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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Simon’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. – Proverbs 14:14

– Return, you backsliding children, and I (God) will heal your backslidings. – Jeremiah 3:22

Backsliding as a believer is never a positive thing – for it indicates still being filled with one’s own ways (lead verse).  It is slipping in personal faith – marking a heart, mind, and soul no longer earnestly heeding things first heard (Hebrews 2:1).  It feels like moving forward a few steps in faith some days, and tumbling backwards on others.  To and fro it goes – and it can become a perpetual path (Jeremiah 8:5).

Steady backsliding is caused by gravitating towards loving this world and its things again (1 John 2:15), or wavering back and forth between the world and Word (1 Corinthians 10:21).  It is not moving straight ahead towards salvation.  Traveling as such isn’t in accordance with God’s truth.  It signifies a moveable mind, a heart not set aright, and a spirit not steadfast with Him (Psalm 78:8, 1 Corinthians 15:58).

Such a course at any time demands a correction in direction.  A total turn-around towards God without shifting into reverse again somewhere down the road. It is an about-face setting affections on things above once again (Colossians 3:2).  Refusing to accept His assistance in healing any backsliding, or failure to heed instructions how to – is in err (second lead verse, Proverbs 10:17, Hebrews 12:25)

Backsliding indicates several undesirable attributes in a Christian.  It means one is relapsing into old and bad behavior (2 Corinthians 5:17).  It is losing resolve and giving into temptations – causing one to err once again against God’s ways (Psalm 95:10, James 1:14-16).  It’s an eternally dangerous departure from the narrow path to heaven, keeping one walking down the wide highway to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

The wicked one is always lying in wait for us when we slip.  Ready and willing to lead wavering, wandering, or backsliding believers away towards a shipwrecked faith (Ephesians 4:14, 2 Peter 3:17, 1 Timothy 1:19). Physical or spiritual, it is very difficult to salvage any vessel in such a state.  It’s hard to stand fast and live in the Lord if we’re ever spiritually drifting, slipping or falling away from God (1 Thessalonians 3:8).

God’s soul takes no pleasure in anyone drawing back from their faith (Hebrews 10:38, 11:6).  It signals falling for things of this world again, and fading away from the Word (1 John 2:15).  It is being unrepentant (Acts 17:30).  Walking with God in such a manner creates uncircumspect steps of stumbling and tripping along with the truth, paving a trail of much confusion (Ephesians 5:15, 1 Peter 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 14:33).

Left continually unconfessed and unaddressed before God (1 John 1:9), backsliding makes us hold fast to our heart’s deceit from the womb (Jeremiah 8:5, Jeremiah 17:9) – refusing to search our ways and return to Him (Lamentations 3:40).  Sadly, some will still declare their salvation certain, despite walking so contrary to God; and constantly experiencing the pain of falling down a lot (Leviticus 26:23-24).

There really is a spiritual stairway with specific steps leading up heaven.  As the famous song mentions – there is still time to change the road we’re on – if it’s the wrong one.  If we should be sliding backwards more than moving ahead much, it can certainly feel like we are traveling along to the words of another old popular song by Paul Simon – “You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip, sliding away.”

However, if we follow these steps God’s way, He promises we will never fall, and an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into heaven (2 Peter 1:3-11).  It is why we must give diligence to make our calling and election as Christians sure (2 Peter 1:10).  Jesus warns we will be called robbers and thieves if we climb up any other way than God’s (John 10:1, Galatians 1:6).  Backsliding isn’t the right way.

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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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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Then Agrippa said unto Paul, “You almost persuaded me to be a Christian.” – Acts 26:28

– “A man hears what he wants to hear … and disregards the rest.” – Paul Simon

There was nothing more Paul could do.  King Agrippa had sat and listened patiently – perhaps even intently – as Paul told much of his life story.  From his days as Saul of Tarsus – imprisoning and persecuting Christians – to his life as an apostle preaching Christ after being struck down by God on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6).

It “almost” worked.  Paul “almost” persuaded the king to become a Christian – but he didn’t.  It was all very convincing – but not quite.  So, what did Paul do next?  Nothing.  He didn’t try to persuade, pressure, or push King Agrippa any further – even though he knew the king believed the prophets (Acts 26:27).

We will all believe exactly what we want to believe – and hear what we want to hear – no matter who we are.  We can’t persuade people any further than they want to be persuaded. Well, we can try – but we will probably be viewed as being pushy if we do.  When we become pushy – it can cross over into pressuring very quickly.

When we feel like we’re being pressured into something – it’s usually unpleasant.  Most of us have probably experienced some sort of high-pressured sales pitch in our lives.  Many of these spiels can frequently smack of desperation.  Somebody wants us to buy into something – but we’re not really sure what it is they are selling – or what we will truly get out of it if we do.

As believers, we can’t be like this.  We can’t go around pitching God’s gospel as some sort of commercially-made product we have to pressure people into buying and trying (2 Peter 2:3). Well, we can – but doesn’t that make us come across as those pushy Christians?  We can easily appear as being desperate to the lost – especially if we are just trying to get them to attend church – before they have been persuaded and convicted by God to come to the Cross (John 6:44, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

If we do it this way – perhaps even trying to pound some people over the head with Scripture – are we not perilously close to proselytizing?  That’s attempting to induce someone to convert to a particular faith – Christianity not excluded – and/or recruit them into our religion.  If we do this, we are making that person twice the child of hell than ourselves (Matthew 23:15).

Persuasion to become a Christian must come from above – not below (John 6:44, John 6:65, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).  The apostle Paul simply went around presenting the truth of the gospel as it was revealed to him from above.  He did this according to the persuasion and power of Christ working in his heart through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:19, Galatians 5:7-8).

Paul did not go around trying to get people saved – for he knew that he wasn’t yet himself (Philippians 3:12-20).  He knew salvation was a hope (Romans 8:24) – and that Satan would be a constant thorn in his side to give him the desire to stop following Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7, Philippians 1:23).  Paul simply kept pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling in God by Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

When we witness to the lost and unbelieving – we’ve done all that we’re supposed to do – we’ve sown a seed (Mark 4:14). This seed is the Word of God (Romans 8:11).  From that point on, we are to move on and not look back (Luke 9:62).  God will send someone else along to water that seed – but it is He alone who provides any increase – and who alone decides what any seed becomes (1 Corinthians 3:6, 1 Corinthians 15:37-38).

If any human heart is fully prepared to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – to become a Christian (Romans 8:9) – it is by God’s persuasion and decision alone. There is no other Saviour but God (Isaiah 43:11).  Unless we hold the keys to hell and death (Revelation 1:18) – we must never believe someone has become a Christian by our own efforts.  Perhaps Paul had a much clearer understanding of this – than many of us seem to have today.

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