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Posts Tagged ‘fellowship’


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

– That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.  By the sleight of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. – Ephesians 4:14

– Do not be carried about with many and strange doctrines.  For it is good that the heart be established with grace. – Hebrews 13:9

Did you ever stand along the shore and watch a boat on the water sail by?  Was it tilting and listing?  Was it zigzagging or wavering to the left and right?  If the water was a little bit wild or choppy, did it look like the vessel was getting tossed all over the place, and could no longer move straight ahead in the storm?

I would hope not, for it would not be long before something bad happened.  The boat could sink, or veer drastically off course, and dangerously towards ragged rocks along the shore.  If the ship had been built properly, it should keep moving straight ahead no matter what weather or wave conditions existed.

The purpose of building any boat is not just so it can float, but is able to sail from a port of departure to a destination point.  This applies to physical ships and spiritual ones (e.g. fellowship, worship, discipleship). However, all of these boats require a pilot, ballast, a steering mechanism, and a navigational system.

Otherwise, they’ll be adrift, with no way of getting to where they are supposed to.  They will just meander along in whatever direction gentler waves move, or get tossed all over the water when any storms strike. Physical vessels can shipwreck, and so can spiritual ones sailing to salvation’s shore (1 Timothy 1:19).

To prevent such a disaster, one must first be born again (John 3:5).  This is when we are returned to the Shepherd of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  We are given an anchor of hope in Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  From there, faith and belief must maintain an unwavering, eternal focus (Matthew 6:19-20, Colossians 3:2).

Faith and belief in God and Jesus with any selfish or worldly focus will waver; and sometimes wildly.  This type of attention to truth indicates spiritual infancy, immaturity, ignorance, or any mixture of them.  Faith and belief slowly drift, or fluctuate rapidly depending on whether life is going how you want it to or not.

Spirits soar when it is, and Christians tend to say or think, “I am so blessed” when problems do not exist. Spirits dip when it is not – and Christians tend to say or think, “Why is God messing with me?  I don’t get this” – when problems persist.  This is how confusion God never authors is birthed (1 Corinthians 14:33).

This isn’t the way to walk confidently, patiently, and steadfastly on heaven’s narrow path.  It’s not how to be made partakers of Christ at the end after enduring all God commands to be saved (Hebrews 10:35-36, Hebrews 3:14, Matthew 7:14, Mark 13:13, Hebrews 12:20).  Spiritual shakiness isn’t the way to do this.

All unbalanced walks with God are dangerous (e.g. Proverbs 5:6, lead verse, 2 Peter 3:17, Hebrews 10:23).  Spiritual instability means one has a double mind (James 1:6-8).  Restless or confused thoughts, actions, or behavior exist and persist as one drifts between Word and world (1 Corinthians 10:21).

Christians can’t waver “from “doubt” to “certainty”, then back to “doubt” about anything.  If one part of the mind is sure about something in relation to a walk with God, and the other part isn’t – it gives place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27).  Satan is always waiting to lead unsteady believers away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

God will not tolerate divided attention or focus with Satan at any time.  Christians can’t serve two masters (Luke 16:13).  Loving God and loving worldly things are such polar opposites of each other, it’s impossible to follow both and be steady in spirit (1 John 2:15-16).  Trying to creates a deadly conflict of interest.

Christians attempting any split service between their Saviour and Satan will find firm faith and balanced belief, only when life in the world and Word suits them to a tee.  This is selfishness – a concentration on personal advantage, pleasure, or welfare.  Unless others contribute to this end, they are disregarded.

This is not having Christ’s mind (Philippians 2:3-5). Contrary to a dangerous belief created by truncating Romans 8:1, there is condemnation to Christians who walk after the flesh, because the Spirit cannot lead them at the same time.  The flesh is weak, but when people seek to satisfy its lusts, the Spirit is left out.

Selfish is an anagram of “is flesh.”  A selfish Christian cannot be an unprofitable servant of God (Luke 17:7-10), because they are spending time attempting to get profit they think is deserved from Him.  When this happens, they set a course for worldly wealth and gain again, and swerve from truth (1 Timothy 1:6).

Jesus said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34).”  If hearts stay set on fleeting things of the world that can’t be taken out (1 Timothy 6:7), it is not the truth, but sin.  This is how wavering walks start, it is why prayers go unanswered (James 4:3), and it’s where problems with God begin.

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace as in all churches of the saints. – 1 Corinthians 14:33

– In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust – let me never be put to confusion. – Psalm 71:1

Our English word “confusion” comes from the Latin “confusionem.”  It means the mixing, mingling, and blending of many things together.  To the point where it creates a disorderly mind, producing a sometimes constant state of mental perplexity.  Any person who is confused may often walk around a lot, saying or thinking things like “I don’t get it,” “This doesn’t make much sense,” or “That wasn’t supposed to happen.”

This world can leave us confused in such a way many a day – leaving us scratching our heads in wonder as to what is really going on in our lives.  God’s Word should never leave any Christian in any state of confusion.  If we believe on Him – we will not be.  If Jesus truly is the cornerstone of our foundations  – we shall never be confounded – unless we are continuing in disobedience (1 Corinthians 3:11, 1 Peter 2:5-7).

Once the proper foundation has been set, we are to build our holy temples in accordance with God’s instructions (Ephesians 2:20-22).  If we don’t, it is all vanity (Psalm 127:1).  Our churches and homes are bound for great ruin – causing more confusion when they finally collapse (Luke 6:48-49).  Refusing God’s instructions is in err.  We shall die for still using this world’s manual (Proverbs 5:23, Proverbs 10:17).

Also, there are spiritual staircases inside our Christian buildings, leading up to heaven’s door.  If we climb the right way, God promises us we will never be barren or unfruitful in our knowledge of Christ.  We will never fall spiritually (2 Peter 1:5-11).  Stumbling faith indicates climbing the wrong way (John 10:1). Spiritual fruit production sputters – speaking more confusion into our souls (Galatians 5:22-23).

Even more confusion is created if we still love this world, and its things (1 John 2:15).  If our faith consists of trying to blend the world and Word together – we are in great err.  It shows God we are still trying to base and build our belief on two different foundations.  We still want to feast and have fellowship at two separate tables, with two different fathers (John 8:44, 1 Corinthians 10:20-21).

If our affection is not steadily focused on eternal things – it will still be set on some earthly ones (Colossians 3:2).  Any friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).  If we keep wavering between the world and Word  – it is sure to make us lie down each evening in some state of shame and confusion (Jeremiah 3:25).  We might even toss and turn a little – or a lot (Ephesians 4:14).

So, what’s the harm in wanting a little bit of the world and Word?   In “Reality Church” by Ian Vincent, he writes:  “Christians who do not believe in every truth of God’s Word – will believe in lies by default.  The harm in believing things about God and the Christian life which aren’t true, is it robs God of His glory.  It dilutes our personal faith, weakens our relationship with Him … thereby bringing confusion.”

Vincent continues with this:  “If we are confused, it opens the door for the father of liars (John 8:44) to play around with us.  This basically messes up our minds, because it genders them towards sin.  There is never any neutral ground with God.”   We either buy the truth and don’t sell it (Proverbs 23:23) – or we sell out for more lies.  We either love God completely, or we do not (Mark 12:30).

It is difficult to be content as Christians – no matter what state we are in – if we are in any state of confusion (Philippians 4:11).  If we are, we have brought it to our faces (Daniel 9:7-8).  God has not authored it – we have (lead verse).  We are still trying to finish our faith without Christ (Hebrews 12:2).  We have only put part of our trust in God – despite what we may claim (second lead verse).

Maybe this is why the scene in Christianity today can often seem similar to the riot at the Ephesus theater. Something exciting was going on there.  Everyone rushed inside with one accord.  So, what was going on?  Well, some people cried one thing, some cried another – until everyone was confused.  In the end, most didn’t know why they had assembled in the first place (Acts 19:29-32).

Maybe this is why we are hearing a confused and uncertain sound in today’s church (Isaiah 9:5, 1 Corinthians 14:8).  The world silently took a seat in our pews years ago (Revelation 2:13).  Unsound doctrine crept in (Titus 2:1).  It can all sound like an annoying noise to the lost … as if countless Christians all over the world are absent-mindedly jangling their many keys of faith, belief, and truth (1 Timothy 1:6).

Desiring to be teachers, but neither understanding or affirming much of what we preach (1 Timothy 1:7). Any confused preacher of the Word, preaching to any confused person in the world – must give the devil constant delight.  For if we should be confused at any time as Christians, Satan knows we have swerved away from the good Word of God’s truth – to serve the world of goods and his lies (1 Timothy 1:6).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. – Hebrews 3:14

– Since you know this beforehand, beware – lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked. – 2 Peter 3:17

A generation or so ago (and before), the term “going steady” was often used in reference to two people – often high-school teenagers – who were seeing each other exclusively.  It is a term seldom heard in this regard anymore.  When two people get together these days, everything seems to be centered around having a “relationship”.  It has become a major milestone and part of many people’s lives.

When any relationship reaches official status, it is often shared on social media sites.  It is somehow a sign of “arrival” in life.  Yet some people have such strong desires to enter these relationships, they board the boat without really knowing where they want to go.  Still, they set sail.  Then, as soon as their ship hits rough seas, how often do we hear, “I wish I knew where this relationship is heading?”

So, maybe we should go back to saying “going steady” – and not just for earthly reasons.  Why? Because this world’s current message about many matters seems to be mixing in more and more with the Word’s.  The word “relationship” doesn’t appear in Scripture.  But – much of the talk coming out of the church today seems to be about how one can establish or improve their relationship with Christ.

Still, if we board any ship – physical or spiritual – and we don’t know where we’re going from the start; we are in big trouble before ever leaving port.  Without any set, steady, and straight course to follow out on the water – we’re going to get carried wherever the wayward winds and waves take us (Ephesians 4:14). Depending on their strength, we might move a little or a lot – but one storm can sink us.

Without a destination, drifting begins.  This principle applies to all ships, even if they are figurative in nature.  In the world, we have relationships and partnerships.  In the Word, we have discipleship, fellowship, and worship.  When we drift in any ship, our compasses will steadily spin, for we have no true course to follow.  To and fro we go.  When waters are calm, everything may seem fine; until …

We are not to be carried about with many and strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:9).  However, we are very likely to keep changing our courses if our ships don’t have a set one to start with.  We are apt to go after a doctrine which sounds favorable to us one day – then a different one the next (2 Timothy 4:3-4). However, Seneca once said, “If a man doesn’t know to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”

Steadfast means having unwavering belief.  It is being devoted and true … faithful.  It is traveling along a straight course – smoothly sailing forward.  It is being even-keeled.  Steadily heading towards a predetermined destination, regardless of what life may be throwing at the boat.  On board any Christian ship – our final destination is salvation – but we’re still sailing out upon this world’s often rough waters.

If a storm hits, our spiritual ships keep moving ahead with steadfast faith, because we have God as a guide all the way to our destination of death – and our hopeful deliverance from it (Job 30:23, Psalm 48:14, 2 Corinthians 2:9-10, Hebrews 9:27).  But – Satan does not want anyone to get to salvation’s shore. The devil will try to devour anyone – even the most steadfast and faithful Christians (1 Peter 5:8-9).

As Moses led his people towards the Promised Land, many got tired of the trip.  Despite His protection and provision, their spirits were no longer steadfast with Him.  They no longer believed in God, or trusted His salvation (Psalm 78:8, 14-15, 23-29).  They flattered God with lying tongues – but their hearts were no longer right with Him; nor were they steadfast in His covenant (Psalm 78:36-37).

Salvation is a hope – a Promised Land no one has seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  This hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of our souls – at all times (Hebrews 6:19).  We are to stay on an even-keel course, unaffected by all the mixed and misguided messages and lies of this world; always abounding in the work of the Lord.  Steadfast of our faith in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:58, Colossians 2:4-5).

This is all of grave concern to us if we ever believe we’re already saved before dying.  If we ever buy into this message, then why would we need God anymore as our guide all the way to death (Psalm 48:14)?  Why would we need Jesus Christ as the Shepherd and Bishop of our soul anymore (1 Peter 2:25)?  We’ve already told God we have dropped anchor and moored ourself on salvation’s shore.

What ship would we have to board again?  To where? What would we do with our time – in the meantime – while waiting for Christ to come back with salvation (Revelation 12:10)?  What would be the purpose for any further relationship with Jesus, if we’ve already been saved?  What steadfastness would we be in danger of falling from, if we have already reached our final destination (Matthew 24:13)?

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