This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus answers the questions put to Him by the disciples about some of the events that will transpire as this present dispensation comes to an end. The thing that He emphasizes the most is deception, and He qualifies it by this declaration: "For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (God's chosen ones)" (Matt. 24:24). Another words, the deception will be so cleverly disguised that it will be almost impossible to recognize, even for true Christians. The reason that this is so is because we are and will be dealing with, not merely the physical realm, but the spiritual realm as well, and this requires a good understanding of God and His Word.
In the spiritual realm we have two opposing forces that we have to deal with: (1) the forces of good – God and the holy angels; and (2) the forces of evil – Satan and evil spirits. When we are referring to the forces for good we use the term spirituality, when we are referring to the forces for evil we use the term spiritism or mysticism. It is sometimes very difficult to know or recognize the difference, and the only infallible instruments that we have at our disposal for recognizing this difference are the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. This is why it is so imperative that we are abiding or dwelling in Christ, and that we are becoming increasingly knowledgeable of the contents of the Bible. This is God’s means of guiding and protecting us when we receive impulses or impressions of information, whether directly from the spiritual realm, or indirectly from human sources.
As an example, there is a sense in which human love and affection can be mistaken for and misused as Christian love. True Christian love consists of and abides in the God kind of love that always does the right thing. For instance, it would not be right for us, because we love someone and don’t want to hurt their feelings, to accept and go along with their wrong interpretation and misuse of the Gospel. Such was the case between Peter and Paul in the following example:
GALATIANS 2:11-14.... But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I protested and opposed him to his face [concerning his conduct there], for he was blameable and stood condemned. For up to the time that certain persons came from James, he ate his meals with the Gentile [converts]; but when the men [from Jerusalem] arrived, he withdrew and held himself aloof from the Gentiles and [ate] separately for fear of those of the circumcision [party]. And the rest of the Jews along with him also concealed their true convictions and acted insincerely, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy (their example of insincerity and pretense). But as soon as I saw that they were not straightforward and were not living up to the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas (Peter) before everybody present, If you, though born a Jew, can live [as you have been living] like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how do you dare now to urge and practically force the Gentiles to [comply with the ritual of Judaism and] live like Jews?
True love for God and man places our first allegiance with God; when this is done, then and only then can God’s very own love flow out from us to others. To substitute our own love and affection is a horrible abuse to God and the people involved, and when we disregard God’s Word in our actions toward other people we are neither acting in love nor are we acting as a true disciple of Christ Jesus. Consider what Jesus had to say about discipleship:
LUKE 14:25-35.... Now huge crowds were going along with [Jesus], and He turned and said to them, if anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters--[yes] and even his own life also– he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.
28For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it? Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, saying, This man began to build and was not able ( worth enough) to finish. Or what king, going out to engage in conflict with another king, will not first sit down and consider and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand [men] to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if he cannot [do so], when the other king is still a great way off, he sends an envoy and asks the terms of peace.
33So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltness be restored? It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing!
MATTHEW 10:34-39.... Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to part asunder a man from his father, and a daughter from her mother, and a newly married wife from her mother-in-law– and a man's foes will be they of his own household. [Mic 7:6.]
37He who loves [and takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].
When a person, through a misunderstanding of God’s Word, places themselves in danger, the loving thing to do is to warn them, even if we must hurt their feelings in doing so; to spare their feelings now when it can have eternal adverse results is reprehensible, or deserving of reproof or rebuke in itself.
For instance, suppose that you had a dear Christian friend who told you they had gotten involved with an organization that you knew was a deceptive cult. You were aware that they thought very highly of the members of this cult, and you knew that they could become very displeased with and possibly even reject you if you pointed out the errors of this cult. The love of God wants your friends to be free from the deception of this cult, and perhaps our human affection for our friends desires the same thing. But if we, by using our human reason and affection, reject God’s way of dealing with this problem, and instead choose not to warn them in order to spare our friends feelings and our possible rejection; according to Christ’s teaching above we have placed the love for our friends above our love for God and have shown that we are not acting as a true disciple of Christ.
This is one of the main reasons that this world is in such a horrible condition, and the people that God holds responsible are those who claim to preach and teach God’s Word. But if instead of faithfully proclaiming God’s truth, they leave some of it out or add to it; or distort, corrupt and dilute; or reject and substitute human reasoning for it – the result will be that our dear Christian friend above may never become aware of the danger that he is in, and the world will grow worse and worse. When a minister chooses to appease the affections and appetites of the people instead of faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, Paul proclaims the end result and gives a just rebuke: "I am surprised and astonished that you are so quickly turning renegade and deserting Him Who invited and called you by the grace (unmerited favor) of Christ (the Messiah) [and that you are transferring your allegiance] to a different [even an opposition] gospel. Not that there is [or could be] any other [genuine Gospel], but there are [obviously] some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you [with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel] and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) [into something which it absolutely is not]. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to and different from that which we preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)! As we said before, so I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from or contrary to that which you received [from us], let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)! Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah)" (Gal. 1:6-10).
Many Christian groups and organizations have chosen the incorrect pathway of pleasing the people in contradiction to God’s Word, and have substituted the humanistic social gospel to try to correct the problem they helped create when they chose to please the people in the beginning; it’s a vicious cycle that goes round and round and never solves anything. Most socialistic programs don’t work because the more people are given, the more they demand, the more undisciplined they become, and the society that they live in becomes increasingly impoverished. God’s solution to this problem is the commission that Jesus gave to the disciples: "Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be)" (Matt. 28:18-20).
The simple truth is that when we faithfully do what Jesus said above, the result will be that the world will get increasingly better; if we neglect to do what He said it will get increasingly worse. Making disciples is the answer to the problem; failing to properly proclaim the Gospel and substituting the social gospel to try to correct the resulting problem only makes it worse, because as more and more people believe this false way it will soon become the dominate way of thinking and doing, but it cannot help or benefit people because it is a substitute for the truth of God. If people are not taught the will of God, they can’t know it; and if people don’t know what the will of God is, they can’t do it; and if people don’t do the will of God, they will end up destroying the society they live in – if God doesn’t intervene.
ROMANS 10:13-17.... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We are not doing anyone a favor nor are we acting in true Christian love when we fail to obey the Word of God in order to spare the feelings of our loved ones. One of the ways that God gives to handle this kind of a situation is recorded in 2 Tim. 2:24-26; "And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong. He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth [that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it], and that they may come to their senses [and] escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, [Henceforth] to do His [God's] will."
How can we hope to escape the snare of the devil, if we fail to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through prayer and Bible study? We are going to believe and do what we are intent upon, and if our minds have been taken captive by the evil one our only hope of escape is to be brought to our right senses through a knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. Very few seem to be aware of how effectively Satan uses this world system to conform our minds to his way of thinking and doing, as evidenced by the world’s present evil condition. Here is what God would have us to do; "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]" ("Rom. 12:1-2).