Who Is Right?

June 20, 2016

Who Is Right?

Unbelieving people of this world criticize Bible believing Christians for giving part of their earnings to their church. At the same time they spend part of their money on gambling and end up losing more often than they win.

Believers are criticized for abstaining from alcohol and drugs. Meanwhile their critics give themselves to things that are almost sure to make them addicts.

Christians are criticized for spending so much time in church. Their critics prefer to pass their time being entertained by things that temp them to do things that are immoral and hurtful to themselves and others.

Many can’t understand why Christians spend so much of their time reading the Bible. They prefer to spend their time reading profane books and playing electronic games.

Good Christians dedicate part of their time to helping others supply their needs and do what is right. Others think they should spend more of their time enjoying life and getting all they can for themselves, even if it is at the expense of others.

This world is headed for destruction. Our society is falling apart. If all moral restrictions are taken away the human race will destroy itself. A society that refuses to put restrictions on fleshly lusts cannot exist very long.

Which side are you on? If you aren’t certain which side is right, you need to give careful consideration to Hosea14:9 which says, “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”

(6)

The Restoration of Biblical Christianity

            There is always a tendency for religious groups to depart from their pristine purity.  The same things happen with evangelical groups.  Throughout history we read of groups that attempted to make people aware of the reality of apostasy and bring them back to their origins.  These movements are often called “revivals,” “an awakening” and a “reformation.”

When these are legitimate evangelical groups, their desire is to bring churches back to the original purity of the New Testament.  We take the New Testament as our standard of faith and practice.  It is our authority.  The tendency is to depart from the teaching and practice of the New Testament.

Groups that seek to restore biblical Christianity always have limited success.  Even those that have been most successful have been disappointed after a few years when they see that groups they restored have again begun to slide back into apostasy.  Some have had very limited success because they attempted to restore an entire denomination that had already drifted too far to the left.  Perhaps they succeeded in stopping some of the most flagrant violations, but they didn’t succeed in bringing the denomination back to New Testament faith and practice.  The reformation, under Martin Luther, is a good example.  The reformation made many necessary and beneficial changes, but it fell short of bringing many churches back to biblical Christianity.

What is called “the great awakening,” in the early history of the United States, did much good in the colonies.  That was mostly between the years 1725-1750.  Churches were full of unbelievers and morals had fallen to a low level.  Thousands were converted under the preaching of men like Gilbert Tennete and George Whitefield.  Thousands of churches were started.  However, just as it was with other movements, as the years went by coldness and indifference took their toll.

Some might be tempted to think “It’s hardly worthwhile to attempt a restoration of biblical Christianity if it doesn’t last.” But it is worthwhile because souls are saved and Christians are brought back to God.  It is sometimes said “Every good thing must come to an end.” The fact that the good results won’t last forever doesn’t diminish the value of the good that is done.

We read of a time of revival in the Old Testament in II Chronicles chapter 30.  King Hezekiah called the people to come to Jerusalem to keep the feast of the Passover.  The posts went out with the announcement and the invitation.  Some laughed them to scorn, but a great multitude went and the feast of the Passover was restored after many years of neglect.

In the history of Christianity we read many times of groups of people who broke away from the predominant religions to form new groups so they could have New Testament churches.  Some examples were the Paulicians, the Donatists, the Arnoldists and the Waldeneses.  We aren’t always in agreement with all their beliefs and practices, but it’s edifying to know that there were those who saw the need of attempting a restoration.

When Christians neglect to watch and pray their churches drift away.  We are constantly surrounded by influences that discourage the faithful Christian.  That’s why Jesus said in Mark 14:38, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”  Satan tempts us to depart from biblical teaching.  There are people in the world who think and say that it’s foolish to try to live by the Bible.  They say it is to put oneself in bondage to primitive ignorance.  People around us don’t always share our views.  That’s why we need to watch and pray.

A departure from biblical Christianity is what happens when Christians are negligent in maintaining a good relationship with the Lord.  That’s why we encourage every Christian to set aside time every day to read the Bible, meditate on it, and pray.  If you let your heart get cold, the things of God will have less importance.  That’s another reason why we need to watch and pray.

A prominent philosophy in our day says that it doesn’t matter what your method is as long as you reach your desire end.  That can be interpreted to say, “If you want to get rich quick you may have to lie, cheat and steal.” Such a philosophy encourages us to put aside the moral laws of the Bible.  That’s another reason why we need to watch and pray.

Do your best to stay true to biblical teaching and practice.  Don’t hesitate to speak up when you see your church departing from biblical faith and practice.  Negligence is never a virtue.  Watch and pray.

Our e-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

(415)

Untempered Mortar

October 27, 2012

Untempered Mortar

            Perhaps you ask. “What’s untempered mortar?” If we go to the Bible, in Ezekiel 13:10-15, we will find it mentioned.  “Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar: Say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.  So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.  Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered mortar, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it.”

It appears that fraudulent workmen sometimes laid up walls with a very weak mixture of mortar.  When houses are build with bricks it’s extremely important that the right mixture of cement and sand be used.  The walls are plastered also with cement.  The word “daubed” used here might imply that it just applies to the mixture used for the plaster.  However, verse 11 says that the entire wall is in danger of falling when the rain and hail come.  If the proper mixture is used between the bricks, the wall should still stand even though the plaster falls.

The prophet says that, in like manner, false prophets were offering the people a religion that would not stand the tests.  He says they were deceiving the people saying “peace; and there was no peace.”  The offer of peace gets people’s attention.  Everyone wants peace.  Even in our day religious leaders talk much of peace.  Most often they refer to world peace.  Of course we want peace in the world, but of much greater value is peace in the inner man.  It comes by being at peace with God and those around us.  False religious leaders don’t talk much about this peace.  The Apostle Peter spoke of them when he said “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error”  (II Peter 2:18).

It’s unfortunate that so many people put their confidence in religions that are like walls laid up with untempered mortar.  Their religion appears to them to be genuine and worthy of trust.  It may be that it has a long history.  Some take confidence in the great number of its followers.  They say, “Surely they can’t all be wrong.”  Others are consoled by the wealth that has been accumulated by the denominational headquarters.  There are often a great number of offices occupied by educated men with impressive titles.

Sometimes they are troubled by criticism they hear against their religion.  The criticism comes from people in other religions that appear to have the same impressive credentials.  To calm their troubled minds they accept the oft repeated refrain that says, “All religions are good.  There is no reason for leaving yours to go to another one.”  Others cite Bible verses in an attempt to persuade them that they are in the wrong religion.  To counteract them they say, “Yes, but it all depends on your interpretation of the Bible.”  Sometimes they turn them off by calling them fanatics that like to find fault.

The religion daubed with untempered mortar may serve well until the storms come.  Verse 11 says the wall will fall when the driving rains and hail come.  This speaks of the trials of life.  Sooner or later they always come.  These religions serve well to facilitate people’s pride of life, but they give little consolation to a broken heart.  If we don’t have a close personal relationship with God before trials come, it will be hard to develop one in the midst of them.

God hates walls made with untempered mortar.  He pronounces his judgment against them in verses 13-15 of Ezekiel chapter 13.  A false religion keeps people from having the relationship with him that he wants to have with us.  What God offers us is a relationship, not a religion.  I can’t imagine the severity that false prophets will suffer in hell.  Verse 15 says that God will accomplish his wrath upon the wall and upon those who have daubed it.

Where have you placed your trust for your eternal well being?  May God have mercy on you if you are trusting in a religion and not in a personal relationship with God.  John 1:12 says that God wants to receive you as one of his sons.  “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.”  This verse speaks of a personal relationship.  Your religion may be impressive and make you feel good, but it won’t take you to heaven when you die.  Isaiah 55:6-11 says “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.    For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.    For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:    So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  Romans 10:13 says “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  After you die it will be too late to do that.  II Corinthians 6:2 says “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

(1099)

A Fascination For Hidden Things

            When a rock star passed away a news commentator made some comments about her life.  He also played a video clip of her speaking.  Among the things she said was, “I have always had a fascination for the occult.”  It’s unfortunate, but she was only one of many who have a fascination for the occult.

Some people are making a concerted effort to facilitate the curiosity people have about the occult. They are often people who are in a position to influence the thinking of people.  Favorable comments about the occult are often found in newspapers, magazines and radio, and television programs.  Children’s toys and games often lend themselves to this way of thinking.  One may also find occult art printed on young people’s clothing.  One has to be blind or ignorant not to be aware of the growing publicity of the occult.  Indifference leaves the door open for the occult to have a growing impact on the thinking of people.  Parents need to put some limitations on what their children see and read if they don’t want them to be taken in by the occult.

The occult has to do with that which is hidden, whether of the past, present, or future.  It deals with such things as fortune telling, astrology, theosophy, clairvoyance, etc.  Much of occult practice is included in the New Age Movement.  Satan uses Halloween as an opportunity to awaken a renewed interest in the occult.  Most people view Halloween as in innocent part of our culture.  For most people that’s all it is, but it brings to mind witches, ghosts and mysterious phenomenon.

It is hard to understand parents who don’t teach occult religion to their children, but they are willing to let others do it.  They let their children go out and buy Harry Potter books that openly teach occultism.  They also allow their children to buy music and DVDs that promote it.  They have no objection to their children wearing black shirts that promote the occult with a grotesque face.

What are the dangers of the occult and why should we take precautions against it?  There are two ways to find out.  One is to experiment with it.  There are dangers in that.  The most prudent way to learn about it is to listen to the testimony of those who have been in it and left, because they didn’t like what they found.  Some of those who  experiment with the occult get trapped in it and suffer for it.  If you have access to Internet, a good source of information is the web page christiananswers.net.

Satan is very subtle in his ways of diverting the minds of men away from the truth.  It has been said, “Men will believe a lie if they hear it often enough.”  When people are frequently confronted with the occult, they are more inclined to accept it.  That’s especially true of children and young people because their minds are more receptive.

The occult has been around for a long time.  The Bible warns us about it.  Deuteronomy 18:10-11 says “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,  or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.”  In the New Testament, in Galatians 5:19-21, we read, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,   idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,   envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Aside from being condemned by Scripture, the occult opens people up to the danger of demon possession.  When the mind is given over to occult practices, Satan can take control.  Demon possession prompts people to do things that leave them in shame and disgrace.  It results in extreme mental and emotional stress.  Deliverance is possible only through the help of strong Christians who know how to deal with it.

Beware of what Satan offers you.  He doesn’t have anything to offer that you need or that is for your good.  We need to be content with what God wants to reveal to us.  It is all for our good and will never put us in danger. Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

(784)