Is everyone a child of God?

Pastor Jermin shares a letter that he wrote to a friend who made that claim:

Regarding your assertion that the Bible ‘ultimately teaches that all of us are God’s children.’

The short response would be this: While the Bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16), and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16),  it is equally clear that only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12;11:52; Romans 8:16;1 John 3:1-10).

The longer answer is :

Outside of the 10th through 13th verses of John Chapter 1, which say (as translated in the King James Bible or KJV) :

10 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.

I can see where that would be a logical conclusion, especially in light of the many times that we see words like ‘all’ or ‘every’ or ‘world’.

The key becomes, in every case then, what the context of the Word usage is.

The only way to get to the intended meaning of a text (the only accurate meaning) is by asking and answering the following questions:

1) Who is speaking?

2) To Whom are they Speaking?

3) What was the intent?

A good example is the contention that God wants all people to be ‘saved’ using 2 Peter 3:9 as proof text. In the KJV, it is translated as: 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The words any and all figure prominently here, and at first glance it is quite easy to see how the conclusion can be drawn.

But a more careful reading of the verse shows that the word ‘us-ward’ precedes ‘any’ and ‘all’. We’re then forced to ask the question: ‘Who are the ‘us’ of whom Peter speaks’?

Verse 1 of the Chapter has a clue:  It says: ‘This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance’

This means then, that this is a second letter. This implies then, that there is a first.

Thankfully we have that letter, and it is in the Canon of scripture. The Epistle of 1st Peter begins:  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

From this we can deduce the following re: 2 Peter 3:9 what he is really saying is: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward (the Elect of God) , not willing that any (of the Elect of God) should perish, but that all (of the Elect of God)  should come to repentance.

This is in keeping with the statements made by Jesus Christ (as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.  41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is fairly clear that Jesus is not speaking of everyone in that he makes the distinction that ‘all that the Father Gives me’ will come, meaning of course, that not all people were given to Him by the Father. This is borne out by the fact that after the crucifixion and resurrection the Bible records fewer that 500 believers.

Jesus is even more succinct in the 8th Chapter of John’s Gospel, when in a discussion with the Pharisees, beginning at verse 39:

Our father is Abraham!” they replied. “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41 You’re doing what your father does.”

“We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Who among you can convict Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.”

Consider these other NT passages:

Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.  – Ephesians 1:5

The children of the flesh … are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.  – Romans 9:8

He that committeth sin is of the devil … Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.  – 1 John 3:8-10

As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  – Romans 8:14

Now this does not mean that God does not Love everyone: As one of my favorite preachers, John MacArthur says:

“The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God’s attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love. We know from Scripture that God is compassionate, kind, generous, and good even to the most stubborn sinners. Who can deny that these mercies flow out of God’s boundless love? Yet it is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.

Scripture clearly says that God is love. “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9). Christ even commands us to love our enemies, and the reason He gives is this: “In order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). The clear implication is that in some sense God loves His enemies. He loves both “the evil and the good,” both “the righteous and the unrighteous” in precisely the same sense we are commanded to love our enemies.

In fact, the second greatest commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31; cf. Lev. 19:18), is a commandment for us to love everyone. We can be certain the scope of this commandment is universal, because Luke 10 records that a lawyer, “wishing to justify himself … said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Lk. 10:29)—and Jesus answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The point? Even Samaritans, a semi-pagan race who had utterly corrupted Jewish worship and whom the Jews generally detested as enemies of God, were neighbors whom they were commanded to love. In other words, the command to love one’s “neighbor” applies to everyone. This love commanded here is clearly a universal, indiscriminate love.”
But it does not say that everyone is God’s Child.

Tools For The Trial

An transcription of an Old sermon of mine. May it Bless you today:

Abide & Abound, or; Tools for the trial – 05/27/06

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

That is easy to read, but Hard to do, isn’t it.

Why? Because:

We have misunderstood the reality of our connection to the church. It is an internal connection not external, and because we fail to understand this, we become anchored to, and enslaved by, the buildings and organizations that we tether ourselves to. Instead of being attached, we become entrenched. Jesus made it plain that:

  • Worship is not tied to a locality, and the Church is not a building.
     – John 4:19-24.
    Paul echoed the sentiment, in that it is not about created things, and God is nigh thee

Acts 17:19-34

People going to church for feelings. Feel Good religion, non-confrontational Gospel.

You know, the all things work, etc. positive confessions, etc.. Focus on Praise. Corporate, modern, sophisticated, church

But the Spirit of the Lord let Paul that this would happen 2000 years ago

 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Recently I shared about the Barna Group website. George Barna has written one of the most startling books of the past five years: Revolution. Reading that book caused me to want to find out more about what he does, so I went to his website.  While on his site, I came across a page dealing with Statistics that his research group gathered re: the Faith of African Americans. I was intrigued, and a bit upset, to say the least, because according to the Barna group’s findings:

Although 75% of us believe that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator who rules the world today, and 83% of us say our religious faith is very important in their lives….

  • Only 10% of us believe moral truth is absolute.

This goes right back to what I keep screaming. Until we teach God’s people to WORSHIP, Until the People of God have an Isaiah 6 experience, Until we as ministers, worship leaders, and whatever else we call ourselves, model Worship in our day to day living, until we teach foundational Bible truth, and Stress the importance and NECESSITY for Worship and Holiness, Our churches will be full of people who believe that:

  1. A) Sin is relative B) Holiness is optional C) Righteousness is tentative

D) Holiness is conceptual at best E) Righteous Ethical living is situational

People MUST know, that charismatic preachers, slammin’ choirs and a Shout and dance DO NOT get you anywhere near the LORD! No matter how many tongues folk speak in.

You want the formula? The Lord says:

Humble yourself and pray, seek my face and turn from your wicked ways. Draw night unto me and I will draw night unto you, but you must clean your hands, and purify your hearts.

– 2 Chron 7:14 – , James 4:8)

Humble yourself in my sight, and I will lift you up, for a broken spirit and contrite heart I will not despise.,  – James 4:10, Psalm 51:17

Study to shew thyself approved, for I need knowledgable workmen that can go forth without fear, because they know me, and my Word. – 2 Timothy 2:15  

Because the hour comes, in fact, it now is, when the true worshippers will Worship me in Spirit and in truth, for I am a Spirit, and I seek these to Worship me.  – John 4:23-24

 

Everybody’s got drama, it is part of life, as Solomon so aptly put it in Ecclesiastes 9:11

 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

  • 3 Types of people, many types of Praise. There are only 3 types of people:
    1. Those facing a trial or valley,
    2. Those in the midst of a trial or valley,
    3. Those who are on the way to the next one.

Those of you who are facing or in the midst are probably finding it harder to Praise and Worship. Here’s some perspective for you:

Life is peaks and valleys, but we want to go mountain to mountain. Glory to glory

Why? Because Goliath is in the valley and the Philistines are on the other side.

 

Worship causes you to KNOW your God, and KNOW yourself. Knowing God allows you to have David’s perspective when facing your Goliath. As Daniel put it

Daniel 11:32b  – But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.1

But how do you get through the valley?

1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

But how can you do that?

Dr. Roy Blizzard in his book Let Judah Go Up First. Recounts the following story:

In the book of Judges, chapter 1, verses 1-12, Israel is preparing for battle and they inquire of the Lord, Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites? The Lord tells them …Judah is to go. Later, in Judges 20:18 we find, …who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites? The Lord replied, Judah shall go first.

There were twelve tribes of Israel. Why should Judah be called upon to go up first? The Hebrew word translated as Judah is used many times in English as PRAISE. So the scripture could be translated as, LET PRAISE GO UP FIRST. This is good advice for us when facing struggles or battles. Let us first praise. This is both an act of faith and submission. Praise God before the battle is entered; anyone can praise when the battle is over and won. Only by faith can we praise at the start.

 

We want to praise and praise accurately. To help us understand what this is about, we will look into some of the Hebrew words translated as praise.

 

  • For us to let Judah go up first is to recognize that our battles are spiritual and must be fought in the spirit. When we let Judah go up first, we confess the attributes of God

2 Corinthians 10:4-5  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting 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;

  • Here are some tools to use, straight from the Word…
  • At all times

GADAL (Gah Dahl) – Often translated “magnify,” it is used as a synonym of praise. In Psalms 34:4 and 69:31, it literally means “to cause to become great.” Gadal calls the worshipper to ascribe greatness to the Lord and His name.

  • As you face the valley

TOWDAH – (To-Daw) -To give worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreeing with what has been done or will be. This word is commonly found in connection with sacrifice-applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before reception or manifestation. Thanking God for something that I don’t have in the natural. Agreeing with His Word – faith in His Word. This form of praise goes in operation just because His Word is true. “Father, I thank YOU that YOUR WORD is TRUE. As we raise our hearts and hands in praise to the Lord, it involves a sacrifice, especially if one is very sick in body. The carnal mind would fight and ridicule this particular action, but there is great faith in TOWDAH as praise. The lifting of the hand symbolizes agreement. The right hand symbolizes my covenant with my

Father. As I go through the scriptures, God is seen extending His Right Hand to me. That’s the covenant. When He extends His right hand to me, He’s saying to me – ALL THAT I AM IS YOURS, and when I extend my right hand to Him, I am saying “All that I am is yours and I agree with what You’re saying. It is the sacrifice that God honors by His performing of miracles.

 

The ATTITUDE for TOWDAH is: I’m thanking God. I’m agreeing with God that it is as He says. I don’t care what it looks like. I’m agreeing with what His Word says. Example: Father, I thank You that I am healed. Scripture: Psalm 42:4, 50:23, Jer. 17:26

  • In the midst of the valley:

YADAH  (Yaw-Daw) – To worship with the extended hand. The giving of oneself in worship and adoration. To lift your hands unto the Lord. It carries the meaning of absoulute surrender as a young child does to a parent – “pick me up, I’m all yours”.  Scriptures: Gen. 29:35, 2 Chron. 7:6, 20:21, Psalms 9:1, 28:7, Psalms 33:2, 42:5,11, 49:18,

Isaiah 12:1

Yadah in practice – Lift my hands to Him and say how I am surrendering myself to Him. List the ways that I am surrendering to Him. Be diligent. Be disciplined. Be specific. Take the discipline and SAY to the Lord how I am surrendering to Him. With my hands uplifted – surrender unto my God – spirit, soul & body. Totally commit myself to my father.

 

  • The victory cry!

SHABACH – (Shaw-Bakh) – to address in a loud tone, a loud adoration, a shout! Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the GLORY, TRIUMPH, POWER, MERCY, LOVE OF GOD. This word implies that testimony is praise. The phrase “shout unto the Lord” can be understood as the action of SHABACH. It is not just being loud. You should have the attitude of putting your whole being into it, an attitude of being totally uninhibited. Scripture: Psalm 117:1, 63:3-4

 

  • Elder Pointer ministered last week about testing and chastisement, how God sends or allows both, but they are different things for different purposes. I was thinking about that, and there it was, the reason for the valleys…

 

Romans 12:1-3 I 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.

And 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. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Could the trials, the valleys, could they be to remind us of the one on whom we rely

The one in whom we live and move and have our being? This is why we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

You see when you change your mind, you change yourself! That’s the experience Isaiah had, and the woman at the well had…

I dare you to step back and take a LONG look, a LONG look at your circumstances,

And figure out what you need to change. Then you know what you got to do…

Change Your MIND!

Now I see some of you sisters looking over at your husbands, and some of you brothers looking at your wives. That’s not what I’m talking about.. Amen? Amen!

You’re asking: “How am I supposed to renew my mind?”

Well here’s a simple start. Turn the TV off, and Open your Bible!

Call your cable company, and cancel that playboy channel, start watching the WORD network!

Put down the knife and fork, and pick up your Bible!

Turn off the 50cent, and turn on Fred Hammond!

Hmmm. It’s awful quiet in here… But that’s good. Work Holy Ghost, have your way…

For those that are thinking, None of that applied to me, I’m all right now, why would I wanna change my mind? Well brothers and sisters, the answer is in the next sentence of Romans 12:2

that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

“Prove it to who Pastor Cyril?”

Well Jesus answered that one in Matthew 5: 13-16

No need to turn to it, just write it down…

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither 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. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

You see there is a responsibility in serving God. God has certain expectations of us.

They’ve got to see your good works, yes, WORKS!

You and me, we are employees, you see.

Of Jesus, Inc.  And the boss expects productivity!

Some of us are very productive, out in the vineyard, working. Doing the work, fighting the good fight, pressing on towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

Praise the Lord! Others of us got hired, worked for a while, then went on break! I ain’t callin you out, you know who you are. You’ve been in the break room so long that you forgot what your desk looks like! But I’m here to tell you today, I’ve got to pass this message on from the boss:

Break Time is Over! Look at somebody and say Break Time is Over!

Look around you! There is work to be done!

Look at your neighbor and say… “There is work to be done.”

Some of you are on vacation. That’s all right… For a time.

He understands that we get weary, and need to rest…

But some of you are thinking about not coming back to work. Things have gotten too hard. Situations have made you weary…

Like them that’s on leave, but I got a Word for you BENEFITS!

Say Benefits!

Psalms 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Psalms 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Psalms 116:12  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

 

David said this in Psalm 139
1 O LORD , you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD .
5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

 

  • He knows, and he understands. You might be discouraged, you might be beat down, might not want to go on, but remember the benefits, brothers and sisters. Remember the benefits!

Psalm 91
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

You see, if you stay close, you will abide. You will Abide

Y’all didn’t hear me! You will abide!  Glory to God!

Ok, let me break it down… Help me Holy Ghost….

  • To abide means to:  Remain in a place. To continue to be sure or firm; To endure.

Think about it. If you dwell in the secret place of the Most high God,

You will remain under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s peace!

You will continue to be sure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s confidence!

You will continue to be firm, under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s security!

You will Endure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s power!

When you Abide, Surely he shall deliver thee!

He shall cover thee! under his wings shalt thou trust!

When you Abide, His truth shall be thy shield and buckler!

Thou shalt not be afraid of anything!

 

When you Abide,

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee!

When you Abide,

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee!

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways

You’re gonna abide! Oh somebody Praise Him!! Hallelujah


It’s in your mouth, let it out

For those of you who don’t think it takes all of this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  –  John 1:1-3,

If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.  – Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! – Psalm 81:1

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  – Psalm 95:1-3

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD.  Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say:”Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” – Isaiah12: 1-6

And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.  – Joshua 6:16  

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. – Psalms 5:11  

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. – Psalms 32:11  

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. – Psalms 35:27  

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. – Psalms 47:1

AMEN!

 

The Lie of :’Judge Not’ & ‘Touch Not’ (pt.2)

By Pastor Jermin

Note: If you have not read Part One, you can Click Here

The following is a transcript from the December 31st edition of my show on blogtalkradio.com called ‘A New Day For You’

The Conundrum:

1) We are waging a Spiritual War, against unseen enemies

Ephesians 6:12 – For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.)

2) The War has physical manifestations and ramifications

James 1:14-15 – 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death

3) But we fight With Spiritual weapons

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – 3 For 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;) 5 Casting 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;

4) So the only thing that is tangible to us is our Faith in Him, and the result of the fight win or lose.

Ephesians 6:10-11 10 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.)

2 Peter 1: 3 – 8 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 ¶And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord YAHshuah Christ.


The Lie of Judge Not Part II

I continue to be both saddened and amused by well meaning Christians who think that it is somehow harsh, judgmental, unkind or unloving to “name call” the so called ‘shepherds’ who preach an aberrant, heretical ‘gospel’ in the name of YAHshuah, and fleece the flock. I am provocative and confrontational to be sure, and this is purposely, and (purposefully) done. I am not the first, nor will I be the last. In fact, there is a LONG history of this in the Church, beginning with the Master himself. Let’s take a moment to examine the words of Yahshuah, and wonder aloud to know one in particular, how his words would be treated today…

Mat 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. (28) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

In these verses, Yahshuah calls the religious leaders of his day, hypocrites, and graves. Keep in mind that the name Pharisee in its Hebrew form means separatists, or the separated ones. They were also known as chasidim, which means loyal to God, or loved of God –

By today’s standards, this seems pretty mild, but to those who heard it, it was the highest insult. Why?

1) The Word hypocrite in Hebrew is חנף

Pronounced chânêph, which means soiled with sin. In essence he was calling them unclean. In the 23rd chapter of Matthew alone, he uses this term 8 times (More about this below…)

Additionally, the Jews were familiar with the words of the prophet Isaiah who said:


Isa 33:10-17
Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. (11) Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. (12) And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. (13) Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. (14) The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (15) He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (16) He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. (17) Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

And the book of Job, which says:
Job 15:34-35
For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. (35) They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

So Yahshuah is saying that the ‘loved of God’ are unclean, desolate (without offspring or heir), and doomed to death…

No wonder they wanted to kill him.

2) Because corpses were unclean and anyone touching a body was unclean. Hence graves were particularly unclean, and no law abiding Jew would even touch a grave, because they would be unclean for 7 days. The scripture is here, and verse 13 is of special interest:

Num 19:11-16 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. (12) He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. (13) Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. (14) This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. (15) And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean. (16) And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

So, in short, Yahshuah was telling them that not only are they unclean, but that they, the ‘loved of God’ in fact shall be cut off from Israel, and their uncleanness is on them… In essence, he said ‘Y’all are beyond redemption, you alone are to blame for it, and you’re goin ta HELL’…No wonder they wanted to kill him.


Mat 23:29-32 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, (30) And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. (31) Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. (32) Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

In these verses, Yahshuah calls them (in addition to hypocrites), murderers. This HAD to be troubling to the Pharisees, who knew the 10 commandments contain this ominous phrase…

Exo 20:5b …I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Is it any wonder that they wanted to kill him?

Or how about this gem:

Mat 12:30-37 He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. (31) Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. (32) And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come. (33) Either make the tree good and its fruit good: or make the tree evil, and its fruit evil. For by the fruit the tree is known. (34) O generation of vipers, how can you speak good things, whereas you are evil? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (35) A good man out of a good treasure bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of an evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (36) But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment. (37) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

In this passage, he is once again pointing to Himself as the only good shepherd, calling the religious leaders evil, bearers of bad fruit, scatterers not gatherers, and vipers.

Here’s the symbolism, when people would go out to gather firewood to cook, keep warm, whatever, they would put the sticks in bundles. Small poisonous snakes (vipers) would often hide in the bundles, and because they were hard to see, would bite, and sometimes kill the unsuspecting person. So they who claimed to know and be Loved by God, were in fact scatterers of the sheep, blasphemers against the Spirit of God, and murderous snakes…

Would you be yelling

Touch not!  Judge Not! at Yahshuah?

So now, here we are, some 2000 years later, with many of those in prominence within the so-called church, calling themselves Bishop/Prophet, Master Prophet, Archbishop, Prophetess, Overseer, and on and on. They proclaim themselves to be ‘God’s anointed’, and they and their minions threaten ‘damnation and penalty’ if you speak against them.

Isn’t this the same thing? Those proclaiming themselves to be God’s beloved. What would Yahshuah say about them?

And by the way, Who is God’s anointed????

1 Jn 2:24-27 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (26) These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. (27) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

YOU ARE GOD’S ANOINTED!!! Understand what I am saying dear one…

YOU ARE GOD’S ANOINTED!!!

And have you ever asked yourself where, when these people are caught, is the repentance?

Fathering children outside of their marriages, affairs with parishioners, molesting children, fathering children with their brother’s wives, stealing money, teaching heresy, promoting greed, beating their spouses, multiple marriages, endorsing Hip- Hop culture, appearing on profanity and misogyny laden rap albums, cursing in the pulpit, say they’re ‘keeping it real’, promoting idolatry, equating material wealth with blessing, putting people under yokes of bondage, lying, flat out pimping the sheep…

and you beloveds, when these things are brought up, jump up and scream, ‘Touch not’, ‘judge not’, ‘don’t put your mouth on’, and the rest of that.

Well what about this scripture?

2 Corinthians 7:8-13

8 “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.

Verse 10 says that 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death, and verse 11 lists 7 results of Godly sorrow:

1) Earnestness,

2) Eagerness to clear themselves

3) Indignation

4) Alarm

5) Longing

6) Concern

7) Readiness to see justice done.

Do you see those things? Of course you don’t…

But you’re screaming touch not, not realizing that YOU ARE GOD’S ANOINTED, and these folk are touching you, your children, and your wallet!!! Wake up People, PLEASE!

please….

Just in case you missed Part One

The Lie of :’Judge Not’ & ‘Touch Not’ (pt.1)

By Pastor Jermin

The following is a transcript from the December 10, 2009 edition of my show on blogtalkradio.com called ‘A New Day For You’

“We are egalitarian when it comes to truth, but elitist when it comes to people, and it should be the other way around” – Dr. Ken Boa

“Many who preach about love, have no idea what biblical love teaches.” – Dr. Ken Motto

My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;
– King Solomon – Prov. 3:21

Before you continue, I believe that there is something that you should know about me:

I am intolerant.

I am bigoted, judgmental, and Pharisaic. I am ‘deep’, unyielding, and without love. How do I know? I’ve been told/called this on the internet so it must be true. Most often, I am called this by well-meaning Christians who ‘warn me in love’ when I make comments about false doctrine, bad theology, or point out issues involving Pastors, preachers, ‘Prophets’ and ‘Prophetesses’ and other ‘Christertainers’.

What I usually get is along the lines of:

‘Brother, be careful when you ‘put your mouth on’ xxx, you know the Bible says touch not God’s anointed…’ or

‘Who are you to judge xxx! You are wrong! Only God can judge, and the Bible says Judge not.’

So where did this mindset come from? When did we abdicate our God-Ordained moral responsibility, and stop being the light on the hill, the pillar (support) and ground (foundation) for the truth?

Let’s take a moment and look the scriptures that the ‘judge not’ ‘touch not’ proponents like to use to support their contentions:

Let’s take touch not first. As you can see from our reading of Psalm 105, (and if you have not read it, please do) the context of this verse is in reference to the treatment of the Hebrew children in the wilderness, and is COMPLETELY out of context in its modern pseudo-apologetic use. The same is true for 1st Samuel 24.

The Lord’s anointed were the Kings and Priesthood, none of which we have today,

Instead we have today a better covenant, and we are all Priests

Now as for Judge not… Matthew 7:1 / Luke 6:37

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (Luke 6:37)

Remember now family, we are totally against prooftexting, which is, as you remember

according to wikipedia,

“the practice of using decontextualised quotations from a document (often, but not always, a book of the Bible) to establish a proposition.”

Why do we have a problem with this? Because often times, the passage or document, when read as a whole, may not in fact support the proposition.

We dealt with this issue when we talked about the fallacy of the tithe doctrine in November.

Or in short, text without context is PREtext

So what’s the context of Matthew 7:1, and Luke 6:37

At Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan, Jesus was talking to the multitudes gathered there after hearing of His message and of His healings to beseech them to not become like the pharisees and hypocrites who think they are above sin.

* Jesus’ use of “hypocrite” in this verse is “hupokrites” {hoop-ok-ree-tace’} meaning an actor, stage player, a dissembler, pretender.

Now, I would ask, is this a threat or promise? It depends on how you choose to look at it.

For us, is it a promise.

1) What does it mean to judge?

In today’s parlance, it means not to say anything about someone’s lifestyle, behavior, conduct of beliefs…

This is contrary to scripture, in that Jesus (and we are to be conformed into His image according to Romans 8:29) did a lot of what we would call ‘judging’ today

Calling folks Vipers: Matt 3:7, 12:34, 23:33, Luke 3:7

Concentrate on Matt 23: Blind, fools, vipers, sepulchers, etc…

Was Jesus being a hypocrite when he said in John 7 that we should judge?

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Or what about Paul’s letters, where we find things like:?

1Cor. 6:2-3 Do you not know that the saints [the saved; Christians] will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

Or this:

Philippians 1:3-11  – I give praise to my God at every memory of you, And in all my prayers for you all, making my request with joy, Because of your help in giving the good news from the first day till now; For I am certain of this very thing, that he by whom the good work was started in you will make it complete till the day of Jesus Christ: So it is right for me to take thought for you all in this way, because I have you in my heart; for in my chains, and in my arguments before the judges in support of the good news, making clear that it is true, you all have your part with me in grace. For God is my witness, how my love goes out to you all in the loving mercies of Christ Jesus. And my prayer is that you may be increased more and more in knowledge and experience; So that you may give your approval to the best things; that you may be true and without wrongdoing till the day of Christ; Being full of the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

2 instances: Paul has judged (made a decision) about them in verse 7, and then he encourages them to judge/ or discern in verse 10

2) Are we afraid to speak out for fear of being judged in return?

Another way that Christ’s suffering helps us is that Christ, by embracing the human condition and experiencing the hardships, weaknesses and temptations of human life, became the perfect candidate to help us along the way.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

This is good news for us struggling sinners. Sometimes, we are tempted to despair, like Judas, thinking that our Lord, Jesus will not understand and forgive us after we have betrayed him once again. But he will understand and he will forgive if, like Peter, we refuse to give up. “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)

The promise God made to Jeremiah:

Jer 1:17-19

(17) Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

(18) For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.

(19) And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.

Is exceeded by the promise Jesus made to His disciples

(which includes us):

Matt 28:18-20

(18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

(19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

(20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

• The Pew Forum survey: Christians believe Jesus was/is a liar? According to The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

2009 – According to the poll, 22 percent of Christians, for example, say they believe in reincarnation – that people will be reborn in this world again and again. Twenty-three percent, meanwhile, believe in astrology. And 15 percent have consulted a fortuneteller or a psychic.

Not surprising, however, is Pew’s observation that white evangelical Protestants consistently express lower levels of acceptance of both Eastern beliefs (reincarnation, yoga) and New Age beliefs (spiritual energy in physical things and astrology).

Roughly one-in-ten white evangelicals, for example, believes in reincarnation, compared with 24 percent among mainline Protestants, 25 percent among both white Catholics and those unaffiliated with any religion, and 29 percent among black Protestants.

2007 – last year surveyed 35,000 Americans, and found that 70% of respondents agreed with the statement “Many religions can lead to eternal life.” Even more remarkable was the fact that 57% of Evangelical Christians were willing to accept that theirs might not be the only path to salvation, since most Christians historically have embraced the words of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, that “no one comes to the Father except through me.” Even as mainline churches had become more tolerant, the exclusivity of Christianity’s path to heaven has long been one of the Evangelicals’ fundamental tenets. The new poll suggests a major shift, at least in the pews.

Now for the question: Are their many ways to get to Heaven?

First off we cannot base our beliefs on the way we feel of what others think or say.

The scriptures say that GOD is right and every man is a liar. Just because some said something doesn’t mean it is true. Just because the majority goes with it doesn’t mean it is right. The majority of the world thought the world was flat at one time, and they were wrong.

In Romans 3:4 the scripture says

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but EVERY MAN A LIAR; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

John 14:1-11

(1) Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me.

(2) In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

(3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

(4) And whither I go, ye know the way.

(5) Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; how know we the way?

(6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.

(7) If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

• Contrary to the beliefs of some: Jesus identifies himself as deity several times, so He is more than just a prophet, or sage, or guide…

(8) Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

(9) Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father?

(10) Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works.

(11) Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

John 10:24-33

(24) Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

(25) Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

(26) But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

(27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

(28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

(29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

(30) I and my Father are one.

(31) Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

(32) Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

(33) The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

John 17:1-17

John 17:17 (HCSB)  –  Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.

Compare that with   John 14:5-6 (HCSB)
5  “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”
6  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 

He is the Word, proclaims John 1:1, and the Word (The Logos) is God!

The fact is that the so-called church in America is dying, brethren, and it is not for lack of ‘love’ or ‘tolerance’ or ‘political correctness’.

It is in fact because we no longer speak the truth in love. The American church is fast becoming a powerless, self-absorbed shell, a walking corpse.

(and I have the statistics to prove it)

We placate, cajole and fondle, seeking to be seen as ‘loving and nice’ because ‘Jesus is love’. We teach a watered-down comfortable Gospel or no Gospel at all, to make Christianity palatable, accessible and socially relevant. Forgetting that GOD is HOLY and RIGHTEOUS and we will all give an account.

The most loving thing that we can do for someone else is to share the Gospel.

The Most loving thing that we can tell people is lead them through the Romans Road.

But we don’t… Why?

Because we’re not judging…

We Pastors have done awful job of teaching the flock the truth of the Gospel, we have not equipped the saints, and as a result, are responsible for much of what is seen around us in America.

Because we have striven to be celebrities ourselves, we feed into the idolatrous culture that America is. We have failed. Because we ourselves have bought into the world’s measures of success, we have made allowances for unrighteousness, no longer hear from God, but know all of the right formulas for church growth… So we feed the sheep on dry brown grass

As a result, we have a massive amount of skinny malnourished and poorly taught sheep crowding into huge pens Sunday after Sunday to be entertained.

Those of us that are aware of it are doing all that we can to fight against it, but it is like salmon swimming against the stream.

Jesus wanted and planned for big strong tough sheep, and that’s what he trained.

They were ‘deep’, and they were honest, like their Master.

They told the truth at great personal cost, and died for it, like their Master.

Why are we not like them?

Our Master is the same one, is He not?

But we love this verse don’t we:

Galatians 2:20 –  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

One of the things that I have been talking to my group about is the idea of ‘reputational martyrdom’. We may not be killed physically anymore, but the truth of Mark 8:35 – “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” remains

It is only when we are no longer afraid to ‘die’ to our reputations, carefully crafted images, and comfortable social situations, that we really become his disciples, and scripture bears that out…

But we won’t do that, because it’s uncomfortable. We are so good at doing ‘church’ and being religious, but so bad at being Christians.

This is why groups like the Westboro Baptist church can spring up, saying the most hateful atrocious things in the name of God, and they get air time.

If we were doing what we should be doing, they’d have no members and get no attention, but the sorry fact is that much of what they say is true, and because it’s packaged in with the vitriol that they spew, it all gets disregarded. How sad.

So when we say the same things that they say (those things that are correct) what happens? Labels and epithets.. But why should we have it any different. They pulled Jesus beard out of his face. (Isaiah 50:6)

Hmmm…

It’s not over,

Here is a link to Part Two

Why post about Eddie Long after his death?

A brother asked me this week, the following questions:

“… you have been posting a lot of stuff about Eddie Long. Why and what is the reason? The man is dead and buried now.”

I responded:

Sorry that it took me so long to respond bro. I was not ignoring your comment/query.

Though seemingly a simple question, it is a layered one. As such it requires a tiered response. My attempt follows:

  • We are required to walk in Truth, and there is a paucity of that in the modern ‘church’, especially when it comes to our ‘leaders’. The man may be dead and buried, but his legacy (positive and negative) live on. As such, I am resistant to the idea that because he is dead, we must ignore the carnage that the man left, and focus solely on the good that he did. It does a HUGE disservice to those who have been harmed, and to that which calls itself ‘church’.
  • I am a Pastor, and I am always painfully aware of my shortcomings and failures. It is clear always to me that I am a recipient of a great GRACE. That said, we tend to in the ‘church’, especially in the organizations that employ what is called ‘The Great man Model’, elevate our pastors to near sainthood if not outright deification. That is IDOLATRY plain and simple.
  • The Bible is clear that there is only ONE man who lived His entire life without sin. The rest, even the great ones, achieved despite or in the face of, their sin, and we are told about their sin as a reminder and an encouragement. How dare we discuss people today as though they have no sin?
  • I knew the man. We were a part of the same organization for several years, in fact we for a time, referred to the same man as spiritual father. The man that I knew was humble, self-effacing, and willing to be clear about the pain of his childhood, and the scars that he bore. But it was clear even then, that there was an underlying issue when it came to the question of sexual sin. The truth is that; issues which are not addressed, not resolved, though they may reside below the surface or in a closet, will erupt, or the door will open. When they do, especially in these type or organizational systems that focus on ‘The Great man’ as the engine, measures of deceit or cover up must be employed in order to keep the machine rolling. This involves other people in the sin.
  • For us who are, as the Bible says, Elders, Pastors, we are to be beyond reproach (1Tim 3:2) this does not mean without sin, but it does mean that repetitive, consistent, habitual sin is a disqualifier. The Bishop because of this behavior, and because of the errant doctrines that he was teaching (which we can discuss at another time) was disqualified.

I hope that this was not too long… God Bless you bro.

SDG

Sin and Forgiveness: My (final?) public thoughts on the Eddie Long

Originally published by Pastor Jermin June 8, 2011, at the height of the Eddie Long sex scandal.

It is true that I pastor a house or simple church, but in my travels, I have spent many years in the ‘traditional’ denominational system, and in the Mega-Church.
During my Mega-church time, the pastor began to teach what he called ‘principles’. At first I was impressed by this new thing, thinking it to be innovative, clever, and full of wisdom. But subtly, almost imperceptibly, they began to supplant what they were intended to supplement. The scripture
(Please note that I will be dealing with this in a later blog post)

I do however remember two of the principles, which are apropos in this moment:

1) Error increases with distance and
2) Success reinforces error

What do these things mean, you ask?
Consider the following:
1), the further that you are away from an object, a concept, an event or a truth, the harder it is to properly discern just what it is/was. Perception is skewed by things that create distance, like time, and actual space (distance). This increases the potential for and probability of error exponentially, as the distance increases.

2), if you do something and it works out for you, you’ll do it again. This is true whether the thing is positive or negative, right or wrong. In fact you’ll be more apt to repeat it with even less consideration and planning. This is especially true if one measures success pragmatically (what works, or is expedient) as opposed to what is right or righteous…
A wonderful example of this type of thinking can be found in the Gospel of John, the 11th Chapter:
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, You know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. – John 11:45-50
Nor can we forget the classic example which took place at man’s beginning – (Genesis 3:1-6)

What does this have to do with the Bishop? Well, as I have oft-said, Bishop Long drifted into aberration long ago, and few if any in the ‘church community’ chastened, or corrected him when his theology changed, his doctrine slipped, and he drifted into error, dragging thousands down with him. I believe that this is primarily because it appeared that he was having success. But a review of his doctrines over the past few years, in retrospect shows a clear departure from orthodoxy. (I will not in this post recount the many statements that were made over the years, they are readily available on the internet, and elsewhere in this blog.)

For this reason, the most recent debacle is almost a moot point, in that it (or something much like it ) had to be expected, it was a foregone conclusion, an inevitability, but it must be asked; Where were the people that were supposed to speak truth to him? Where were his ‘friends’??? Where was the Nathan to his David?

Probably cast aside years ago, or summarily ignored.

(Please note that I am by NO means equating Pastors with Kings. Pastors are little more than the sheepdogs in the pen that help the master pasture the sheep, the reference merely helps to illustrate the point. Please see 2 Samuel 12:1-15)

I guarantee you that Bishop was hearing ‘You are the man’ from all the enabling wolf-pups around him, but it was for all the wrong reasons…

He, as so many powerful (and powerfully deluded) men tend to, surrounded himself with ‘yes men’ and enablers, hoping to hide his sin. It is arrogant, ignorant, and an act of treason against the Father and His Kingdom.

(Before you accuse me of being presumptuous or throwing stones, consider that SOMEONE other than those young men, knew of the Bishop’s ‘proclivities’. That big a secret required a team of individuals to manage it for sure, and make no mistake they are ALL guilty as well, which in itself is ANOTHER reason to settle)

But now the cat is out of the bag, and confidentiality agreement or not, the sins have come to light…

Consider this, from Steven Strang, Editor of Charisma Magazine. In an article published June 1 2011:

“In 2006, I heard rumors about Bishop Long allegedly being involved in homosexuality. Long had built a great church in Atlanta. We once featured him on the cover of Charisma and his influence went far beyond Atlanta. I had great respect for him and published one of his books.
Since he was speaking at a large expo we were sponsoring a few weeks later, I felt I needed to talk to him. I tried repeatedly to make an appointment to warn him that there were rumors and to ask if they were true. He refused to talk to me and cancelled the speaking engagement. Saddened, I just quietly took his book out of print and withdrew any support we had given him.” The complete article is here

Was Strang the only one who had heard the ‘whisperings’? I doubt it. He is several levels removed from the Bishop. It must be assumed then, that many in his ‘peer group’ heard too, but did nothing. We can all sit back and present numerous theories as to why this is the case, I believe that it is akin to GM not warning Chrysler about potential safety hazards (not that Chrysler would listen. It is, after all, all about the money. But this is ministry, you say. Really? Not so much… The more sheeple in the pens, the more wool in the barn baby, and you know we gotta keep warm…

For you who are his defenders: Many of you decried and excoriated the Roman Catholic church, for its deliberate and systematic cover-up of the institutional pedophilia which it practices, and the subsequent lawsuits when this centuries old practice came to light, yet you defend Bishop Long. It smacks of hypocrisy. And it smacks LOUD.

But you are right. We do not KNOW that he did ANYTHING wrong. This is true.
At best, a good PR person, (which the Bernice King announcement makes clear that New Birth does NOT have, by the way) could easily spin this thus: Due to the fact that there was no finding of wrongdoing (there was no trial), there is no issue, and no statement be made.
Needless to say, I would disagree.

What DO we know?
1) 5 Young men, (barely over the ‘legal age of sexual consent, which kept this from becoming a CRIMINAL trial) sued BISHOP Eddie Long alleging, (among other things) sexual coercion
2) BISHOP Long vowed publicly that he was ‘gonna fight this thing’, and made his famous ‘5 rocks’ statement
3) It was announced that the parties involved were seeking mediation
4) It was announced that a settlement has been reached
5) To date (as of this writing) there has been no statement from the Bishop concerning this at all. Of course he can hide behind the terms of the confidentiality agreement and claim that he is unable to discuss it, but this is neither Wall Street, nor Hollywood, it is ‘the church’ and the key to resolution/restoration is confession and repentance.

Consider this from Roland Martin of CNN, published June 4, 2011
“He is someone who thousands follow, and they should hear the truth, and nothing but the truth, from Long. Not his lawyer, not his spokesman, not his wife — him! He should have never decided on a private mediation; Long should have demanded that everything be discussed in public.
If you are truly innocent of such heinous allegations, you don’t go behind closed doors. You defend yourself publicly and shame those who try to muddy your name and derail your ministry.
Long has utterly failed even his own preaching. He has stood in the pulpit and demanded accountability of others, but clearly believes a different set of rules applies to him.
After his refusal to address the issue publicly, openly and truthfully, I don’t see how any pastor could participate in a conference with Long on the rostrum. I don’t see how any gospel musician could go to his church and stand in the pulpit with him to sell their CDs. As a churchgoing man, there is no way I could sit under the spiritual leadership of any pastor who was unwilling to stand before his congregation and address the issue head on.”
The complete article is here

But enough about Eddie Long… It’s really about …

SIN
The real issue here is SIN, specifically how SIN is dealt with in the body of Christ.

Let us be clear, sin is a fatal disease, there is no recovering from it, it is 100% fatal.
How do we handle disease when it strikes our bodies? We use every method and means available to us to get rid of it. We spare no expense, we will search far and wide for a cure, and we will exhaust every possibility, yet when sin is present in the body of Christ, we say ‘Judge Not’.
Why is this? Is it because the rest of the statement is true? Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. – Matt 7:1-2

Are we afraid of the measure that shall be measured to us again?
Do we say judge not because ‘All have sinned and fallen short’ so this is somehow OK? SIN is somehow legitimized because it is a common condition? This is expedience over righteousness, pragmatism over Holiness, but it is still just as true today as the day it was written:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. – Galatians 6:7

SIN destroys Fellowship,
SIN destroys Community,
SIN destroys Safety,
SIN destroys Peace,
SIN destroys Life!

SIN keeps us from GOD! and a body out of communication with its head is DEAD.
So, we must confront SIN, call the brother/sister to repentance, and if they do not, put the OUT of the fellowship. THAT is what the Bible says. Put the SIN out of the fellowship. The situation described in 1st Corinthians 5 is as serious (and as deadly) as the situation involving Achan, described in Joshua 7. Time and time again the scripture is clear that the direct result/consequence/wages of SIN is DEATH: Spiritual, Emotional, Relational, Physical DEATH!

Does this imply that no one sins? Obviously not, but the message is clear: Unrepentant sin festers, pollutes, and infects other parts of the body, much like cancer spreading from a diseased organ,. It must be excised, if the body is to survive. It is after all, better to enter in, missing a part, and then be left outside the kingdom physically whole. (Mark 9:43-47)
If they repent, restore them. (2 Corinthians 2:5-11)

We have allowed the world to impose their sinful lack of understanding on us, and as a result respond in the way that we think they need to see in order to placate them.
This is, in my view, largely because of the current popularity of Neo-Arminianism, which because it says that man chooses God, by extension necessitating that we make Jesus, the Bible and Christianity acceptable to men, so that they will ‘accept Jesus’ and be saved. Any honest reading of the text belies this quickly, but that is another story for another time.

The palatable/acceptable Jesus (Jesus lite) is no Jesus at all, and any relationship based on sentiment and not truth is doomed to fail. Ask anyone who’s ever ‘fallen out of love’…

 

The Transitional Importance of The Lord’s Table

Good Morning Family. I am so grateful to be here with you again. God is indeed merciful.

Intro and Example

It is important, when studying any passage of scripture, to seek to know what the original writer meant, what the context of the passage was, the history and the time, and what the original hearers would have heard. Knowing these things leads to greater understanding, and minimizes the misuse of a passage.

It has been said quite that ‘Text without context, is pretext’. Not having context, and authorial intent can be deadly. Literally. History has shown us that.

This has been particularly meaningful, as I have been for the past 14 months, teaching through The Revelation.  Line by line, verse by verse, we have worked our way through it.  In fact, we are going to be finishing Chapter 13 in our gathering later this afternoon…

One of the things that we have learned, to a person, is that our understanding of this letter, which was framed in the rubric of Dispensational American Evangelicalism, is almost completely wrong. It has been sobering, to say the least.

Why you may ask, has it been wrong? Well, because we are taught John’s words, interpreted outside of John’s time and context.

A quick example: Chapters 2 and 3 are individual letters to 7 churches in Asia Minor. Each of them had issues that plague many churches today. That alone is a great reason to read them. In Chapter 3, which contains the Letter to the church at Laodicea, we find two oft-misquoted passages, occurring in verses, 15, 16, and 20:

Verses 15 & 16 say: 15  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.

I have heard that passages taught many times that Jesus was telling us to decisive, to be hot or cold towards him, and that indecisiveness would cause you to be, (and I am quoting King James here) ‘Spewed out’.  When I was younger, I used to wonder just how far God could ‘spew’?

Was it one of those deals where, if he spit you out, 1000 years later, you’d still be hurtling through the galaxy  at Warp 8, doomed to travel from here to the other side of forever…?

What used to bother me, and I never seemed to get a sufficient answer was, why would God want anyone to be cold towards Him? It made no sense, and I understand today that it made no sense because I had no context.

The statement is most like a reference that the church at Laodicea would have easily understand as an ironic chastisement, specific to their time and place. You see Hieropolis, with its invigorating , medicinal hot springs was a few miles to the north, and Colossae, with its refreshing cold springs was just south.

Laodicea, right in the middle, had neither… In fact, some scholars believe that the water in Laodicea was literally tepid, lukewarm… neither hot nor cold.  As such, it was neither invigorating nor refreshing.

Think about that for a moment: A CHURCH, representatives of the Most High GOD, Bearers of HIS SPIRIT and HIS WORD. SALT AND LIGHT in the world, and Jesus calls them Useless…  It is a terrifying thought, both individually and corporately.

How would we, could we understand that today, without knowing the context.  Doesn’t that make a lot more sense now?

And it is this loving albeit harsh admonition that leads to the Grace-filled offer of verse 20, which we all know…

Revelation 3:20 – Behold, 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.

How have you heard that used? In my experience, it was usually in an altar call situation, imploring unsaved people to come to Jesus. Presenting the knocking, waiting, patient, Jesus… Things of that sort…

But now that we know the subject, object and context of the letter it is clear to see that this is not a general offer or invitation of communion, or salvation. It is specific to the church, the people of God, those with whom there already exists a covenant, an oath: Born of Love, sealed in precious, redeeming BLOOD. It is to US that this offer of communion is made…

Gathered to Celebrate

We have gathered today to celebrate one of the most important events, not only in Christendom, but in the history of the world. The Lord’s Table, The Eucharist, Communion…

In fact the word Eucharist itself is based on the Greek word meaning to celebrate.

The Lord’s table then, is a celebration.  A celebration of what?

A celebration of transaction, transition and transformation…

What do I mean?

Listen to this passage in Luke Chapter 22. Starting from verse 14: Reading from the HCSB

 14 When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

17  Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

20  In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.

He says to them that for Him, it would be the Last Until… Yet for them, by telling them to repeat this process in remembrance of Him, for them this was a First.

It was Last for Him, first for them, transition for both of them…

You see, He knew what they didn’t know or understand, even though He had said it numerous times… The son of man must be given over, and be killed… He knew what was coming, and that things would never be the same. The table became symbolic then, not only of what had passed, but of what was to come.

As such, it could be argued (and is argued by some) that the Last Supper, was in fact the First Communion and the Last Passover. We’ll get to that in a minute.

From our vantage point we know now what those who first heard it would understand later:

The Communion was preparation for a transaction that would take place a few hours later on the cross.  The Lord’s Table was symbolic of The Process of transition for Jesus, and the Promise of transformation  for the disciples (and for us).

The First Passover

The first Passover itself was a transaction that was both transitional and transformational.

Think about it. The Book of Exodus records that Israel had been in Egypt in bondage for over 400 years. They had been oppressed and enslaved, and God delivered them by the leadership of Moses through a series of plagues.

The final plague was the death of the firstborn. The angel of death came and killed the firstborn in every family, the firstborn of man and animal unless you had sacrificed a lamb and splattered the blood on the doorposts and the side beams. If there was blood shed, then the angel of death passed that house by.

To be delivered then, requires the shedding of blood. In particular, the blood of a spotless lamb…

In short, there is a principle which is: To be delivered from judgment requires death.

But by Jesus’ time judging by the behaviors recorded in scripture, Passover was for many a mere formality. It was a thing that the people did on a ritual basis that commemorated a long done event, too far removed from the people’s understanding to have any real meaning.

Sadly, it is the same now. The Lord’s table is, for many, merely a ritual exercise, a ritual devoid of meaning. We do not fully grasp that the elements are symbols of Great Love, great cost, great weight, great promise and great value. Let us never forget that.

Jesus Elevates the Passover

So what do we know about The Last Supper? It was a Passover dinner. But what else do we know?

Luke and Paul both speak of Bread being broken, and ‘The Cup’ being drunk. Can we get some more context on this? I believe so… What does current scholarship have to say?

“Near the beginning of a traditional Passover Seder, a piece of matzah is broken in half. The larger of the two pieces is hidden away in linen cloth until the end of the meal. When it is brought back from concealment it is shared by everyone at the table as their final morsel. This broken and hidden piece of matzah is called the afikoman.

None of it is explained in the Haggadah for Passover. Nor is it mentioned in Scripture. The term afikoman appears first in the Mishnah (the earliest collection of rabbinic legal rulings, codified around 200 CE/AD) Although afikoman is written in Hebrew letters, it is actually a Greek word…

Jewish historians disagree why a Greek term entered the Passover liturgical tradition or what it means.

In 1925 an Austrian scholar named Robert Eisler argued that at the time of Jesus,  the afikoman was originally part of an established messianic ritual observed during the Passover. He said the whole piece of matzah held up at the beginning of the meal represented all Israel, while the broken-off portion stood for the longed-for Messiah. When the hidden afikoman emerged from concealment at the end of the Seder, it symbolized the coming of the Messiah in the midst of his people.”

Could it be that it is THIS piece of Bread that Jesus gave to His disciples declaring that this was His Body?

As for ‘The Cup’. What cup is this?

“The Mishnah states that there are 4 cups of wine drunk during the Passover feast. Each time the cup is filled, it has a different name. Opinions vary as to what certain cups actually symbolize. Most agree that the first cup is the Kiddush, which means sanctification. With this cup, the Passover seder begins.

The second cup is called the cup of plagues. The third cup is referred to as either the cup of redemption or the cup of blessing. The fourth cup is often called hallel which means praise, though some traditions call it the cup of acceptance while still others use it as the cup of Elijah.

The New Testament names one of the cups—the cup taken after supper, which is traditionally the third cup. Jesus calls this cup “the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). The Apostle Paul calls it, “the cup of blessing which we bless,” as well as “the cup of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 10:16,21).

Both Jesus and Paul draw on something from Jewish tradition to provide insights not previously understood. By calling the cup “the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus makes a direct reference to the promise of Jeremiah 31. God had declared that He would make a new covenant because the previous covenant had become “broken” (Jeremiah 31:32). To violate a covenant agreement with God would surely incur His wrath and judgment—a terrible cup! But instead, God promised a new covenant of grace and salvation.” – source jews for jesus

Think about how this must have sounded to those at the Table…

It is apparent then, that Jesus was fundamentally and eternally elevating the nature and purpose of this meal. By elevating the Passover, Jesus makes it clear that it is the blood of the lamb that seals one’s destiny, and not by anyone’s planning, skill or merit, neither by tradition or remembrance, but by grace. What is the principle again? To be delivered from judgment requires death.

 The Communion table then, is a reminder that to be a Christian is:

  • Transactional (there was a cost, the shedding of innocent blood), That it is
  • Transitional (that as John said, we have been given power to become the children of God. Contrary to popular preaching today, everyone is NOT God’s child, and John 1 is clear about that. If you have to become something, then you are not that thing until you become it) and it is
  • Transformational (John later describes the fact that though we have become the children of God , it does not yet appear what we shall be. Shall is future, it is not now. For those of you who are Christians, take a moment to look back over your life… Can you see that you have changed? Right, you are in the midst of a transformation, a process that will continue until He calls you home.

 

Hymns

The Revelation has several hymns in it, and I’d like to quickly share a passage where a couple of them can be found. Chapter Five starting at verse 8, again from the HCSB

8  When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.

11  Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. They said with a loud voice:

The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!

13  I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say: Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

THE LAMB (The spotless, sinless, sacrificed One) is the Only One worthy to open the scrolls of judgment (the events contained in the scrolls mark transition points) , His Blood redeemed a people for God, (to redeem something is a transaction) and these people, by having become God’s people have undergone a transformation.

When the people of God drink the cup and eat the bread, we understand , just as the earliest followers though culturally Jewish, understood,  that by interaction with the Messiah we are transformed, individually and corporately into something different.

 

Only for the believer

This is why Communion is not for everyone. It is only for those who believe.

Consider the Apostle Paul’s words again: from 1 Corinthians 11:26-29  

Verse 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

The Apostle is saying what? That this event, this supper, this communion, is a proclamation,  a statement.

A statement of what? The truth of Jesus’ claims, His Death, His Resurrection, His substitutionary atonement, and much more. It is a proclamation of the reality of your Faith.

He continues, in verse 27:

27  Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28  So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup.

In what way? In a self examining, humble way. In a way that is aware of yourself, your relationship with God, and your place in the community of believers.

Think back to the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee… What did Jesus say? He said that the Pharisee who came boldly to pray, trusting in his own righteousness… ‘I thank you that I am not like other men, etc.’  went away just as he approached; unchanged, unjustified, far away from God.

But the tax collector, despised among the people, the man who stood afar off, clearly aware of his own sin and unrighteousness, and begging for mercy, went away justified. It is the same here.  And here is the Apostle’s warning…

29  For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

Growing up around the way, we used to say, ‘Check yourself, before you Wreck yourself.’

Examine Yourself

So today family, as we prepare to partake of this table; this symbol of transaction, take a moment to examine yourself.

As we come to celebrate this transformational event, especially on this day, that is symbolic  of transition and for transformation, for this Pastor, for this church, for each of us individually, and as a corporate body;  Take the time to examine yourself, honestly, truthfully.

Take time to contemplate, to consider, to look back, to look forward. Take a hard look at you, right now. Consider what you see…

Take time as we sing the Hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’,  to ask God by His Spirit to show you what you need to see, what needs to change, what needs to be transformed in you, and ask Him for the strength and courage to allow Him to do what He wills be done.

To God Be the Glory. Amen.