Monday, March 28, 2011
CHRISTIANS WHO DEVOUR AND DESTROY
CHRISTIANS WHO DEVOUR AND DESTROY
“You, my brothers, were called to be free…
The entire law is summed up in a single command:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
If you keep on biting and devouring each other,
Watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
As I read through many websites and forums on the internet, it is obvious today that we have great battles raging among so-called believers in Christ. There is confusion such as I’ve never seen in my lifetime. Much of this stems from the ignorance and immaturity of great masses of people as to what Christ calls us to, and what the faith we’re to hold to really is.
This ignorance is an ignorance of Scripture. It is an ignorance (same root word as the word ‘ignore’) that comes from ignoring what the Word of God says, and spending more time talking and reading the words and opinions of men than we do on reading and studying and understanding the Word of God by the illumination of the Spirit of God.
Many people just want to be heard. They have opinions on matters that are already settled in Scripture, and they want to debate issues that are absolutely not up for debate. These people are disruptive, arrogant, often abusive of others, and most often are bringing in some “new” approach or “new” teaching. They revile those who cling to the simplicity of faith in Christ, and dying to self, and living in love. These people want religion, and lists, and strong new methodologies that give them solid footing and a “new” slant on whatever they believe Christianity is.
It is the “job” of every true teacher and leader and prophet in the Body of Christ to bring us back to the faith as handed down to us by the Lord Jesus, through His apostles and prophets. This message has never changed.
From Genesis to Revelation we are given one Way, one Truth, one Life. His Name is above all Names. He is Christ, and He is all. He fulfills all of God’s purposes in us, and in the universe.
Many today are crying out that we should adhere to this new movement, or that new ideology within the “Christian” subcultures of our world. Many leaders pound out their versions of the gospel from their bully pulpits, and many write books about their brilliant ideas of how Christianity needs to be worked out in the world. It is sheer madness out there. It is no wonder the world looks at us like we are a circus, or a parade, full of noise and distraction, yet without substance.
Brothers and sisters, our great danger today lies in listening to all this, and being led away by all this, and distracted from our simple faith in Christ.
Jesus calls us to be like little children in our faith. Every time I’m around little ones, I am refreshed by their hearts, so satisfied at the simplest joys, so glad just to be able to have another day to play, to learn, to be loved. These children know what’s important. It’s love, and being kind, and doing things with others they love. They have no problem loving God, and it’s a natural thing once they’ve been told about Him. Their hearts, unless men of sin have already broken them, are open to God and His Ways. They always tell the truth, always show their true feelings, and are spontaneously sad or joyful, because they can’t hide it. This is how we are to be toward God and others. Open, loving, kind, truthful.
We are to be mature men and women in faith, as well. Though our hearts are still tender and full with Christ’s love, yet we are to be warriors for the faith. We are to know Scripture, and be able to stand on its truth. We are to hold to the simplicity of discipleship in Christ handed down to us in Scripture, without being blown about by “every wind of doctrine” that comes along.
Men, we must stand like men and contend for the faith, and for God’s simple and straightforward Word to us as revealed in Christ. Like Him we are to love, to preach and teach the Word, to live lives full of righteousness in Christ, and holiness, “without which nobody will see the Lord.”
And especially, in this day, we are to hold fast to our freedom in Christ. The most popular theologies being brought into the churches today bring in “extrabiblical” ideas of men, and mostly revolve around new law, or old law. By new law I mean new rules, new lists, new religious answers as to why the churches are not righteous and holy as they should be.
By old law, I mean the Mosaic law, or portions of it, which they try to use for the same purpose. They often say we must hold to “all the Scripture”, and by that they mean we must keep Christ and the law. This is the oldest heresy in Christendom, and must be resisted at every turn, without compromise.
From the pulpits of every church, from the mouths and the pens of every true believer, must flow constant reminders that the man or woman of God lives absolutely and simply by grace through faith, and not by works. We cannot be made perfect by law, no matter who tells you we can.
The problems we have now stem from the ignorance of Scripture by our teachers and leaders over the past several generations. They have forgotten what it means to be in Christ, and have His power in us to live holy lives. They have given us a 10% religion, instead of a 100% faith. They have been content to collect tithes, and a portion, when we must understand that Christ alone is our portion, and that we must give up everything we count as profit to us for His sake.
We don’t need law. We need the power of the death and resurrection of Christ in us. We must wait upon Him for the power to be righteous, and that power comes through His Spirit indwelling us.
Resist the devil, and his attempts to sidetrack you from this “one thing” you do. You and I must hold to Christ alone, and let Him change us. No amount of “new law” or “Christian lists” or adhering to some “new movement” will do this.
Paul in his day was persecuted unmercifully by those who constantly tried to bring law back into Christianity. By those who wanted to complicate the simplicity of the gospel with their great ideas and new standards. These people who led believers astray. Read every one of his letters, and you’ll find stern rebuke of those who want to add to or take away from the simple gospel of Christ.
So today, many of us will face terrible retribution at the hands of the same type of people. Those who claim Christ, yet follow their own man-made traditions and doctrines.
Yet in the end, it will be for one thing we will be judged, as Paul reminds us. Not for how we adhered to some “basic principle of this world”, but for whether we lived in the love of Christ for God and others.
“For in Christ Jesus
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
has any value. The only thing that counts
is faith expressing itself through love.”
It is faith expressing itself through love that will change the world. It is Christ in us, the most powerful force in the universe, overcoming death and hell, and bringing His Kingdom to the sons of men. This is the simple faith of the gospel and it has never changed, and no matter who preaches otherwise, never will.
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