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Archive for April, 2015


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.  And, in fashion as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even the death of the Cross. – Philippians 2:7-8

– Serving our own interest to the neglect of Jesus is a very great sin.  It is common among Christians and ministers.  Many prefer their own credit, ease, and safety – before truth, holiness, and duty.  The things of their own pleasure and reputation before the things of Christ and giving honor to God. – Matthew Henry

After Jesus cleansed a certain leper, the leper was instructed to say nothing about it to any man – but only to show himself to a priest in a city where they both resided.  The leper did not listen.  Instead, he began to publish the event much, and blazed abroad about the miracle … to the point where Christ could not enter into this city openly (Mark 1:40-45).  There would just be too much attention centered on Jesus.

During the Feast of the Tabernacles, some of Christ’s brethren questioned his obvious desire to shun the public spotlight and remain unspotted as much as possible (James 1:27).  They said, “Go into Judea, so your disciples may also see the works you do.  For there is no man who does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world (John 7:3-4).”

These words were all born out of unbelief (John 7:5). Jesus was not acting or talking like a king of earthly reputation would – much less an eternal king.  Christ did not show any cravings for notoriety, nor showed any desire for some sort of status in society.  Jesus simply went about his Father’s business quietly (Luke 2:49), humbly obeying Him all the way to the Cross. Dying there so we would learn to live the same way.

All reputations, good, bad, or in between are of this world.  They show God continued conformance to it, and not being transformed by truth (Romans 12:1-2). Positive reputations can bring a certain amount of prestige and praise, while negative ones can bring a lot of problems and pain.  People who have the latter can squander precious time attempting to repair and restore broken images by external methods or means.

Whatever reputations do or don’t do, they are all in direct opposition to God’s Word.  No matter how they are created or destroyed, they are not in alignment or agreement with His will.  Climbing up the corporate ladder to fame and making a name, or the Christian rungs to do the same, is not why God put us here on earth.  It is to stay humbly obedient to His way until death, so we might be saved (e.g. Hebrews 9:15).

Sadly, and with eternal consequences if not corrected, the modern church has been creating a idolatrous culture of celebrity Christian singers, writers, and speakers for decades.  Some of these people are of great repute and have attained cult-like followings. But, they are grievous wolves drawing disciples away for themselves.  Speaking perverse things for profit, and to preserve their reputation (Acts 20:29-30).

This all may seem new, but it’s not (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  Moses dealt with 250 princes in his assembly who rose up against him and Aaron.  Men of renown, with reputations, and all famous in the congregation (Numbers 16:2).  Paul spoke of those who seemed to be somebody, but it made no difference to him.  They didn’t add anything to his teachings as God respects no man’s person (Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6).

God has several thoughts regarding all of this.  Read what the prophet Daniel writes about it: “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.  And, He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.  None can stay His hand and say to Him, ‘What are You doing (Daniel 4:35)?'”  Still, there is someone who wants us to think differently when it comes to reputations.

The deceiver of this world (Revelation 12:9) and its prince (John 14:30), Satan, does a very good job in convincing even the most steadfast Christians they must maintain a certain image in life to present to others; a religious reputation to uphold.  This is a device the devil uses to trick believers into thinking they’re standing firm in faith.  But, it’s only upon their reputation, and not the foundation of Jesus – if at all.

This is how Christians fall from repentance and grace (Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 12:15) – and can end up finding no space in heaven.  It is how they give place to Satan and fall into his same condemnation, as good reputations tend to puff people up in pride (Ephesians 4:27, 1 Timothy 3:6).  Having one pushes God to the sidelines, unless He seems to be helping them keep their high esteem and good standing before others.

Instead of having the same before Him.  What keeps us in our Father’s esteem, good standing, and favor, is repenting of things like desires to have a reputation – along with the haughty airs having one can bring. Yes, it is true we are created in His image, but this does not mean we are born with His attributes.  To obtain them, we’re commanded to produce spiritual fruits not usually esteemed among men (Luke 16:15).

The humble example of Christ is set before us in the Bible.  Learning Jesus is not a recommendation from God to contemplate (Ephesians 4:20-32).  It is not something to mull over, but a commandment to obey. Desires for the fleeting praise and prestige worldly admiration can bring, along with the advantage of reputations, are dangerous ways to defy God, and to face consequences for doing so (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

 

 

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– God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth. – John 4:24

There has been a TV ad running here in Gainesville for about six or seven months now, promoting various aspects of an area Christian school.  Near the end of it, an voice from off-screen says, “I believe God has a spiritual home for everybody.”  Yes, it’s true He does. However, this house is a habitation in our heart.

Our soul is where all true worship of our Father starts, and then finishes upon our final breath.  Not within the confines of any physical building or dwelling man designates as a “house of worship” – or a “house of faith.”  It does not mean people cannot go to these places, but they’re not where worship is centered.  

Why?  Well, God says the following words to us in the book of Acts: “However, the most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.  Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.  What house will you build for Me?  Or, what is the place of My rest?  Has My hand not made all of these things (Acts 7:48-50)?”

In a similar vein, when the apostle Paul was in Berea, he penned these words about Him: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth – doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands.  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as if He needed anything (Acts 17:24-25).”

This is why true worship can only be within us.  It begins, continues, and finishes with our last day on earth.  It is why we must be “born again” of the Spirit at some point before we die (John 3:5).  This is the only church plant mattering to Him – for a seed of salvation is sown in the heart when it takes place.

It begins growing, and starts producing spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  An inner church is birthed, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.  In whom all the building is fitly framed together – so it grows into a holy temple of God in our soul (Ephesians 2:20-22).

All other forms of external worship are wrong and fraudulent.  They create a feigned, often forced faith, complete with fake smiles.  It can fool many for a long time, but not God (Hebrews 4:12-13).  Being born again is the only way we can be guided into all truth without being lied to (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).

Otherwise, we can be deceived by a lot of likeable lies disguised as His truth.  We can then be dangerously misled.  With Satan having his own seat in Sunday pews (Revelation 2:13) spewing forth such falsehoods (John 8:44).  Or, preaching these fallacies and errors standing in the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12, James 1:16).

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And let the peace of God rule in your hearts. – Colossians 3:15

– Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. – Hebrews 12:14

Have you ever wondered why there has never been true peace on this earth when Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)?  When there has been peace, it has been very fragmented and fragile.  And, why do things seem to be getting progressively worse on this planet; not better?  The answer comes from Jesus: “My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).”

Christ is the prince of the peaceable kingdom to come when this earth is done.  It is the very same kingdom dwelling in the hearts of Christians born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  It is a kingdom that doesn’t come with any outer observation (Luke 17:20-21), but by humble and inner obedience (Philippians 2:8) – and mutually abiding with God until death (John 15:1-6).

So the steps up the spiritual staircase to heaven are climbed correctly – so an entrance is ministered unto us into heaven (2 Peter 1:4-11).  So Jesus does not call us robbers and thieves for trying to climb some other way than the narrow one (John 10:1, Matthew 7:14).  If we do it God’s way without straying, we will begin to think proper thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

This is God’s promise, if we truly obey according to His Word.  It provides a constant sense of inner peace and contentment – no matter what state we are in – no matter if we cannot understand what is going on outside in an ever changing world (Philippians 4:11). This is the peace Christ leaves inside us; not as the world gives, but as the Word does (John 14:27).

False converts or nominal believers never experience this peace, as they do not have the Prince of Peace dwelling inside through the Spirit’s power.  They may earnestly expect to find it by reading the Bible a lot or going to church weekly.  But, they seek inner peace by such external means, and others, to keep their soul calm, no matter what life storm rages outside.

This does not work, because God didn’t design it to be this way from the beginning.  The hope of eternal life in Christ was given before He formed this earth (Titus 1:2).  However, false converts and nominal believers don’t have this anchor of hope in their soul (Hebrews 6:19).  Whatever peace they may sense inside – is only based on a sense of relative tranquility outside.

Born again Christians may also not experience any sense of steady inner peace.  If they stay entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), and keep on minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19), they will not for long.  This is because Satan is this world’s prince (John 14:30) whose job – whose joy – is to rob true Christians of complete inner peace and joy in Jesus.

A peace keeping us from ever being troubled or afraid again (John 14:27).  However, any conformance to this world (Romans 12:2) is bound to bring regular bouts of spiritual highs and lows, based on how long or how strong winds of life blow.  Leaving a fleeting peace in their wake, and preventing a lasting one passing all understanding inside (Philippians 4:5-7).

 

 

 

 

 

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