Sunday, February 05, 2012

Last Days?

The Bible says that in the last days, men will gather for themselves teachers that will tell them what they want to hear, and will abandon sound teaching.(see 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Titus 1:9) Men will be lovers of men, and abandon natural relations with women.(see Romans 1:18-32)  There will be many false prophets and false Christs.(see 2 Peter 2:1-16, 3:3) Let's look at some examples...

I recently heard a pastor of a large church say that there is really no difference between Christianity and a certain other church headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.  After all, they believe in Jesus (or do they?) The Jesus that is of Biblical Christianity is one with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, and was and is God Himself (known as The Holy Trinity)!  This other religion believes that Jesus is a created being, that in the "pre-incarnate state" (before becoming man), was a "spirit brother" to Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan) and the only reason Jesus is the Savior instead of Lucifer, is Jesus said yes to "Heavenly Father" and Lucifer said no. So how does this shake out as far as no difference? It is false!  

There are those who would have us believe that all paths lead to the same destination: Heaven!  After all, God loves us, and since He loves us, He would not send anyone to Hell! Yet, the Bible is clear that Jesus said He was "The way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father except through Him!"  Doesn't sound to me like Jesus would agree that it does not matter if you are Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or whatever else you want to be.

There are many pastors that are preaching and teaching that it is okay to be homosexual. That God didn't really mean it when He said that those who have such lifestyles will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  I disagree.  I think God meant what He said.  However, the Christian Church has failed in its mission to love all men, regardless of the problems and sins in our lives.  It is no more acceptable to be homosexual than it is to cheat on one's spouse or "live in sin." Let's call a spade a spade.  God is clear on His requirements--holiness! It is a very good thing that He has forgiven me! The Bible clearly teaches that we are only saved through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.  There is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. (see Acts 4:8-22)

There are many who would also tell us that we can "do this 40 day program," and be happier, healthier, more successful, blessed, etc.  The thing is, Jesus did not promise His disciples an easy, or trouble free life. In fact, He actually promised the opposite. "In this life you will have trouble..." "If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you..." (See John 15:18-25, 16:29-33).  People have a tendency to see riches as success, but God measures success differently.  If riches and/or success in this world is a measurement of our success in God's eyes, then Tiger Woods, or the Emirs of some foreign lands are more acceptable to God than I am.  They have obviously attained God's favor.  I don't think so!

I think we truly are in the "Last Days," but then again, so did the Apostles back in the days immediately following the resurrection of Jesus. So what does this mean for us?  We should be sure that we do what we can to love God more than men, and love others as much or more than we love ourselves. The best thing to do is live as if we might go home to meet Jesus tonight, yet realize that we are saved through grace and this by faith. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Mincing Words

In the past couple of weeks, I have watched a few videos on the subject of Jesus and Religion.  One is by a guy who says he loves Jesus and hates religion. Then, I have watched some that are responses to his rant.  One is from a Catholic priest, one is Lutheran, then I read a response to his rant from an Orthodox priest. I also watched a couple videos in response that make little or no sense.  I liked the responses of the Lutheran and the Catholic Priest

Now my beloved wife tells me that people are misunderstanding the guy.  That he says "religion" as a metaphor for all that is evil in the church. I am not certain. I do think that if this guy is ranting about the evil present in the church, and not the church as a whole, he suffers from the same thing I do.

I sometimes say things that do not come across the way I want them to, or think that they will.  If we want to be taken seriously, we need to be careful of what we say and especially, of how we say it.

Anyway, the guy has a few good points, and he has a few points that are contentious.  I will leave it up to you to watch and decide what you think. The following  is what I think.

  • I think if we are going to portray ourselves as experts/poets, we should ensure we are clear on our defiinitions.
  • I think we should extend grace to others, and not require perfect doctrine. (by this I do not mean that we should allow false doctrine to go unchallenged, but there are many things that are left up to individuals to decide for themselves, and these we should not quibble over.) --statement in ( ) added 2/5/12
  • I think we need to remember that Jesus founded a church, and said there would be false teachers and false Christs that we would need to watch out for.  The question is wise discernment of who is and who is not false.  In the Old Testament, God said the test of a prophet is 100% accuracy when they claim to speak for Him!
  • Romans 14 says that we are all responsible to our Lord. Perhaps we should remember that He is the boss!
The bottom line is that we live in a fallen world, society is made up of people and people are inherently evil. So there will be flaws even in the church.  So maybe the rant about religion is a good thing.  It has gotten people thinking, it has people talking.  Let's all let this bring us closer together, not tear us apart.