Help, I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up

Good Without God! Really?!? (Part V)

Man has, from the very beginning, exercised his will in opposition to God, by seeking to operate outside of God’s Will. In a similar vein, mankind has used the intelligence God gifted them to devise ideas of why they believe God does not even exist and all of creation just happened. Reality? NO! Lunacy? YES!

Man upside down in dirt hole with legs in the air

However, my purpose here is to speak to the end result of that questioning of God – the religion of humanism and how it has crept into the Christian Church, the universal, worldwide body of believers in Jesus Christ. Within the universal Church there are numerous subsets and denominations. Just as the human body is a unified creation, made up of many different but essential elements, so the Body of Christ (the pure and true Church) holds to a set of foundational beliefs that cannot be set aside and still remain part of the Body.

“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”        [2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12]

Apostasy, as I will discuss it herein, defines the process of falling away from the Christian faith.  It is a revolt against the truth of God’s word by any believer, group or church organization that has “fallen away” from the truths of Christianity as divinely revealed in the Bible.

It is as simple as that! Humanism has been a primary cause of apostasy. The false teachings of humanism began to seep into Christian thought and writings as early as Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274), and followed by the likes of René Descartes, Jeremy Bentham, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and John Dewey, among many others.

In my early years as an adult in the church I experienced numerous examples of people talking out of both sides of their mouth regarding what they believe and how they put it into practice. One of the primary problems that eroded the foundations of church bodies was failure of individuals to study and know the Word of God. Whether it was simply spiritual laziness, or the distractions of busy lives, or materialism or the explosion of audio and visual mediums of communications, followers of Jesus began to drift away from focus on God’s Word. Many remained faithful to church attendance (it’s a social thing), but created a segregated life of home, work and church. They found it easier to let a pastor or teacher ‘spoon-feed’ them with spiritual truth during a short service on a Sunday, than to acknowledge their personal responsibility to spend time daily exploring God’s Word for the truths He had for them. For example, the difference in a person feeling good because they know there are diamonds in a particular rock formation, versus the one having the tenacity to carefully dig into the rock and extract the diamonds.

Our God is a triune being who, from eternity past and forever, exists in fellowship. He welcomes fellowship with His children. As we grow in our love for Jesus through the Bible and the teaching of the Holy Spirit we find favor with God the Father.

Many pastors, who came up in this environment of apostasy, found that teaching bits and pieces of the Bible, eliminating those areas that were caustic to the culture, would facilitate growth in attendance and membership of their local church.

woman-rejectionThe people who have developed such a lifestyle will eventually pattern a god that fits comfortably into their lives. However, as can be seen in all congregations, they know how to “play church,” how to act and speak the part. It is possible to know someone for years and never grasp the disposition of their spiritual walk. Indeed, many aspire to and gain positions of leadership for the gratification of their ego and/or their desire to rule others.

When confronted with issues that endanger their belief system, they spout out, “Well, I believe God loves all people and would never do ‘such and such.” Or, “I think God would never support that kind of belief or action.” Or, worse yet, “Though there is nothing to support it in the Bible, I am sure Jesus would agree with this.” (See the Post on Pres. Carter) The operative word here is “I”. So to speak, people rip out the parts of the Bible that interfere with their personal beliefs or lifestyle, while building a belief system out of what little remains. You can approach the Bible with a sin-hardened lifestyle, pick out certain passages and try to prove a point. The Bible is either all true, inspired by God, or not.

The late Adrian Rogers (Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN) described the ministry of the three persons of God in this way:

  • The ministry of God the Father is to rule the universe!
  • The ministry of Jesus the Son, in conjunction with His Father, is to save mankind!
  • The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to open blind eyes, to bring light, to bring understanding!

The person who has believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and that He died, was buried and rose from the dead, physically, and is alive today, has been redeemed and is a part of the Family of God.

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” [Ephesians 1:13-14]

It is this Holy Spirit, permanently resident in the believer, who teaches us the Word and provides guidance in the daily pursuit of life. Since this is built on faith in God, the humanist cries foul, and is bent to accept nothing he can’t see or prove by science.

Paul explains why it is different for the non-believer.

“But the natural, non-spiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them (of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them) because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.” [1 Corinthians 2:14 Amplified Bible)

There is but a remnant in the USA of those who trust God, read, study and follow His Word, and lead a life worthy of the calling placed on them by their Master, Jesus. Large numbers professing Christianity cannot, will not, submit their entire lives to Him. The book of the Revelation, the final book in the Bible, speaks to how that turns out!

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Former Pres. Carter Admits His Wish to Re-Write New Testament

Has God appointed Jimmy Carter to revise and update the New Testament?!? After 2000 years, is it possible the devolved and corrupted wisdom of the humanist mind will finally get their way?

Probably NOT!

But the simple fact that Mr. Carter would reluctantly make such an admission of the truth of what is recorded in the Bible, and then turn around and readily admit his belief God got it wrong, is a perfect example of modern humanist belief that the Bible is not the Word of God.

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From MEDIAite.com; by Alex Griswold; 7/7/2015

Former president Jimmy Carter has admitted that there is not a single verse in the gospels where Jesus approves of same-sex sexuality or same-sex marriage.

“Former president Jimmy Carter said on Tuesday that he believes Jesus would approve of gay marriage, though he said that he doesn’t have ‘any verse in scripture’ to corroborate this notion.

“‘I believe he would. I believe Jesus would. I don’t have any verse in scripture…’ Carter responded when asked by HuffPo Live host Mark Lamont Hill whether Christ would embrace same-sex nuptials. ‘I believe that Jesus would approve of gay marriage, but I’m not – that’s just my own personal belief.’”

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Well – he hedges a little, as a good humanist will do, to hide the fact of his disbelief in the Bible’s Truth.

Once again the former President, starved for publicity, verifies God’s Word:

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” [Proverbs 12:15]

Where Would We Be?

Post WWII generations have developed a strange double-mindedness. In the first place, the past is viewed as easier times, less stress, simpler lifestyles and peace in our land. A time we wish we could recreate. Radio, television and movie producers drill deep to find stories that link back to that period of time, while biasing them by what we think should, or could, have happened rather than the reality of what actually happened.

We forget the racial confrontations of the 50’s and 60’s, the era of horrific assassinations, and airline high-jacking’s that seemed to scream at us from the daily newspapers and nightly news programs.

Then, on the other hand, we are consumed with the products of technology that inundate our world of today. Each new advancement tries to draw us into its web. We must have the latest ‘this or that.’ Baby boomers have one view of all this; millennials have quite another. Boomers watched these developments come to pass. Millennials grew up with it as a way of life.

“My heart was restless until it found its rest in Thee” – Augustine of Hippo

So, what’s my point?

Before He returned to His rightful place with His Father God, Jesus laid out a simple plan. Go, make disciples, and baptize them. What tools, education, provision, etc, did He base this directive?

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” [Mat 28:18 NIV]

ALL Authority! Over the earth! Over the entire universe! Every thing. Every person. Nothing more is needed.

After the “baptize them” is done, what happens? Why would such an important task as spreading God’s Good News to the whole world be handed off to mere mortals? The world these followers of The Way were reborn into was not pretty – and certainly not friendly to them.

With that same authority given Jesus, the Christian is imbued with power, by the Holy Spirit of Christ living within. Since the first century, through their living example of Jesus and their actions inspired by the Love of Jesus, followers of The Way have changed societies around the world.

No man made religion has had the profound effect that Christianity has had. Think about it. Jesus reestablished the position of the woman as He had originally created them – equal to man in every aspect of worth, yet different in purpose. Children, who were considered mere chattels, property, by the “highly intelligent” Greeks and Romans, as well as the previous civilizations (excepting the Jews), since the Great Flood, elevated to full personhood (from conception). First generation Christians began rescuing infants left to die of exposure by birth parents who decided they were not convenient, as well as the many sold into sex slavery in the pagan temples.

Slavery, a common and accepted fact of life, is an affront to God for the reasons stated above. Every human is equal in God’s eyes, and created higher than the animal kingdom. Christians, based on the Word of God found in the Jewish Scriptures and the words of Jesus began setting the slaves free by various mean (against the laws of the lands when necessary).

Because of their true hope in the resurrection, Christians served the sick during outbreaks of plagues

The bases of a free and democratic society did not even exist until Christianity and Christian writings permeated cultures.

Following the Protestant Reformation, and with the formation of city/state citadels grounded in Christian principals, knowledge exploded: science, industry, law, governance, the arts. All these areas advanced by extraordinary measure.

But what was the vision upon which the early English settlers and our country’s founders were challenged to begin this nation?

The basis of our culture, or any civilization, is built on some founding concepts that, over time are assumed to be fixed, unmovable, and unshakeable – set in stone. To be blunt, ours was founded on a rock solid Christian worldview.

And, as an experiment, it worked. The greatest nation in the history of civilization was created. With all the bumps and warts you would expect from fallen, sinful man, still God blessed the USA in extraordinary ways. I believe their belief in an Omnipotent, Omniscient God, His Living Word drawn from Scripture, coupled with their purpose to honor Him in the founding of this nation brought about the system of governing and of justice that set our trajectory for God’s blessings. The sacred position of the nuclear family – a father, a mother and their children – gave stability to the society.

Today the Biblical foundation through which we draw God’s wisdom, is being completely dismantled, stone by stone. And, the wheels are coming off. From the local city council chambers straight up to the White House, elected officials are either directly disparaging the Word of God, or, the Christians are caving to the peer pressure, fearful of the consequences of standing firm on their purported beliefs.

We look at the past 240 years and what our founders and those who followed accomplished, and we are told it is not good enough. We are told we must pattern our country after those Western European and Scandinavian nations which have totally rejected the Christian faith, adopted sexual licentiousness and are spiraling into debt and anarchy. These officials call themselves Progressives, giving the impression they lead us to progress into a ‘brave new world’ order. By rejecting the very foundation that gave us this great nation we seal our doom.

As I am writing this the Irish are celebrating the fact they are the first nation to legalize sodomite marriage. Somehow, were we able to peek into the Throne Room of Almighty God, I don’t believe we would see celebration.

Only a fool (in the Biblical sense) would swallow such swill!

“The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.” They are corrupt; they do vile deeds. There is no one who does good.” [Psalm 14:1 HCSB]

God is already bringing judgment on our world. We see it daily in the news-weather devastation, nations on the verge of war, Russia rearming and grabbing land under a dictator, ISIS, Christian martyrs, gridlock in our legislature, activist judges dismantling our republic, greed unbridled, bribery and corruption at the highest levels, redefining marriage (an institution created by God). How can it be ignored!

Yet the delusion of those who reject the absolute truth of God’s Word runs rampant.

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, so that all will be condemned — those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.” [2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 HCSB]

Let’s get back to the “All Authority” point again. As I continue to say – God is patient, not blind. As a Christian, I have a responsibility to live as a slave of my Master, regardless the status or situation of the nation of which I am a citizen. Jesus walked the dusty roads of Judea in complete submission to the will of God, in a nation occupied by a pagan Roman army and government.

“My soul follows hard after You: Your right hand upholds me.” [Psalm 63:8]

Where would we be – in the USA – in the world – devoid of the influence of Jesus, His Word and His followers?

Do we think it is where we want to be? That’s just delusional!

How to BRACE for Difficult Times

For the follower of The Way, the Bible and the counsel of the Holy Spirit offer the most profound insight into God’s Will for us.

Here is a simple ‘acronym’ to remind the disciple of Jesus how to stand firm in difficult times. Take a moment to review the Scripture associated with each point; and then trust Jesus with every moment of your life.

2 Timothy 3:1-5,10-17

Be aware of the evil in the world (vv. 15)

Remember the example of others (vv. 10-11)

Accept persecution gladly (vv. 12-13)

Continue in the truth you have learned (vv. 14-15)

Equip yourself through Bible study (vv. 16-17)

Got Faith?

What is faith – really?

What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean to be faithful? These are questions that each of us will deal with if we have any desire to know God, or a desire to pursue our definition of God.

The definition of personal faith in the Bible is (roughly) the substance of our hope (our assurance) in Jesus, in His bodily resurrection, and His presence and power in the unseen realm; faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.

But then, Jesus asked this question of His disciples, regarding His return (commonly referred to as His Second Coming), “. . . when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). The faith Jesus refers to is the whole body of revealed truth. In other words, will He find a people who embrace the whole of God’s revealed truth and walk by it, rejecting the worship of worldly passions? The converse is this – Will He find a people who know the truth but choose not to live it – who choose to reject those truths that interfere with the life they want to live? This condition within the Body of Christ is known as apostasy.

Scripture is clear that God is the source of all foundational truths, wisdom and knowledge. “. . . faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

To exclude Jesus, or even to try to marginalize Him, is to risk severe error – missing the mark entirely. Similar to the precision guidance necessary for a NASA launch to the Moon; if the scientists are off the mark by a fraction of a degree the trajectory could be off by thousands of miles in space. The Apostle Paul wrote, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” (Colossians 2:2-4)

If our belief system is not based on the foundational truths from God (like a ship’s anchor), we will find ourselves drifting far away from reality. You see, truth is NOT relative!