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Posts Tagged ‘1 Peter’


 

KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But many that are first shall be last – and the last shall be first. – Matthew 19:30

– So the last will be first, and the first last.  For many are called, but few chosen. – Matthew 20:16

In New Testament times, the Gentiles were considered an unclean people by many Jews.  Gentiles lacked admiration, advantage, and privilege.  They were despised and looked upon with contempt – especially by those who had high seats in the synagogues; who were famous in the congregation (Luke 20:46, Numbers 16:2).  The same could be said for people today who don’t seem to fit in with society or the church very well.  They are the hobos, the homeless, or the menial workers barely eking out a living; having a hard time making ends meet.

Many of these souls (and others) often feel like they finish last – no matter what they do.  They always seem to be “coming up short” – never really gaining much in the way of money or material possessions.  Far too frequently, they receive the “loser” label.  However, in God’s eyes, they are first in line upon heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14).  They may be shunned and looked down on by others, but many know to keep their faith focused on a better country above if they patiently endure below (Hebrews 11:13-16, Colossians 3:2, Mark 13:13).

Unfortunately, there are people who will be first on this planet.  These are the souls who exist solely to please themselves (Romans 15:1-3).  High-minded and prideful ones who always act as if God owes them more than sacrificing His only Son (Luke 17:7-10).  And, they are the worldly pleasure and profit pursuers who lay up treasures under heaven – being rich towards self as they seek their own wealth and fortune first (James 5:5, Matthew 6:19-20, Luke 12:21).  Well, they have their Father’s proper position to stand in the same heavenly queue, too.

It’s in the back – bringing up the rear in unbelief.  Even though they are further behind than they may think because the devil is still blinding their minds from having the glorious light of Christ shine unto them.  They’re just as lost from the Cross as ever (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).  All for disobediently fashioning themselves to old worldly lusts in ignorance (1 Peter 1:14)  Therefore, they don’t have God’s love in them (1 John 2:15-16).  Making them last for first trying to gain all kinds of stuff they can’t take when they leave this world (Luke 17:31, 1 Timothy 6:7).

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Neither filthiness, neither foolish talking, neither jesting – which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks. – Ephesians 5:4

– Jest not with the two-edged sword of God’s Word. – Thomas Fuller

Our word “jester” is derived from the Anglo-Latin “gestour” – meaning “minstrel.”  In medieval times, kings and noblemen often needed a person who could minister to the spirits of their people through the use of humor.  So, most of them had a court jester ready at their disposal to do such a thing.  These comedians were generally seen as buffoons simply brought in to brighten the moods of those in attendance, who might be brooding, frustrated, or feeling down about life.

The jester would be decked out in brightly colored clothes – to further help lighten the atmosphere of the setting.  Setting about entertaining and amusing the crowd, often cracking jokes about current events and making sarcastic wisecracks about people well-known to the audience – outside the kingdom walls, of course.  Once the show was over … so was the job of the jester.  They weren’t taken seriously by anyone who might meet they walking the streets afterwards.

In the modern world, jesters are typically known as comics.  They are found almost anywhere around the world, and people typically pay money to see them perform.  All to hear what appear to be witty remarks, bantering comments, and good-natured ribbing.  Just like the jesters of yore, they crack jokes about worldly situations or events of the day, and make wisecracks about well-known individuals like politicians, athletes, and movie-stars familiar to most in the audience.

However, there is a fine line between humor and hurt. Words are a powerful tool God has given us.  They can heal or harm.  We will be justified or condemned for eternity by the words we speak on earth (Matthew 12:37).  Some people – including Christians, make it a very nasty habit of spewing forth spirit-bruising wisecracks about those deemed less fortunate, or who’ve made a mess of life.  If famous, they become society’s laughing-stock to mock and make fun of.

There isn’t any humor in hell, or anything funny about burning there forever.  Salvation is serious business with God, or else He would not have crucified His only Son for us.  It is not to be a laughing matter – ever. Foolish talking has no part in Christian fellowship, nor does it belong in witnessing to lost and unbelieving souls.  Jesting or joking of any kind has no place n a relationship with Jesus.  Sadly, it does, and it always gives place to the devil’s devices (Ephesians 4:27).

Having said all this, loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Luke 10:27) – is not about having a good time in life (1 Corinthians 15:19).  It is not about yukking it up, playing practical jokes and/or pulling pranks, or trying to yank somebody’s chain in a world where Satan retains power over all deaths until Jesus returns (Hebrews 2:14).  Christ is the only example we need to know there is nothing funny in going about our Father’s business daily (Luke 2:49).

Jesus did not go around cracking jokes or poking fun at people like the Pharisees and Sadducees – or even the twelve disciples.  Then saying things such as “Just kidding” – or “I didn’t mean it” to someone like Simon Peter if he looked a bit peeved or put off at something Christ perceived to be funny.  Or, telling another like Andrew he needed to lighten up, go let his hair down and have some fun – for he was being far too serious and over-cautious (1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 5:14-15).

Christianity can’t be the fodder for comedic sketches and routines … no matter how innocent or harmless they might seem.  The only ones finding any humor in heavenly issues are those making light of salvation (Matthew 22:5).  They have no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18).  Why would they have a reason to be terrified, when they’ve managed to take hell’s keys away from Him; letting themselves into heaven while on earth (Luke 12:5, Revelation 1:18)?

Consequently, they have turned their steadfast focus back to having fun and rollicking good times on earth (Colossians 3:2) – even in church (Ecclesiastes 7:4). Minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19) , staying entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), pursuing its pleasures (James 5:5), and attending to far more vital worldly business and merchandise (Matthew 22:5). After all, heaven is in the bag, along with the latest comic CD by some Christian funny man or woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. – Matthew 24:11

– He who is false to his God will not be true to his fellow mortals. – Matthew Henry

Our word “false” comes to us from the Latin “falsus.” It means deceptive, feigned, or pretend.  Our word “prophet” is defined as a person who is regarded to be an inspired teacher or proclaimer of God’s will.  Put them together to get “false prophet.”  It is any person who asserts they know (and are doing) His will – but it is all a pretense intended to defraud souls under the guise of following Christ and the truth of God’s Word.

These imposters have privately brought damnable heresies into the church since the time of Christ (2 Peter 2:1).  They’ve crept into sanctuaries unaware; turning God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (Jude 1:4), or a green light from heaven to pursue worldly lusts under the banner of faith.  Mocking the Cross by making money off of God’s Word, they are the ungodly souls whose destruction will be swift.

We usually see these swindlers on TV, putting forth their false dreams and lying divinations (Ezekiel 13:6-7) to people in the pews and general viewing public. Saying things like, “The Lord placed this on my heart last night, and it’s imperative I tell you now.  Just sow your seed of faith with this ministry – a minimum of $100 please – and God will double your blessing in 24 hours.  Double your donation and He will triple it.”

Speaking words smoother than butter and soften than oil, their hearts are but drawn swords (Psalm 55:21). They could care less if we are blessed by God or not. As long as they keep people opening their wallets and purses to keep their own cash drawers full and bank accounts brimming, they don’t believe or see they are foolishly sinning.  Fashioning themselves to former lusts in willful ignorance of the truth (1 Peter 1:14).

Ir’s right in their eyes (Proverbs 14:12) so it must be the same in God’s (Deuteronomy 13:18).  They say it’s being done for His glory, but it’s just so they can generate worldly profit and pursue worldly pleasures (James 5:5).  Laying up treasures below (Matthew 6:19) they cannot take with them when they go (1 Timothy 6:7).  Preying upon the needy (Matthew 6:8), greedy, and those of easy belief and/or deceit.

Billy Graham once said that prisons are full of con men, and sadly, so are many churches (end).”  If these Christian charlatans and scam artists had any good conscience towards God as commanded, they would stop cheating on Him (1 Timothy 1:5).  They would cease subverting whole houses for filthy lucre’s sake.  They would stop their mouths from teaching vain, unruly things they ought not to (Titus 1:10-11).

If these con artists prophesying false dreams had stood in God’s counsel to begin with, they would be turning from their evil ways (Jeremiah 23:22,32). They’d stop swerving everyone from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), using their perverted versions of His Word and like visions.  Making things up (Numbers 16:28) and moving everyone far from the gospel they first knew as kids (Galatians 1:6-7, 2 Timothy 3:15).

These are the grievous wolves Jesus and Paul said would enter in and deceive many, because they will be disguised in sheep’s clothing, speaking perverse things to draw disciples away after themselves.  They will be ravenous for earthly riches and will not spare God’s flock in the process (Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29-30).  Draining bank accounts of others to bolster their own, and to keep their bellies full (Philippians 3:19).

Some travel in packs, seeking God’s true sheep to fleece – picking pockets clean.  All so these deceivers can be of one purse and fill their homes with spoil (Proverbs 1:13-15).  Yet, they live on in err (James 1:16), having forsaken the right way to heaven in favor of Balaam’s way and the gainsaying of Core (2 Peter 2:15,18, Jude 1:11).  Spiritual whores chasing worldly riches or rewards on every floor (Hosea 9:1).

God warns us to take heed, testing and trying the spirits, for many of these false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).  One test is this:  If any Christian preacher, teacher, singer, writer, or movie maker, makes merchandise of you – even if they charge a cent for a thing they sell (2 Corinthians 12:9)- they are false prophets.  Their damnation in hell from long ago does not slumber (2 Peter 2:3).

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Do all things without murmurings and disputings, – Philippians 2:14

– Use hospitality to one another without grudging. – 1 Peter 4:9

Complaining is a joy and time stealer.  It can make a soul feel weary and worn-out if it persists day in and day out (Job 10:1). it is also a sin very displeasing to our Father as all transgressions against His truth do, It keeps one on destruction’s broad road (Numbers 11:1, Matthew 7:13) and off the straight and narrow avenue to heaven’s gate (Matthew 7:14). Why?

It gives a place for the devil (Ephesians 4:27), to use his devices designed to first gain an advantage over (2 Corinthians 2:11), then slowly devour and destroy souls given to grudging and griping.  One cannot grow in grace this way.  It is how Satan leads people away in the err of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17-18), sometimes all the way to shipwrecked faiths (1 Timothy 1:19).

Grousing and grumbling breed ungodly impatience (Hebrews 10:36, Revelation 14:12), irritation, and annoyance over the littlest interruptions, unexpected delays, having to wait anywhere, and other perceived nuisances keeping life from being “just right” for long. Something’s always wrong,  It is too hot, too cold, too fast, too slow – making everything constantly so-so.

Habitual complainers play the blame game throughout their life.  It is an existence of passing the buck that started in the Garden of Eden – and hasn’t topped for some since (Genesis 3:9-13).  If you should mention any difficulty or problem they’re facing, the fault is never with them.  It is easier to point the finger of blame outwards or upwards than back at themselves.

One reason why hell and destruction will never be full is because complainers are never truly satisfied with anything or anyone (Proverbs 27:20).  They cannot be content in whatever state they are in for too long (Philippians 4:11) as their eyes are always scanning the nearest horizon.  Ever searching for something to grouse about, or someone to do the same thing with.

Why would God allow souls to gain heaven, if all they did was complained on earth?  They’d be so unhappy forever.  Halos would always be a bit too loose or too tight, angelic robes would never fit quite right, and off-key harps would cause day and night harping.  All the while, they would be whining about why they had to be God’s servant for an eternity (Revelation 22:3).

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Let no man deceive you, for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first.  And, that the man of sin be revealed – the son of perdition. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3

– And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast. – Revelation 13:14

Adolf Hitler once said, “If you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”  He most certainly used this approach to his advantage, along with some charismatic oratory, as he rose to become Führer over Germany just before World War II.  The country had fallen into a crippling financial crisis after World War I, but most of its citizens clearly wanted an easy solution to their difficult problems.

As it has so often been in other countries through the centuries, these people desired to see and hear some new person with some new pitch promising to fix their ills (Acts 17:21).  They wanted another name under heaven to create a government in a nation that still could not save them (Acts 4:12, Lamentations 4:17). They also needed a scapegoat (Leviticus 16:10) to pin the blame on – and Hitler did just that with the Jews.

By the time Hitler seized power, he had achieved his goal of deceiving the people, by getting them to buy into and believe nothing but a bunch of likeable lies. Still, as Martin Luther King, Jr. once touched upon, everything Hitler did to get elected was perfectly legal – but everything he did after was purely evil.  Well, there is one waiting in the wings to do what Hitler did, but on a world-wide stage before Christ can return.

As problems keep mounting around the globe, and iniquity keeps increasing, the love of many – even Christians – will grow cold (Matthew 24:12).  More and more will scoff at God’s promise of sending Jesus back with salvation.  Instead, they will walk away from Him and after their own worldly lusts – because all things keep continuing on this planet just as they have from the beginning of creation (2 Peter 3:3-4).

Just like it was in the Old Testament, people will see a God who is supposed to be One of righteous judgment and love above – as sitting idly by upon the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22), or One who is handing down some very wrong judgement from heaven.  Violence, spoiling, strife, and contention will be increasing.  As wickedness begins to surround the righteous, they will see His laws as being quite loose (Habakkuk 1:3-4).

Many will have had enough of God in man’s last days. They will not do what He says despite lip service claims of loving Him (Ezekiel 33:31, Mark 7:6, Luke 6:46).  Some will even think He views evil as good (Malachi 2:17).  Because He does not seem to be doing much about the world’s wickedness, at least not as fast as human courts handle wrong-doing, they’ll say He’s not doing His job (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13).

It will all be the perfect time for perdition’s son – the most evil one ever – to step into the world’s spotlight. One who will appear to have the perfect solution to every planetary problem.  Citizens of all countries will follow this individual.  People of every belief will be easily deceived by his pernicious ways.  What Hitler did will pale in comparison to what will happen on a global scale when perdition’s son enters the picture.

Who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God – or worshipped – so he is God.  Sitting in His temple and showing he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).  Whose working is after Satan – with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.  With all deception of unrighteousness in those who perish – as they didn’t receive the love of truth, that they might be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, John 3:17, Hebrews 9:15).

And for this reason, God shall turn people over to reprobate minds and send them strong delusion – so they should believe a lie.  It’s that they all might be damned who did not receive the truth, but who had pleasure in unrighteousness and things still worthy of death.  Taking delight, despite knowing God’s fiery sentence against such disobedience (Romans 1:28-32, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11, 2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Will this son of perdition catch people off guard and take the world by surprise?  Well, he shouldn’t unless God’s many warnings are ignored (e.g. Matthew 16:1-4).  One major sign he is gaining followers will be the widespread apostasy among those who once believed (2 Timothy 3:1-6).  The ones ever learning but who never come to the knowledge of truth (2 Timothy 3:7) about how narrow heaven’s path is (Matthew 7:14).

How will it all happen?  There has been a slow but sure, subtle and subversive movement underway in this world for a long time.  It is being perpetrated by false prophets and apostles, along with the prince of the world himself.  These are the ones perverting God’s Word to pursue worldly pleasures or plans, and move people who buy into and believe such lies, far from the gospel they first heard (Galatians 1:6-7).

It’s all designed to undermine God’s authority and diminish His truth, deceiving as many as possible their lustful worldly ways are okay with Him, and it’s all “being Christian.”  This is how believers will fall from repentance as commanded (Hebrews 6:4-6, Acts 17:30) and begin repeating old walks and talks (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Perdition’s son will arise from the midst of this disobedient, unbelieving apostasy.

Also, crumbling economies, shaky peace in many places, corruption and dishonesty at all levels of government, increasing world hunger, dwindling natural resources, and reigning confusion in religion, will convince many this evil is of God.  To where they wonder why should they wait on Him or His promises any longer (2 Kings 6:33).  So, perdition’s son will offer a final solution for world peace and prosperity.

Even though it will be under the guise of a “one world, one way, we’re all children of God” mindset – it will all be meant to defraud.  It’s so Satan can try to complete his last chapter in devouring as many souls as possible (1 Peter 5:8) and deceive the whole world – the only job he has had since the start (Revelation 12:9).  To the point were Jesus Christ might not find any faith left on earth upon returning (Luke 18:8).

We’ve been seeing pieces of this pernicious puzzle being put into place for decades now.  One was the founding of the World Bank in 1944 – and subsequent criticism for its consolidation of power among the strongest economic countries – despite representing all 188 nations on earth.  Another piece has been the recent and rapid rise in the practice of ecumenism, and many Christians seem actively involved in it.

Ecumenism is an organized attempt to unite various religions and theologies, etc. – into one blended body of belief through the use of doctrinal error – rather than dividing over Biblical truths as God commands (Matthew 10:34-37, Romans 16:17, 2 Corinthians 2:17, Titus 1:10-13).  It can go by names such as interfaith or Chrislam.  However, its working is after Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9), and not our Saviour.

If the Antichrist is to succeed in rounding up the masses, he has to get everyone he can on the same page.  He will have help from false prophets who will arise and deceive many.  Fostering ecumenical unity by assembling different beliefs together on Sundays. Claiming it is advancing the gospel, when it is their own agenda in the world or Word.  Preaching perverse things like gain and being of one purse as godly.

Once people’s pocketbooks and professions of faith are in alignment with a world system, it will be easier for the son of perdition to rise through the political ranks and assume global rule and authority.  As it was with Hitler, it will all seem perfectly legal as humans buy into his lies disguised as truth.  This man will likely be as charming, using words smoother than butter and softer than oil to disarm (Psalm 55:21).

When people decide they do not have to keep their whole armor of God on at all times (except maybe on Sunday) – they’re not doing all they can to withstand all the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11-18).  This is when he gains advantage over souls.  This is when Christians begin falling away from repentance and start becoming ignorant of subtle and pernicious devices Satan uses to deceive, devour, and destroy.

Ignorance is never bliss for any believer as it is a rejection of God’s truth … and not receiving it by believing Satan’s lies more.  For this, God will send such people strong delusions (as noted before), so they keep believing the devil’s falsehoods.  Full of boasting, pride, and other ungodly traits marking end times apostasy.  Willingly ignorant of how only eight souls were saved after a water deluge long ago.

The devil’s aim all along has been to tear down each and every denominational, geographical, economic, educational, racial, and religious barrier to unite men in rebellion against the God of the Bible.  Sitting right beside us in Sunday pews (Revelation 2:13), or even preaching from the pulpits (Ephesians 6:12).  Still blinding minds from seeing the truth with his bright worldly lights and beguiling lies (2 Corinthians 4:4).

This earth is not Christ’s kingdom (John 18:36).  It is the devil’s dominion, who has power over all deaths (Hebrews 2:14) until Jesus returns.  The only desire he has ever had in this evil world he is the prince of – has been to deceive souls so gradually – they don’t realize it’s happening.  Satan wants to finish what he started in the Garden of Eden – by uniting the human race against God in full service to and worship of him.

This plan, whose final pages will be authored and finished by the son of perdition, seems to be working to near perfection in today’s church.  Believers who have already been deceived have somehow managed to author and finish their faith before Jesus ever does (Hebrews 12:2).  Now, many just seem like they are hanging around in a daze and haze of confusion God never authors; not sure of what they should be doing.

Jesus was not crucified for any Christian to ever be uncertain about what God wants them doing.  Those confused are being disobedient (1 Peter 2:6-7).  Still, such individuals have drawn up their own criteria for certain salvation prior to death.  This mind removes any need for repenting of sins by faith in Jesus – and as commanded by God.  It is drawing back from faith unto perdition; an unrepentant state of existence.

This fits neatly into the son of perdition’s program to drag as many into the pit with him.  Systematically picking off those who are erring spiritually (James 1:16, 2 Peter 3:17).  Physical lions generally prey upon young, sick, or straying animals.  Satan is a spiritual lion who preys in a like manner.  Seeking out the young ior unstable n faith, those sick or dull of hearing God’s Word, or straying back to the world.

Still, it’s all part of God’s eternal plan whose ending was declared from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).  To see who would get beguiled by Satan’s subtlety, or guided by Christ’s simplicity.  To see who would be led by God into all truth with no lie, or misled by the devil’s lies – all illusions of truth.  To see who would stay on heaven’s narrow path all the way, or would fall off for good by fully believing perdition’s son.

In conclusion, the following is taken mostly from Ian Vincent’s 2013 book “Reality Church“: “One way to look at all of this regarding the son of perdition, or man of sin – is to closely observe how the world today – both secular and religious is heading.  And, to see if there are any across-the-board trends and common threads which could help piece together a composite identikit picture of this person – so it’s not so sketchy.

This is based on the idea that the man of sin will embody and incarnate everything the final generation on earth aspires to become.  The son of perdition will encapsulate the hopes and dreams of humanity, and speak on behalf of mankind as head of the human race.  Hence, he will dethrone Christ.  He is an anti-Christ or a false Christ, but who will fool the planet by deceiving the people into believing he is Jesus.

This world right now is paving a path for this man and creating a job vacancy for him to fill as its last leader. A global spirituality has been rising to the surface for years, such as the emergence of ecumenism and the Emergent Church,  There’s also been a desire for a common economy and currency for some time (e.g. The European Union), as many nations seem to be teetering on the brink of complete financial ruin.

Combined with a steady decline into moral decay in a large part of the modern world, perdition’s son will still convince people all is fine with their faith.  They can still love the world and its things, pursue greedy ways, and follow sin’s motions without worry about eternal consequences for such disobedience, because God loves them enough to let them do whatever they want.  After all, He has already saved them, right?

The throne for this one-man triumvirate (political, economical, religious) is being readied.  Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life, of the Lamb slain from the world’s foundation – will worship him (Revelation 13:8).  His crowning achievement will be to trick the earth into thinking he knows God’s truth better than He does, and deceive them into believing he is Jesus.  He seems to be well on his wicked way.

 

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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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BITTERNESS


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Looking diligently, lest any fall of the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. – Hebrews 12:15

– Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you – with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31

Bitterness towards life, or the Lord, arises out of false perceptions it brings that things aren’t quite working out how a person hoped they would at some prior point.  Notions of rewarding jobs, joyous marriages, riches, etc. – never materialized – and fault always lies with others (including God).  So, the bitter soul stews and simmers on, with unhealthy views of life.

However, instead of doing anything about it, often born out of a “why bother” mind, because nothing has really worked out before, the bitter person usually sits around a lot wallowing in self-pity.  Pointing critical, accusatory, and fault-finding fingers outward and skyward, but seldom back at themselves.  This type of blame game started back in the Garden of Eden.

All the while, bitterness slowly spreads like a spiritual toxin inside a soul.  However, it is hard to spot just by looking at a person, because a sweet smile on Sunday at church can hide a spirit soured by resentment the rest of the week.  Words spoken smoother than butter can mask bitterness in the heart (Psalm 55:21).  Still, God sees it all (1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:13).

Our Father cannot show anybody a more excellent and better way, if they should ever be in the galls of bitterness (1 Corinthians 12:31, Acts 8:23).  Why? Well, with God, it keeps people bound in the bonds of iniquity and sin (Acts 8:23).  Bitterness is any feeling He has dealt (or is dealing) unfairly or unjustly, and this isn’t possible (Ezekiel 33:20, Deuteronomy 32:4).

Everything past in our life is required by God, and it will be this way as long as we live (Ecclesiastes 3:15). However, how will He ever create a new path in the wilderness if we keep looking back over our shoulder in remembrance of the bad things from days gone by making us bitter now (Isaiah 43:18-19)?  Repeatedly rehashing them leaves little room for future hopes.

God will never cause us grief or afflict us willingly – there always a reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  It’s just that we are not to know the times or seasons He has put in His own power (Acts 1:7).  Faith and belief says we trust in Him, and He knows what He’s doing – even if we don’t understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We either grow better from trials and troubles, or bitter.

Bitterness is also feelings of resentment with God – and there can be a wide variety of reasons why.  One could be some private displeasure about blessings He certainly seems to bestowing on others from above – when we think we are the ones showing Him much more love than they are – and that we should be the recipients.  It creates a sense of indignation inside us.

When these feelings of resentment get released out into the open, expressed in words or actions, it is how Christianity can start feeling like it is nothing more than a tense, stressful contest.  It becomes ungodly. There’s lack of contentment.  Believers start unwisely comparing and measuring aspects of their walk with God against those of others (2 Corinthians 10:12).

In turn, this creates an uneasy air of contention, and generates confusion God never authors (1 Corinthians 14:33).  It is a precursor to every evil work within the churches (James 3:14-16).  It births sinful pride and the evil rejoicing of boastings (James 4:16).  This is how believers become apostates by serving Satan more than God (Romans 1:25,30, 2 Timothy 3:1-2).

We are all prime candidates for bitterness, if we ever become weary of life, or in our walk with the Lord (Job 10:1).  Relationships, jobs, finances, Christianity, etc. – are not creating the better lives we hoped they would at their outset.  We can get to a point where we think “What’s the point?”  This is vanity – useless, a waste of time, and not producing desired results.

We have to be careful and prayerful our belief does not end up being in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).  Bitter roots cannot possibly produce the spiritual fruits God commands us to continually bring forth – meet for repentance (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30).  Instead, they bring forth toxic, spoiled, and worldly fruits like resentment, anger, and envy.

Whatever the reasons for bitterness, they are all displeasing to God.  Bitterness prevents Christians from following peace and holiness with all men below heaven, and keeps them out because of it (Hebrews 12:14-15).  It breeds contention, birthed only from foolish pride (Proverbs 13:10), with others and Him. Contention creates conflict and friction – not peace.

Bitter Christians don’t think right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).  It means they cannot have victorious walks with Jesus in such vexed states of mind.  The final 13 paragraphs from the Charming Health website (with some personal additions and Scripture support) give an extensive and excellent description of bitterness, as well as the inner and outer damage it causes:

Bitterness is emotional suicide.  It’s like drinking poison, and then hoping the other person gets ill. People embroiled in bitterness have an incredible memory for the tiniest little details, and they wallow in puddles of self-pity and resentment.  They record every offense in their heart and head – more than ready to show others how much they have been hurt.

Bitter people defend and carry grudges constantly. They feel they have been hurt too deeply and too often, and think this exempts them from their need to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).  Their hearts can overflow with so much resentment, they no longer have any capacity to love.  Bitterness takes their soul captive, consuming positive emotions, and robs them of joy.

Bitterness is frozen anger in latent form.  When it is manifested, it becomes a vicious malignancy making one extremely vulnerable to very unwise choices and decisions, developing destructive thought patterns infiltrating body and soul.  It saps the mind’s vitality. If allowed to fester unaddressed, bitterness can pave a path to seeking out vengeance and acts of violence.

Failure to confess and correct bitterness causes it to spread like a cancer no longer in remission.  Unlike a physical kind confined to just one body, bitterness is a spiritual kind infecting and sickening others.  It’s often expressed as anger, jealousy, dissatisfaction, or hate. It keeps focus below, on getting back or even, but not getting and staying on the narrow path to heaven.

It is true many life events can be unpleasant, causing grief and pain.  However, responding in any prolonged bitterness fuels more bitterness far down the road.  A reservoir of resentment is drawn upon over and over. It can be passed down to children and hold people in its vice-like grips.  It can even generate fiery, deadly feuds between families, like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Some of these events can be quite sudden, such as the literal loss of a loved one, or a source of income. Some are subtler, happening more slowly over time such as the loss of reputation, social status within a group, or control.  Regardless, they all sow and grow bitter roots and fruits.  Resentment and bitterness are unacceptable to God as they’re self-defeating and sin.

Existing bitterness in a Christian means they are not abiding side by side with God, so He can burn up the unrighteous roots producing such resentment (John 15:1-6).  These roots cannot bring forth anything but rotten fruits defiling a soul.  Some of them are guilt, arrogance, frustration, surmising, melancholy, sloth, and envy, creating instability in mind and spirit.

Extended bitterness produces physical ailments like insomnia, ulcers, anxiety, fear, depression, and heart attacks.  Mental consequences are hyper-critical views and attitudes about life.  Nobody can do things right (including God) except the bitter person.  Those who associate with such souls may sympathize for a time, but can end up avoiding them, lest they get drawn in.

Still, we are responsible for what we say, think, and feel.  God’s plan is to make us better so we can enter into heaven – not bitter so we cannot.  What makes people so bitter are worldly attitudes they develop growing up, and then carry in life towards situations and others.  As Christians, we’re being transformed by His truth, so old ways aren’t conformed to again.

Continuing in bitterness is not rooted and grounded in God’s love within through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It is building faith upon a faulty foundation (Luke 6:47-49, 1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is not repenting (Luke 13:3,5).  Perishing awaits, unless one is purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned and fervent love of all (1 Peter 1:22).

God cannot possibly work His good will and pleasure in bitter hearts (Philippians 2:13).  Those battling with Him and others in futile resistance to His ways, and in refusal to His voice (Hebrews 12:25).  It’s enough to wrestle against the rulers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12), without having to get into bitter, resentful wars with heaven and the brethren as well.

If we are being humbly obedient to God (Philippians 2:8) we are submitting to His power inside us.  We are not to resist it (Romans 13:2), as it’s the only power we will ever get to put off all forms of malice (second lead verse).  External means or methods, including guidance from other Christians, cannot cure bitterness.  All they do is give place to the devil.

Characterized by hostility (not hospitality) bitterness brings forth unforgiving, sputtering, and backsliding spirits full of negative attitudes almost always plotting and scheming, along with grouchy and complaining mouths.  Love can certainly dispel it all, but it spells disaster if left uncorrected.  Satan’s job is to devour, destroy, and kill souls – exactly what bitterness does.

 

 

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