words so they become a comfortable part of a well rounded, moral western lifestyle.

Genocide - The Good Kind


A man wants to build a house. He looks around for some land and he 
finds where he desires to build.
But there are people already living on that land.
But he begins to build on the outskirts and a fight ensues between his family and the family already living there. Eventually that man annihilates the indigenous people and takes control of all the land. After many years the man forgets all the wanton bloodshed and he now rejoices in the glory of his new house and he thanks God for giving the land to him. You see, genocide can bring about good sometimes!
Thank you, American Indians, for the millions of lives you donated to the cause called America. 
It had to be done because Jesus wanted it that way.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The Money Treatise by Jesus Christ

If we truly delve into the teachings of Jesus concerning being a disciple we will find a continuing theme. We call it “self denial” and within that term are some particular teachings that deal with money and material things. But be forewarned. These teachings carry with them some extremely uncomfortable issues which directly confront the western capitalist mindset and practice. In fact, they directly confront the image of Jesus the church has been teaching for many decades. So let us investigate what Jesus teaches about one of the most powerful forces on earth: money.
I Tim.6: 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NIV)
We have been raised in a culture which revolves around money. It is ingrained in our minds and in our life practices. We think nothing of it since that mindset permeates every aspect of western life, and everyone we know lives within it on some level. Everything we have been taught, and everything our parents and educational system has groomed us for, revolves around success and money. And it is through that refraction that we understand Jesus and His teachings.
And we have also become very adept at taking the teachings of Jesus and repackaging them with a western, capitalistic slant which in effect neutralizes their impact by changing their very meaning. For instance we have defined the love of money as something akin to a miser or a Donald Trump kind of attitude. But in reality that ignores the love of money which is evident within the church on many different levels. You may even be poor and have the love of money. And you cannot, I repeat, you cannot follow Jesus and love and seek money.

I Tim.6: If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

Just this portion of Scriptures exposes the unholy nature of the visible western church. Food and clothing be content? Who are we kidding? We don’t even strive for that much less possess it. And yet the Spirit uses terms like “foolish and hurtful lusts” and “destruction and perdition”. And make no mistake, you can be heading toward perdition and be heartily enjoying the ride. Would you not consider this issue of utmost importance when those terms are applied? So when was the last time a local church decided to pause and seek God with fasting and prayer and allow the Spirit to take God’s Word and reveal its unvarnished truth against its belief system and practice?

It is a revelation of just how far the church has strayed when you see almost no tears of repentance and a continuing spirit of happiness permeating the congregation. The only time people feel mournful is when circumstances adversely affect them. But when professing believers are truly filled with the love and power of Christ then they must feel a sense of deep concern for everyone around them. And let us not be ignorant of this very fact: When a fallen culture is so strong around us then without a steady diet of repentance and a relentless pursuit of God’s Word concerning our hearts and our practices, then little by little the culture will take over with very little personal pain. And the church itself will eventually embrace the culture because the people demand it.

Most churches will take the easy road which is confronting gay sinners or the practice of abortion but they are blind to their own compliance with a sinful and hedonistic culture.

Although the issue is money, when we acquiesce to the thought processes and practices of a fallen culture concerning money we actually leave following Jesus. And the tentacles of compromise are long reaching and relentless. We still hear His name, we still hear the preacher quote His Word, we still songs that exalt Him, but God will not honor any of that when our hearts are so sullied by self interest and the spiritually toxic effects of an unimpeded cultural erosion.

Silently rearrange the furniture and the blind man knows nothing of it. So when the church becomes blind truth itself can be slowly changed without a whimper from those who claim to know it. And Jesus Himself, who is THE truth, becomes a prisoner of the moment and the culture. and aside from some powerless doctrinal descriptions, the teachings of Jesus begin to take on the pattern of the present culture. Before long you have a religious mongrel which does not resemble what Jesus taught nor does it seek it. And if you do not embrace and practice what Jesus taught, then you are following a false Jesus made with the brick and mortar of the culture and the desires of men.

Matt.6: 24 No man 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.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

This is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Where oh where to begin. Let us start with this question: Do we believe that Jesus spoke these words and do we believe them? Because if we truly believe them, they bring with them some startling and even outrageous applications and implications. Listen to the overwhelming body of professing believers as they lament about gas prices or interest rates or President Obama. Listen and they worry about this or that. Here is a story which may seem laughable if it were not so tragic. My youngest son went to Christian school. One of his teachers was complaining about President Obama in 2009 and he said he and his wife could no longer afford going to the Outback restaurant but now had to go to Chile’s. Now if that was not bad enough that same teacher drove a Mercedes Benz automobile. I submit to you that man had no idea what Jesus taught at all.

But that story is somewhat representative of the overwhelming spirit that pervades the church. It is all about “me” and all about my wants and my comfort. And in that spirit worry and complaining is allowed and shared. Instead of us being the clay we have made God’s Word the clay and poured it into a cultural mold. And what comes out are some convenient guidelines which require no sacrifice and no self denial. And in an ingenious manipulation those guidelines, wrongly called God’s Word, are actually steps to achieving our own desires in a culture built upon the desires of man. It is quite remarkable. But it has nothing to do with Jesus.

Money and things have become the goal to which we work and dream. Is it possible that God condones the debt in which the congregation lives? And can it be possible, in spite of the overwhelming Scriptural evidence to the contrary, that God even condones the debt leveraged to provide a place to worship Him? It is spiritually absurd to say the least.

Matt.6: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Do we take those words literally or are they suggestions about the heart rather than practical commands about how to treat money? Verse 21 makes it completely clear. But do we save up voluminous amounts of money and yet claim our hearts are not there? We make God out to be a liar and His advice not practical. So millions upon millions of believers feel a right to hoard up literally billions of dollars to which they can later dip into for personal pleasure. The exegesis is powered by common sense and earthly realities rather than a stark and unencumbered truth which stands completely upon the words that God has spoken.

But this points to a problem within the church that is pandemic and panoramic. Even those who shout from their self righteous housetops about believing in Biblical inerrancy cannot stand the scrutiny when it comes to the teachings of Jesus about money. You see, the hedonistic and capitalistic culture has so influenced the church that not only have we compromised God’s Word, but we now claim that God’s Word actually supports the dictates and practices of this fallen culture.

This, my brothers and sisters, is no small issue. Taken at face value the teachings of Jesus indict an evangelical culture which gladly uses Jesus in their doctrinal statements but which continues to practice that which He never taught. With each passing day the fog grows thicker and the slumber grows deeper until those sinners who desire to embrace Jesus are in danger of embracing an ecclesiastical construct rather than the true and living Christ. And that is truly no small issue.