ROAD TO HELL
17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:)
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I can't comment much on that, but I have found that it's paved with a lot of small excuses.
1Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. (Jer 5:)
15I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 16I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. (Dan 7:)
I've asked people what they wanted most. Often their reply is that they want to know the truth. They, as have I, find that the churches do not have the truth. But if not the church, then who does hold truth?
I seek truth. I write about searching for truth. I even write what I find to be the truth. So naturally, those seeking truth, look to me to learn what I've discovered in my search.
What is truth?
Let me tell you a story about a little boy who had his own search for truth:
One day Johnny came up to his father as he sat in his favorite recliner reading a paper. Johnny says to his father "Daddy, where did I come from?"
Father nervously replies "Well son, it's like this. One day your mother and I... Well, no, it's more like this. You see, some male chromosomes and some female chromosomes came together and formed a kind of DNA, and that made you what you are today. Does that answer your question Johnny?"
"Not exactly Daddy. I just wanted to know if I was from Texas like my friend Billy."
What one person means when they say they want the truth is not necessarily the same thing someone else means when they say they seek the truth.
1And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. (Luke 11:)
The disciples asked a simple question of Jesus, and they received a simple answer. They asked to be taught to pray. They had been with Jesus for some time, they had just heard Jesus pray. Now they want to learn how to pray as John taught his disciples to pray.
The sample prayer Jesus gave the disciples, the one we take as our example, just covered the basics of what prayer is. Jesus spent hours alone praying. When talking to the woman at the well He said that a person must pray in Spirit and in Truth. Jesus prayed an agonizing prayer just before Calvary. The prayer Jesus prayed had very little similarity to the prayer He left with His disciples.
What is prayer for one person, like truth, is not the same as it is for someone else.
16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (Mat 20:)
13And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not. (Jer 7:)
17Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered. (Jer 35:)
2Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? (Isaiah 50:)
We think because we're sitting in the pews on Sunday that we've answered God's call. How many in Israel, even those in the Temple serving as priests, fully believed they were God's chosen and had answered the call? Yet we read here, and in many other places besides, that no one answered God's call. And it was for this reason God brought judgement down on them.
Keep in mind that during the time of Jesus the nation of Judah was as close to being what God called for as they had ever been in their history. The leaders were so demanding that the people do as prescribed in the Bible that they would stone anyone who did otherwise, even Jesus.
The Jews at that time were interested in truth the same way we are today. And like today, they fully believed that what they already had, was the truth, and nothing but the truth.
1Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. (Isaiah 51:)
Seeking the Lord, and seeking after righteousness are two separate things. Jesus had a lot of followers who were seeking Him. They wanted His stories. They wanted His healing touch. But when it came to hearing about the need for righteousness, they turned and went back to their daily lives. Doesn't this sound like the churches of today?
Notice the interesting way Isaiah described the nature of man. It's as if this verse was taken right out of the Epistles. Some of us, those who are carnal, are dug from a pit of dirt. Those who follow after Jesus, those who are in the Spirit, are hewn from a rock.
3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:)
Because no one is listening to God, because we continue doing our own thing rather than the things of God, He will send us delusions.
The Hebrew word used here to denote a delusion is an interesting one. It means "Vexation, caprice (meaning an unreasonable desire)." It also means "Baby," and has been so interpreted. Paul speaks of those in the churches needing milk because they're too immature in the Lord to be given meat. Of course those in the churches Paul wrote to, as today, fully believed themselves to be just as mature as he, Paul was. And that's part of the delusion we've been given because we don't listen. We think we've got it all. We think we're all we're called to be, even though we're no different than those in the world we've supposedly felt the call to come out of.
When we read about the church of Laodicea, we find ourselves being described in all our glory.
27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:)
Jesus said in the 14th to the 16th chapters of John that the true believer will receive the Holy Spirit who will teach them everything. If we hear directly from God, why do we seek out those to tell us what God is saying? When we have the total history of God at our fingertips in every conceivable form of media, why do we try to find someone who has no more information than we do to learn the truth of what God wants us to know?
Jesus said those who hear His voice not only hear and recognize Him, they follow Him! They walk where He walks:
24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:)
26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:)
What we learn, we're to do. Learning the truth will do us no good if we don't do what truth tells us we're to do. In fact, knowing the truth causes us to be responsible for what we now know. We find this with Adam and Eve who, had they not known about the law against eating of the forbidden fruit would not be subject to punishment for having partaken. We see this principle again with the nation of Israel. They, and they alone were given commandments to follow. Those people who hadn't been given those commandments, such as the eating of certain foods, touching a dead body, and the observance of the Sabbath were not punished nor reprimanded for going against God's law. But since the Jews did know about those laws, and agreed to abide by them (even though that agreement was made by their ancestors), they were severely punished for their disobedience.
With knowledge then comes responsibility (2Peter 2:20-21). We have to be careful when we say we desire to know the truth, because the truth could very well destroy us.
35Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. (John 12:)
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: (Gal 5:)
105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 106I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:)
The Word is the Holy Spirit, who is also the light who lightens our pathway.
As we walk, we experience what we walk in, if we don't walk in what we've been shown, then we'll not learn any more than what we've already been given.
5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. (Mat 13:)
Some people are not looking for truth, even though they full well believe they are. They're looking for a simple answer. They have itchy ears and want to have an answer they can give to those who ask them questions, thus sounding like they're knowledgeable in the Bible. Others want to be given a quick answer so they can get back to their TV program, or to their golf game, or to their fishing. They aren't interested in the end of the road, only that step that they've found themself confronted with at the moment. They will study commentaries, or they will hitch their wagon to a radio or TV religious personality who seems to have the answers. When that preacher fails, when he shows himself to be just another preacher, not the one with all the answers, they find themselves another star to hitch their wagon to.
Jesus is looking for those who desire to follow Him, not those who want to find someone who has followed Him a few steps, then set up shop as His ambassador.
10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:)
Not everyone is supposed to know the mysteries of God. Certainly not those who only want the words and don't intend to do what the words tell them their to do. This is the reason the Pharisees and other officials couldn't understand the words of Jesus. They had no intention of doing what He says they're to do. They had other reasons for wanting to hear His words.
This is one thing you and I have to consider when we say we want to learn the truth: what do we plan on doing with what we learn? And, what is the reason for our desire to learn the truth in the first place?
43The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. (John 1:)
The first call any of us has to respond to is, not a call to learn the truth, but the call to follow Jesus. Follow means to go where He goes, to experience what He experiences. Being a disciple of Jesus is not the same as being a disciple of a Pharisee, or a pastor, or some guru. To be any of their disciple all you have to do is sit at their feet, or read their book, and parrot what they say. Jesus said to be His disciple means we have to abandon everything, even our own lives, and take on His life and His purposes.
Many people who say they desire to know the truth place everything ahead of the truth they say they seek. They have their excuses lined up, excuses that stand in the way of the very thing they say they seek most. For the rich young ruler, the obstacle to his receiving what he most wanted was his possessions.
What are you placing in the way of your search for truth?
18And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. (Mat 4:)
When the call was given, those who had been prepared to recognize their Messiah, to know the truth when they were confronted with it. They left everything and followed Jesus, asking no questions or taking time to debate the options.
Truth is something that comes to us in a moment. If we allow that moment to pass, our opportunity to learn might be missed. That missed opportunity may well be the one that is the first step to what we say we most desire.
Is there a step you're allowing to be missed because other things are more important to you?
18Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. 19And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 21And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. (Mat 8:)
61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:)
Not everyone refuses to follow Jesus, they just want to do it in their own good time, after they've dealt with other, more pressing, or more enjoyable things in their life. They are seeds that's fallen among the thorns. Life has a way of getting in the way of what we say we desire most. But when we have a toothache, nothing stands in the way of having that tooth taken care of. When our child is sick in bed, even our job and our health takes second place to the need of the moment.
When we stand before the Great White Throne, how do you suppose our excuses will sound to the Judge who will be the One to decide where we spend our eternity?
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Mat 16:)
20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Mat 19:)
This man asked a question. He recognized where the truth can be found, and he was given what he said he desired. But it wasn't truth he actually wanted, rather it was to hear that he was ok just they way he was.
They say the truth hurts. Here the avoiding of the truth will mean a lot more than a moment of temporal pain, as is demonstrated by the verses preceding this last one.
12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Mat 13:)
When a farmer planted seeds (which is especially true in olden times), he didn't plant one seed at a time, making sure the soil where he planted the seed was properly prepared. He took a handful of seeds from his sack and cast it in a semicircle in front of him (called "broadcasting"). The seeds went everywhere. Some seeds fell on rocks, some outside the fence of the field, and some even on animals if they happened to be where he was casting seeds at the moment.
Those seeds that fell outside his fence the farmer didn't worry about, even if they were perfectly good plants. Those that fell on rocks of course did not grow but for a moment, there being no place for the roots to dig into. Those among the weeds and thorns were not able to grow because the weeds robbed the seeds of the nourishment needed to mature.
The only way to tell if a plant is a productive one, if it fell on good ground and was a healthy seed, is if it produces seeds exactly like the ones cast into the field.
In the case of us humans, it's not the words we say to the effect that we're healthy plants grounded well in the Word, the Kingdom of God. It's by our works this fact is proven, or shown to be invalid. In the case of the rich young ruler, his claim to have been a good seed was proven to be false when he walked away from the King and the Kingdom he said he wanted.
What is there about our life that proves the seed cast our way fell on good ground? Is there anything different about us we can present as evidence of this fact? Is our produce any different than that of the world? If so, to what degree is our produce demonstrated? Are we one of the 30 fold, the 60 fold, or the 100 fold? Or, is it more likely that if we show any evidence at all of our being planted in the Kingdom that our produce is lucky to show up in the 10 fold or less?
7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Mat 7:)
Earlier we read where Jesus said that not everyone is destined to understand the truth. But we also read where not everyone who asks questions is actually seeking to hear the truth.
If we ask in earnest, we'll receive the truth we're looking for. But remember, to receive that truth, for it to do us any good, we have to be willing to walk in what we've learned. If we fail to walk in what we know, then we're better off not knowing the truth in the first place.
Those not truly seeking the truth are better off remaining in the church they attend, and accepting whatever they say whether it makes sense or not.
38Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (John 18:)
This is the question all of us are asking. But we don't all want to know the answer to.
17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:)
And here's the answer to our question.
We seek the answers, but we don't look where the answers can be found. We search all around the Book, we play word games with the Book, but we don't in all sincerity search the Scriptures to find what we're looking for.
23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:)
When John was given his revelation, he was "in the Spirit." If we hope to hear from God, we have to be in the Spirit. We can't be into ourselves, looking to satisfy ourself, and honestly hope to hear God reveal His truth to us.
37For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (John 18:)
Jesus came to show what the truth really is, and to demonstrate what the truth of God produces in a person.
1And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. (Mark 6:)
36Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. 37Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. (John 13:)
19This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 20Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. (John 21:)
A disciple will follow Jesus, even to the death. Peter thought he would follow Jesus to death, but learned that his faith was not as strong as he believed it to be. However, there was to come a day when Peter would be given what is needed to possess the faith he thought he already had. This is true of us as well. We have to have the faith we think we have tested under fire. Unproven faith is not faith, but is merely hope.
16A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come...... 24For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Luke 14:)
If Jesus was to use you as an example in this parable, what would be the excuse He would describe? What excuse(s) do you use to keep from heeding the call, the invitation you as a Christian have been issued?
We all talk about going to Heaven where we will partake of the great wedding supper of the Lamb. But as we see, not everyone who is invited is going to be there.
15Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom 2:)
We're told that those who have been converted will have the law written on their heart. They will not have to follow a law written on stone because they will have it indwelling in them. It will be just as natural to follow God's laws as it was for Jesus to obey the Father and to fulfill His every desire.
We like to make excuses for not doing those things we know we should, and for doing what we know we shouldn't do. Adam started this game by blaming God for his failure. Eve, not wanting to be left out of the blame-game, blamed the serpent for her trespass.
When we want company while we make excuses for our failures, we can always find those who will oblige us by making excuses for us, and to have us help them in their efforts to excuse their faults and failures.
10And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. 13And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, (Ex 4:)
4Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. (Jer 1:)
14So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit ("Angry, resentful"); but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. (Ezek 3:)
1Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1:)
You and I are not the first to try and avoid God's will for us by making excuses. Experts in the field have tried, and failed. However, though God insisted these men accomplish the task placed before them, you and I are allowed to proceed in our failure. But to what end?
10For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 11And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:)
13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:)
44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:)
14Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Luke 15:)
There are all kinds of ways we might try to avoid our call to learn the truth of God. We can place our confidence on others, or we can ignore the call altogether. But when the time comes when the Owner of the field in which we've been sown comes to retrieve His harvest, what kind of fruit are we going to present to Him?
15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Rev 3:)
Some of us will be like the servant who rendered to his Master the same talent he had been intrusted with, thinking it is enough:
20Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Rev 2:)
Jezebel was the queen of Israel, and wife of one of, if not the most wicked of the kings who ruled in the land. Jezebel had all the prophets and servants of God destroyed, and caused the nation to bow down to her god, Baal.
Here we see that this woman caused the church to eat things sacrificed to idols. 1Cor 10:19 and 8:1-7 tells us that there is nothing wrong in eating food sacrificed to idols, because we know that an idol is nothing. But if we believe that eating such food is a sin, then we're to avoid doing so.
What then is Jesus telling us here?
Notice how the woman teaches and seduces the church to commit fornication. In the Old Testament we learn that God sees His people trusting in anything but Him as fornication, as adultery. It was calling for, and paying for the help of other nations such as Egypt that caused God to punish the nation of Israel so harshly.
The churches say we're to trust in them, in their doctrine for our support. They rarely say we're to call on God and see what He has to say, especially when what God has to say contradicts what they say.
Idolatry, as I suspect we all know and have been taught, is placing anything before God in our life and our purpose. Few of us are bowing down to our Christmas tree and considering it a god. Although there are such people, those who have idols or images they consider to be their god, not many of us in the churches are so inclined. However there are other gods besides those made of earth and stone. There are our interests, those activities and occupations we place as foremost in our life. This may be our job, or our hobby, or even our family. Jesus said to be His disciple we have to give up everything, including ourselves. Many of us are taught that it's ok to possess many things, and to live our own life as long as we do our duty by the church and come on Sunday, and pay our tithes as they say we should. This is contrary to what God says we're to do, so therefore we're not listening to God, but to the woman Jezebel.
Picture this: Jesus tells the rich man he must give away what he possesses if he wishes to be seen as perfect in the eyes of God. A woman, let's call her Jezebel, follows after the man and tells him he doesn't have to give up everything to receive what he wants. All he has to do is join her church, then he can keep everything and still have eternal life in Heaven.
We read where those invited to the wedding were told they would not be allowed in because they didn't answer the call immediately as they should. Jezebel searches for these man and tells them they can go about their business and ignore the call, and still be accepted to the wedding.
The five foolish virgins who were locked out, are told there's a back door to the Kingdom through which they can enter, all they have to do is come to her church and believe her doctrines in spite of the fact that her doctrines contradict those of the Bible.
14But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. (Rev 2:)
Here we have almost the same scenario with a bit of a twist. Balaam caused the people of Israel to compromise their beliefs, to partake of the world by sending in Moabite women to intermingle with, and to seduce the men of Israel. This action caused the nation to drop their guard against the sins of the nations around them, just as did the wives of Solomon who built temples to their gods. We don't know that Solomon worshiped, or even believed in any of the gods he built temples to. But his action caused the nation to falter and to eventually fall into desolation.
The Nicolaitanes are another sect of people who tried to infiltrate their doctrines into the churches. These people believe that the soul and the spirit are two separate entities. And since they're separate, the body can do whatever it wants to do, just as long as the spirit is right with God. This belief pretty well died out for centuries, but has now found it's way into the Fundamental churches under its new title of Grace, and "Covered by the Blood." The belief is that a person can become the worst of criminal and still be saved, just as long as they've been baptized and belong to the right church. Covered by the blood of Jesus then becomes a "get out of jail free" card ("indulgences") issued to those who God would least want to have in His presence, especially for eternity.
Is there a "Covered by the Blood"? Of course there is. And that covering has to do with sins that are repented of and confessed, for those who actively seek to serve their fellow man and God the Father. It's not to be used as fire insurance for those who seek to satisfy their own lusts while pretending to be one of God's children.
27Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. (Mat 19:)
There's a reward given those who surrender their lives to the Lord. But there's also a punishment due those who have entered the Spiritual war God is waging with the world, and with man's nature, and who fail to live up to their end of the bargain.
62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:)
If a person isn't fit for the Kingdom of God, what then are they suited for? What will be their destiny?
10And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. 11And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. (Dan 10:)
5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Mat 5:)
1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalm 1:)
15O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. 16Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. 17I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. 18Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? (Jer 15:)
Daniel was heard from the moment he decided to seek truth (understanding) and to chasten himself. David held his search for truth as a frontlet between his eyes. Jesus said those who seek after righteousness are blessed.
In order to find truth, we must first seek to be righteous. And to become righteous, we must first recognize what righteousness is. And that's part of the catch 22. How can we become righteousness when those who are teaching us what righteousness is are saying that we already have righteousness because we took a dip in a pool?
Truth is not an easy commodity to take hold of. Jeremiah found this out, and his cry was to understand why he had to endure the pain he was presented with when he was doing the work of the Lord. Job is another one who couldn't understand the process God uses to cause a person to be perfect in His eyes. Noah, because of his righteous standing with God spent 120 years building a boat that he very likely didn't understand at the time. But had he stopped to question the Lord on His reasoning, the chances are he would have been caught up in the destroying flood.
5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (1Tim 1:)
There are two ways in particular a person might attack the quest of finding truth. The first method is the one used by Daniel and David. They attacked the rattlesnake by grasping it by the throat. They saw the risk, and decided to take it. They counted the cost, and the prize was worth whatever the cost to acquire it. We see this in the writings of Paul as well. Mediocrity was not part of the equation. It was all, or it was nothing.
Not everyone actually wants to know the truth. It's the search they desire. It's the knowing that they are not part of the crowd. They want to be the Hippy, the Beatnik of Christianity without being seen as a religious fanatic. To them truth is having a fairly good understanding of the cover and the preface of the book. They seek to have read the Classic Illustrated comic book version of truth rather than walk the tightrope of truth that stretches over the Grand Canyon of failure. They don't actually want to take the time and the great effort required to fully understand what God is telling us. For myself, I want to take hold of the serpent's head. I want it all. But I find that the more I learn, the more I wish I didn't know. Because of this, I'm now very hesitant to present what I'm learning, because what I'm learning is not at all what's believed, nor is it believable to anyone but those willing to be taken by the hair to high places we don't want to go, doing so kicking and screaming as Ezekiel was inclined to do.
The tail end of a rattle snake is harmless, but it makes a lot of noise ("vain janglings"). It's this end people in search of truth are trying to get hold of. When they have what they want, the noise, they feel content that they have all they need to be one in the know.
And who am I to say otherwise?
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