We’re past Christmas now with a new year well upon us and with Easter looming just off in the distance; and the Christian faith is united as never before, as all the faithful have been gathered together in honor of our Lord and King.
Well, not really.
If there were extraterrestrials (which of course there are not) and they landed here (which they really wouldn’t want to do anyway), they might conclude that Christianity is made up of a very confused bunch and is an unwieldy amalgam with some 1,200 different arms and heads – like something out of an old 1950s horror movie. They might further conclude that one sort of Christian really bears no relationship at all to another sort.
Unfortunately many who call themselves Christians have no idea at all where the things taught in their assemblies come from or even where they got their start. They may have no idea whether or not any of what they practice was ever even mentioned by Christ. They may be clueless as to what Jesus or the writers of the New Testament taught concerning any observance of his birth, his death, his teaching, and of pretty much any other thing practiced commonly within organizations bearing his name. Now I mean this in a kind way, but let me be direct: most people are ignorant of the word of God and of everything in it. And it is this ignorance that has bred the conflicting varieties of doctrines and practices found within Christianity. It is this ignorance that will cost many their souls.
You see, the simple truth is that most people have never read the Bible. Now I know that’s harsh, but then you also know that it’s true. If you’re reading this the chances are pretty good that you have never read the Bible through. Reading the Bible is just too much for most folks to handle, even though they likely have a copy of it within easy reach lying somewhere around the house. They may have read any number of books twice or three times its size, but they have probably only cracked the covers on the word of God. It’s been called the best unread book in the world. And because it remains unread in so many homes, by so many people, therefore those people have no idea at all about its contents and purpose. Most people today have an altogether false idea of how you become a Christian, because they have never read what the founder of the religion said on the matter. They mostly have only what they have heard coming from the mouths of some folks who claim to know. But they have never stopped and looked any of it up to see if they were told it true.
The churches themselves, or more correctly, those who are in charge of them, for the most part only pretend to follow the scriptures, and they know that they cannot doctrinally get along with the group down the street, unless they are “flexible.” So most don’t follow the scriptural patterns for teaching or worship because you see, they haven’t read the Bible either, they find it arcane or simply not exciting enough, or it is not in their interest to read it, because it condemns them and what they teach and do. So more than a few have fabricated creeds, doctrines and practices that they use to supersede the commands of Christ simply because they managed to read a little of the Bible and in doing that little bit they found out that it didn’t suit them or their manner of doing things, or what they intend to practice.
There are some “Christian” groups that actually discourage study of the Bible and for good reasons. If people ever got serious and started to read the word of God some churches would soon be out of business. To avoid that situation many go so far as to say that you don’t need it, that it is just a fine collection of some very nice dated fables. There are some that have thrown the Bible out altogether for other books – books of their own design. Yet the Bible is the only documented relevant source of information about Christ and of worship to God, and it is the only book that states repeatedly and unashamedly that it is not only the word of God but that it is also complete and requires no update and that it is not subject to interpretation.
Others still claim allegiance to it, but are perfectly content to ignore the greater parts of it in favor of following some of its form and a smattering of its substance. Still some others drop the pretense altogether and have relied upon regular visions of God where they get their instructions direct through the 800 line to heaven. How convenient. Some are filled with the Spirit, and are so completely full of it, that they couldn’t tell the truth from a frog on a string. And both of these last won’t ever make anyone a Christian — ever. In fact I have it on good authority that none of these will ever make anyone a Christian. And these types bank on the fact that most people don’t know or don’t care what Gods word has to say. It is the only way they can manage to enrich their own and to keep their very ornate doors to hell open.
So you see there are all sorts of things out there. General Christianity is flying high at 40,000 feet with no cabin pressure. I once met a woman who straight faced told me that she had Jesus over for supper each night. Oh and I just found the Church of the Covered Dish on line a few days ago. Wow.
Because you believe in your heart that what you practice and teach is acceptable to God does that make it so? Will a lie have the same effect on you as the truth if you don’t know that its a lie? Let’s see, did Israel (here referring to Jacob) believe the lie that his son Joseph had been killed by wild beasts? He didn’t come to know the truth for many years – but when his sons told him at first he believed what he heard, and continued to believe it until he found out differently, didn’t he?
Some of the ordinarily reasonable folks who claim to follow Christ arent bothered at all by the flimflammers and the nut cases who “instruct” them on things Christian, and they seem perfectly content with what Satan has drawn up for them now and with his future plans for them too. Some follow whatever formula that’s presented to the majority in the pews and are quite willing to do anything that will keep on a smiley face.
Lest I forget, religion generates a lot of money, and is the last great unregulated tax free haven on earth and so therefore it is also populated with more than a tub full of money grubbing thieves, lunatics, scam artists and charlatans. Some preachers and pastors are one part knowledge, one part sweet milk and two parts rot. There are churches that are really nothing more than a tax dodge with seats. Many don’t require any knowledge of either the Bible or of Christ and will accept anyone and everything in the name of someone or of something. The United Churches of Christ reminded me of this in their latest TV commercials which played prominently during the last holidays here. Perhaps you saw them. Just come by and feel good, and you can practice whatever it is that you like and feel good about because as long as the money keeps coming in well put up with you no matter what stupidity it is that you believe in or that you think it is that God will sanction. And remember, “Jesus loves you.”
It is true that God loves all, but first it has nothing to do with emotions and second, it is not true that he will accept us on our terms and without our meeting his given conditions. Since we are dealing with the God of creation, shouldn’t we all pay very close attention?
And it makes me wonder…
Why is it that most people won’t stop for a second to actually consider whether they are going to end up with the sheep or with the goats? Why is it that so many alleged followers of Christ, who supposedly receive their instruction for their religion out the Bible, can’t seem to find the time to read it? If they did, they would have more than just a reading headache when finished and more than just a little trouble finding what they have been doing on the printed page.
To view what is done in the name of God and by the alleged authority of Christ you might think that we can do anything we damn well please, and that both God and Christ are just tickled to put up with both us and with our silliness. But to think that would be very destructive. Israel (the people) found out otherwise, didn’t they?
Then on the other side, with all the denominations (again allegedly) that follow Christ, you might think that every now and then that some reasonable folks would figure out that a lot of the stuff they had been led to believe and were practicing really had no foundation at all in the Bible or in the teachings of Christ. You’d think that some would wake up from under the childs lullaby theyve been slumbering through. And that if they had any real interest in seeking God and of finally being with Christ, that they might at some point want to shake it all off, sober up, repent, admit to their folly, and sit down and read to find out what it is that is acceptable to God and what it is that is not, and then set about doing that. After all, we all get a choice: be with Christ or be with the adversary. You get to pick only one. Brent Kercheville has been writing in these pages since we started this venue about all of us being able to understand the word of God alike and how we are also able to conform to its standard. These things are worth your taking a look at.
Jesus said the following in John 12: 48 –
“He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him: the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
The following quotation as found in Acts 3:22 and 23 is found in part or whole at least once in the Old Testament and at least twice in the New. Beyond that is another of those bothersome statements of Jesus.
“For Moses truly said to the fathers, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.”
“Not everyone that says to me “Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
“How do you read it? What do the scriptures say?” That is how Christ replied to those who asked him questions.
If you can’t find what you do in the scriptures or you can’t find the doings at the church where you attend in Gods word, then this same Jesus said that what you do is then unacceptable to God and that if you stay that way you will eventually be “cast into the fire.”
I sure hope you had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy Easter. If you’re not paying attention to what God has said, it may be the only thing that you do have as far as a relationship with God is concerned. And counting that alone, you then would have nothing at all.
“Have you counted the cost?” Im counting it out for myself and my household daily.
And oh — I meant all of this in the kindest way.