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My daughter agreed to take me to the Church of the Incarnation, a musical feast of a Capella singing in a High Episcopal Church replete with lavish stained glass windows, clearly valued at millions of dollars, incense, huge candles and all the trappings of a church that only recently cast off the Roman label. I’ve seen a few great cathedrals of Europe, Chartres, Paris, and others. And that is what I wanted to hear again after a youth spent listening to Episcopal services. This is what the Wesley family saw in church in 18th century England.
A liturgy of the past.
But I was not prepared for what I saw in the light of 50 years of progress as the church of Jesus Christ has moved on, not just decades, but a century forward in thinking and practice.
Over half the congregation was male; also the choir, which was as good as you will ever hear, was half male. The acoustics were perfect. The soprano who sang the Magnificat must have been a professional. Only one other church in the area, the Messianic community at Sar Shaloam, can say that half their congregation is male. But the difference is that this church had many homosexuals while the Messianic men were straight.
Blessed assurance can be false.
All men (and women) have a desperate, internalized need to feel saved. It applies to all cultures and is one of the main functions of religions, false ones as well as true, rotten political systems as well as blessed ones, to provide this assurance to the citizens.
In China, for example, in brazen contrast to the West, the Communist State simply mandates that even though there is required atheism, everyone goes to heaven. I have yet to figure out how this works. If you do not believe in God, how can you believe in heaven….or hell.
The convenience in believing in a special heaven just for you.
No one explains this, but I did read where Mao Zedong, the butcher of China, remarked to an aide that they would all die and be with Karl Marx in the next life. The heaven for genocidal maniacs would rightly be called hell, and yes, I think we can believe Marx is there in some discomfort, and yes, Mao can expect to be there since he engineered the death of 30 million, a lot more than Hitler and we know where Hitler is.
Every false religion tells their adherents that it alone is the way to heaven. And after 45 years as a peregrine missionary, I can declare that all men (women, and children) do believe in God even though education and culture might try to wipe it out. Truth will overcome in the end. But when we pull the religious scales off we see that it is faith, not religion, that saves us.
Religion has no power to save
So I ask myself: How can all these homosexual men sit through this service, which was Biblical and accurate to the nth degree and leave the sanctuary assuming they will be in heaven with the Lord someday. It makes no sense. There is no room for evil or its practices in heaven; God demands holiness in His people. And no one is saved by liturgy.
The limits of the Incarnation
The answer is the limits of the Incarnation, which is God’s decision to enter human history by becoming man, as Christ with us, savior, redeemer of the whole world, our sacrifice for sin. All this is true, and it is the message of three hours on the cross so many centuries ago.
The elegant program of worship towards this God-man did not touch these men because everything was Jesus, and Him only. He alone was the focus of the service, the church, the congregation, the singing and the truth. But it is not the whole truth.
The other three hours Jesus spent on the cross was for the redemption of the created world, not just humankind but also the culture, the planet, its resources, the animal kingdom, and nations. The blood of the cross fell on the ground.
Jesus’ sacrifice becomes complete through us.
Even though Jesus’ sacrifice for sin was complete in all aspects that salvation must still be worked out to completion in history of which you and I are a part. If this were not so, God would have ended future births and taken us all to heaven in one great act immediately following His death. No, He did not want the re-creation of the world to progress without Us.
The second half of the Crucifixion is what we, his people, are and do in this world. For this we need, no, we require submitted and obedient lives. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” The crucifixion is not complete until Jesus completely conquers this world and everything in it; that is what we anticipate. We are part of that redemption as his Body here on earth, and it is not a body of evil or perversion.
The Acts of the Believers
The 1st four gospels are about the incarnation, but the balance of the New Testament concerns the acts of the apostles and the management and productivity of the believers for centuries to come. I am today just as much a creator of the universal salvation message in what I do for the Kingdom as the original apostles and worshipers in the caves of Rome.
The church defined
The church service I enjoyed on Mother’s Day was only about Jesus; the modern world is about us and our mission to a fallen world. And God gives no ministries to the openly sinful, the rebellious, or the disobedient. The church is not a building, a program or a bureaucracy; it is the people of God living progressively more holy lives and changing the world around them through those lives. Salvation to be real demands a response.
If you get a map of the world, you will be astonished to see that in 2,000 years Christianity has taken over most of the globe, at least in principal if not in actual practice. The world still lies in the evil one, for all our effort, although things are changing. But we are doing what Jesus asked us to do. When Jesus said “It is finished,” He meant, “I’ve done my part now you can do yours.”
My daughter said later that as she left the ladies room she noticed not one person in the choir was smiling.
I asked her, “if you knew in your inner man, that you were going to hell, not because God mandated it (because God sends no man to hell) but because of your own decision, would you be smiling?”
#Hitler #MaoZeDong #Marx #sexualdeviants #church defined #falsereligion
Christians confuse being saved with being Christian. Salvation is God’s business and requires only a repentant heart and a confession. (The heart believes unto righteousness and confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10) That’s an event. No law or laws apply to this simple transaction – my sins for Jesus’ sacrifice.
God has Conditions for every level
However the Christian life is not an event but a process which involves the fulfillment of various conditions, a process which starts with a group of “If” clauses describing the conditions by which we become Christians and live a Christian life through experience, practice and faithfulness.
It starts with the Word. Here is the whole quote and the process in context:
(1) IF you continue in my word, (2) then you are my disciples in deed (not in word) and (3 then) you will know the truth and (4 then) the truth will make (not set) you free.
“Setting free” is an event; you are in prison and someone comes with a key to open a door and you walk out. “Making” you free is a process which continues over a period of time because the Truth is Jesus himself – “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
Christian Living is a process
It is quite possible to halt that process at any time for many reasons. Unfortunately the opposite is often true. You are saved and then sit somewhere, occasionally a pew, and learn virtually nothing about the word, so you skirt discipleship and the truth It might be presented to you but not followed, and whatever freedom you once had wicks away like a much-used plastic air freshener.
Here are some examples from my experience. “I don’t believe that.” I remember hearing this after I got the baptism in the Holy Spirit. These gifts are thoroughly described and recommended in scripture, but then a denomination or well-known teacher says this is not for today and it is easier to let someone else do your Christian walk for you, to sit, soak, and sour in your former theology rather than to move along with the Word. At that point you become a disciple in word but not in deed. The truth, that is Jesus, having been rejected moves on. Hesitate to say what you don’t believe in – maybe God has something new for you.
I told God when I graduated with a MA in missions that I didn’t care what denominations and groups did in the mission field; I wanted to be where He was moving and working. It meant that the majority of my coworkers thought my ideas were off the wall. My superiors said flatly “We are not going into mainland China.” It took 12 years for me to get to China but it was worth the wait and, in spite of my impatience, the timing was perfect. How much more quickly accepted I was!
Writing off China (7 out of 10 earthlings live there) looks so totally foolish today doesn’t it! But that is what Man does – not sinful man, not satanic man, but self-willed and not-God-willed Man. Missions committees are helpful in their way but not the word in which we continue.
Christian life promises freedom at the end, not in the beginning. So let’s paraphrase this verse:
After you have been soaking in the Word of God and have walked out in your life many of its principles, and having proved your discipleship, then Jesus, the Truth will become a part of your personal life and will continue to make you free day-by-day. Enoch did this – so can you.
#mandarin #chinese #allemand #espagnol #cantonese #francais
French: Vous connaîtrez la vérité, et la vérité fera de vous des hommes libres.
Chinese: 你 们 必 晓 得 真 理 ， 真 理 必 叫 你 们 得 以 自 由 。
“Philippians 2:12 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Evangelicals make a big deal out of saying you can’t be saved by good works –BUT salvation from sins is only the 1st stop in a walk of a lifetime. In fact, too many people think they are through after accepting Christ. Not so. There is much work to do to change the inner personality which leans always towards sin.
The Old Testament illustration of this is the brass laver in the tabernacle. After you slaughter your spotless lamb, i.e. Jesus, you walk up to the brass wash basin (laver) filled with water, i.e. the Word Of God, you look at your self and see – whoopps – I have inner flaws.
At this point you are not supposed to be looking at the goodness or sins of other people. 1 Corinthians 11: 28 –examine yourselves. 2 Corinthians 10:12 warns –not to compare yourself with someone else. God has a picture of the real you.
The real you is visible in the water of the word, that is the Bible. Look there. Ephesians 5:26 Jesus wants to …sanctify and cleanse … with the washing of water by the word.
The main difference between the brass altar and the brass laver is the difference between “sins” and “sin.” Sin(s) are taken care of on the cross, the altar. Sin – singular- is a process of gradual change as we look into the word of God because it involves not conscious wrong acts, but a pattern of our inner personality, i.e. a propensity to sin which does not go away with salvation.
Many Christians fail to see this difference and “get saved” time after time, living lives of frustration. Without being negative and ending up n depression, ask God what is wrong with you. (The world will tell you anything and everything is wrong with you.) He knows best and can give you the cure as well.
Demons are the smallest, lowest spirit beings in the spiritual world. They are believed to have originated when 1/3 rd of the angels fell with the rebellion of Lucifer who defied the authority of God prior to the creation of the universe, the world and what we know as earth. There are billions of them, but fortunately for mankind, 2/3rds of the angels remain and they are good, God’s unseen spiritual servants.
The first goal of demons is to rule humans by fear. That is the most common method. But if humans smarten up and see that demons are not in control of everything, then demons seek to have humans believe they don’t exist at all. The 1st is the belief of primitive societies; the second belief is found in civilized societies. Either way the demons appear to be either non-existent or harmless. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Demons have only one nature. This is helpful to us. For example, a lying demon will not steal and the whining demon will not be curse. The Bible is filled with these names, scattered about the pages – lust, strife, confusion, evil work, whining, depression, rebellion, religion, false humility, contempt, shame, guilt, jealousy, rage,blame, confusion, pride, presumption, greed, stubborn, controlling, and murder, hate, plus all the disease demons, I could go on, but I’ll leave a scripture list for later on.
Their common goal is to ruin the life of man, spoil our mental and physical health, foul up our decision-making, lure us into witchcraft or the occult, control our behavior and if at all possible keep us both out of salvation for this life and heaven in the next. And this is the purpose of the entire evil spirit kingdom. (more…)
Today’s assignment is to describe my perfect reader. Back in 1989 I wrote a very short book. Then, and now I’ve had no resources to publish and market it. Clearly no author thinks only of one without the other – the purpose of writing is to be read! This book describes in simple and clear terms the relationship of demons to humans, how they get in, why they stay, and how to get rid of them. THE Bible calls this deliverance; exorcism is not the correct word.
Editors have pretty much told me no one wants to know, and therefore they wouldn’t be able to sell the book. And they may be right. I’ve given this book as 37 typewritten pages to serious Christians who had some serious issues and they ignored it. One woman this week is headed to surgery who still has forgiveness issues. Another man, who left the homosexual life, still has the rascals hanging on, hiding until a weak moment under stress can lure him back.
Cain was warned – sin crouches at the door.
Nevertheless, truth will out. I don’t know when. It takes a great faith to believe God for the spiritual world; the natural world is convenient, and psychology has perfected alibis so thoroughly that virtually every demon can can wished away by the weak believer. Pastors see real spiritual truth a threat to the bottom line, and they are probably right about that too.
But – if you The Editor are out there – it is a small book and it paves the way for a life of holiness. People may not think holiness means a lot, but the time will come when Christians will wish they had more of it.