Saturday, July 29, 2017, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Letters.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the ESV) related to Revelation 2-3, in subject matter.
Readily Enough (2 Corinthians 11:1-4)
I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
I empathize with Paul’s sentiments here. I feel that same divine jealousy for God’s people, i.e. for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, i.e. his church, his body. I have witnessed how masqueraders of righteousness have crept into the church, largely unnoticed, and how these false shepherds of the people have led them astray from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ. And, I have read how this has been happening all across America and in other parts of the world.
Many of these false shepherds of the people are teaching a Jesus and a gospel other than what Jesus and his NT apostles taught. Yet, it is done in such a way so that it looks right and feels right to many naïve people. For, they use the Word of God, but they twist it to their advantage. They pick and choose the scriptures which fit with their theology, though, while they ignore the bulk of teaching in the NT with regard to our salvation and eternal security. So, what they teach is a half-truth gospel, which then makes it a lie because they purposefully leave out the parts of the gospel which are an affront to the flesh (sin) nature, because they want to appease the flesh.
The danger here is that even many seasoned Christians are buying into this half-truth gospel and this false (half-truth) image of Jesus Christ, too. For, he is presented as a do-gooder who just went around loving on everyone and making everyone feel good about themselves, even in their sins. If that was true, though, why did they kill him? They killed him because they hated him, because he told them that what they were doing was sinful. Jesus spoke the truth, he confronted sin in sinful humans, he called for repentance and obedience, and he warned of judgment and against hypocritical liars. He didn’t immerse himself in the culture or blend in to be accepted. He stood out like a sore thumb. And, they resented him for it.
Lip Service (Matt. 15:8-9)
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
There are many people who call themselves Christians or followers of Christ who give lip service only. They know how to talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Many of them have been a part of church gatherings for years, or for all their lives, but they have never committed their lives to Jesus Christ. They are still living to please their sinful flesh, while they put on a mask (a false persona) of righteousness, and while they claim heaven as their eternal destiny. They have heard the Word of God preached, and some of them have even studied the scriptures themselves, but it is more of an intellectual exercise for them rather than having it impact and change their lives. They want to hold on to their sin, but they want others to think they are good Christians, so they fake their relationships with Christ to look good on the outside, while inside they are full of wickedness.
Perverted Grace (Jude 1:3-4)
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
More of us need to be contending for the faith because there are hundreds of people out there, maybe thousands, who are perverting the grace of God and are turning it into a license for lasciviousness. They teach that all we have to do is acknowledge the existence of Jesus, or that he died on a cross to take our punishment for sin, and that all we have to do to secure our eternal life is to accept God’s forgiveness of our sins. And, then they tell us that heaven is guaranteed us, and that there is not anything we can do to lose our salvation. So, according to them, we can basically live however we want, since Jesus already took our punishment. Oh, how wrong!
Jesus didn’t die on that cross to take our punishment for sin so we can now live in sin without guilt and without remorse. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He gave his life up for us that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who died for us. His grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace instructs (commands) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. If we continue in sin, in practice, in lifestyle, we will die in our sins, not live in heaven with Christ eternally. This is what the Bible teaches!
[See: Luke 9:23-25; John 6:35-66; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Gal. 2:20; Gal. 5:19-21: Eph. 2:8-10; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; Col. 1:13-14; Col. 1:21-23; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9.]
Most Holy Faith (Jude 1:17-23)
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
Many of these false shepherds of the people are all receiving the same (or similar) training on how to grow their “churches,” i.e. their businesses, and in how to market the church to the world. One of the main subjects they are being taught to impress upon their people is unity (solidarity), but it is not unity with Christ or with his gospel, but with the goals, objectives and mission statements of the “churches,” i.e. their businesses. And, they push this idea that anyone not unifying with these businesses called “churches” are dividers of the people and that they are to be avoided or kicked out.
They tell them something like this: “If you can’t unify with us, then you should go someplace else, and we will even help you find another place where you will be a better fit.” Some of them are even being taught who to avoid and who they don’t want in their churches, and who to use to get up and running, and then who to discard once they are on their way to success. So, in reality, these who are telling others that they are dividers and that they need to leave the church are the ones who are not unifying with Christ and with his word, and they are the ones causing division in the church by leading their people toward worldliness and away from holiness.
So, we need to be discerning of their errors so that we do not get caught up in them ourselves. We need to stand strong on the Word of Truth, even if it gets us kicked (or invited) out of local fellowships. And, we need to keep growing and maturing in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and walking in the Spirit in righteousness and holiness, even if sometimes we may feel as though we are standing alone. As well, we need to be those who are proclaiming the truth of the gospel so that we can snatch people out of the fire so that they will be saved from their sins and have the hope of eternal life with God. Yet, we must guard our own hearts and minds against all that is corrupt and worldly and fleshly so that we don’t go astray ourselves.
The Letters / An Original Work / December 17, 2013
Based off Revelation 2-3
To the angels of all the churches write:
These are the words of your Lord and your God.
I know all your deeds, and your witness, too,
And who holds to My words and tells what’s true.
I know all your hard work and your perseverance,
Yet I hold against you: you’ve forsaken Me.
Listen to what I say to you.
You have people there who deny My name,
And who put the cross of Christ up to shame.
They entice the people to Me, profane,
And their worship of Me is all in vain.
They are so adult’rous as they chase their idols,
And you put up with them easily enough.
Listen to what I say to you.
You give off an image of godliness,
But what you present is so fraudulent,
Or else you lack passion for Jesus Christ,
So you look to others to tell what’s right.
I say turn from your sin, or you will face judgment.
He who overcomes will have eternal life.
Listen to what I say to you.
I know your afflictions and poverty;
How you suffer for your Lord patiently.
Do not fear the devil and company.
You be faithful to your Lord endlessly.
I know all your weakness and your dedication.
You have kept My Word and not denied your Lord.
I will write on you My new name.