Friday, August 5, 2016
If you work for a small private or large publicly held business, all aspects of your relationship with that entity from start to finish is in written form. You refer to what’s written, the perceived good and bad, and not hearsay or rumor, for only what is written is of enduring substance.
After many years of faithful service you are ready for retirement, but are now reminded that you ignored certain objectionable points of what was written, though believing with all your heart for many years that all those dislikes would just somehow work out. But now reality sets in and you suffer perceived loss and injustice. But the liability is fully yours for ignoring what was written.
Similarly, all things about our relationship with God in Christ, “were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11). This is why Jesus came, to teach us truth from beginning to end about our redeemed relationship with God found only in Christ.
In overcoming Satan and his deception, Christ modeled the value of what is written in God’s Word. He never resorted to hearsay or traditions of men for His defense. Note these examples.
When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, saying, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (Matt. 4:3), Jesus did not say, “Well, the tradition of the fathers and rabbi so and so, said…” No, Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). [bold emphasis added]
When Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: [note that even Satan quotes Scripture but not in context] ‘He shall give His angels charge over you…lest You dash Your foot against a stone” (Matt. 4:6). Jesus did not say, “That would be impractical because this rabbi and that doctor said so and so. No, Jesus said, “It is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (Matt. 4:7).
And when Satan took Jesus into a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, saying, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:9), Jesus did not say, “Well, this pastor and that theologian say…” No, Jesus responded with, “Away with you Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve’” (Matt. 4:10). Three times Jesus exampled the power of, “It is written…”
Christians must emulate Jesus when tempted to disbelieve God and respond contextually with, “It is written”. For, I am to live, “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”, and I will not fall prey to the traditions of men or what this pastor, that teacher or some PhD says.
When Satan tempts you to believe his lies, half-truths and deceptions…
…that all religions lead to God, defend Christ that it is written where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
…that good deeds and helping the poor gets one to heaven, defend Christ that it is written, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
…that one has no sin, that he or she was saved from infancy, defend Christ and His truth, saying, it is written that God said, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
…that one born again yet has the same old unbelieving spirit within, defend God and His truth who said, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new…we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17, 20).
…that you should believe the traditions of your church, defend God who said, “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…making the word of God of no effect through your traditions which you have handed down” (Mark 7:8, 13).
…that there is no absolute truth, defend Christ who said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). But many reject hearing His voice regarding many issues.
…that born again saints are free to covenant with a nation’s military for the death and destruction of one’s enemies, defend Christ who said of His saints, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3), and, “Repay no one evil for evil” (Rom. 12:17).
…that women are approved by God to be pastors, teachers and deacons, defend God who commanded His church for its spiritual integrity, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:12–14), and, “Let your women keep silent in the churches…If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge…the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:34–37). Here, many live in proud rebellion against God.
…that this last generation of saints will not see the Antichrist, defend Jesus Christ who warned, “Therefore, when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads let him understand)” (Matt. 24:15).
…that the righteous dead are raised seven years before the last day, defend Christ who said, “everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40), and, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). “It is written” that the righteous dead are raised in the first resurrection after the tribulation according to Revelation 20:4–6.
…that Christ raptures saints pre-tribulation, defend Christ who said that He gathers His elect saints, “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31). Any teaching of the rapture that does not agree with Christ is a lie from Satan, and Christians need to wake up to that truth.
…that Christians will not be judged for their unbelief and sins, defend God who said, “we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
Remember, God said, “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Mal. 3:6), and, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Yet, many perceive God as changing to suit them.
I’ve named just a few things in which much of the organized church has forsaken God’s Word. Do you believe God’s Word is fixed, or do you perceive God like the shifting sands of change according to the traditions of men and the corrupt progressive cultures of this world?
Sadly, many know more about their jobs and professional endeavors, America’s Constitution, their rights, their employee manuals, stock portfolio’s, church traditions and church programs, investment strategies, and sports scores, etc., etc., than the written Word of God in Christ.
Many Christians are led to disbelieve and thus disobey God’s Word on many issues. They’re led by pastoral agents of change honoring church traditions and cultural accommodation above the Word of the Lord. How else do women sit in the Office of the Deacon and stand in the pulpit teaching authoritatively over a mixed audience though God’s Word specifically forbids it?
God commanded the church, but many pastors and teachers are far more interested in retaining their popularity and income than teaching whole truth. There are ministers who, in their hearts believe Jesus’ post tribulation rapture, but in the pulpit preach the pre-trib rapture to stay in line with corrupt and false church traditions weightier than God’s Word. Dear saints, that’s not love!
True love for God and His Christ will boldly defend Christ in what is written regarding the times of the end and prepare the people for the coming ravages of the tribulation. Noah and his family would not have survived the flood if Noah had not believed God and acted accordingly. Ancient Israel would not have survived the first Passover if they had not believed God and prepared.
Most of ancient Israel did not believe God when they were about to enter their Promised Land and consequently perished in the wilderness where their bodies became food for carrion birds. And because of end-time unbelief in the church, the same will soon repeat again. And pastors and teachers who taught the pre-trib rapture lie will reap what they sowed: offense and hatred.
How can the below chorus be sung and then lead people in traditions that run counter to what is written for the integrity of the church and endurance of the saints? Remember this chorus?
“I love you Lord, and I lift my voice,
To worship you, O my soul rejoice,
Take joy my King in what You hear,
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear”
True love for Christ does not oppose Jesus’ Words! Where’s the holy reverent fear of God? The Holy Spirit said, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Prov. 30:5–6).
Marlin J. Yoder