WHO DO WE TRUST, GOD OR MAN?

Those who believe in Jesus Christ are called to place their trust in the promises of God, not in the promises of man. Our government leaders pretend to listen to us but pursue their own goals. Only God our Creator loves us enough to be worthy of our praise.

  • Colossians 3:2 (NKJV): “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
  • Psalm 118:8 (NKJV): “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.”

POST-ELECTION FOLLIES

NOW THAT THE 2020 presidential election is over and the fractious aftermath has begun, those of us who confess our faith in Jesus Christ are called to lead our country as Christ wants us to.

Are we doing that?

From what I see, Satan has infiltrated the church and is sowing lies and discord. Take a look at the divisions within Christendom between those who support the  Trump-Pence Administration and those who support the Biden-Harris team.

Those of us who support the former President and Vice President are still being labeled “deplorable,” “racists,” “fascists,” and “haters,” even by those within the church who claim the mantel of Christ. 

Even the innocuous cry to ensure accountability in the election process sets the “religious left” off. Their calls for “unity” sound good but are really a cover for stifling dissent. Unity around one set of ideas is not unity, it’s conformity.

INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC

WE’VE SEEN THE INFLAMMATORY rhetoric of a false prophet, Beth Moore, who has shown more distain toward Christian conservatives than she has toward those openly living in sin and proclaiming their “pride” in so doing. 

Then people who claim the mantel of Christ use her false testimony against fellow Christians and promote their hostility toward us through the secular media.

Didn’t the apostle Paul show his disgust with Christians who dragged fellow Christians into pagan-run courts because they refused to settle differences in a peaceful and brotherly manner? (See 1 Corinthians 6).

How is it, then, that so many of our fellow Christians, who worship each week beside us, use the tools of anti-Christian pagans to denigrate fellow believers? 

Should we assume that those who make those charges are not true followers of Christ but merely the tares among the wheat?

DESCENT OF DARK AGES

AT THE OTHER END OF THE DIVIDE are confessing Christians who told us the world would end, or at least civilization would cease, if Trump-Pence lost the election. They said the Dark Ages would descend  upon us once again. 

They pointed to policy proscriptions the Democrats offer that include, but are not limited to: 

  • government-run health care, 
  • government-imposed redistribution of wealth,
  • increased welfare benefits, 
  • expanded abortion “rights”,
  • porous borders, 
  • same-sex marriage,
  • citizenship for illegal residents, 
  • voting rights for convicted felons, 
  • lowering the voting age to 16, 
  • ending America’s reliance on fossil-fuel energy, 
  • forcing employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing measures, 
  • placing stricter limitations on religious liberty, and
  • opposing Israel’s sovereignty.

They also noted Democrats said they might, among other measures:

  • eliminate the Senate filibuster,
  • add three or four Supreme Court justices (all leftist activists),
  • extend statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to ensure four more Democrat senators, and
  • expand “ballot harvesting” to ensure a sufficient number of Democrat ballots are provided to overturn any election at the national or state level won by Republicans.

Regardless of which administration is in power, God remains sovereign, and He will chart our course. As Christians, we are to pray for wisdom and lead by example.

DEPEND ON GOD

This is a gift, and only those who have placed their trust in Him for salvation can appreciate it. Those who are not “in Christ” cannot appreciate the gift, don’t recognize it as a gift, and, sadly, may not even want it.

How else are we to get through the days, weeks, months, and years ahead when the multitude around us are heading in the wrong direction, rejecting the voice of God, and pursuing their own ends. 

We can rest assured that God’s promises are good because He is faithful. May our hearts join together in song:

STANDING ON THE PROMISES

Standing on the promises of Christ my King

Through eternal ages let his praises ring

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing

Standing on the promises of God

Standing, standing

Standing on the promises of God my Savior

Standing, standing

I’m standing on the promises of God.

O LORD GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, our King, our Righteousness, our salvation, we rest secure in Your promises to love us, protect us, and care for us, especially when we encounter troubled times. We pray for strengthened hearts that will proclaim Your glorious name and willing hearts that will live out Your commands. May we be Your hands and feet, O LORD, going about Your will. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. AMEN

PROCLAIMING GOD’S TRUTH … WITH LOVE (Part 1 of 2)

The Bible—God’s Holy Word—reveals God’s Truth to mankind. While written by men, each word is inspired by God, according to its own claim, with more than 300 Old Testament prophesies already fulfilled. Its chief prophecy was the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. To thwart God’s plan to redeem mankind, Satan deceives and distorts God’s Word. Faithful Christians must be aware of that and must defend the Bible’s truth claims against false teaching.

2 Cor. 10:5 (NLT): “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

Titus 2:1 (NIV): You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

James 3:1 (NET): “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly.

John 17:17 (NASB2020): “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

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 FIGHTING AGAINST FALSE TEACHING

THE BODY OF CHRIST is under assault. That assault naturally comes from outside the church as Satan tries to thwart God’s plan to redeem fallen mankind.

More dangerous, however, is the daily assault from within the church. That danger is “false doctrine,” being preached from the pulpits in many churches.

That false doctrine comes under the heading of “Jesus Is Love,” which is true, but the false message being preached is that “Love” fully describes Jesus, when He described Himself as “Holy.”

The difference? “Holy” includes “Love,” but it also includes “Just.”

HOLINESS VERSUS SIN

A HOLY GOD cannot abide sin, and, yes, sin is real, and the Bible — God’s inspired and true Word — clearly spells out sin  as “actions, words, and thoughts that violate God’s commandments.”

Let’s examine some of the sins God names: drunkenness, slander, envy/jealousy, bearing false witness (lying), disrespect toward one’s parents, disobedience to governing authorities, and sexual sin.

Sexual sin, the Bible notes, covers sexual acts involving children; family members or close relatives; the neighbor, co-worker, or total strangers; and animals.

Then, there’s one more category, one that God highlights throughout the sacred text: physical relations with someone of the same sex.

Instead, God’s Word proclaims that proper sexual unions are confined to marriage partners, where one partner is male and one is female.

SAME-SEX ATTRACTION

SAME-SEX ATTRACTION has been siphoned out of the list of biblically named vices and presented, even within some churches, as an alternate “life choice,” considered to be as valid a  choice as opposite-sex monogamy.

In fact, many churches are teaching that the body of Christ must accept and validate behavior that the Bible clearly labels “deviant” and “unnatural.”

Churches that do so are peddling the false doctrine that God will condone homosexual behavior because “God is love,” and He wants His creatures to be happy and connected physically and emotionally with “the one they love.”

Some churches even teach that God’s Word is not to be taken “literally” and, thus, can be revised by the reader, according to his reason and experiences.

However, the Bible warns teachers not to deviate from “sound doctrine” nor to teach a false message, one contrary to God’s clear teaching (Titus 2:1 NIV). In his letter to the church in Galatia, the apostle Paul said those teaching a false message should be “accursed” (Galatians 1:9 NKJV).

This is God’s teaching about sexual sin, through Paul’s writing:

1 Thessalonians 4:3,8 (NLT): “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. … Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

LEADING CONGREGATIONS ASTRAY

HOW DO OTHERWISE well-meaning people go astray? How? Little by little, one step at a time … until the apostasy goes unnoticed. 

The apostasy starts in the pulpit and radiates out to encompass the congregation and, from there, spreads out to the community. 

The writer Brandon Medina, in his TheologyThink Tank article “Is the Bible the Literal Word of God?” poses the question rhetorically of whether anyone rationally believes the Bible is the “literal word of God.” He then says:

“This is a common refrain Bible-believing Christians hear, usually from the unsaved but increasingly from those even inside the church community: pastors, seminary teachers, and laypeople alike.”

Don’t miss that point: “Increasingly from those even inside the church community: pastors, seminary teachers, and laypeople alike.” 

Those “laypeople,” to be influential, are the elders, deacons, teachers, home group leaders, and other respected members of the local assembly. They may be the business leaders or other accomplished persons, at least by worldly standards. 

POSTSCRIPT

FOR THOSE WHO WANT to sound the alarm against false teaching, the Bible clearly says we must do so with love and gentleness, and for those of us who are not Jesus, that balance often is difficult (or nearly impossible) to do well. He did it perfectly; we’re called to imitate Him.

That makes it doubly important that we “pray in” so we’ll be connected to the Holy Spirit and then we can approach our brothers and sisters in an act of love.

May the Lord’s blessing rest upon those who obey His command to avoid sexual sin and may it rest upon those who, in love, speak the truth to those violating God’s order.

(Part 2 will be published after Christmas)

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PRAYER

HOLY AND MIGHTY GOD, please forgive us who claim to belong to the body of Christ for our sin. While some in our midst teach, or practice, false doctrine, others of us fail to call them to account. 

MANY, EVEN IN the church, sin by following, promoting, or teaching false doctrine, especially in the area of sexual sin; while others of us sin in our pride, arrogance, and judgmental attitude when pointing it out, as though we, ourselves, are without sin.

BECAUSE OF our sin, our message of repentance often goes unheard. This allows those who practice sexual sin, whether same-sex or opposite-sex behavior, to continue in their deviant and disobedient actions because our testimony is tainted. Lord, only You can save Your children. Only You can calm the storm and right the ship.

WE PRAY, LORD, that You will charge us who follow correct teaching to do so with humility and compassion and for those who promote and participate in a false doctrine to find a loving home within the body of Christ for them to return and to do so soon. 

LORD, WE LIFT this pray in the loving, holy, and just name of Jesus Christ. AMEN