FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... .................

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

..PRINTABLE VERSION

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS

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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. (Mat 13:)
28But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:)
9If any man have an ear, let him hear. (Rev 13:)


READING WHAT YOU LIKE


"Here is today's weather, brought to you by Smutz seltzer water, the seltzer water that says 'Smutz to you!' The weather according to all whether charts, satellite pictures and computer analysis indicate the weather may be bright and beautiful without a cloud in the sky; or on the other hand the weather could be drizzly, wet and just plain lousy. We'll just have to wait and see."


"Did you hear that, Jack? The weatherman said it's going to be a good day for you to paint the garage. Bright and clear, he said."

"No he didn't, Marge. He said distinctly that it was going to be wet and miserable. Not a good day at all to paint the garage, but a great day for me to go with the guys bowling, don't you think?"


We hear what we want to hear. Is the glass half full? Or is the glass half empty?

The Bible is certainly a good example of this rule. For instance, is it all grace and no works? Or is it works and no (or only partial) Grace?

If you desire to serve God, you will read "Works" all through the Bible. In fact, the more your heart is inclined to serve the Lord, the more indisputable references to Work you will find.

But if you are inclined to have God serve you, you will find a myriad of Scripture that will seem to clearly back up your stance. And to be sure, you will find a multitude of preachers and theological writings to support your view.


DIETERS AND RUNNERS


Have you ever known someone who just started a new diet or exercise program? So far they haven't lost a pound or learned to touch their knees, leastwise their toes, and they are already insisting that you and everybody they see convert to their program. By the way they talk they have studied the matter thoroughly and are absolutely convinced it is not only the best, but the only program worth a hill of beans.

The next time you see that person (perhaps it's the next week), they have gained five pounds and have another program they are just as, if not more so, convinced on and enthusiastic over.

Or perhaps it's not diet or exercise the person is excited about. Perhaps it's a new car, or a new dishwasher, or a new girl or boy friend. Whatever it is, while it's new, the person cannot get enough of it, or talk about it enough (in their eyes, not yours). But wait a week or so and it will die out just as has all their other first loves.

Perhaps it's the enthusiasm and the excitement of new things that causes such people to jump from one thing to another. Do you think?

Have I described someone you know?

Have I perhaps described you?


DOCTOR INTEGRITY


Have you ever had a dishonest doctor? I don't mean a thief or a cheat, but a doctor who just did not care if he told the truth as long as he made his money.

Of course the doctor you have now is an honest doctor or else you wouldn't be letting him practice on you. But perhaps in the past?

I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, but I would assume that doctors are pretty well a class of person who takes his job seriously and cares about his or her patient. I doubt a person would go into the field of medicine without some regard for humanity at large. I am excluding those who are just after the big bucks, of course, who I assume would not be a family practitioner but some highfalutin specialist of some sort.

That doctor you trust, where do you assume he got his information about the problem you go to him for? Do you think he just instinctively knows your problem and the cure for it? Perhaps you know a mechanic like that, who seem to have an "ear" for hearing and solving problems with your car.

There are doctors like that, that is to say who have a knack for finding and curing certain illnesses. The chances are this "knack" did not come by birth, but by many years of experience with such problems, and many errors in judgment along the way. The chances are strong also that the doctor you find so marvelous was not so highly thought of by your parents or your grandparents who he first "practiced" on.

Doctors are the end product of a chain of scientists in the field of medicine. The doctor you see is the tip of the iceberg you deal with, but he is not the one who is actually "creating" the cure or the procedures by which to discover the problem. This doctor first had to spend many years in school having that information poured into his head. And when he had accomplished this, he had to serve as a doctor's assistant in order to learn what has already been established by the profession.

Even then, with all this experience, learning and practice under his belt, he must continually read up on what is expected of him by those scientists who work behind the scenes adding and subtracting from that knowledge base he has acquired. Some of the "firm foundational" cures he had learned will have been discovered as deadly poisons by "new studies."

Auto mechanics experience the same each year. As the new model car comes out, the mechanic is sent back to school to learn the idiosyncracies of that car. And I am sure that with these newfangled gadgets they put on cars, that don't work, it is doubly important the mechanic be sent back to school so they can know just what it is they don't know what they are doing with. [Did I say that right?]

If a doctor discovers that what he is being told by those above him (for instance that a certain drug is not helpful, but is in fact harmful, or that high cholesterol is good for a person rather than bad), can he just refuse to go along with the AMA program? Not likely. There are doctors who have done just that, and they are no longer allowed to practice in this country.


Consider the field of Law. We know that a person has to be of a high moral fiber in order to practice Law in this country. That is, if a person was dishonest he would be disbarred immediately. (Pardon me while I chuckle.) The truth is a person can be just as crooked as he likes, and break all the rules and laws he needs to in order to win the case. It is not integrity that wins in the game of law, but craftiness and cunning. (And money is what buys this craftiness and cunningness.) The field of Law is the same as the field of baseball. The goal is winning and making the bucks. How often do you hear a pro ball player say: "Yeah, were losing something terrible, but at least we're in there playing fair and honest."?


Baseball players, lawyers, mechanics and doctors are not the only ones who must play the game following strict adherence to the rules laid out for them. (That's right, as hard as it is to believe, there are some rules a lawyer must abide by, or at least not get caught violating.) There is another field of trained doctors who have even a tighter field of regulations and restrictions they must abide by. And whereas your medical doctor has some leeway in his call, these doctors do not. Every doctor in this profession must absolutely agree with his teacher and his fellow practitioners or be ostracized and disbarred from fellowship.

I know you have already guessed what I am going to say; the field is that of Religion. And the doctors are Doctors of Theology.

Preachers, Pastors, Evangelist, Pastors and Theologians must absolutely agree with everyone else in their denomination, or be cast out in the cold as a heretic. So, without considering any alternatives, these Pastors, Preachers and the lot follow one-another in their thinking and their beliefs like lemmings on their journey to the sea.


And so do you.

Without a thought one way or the other, you just accept that which you are told by your Pastor. You do not bother to question all the verses that completely contradict what your Pastor says, you just close your eyes and move on. It's much easer that way.


Compare that to your doctor. Your doctor says you have cancer and you will need an operation. What do you do? Do you just say: "Oh well'" and move on without giving it another thought? Of course not. You do just what is suggested. You get a "second" and a third and a forth opinion. You read up on all sorts of alternative medicines and cures. Your life becomes dedicated to getting that cancer out of you just as easily and as quickly as possible. And besides dedicating all your time, energy and attention to this project, all the money you can beg, borrow or steal is dedicated to the project as well.

Can you see the cancer your doctor has told you about? Maybe. Can you feel this cancer that is waiting to ravage your body? Maybe. If your doctor hadn't told you the cancer was in you, would you even know it was there? Maybe, maybe not.

It's very possible that, like so many heart diseases, you have nothing to confirm the fact that the cancer even exist. But! You dedicate everything are, have, or ever will possess to the banishing of that which you have no real clue even exists. After all, look at all the times someone has been diagnosed with cancer (or some other disease) and the diagnosis was wrong. Or consider the multitude of times people have been diagnosed with something that was either wrong, or did not exist in the first place.

But you do not consider those alternatives. No, you choose to fully believe the doctor is right. And because you believe the doctor, you are not only doing something about it; you are doing everything about it!


That which you believe to be so does not leave room for doubt. And if there is no doubt, there is no hesitancy to pursue it with all your might.

If you believed your child was getting involved with drugs, or the wrong company, or spending money unwisely, or living an unhealthy lifestyle - would you sit back and say: "Oh well"? Of course not, you would worry and fret over it. You would do all you could do, even to becoming a "nag" in order to correct the problem.

If you believed the brakes on your car were bad, and you were preparing to take the family on vacation. Would you just say: "Oh well" and do nothing about it? If so, it might be a good idea to make an appointment with a psychiatrist real quick like.


Yet! You say: "Oh well" to the Bible and what you are taught at church, just as do the elders and the Pastor. Why?


Because you don't believe.


BOTH; AND NEITHER


So, is it Works that will get you to heaven like the Catholic church teaches? If you fulfill a list of required actions and behaviors, are you assured God's favor?

Or, is it like the Protestants (most??) say, that it has all been done by Jesus and all you have to do is recite a few words, take a dunking, and you will be waltzing past St. Peter at the gate?

Is it: Do this and live; or is it: Do nothing and live?


Neither, and both.


Works won't get you in, no matter how faithful you are to those works. Nor will Grace get you in, no matter how much faith you have in that doctrine, nor how much Works you add to that faith.

There is only one thing that will get you through the gate: the Holy Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit, He will instruct you as to what Works to perform, and He will be the evidence that you have the Saving Grace you are taught that you need.


WORKS DON'T COUNT


Is that so? I certainly think so. And, if you are a Fundamental Protestant, I suspect you think so as well.

Then, why pray tell, do we judge others by their works?

Even non believers who make no profession of trying to work their way to Heaven we judge according to what they do. For instance, how often do we judge someone because they drink, or they smoke, or they overeat? Is any of this a sin? According to the Bible it's a sin. And so is most of everything else even "Believers" do a sin. Yet we see others as sinners for their self-serving behavior, and excuse ourselves and those of our acquaintance for our self-serving deeds.

The Bible tells us that if we do that which we believe to be a sin, it is a sin, whether it is indeed a sin in God's eyes or not. If (since) that is so, then it seems to me that as we judge others for their misdeeds, we are actually heaping truck loads of coal on our own heads.

And, as an added thought, it appears to me that the one we are condemning may not even be sinning at all, if their action is not seen in their own eyes as a sin.

Kind of a boomerang accusation, don't you think?


ONE, TWO, THREE


I don't know about you, but I have a problem when it comes to instructions. This problem became ever so clear to me when I was in the Army. When I was given an order, I resisted with all my inner being. Of course I carried out the order, but I hated having to do so. I'm sure my father would heartily agree with my self-diagnoses.

But even in the little things I have trouble with instructions. For one thing, when I am being instructed it is an indication that someone thinks I don't know that thing. This rides hard on my ego. Once I work through my resistance to listening to advice (which usually happens long after I had denied the advisor's right to give it) I am able to absorb it quite freely.

There's another form of instruction that I have difficulty with; those little (or huge) booklets they send along with everything we purchase. It's as if they think we are all dummies and can't figure out how to put their product together without their help. Insulting, isn't it?

Well, they're right, at least on my part they are right.

After I misspend half a day trying to put together that object that says it should take a ten-year-old a half an hour; and after I had bent or broken half the pieces - I read the instructions.

Of course, by this time it is too late because I have either lost or destroyed the pieces needed to assemble the thing and make it work.


Of course I am sure you are not this way. I would never presume to think such a thing. But if you are this way, then you can now know that you are not alone.


As I have said elsewhere, I am a teacher of sorts. That is to say, I have taught. And I have taught those who are like myself - a most frustrating and infuriating experience.

The hardest to teach are those who think they already know the answers, and/or think they know what you are going to say, therefore do not listen. A full cup is difficult to place anything into.

Also difficult to teach are those who want the answers, that is the bottom line, without having to learn the major steps that make the bottom line understandable and workable. I am this way myself, so I understand that person's frustration and impatience. But I also know that it just plain doesn't work that way!

Imagine a doctor who just wants to know how to take a patient's heart out, sew it up, and put it back in again. He didn't want to spend the years required to learn how the heart works, what causes it to malfunction, or how to heal it. Would you like him to operate on you?

But, that's what we do. Correction. That's what I do.


And that's what we do to God.


Day by day we Christians (as well as non believers when trouble strikes) ask God to give us this, or show us that, or sometimes even tell us what He wants us to do. Yet we pay no mind to what He has already told us, or is trying to tell us. We distort His Word so it fits our desires and not His. We want Jesus to follow us around as we go about our daily misadventures, and call on Him when we make a mess of things.

Jesus died so that He could give us a Teacher whereby we can understand the Book of Instructions He wrote for us. But do we listen to those instructions? Do we even bother to read the instructions and apply them to ourselves? Do we take the first baby-steps laid out for us to take? Or do we ask to be carried in one great leap to perfection and to be comforted in some Mansion in the Sky?


Should we expect God to help us with step two, when we haven't even bothered to apply step one?


SATAN AND THE CHURCH


We assume that Satan has been around from the beginning, egging on the World, trying to get all of God's creation on his side. And we assume that those of us in the Church, that is "Christians" are beyond the reach of Satan.

The Bible makes it very clear that this is not so.

To begin with, in the Old Testament Satan was rarely mentioned. And all through the wilderness flight of the Hebrew children, there is no mention of him trying to lead any of them astray. And surely, if old Satan had been after all Mankind, he would have been after Abraham, Joseph and Moses!

Yet, there was nothing said of him.


It is assumed by all (as far as I know) that Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Yet nowhere does the Bible say so. In fact, wherever the incident is mentioned in the Bible it is a serpent that did the tempting (2Cor 11:3). And where is that serpent today? He is crawling around the ground on his belly. Because the New Testament calls Satan a "serpent" it is assumed that Satan is the serpent in the Garden. The Bible does not say so. The Bible also calls Satan a "dragon," and a "Prince" (of darkness), and an "Angel" (of the abyss), and a "god" (of this world). Theologians have also called Satan "Lucifer" (Isa 14:12 Light Bearer or "Morning Star"), which Jesus says He is, and we are to be (Rev 2:28; 22:16; John 8:12; 12:46; Mat 5:14). The Bible does say something about Satan being an angel of light: it says Satan "Transforms himself" (disguise, masquerade) into an angel of light (2Cor 11:14).

Was Satan in the Garden? I believe he was. I believe he was doing the talking for the serpent, just as he spoke through Judas, and as he will speak through the Big and the Little Beasts of Revelation. But none of these are Satan, they merely serve as agents of Satan.

God uses agents as well. Jesus was an Agent of God. Angels are certainly used as agents, as were the Apostles, and as was a burning bush to Moses; and Moses stood in the stead of God to the Israelites; and a donkey served as agent to Balaam; and Jesus said that even the stones would be an agent of God if the Jews hadn't cried out at His Triumphal Entry.

And, more to the point, we are told that we are to be the agents of God to the World. That we are to be, and certainly will be: "Light Bearers" (James 1:17; John 1:4-10; 12:46; 8:12; Mat 5:14Phil 2:15).


Is there any place in the Old Testament where Satan specifically tempted someone? Yes, there is. Of course we have the experience of Job as a classic example of Satan's tempting those closest to God. And because of this temptation, Job gained, both in Worldly goods, and in his relationship to God.


Another example we have is one not mentioned very often, but it is none the less an important incident. It not only caused great problems for another who was closest to God, but for the nation of Israel as well, since they had to pay for this person's failure to overcome Satan.

In 1Chronicles 21:1 we find that old adversary planting ideas into the head of "a man after My own heart," says God Himself. And David is overcome, refusing to listen to council. There are other incidences of David failing to live up to God's standards, but there is nothing that says Satan had anything to do with those failings. They were, as it seems, his own weaknesses and lusts that caused his downfall.


Other references to Satan have to do with his relationship to Jesus and the Church, rather than to the Old Testament period. Here are all the references to Satan, including the temptations of Job and David. (For a much broader study on Satan, see Fantasies, Fables and Traditions -- Satan. I started the study a year ago, so it should be finished within the next year or so, surely):

Isa 14:4-23; Ezek 14:1-18; Chron 21:1-3; Job 1:1-12; 2:1-6; Psalm 109:4-8; Zech 3:1-7;

The following are from the New Testament. The word Satan is the same in the Greek as it is in the Hebrew with the added connotation of "devil' or "accuser":

Mat 4:1-11; 12:22-37; 16:21-23; Mark 1:9-13; 3:22-29; 4:13-15; 8:32-33; Luke 4:1-13; 10:17-19; 13:13-17; 22:1-4; 22:29-32; John 13:21-30; Acts 5:1-3; 26:14-18; Rom 16:17-20; 1Cor 5:1-6; 7:3-5; 2Cor 2:6-11; 5:3-5; 11:13-15; 12:7-8; 1Thes 2:17-20; 2:3-12; 1Tim 1:18-20; 5:11-14; Rev 2:8-28; 3:7-9; 12:1-17; 20:1-10


For those who like to believe that Satan can't touch them if they wear the "Christian" name tag, consider that it was the ones closest to Jesus who were tempted, not the World. Judas, of course was overcome by Satan; in Revelation the True Church has to handle the full force of Satan's wrath (I know, you've been told you'll be eating chicken in the sky. But some body is here standing up for the Lord!); and Jesus Himself was led by the Holy Spirit for no other reason than to be tempted by the old tempter. Jesus and the Apostles had to endure temptation by Satan - and we don't?? Hmmm.


As I see it, the churches are teaching everything backwards, especially when it comes to Satan and his purposes. Satan is not out there after the unconverted sinners. That is not his job. (And he is doing his job. He is not opposing God, but us.) His job is to try the faith of those who claim to be followers of Christ. The closer we get to Jesus and being like Him, the harder Satan will work on us to try and block our progress. Satan is the "Smith" that tests the jewels that are to go in the crown. He is the "Pruner" who cuts off the dead limbs of the Church. He is the "Forge" that tempers the pots so they can be used (Isa 54:16; 28:16; Rev 3:18).

Those vessels that break in the fire; those jewels that melt or explode in the furnace; those dead limbs that had no life in them - in other words, those "Christians" who fail to overcome, to endure to the end, will not be placed in the service of our Lord. It is the trying fires of this life that "try our mettle" and "Prove" us. We are to be thankful for these trials, just as John and Peter where when they stood before the Sanhedrin; or as Paul was in his many trials and persecutions, occasions that proved their worthiness to be in the presence of our Lord (Acts 5:41; 2Thes 1:11; Luke 14:28).


In the Old Testament there were but a few to be tried by Satan. That is not to say that Satan was not busy during those times, we can't say, but he certainly was not a key player in the scheme of things as he is now. In former times Man had all he could do to resist his own lusts and temptations. He did not need a devil to help him. Those who rose above such tendencies, such as David and Job, faced their Adversary.

Today Mankind is in the same dilemma. As in the Old Testament times, Man has all he can do to fight off his own lusts and desires. And for the unconverted Man, that is not even an issue since all he has is his lusts and desires; and he sees no reason to resist them.

As Christians this situation should no longer exist. Although in the churches we are taught that, like the World, we can do as we please and still be acceptable for Heaven (some add some "works" to this doctrine), the Bible does not tell us so. We, as Christians, possess a power far beyond that which the Old Testament Saints had. That Power is the Lord God Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit. And like Jesus, those who possess this Power will be lead through their valley of temptation in order to prove the quality of the vessel that houses this Power. Those with the Holy Spirit will welcome this trial "with joy" (James 1:2) because they see it as evidence that they are worthy to suffer with their Savior. Those without the Spirit, or who have been told that suffering means they are not in possession of the Holy Spirit, will resist the trial and plead to be relieved of it, rather than pray for the strength to endure it (Luke 22:31; John 17:15).


Satan was rarely mentioned in the Old Testament because he was not intended for that age. Yet he is spoken about and warned against many times, and strongly so for this age, because he is for this Church age.


PROMISES


The churches like to grasp on to every little promise offered to anybody in the Bible. This should not be so. What was promised to Abraham, was for Abraham. I should not expect to see my seed become "As the sands of the sea."

The same for the promises to David, or to any other of the Old Testament Saints. Theirs was a physical promise, that is a Land, and a long life if they followed the Lord.

The promises often spoken of in the churches, redirected toward us, were specifically given to the faithful Disciples who followed Jesus throughout His ministry. They were not to us! There are some promises made to us, if we overcome, as Jesus overcame, and endure to the end as Jesus and the Apostles did. The other promises that Pastors Cut Off their sermons are those that speak of burning dead limbs and "Wailing and gnashing of teeth" that is in store for the non-productive "servants."


We do not have a promise of land, nor of long life as was given the Saints of old. This was, and will once more (during the Millennium) be fulfilled for the Jews. But those Jews who were promised long life and land were not promised Eternal life, nor to Rule and Reign over the Jews and the other nations. This promise is reserved for the Church and the Overcomers (the "Seed of David"). And after the Millennium, that is, the completion of this age and the fulfilment of God's promise to the Jews, the earth will once more become as a Garden of Eden with only those who have proven themselves worthy to stand in the presence of God, who are in the "Image of God," and are in fellowship with Him.


UNCERTAIN SOUND


On the walls of the city there stands a watchman. This watchman's job is to keep a close eye out for invaders and other such forms of danger.

This watchman carries with him a shofar, that is a ram's horn (or silver) trumpet that he is to blow when danger approaches. But times of danger is not the only time he's to blow the shofar; he is to blow the shofar to call an assembly, to announce a celebration (or Feast Days), and as a call to worship.

The shofar was not only an instrument of war and merriment, but is also (and perhaps primarily) an instrument for the use of priests.


On our walls, that is the walls of the church, there are many, many watchmen. These men are there, supposedly, to insure the safety of those within the walls. We call these watchmen: Pastors, and Priests, and Elders, and Clergy. There are also assistant watchmen we call Theologians, and Teachers, and Commentators of the Word. And there are a multitude of other names given for those whose responsibility it is to assure the safety of those sheep within their fold.

The citizens of these cities (churches) are counting on the watchmen to know their stuff, and to keep a clear eye out for dangers such as false doctrine. This is certainly understandable. These watchmen have taken on the responsibility, and under normal circumstances have professed, to be fully competent and capable of the job.


But what if the watchman is not watching as he should? What if the watchman does not believe an enemy exists? Or if one does exist, that enemy could not possibly do his city any harm? What if the watchman is not as qualified as he supposes himself to be? What if the watchman has read the Manual he is to be fully acquainted with, but he has dyslexia or some other disability that causes him to misinterpret the Manual?

Or what if the watchman, although fully qualified and watching in earnest, finds he is without knowledge regarding the shofar, and when danger approaches he either can not blow the alarm, or sounds the call for celebration by mistake?


I see the churches as either being laxidaisycal in their duties or sounding the wrong call. I believe the churches, all of them, are either playing the trumpet like as if it were a toy, or, those who do blow the alarm do so without knowledge and have created: "The boy who cried wolf" syndrome where no one will pay any attention when there is real danger is at hand.


And the Citizens love it!


CHRISTIANS & CHRISTIANITY


I was just listening to a sermon, a very good sermon I might add, on sin in the congregation. As I listened I wondered why this Pastor was not responsive to my writings since it was obvious we are on the same path and working toward the same goal. This Pastor, it is clear, is not afraid to call sin for what it is, nor to confront his parishioners with their shortcomings. This is something I harp on in my studies, that is the falling away from the Gospel message and the watering down of "Christianity."

This Pastor, it appears to me, is reaching for those who are truly making an effort to live the life of a Christian. Here is one working hard to do just that, and dedicating his life toward that purpose. He and I, the Pastor, have the same goal - so why is it he seems to completely ignore my efforts?

Long after the tape was finished, the understanding as to why came to me. The difference is not in the message he and I publish. It's not in the words. The difference is in the understanding of what being a Christian is all about.

This Pastor, as with all Pastors and ministers, believe he is preaching to a room full of people who have been saved so therefore going to Heaven in spite of the sins they are blatantly committing. He believes, since these people he is trying motivate to do the right thing have said their Sinner's Prayer and been baptized, they can not fall away from Grace, so therefore cannot be lost.

What else can this or any other minister believe? That is all they hear except from the Catholic church and the Cults, which any Protestant assumes has to be wrong on every doctrine from the get-go.

Protestant equals Grace Alone, Eternal Security and Avoidance of any kind of Works. Mess with any of these doctrines and you'll find a chip on the shoulder of the Grace Aloner Protestant.

And there lies the conflict.

This Pastor, along with all others who are sincere and are truly wanting the best for their church and their congregation are not working to keep their listeners on the Straight and Narrow in effort to preserve their souls; they believe the Straight and Narrow has nothing to do with their souls. The consequence of sin isn't in question with these ministers; in their mind that issue has forever been settled and irreversible. No, the problem as they see is it is in the appearance of the Christian. It's not that sin makes the "Christian" a non-Christian in their eyes; it's that the "Christian" who acts Worldly is giving a black eye to the church, causing those of the World to look down on Christians thereby giving them reason to not perform the simple rituals that will give them the same "Eternal Salvation" the sinning "Christians" have. "If only those Worldly sinners could know that they can enter a church, say a few words, get their ticket to Heaven - then they can go back out into the World and continue their sinning." This is the view of the Protestant church. And those blatantly sinning "Christians" are keeping Heaven from filling up with self-serving people we all full-well know God is longing for.

Does the Bible support such a stance as that which I just mentioned? What did Paul say regarding sinners in the church? Didn't he tell the Corinthian church to put their unrepentant sinners out of the church so they wouldn't contaminate the Church? When someone is out of the church, therefore out of the Body of Christ where they are turned over to Satan, are they not separated from Christ? Wouldn't that indicate that sin is a barrier to God and fellowship with the sincere servants of God?

I have hundreds of pages of Scripture and writings supporting this view, it's not my purpose to try and prove anything here, just to point out the problem as I see it.


I am very glad I got to hear this tape, because it provided impetus to my search for the division between "Christianity" and being a Christian.

"Christianity" is something you sign up for and you are forever stuck with whether you like it or not. It is directed toward serving the man, the church, and the appearances of Godliness.

Being a Christian, on the other hand and in an Eternity sense, is not a matter of appearances, or of rituals, nor is it a safety net for man. Quite the contrary. Being a Christian is abandoning one's self and one's interests. It is something that overwhelms and devours you until there is nothing in you that can sin without feeling sick, repenting in a flood of tears. Appearances and other people's opinions mean nothing any more; only God's opinion matters to the Born Again Christian. Being a Christian means following Jesus the Christ into battle against the enemy, which is our own soul, in effort to serve Him.

The difference between Christianity and Being a Christian is a matter of direction. Whereas "Christianity" is directed toward self ("Become a Christian and save your soul"); Being a Christian means feeling totally inadequate for the service you have been elected to, and undeserving of whatever rewards that should happen to come with that service. Being a Christian is service, not self-serving. Being a Christian means doing all the things you always wanted to do, being the person you always believed you should be; but was never able to do or become except with the aid of the Holy Spirit.


When the churches and the minsters of the church start fulfilling the admonitions of Jesus and the Apostles as to what a Church should be, and stop worrying about the size of the church, or hurting someone's feelings - then the Church will become that which Pastors desire - a body of people the World can't look down their noses at and will desire to have what Christians have obtained.


PLAYING CHURCH


It appears to me that God, rather than being the strict Dictator of the Old Testament, is allowing the World to "Play Church" in what ever manner it chooses to do so. He allows us foolish mortals to make up rules and doctrines and apologetics that suit us and our fancy.

God has laid out His expectations for us very clearly, both by direct statements and commands, and by example. These examples include not only the Old Testament Saints and sinners, but the New Testament Apostles, as well as the theologians and ministers of their day - the Scribes, Pharisees, Priests and Sadducees. And to make sure we fully understand what He means, He came down here and led a life (and death) that perfectly portrayed His expectations of those He desires to be with Him in Paradise throughout Eternity.

As is the custom of Man, we, all of us, seek out that which satisfies ourselves and our comfort level. Some people are comfortable, and therefore satisfied with a backpack and a sandwich (daily bread). Others, especially in our Western culture, are not satisfied unless they have a fine house and car, the newest computer, the largest screen TV available, and servants bringing them seven-course meals on a silver platter. And this, I am afraid, is what we as a culture are teaching our children to expect.

Jesus said that only those satisfied with their daily bread are acceptable for Heaven. When a rich young ruler came to Jesus to find out what he must do to enter Heaven, Jesus told him his fine works were not sufficient, or even necessary, but that he must give up all he had and become like the riffraff who were looking for nothing more than to follow Jesus and be totally dependant on Him for their sustenance.

We want to feel secure. We want to make sure our needs and our wants are not only supplied, but secured for our future.

We seek out our comfort level.

Some people's comfort level is climbing ever higher mountains or struggling to be more proficient in whatever their endeavor. Others (almost all) find their comfort level lounging in front of their wide screen eating potato chips.

Myself, I am most comfortable riding my bicycle on long distance tours. But the rest of my family are not so, but rather feel more comfortable with sufficiency and stability. I don't say this to indicate that my comfort level is better, just different.


I suspect God is allowing us to "Play Church" down here on earth, allowing us to seek out our own comfort level, whatever that might be. I believe He is letting us function like mice in a maze, all trying to find the way to the "rewards" we seek, which for mice would be the cheese, each running here and there looking for the easiest way to get to that which pleases them.

There is a church realm, which for this purpose includes all the religions, cults and denominations. Each segment of that realm hangs out a sign indicating that theirs is the right path, and often the only path that leads to the goodies that brings one what he or she desires.

I believe that God is not really interested in any of the "boxes" we mice create and designate as "It." Nor does He care which "Box" we enter. I believe there is not a single box with the right answer, or even looking for the right answer because they have all built walls around that which they have already settled on as "truth," and will allow no one to alter or criticize that which they have embedded themselves in.

I believe that in each one of the multitude of boxes man has built there are individuals who are not content with reading the signs on the walls, or listening to the cavalier teachings from the pulpit or instructional material; but are looking for a Truth that comes from within that is blocked out from all the boxes.

I believe that God is looking for those souls who are courageous enough, and believe in Him enough to climb over the walls of doctrine and learn to follow Him by listening to Him through the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

I believe, when all is said and done, those who have listened to and followed God through the course He and His Apostles chose to follow will be "Caught Up" to His presence and His similitude.

And I believe this maze called "church" will be scraped along with the World into the pit reserved for Self-Serving humanity.


 

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