What does lawlessness produce? Remember that God’s book teaches us that “sin is lawlessness.” But now let’s take a look from the civil side of things. If traffic laws are not enforced, you eventually get auto anarchy instead of orderly processes. Oh my, isn’t that what you have going on in much of the world and in a lot of locations around this country right now, since we started “Selective Enforcement Programs” in the Seventies? So going onward, what happens when you stack courts with political appointments and you start a sort of aristocracy of elected officials, who rise to prominence mainly due to their keen fund raising abilities? What happens if minority will or selective politics trumps the will of the majority electorate? Indeed you come up with rights found between the lines of legislation that had no such intent when it was written, “found” by the modern legal minds that never sleep. You get in the mess you are in right now complete with special legislation, legal limits, mindless restrictions, and lack of or vague enforcement. As civil law came directly out of God’s law, a rejection of one amounts to a rejection of the other. And we have already quoted it and established: rejection of God’s Law is sin. Notice how that circle is closed and formed. Reject God and pretty soon you’ll reject anything that doesn’t suit your party, your plan, family or opinion.
You may not see it out there. Maybe you never gave it a thought. Perhaps you never read in a bible even for one minute or were ever taught about God. Maybe you believed some the noise and bad history out there about “Christianity.” Or you tried some other religion and now think it is all hot air. Perhaps you were taught right but some of the Christians you respected wandered off the reservation one day or turned to questionable worship and led lives away from Christ’s Word. Maybe you went along with them. You may have been distracted and did not notice how things were going. You could have been confused by all the supposed inaccuracies and seeming contradictions within the world of Christianity. Maybe you bought into that whole contrary argument set and never read the “Original Equipment Manufacturer’s” book for yourself to see if the arguments had any standing. You may not know when you decided not to care or to examine things. Sometimes the best eyes cannot pick out what is happening right in front of them.
Perhaps you know some things are not right today or in your life? Sometimes it seems that good goes bad and bad seems to get worse. And the amount of time it takes for the wrong things to be said or done and for sin to take root is directly proportional to our distraction, disinterest, ignorance of the Word of God, weakening faith, just plain weakness overall and the steady creep of sin surrounding us and within our own lives. Given time it moves closer and eventually overwhelms us. Peter wrote that “Satan goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” We mostly ignore the warnings. That’s because we are numb to sin and more than a few think that Satan is just another myth. All of that means we don’t believe in God and don’t put any stock in what he left us.
Much of modern Christianity has slipped into idolatry. And when truth slips away so does everything of any value. We are starting to prefer worshiping ourselves and our future: the creature over the Creator and Redeemer. But then most don’t spend a minute in the Scriptures, although some may fancy that they know many things. Christ warned us about this and the apostles wrote that it would happen. Many men and women (as both participant and nonparticipants) have spoken or written of it. Some people say that the truth of God’s Word had been corrupted long ago. That’s another nice excuse.
No religious authorities care unless it threatens their base, or to be crass, their source of income. There is no disturbance going on down at the temple of Dagon. Things are just fine. Compromise and false teaching continues unabated even as the money keeps pouring in. In parts of Europe the empty church houses are maintained by the state. You can show up on a Sunday, but in many locations no one else will be there.
Now I know it is Christ’s business to judge so I will leave all of that to the Lord. But the scriptures clearly warn against even the smallest departure from the Word of God. And the denominations and other world religions have already gone down that road; and for all of that there is no return – no exit. And the souls following after them are all in lock step with just a few paying attention to the details. Many of these contrary groups have had several centuries to harden up. And they have done so nicely both against the Word and against salvation in Christ full and free. Just like Pharaoh hardened against Moses and the Lord God Almighty.
But we should know for certain it is not God nor his Word that is corrupted. That starts with you and me. And it relies on corrupt people who change the message of Christ into something common and vulgar. Jesus said, “Come to me, you who are weary and fainthearted and I will give you rest.” No one had ever made that offer before. And it’s not been made since. Paul said if you believe another gospel, no matter what it promised, no matter who delivered it or taught it to you: you are doomed. So if you have a name that does not come from God, and are teaching something/anything that was not inspired through the Holy Spirit, and you can’t find what you do and believe within the pages of the Holy Scriptures; then you are camped in the wrong place or checked into the wrong hotel. And there is no hope nor court of appeals if you stay there until you die.
Seemingly good people allow these kinds of things to prosper right now. Jesus never gave authority for most of what is believed in and done in his name. And the godless civil authorities who have no center to their lives just direct the traffic.
There is no “it.” You cannot locate the Kingdom of Heaven on Google Earth. You cannot find salvation in some lexicon, by reading this, or in some glossy pamphlet. You aren’t going to get it from watching your TV. While something said may stir you to do right, no sermon will bring Christ “into your heart.” You cannot pray or wish your way into heaven. You must read and apply.
Concerning apostasy and the wonder of the doctrines of men; there is just no stopping any of that, and there is only one end in sight. What has history taught us? We may not know secular history any better than we know religious history. But unless you wake up, there is no turning back once you take off on a side track. It is like falling asleep behind the wheel. There is no mantra, no elixir or antibody; and there is no way to fix it. It simply does not matter what you believe unless you can find it in the scriptures. What we know on our own and through the false teaching of men will only serve to send us deeper into the wrong camp. And if we pitch our tents there we will continue on to the wrong set of gates. That road to Hell is wide and well-marked, well-traveled and out in plain sight. Jesus told us so. Remember God said, “The soul that sins will surely die.”
But even though we are so easy drawn away, it needn’t be terminal. There is absolutely nothing that says we have to follow bad examples, bad teaching, or bad behavior, and send ourselves spinning off toward the place where “the worm never dies” for all eternity – lost in torment forevermore.
My salvation is about what I do to serve God; and yours is about what you do. It is about how we follow the instructions and get ourselves as close to the pattern we were given as is humanly possible. We need to get away from one camp and run towards the other as fast as we can.
Faith is not present in any building unless some very much alive saints are in it at some particular moment in time. We may be aided by the teaching in one place or another; and we may fulfill the obligation to assemble and take the Supper on the Lord’s Day here or there. Through the help of the Christians that surround us we can gain knowledge and wisdom in the work of the Lord. Still their response to the Gospel or any good work they do will not rub off onto me, nor will my bad stuff on them. It can spur us on to better things: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). But if we rely on ourselves and on others we may choose poorly, and if we do when it is over here, we will be tossed out onto the seas of eternity without hope. It will end up about me and what I do and about you and what you do: based on the choices we each make.
It is all about our own diligence in service to Christ: what we learn, what we do and about our own obedience and how we spend our time while we are here. High windows, comfy seats, swelling words, songbooks, podiums or overheads have nothing to do with it.
So we can be found in the wrong place. Now that would be a sin. We can search for some building, “a good church with good people singing aloud on every pew,” but unless we have a firm fix on the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ, are in Christ and remain faithful, nothing good will come of it all.
“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world if it were of this world then would my soldiers fight.”
We cannot take the tour and then go home satisfied. The magic formula is not inscribed on some ancient statue or etched upon some crumbling wall yet to be found. There is no desk where we might submit the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” like the man had asked Jesus. We cannot find a “good” congregation – where they worship in spirit and in truth, unless we know what to look for. Jesus and his apostles already answered how to get there a long time ago.
You see, there is just nowhere to turn for the correct answers – except to the Word of God. Trips to Jerusalem, setting up camp at Megiddo, Rome or elsewhere may arouse, amuse or intrigue us, but none of that has any value to the state of your soul. Some group down the road may have a host of attendants but if they do not have the truth, and they do not teach it in all its particulars or strive to live by it – it unfortunately does not matter how many friendly folks are there. It makes no difference how many get through some door, in the gate or sign the register. None of that amounts to anything.
For me the greatest value comes out of reading and studying the Word of God. And that continues day in and day out. You should know for certain that I am a Christian and meet with the local Christians here, and they care for and support me and I them. But it is in the Word and its application within my life and with those of like mind where there is safety. For God has said he will take care of us if we just do his will.
Only the Word of God has the pattern for true assembly and worship. And that is where I can find the only answer to the question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” No swinging censors filled with incense, no bespectacled, calm or finely robed clerics, no chorus, no fancy stage or ornate buildings with quiet cloisters, no world class libraries full of bright young faces awaiting every need. None of that is necessary.
And the closer any society comes to this following the same formula, the better; or else you will end up with a city or country full of the worship of money, people, ancestors, trees, rocks, science or worse – just like you have in many locations right now.
The answer is in the Word of God “which is able to save your soul;” and you likely already own a copy. It is the only source that matters. Maybe you have heard some of the charlatans today who tell their audiences that they possess the power of the Holy Spirit to heal or raise the dead and therefore ought to be listened to. Hmm? Jesus and his apostles never bragged, never performed miracles for the sake of miracles; and they never lifted their hands on high and never said it was about them, and they never taught any such things. The signs were there, and they let the people see it just as it played out right in front of common folks’ eyes. Others could weigh the strength of the eyewitness reports. Then to seal it all, the Holy Spirit had some of the apostles and disciples write it all down for posterity. And all of those records have the force of those eyewitness reports found within. Some of the false prophets of old said they had the Spirit of God too, just before they and their supporters were dispatched off to the next world. And the contrary folks then and now fold their arms, hold their arms and heads high in the air, and remain firmly just where they were.
Why not read the eyewitness accounts for yourself? Why not “go deep” for a while to the exclusion of some of the other useless distractions that surround us? I like the CD format, because I can play things over and over again until I get some of it through my thick skull. I don’t think it has hurt me; and it certainly won’t hurt you. And if we all do that we may yet save our souls. Then both you and I will be able to answer the question: “Where am I going and where will I end up?”
The angel said: “Worship God.”
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.