Not Like Them

Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 4:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4:1-16 (NIV84).

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4

There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Humbling Ourselves

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are being urged here to live a life worthy of our calling - The reason? Each one of us who is in Christ Jesus, by God’s grace through faith, has been called of God to belong to Jesus Christ, to be God’s holy people, and according to God’s purpose. We are called to one hope, which is faith in Jesus Christ, and to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. We are also called into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are called to live in the grace of Christ, to be free in Christ from slavery to sin, and called to the hope of our heavenly dwelling. We are also called to eternal life, and to a holy life; called out of darkness into his wonderful light, and called to suffer for doing good and to endure it. And, we are called to live God-empowered godly lives, to be faithful followers of Christ, and we are called to peace.

So, what does it mean to live a life worthy of our calling? I believe it means to be and to do what God has called us to. So, this would mean that, by God’s grace and in the power and working of his Spirit within us we should be separate (unlike; different) from the world in our thoughts, actions, words, values and philosophies, and we should be set apart to God and to his service, and to be like him in living holy (upright, godly and self-controlled) lives, pleasing unto him. And, we should be humble – not thinking too highly or too lowly of ourselves. In other words, our thoughts should not be so much self-focused, but we should be thinking about how we can love God and love others with his love. As well, we should exercise patience with one another, bearing with one another in love.

Tossed Back and Forth

The Lord Jesus gave me an example this morning of this “bearing with one another in love.” He said it is a whole lot like shouldering the responsibility of something for someone. What I mean is, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be concerned about one another’s spiritual development, and we should not look the other way when a brother or sister wanders off from the truth and/or falls back into sin (kind of like falling off the wagon). We should not ignore sin in each other. We should be nurturing, encouraging, and helping our fellow believers to develop close walks of faith with our Lord Jesus.

We should be particularly concerned for those adult believers who still act like infants with regard to their spiritual walks, i.e. who are immature, naïve, easy to bend, mold and influence, and who are lacking in strength of character, perseverance and endurance. They are the ones who are easily tossed back and forth by various winds of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of humans in their deceitful scheming.

We should also be concerned that much of the church here in America shows little concern about these immature believers and their spiritual development, let alone shows genuine concern that the leadership within our churches, in many cases, are the ones who are tossing them back and forth, and are the ones who are involved in the cunning, craftiness and deceitful scheming in leading these naïve and easily influenced believers to follow after them and their humanistic philosophy, and to forsake their “first love.”

Since so many of our leaders within today’s church, particularly here in America, are operating outside the control of the Holy Spirit, are flesh-driven, and are treating the body of Christ, the church, just like another business of humans, and thus they are not fulfilling their God-given responsibility in seeking after those who have “fallen off the wagon,” spiritually speaking, and in helping them to grow and to mature in their walks of faith with Jesus Christ (See Ez. 34), I believe God has called and has chosen those who are not in leadership roles to call God’s people back to him, and to lead them to maturity in Jesus Christ. And, these whom he has called are willing, and have obeyed their Lord in being his servants and messengers to the church in helping them to get back on track with God.

A Different Gospel

So, how are these immature believers being tossed back and forth by various winds of teaching? What are the signs of this cunning, craftiness and deceitful scheming in today’s church here in America? The Lord Jesus gave me a picture of that this morning. What I believe the Lord Jesus is showing me, and has been showing me for some time, is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is being divided in half. The half that they have no problem showing people is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth, took on human flesh, died on a cross for our sins, rose again, ascended to heaven, sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the lives of Christ’s followers, and one day he is coming back to take us home to be with him forever. As well, they will, in most cases, teach that we are saved by God’s grace, and not of our own doing, but our salvation is a free gift from God which we must receive by faith.

Yet, that is only one half, and it does not represent the full gospel message. The other half of the gospel is covered up with lies, deceptions, manipulations of truth, manipulations of people, and false accusations. They don’t want people to know the second half of the gospel, and so they also gloss over the truth, trying to make things appear different from what they are, because they want the gospel to be attractive to the world, so that the world will “accept” it and thus will “accept” the “church” and will want to come to their meetings. They are also giving false images of who God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit truly are, i.e. they are “white washing” the truth about God’s divine character to also make him more acceptable to the world, but they are not accepting the true God!

So much of what is falsely called “the church” today is really just businesses of humans with religious fronts, but Jesus is not the head of these churches, and the Holy Spirit has been quenched (put out of their meetings), because they can’t control him, and they won’t let him be in control, and they must be in control. So, they keep the atmosphere in “the church” friendly, non-threatening, happy, fun, exciting, entertaining, humorous, playful, light and fluffy. They don’t want it to ever get too heavy or too serious. And, they don’t want to talk much or any about sin, or they will soften sin by using terms such as “I messed up.” Repentance and obedience are not only excluded from the gospel presentation, but they are discouraged and are falsely called “works-based salvation” or “legalism” in order to dissuade people from going that direction - Speaking of cunning and craftiness!

All this fluff and these lies and misrepresentations of the true gospel serve to keep people from hearing and from believing and trusting in the truth of the full gospel message. So, who do you think is behind all this? Satan, of course! He has servants, too, within the church, who masquerade themselves as “angels of light,” when in fact they are wolves in sheep’s clothing whose mission is to kill and to destroy true faith in Jesus Christ.

They also work hard to discredit the Lord’s true servants, and in particular those who have answered the call of God to go after these immature believers and to help bring them back to the truth of the gospel. They work hard to block the minds and hearts of these naïve “Christians” from hearing the truth, so they will even go so far as to make up lies about the Lord’s true servants and witnesses so that no one will listen to them. They even have people in positions of power on the global scene who have the power and ability to block people from particular websites, for instance, so that they cannot get access to the truth, or to cut off their means of hearing the word of God in hopes that they might discourage young Christians, and included in this can even be threats against their lives.

Not Ashamed

Yet, no matter what they do to us, we should not be ashamed of our Lord Jesus Christ and of his gospel of salvation, but we should shout it from the mountain tops for all to hear!

The truth which these false leaders of the people have been keeping hidden via lies and deceptions is that the other half of the gospel teaches that faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, we must be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we must now walk in the Spirit and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, for that is why he died for us (See: Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14 and 1 Jn. 1-5). It is not freedom if we are still in slavery to sin, and it is a false promise of heaven if we have not truly been crucified with Christ in forsaking our lives of sin, and if we are not now living in the Spirit and no longer living to gratify the desires of our sinful flesh.

These false leaders in our church would have you believe the lie that it is hateful to tell people the truth, and that it is selfish to want to see people free from their sin, and that we should only say what is pleasing to people, and what makes them feel good. They will tell you that we should hide the truth of the gospel from people, and that we should not declare openly our love and devotion to our Lord, for it might offend people, and that would not be “nice.” They will even give you a false picture of Jesus which paints him as someone who just went around “loving on” everyone and that he never confronted people with their sin, called them to repentance, or commanded of them that they must believe on him or face eternity in punishment in hell. So, don’t deny your Lord. Stand firm in your faith!

To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture

Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.

Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.

Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!

When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.