Psalms 63:1-4 ESV
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.”
Are You Being Discerning?
When we read such language as this, and in Jesus’ words, and in the words of Paul and the other apostles and the writers of the New Testament, it is so different from the words we are hearing today from many Christians and pastors, and from religious “memes” on Social Media.
I read a meme on Facebook today which said this: “I’d rather attend church with messed up people who love God, than religious people who dislike messed up people.”
My response was this: “What is this saying exactly? Define ‘messed up.’ If it means habitually and deliberately sinning against God, then those are people who don’t love God (1 John 2:3-6). Then define ‘religious people.’ The Bible is not against religious people as long as their religion is pure. The Bible is against Pharisees who say they believe in God but who live the opposite of that.
“Then define ‘dislike.’ This could be talking about people whose religion is pure who hate what God hates, which is sin, and so they are opposed to sin, or this could be talking about those whose religion is false who are deliberately mistreating people who don’t live like they do, but “mistreatment” as defined in Scripture, not by humans.
“So just saying that this meme could be taken many ways and can be used in an unbiblical way to teach what is false.” End Quote
And this is being done all the time, too. And so many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are putting “likes” on these memes and they are sharing them with others without thought to what the memes are actually saying and if they are even biblical or not. So many of these come from humanistic philosophy and are not really based in Scripture at all or they are twisting Scripture to make it say what they want it to say.
Watch Out for How Things are Worded
Anyway, so much of what is being taught as the gospel or as Christian today barely resembles words such as are expressed in this Psalm or in the words of Jesus and the NT apostles. Do the Scriptures define people who love God as those who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to Christ and to his righteousness in obedience to Him, or as those who are “messed up”?
Or are they described like they are in this Psalm, as people who earnestly seek after God, whose souls thirst for God, who are beholding God’s power and glory and his steadfast love, and in response they are praising him and blessing him, but not just in words, but in their deeds, too?
Do you know that “messed up” is the common phrase in the church which has replaced the word “sin”? It lessens the offense. It makes it sound like a casual mistake, like messing up a recipe, or driving in the wrong direction, and so they are able to casually dismiss their sins by minimizing them and by lessening their offense and by not calling sin what it is.
People will say they “messed up” when they deliberately, habitually, and premeditatedly engage in what is immoral, in sexual immorality, in adultery, in cheating, in lying, etc. This is commonplace in today’s market-driven “church.” And so they never deal with the sin or what is leading them into sin and they won’t deal with what is in their hearts because they feel they can just claim they “messed up” and somehow that makes it all better.
Therefore, if you are one who is following the Scriptures, and you are living the pure Christian life, although not in absolute sinless perfection, but you are one who is practicing righteousness and not sin, and so you are sharing the truths of the Scriptures, you may be accused of disliking “messed up people” merely because you stand on the truth and you share the truth with others so they will turn from their sins and obey the Lord.
Psalms 63:9-11 ESV
“But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.”
How Did We Get Here?
So, how did we get here? How did we go from the teachings of Jesus and the NT apostles to the junk that is being passed off as truth today? This didn’t happen by accident. It is far too coordinated an effort, and across denominational boundaries, too. This was on purpose. For this is not one or two folks giving their opinions. Many people are repeating the same lingo.
It is like a cult, and people are reciting this garbage by memory. As soon as I hear a few key phrases I know immediately what I am dealing with, because it is pretty much the same memorized and indoctrinated message being shared far and wide by people who have no connection with one another. But they are all buying into the same junk.
Years ago you could never get churches of different denominations to work together and to accept the same teaching, but then, all of a sudden, across denominational boundaries, they seemed to all be teaching the same stuff, but it wasn’t the Bible, but it was a book written by a mere man who was writing from his own mind, and not from the mind of God.
And then church after church started patterning their teachings, their services, and their programs after this one man’s books and marketing philosophies. And then the church shifted to becoming a business of man being marketed to the world just like any other business, looking to meet the “felt needs” of the people and to please the people, not God.
Since they were now trying to attract large crowds of people from the world to their gatherings, they also altered (adulterated) the gospel message to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world and to human flesh. And this is being reflected in such messages as in this meme quoted, and in people’s posts on social media and on other discussion sites.
And the goal is to destroy the church and the gospel and the message of salvation from sin so that people will follow after man instead of God, and so they will not repent (turn away from) sin and turn to following the Lord Jesus with their lives. And this is destroying lives for it leaves them still bound in sin headed for hell on the promise of heaven when they die.
We Are In a War
So, we are in a war here, and the battle is for truth and it is for the salvation of human lives. And we who believe in Jesus are to be out there in the world spreading the truth of the gospel for all to hear so that we dispel the lies of Satan and let the truth be known, because we are not saved by a mere confession of Christ as Lord, but only by God-given faith in Jesus Christ which denies self and dies with Christ daily to sin and which lives to him and to his righteousness in obedience to our Lord and in his power and strength.
So, be discerning about the things you “like” and “share.” Pray, seek the Lord, go to his word, and study it in context and see if what you are hearing or reading is biblical or if it is a twisting of truth, which is a lie. Don’t take everything at face value. Deception is not obvious. It is hidden. Just because it looks good or sounds good doesn’t mean it is good. Examine it! Test it!
Also be students of the word of the Lord so you know the truth and so you will recognize the lies of the enemy when you hear them. But this won’t happen unless you are walking in that truth and in righteousness and holiness. For if you are making sin your practice you are denying the truth and you won’t see the lies because you are accepting them yourself.
So, repent of your sins, turn away from them. Leave them behind you and follow Jesus in obedience to his word. Do what he says. Die daily to sin and to self and put on that armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s lies and with which to proclaim the truth. And live what you say you believe.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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