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Posts Tagged ‘Numbers’


 

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

– 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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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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KJV and NKJV Scripture:

– But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3

– The Scriptures were not given to us to confuse us – but to instruct us.  Certainly God intends that we should believe His Word with all simplicity. – M.R. DeHaan

The word simplicity means easy to understand.  It is something comprehensible and not complicated; plain and not perplexing.  Even if it is a detailed process requiring expounding, a simplistic approach makes it much easier to keep things in correct order.  Spiritual simplicity is an existence free from guile or deceit.

Conversely, subtlety is difficulty in understanding, or making elusive or hard to detect.  It is employing deceit to subvert and achieve goals.  One intent of subtlety is to corrupt a process undetected as long as possible.  If someone finally does notice, it’s often too late to reverse or repair the damage already done.

The teachings of Jesus are always correct – but the teachings of the devil are always corrupt.  Satan is the deceiver of this world, the night and day accuser of man (Revelation 12:9-10), and the master of all confusion and illusion.  There is no truth in him (John 8:44), but he can make his lies seem very believable.

Christ’s yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30).  The devil’s yoke yanks Christians around in dozens of directions daily, often duping them into thinking every new fad or doctrine in the church is the proper one to follow. For a while at least, until they find out it all did not satisfy their spirit as advertised (Proverbs 27:20).

Still, Satan remains subtle but pernicious (2 Peter 2:2), a seductive and persistent presence.  Roaring around the world he is the prince of (John 14:30) – as a spiritual lion who does not sleep, seeking souls to devour.  Steadfast Christians in faith are not exempt from his devices (1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

Believers who mind earthly matters (Philippians 3:19) and remain entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), stay ensnared by Satan’s lies, blinding their minds in unbelief from ever seeing the simplicity of truth (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The devil isn’t alone.  He has angels of light and right to help (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Unstable, wavering, and straying Christians walk in the err of confusion with God (Ephesians 4:14, James 1:6-8,16, 2 Peter 3:17).  They remain influenced by Satan.  If they turn aside after him (1 Timothy 5:15), they are now unbelievers who’ve departed God, and often see Scripture as contradictory and inconsistent.

These fall prey to itching ears and unsound doctrine. Turning from the truth and swerving to words making it sound as if God should be serving them (2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 Timothy 1:6-7, Luke 17:7-10).  They also pervert certain passages or verses just so they can justify living in the world much like they always have.

Never realizing Satan or one of his ministers could be preaching from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12) or sitting in their pews (Revelation 2:13).  So, they continue on in disobedience and unbelief (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Peter 2:6-8).  Unsure of what God’s plan is for their life, and frequently doubting if there really is one.

So, they hatch their own plans, and do what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 14:12).  Making things up to do in their mind (Numbers 16:28) – and hoping God doesn’t mind.  Then, they get confused after as to why things didn’t work together for good (Romans 8:28).  In turn, some simply stop doing anything.

As the lead verse indicates, there is a simplicity in Jesus clearly missing in today’s Christianity and the church.  Our Father is straightforward about many things, giving us commandments to humbly obey until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  These are not recommendations, suggestions, or advice to consider.

This is all so we can keep moving steadily and straight ahead along heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14), if we desire to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).  It is so we follow the process of repentance and do not fall away off course (Hebrews 6:4-6).  This gives place for Satan to set a new one (2 Peter 3:17).

God’s commandments only become confusing or unclear when they interfere with something else a person has already decided they are going to do in the world – or in the Word.  This is how false dreams or lying divinations start.  When people say “The Lord says” and He never spoke to them (Ezekiel 13:6-7).

Tony Khuon once said, “The goal of simplicity is to achieve the lowest amount of complexity – for the highest amount of fulfillment.”  God’s Word is full of simple sounding passages and verses about how He commands us to live as believers.  So our joy may be full, if fellowship truly is with Jesus (1 John 1:3-4).

For example, how to prove His will is found in Romans 12:1-2.  The key to happiness is found in Job 5:17 and Hebrews 12:5-11.  The way to enter His rest is found in Hebrews 4:9-10.  The pathway to a peace passing all understanding is found in Philippians 4:4-7.  And, Joshua 1:8 contains the only key to success.

All the above verses are clearly written and easy to understand.  There isn’t any doubt as to what God is talking about.  One cannot read them and then think, “I wonder what He really means by that?”  However, people with tendencies to over complicate matters in the world – are prone to do the same in the Word.

Unless they allow God to transform their minds daily towards His simple truths, they’ll stay conformed to the world’s way and keep on succumbing to Satan’s trickery (Romans 12:1-2).  They will see Christianity as complex, difficult, and thorny – and Jesus is not. It’s not why Christ wore a crown of thorns at Calvary.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus said to him, “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

– Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul – seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil, and go.” – 1 Samuel 16:1

The Sower” is a painting by van Gogh.  It shows a stark country setting.  A simple farmhouse sits far off in the background.  The foreground shows a young man walking across a dirt field with a seed bag slung over his shoulder – the sun blazing above.  His gaze is fixed ahead as he scatters seeds behind – unaware a few birds have gathered there; already eating some of them.  It is a good illustration of the lead verse.

A bad illustration is sitting in the same Sunday seats week after week, year after year.  Doing so develops a complacent Christian life not in accordance with God’s Word.  The more we feel at home here in our body – including that of a church – the more we’re absent from the Lord.  We don’t want to be found naked at the end because we clothed ourselves in the comfort of any physical church (2 Corinthians 5:1-6).

This is not God’s idea of spiritual farming.  Failing to move when God commands is stubbornness.  When He told Noah to build the ark – Noah moved with fear (Hebrews 11:7).  He didn’t tell God it wasn’t a good time.  Stubbornness is a sin (1 Samuel 15:23).  It is a refusal to move in accordance with the Word, because one is still conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). It is remaining in a state of disobedient unbelief.

We don’t see people chosen by God to follow Him (John 15:16) like Moses, David, and Paul attending weekly Sunday church services or mid-week Bible studies.  Then, wandering about in the world outside of those times, wondering what God wanted them to do.  Jesus did not hang on a Cross for us to hang around in an idle haze, confused at any time about what God wants us to do (1 Corinthians 14:33).

There are many reasons why we have to be on the move much of the time.  One reason is God always has something for us to do – as long as He is the One leading us by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  We cannot make things up in our minds as some accused Moses of doing (Numbers 16:28).  God warns us of having false dreams or lying divinations; misled by them – or misleading others (Jeremiah 23:32, Ezekiel 13:6-7).

While Samuel mourned over God’s rejection of Saul as Israel’s king – Samuel was going to be of no use to Him sitting in the same place too long (second lead verse).  There was a new king to go find and anoint. Still, Samuel didn’t wander off without a clue, hoping he would happen upon the right person.  God had set directions and instructions for Samuel, as is always the case with us (1 Samuel 16:1-13, Proverbs 5:23).

Another reason we have to keep moving is because we are all being pursued by the devil.  Satan is a spiritual predator who does not sleep.  He always knows where we are and who we are (Job 1:6-11, Acts 19:15) – roaring about like a lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8-9).  It’s easier for physical predators to attack and kill sick, weak, or stationary targets.  It’s easier for Satan to do the same.

God designed our bodies – physical and spiritual – to move.  A third reason for both to be in movement is it promotes health and healing.  As Christians, we are not our own anymore.  We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our body and our spirit; which are His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Lack of use with either leads to atrophy; a gradual decline in vigor or effectiveness due to underuse or neglect.

Any person in such a state often wants or requires others to do things for them physically or spiritually. In the book of John, a man with an infirmity (physical weakness) had sat by the pool at Bethesda – for 38 years.  Many other impotent people were also there. An angel would enter the pool in a certain season and stir it up.  After this troubling of the waters, the first person in after would be made whole (John 5:2-5).

When Jesus saw this man – He knew the man had been infirm a long time.  Christ asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  The man replied, “Sir, I have no man to put me in the pool when the water is troubled. But, while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said, “Rise, take your bed and walk.”  The man did and was immediately healed (John 5:6-8). Christ never touched him.  Jesus simply said “Move.”

Movement prevents us from having too much idle time on our hands.  Idle time leads to idle words we will all give account of on judgement day (Matthew 12:36).  It also creates idol walks and talks, and worldly conversations we are not to have (Exodus 23:13, 2 Corinthians 1:12).  In addition to other sins like pride, an abundance of idleness led to God’s fiery destruction of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49, Genesis 19:24).

Movement does not mean staying busy all the time. When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted them to be so busy making bricks, they wouldn’t have time to make sacrifices for God.  This is too busy (Exodus 5:6-8).  We have to stop from time to time to clearly hear God’s still, small voice – to get new instructions as Elijah did (1 Kings 19:11-15).  However, once we do – we move with fear and without delay like Noah.

Staying in one place too long leads to familiarity. Familiarity tends to breed contemptuous, complacent, careless, and/or lukewarm spirits.  Such ungodly attributes arise from getting too accustomed to something or someone.  Relaxed Christians are the end result (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).  Even in their churches where Satan could be sitting, or preaching from the pulpit (Revelation 2:13, Ephesians 6:12).

If we move ahead and don’t look back in accordance with God’s Word (lead verse), in humble obedience to His commands unto death (Philippians 2:8) – we’re doing His will.  God’s charge in Matthew 24:14 can’t be fulfilled any other way.  If we sit still in one place too long, the sin of stubbornness is sure to stagnate our spiritual growth.  This gives place to Satan and plenty of room to devour us (Ephesians 4:27).

Much like the style of van Gogh’s “The Sower” – we’re to sling a spiritual seed bag over our shoulder and set out across the farmlands of faith.  Sowing the Word of God as our seed as He leads us by the Spirit (Mark 4:14, Luke 8:11).  Not looking back over our shoulder to see if they are landing on stony ground – or if the devil is there to take them away, or we’re not fit for God’s kingdom of heaven (Mark 4:15-16, lead verse).

This keeps us from sowing the same spiritual fields over and over.  When farmers of God’s physical fields do this year after year, the dirt becomes stressed and unfruitful.  The same goes for the spiritual soil of our hearts.  Instead, we scatter a handful of seeds on the ground and move on ahead.  God will send another person along to water it – but He alone will be the One to provide the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Only God decides what any physical or spiritual seed will ever become, giving each one its own body as it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 15:37-38).  We can’t grow seeds planted in human hearts into producing spiritual fruits God commands them to become in ourselves or any other person (Galatians 5:22-23).  If we try to, we only defile His crop (Deuteronomy 22:9).  This doesn’t move anyone closer to heaven, does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Only by pride cometh contention; but with the well advised is wisdom. – Proverbs 13:10

– Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! – Isaiah 45:9

The simplest definition of “contention” means being opposed to something or someone.  Carried out to extremes, it develops a zeal to emerge as the winner in arguments or debates with anybody – including with God.  Contentment usually only comes with victories – while losses often generate contempt.

Any contention in life develops an existence of strife, discord, or disagreement with any number of people. It does the same with our Father above.  Contentious opposition to His ways can birth enmity or bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), leading to discontent lives of always questioning Him in an air of conflict and quarreling.

It’s a sign of having a carnal mind still conformed to the world; not renewed and transformed by His truth yet (Romans 8:7, 12:2).  It creates spiritual stress, struggles, or stagnation – and a burdensome, heavy yoke (Matthew 11:30).  It often creates a confusion God is never the author of (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Contention is a state of dissention with heaven.  It keeps hearts far from it – even though lips may speak many feigned words to the contrary (Mark 7:6).  It’s not growing in God’s grace, but it gives place to the devil – and space for his many devices of devouring (2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:27, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

It is sin – for only by pride does it arise (lead verse). It is being at odds with God – at any time, for any reason.  It is disobedient complaining coming from a lack of faith and trust – and this is displeasing to Him (Numbers 11:1, Philippians 2:14, Hebrews 11:6).  It is walking contrary to His ways (Leviticus 26:27-28).

To contend, or being in any contention with God is ungodly.  Some synonyms for both words reflect this, such as conflict and friction.  It’s hard to walk with anyone in such disharmony (Amos 3:3).  People can only disagree with others for so long, before they say “so long.”  The same goes with God (Hebrews 3:12).

Contention implies God does not know what He is doing.  It suggests He is unfair (Ezekiel 33:20), lying (Hebrews 6:18), or wrongly judging because violence, spoiling, and strife abound (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  Those contentious with God tend to perceive their goodness or innocence (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).

However, our Father is always right – His ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Contention with Him says He is not – and makes mistakes.  If we say we’re Christians, then we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We’ve been reconciled back to God into one body by the Cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:16).

Reconciliation means being brought into agreement and alignment with something or someone.  If we are Christians, then it is God.  Contention prohibits any concurrence with Him.  If we claim belief, then we always agree with God.  If we don’t, we are devoid of the truth, despite any claims to the contrary.

Our Father’s commandments are not meant to be grievous, but to grow us up into mature Christians (1 John 5:3).  Contentions against Him grieve the Holy Spirit – and we’re warned not to do this (Ephesians 4:30).  When we do, it upsets and saddens God.  It shows we haven’t learned Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Remember, our Father causes and creates all things in life – light and dark, good and evil (Isaiah 45:7). However, He will never grieve or afflict us willingly without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  Griping or grumbling about troubles or trials in life is not the way to grow spiritually and in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

We must look within at sin still not confessed and corrected as the source of any difficulty with Him.  Sin angers God, especially when committed by Christians who cannot be ignorant about His command to repent (Acts 17:30).  Otherwise, complaining and contention with Him are bound to begin (Lamentations 3:39).

If contentious arguing arises against God, it is being lifted up in the same arrogant pride that got Satan cast out from heaven (1 Samuel 2:3, Proverbs 16:18, Luke 10:18).  Christian novices are prone to prideful contention – and this puts them in danger of falling into the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).

New believers are unlearned and unstable.  They still wrestle with Scripture and require a lot of spiritual milk.  The Bible is hard to understand (1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 3:16).  It includes those who should be teachers by now; but who have to keep being retaught the first principles of God’s oracles (Hebrews 5:12).

Contention can also be fostered by failing to speak or preach wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  Instead, it is putting a personal “spin” on Scripture.  With catchy quotes or phrases sounding very spiritual and godly, but being unable to affirm them with His Word (1 Timothy 1:7)

However, this is swerving from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), and being removed to another gospel (Galatians 1:6).  This is how people get deceived by vain words (Ephesians 5:6).  Contention has likely led to rewrites of Scripture into many new versions so they sound more agreeable to man (Revelation 22:18-19).

Whatever the cause, contention is never a good state to be in very long.  Satan roars around like a starving lion, waiting to lead us away in err (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:16, 2 Peter 3:17).  The devil is our 24/7 accuser (Revelation 12:10).  Stirring up contention with God is a deadly device he uses to devour souls.

This doesn’t mean we will never be contentious with others – even with believers.  We were all raised in the world first, and have various viewpoints, theories, and opinions about life we may still be entangled in (2 Timothy 2:4).  Jesus has to untangle these so we stop minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19).

These can lead to sometimes heated disagreements with each other.  In the book of Acts, contention separated two brothers in Jesus.  What happened would be similar to a group of church elders today unable to agree on who to send on a mission trip. However, why it happened merits some examination.

Paul and Barnabas were at an impasse about whether to take John Mark – the cousin of Barnabas – as a third companion to go visit brothers in cities they had previously preached in.  They wanted to see how these brothers were faring.  The contention was so sharp, they went separate ways (Acts 15:36-39).

Scripture reveals they never met face to face again. Still, Paul later makes favorable mention of Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6), and expresses a desire for John Mark to join him in ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).  Even though Barnabas and Paul disagreed, they did not end up making a mountain out of a molehill.

Also, keep in mind their dissension did not involve Scriptural content or doctrinal issues.  They did not engage in profane or vain babblings about the Bible (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:16).  The split between the two men involved a personal dispute based upon a judgement call on who to take with them.

To their credit, neither Paul or Barnabas permitted the contention to sideline them from personal efforts in spreading God’s Word.  Yes, it was prideful and partial (1 Timothy 5:21).  However, they didn’t allow their inability to arrive at a decision to get them angry enough to sin more against God (Ephesians 4:26).

There will always be times when brothers and sisters in Christ will not see eye-to-eye in matters of opinion. However, the important thing is how we respond.  Do we mope, sulk, and stew because somebody didn’t agree with our point of view – or do we stay focused on doing God’s will, regardless of disagreements?

Paul and Barnabas pushed forward, putting their hand to the plow (Luke 9:62).  As a result, more work was done for God because of how they handled their rift. They didn’t permit it to spoil them spiritually.  They didn’t let it fester and end up getting the best of them in ignorance of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

There’ll be several situations throughout life leading to potential strife, dissention, or disagreement.  It’s even understandable between Christians, depending on the progress of their spiritual growth.  We still have to live in the world, but we have to watch with caution what we’re filling our hearts with (Luke 6:45).

Even with the Spirit inside us, our flesh lusts against it, and vice versa.  We don’t always say or do things we want to or should (Romans 7:18-19, Galatians 5:17).  However, contention is strife, and strife leads to evil works (James 3:16).  Individually, or in the churches where it has no place (1 Corinthians 11:16).

God tells us to take heed because we can easily be consumed if we continue biting and devouring each other in any contention (Galatians 5:15).  This shows a total lack of devotion to God’s ways and discipline in our walk with Him.  There’s no rest in life (Proverbs 29:9).  Contention makes people tense and on edge.

This is why we are well-advised to learn godly wisdom (lead verse).  It is letting God tame our unruly and evil tongues by His truth (James 3:8) – learning like David how to ask Him to set a guard over our lips (Psalm 141:3).  So our words are few and we refrain from rash talk (Ecclesiastes 5:2, Proverbs 10:19).

Strife in life leads to a lot of wrong, unrighteous, and ungodly thinking (Philippians 4:8).  Precious time is wasted and mental energy is spent dreaming up ways trying to prove a point on any topic, even Scripture, to those we disagree with.  Giving them a piece of our mind can’t lead to peace of mind (Philippians 4:9).

No thought can be hid from our Father (Job 42:2) – God knows them all (Ezekiel 11:5).  Even if we may think our contention is hidden to the masses in our mind, it is immediately manifest before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We can fool others with feigned and fake faith, but not God (Jeremiah 3:10).

We can also go out and speak the most convicting words about God – then come back home and rail accusations against Him behind closed doors about something we think He is doing wrong.  However God knows our abode; when we come and go.  If we rage against Him like this, it can’t be hid (2 Kings 19:27).

Many things increase vanity in this life and contention with God is one (Ecclesiastes 6:10-11).  It is counter-productive to bringing forth spiritual fruit meet with our commandment to repent of sins (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  Who are we to contend with God and command Him (Job 40:2)?

Contention with God shows Him we desire to establish our own righteousness and then declare it as such – just as the Israelites did.  However, it’s not submitting to His righteousness (Romans 10:3).  Instead, it is subversive and condemns Him.  If we do, we disannul His judgment, just so we can be righteous (Job 40:8).

Contention is everything but peace.  It is sin and it is ungodly.  We are to follow peace with all men, and holiness or we won’t see God (Hebrews 12:14).  If we should stay ungodly by blaming Him for our problems in prideful contention, and fail to repent of our ways, we will not stand in the judgement (Psalm 1:5).

Therefore, God tells us to avoid foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law. They are unprofitable, and vain (Titus 3:9).  Starting strife is like opening floodgates to release dammed up water.  So we don’t meddle with contention, we’re to walk away from it, before it begins (Proverbs 17:14).

However, there is one thing we all have to contend for – and earnestly, meaning intently and seriously.  It is the faith once delivered to the saints of yore (Jude 1:3).  It is the kind Jesus wonders about; if it will be found upon returning (Luke 18:8).  It means we have to be in contention with the devil (Proverbs 28:4).

It means we have to hold fast.  It is keeping our souls from straying by having them firmly secured by the anchor of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  This is so we hold fast to instructions from God (Proverbs 4:13), the profession of our faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23), and all that is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

It is so we can hold fast to the form of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13).  So we hold fast and repent unto salvation as commanded – or perish (Revelation 3:3, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:3,5).  If we don’t it will be easy to backslide into contentious ways – and hold fast to deceit (Jeremiah 8:5-6).

Prideful deceit is the state of our heart from the start of life (Jeremiah 17:9, Obadiah 1:3, 1 John 2:16).  If we should keep slipping (Hebrews 2:1) back to it as believers, we swerve from a good conscience, to contention again with God (1 Timothy 1:5-6).  It’s how we veer off the straight path (Matthew 7:14).

Straying in any contention too long is staying in uncorrected sin.  It’s failing to consider the eternal consequences of disobedience (2 Thessalonians 1:8). If we remain in contention too long, we will have no excuse if God says to us when we meet Him, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And through covetousness shall they with feigned words, make merchandise of you.  Whose judgement now of a long time lingers not – and their damnation does not slumber. – 2 Peter 2:3

– And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her – for no man buys their merchandise anymore. – Revelation 18:11

There is never anything new under the sun to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  Back in the days of Isaiah, nobody judged the fatherless or took care of widows, but everyone loved gifts and followed after rewards (Isaiah 1:23).  There were those during the days of Job who saw no personal profit by serving God.  Also, what was the point of praying if they could not get earthly presents in return (Job 21:15, James 4:3)?

Job himself saw his righteousness as more than God’s – at least in Elihu’s eyes – because Job said, “What profit shall I have if I be cleansed from my sins (Job 35:1-3)?”  There were men during Malachi’s time with a similar mentality – who saw no profit by keeping God’s ordinances and walking mournfully before Him (Malachi 3:14).  Samuel’s sons turned to filthy lucre as soon as he appointed them judges (1 Samuel 8:3).

In Jeremiah, Judah had become saturated in idolatry and immorality.  Deceived to the point they couldn’t conceive of the notion they had turned their temples into dens of robbers – even though God clearly saw it all (Jeremiah 7:11, Hebrews 4:13).  Basically, many in Old Testament days saw no purpose in worshipping God and walking in accordance with His way, unless there was something “in it” for them (Luke 17:7-10).

Some type of tangible earthly profit or gain to touch or see – otherwise what was the point of serving God? Sound familiar?  Doesn’t it sound like a lot of worldly lust and covetousness – completely void of God’s love despite any lip service claims to the contrary (Ezekiel 33:31, Mark 7:6)?  It was much more of the same in the New Testament (lead verse, Titus 1:11) – and it is certainly no different in far too many places today.

Much of the Christian landscape in the modern world appears to have turned into one giant shopping mall. Multitudes of merchandise to mull over, and plenty of purchases to ponder are available for the masses to contemplate on a daily basis – and even the foyers of some Sunday sanctuaries are not safe.  It is ungodly. It is in alignment with the worldly and Babylonian system of buying and selling as a steady way of life.

Believers entangled in such a setup can often feel like they have to open their pocketbooks and wallets on a regular basis to keep buying the latest and greatest CD’s by Christian artists – to keep their spirits lifted. Instead of speaking to themselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs – singing and making melody in their heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).  The former always has a price tag – the latter is always free.

Christians can also get caught up in paying money to hear those people who are maybe being touted as the hottest speakers on the Christian preaching/teaching circuit.  Perhaps promising to reveal revolutionary and new ways for a winning Christian walk; instead of the believer being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  This is so God can freely teach them His way without any lie; without them having to pay any price (1 John 2:27).

If we are born-again, then we have been bought with a precious price – the blood of Christ.  We have been reconciled back to God through the Cross – meaning we are now completely in agreement and alignment with His ways (Ephesians 2:13-16).  It is no longer the Babylonian way found throughout the Bible – but with His found in the same book.  The former is for earthly gain and profit; the latter is for eternal.

Therefore, Christians are to be chargeable to no man – lest others charge that we are preaching, teaching, writing, singing, etc. about God – merely for worldly profit (2 Corinthians 11:9, 1 Thessalonians 2:9).  We are to buy His truth from above in our soul, and not sell it with a price tag attached below.  This includes the marketing of any godly wisdom, instruction, or understanding we have acquired (Proverbs 23:23).

We are to be content with such things as we have at all times – including our wages (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 3:14).  If we spend any of our brief existence here on this earth (James 4:14) attempting to exact any more than God has already appointed to us (Luke 3:13), we have uncorrected greed/gain issues to confess.  Left unaddressed, we trouble our house, God’s, and all of His flock (Proverbs 15:27, Isaiah 56:10-11).

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and it is profitable for doctrine … not for the sound of dollars and profit (2 Timothy 3:16).  However, who’s going to preach, write, teach, or sing against such things, if they’re involved in the Babylonian system of selling God for gain?  If so, they have not departed from such iniquity, nor have they been sanctified – purged from such dishonor to His name (2 Timothy 2:19-21).

To be meet for our Master’s use and prepared unto His every good work – all that He requires of us is a humble and obedient heart just like Jesus had until death (Philippians 2:8, 2 Timothy 2:21).  Our Father will then thoroughly furnish everything we require to do His work along the way, including finances (2 Timothy 3:17).  We are to always be content with food to eat and clothes to wear (1 Timothy 6:8).

The only time Christ was recorded as getting angry was when he went into the temple of God and cast out those who bought and sold within (Luke 19:45). Overthrowing the tables of the money changers, and upsetting the seats of the dove sellers (Mark 11:15). These people had turned God’s house of prayer into a house of profit – a deceitful den of greedy thieves and grievous wolves (Matthew 21:13, Acts 20:29).

There is an old Latin saying of “caveat emptor” – or “let the buyer beware” in English.  It means that the purchaser of any product assumes the risk it may fail to meet expectations or have defects.  Christians who fall victim to the Babylonian way of merchandising the gospel – are not being aware of evil and disobedient workers walking with God to attain worldly wealth for themselves (Romans 10:21, Philippians 3:2).

Believers deceived by Satan’s devices succumb to minds thinking spiritual growth, unwavering faith, and steadfast belief can only be obtained and maintained by spending money and emptying pockets.  It does not create an equality among all (Ecclesiastes 5:9, 2 Corinthians 8:13-14).  It is following the wide road of commerce to destruction – not Christ’s narrow path to heaven (second lead verse, Matthew 7:13-14).

For the sellers it is a different story … for they have run greedily after the err of Balaam for reward, and in the gainsaying way of Core (James 1:16, Jude 1:11, Numbers 16:24-40).  Making money off of God’s free gospel is the bane of any relationship with Christ.  If the sellers do not soon remove themselves from the Babylonian way, their damnation might not slumber or linger too much longer (lead verse).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. – Galatians 1:6-7

– Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Jesus Christ. – Colossians 2:8

All of us can have our theories and thoughts about God and His Word – and they may not be as true as we believe (Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33).  They’re often not of Christ’s mind – but our own (Numbers 16:28, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  If so, we have created our own gospel; a blended brew of belief.  We have created a mix of worldly rudiments, life philosophies, traditions – and stirred it in with God’s truth.

However, by generating our own version of the gospel like this, we have been moved away from God’s.  If life keeps moving ahead the way we might want it to like a good movie – we will most likely never realize it.  Until He goes and does something not making any worldly sense.  It may even seem weak and foolish (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, 3:19).  It won’t follow along with our version of His gospel.

We usually get quite confused when such happens. This is likely because we had been living by leaning on our understanding of how our lives were supposed to “work out” for us.  There is a strong possibility we had been acknowledging God up until then only when life was going our way (Proverbs 3:5-6).  As singer Paul Simon once alluded to, we had been hearing what we wanted to, and disregarding the rest.

God warns us many times about all the words we listen to in life about Him.  Whose gospel are we truly heeding and believing?  Our own, another person’s, or His?  Is it a blended mix of all three?  Do we have to keep purchasing Christian merchandise to keep the faith (2 Peter 2:3, Romans 10:17)?  When all we have to do is buy His truth in our hearts – and not sell it to anyone (Proverbs 23:23, 2 Corinthians 11:9).

Jesus warned us all to take heed, lest any person deceive us.  For the end of this age can’t come until many are duped; as false prophets and Christs will arise to do so (Matthew 24:4-5.11).  Therefore, we always have to be sure we are believing – and being taught the whole truth.  Ensuring we’re not trapped in tradition (Mark 7:7), or building our life upon any worldly foundation/rudiment (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Allowing ourselves to be deceived in any way will easily move us away from His gospel to another.  It is disobedient.  It means we are still in darkness.  For we are not walking in the Word’s light – but still walking after the world’s lies – even those from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12).  We’re not to be partakers with those deceiving us with vain words.  Otherwise, we’re candidates for His wrath (Ephesians 5:6-8).

We also have to be certain we are not falling for false divinations from anybody (e.g. “God spoke to me last night and laid this burden upon my heart.”).  Even though such people may say “God says” … if their words are not causing us to turn from our evil way since youth (Genesis 8:21) – then He did not send them.  They are merely speaking words out of their heart’s deceit (Jeremiah 23:21-40, Obadiah 1:3).

We have to hold fast the form of sound words, and not words sounding good to our itching ears (2 Timothy 1:13).  God warns all of us such will be the case during the coming apostasy of mankind’s last days.  And – it seems many a day, they’re already here (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  Such unsound doctrine appears to be confusing many a Christian these days. God is never the author of it (1 Corinthians 14:33).

If we say we believe, we shall never be confounded (1 Peter 2:6).  If we are confused as Christians, we have caused it ourselves through some sort of unaddressed sin … such as being moved away from the gospel of God’s grace we first heard (Daniel 9:8, lead passage). We have mixed something into our faith simply not belonging there (Hebrews 4:2).  We have blended the wrong ingredients into our belief.

The only thing not belonging with the Word – is the world.  If we try combining the two, it creates a blended belief based on living a life trying to get the best of both – moving to and fro between all truth and all lies (1 Corinthians 10:21, Hebrews 6:18, John 8:44).  This is how we can get carried about with every wind of doctrine by moving toward the Word one day – away from it the next (Ephesians 4:14).

It is also how gospel perversion begins (Jeremiah 23:36, lead passage).  Perversion is most often heard in relation to sexual deviance, but rarely to Scriptural. It is the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state … into a distortion or corruption of what was first meant.  It is twisting the truth of His Word, into something worldly we like – leading to lying against the truth (James 3:14).

If our Father’s gospel is to have free course (2 Thessalonians 3:1), it must keep moving steadily down the narrow path to heaven (Matthew 7:14).  We must be on the same trail.  It if ever feels like we’re stumbling, straying, or stuck spiritually – then the chances are good we’re following some other version of His gospel.  If this should continue too long  – we may be in for a rude awakening (Daniel 12:2).

 

 

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