Bible Ballistics: Vol. 8 No.11 It’s Not A Game, We’re At War!!!
We in the American church have, for a great part, bought into what I believe to be the lies of the enemy. We have often let the world dictate how we operate and function. We have changed from what the church (as a whole) used to look like, behave like as well as what it preached from the pulpit. There was a time when the Word of God was the standard for our goals, means and methods, as well as the content and substance of our faith. What is it now?
Faith is NOT looking for ‘pie in the sky’, or “hoping for something that is non-existent”, or even saying that “everything will work out”! The Christian faith is “all about Jesus”—His death, burial and resurrection “FOR SIN” is the crux of the Gospel! Practicing something else doesn’t make it so!
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25
When will we wake up and realize that we must stand on the Word of God? When will we stop trying to entertain people into heaven? When will we stop trying to entertain our children into the kingdom? We can’t do the world’s job as well as the world can, but then, we were never called to do the world’s work, but God’s work. That which is of the world will produce worldly results—that which is of God (from HIS Word, according to HIS Word, led by HIS SPIRIT and relying upon HIS results!) will produce godly results, miraculous heart-changing and world-changing results. We in the American church (as a whole—I’m not attacking any one) have set by and allowed the enemy to rob us of the power that God gave to us. We have settled for being popular over being the proclaimers of the truth of the Word of God, and possessor’s of the Holy Spirit—we stopped preaching the truth about sin, death and hell, and hopped on the bandwagon of pleasure and entertainment. God NEVER called us to ease, but to take up our CROSS and follow HIM! And HE went to the cross to die—the “cross” isn’t a cute ornament that we wear about our necks in lovely silver and gold, or place beautifully carved and crystallized on our walls and furniture—we must remember that in taking up “our cross” it is an instrument of death!!! It should mean I have given my life to Jesus to do with as HE pleases; that I desire to proclaim HIS truth regardless of the consequences. It means that I don’t compromise what Jesus said, what the Lord God Almighty said, or what the Bible says to please people and draw crowds of admirers. I am to proclaim the truth even (if not especially) when people don’t like it, and don’t want to hear it. I am not the first and I know I won’t be the last, because God chose His method and we should adhere to it if we are dead to ourselves and alive to Jesus.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
If I have died to myself, then I am to be “living” unto Jesus Christ and all that He has called, equipped and prepared me to be, to do and to accomplish. I am so guilty of betraying my Lord with “selfish” neglect of Him more often than I would want to admit, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a matter for which I often have to repent and get up and march forward in HIS strength time and time again. All because it IS His life that I want to live, even in my weak and often-failed efforts, my heart’s desire is to “LIVE” by “the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”! And I personally, don’t believe this is what we are teaching and living in many of our churches.
We are failing our children and young people by offering them a glitzy, song and dance time instead of calling them to be “Soldiers of the Cross”. We have settled for a ‘fun’ time instead of seeking genuine “faith” growing time. We expect to raise the present and next generation of believers and followers of Jesus by pampering, entertainment and letting them perceive that following Jesus is a fun-filled skip along life. I am sorry but I personally believe that this is why we are loosing our young people, when they leave the nest. We have deceived them and lied to them by our gross neglect to call them to, and teach them that following Jesus will cost them something—it will cost their whole lives. But the reward is incomparable to anything that the world can, or ever will give them.
Why do we not recognize that the very terrorists that we are afraid of, are calling children, and training them with hate, and yet they go because every person wants to be useful and valuable to something bigger than themselves. They promise lies, but we have the truth, yet we don’t call our children and youth to give their whole lives to Jesus, and trust Him to equip, use and reach the world through them. It’s not being done in many homes, and it certainly isn’t being done in most churches. I don’t mean to rant, but this is truly “LIFE” and “DEATH” to these children, to our churches and to our world. Are we raising faithful warriors or imitation Christians? Are we leading young people to the life-changing new birth—or more often to an imitation singing and dancing marathon entertainment session which teaches them that Jesus is just “another” option to call upon when they are in trouble; but He doesn’t really demand anything from you.
The Son of man must suffer many things,
and be rejected of the elders
and chief priests and scribes,
and be slain,
and be raised the third day.
23 And he said to them all,
If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily,
and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it:
but whosoever will lose his life for my sake,
the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged,
if he gain the whole world,
and lose himself,
or be cast away?
26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he shall come
in his own glory,
and in his Father’s,
and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:22-26
Jesus Himself tells us that we must “take up his cross daily, and follow me”—it is a matter of eternal life or eternal death, and we must choose! But there are those today who don’t demand anything of those who inquire about Jesus. They offer a mere mental ascent that Jesus was a real person and sufficient to salvation, the come as you are and stay-as-you-are gospel. But scripture tells us that we must believe and receive the new birth as the only means of having “eternal life”—life-changing salvation!!!
“He was in the world,
and the world was made by him,
and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own,
and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.” John 1:10-13
As Christians, as parents and grandparents we must realize the urgency of the hour, and stop compromising the lives and futures of our children. We must speak the truth to them, even a child can choose to do right or wrong (See Proverbs 20:11). But we are watering down the truth in an effort to attract them, not realizing that we are selling them short by not calling them to sacrifice.
Deuteronomy 6 is one of the greatest chapters for families in all of scripture, and it tells us clearly that we must first know God ourselves, and then we are to instruct our children in all our ways—taking those teachable moments to call them to a better way—the only way. And when we will commit to the higher call, there will come a day that they will ask “WHY” are we doing things this way? And our response is to share with them what God has done and is doing in our lives. We are to share with them the truths of God’s faithfulness and that HE has called us to this higher way. Instead, in many instances today, we are simply taking parts of God’s Word ad painting it up like the world so it will be palatable to the young. What it will do is fail them! We must stand fast—we MUST!!! Let’s observe some portions of Deuteronomy 6:
“Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God is one Lord:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy might.
6 And these words,
which I command thee this day,
shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently
unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them
when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign
upon thine hand,
and they shall be as frontlets
between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them
upon the posts of thy house,
and on thy gates……….
18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good
in the sight of the Lord:
that it may be well with thee,
and that thou mayest go in
and possess the good land
which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.
19 To cast out all thine enemies from
before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.
20 And when thy son asketh thee
in time to come, saying,
What mean the testimonies,
and the statutes,
and the judgments,
which the Lord our God
hath commanded you?
21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son,
We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt;
and the Lord brought us out of Egypt
with a mighty hand:
22 And the Lord shewed
signs and wonders,
great and sore,
and upon all his household,
before our eyes:
23 And he brought us out from thence,
that he might bring us in,
to give us the land
which he sware unto our fathers.
24 And the Lord commanded us
to do all these statutes,
to fear the Lord our God,
for our good always,
that he might preserve us alive,
as it is at this day.
25 And it shall be our righteousness,
if we observe to do all these
before the Lord our God,
as he hath commanded us.” Deuteronomy 6:1-9 & 18-25
God told the Israelites that loving Him would be contagious if they would obey Him and share it continually with their young. His Word should be in their mouth, in their hearts and visible by their outward obedience to His commands. Why would we think we could succeed any other way? Because we have bought the lies of the devil—the enemy of our souls—and let the world come in and dictate to us what reaches men, women, boys and girls. God says here that genuine faith, lived out in what our hands find to do and what our eyes allow in (verse 8,), and where our feet take us; we are to live out our faith in God and His Word when we are walking around in our home our out and about, when we are taking it easy in our chair, when we lay down for the night and when we rise up in the morning! Our lives are to reflect the light of The Lord in all that we do—especially before our families. It is what God has established the family to do. And the church should be supporting this not trying to hinder or replace the family (although we are to be family to the widows and fatherless, see James 1:27).
When we have real life in Jesus, it will be seen in what we do, where we go and how we behave in all of our encounters in life. But when all we can do is “talk” about it, there will definitely be “a failure to communicate”! We will be revealing to the world what Peter speaks about in 2 Peter 2, and his discourse about false leaders and teachers. Are we calling our young people to just clean up the pig, or become soldiers of the cross?
“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:22
“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Proverbs 26:11
In other words, you can clean up a pig and tie a pretty bow around it’s neck, but it’s still a pig and when you let it go, it will return to “being” what it really is. Only God can regenerate a soul and change a “sinner” into a “saint”. And the other example needs no explanation; I will leave that to your imagination!!! So what are we doing for our world when we dress up like the world, use the world’s methods, music and mass appeal, instead of proclaiming and teaching the Word of God in all its power and truth, and relying upon God to do HIS work in the hearts and lives of men, women, boys and girls? We are, in my humble opinion, muddying the waters and compromising the truths of the Gospel. We are lying to our children and young people when we lead them to think that serving God is just like serving the world, you just add the name of Jesus to the mix, and quote a few Bible verses and you’ll be ok! NOT!!!
Jesus calls us to separation, not compromise.
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
for ye are the temple of the living God;
as God hath said,
I will dwell in them,
and walk in them;
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them,
and be ye separate,
saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you.
18 And will be a Father unto you,
and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18
If we are to “come out from among them”, why would we want to imitate what they do, and bring it into the house of God? That is what Israel of old did, and they were judged for doing it—I do believe the time of our judgment is near America. We must “stand fast in the evil day”!
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17
Will we hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant”? Or will we hear something else as we stand before our God? God please revive us, your people? May we see YOU?
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses,
know ye not that the friendship of the world
is enmity with God?
whosoever therefore will be a friend
of the world
is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain,
The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore he saith,
God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God,
and he will draw nigh to you.
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;
and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted,
let your laughter be turned to mourning,
and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves
in the sight of the Lord,
and he shall lift you up.” James 4:4-10
May God bring our hearts to see what we are doing as measured by HIS plumb line, and may our hearts grieve and turn from our sin and selfishness and seek His face in earnest repentance and sorrow—and then march forth in truth!!!
“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
May we sorrow unto repentance and be found faithful to His Word and His ways when He calls us, or returns for us, that we will not be deceived in our ways, or even worse not belong to Jesus at all!
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day,
have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you:
depart from me,
ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:20-23
And how do we know we are doing the will of the Father? Only one way, and that’s to belong to Jesus and to be abiding in Him and not the world.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
So my question for you today is, “Are you abiding”? Or are you doing “nothing” because you’re doing things the world’s way, or your way but not God’s way? I simply ask you to take it to Jesus and let HIM be the judge. He will reveal truth and wisdom to us if we but ask.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8
Abiding in Jesus will help prevent being double minded!!! And time in HIS Word will keep us from sin and error.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11