Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Jews’


 

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).

 

 

 

Read Full Post »


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.

 

Read Full Post »


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– To whom he (Paul) expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus – both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning ’til evening. – Acts 28:23

– Desiring to be teachers of the law – understanding neither what they say, nor the things which they affirm. – 1 Timothy 1:7

It is never wrong for any Christian to share single passages or verses from Scripture with those who are lost.  However, doing so in any random fashion does not really help them understand the message of the Cross, any better than if they’d read the same alone. Regular sharing like this is not connecting the dots.  It marks one who isn’t learning how to compare spiritual things with spiritual from God (1 Corinthians 2:13).

It makes it hard for any believer like this to expound Scripture to the lost, and who don’t understand the gospel yet.  To them, it is foolishness and hidden because they are currently perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 4:3).  Expounding presents and explains something systematically and in detail.  It should always leave anyone with a better concept of what is being expounded, and less confused about it.

Expounding is also more convincing.  In regards to God’s Word, it is more capable of causing someone to believe He is true and real, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to stay on heaven’s narrow path (John 14:6, Matthew 7:14).  Expounding is also far more persuasive if we don’t require a Bible in our hands when people ask us questions about it; and we have to flip back and forth between pages to find answers.

Saying things like “Well, I thought that verse was in Jeremiah, but maybe it’s Jude.”  Followed by a long pause as we search unsuccessfully and remark, “I could have sworn it was in here somewhere.  I just can’t find it now.”  How compelling would any of these comments sound to a lost soul?  Wouldn’t it appear we did not understand what we are saying – unable to affirm our words with God’s (second lead verse)?

Remember, if we are Christians, we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have God’s Word dwelling within us at all times through the power of the Holy Ghost.  We have Scripture inside our soul wherever we may go.  So we do not go around saying things as, “I wish I could answer, but I don’t have my Bible now” – if anyone asks us questions about it.  We can still expound quickly, confidently, and correctly.

Our Father does not automatically give us an ability to expound.  We can’t expect or anticipate it to develop without participation on our part, and it certainly does not happen overnight.  We are to study Scripture on a steady basis to show ourselves approved to God – not other Christians.  This is so we can rightly divide His word of truth assuredly.  Without shame, delay, or doubt as to what we are saying (2 Timothy 2:15).

This is not all.  We have to rehearse what we are learning from God on a regular basis as He guides us into all truth (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27), teaching us freely how to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).  This is so we can readily and practically apply the Word to any worldly situation. Sitting in church listening to Scripture, but doing little else with it, does not teach expounding (James 1:22).

There is a worldwide audience today of lost and unbelieving souls in a state of spiritual famine and starvation.  Such people are not famished by lack of worldly water or bread – but out of a longing hunger for hearing the Word (Amos 8:11).  Rehearsing to expound helps us prepare to feed anyone like this properly at any moment.  Providing malnourished souls with suitable spiritual food; if only for a while.

Expounding also helps connect what the lost can relate to, or understand in their world, to truths in God’s Word – a lamp unto our feet as Christians.  It should brighten their path at least a little while with the Bible (Psalm 119:105).  Learning how to expound keeps us ready to answer anyone in this manner with grace and relevance (Colossians 4:6).  It is so they don’t stumble as much and stay so distant from God.

For example, if we should find ourselves talking to athletes, we could expound to them how faith is similar to running a long race.  Moving ahead at a steady and patient pace – perhaps as in a marathon. And, how only person can win a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).  We could then add in talk about a need for spiritual discipline and commitment, just as one would require physically in the world if they desired victory.

When we rehearse to expound, it’s so we can take a person from point A to point B in Scripture.  Without skipping or forgetting steps along the way – or losing our audience somewhere in the middle.  The book of Acts gives us a great example of this.  Some Jewish believers were in strong contention with Peter about the Gentiles.  People they considered unclean human beings; and not worthy of God’s grace (Acts 11:1-3).

However, Peter had already rehearsed what he was going to say to them, in set order from the beginning (Acts 11:4); just in case a meeting like this ever took place.  As Peter knew how they felt about the Gentiles – a complete and conclusive response had to be ready at moment’s notice.  By expounding everything as to why Gentiles were just as worthy; the Jews held their peace at the end in agreement (Acts 11:5-18).

Because Peter prepared ahead of time, he was able to expound convincingly, and not come across sounding holier-than-thou to the Jews – because he knew he wasn’t (Romans 3:23).  Nor, did it appear to them Peter was showing off his Scriptural knowledge; but sharing little or nothing pertaining to the situation at hand.  We always want to help draw the lost closer to the Cross, not drive them further away from it.

Practice makes perfect just as much in the Word as it does in the world.  It involves rehearsing privately as Peter did for later use in public.  Musicians and actors don’t walk out on stage without rehearsing first, or they are bound to forget and skip some notes or lines. Likewise, we cannot expound the Word if we don’t learn how to rehearse.  It will just sound like we are randomly tossing out verses without rhyme or reason.

As we mature spiritually and learn the discipline to rehearse, we can help other believers also learn to expound more credibly.  There was a Jewish man in Acts named Apollos.  He was an eloquent speaker who was mighty in Scriptures and fervent in the spirit. Instructed in the Lord’s ways and teaching accurately in this manner.  However, his knowledge was limited, knowing only of John’s baptism (Acts 18:24-25).

When he began speaking boldly in the synagogues, an early missionary couple of the Christian church heard him.  Their names were Aquila and Priscilla, who had already lived, worked, and traveled with the apostle Paul (Acts 18:2-3, 18).  The two took Apollos aside and began expounding unto him the way of God more perfectly.  It was so he could go publicly convince other Jews that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:26-28).

Likewise, we should be expounding Scripture more perfectly with each passing year.  We are continually being transformed (Romans 12:2) and perfected by God’s truth, so it becomes a natural progression.  So our expounding sounds more and more complete and connected – and less piecemeal.  Resounding in the souls of others as immutable truths flowing forth from the living water of God’s Word in ours (John 7:38).

If we don’t learn to expound more perfectly, we will likely sound purposeful.  However, we’re not trying to add members to our church – only God can do this (Acts 2:47).  Sadly, some expound as an attempt to do so; or as a way to sell Christian merchandise (2 Thessalonians 3:8, 2 Peter 2:3).  Although we can persuade others about God with our expounding, we can’t do so to make them be a Christian (Acts 26:28).

However, we can never really learn or expect to expound Scripture without spiritual discipline.  It commands steadfast commitment and devotion to God – for this defines belief in Him.  It takes studying and rehearsing in private, so we always know what to expound with any type of public audience.  It takes exercising our spirit into godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), so we’re not labeled as hypocrites (1 Corinthians 9:14).

Only our Father is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), so our expounding will never be 100 percent flawless. Still, we should eventually get to a point through repeated rehearsing and practicing, where it never sounds to other people as if we’re merely expounding Scripture by reading from a prepared script or crib notes.  Or, as if we’re just ad-libbing without prior preparation.  “Winging it” isn’t the way to expound.

What we should learn is to be like Paul, and be able to sit down and expound Scripture to any number of people from morning until night – without having a Bible in sight.  Talking about any topic from God’s Word in systematic detail as Paul did with the Jews in the lead verse.  Starting from a specific point and leading to a definitive conclusion.  Leaving those who hear to decide if they believe or not (Acts 28:23-24).

In conclusion, expounding explains in great detail, in a set order.  It clears up truths from God’s Word with the lost, or even new believers who still wrestle with Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).  People who often see the Bible as being contradictory or confusing.  In turn, expounding births wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  It’s why God had soldiers pound nails into the body of His Son.

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel. Taught according to the strictest manner of our father’s law – and was zealous towards God, as you all are to this day. – Acts 22:3

– But the zeal with which you play … relies on where you draw the line. – Jason Mraz

Adolf Hitler certainly had belief in a higher being. There are several historical records and writings supporting his claim to be some sort of Christian. Whatever this meant to Hitler, his zeal towards God in such a manner led to his developing a zero tolerance for the Jewish people and their ways. Because of this, he persecuted an estimated six million of them unto death in concentration camps.

The apostle Paul had zeal towards God, too.  Except he was born a Jew as Saul in the city of Tarsus – and taught according to the perfect manner of Jewish law (lead verse).  Paul developed a zero tolerance towards the new Christians of his day – persecuting them this way unto their deaths (Acts 22:4).  Wasting God’s church – more exceedingly zealous of earthly traditions than eternal truths (Galatians 1:13-14).

Two men of the human race – killing scores of other members of the human race; all because of zeal. All because both felt they were doing the right thing for God (Proverbs 14:12).  One wrote a terrible chapter in human history.  The other wrote nearly half of the New Testament.  If both men had zeal towards God – what was the difference between good and bad zeal? The answer is God Himself.

The One who is always the difference between wrong or right zeal, and whether ours is directed towards earthly or eternal things (Luke 12:33-34, Colossians 3:2).  Hitler steadfastly stuck with his worldly zeal to pursue and promote a political plan of his own mind and creation.  To chart his own course against the Jews, using our Creator as a covering for evil (1 Peter 2:16).  The results were tragic.

Conversely, Saul was struck down by God on the road to Damascus.  The Lord chose Saul to be a Christian that day … and made him the apostle Paul (Acts 22:5-9,16).  So God could then correct and redirect his zeal from the inside out, and set it in the right direction towards the Word – and His will (Acts 22:14).  So Paul could help others turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).  The results were truth.

This is not intended by any means to compare Hitler with Paul.  It is meant to make us attuned to the many dangers of becoming overzealous in anything we do throughout life … this includes Christianity. Being so can warp our judgement.  Too much wayward zeal can lead to us developing a near zero tolerance of certain people groups, religions, or general lifestyles (Matthew 23:13).

Having such a strict heart or mind like this leaves little space to extend any grace or mercy to others. Any religious rigidness does not permit much room to show or grow in either (James 2:13, 2 Peter 3:18). Having a zeal for the Lord does not mean we can deem and decide everything we do in His name as being right in our eyes – if they are still wrong in His (1 Kings 14:8, 1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 20:6).

However, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said “We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  Misguided men and women of God, mixed in with any type of overzealous mindset, can quickly go astray from His way.  They can teach or preach much misinformation when presenting God’s Word. Any pastor leading a church in such a way – can end up offending many of its members along the way (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Zeal is not wrong by itself.  It means great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective. Some synonyms of zeal are fervor, passion, and devotion – all admirable attributes for any Christian.  However, outward zeal can conceal many misguided intentions in the heart.  God will not be fooled (1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:12-13) … but it can take years for other people to find out they’ve been taken.

Sadly, to their graves at times.  Our human history gives us many tragic examples of what can happen when religious zeal runs rampant.  Under the cover of such zeal, Magellan’s thirst for personal glory finally led him fatally astray.  Then there were self-proclaimed godly men such as Jim Jones and David Koresh, who guided a total of 992 people to their deaths – all because of misguided zeal.

Elisabeth Elliot once penned these words: “It takes a while for revelry to turn to reverence, and much repetition of truth to eventually turn young zeal into habitual channels for good.”  Paul echoed this when he wrote, “It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing (Galatians 4:18).  So, where does zeal cross the line from good to bad, and can it be prevented?

Out of control children and cars can cause a lot of damage.  Both have lost their steering mechanism. Kids are operating independently of a parent; cars are operating independently from a driver.  Out of control Christians or churches can behave the same way. Too much zeal of this nature can be a strong indicator someone besides God is at the wheel (Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 30:21, Micah 7:5).

Without such courses being corrected within us from above – the path to eternal damnation is still being paved before us.  This is where repentance enter the picture.  God’s goodness leads to it (Romans 2:4).  As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens.  We all are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19). We are to be happy about correction  (Job 5:17) – but it might be painful at times.

No life change is easy.  It tends to upset “the way it has always been done” mindset.  If we still like any of our old worldly ways, repenting will not seem joyous. We will not likely see it as a sign of God’s love – but of His somehow messing with us again without rhyme or reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  However, divine discipline will happen.  It will hurt – but it’s meant to get us to heaven (Hebrews 12:5-14).

This keeps our zeal on the right course.  It is a contained flame of faith focused on our rewards up above (Colossians 3:2).  The wrong zeal is an out-of-control wildfire usually focused on the fleeting and passing (but often fun) things down here below (Matthew 6:19-20).  Wavering zeal crosses the line back and forth between the two.  It can become a type of spiritual tightrope walk (1 Corinthians 10:21)

Without daily and focused zeal regarding repentance (2 Corinthians 4:16), we’re in great danger of falling away.  This is serious.  It is impossible to be renewed again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6).  A sure sign of misguided zeal is being more passionate about participating in Christian activities; repeating certain traditions and customs – than repenting according to truth (Mark 7:7, 2 Timothy 2:25).

Zealously crossing items off our Christian “to do” list is not repentance,  It all means nothing without the pure, fervent, and unfeigned love we are to learn if we are born-again believers (1 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22).  We will all be justified of our sins and saved – only by God’s grace and steadfast faith in Christ until the end (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:24, Titus 3:7, Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 1:13).

The Pharisees tried justifying their words and works before men (Luke 16:15); despite having hearts that were still dirty – and in desperate need of cleansing from the inside out.  Jesus called them all hypocrites (Matthew 23:25-26).  Although they might have appeared outwardly zealous to others by honoring God with their lips and labor – their hearts were far from Him (Mark 7:6).

We can become the same if we are not fully committed to repentance.  This is all part of proper zeal.  If we should discover inner change is too difficult because of our Father’s sometimes painful and persistent correction, we can become zealous for Him in every area except repentance.  We can go about establishing our own righteousness without it, a misguided mistake made by Israel (Romans 10:1-3).

They certainly had a zeal of God – but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2).  They sought salvation by works of righteousness – but not by faith and repentance (Acts 17:30, Romans 9:31, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5).  They did not submit themselves to God’s righteousness.  This means Christ is the end of the law unto all who believes by faith unto the end (Romans 10:3-4, Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 3:14).

Our hope and promise of eternal life through Christ was given because of God’s zeal towards us from the start (Isaiah 9:7, Titus 1:2).  Our Father’s truth set up an eternal throne in heaven to establish justice and judgement through Jesus forever (Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:31-33).  Christ became the final offering for sin (Hebrews 10:14), so justification can only come through the Cross (John 14:6).

Self-justification wreaks havoc with repentance. Without us having a good conscience towards the latter, faith can shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19).  If the focus of our zeal is zeroed in on external Christian activities – but not inner change – danger is on the doorstep.  We can be easily putting ourselves back on the broad way heading straight to eternal destruction and darkness (Matthew 7:13, Matthew 8:12).

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: