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.
Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).
There has never been a person, except Jesus, who perfectly understood the Father and His revealed Word, and there has probably never been a person who has been altogether right about what he did believe about God and His Word. What I am trying to get at is that it is quite possible that we will never find anyone with whom we can perfectly agree with concerning our knowledge of and our walk with God. As difficult as we might find this to accept, it will help us if we stop and consider the great gulf of perfection that still exists between God and us, and yet God delights in having us come to Him and constantly strives to bring us closer and closer to His own perfection. Part of that perfection is being able to accept those who believe somewhat differently than we do, without having the differences adversely effect our relationship with God.
There will always be a need to keep a distinction between acceptance of the person and accepting or condoning his beliefs and practices. It is usually difficult to know when we should merely accept the person, or when we should confront the person’s beliefs – Jesus did both. There are individuals and organizations that Jesus and the apostles warned people about, and we need to do the same (Lk. 20:45; Matt. 23:1-36; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Jn. 1:7-11). You will find some of these individuals, groups and practices to stay away from on our web page entitled Satan’s Vast Network Of Deception & Opposition; some of these are "Christian" organizations that have accepted some of the subtle and persistent lies and technics that eventually lead the nation of Israel away from the Lord and brought about that nation’s destruction and captivity. This is all part of the same old spiritual warfare that has caused so many casualties and resulting heartache from the time that Satan first deceived Eve. That Satan can still use the same old tricks and lies and still be successful at it demonstrates just how susceptible we are to "the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]" (1 John 2:16).
Dr. Henry M. Morris has some interesting comments on fellowship in his Days of Praise booklet for Wednesday, September 23, 2009. He has this to say about fellowship in the early church:
It wasn’t long before heresies, schisms, and non-Christian practices began to fragment the churches; nevertheless, fellowship is still a vital biblical doctrine toward which all Christians should strive. . . .
Fellowship, of course, must be based on truth in doctrine and practice. As our text indicates, real spiritual fellowship with fellow Christians must be based, first of all, on fellowship with Father and the Son. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (John 1:6-7). Christian fellowship is not, as many seem to think, built on food and fun, but on truth and light. HMM
We can see the effects of not maintaining fellowship by examining history as recorded in the Bible. The first break came when God’s highest angel Lucifer or Satan decided he wanted to be like the most high God, rebelled and took about a third of the other angels with him (Isa. 14:12-15; Rev. 12:1-9). Next, knowing that it would be easier to trick or deceive Eve than Adam he successfully tempted and deceived Eve into joining him (Gen. 3:1-6). The Bible tells us that Eve was deceived, but Adam apparently made a knowledgeable and deliberate decision to go along with Eve instead of obeying the Lord (1 Tim. 2:14).
These breaks in fellowship have brought upon us all the misery and destruction that this old world has experienced from that time until now. Many of the Old Testament people remained true, for the most part, to God and became leaders and examples for us to follow: Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, David and others. But the majority of the people of Israel continued to get in trouble by taking on the ways and practices of the nations around them. As a result they drew further and further away from God causing God to first discipline them and finally to set them aside for a season.
The loss of fellowship between the nation of Israel and God, and the reasons for it are well documented for us in the book of Jeremiah. The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds the Church that we can lose out with God for the same reasons that the nation of Israel did (Heb. 3:7-19), so we will be considering the heathen practices the Israelites indulged in and how they correspond to some of the present practices of the Church today.
In most cases, we will let the following Scriptures speak for themselves, and reserve our comments for when we examine the various issues and details we will encounter later on. This page was designed to help us see the urgent need to get our thinking and facts lined up with reality by developing a Biblical Worldview.
JEREMIAH 1:1-19.... The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin [two or three miles north of Jerusalem], to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem into captivity in the fifth month. [2 Kings 25:8-11.]
4Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. [Ex. 33:12; Isa. 49:1,5; Rom. 8:29.] Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. [Ex. 4:10; 6:12,30; 1 Kings 3:7.] But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.
11Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter]. Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it. And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, What do you see? And I said, I see a boiling pot, and the face of it is [tipped away] from the north [its mouth about to pour forth on the south, on Judea]. Then the Lord said to me, Out of the north the evil [which the prophets had foretold as the result of national sin] shall disclose itself and break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For, behold, I will call all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, says the Lord; and they will come and set every one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls round about, and against all the cities of Judah [as God's judicial act, a consequence of Judah's wickedness]. And I will utter My judgments against them for all the wickedness of those who have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands [idols].
The Lord mentions three areas in which the Israelites went astray: first, they turned away from following the Lord and His instructions; second, they sought out other gods to worship them; third, they began to admire their own creations – all of which are taking place in the Church today. Many of the churches no longer accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God and reject it’s teachings; many are trying to find common cause and worship with other religions, and thus other gods; many neglect or reject the ways and means God has given us to serve Him, and have chosen instead, humanistic and heathen ways and means of attempting to serve and worship Him. If the Church transgresses in the same way, should not we receive like treatment? If we plant the same seeds, we will reap the same harvest; God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35).
17But you [Jeremiah], gird up your loins! Arise and tell them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed and break down at the sight of their faces, lest I confound you before them and permit you to be overcome. For I, behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar and bronze walls against the whole land--against the [successive] kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land [giving you divine strength which no hostile power can overcome]. [Isa. 50:7; 54:17; Jer. 6:27; 15:20; Luke 21:15; Acts 6:10.] And they shall fight against you, but they shall not [finally] prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you.
JEREMIAH 2:1-37.... And the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the Lord: I [earnestly] remember the kindness and devotion of your youth, your love after your betrothal [in Egypt] and marriage [at Sinai] when you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holiness [something set apart from ordinary purposes, dedicated] to the Lord, the firstfruits of His harvest [of which no stranger was allowed to partake]; all who ate of it [injuring Israel] offended and became guilty; evil came upon them, says the Lord.
4Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: What unrighteousness did your fathers find in Me, that they went far from Me and [habitually] went after emptiness, falseness, and futility and themselves became fruitless and worthless? Nor did they say, Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death and deep darkness, through a land that no man passes through and where no man dwells? And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and good things. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination [detestable and loathsome]. [Even] the priests did not say, Where is the Lord? And those who handle the law [given by God to Moses] knew Me not. The rulers and secular shepherds also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by [the authority and in the name of] Baal and followed after things that do not profit.
Here is another prominent feature in today’s Church; there are many who proclaim the teachings of Christianity that don’t really believe what God has revealed in the Bible, and don’t really know God – they have been so influenced by humanistic reasoning that they can no longer believe God.
9Therefore I will still contend with you [by inflicting further judgments on you], says the Lord, and with your children's children will I contend. For cross over to the coasts of Cyprus [to the west] and see, send also to Kedar [to the east] and carefully consider; and see whether there has been such a thing as this: Has a nation [ever] changed its gods, even though they are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory [God] for that which does not profit. Be astonished and appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked and shrivel up with horror, says the Lord [at the behavior of the people]. For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and they have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which cannot hold water.
14Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why has he become a captive and a prey? The young lions have roared over him and made their voices heard. And they have made his land a waste; his cities are burned ruins without inhabitant. Moreover, the children of Memphis and Tahpanhes (Egypt) [have in times past shown their power as a foe; they] have broken and fed on the crown of your head [Israel]--so do not rely on them as an ally now. Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the Lord your God when He led you in the way? And now what have you to gain by allying yourself with Egypt and going her way, to drink the [black and roiled] waters of the Nile? Or what have you to gain in going the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the Euphrates? Your own wickedness shall chasten and correct you, and your backslidings and desertion of faith shall reprove you. Know therefore and recognize that this is an evil and bitter thing: [first,] you have forsaken the Lord your God; [second,] you are indifferent to Me and the fear of Me is not in you, says the Lord of hosts. For long ago [in Egypt] I broke your yoke and burst your bonds [not that you might be free, but that you might serve Me] and long ago you shattered the yoke and snapped the bonds [of My law which I put upon you]; you said, I will not serve and obey You! For upon every high hill and under every green tree you [eagerly] prostrated yourself [in idolatrous worship], playing the harlot. Yet I had planted you [O house of Israel] a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned into degenerate shoots of wild vine alien to Me? For though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, yet your iniquity and guilt are still [upon you; you are] spotted, dirty, and stained before Me, says the Lord.
We have nobody to blame but ourselves for the lack of God’s grace in our lives, and nothing or nobody can relieve us of our burdens but the Lord!
23How can you say, I am not defiled; I have not gone after the Baals [other gods]? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done. You are a restive young female camel [in the uncontrollable violence of her brute passion eagerly] running hither and thither, or [you have the untamed and reckless nature of] a wild donkey used to the desert, in her heat sniffing the wind [for the scent of a male]. In her mating season who can restrain her? No males seeking her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her [seeking them]. [Cease from your mad running after idols, from which you get nothing but bitter injury.] Keep your feet from being unshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, It is hopeless! For I have loved strangers and foreigners, and after them I will go. As the thief is brought to shame when he is caught, so shall the house of Israel be brought to shame--they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets – [inasmuch as] they say to a tree, You are my father, and to a stone, You gave me birth. For they have turned their backs to Me and not their faces; but in the time of their trouble, they say, Arise [O Lord] and save us! But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise if they can save you in the time of your trouble! For [as many as] the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah. [Surely so many handmade idols should be able to help you!] Why do you complain and remonstrate against My wrath? You all have rebelled and revolted against Me, says the Lord. In vain have I stricken your children (your people); they received no discipline (no correction). Your own sword devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.
The above paragraph and the next two describe how foolish we can become when we turn aside after our own ways; we begin to think that we can live in sin and still be blessed of the Lord. The nation of Israel thought they could incorporate the practices of the heathen nations around them into their worship of God, but the Lord would not accept it and had to punish them instead – He will do the same with us. As the warnings of God’s faithful messengers to repent are ignored and rejected the people’s hearts are hardened to the point where they actually believe they are innocent, and end up finding fault with God instead of examining the humanistic or worldly practices they have become involved in. It is very difficult for people to rise above or ward off the ungodly influences of this world system, and thus many accept as normal that which everyone else is doing, regardless of what God has to say; this is the process that Satan has successfully used down through the ages, the practices and their names may vary slightly to accommodate the desires of the people and to be more deceptively effective, but the method remains the same.
31O generation [that you are]! Behold, consider, and regard the word of the Lord: Have I been a wilderness to Israel [like a land without food]? A land of deep darkness [like a way without light]? Why do My people say, We have broken loose [we are free and will roam at large]; we will come no more to You? Can a maid forget and neglect [to wear] her ornaments, or a bride her [marriage] girdle [with its significance like that of a wedding ring]? Yet My people have forgotten Me, days without number. How you deck yourself and direct your way to procure [adulterous] love! Because of it even wicked women have learned [indecent] ways from you. Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the persons of the innocent poor; you did not find them housebreaking, nor have I found it out by secret search. But it is because of [your lust for idolatry that you have done] all these things--[that is everywhere evident.] Yet you keep saying, I am innocent; surely His anger has turned away from Me. Behold, I will bring you to judgment and will plead against you because you say, I have not sinned. Why do you gad or wander about so much to change your way? You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. From [Egypt] also you will come away with your hands upon your head, for the Lord has rejected those in whom you confide, and you will not prosper with [respect to] them.
JEREMIAH 3:1-25.... That is to say, If a man puts away his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's, will he return to her again? [Of course not!] Would not that land [where such a thing happened] be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot [against Me] with many lovers--yet would you now return to Me? says the Lord [or do you even think to return to Me?] Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see. Where have you not been adulterously lain with? By the wayside you have sat waiting for lovers [eager for idolatry], like an Arabian [desert tribesman who waits to plunder] in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your vile harlotry and your wickedness (unfaithfulness and disobedience to God). Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no spring rain. Yet you have the brow of a prostitute; you refuse to be ashamed. Have you not just now cried to Me: My Father, You were the guide and companion of my youth? Will He retain His anger forever? Will He keep it to the end? Behold, you have so spoken, but you have done all the evil things you could and have had your way and have carried them through.
6Moreover, the Lord said to me [Jeremiah] in the days of Josiah the king [of Judah], Have you seen what that faithless and backsliding Israel has done--how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree and there played the harlot? And I said, After she has done all these things, she will return to Me; but she did not return, and her faithless and treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, even though [Judah knew] that for this very cause of committing adultery (idolatry) I [the Lord] had put faithless Israel away and given her a bill of divorce; yet her faithless and treacherous sister Judah was not afraid, but she also went and played the harlot [following after idols]. And through the infamy and unseemly frivolity of Israel's whoredom [because her immorality mattered little to her], she polluted and defiled the land, [by her idolatry] committing adultery with [idols of] stones and trees. But in spite of all this, her faithless and treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me in sincerity and with her whole heart, but only in sheer hypocrisy [has she feigned obedience to King Josiah's reforms], says the Lord. [2 Chron. 34:33; Hos. 7:13,14.]
11And the Lord said to me, Backsliding and faithless Israel has shown herself less guilty than false and treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north [where the ten tribes have been taken as captives] and say, Return, faithless Israel, says the Lord, and I will not cause My countenance to fall and look in anger upon you, for I am merciful, says the Lord; I will not keep My anger forever. Only know, understand, and acknowledge your iniquity and guilt--that you have rebelled and transgressed against the Lord your God and have scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice, says the Lord.
Even though we have such powerful evidence of how God deals with His wayward children, we still neglect warnings as how to avoid discipline and be blessed instead.
14Return, O faithless children [of the whole Twelve tribes], says the Lord, for I am Lord and Master and Husband to you, and I will take you [not as a nation, but individually]--one from a city and two from a tribal family--and I will bring you to Zion. [Luke 15:20-22.] And I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart [in the final time], who will feed you with knowledge and understanding and judgment. And it shall be that when you have multiplied and increased in the land in those days, says the Lord, they shall no more say, The ark of the covenant of the Lord. It shall not come to mind, nor shall they [seriously] remember it, nor shall they miss or visit it, nor shall it be repaired or made again [for instead of the ark, which represented God's presence, He will show Himself to be present throughout the city]. [Isa. 65:17; Rev. 21:3,22,23.] At that time they shall call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, in the renown and name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; nor shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their own evil hearts. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and together they shall come out of the land of the north to the land that I gave as an inheritance to your fathers. And I thought how [gloriously and honorably] I would set you among My children and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage, the most beautiful and best [inheritance] among all nations! And I thought you would call Me My Father and would not turn away from following Me.
20Surely, as a wife treacherously and faithlessly departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously and faithlessly with Me, O house of Israel, says the Lord. A voice is heard on the bare heights, the weeping and pleading of the sons of Israel, because they have perverted their ways, they have [eagerly] forgotten the Lord their God. Return, O faithless sons, [says the Lord, and] I will heal your faithlessness. [And they answer] Behold, we come to You, for You are the Lord our God. Truly in vain is the hope of salvation from the hills and from the tumult and noisy throng on the mountains; truly in and with the Lord our God rests the salvation of Israel. [We have been ruined as a nation by our faithlessness and idolatry] for the shameful thing has consumed all for which our fathers toiled from our youth--their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. Let us lie prostrate in our shame, and let our dishonor and confusion cover us; for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers; from our youth even to this day we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.
There can only be unity when we repent and walk in God’s light, as long as we continue to use humanistic methods and practices we will remain in bondage and powerless. Even if the church we attend refuses to examine its self and repent, God has promised that He will accept us one by one as individuals into fellowship with Himself.
JEREMIAH 4:10.... Then I [Jeremiah] said, Alas, Lord God! Surely You have greatly deceived and misled this people and Jerusalem, [for the prophets represented You as] saying [to Your people], You shall have peace, whereas the sword has reached to [their very] life.
JEREMIAH 4:22.... [Their chastisement will continue until it has accomplished its purpose] for My people are stupid, says the Lord [replying to Jeremiah]; they do not know and understand Me. They are thickheaded children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge [and know not how].
JEREMIAH 5:30-31.... An appalling and horrible thing [bringing desolation and destruction] has come to pass in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests exercise rule at their own hands and by means of the prophets. And My people love to have it so! But what will you do when the end comes?
2 TIMOTHY 4:1-5.... I charge [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom: Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, and will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry.
2 CORINTHIANS 13:1-5.... This is the third time that I am coming to you. By the testimony of two or three witnesses must any charge and every accusing statement be sustained and confirmed. [Deut. 19:15.] I have already warned those who sinned formerly and all the rest also, and I warn them now again while I am absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come back, I will not spare [them], since you desire and seek [perceptible] proof of the Christ Who speaks in and through me. [For He] is not weak and feeble in dealing with you, but is a mighty power within you; for though He was crucified in weakness, yet He goes on living by the power of God. And though we too are weak in Him [as He was humanly weak], yet in dealing with you [we shall show ourselves] alive and strong in [fellowship with] Him by the power of God. Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you--unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?