17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2Pet 3:)
We also know without doubt that we do not worship anyone but God. So we feel quite confident that we're well entrenched in this, if none other, commandment of God.
But are we?
We're told that we're to consider ourselves "beheaded" (crucified) for Christ's sake). We're told in the Epistles that our thoughts are not to be our own but those of God (1Cor 2:16). We assume because we've been baptized that this has occurred, even though we keep our feet firmly on old terra firma and our eyes and ears tightly tuned to the tube, to modern music, and to everything else this world has to offer.
How beheaded are you?
We read of the Greek, the Roman, and the other pantheons of gods. How foolish, we say to ourselves, of those people to even consider that these images, these imaginary creatures could actually be a god.
The Bible tells us in Revelation:
20And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: (Rev 9:)
We know this is talking of a time in the future, not the past. And we can pretty well assume, since the Tribulation is going to be poured out on the entire world, that it's the entire world that's involved in this idol worship. How can this be? Consider that most of the world is Monotheistic, meaning they essentially believe in the God of Abraham, just as we the Christians do. How would any of the three major religions of the world turn to worshiping idols? They all worship God in many different ways, and under different names, but they all recognize the God of Abraham, and they even call Him by that name. Even the Muslims refer to God as the God of Abraham, seeing that Abraham is the father of their nation as well.
What is worship? My dictionary defines worship as: "Reverence or respect paid to God or a god, Acts or ceremonies displaying this. To kiss (like a dog licking his master's hand), prostrate oneself in homage, do reverence to."
What is a god? Besides the obvious, my dictionary adds: "A person or thing that is greatly admired or adored; 'money is his god'." The word used for God in the New Testament, even for false gods, refers to the "Supreme Being."
26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:)
13No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Luke 16:)
Mammon, according to my Greek dictionary means: "Confidence, i.e. wealth personified; avarice (greed for gain) deified." I take this to mean a person can check their calendar, look around their house, in their garage, notice how they spend their day, what they think about, how they spend their money, and what they would most be concerned with if there was a fire or other disaster to hit their lives, to find out what their "god" might be. Have you tried it? What did you come up with? How do you fare when it comes to those talked about in Revelation who serve other gods and who worship idols of gold, of metal, and etc?
Idols will be worshipped. I take this to mean idols are now, and have been worshipped from the beginning. What is an idol?
The dictionary tells us that an idol is: "An image of a god used as an object of worship." I find in my Greek lexicon that an idol, as used in Revelation, is: "An image."
And we find that an image is: "A representation of a person or thing; A general impression of a person as percieved by the public." Again I read in the Greek that an image is: "A likeness, representation."
From this I gather that what these people in the future are worshiping something they think of as a god, or that represnts God, but in fact is not God. Does this line up with your reasoning at all?
Here are some interesting things I found when looking up "image" that might help us understand what the Bible is telling us:
15And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 17At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jer 3:)
There's coming a day when the pastors will feed the sheep knowledge instead of the imaginations of the heart that is so prevelant now. You may think your pastor is giving you the straight Word, but you know there's a lot of churches and pastors who are not. Imaginations run wild.
There are a few words in the Greek used to express Imaginations, they essentially say it's: "Dispute, debate, reasoning, conciet." These certainly fit what's going on in the churches as they argue about what others consider fact while they consider it imaginings.
My dictionary says that "Imaginary" means: "Existing only in the mind, not real." I think that pretty well defines what we're looking at here. I've menetioned the mythical gods of other religions and how we now know, or at least understand them to be just a figment of the imagination. Is it possible that our understanding of God is imaginary as well? Can it be that the God we worship is not the God of Heaven, our creator? Of course you say such a thing just can't be. And who would blame you? But you would be quick to say other religions and denomiations are worshiping a false god even it they're also Monothiestic and aiming their prayers at the very same God you aim yours at. They worship your God. Is it possible that your God is also not the True God but rather a representation of the True God?
Keep in mind that the Jews were very devout in their worship of God, the very same God we know and worship. Yet they worshipped amiss. They did not worship the true living God. Do you agree with this? I suspect you're confused. You know there's an element of truth in this statement because Jesus stood in their midst and they wouldn't recognize the God Jesus was trying to tell them about. If these people, the Jewish leaders and priests, weren;t worshiping the true God, then just who were they worshipping?
Let's look a little closer at the art of imagination before we explore the God of the Jews:
13And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; 14But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: 15Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. (Jer 9:)
It sounds to me as if God is a bit miffed at people who don't fear Him and who don't obey Him. And why obey someone we don't fear? I remember as a child I feared my mother because if I didn't do what she said to do I'd get punished. I did what I was told to do. Then one day I found I was bigger than my mother and her threats didn't mean as much. She was unable to punish me, therefore I didn't do what she told me to do. Then one day I discovered that, although my mother wasn't as big as I was, my father was! My disobedience somehow returned when fear was once again implanted in me.
10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Prov 9: see Psalm 111:10)
If we want wisdom, we must begin with fear. Fear of not passing a grade causes a slothful student to study. Take away the fear of losing a paycheck and what kind of worker do you have? If you're uncertain of the answer to that question, just look at those on a government payroll.
6Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:)
18And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and THEM THAT FEAR THY NAME, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (Rev 11:)
Did you notice that the words "Wrath" and Judgement" were both used in the same verse? Does that mean we will face a wrathful Judge? I thought we would be facing a loving God that has been appeased by the death of His only begotten Son.
Also, did you notice who will be receiving rewards? My Bible says it's those who fear God. But maybe I'm wrong. I'm using the KJ version, maybe yours reads differently. Ask your pastor and maybe he knows if you should be fearing God or not. Of course the sermons I've heard, and the writings I've seen, have explained away the passages of Scriptures that speak of fearing the Lord. And they tell me the Lord is angry at the unsaved who haven't been baptized, not with those who have made wild promises to serve Him faithfully until death, which they have forgotten they made.
6And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Rev 14:)
Here again we have fear being spoken of in the same breath as the word "Judgement."
Jesus said, as we saw earlier, that we should "fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
That again sounds to me like Judgement.
21Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Eph 5:)
1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2Cor 7:)
11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom 3:)
50And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. (Luke 1:)
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. (Rom 1:)
Did you notice what Paul said about those who know God but don't glorify Him as God? What does that mean I wonder? What does it mean to "glorify" God? Strong's says it means to "Honor, magnify." And my dictionary says to honor means: "Great respect, high public regard." This seems to fall very short of what I would regard as giving glory to God. Maybe a man, but not God. I think anyone would say of themselves that they honor God even if they don't think a thing of Him. Let me check a little closer in the Bible and see if I can't come up with something more concrete:
27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. (John 12:)
3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:)
9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. (John 17:)
Now, if we only knew what Jesus did to Glorify the Father, then we'd know what we're expected to do. Do you have any ideas?
In Romans 1 we read: "21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God." Of course we're told, and we believe, this is referring to the great unsaved of this world, not to the Christian. But let me ask you this, who would know more about God (or is supposed to know about God) then the Christian who hears the Word on Sunday, and reads the Bible every day? If we're given more, isn't more expected of us? (Luke 12:48).
I know, you discount the passages above because they mention such things as birds and creeping things. You don't worship birds and creeping things, so this can't be talking about you. But what about people who worship other people who are not God? Remember, the Roman pantheon was made up of, not creeping things, but two footed creatures that were supposed to be gods. We read here: "but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man." Changed the living God into corruptible man. Now, who would do such a thing? Of course you would say the Catholics because of their veneration of Mary, the saints and the Pope. Or you might say the Mormons because of their attention to Joseph Smith. But what about you and me and our worship of Jesus? Is it possible that our worship of Jesus is worshiping idols? "Impossible" you say, "Jesus is God just like the Holy Spirit is God. Worshiping Jesus is the same as worshiping God."
But what if Jesus isn't God? What about if we call Jesus God when He isn't God, then do we fall into the category of worshiping idols, that is, a false image of a person or thing?
Don't turn me off, at least not yet. I'm not saying Jesus isn't God. I'm just pointing out a "what if."
If there is anything at all wrong with our picture of God, then we are worshiping a false God because who we worship is not who we believe Him to be.
Pappa comes in the door. He has a scowl on his face and I know I'm in big trouble. If I take a piece of crayon and paint a smile on my father's face, do you think that's going to change what is on my father's mind? I don't either. The punishment I am about to get will be just that much more severe don't you think?
We have to accept the reality of what is before us. We can't expect to change reality in our mind and have true reality altered just because we didn't accept it. There are groups of people who believe this way, but you and I know it doesn't work that way with God..... don't we?
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (2Cor 10:)
Adam and Eve's sin was that of disobedience. That was man's first sin, and I suppose it will be the last sin man commits. We're taught that there is nothing to disobey as a Christian because everything is "Under the blood." Yet over and over we see that Jesus says those who wish to follow Him must obey. And He reiterates the commandments at least twice almost in their entirety.
What if the commandments are still in force? What if your pastor is wrong? What if God expects us to do what we promised to do? What if God can see through the blood? What if God wants us to confess our sins constantly, repent with every sin and work toward perfection? What if we didn't receive the Holy Spirit as an automatic thing at baptism? What of the many other concepts that have been explained away behind the pulpit? If just one of those concepts that have been nullified by your church hasn't been nullified by God, then you (and I) are worshiping a false God, and we'll have to face the consequences for not worshiping and obeying the One who created us and who will judge us.
Let me paint you a scenario: you are given a ticket for running a red light. The ticket says you must read up on your driving manual and memorize the rules of the road before you come before the judge. Your friend tells you that he knows the judge very well, and that all you have to do to win him over is flash him a big smile, buddy-up to him and mention his, your friend's name. He tells you you needn't bother about the rule book because it's been done away with anyway and nobody needs to follow it any longer. You heed your friend's advise. The day of your standing before the judge comes and you have no fear because you've done all your friend suggested, and you know for certain you have an "in" with the judge. Your name is called, and you become uncomfortably aware that your friend's description of the judge is far from reality. It's too late to reconsider your preparation for this moment, and you see there's no chance for an appeal or an extension. You observe that all those who have gone before the judge have been given the optimum sentence provided for the crime they've committed. What do you suppose will be your thoughts at this time?
44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. (John 5:)
27He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. 29We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. (John 9:)
The Pharisees were not in touch with God, the One they supposedly worshiped and followed. They were in tune with Moses. Yet Moses was dead, how did they obey Moses who was no longer with them? They followed the Law:
4Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless (Phil 3:)
Paul has shown us how to be a perfect Christian. But before he became a Christian and was filled with the Holy Spirit of God, he lived the perfect life of a Pharisee. And what was a perfect Pharisee, the one closest to God and supposedly listening to and following God? He was a very righteous, law-abiding murderer. Yet amongst his peers, and in the eyes of the High Priest, he was a wonderful up-and-coming star amongst the creme de la creme of religious society.
When we're glorified by our peers and our leaders, it just may very well be that we're not doing so well in the eyes of our Lord.
42Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. (John 8:)
Do you hear God's Words? You do? What is He saying? I'll bet He's telling you to listen closely to your pastor and believe every word he's telling you. I'll bet He's telling you you're doing well and to keep going as you are, don't strain yourself trying to perfect yourself. Maybe He's even telling you to trade in the old TV for a big screen so you can enjoy your soap operas more fully. Am I close? Then I can assure you, you and I are not hearing the same God, because my God keeps kicking me in the rear and telling me I'm not doing as well as I should. My pastor says I'm doing fine, but not my Lord.
10And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: (Acts 6:)
[For an interesting parallel to this incident, see 1Kings 21:13 and the parable of the vineyard Luke 20:9-19.]
31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Mat 12:)
16And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (John 2:)
There were three things sacred to the Jews. Although they called their veneration of these three thing, worshiping God, they were in fact worshiping false gods. These three things were: Moses, the Temple, and the Law. Don't touch any of these three things. Of course we see how the Jews followed Jesus around trying to catch Him breaking one of their man-made laws called "traditions."
We have this today, but instead of calling our sacrosanct laws what they in fact are, we call them "Articles of Faith." If someone breaks these articles, that have nothing whatever to do with what Jesus told us we must do in order to be His disciple, we condemn that person to burn in hell forever, and think we're going to spend eternity in Heaven because of our "righteousness."
The Temple was the object that in the eyes of the Jews kept them special in God's eyes amongst the nations. They were very proud of their Temple. They would kill anyone who would dare profane the Temple as we see in Acts where they closed the Temple because they thought Paul brought Gentiles into it. Yet these self-righteous leaders, the keepers of the sanctity of Judaism, themselves turned the Temple into a "place of merchandise" because it served their purpose.
Consider the churches today; compare them to just 50 years ago. The music that's played in the churches, the clothing that's worn, the disrespect shown for the Sanctuary; can you see the downgrade direction? I wrote about a church that is looking into placing ash trays (in the lobby?) and around the grounds so the congregation will stop throwing their cigarette butts on the ground. It's in the news how the long-time Traditional churches are now letting those preach from the pulpit that just a few years ago they would not have allowed to become members of their church without changing their ways.
The body of Christ is not recognized or respected in the churches as it should be, nor even as it once was. Fear is no longer taught in the churches. In some cases an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is liable to be more Christian-like than a church assembly.
The Bible tells us:
Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4I ALSO WILL CHOOSE THEIR DELUSIONS, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:)
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thes 2:)
We're taught that since the cross, God has changed His mind. Don't be deceived, He has not. Paul and the other Apostles were merely repeating what God said in the Old testament, they weren't bringing anything new that God hadn't foretold in times past.
If we want to believe a lie, and to turn our ways from the truth of God's ways, God will oblige and choose the delusions we will believe and follow. And we will be fully assured we are in the know and doing God's will. Will we ever learn the truth? Of course, but by then it will have been too late to change one's mind.
If we haven't kept our eye on the local churches, and the visible body of Christ, then what's the chances we've also lost sight of who and what God is? And if we've lost sight of God, and if we've turned Him into something other than what He is, what does that say for our worship of God?`
44Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. 46I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (John 12:)
14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:)
Jesus came to this world to be a light that we might understand what the Father expects of us. It's in His words, in His attitudes, and in His works that we see the Father. Jesus then said we are to be a light to the world, as He was. That is the commission He has left us, His disciples with. It's through our words and our works, which we will be judged by, that is to be the light He left us with. Works, what does your church say about works?
8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? (John 14:)
10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:)
Jesus was not a separate entity. He was a part of the Father. Through the Holy Spirit, every word He spoke, every thing He did, was the Father doing it through Him. Jesus was the physical manifestation of the Father. His entire being and purpose was to fulfill the will of the Father, and not to seek His own pleasures.
11But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:)
12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:)
15If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:)
18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:)
What Jesus described of Himself, He also described of us, His followers, the ones who love Him and keep His commandments. As Jesus was not a separate entity, we are not to be separate entities seeking our own desires and comfort. We, as was Jesus, are to be dedicated to serving God and His will for this world. If we are not doing this, then we are not a part of God's purpose, therefore not a part of the Body of Christ.
We might think we are exempt from the commandments to think and to do what Jesus did because we can't perform the miracles He did. However, we see in the Apostles that what Jesus said of us is possible because we have the examples of this very thing in the Apostles. We might say Jesus did what He did because "He was God." But again the examples of the Apostles shows this not to be so, unless we want to place them as "God" as well. I don't think many of us would stretch our doctrine that far.
Jesus said the Father was in Him. We see this in the story of His birth. Through the Holy Spirit Jesus was conceived. We think this causes us to be different from Jesus because we weren't born of "immaculate conception." However, we in actuality have been born in exactly the same way as was Jesus if we have within us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God placed in an earthen vessel, little different than was the conception of Jesus. The Catholics believe Mary must have been without sin herself to have been chosen, but we know this is impossible because no human is without sin. Mary was "chosen" just as were the 12 disciples, and the prophets of old, and as was John the Baptist. They weren't chosen because of the splendid life they led. God just chose them, and He doesn't need a reason for the choices He makes.
We have been chosen to be given this same opportunity, not because of our good works, or our fine nature, but because God wills it to be so. I am ever thankful that God doesn't just choose those who are "worthy" or I would never even be allowed in the same room with those chosen to be candidates.
When we were born again we took on the nature of Jesus. Although the Bible makes this concept clear, and it only stands to reason, because of our corrupted doctrines, we consider this truth to be a horrible and blasphemous statement. We nullify the words of Jesus, and His purpose for us, because we have caused Him, the Head of the body, to be set on a shelf and worshiped as an idol.
3And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Mat 13:)
Please pay close attention to what is said in this parable. In my mind Jesus gave us all the clues we need to understand Him, the Holy Spirit, and the purposes of God in this single parable. But what I want you to notice at this time is what Jesus says about Himself, the Word, and the seed.
In the parable itself we see who the Seed is, and we can see who the seeds are that have successfully been received into good earth. They are the ones who produce fruit. If fruit isn't being produced, then it's a good chance the seed has not found prepared soil and has died, or is in the process of dying.
Here I would like to express a bit of opinion. We look on ourselves and on others to judge if they are (or if we ourselves are) producing fruit. This can't be done. We can't judge ourselves, nor can we judge what God is doing in the lives of others. For myself, I was a rock-head from birth, nothing could penetrate this nature of mine. I was at the low end of the typical Christian, and in fact I couldn't even be called a degenerate Christian a goodly part of my life. It wasn't until I was well in my 60's before the Lord got through to me with a sledge hammer. If I had read even the simplest of the things I'm now writing I wouldn't have been able to make the slightest sense of it, and would have discarded it as gibberish, just as most everyone I know does. God works in His own time and in His own way. It's not for us to judge.
In the parable we see that Jesus spoke so that people who didn't want to understand what He was saying could leave thinking they knew it all while knowing nothing at all. Those who wanted to understand did not assume anything, they asked Him what He meant. And even though we have His explanation, we are still in the dark if we try to force His words to mean what we want to hear. We will just take His "No, " and make it fit the "Yes" we want to hear. An example of this is in His saying He speaks parables so people can't understand and be saved. Yet, even with this clear understanding, we hear from just about every pulpit that Jesus spoke in parables so even the simplest of person can clearly understand just what He meant. Someone isn't paying attention to what Jesus is saying I'm afraid.
36Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37He answered and said unto them, HE THAT SOWETH THE GOOD SEED IS THE SON OF MAN; 38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Mat 13:)
13And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14THE SOWER SOWETH THE WORD. (Mark 4:)
"HE THAT SOWETH THE GOOD SEED IS THE SON OF MAN." Did you catch what Jesus said? Read it carefully and don't rely on what you remember being taught all your life. I must correct my statement, if you want to find the truth don't rely on what you believe to be the truth. If you're perfectly content to believe as you do, then just skim what I'm showing you and think you know what it says.
Jesus said He is the Sower of the good seed. Is that what you read here? How did Jesus sow the seed? We read:
23And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:)
Jesus is the seed. He is also the sower as we saw above. Have I stepped on any toes yet? No? Ok, then I'll continue. Inside of every seed there is a life that reproduces itself. But for that life to reproduce itself, the containing seed pod must die. I think anyone who has any knowledge at all of plants can vouch for what I've just said. We see a stalk of wheat. That stalk of wheat, when it is matured, contains many grains of seed that are all capable of producing more stalks of wheat identical to it. But in order for those seeds to take root and create a harvest, the first stalk must give up the seeds and allow them to fall to the ground (or to be harvested). In order for the stalk to release its yield it must dry up and die. That is the process God has established for such plant life. This is not true of all life, but it certainly is true of grains such as wheat. The original stalk, whether it dies on its own or if it is cut from the ground will not last through to the next season. If Jesus hadn't allowed Himself to be "Cut off" (Dan 9:26) then He could have lived forever, but He would live alone as the only one like Himself. Instead He sacrificed Himself so there could be many come to the maturity He had come to, in essence creating a family of people within which God can reside (John 14:10; Rev 21:3)
"THE SOWER SOWETH THE WORD." Jesus, as we have seen, is the Sower. He is also the seed (as are those who the Seed take root in). Yet we see that Jesus, the Sower, sows the Word. Jesus sows the Word? But isn't Jesus, the Sower, the Word? We see that Jesus is the seed, and in this way He might also be considered the Word that is sown. But Jesus died in order to release the life that is within Him so we, the believer can partake of that life, yet we see at His resurrection that He still has the body He had before His death, wouldn't it be a logical conclusion that it's something else that is the Life force He released, that is the Word?
Let's look into the possibility just so we don't exclude anything just because it doesn't fit our doctrine.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:)
Let me pause right here and take a close look at what is being said in this verse. It's assumed that this is talking about Jesus, that Jesus was with the Father, and is a part of the Father from the beginning. We don't know how this could be, but we accept it anyway. Jesus is the man, flesh. How did flesh and blood live with the Father before He was born of the flesh? Was He in the form of an angel do you suppose? There are those, most people it seems, who believe this to be so and that He, Lucifer and the Arch Angles might have been brothers. Are there flesh and blood people existing on a cloud somewhere, and Jesus was one of them? We kind of have this concept when we consider Lucifer, because how else can Lucifer, Satan, have lived for millions of years in the state he has been so described if not in some form of a body? And how could they have a war in Heaven if not in the form of a body? We see angels and demons and old Lucifer wielding swords and hacking each other to pieces in Heaven, then Lucifer cast down to earth along with his batwing demons. We know this can't possibly have happened, but we believe it anyway because we have no other explanation for what we're told happened. Are there other explanations? Of course, but they're not as interesting, and we aren't allowed to look at them.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God. This is important. But in order to understand what we're being told, we must first understand what God is, then we can understand what the Word is, because the Word is God. Is God an old bearded man sitting on a throne watching His creation play and fight and war as we see in books and in art? I doubt you believe this, yet it's what we've been given to believe. It would seem to me if there was anyone who knows what the Father is like it would be Jesus. Let's see what Jesus said of His Father:
23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:)
God is Spirit. What is God? God is Spirit. What is there in Jesus? God's Spirit is in Jesus. What is there in man that makes Him a part of the body of Christ? The Holy Spirit. God is now, and will in the future dwell in Man. How does God dwell in these earthen vessels? He does so through His Spirit. God is Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Spirit. Jesus said He will dwell in us along with the Holy Spirit and with God the Father. How will Jesus dwell in us? I'll let you answer that question. If you have an answer that makes any sense, let me know. I can only see this occurring if Jesus is Spirit. Jesus said:
3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT IS SPIRIT. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:)
What is Jesus? What is the believer? Jesus was born of the Spirit. The believer is born of the Spirit. God is Spirit? Is there a link to be found somewhere in these passages?
25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen 1:)
God is a complicated and an intricate subject (if I may call Him such in this instance). He does thing entirely differently than we, that is mankind, would. And it is impossible with the carnal mind to figure out what He is doing. That is why He gave us the Holy Spirit to explain these things to us, and why He gave us the life of Jesus to show us by example what He is trying to tell us. But we refuse to see things from His perspective, and insist on forcing the Word to reinforce what we have chosen to believe.
The word God uses to describe Himself is a plural word, meaning the word itself means more than one. It could mean thousands, or millions, or it may mean two. But it is a plural word. The word He chose here (and for much of the Old Testament) is "Eloheem," (in phonetic form). Eloheem means "gods," whether regular gods or the Almighty God. He uses this word when talking about the goddess Ashtoreth in 1Kings 11:5. And again He uses this same word in Exodus chapter 32 when describing the molten god Aaron made for the people of Israel when they wanted gods to lead them. Whether the word be a singular or a plural, a male or a female, this is the word used in almost every case. Check out your concordance and you'll see what I mean.
When God said: "Let us..." we can only assume, at least with our carnal mind, that God is speaking of other Gods. If there are other Gods, then who might they be? Reasoning would tell us that it must be the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, the "Son of God." That's what our reasoning tells us, but is our reasoning correct? Not likely. We've proven this over and over throughout history.
6Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:)
Out of all the things we supposedly know, there is one thing we know for sure, that is there is only one God. But all evidence points to there being many Gods. For one thing, as mentioned earlier, the use of a plural word to express Himself. And the use of the word "our" such as "Our image." Besides this, we have common reasoning. Where did God come from? Did He create Himself? Has He been living alone for eternity? What are all those billions of planets and suns and all that other "stuff" doing in the sky? Did God create that too? Why? What about the dinosaurs? How about the scientific findings that prove the earth is billions of years old? If God has control of this earth, even the sparrow that falls to the ground, then why is there pain? Why is there death? Why do the good suffer and the bad get away with murder? Why doesn't God take better care of His Church and keep it in His truth?
There are so many questions that have no answer. But we, being human, do not like to be left in the dark, even though there is no way of knowing or understanding the light. So we make up connections between those things we seem to know, and force them make sense in our own foolish minds. Then we present ourselves as "experts," and those who know even less than we do, even though the less they know is no less than we, the experts know, follows our theories as if they are God-given truths that must be accepted.
I am showing that Jesus did not exist in human form or in any other form before His incarnation? This I'm sure of. Yet we have statements like this:
6Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:)
12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Rev 22:)
6And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Rev 22:)
16I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Rev 22:)
58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59Then took they up stones to cast at him: (John 8:)
On top of this we have Jesus saying this just before His crucifixion:
5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:)
And Paul gives us this:
9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2Cor 8:)
13And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (John 3:)
2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:)
Notice how in some of these verses, the last one above (13 and 14) in particular, how the Church, the believers are incorporated into the picture of God's creation.
3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Rom 6:)
15Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Eph 1:)
14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Eph 3:)
I know your mind rejects the concept, just as mine does, that we might become sons of God just as Jesus is a Son of God. But try to set you're beliefs aside and see what's actually being said. Notice the number of times we the believer is identified as being the same as Jesus. Not that we on our own deserve anything, but through the will and the purpose of God He is creating a people who will be in the image of God "Let us make man in our own image, and let them have dominion." This certainly fits Jesus, and it fits to some degree the Apostles after Pentecost. And to those who strive to overcome (an impossibility I know, but the attempt must be present) will be given the "riches" of the glory Jesus set aside for a time in order that we might gain the riches He has attained to. We seek the dominion Jesus possesses. And many of us hear that such dominion, rulership, comes from a bath. I don't see this in Scripture. But I do see over and over that there will be a number of people who will attain to this position. We have the 144,00, the first fruits if the harvest Jesus was the beginning of (a "New Creation Man"), and perhaps the woman clothed in the sun. Whatever, as Paul said, we must put all weight of sin aside and strive for the mark of the high calling if we expect to attain to the vision he saw and said he is unable to describe for us
More verses indicating what will become of those who have been beheaded for Jesus:
2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, [see Mat 5:48] for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, UNTO THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Eph 4:)
1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1John 3:)
12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, AND FOR HIM: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile ["Restore fully"] all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: [see 2Cor 11:2 and Heb 12:4-17] 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: 25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. (Col 1:)
12Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Mat 15:)
Sometimes Jesus used a field of wheat "corn" to describe the plan of God. Other times He used a vineyard as a metaphor. Here and elsewhere He used a tree. Whatever He called it, there were some who will be taken into the "barn" (Heaven), and those that will be burned as useless, non fruit producers. Here we see where those plants not planted by God will be rooted up. We, the churches, call everyone into the field and tell those who enter our doors that they are among the ones God has called to be His own. Yet we know many, if not most of those in the pews were neither called by God, nor care a thing about Him or His purpose for us. We're told that just by being there we're eternally saved. Yet I find over and over that it's the ones who strive for the master, who strive to be overcomers as Jesus overcame who will be with Jesus in eternity. Whether I'm right or I'm wrong, I'm with Paul in his attempt to strive to be one wearing the crown. I don't expect to ever be sitting in the winner's circle by any means, but I hope not to be listed as an "also ran," or worse, a never started.
8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Mat 3:)
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Mat 7:)
A wicked mind produces wicked thoughts. And wicked thoughts produce wicked fruit. We are what we think upon. Those thoughts that pass through our mind trying to find a place to settle are not us. But those thoughts we harvest and feed become and cause us to become the thoughts we give place to. We're told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. But our carnal nature lusts after the things of the flesh. We want God to free us of our sinful nature, to make us white as snow. But if He was to give us what we want, how can we become an overcomer like Jesus overcame and be given the rewards provided those who overcome? We think, and are often told, that a Christian is above the attacks of the flesh and the devil. Yet we see where even Jesus was tempted in all ways as are we, and that He was taken into the wilderness, and caused to become in a weakened state, for the sole purpose of being tempted by the devil. And we believe we're above such a thing? I think not. And by my own experience this is far from true. If it is true, then I'm still in an unconverted state, and nothing I say should be heeded.
24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Mat 13:)
31Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Mat 13:)
On the surface these last two parables make no sense. What is leaven and mustard seeds doing where God lives? This question becomes even more confusing when we consider that birds and leaven are representative of demons and sin. Leaven is an obvious symbol of sin used (and understood) often. The birds become obvious when we see where they are described as the ones who come and steal the seed the sower planted in his field. We find birds in Babylon in the book of Revelation. Then what is the Kingdom of Heaven if it has birds and leaven? Consider these, and all the other parables of the Kingdom in the light of the reason Jesus came to earth, and that is to preach the Kingdom of Heaven. And what is it Jesus is the cornerstone of? Who is it He died for? Isn't it His Church? Then what is the Kingdom of Heaven?
4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Rev 2:)
1And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (Rev 18:)
4That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! .....12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:)
Try, if you can, to clear your mind of well-embedded doctrine and see this "Morning Star" (which the word Lucifer actually means in the Hebrew) as the Church as both established in the wilderness, and elevated to a higher, a Spiritual status in the New Testament. For more on this, see "Fantasies, Fables and Traditions, the making of a doctrine --Lucifer."
33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:)
2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, EVEN AS HE IS PURE ["Innocent, perfect, chaste"]. (1John 3:)
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:)
10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Heb 8:)
We strive to understand the will of God the same way the Jews of old learned of God. We listen to those who call themselves experts on the ways of the Lord and of the Bible. We assume that the ones who declare themselves knowledgeable are the ones called of God and have a pipeline to God we lack. Yet the Bible makes it abundantly clear that this is not so, and that every believer is one with God through the Holy Spirit. We're told by no less than Jesus that He will be with us through the Holy Spirit and will instruct us of His ways. Those who have been beheaded for Christ's sake are to take on the mind of Christ. Consider a chicken with its head cut off. It still flops around like it has a mind of its own, yet we know it doesn't know it is dead. This is the condition of those who are not in the Lord, they're dead while they stand (see 1Tim 5:6 and James 2:26).
17Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. 18And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. 19And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezek 11:)
2Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (Cor 2:)
The Christian is a living epistle demonstrating the will of God, just as was Jesus and the Apostles. Consider how the Apostles carried on where Jesus left off. They were the beginning of the Church. We in the close of history are the final pages of the New Testament. What are we showing the world God wants them to know? Are we a living testimony of God's love? Or do we demonstrate what God considers to be fruitless vines destined for the pit? Consider, the branches that bear no fruit are not the unbelievers who were never part of the vine, nor a part of the field of God. It's those who have attached themselves to the vine and declared themselves to be of the body of Christ Jesus is referring to in His parables. We are walking on very thin ice if we don't recognize this and teach our faulty beliefs to those who have been led astray from the narrow road.
14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1Cor 2:)
28Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater ["Older, more, larger"] than I. 29And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. (John 14:)
10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11He that hath an ear, let him hear WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES; HE THAT OVERCOMETH shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:)
14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)
"All right, I've made the supreme sacrifice and done what you were unable to do. I've opened the door and made it possible for you to return to the Garden and partake of the tree of etenal life. Now all you have to do is surrender everything you are, overcome your ego and lusts, and love your neighbor as yourself."
"Well, thank you Lord Jesus, but if you don't mind I'll just sit here on this plush pillow and watch you as you do all that for me, and I'll just reap the rewards and the glory. How does that sound? That's what I was told I should do in church, and it sounds a lot more appealing to me than your idea. You don't mind do you?"
There are many people who fear that preaching we should be just like Jesus (although they use the words without considering the meaning) is preaching that we should be (or will be) gods, or even God Himself.
As we have seen (if you've read Heretic or House of Cards), the traditional doctrine of the Trinity is not founded in the Bible but has been developed by the Catholic church long ago. And we find that it just barely made it as a doctrine with not much more than a flip of the coin. The concept of the Trinity has created many problems with the Church and with individual members. It has made Jesus as something unattainable for mortal man, when Jesus gave His life so we can do that very thing, that is, to be like Him.
Another problem with the concept of the Trinity is it has isolated members of the Church in that the churches use this unprovable and unnecessary doctrine to cast aspersions on those Christians who do not agree with the doctrine. Yet those who do the judging, the condemning, have no idea of what the Trinity is, or how it came about. Nor have they looked for themselves to see if there actually is such a concept preached by Jesus or the Apostles. If they did search for themselves, they would find that it has been dug out from under rocks and hidden in rabbit holes.
There are three Monotheistic religions in the world today. Christianity (and not all in the Christian sect) is the only faction that believes or preaches the Trinity. Because of the combining a man, Jesus, with the "Godhead" the other Monotheistic religions deny Christianity and refuse to consider the sacrifice Jesus has made for us, and for them. Instead of Christians influencing the world and bringing the world to their knees before the cross, the world rejects Christian teaching because, if nothing else, it contradicts itself and makes no sense the way it's preached. Those who belong to the Christian denominations accept the beliefs taught without question. Those who are not blinded by such doctrines can see the falicy, and remain outside. Those who choose to enter into the denominational maelstrom must needs wear the same blinders as do those within the denominational system.
As children we enjoy playing word games. And word games are given to children to enable them to learn how to spell and how to define words. As adults we don't outgrow our desire for word games. In fact we seek them out in the form of books, puzzles and board games. But along with learning words when we play our word games, we're learning concepts and theories. The churches know this, and they take advantage of this flaw in the educational system. We know this and recognize it in what we call the cults, and the most extreme of these users of word games we classify as being "brainwashed." What we don't recognize is that we are being brainwashed just as they are. And we are all too willing to have our brain washed.
The world is full of decisions each of us has to make on a daily basis. From the moment we get up in the morning until the time we go to bed at night we're making decisions. Most of the decisions we make are minor ones, but sometimes we have so many minor decisions to make we throw up our hands and want to just toss everything into the trash and start over again. If we're a parent we especially experience this when the three children all want you to make a decision for them, usually in an effort to settle an argument.
Then comes the big decisions on top of our world of little decisions. We have to decide whether or not to buy a new car, to go in debt, to take a vacation, to quit a job and begin a new venture, to have a serious operation. Decisions, decisions. Unless we happen to be one of those people (which I certainly am not) who thrives on working under pressure, we do all we can to avoid being placed in a position where we have to make a decision.
The Church is a place where we have to make the biggest decision of our life. The Church we choose, the commitment we make as a Christian, will effect our eternal life and the destiny of our soul. Those who have actually read the Bible, and not just skimmed it looking for the "interesting" parts, are aware that the Bible is a very complex book with many complicated and confusing statements. How can anyone be expected to understand what the Bible is trying to say? And this on top of dealing with the pressures of daily living?
We can't be expected to raise a family and learn how to repair our car and refrigerator as well. When we need help in a certain area outside our area of expertise we call in an expert and hope that expert is honest, knows what they're doing, and can fix our problem. That's what experts are for. We have experts who know how to kill ants, who know how to prune trees, who know how to find and repair faulty electrical wiring. And we have experts who understand (?) the mind, and others who understand and can correct problems in the body. There are experts who understand and can manipulate the law for us.
And there are experts who claim to understand the soul, and who supposedly (hopefully) are in communication with God through the Holy Spirit.
When we hire an expert we turn our problem over to that expert. When we take our car in to be repaired, we leave the car with the expert, and when he's finished, we pick up the car and hope the problem is fixed. As we all know, sometimes the problem we had when we left the car with our expert had not only not been fixed, but other problems have been added to the problem list.
Experts of the soul are no different. When we become part of the Body of Christ there are many things we must do, one of these is to set Christ as our head and to love and obey Him. This we're told, but in the telling the words are lost amidst a barrage of other words that seem more appealing to our already overburdened and stressful life.
We don't want to hear that there is something we have to do, to learn, or to become. We don't want to be told the we must think for ourself and to believe according to the experiences the Lord will give us. We just want the pastor to give us a short list of do's and don'ts, tell us what we're to believe, and let it go at that. And the churches are all too willing to oblige.
From the day we enter a church, we begin to take on the nature of those around us. We do as they do. We think as they think. We believe as they believe. We praise ourselves and our denomination while condemning all others for not being smart enough to have joined the church we joined. This is the way we are in church. This is the way we are in any worldly organization. And this is the way we are as human beings.
But this is not the way it was with Jesus, nor with the Apostles, nor is it the way we must be if we're to be a part of the Body of Christ.
The Body of Christ we know is the Church. Is the body different than the head? If we see someone who's head is beautiful, is perfect, but their body is mangled and useless, what do we think of such a person? If a person is perfect in every way, but they have a hand that's withered, what do we think of that person?
Why should we think that the Body of Christ is any different than anyone else who has a deformity? Do we really think Jesus is going to accept a member of His body that's less than He is? Do we really believe He's going to take someone who has made little or no effort to be as He is and allow them to rule and reign with Him? Are we really that blind?
Apparently we are.
When we take the head and make it different than the body, we have essentially decapitated the body. The churches teach that Jesus is something unattainable my mortal man. And this teaching is true. However, a Christian is not to be a "mortal man." We see this all through the New Testament. Jesus was born of the Spirit. We are to be born of the Spirit if we are actually "Born Again." Jesus died to open the door for us to be as He is. He has given us the opportunity to be a "tabernacle" that God can dwell in just as He was a Tabernacle that God indwelt and operated through. When we place Jesus, the Head of the Church, on a shelf and think of Him as different than we are, then we have made an idol out of Him and we've defeated His purpose, and we've lost our purpose and our direction.
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