Saturday, March 23, 2013

Living with the gods

Leviticus 19:4  "Don't turn to worthless gods or cast metal idols. Never make any gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.

In the ancient days people would carve out images from wood or stone; then fall down before the images and worship them. Today we would consider this ludicrous. Modern society does not have time for the one true living God ,and they surely don't have time for man-made idols either. Or do they?

Who are the gods of today that we worship? Where are the idols we carve out of wood or stone?

The sins of man are indicators of the gods they worship. There false hope is placed in there  self- righteousness.  Many don't realize their gods are speaking lies. Zechariah 10:2  The idols speak lies. The fortunetellers see false visions. They speak about false dreams. They give useless comfort. That is why people wander around like sheep. They are troubled because there is no shepherd.

As believers and unbelievers there is the tendency to live with the false gods which have us captured in our own guilt. Many try to break away from their reoccurring sin but can't. The lust for corrupt worship is strong. In fact, it can be intoxicating. We can't break free with our own strength until we are willing to stop living with the gods. People overeat because it makes them feel good. People are sex addicts because of the euphoric feeling it leaves behind. People get caught up in certain kinds of addictions because of the false journey it takes them. Unless we are willing to get rid of our false gods; we can never experience the true hunger for our God.

Galatians 5:16-21  Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants.  (17)  What your corrupt nature wants is contrary to what your spiritual nature wants, and what your spiritual nature wants is contrary to what your corrupt nature wants. They are opposed to each other. As a result, you don't always do what you intend to do.  (18)  If your spiritual nature is your guide, you are not subject to Moses' laws.  (19)  Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity,  (20)  idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions,  (21)  envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. I've told you in the past and I'm telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Idols or gods among us today are not carved images in a conventional since, but they are still living. They are still corrupting and destroying lives. The source of your sin or the empowerment of your sin comes from your worship to false idols.The only way to overcome is to worship the one true God. The only way to overcome is through Jesus. We don't have to be bound to false idols nor to the idols' control on us through sin. Our nature of holiness has to come from the living God. The more we spend time with Him then our ability to shed the worship of false gods becomes relevant. We don't need to live with the gods ever again. Freedom is in our one true God and freedom has come to us all. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Don't Judge Me

Matthew 7:1-5  "Stop judging so that you will not be judged.  (2)  Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.  (3)  So why do you see the piece of sawdust in another believer's eye and not notice the wooden beam in your own eye?  (4)  How can you say to another believer, 'Let me take the piece of sawdust out of your eye,' when you have a beam in your own eye?  (5)  You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the piece of sawdust from another believer's eye.

How many people have heard this passage thrown at your face? I have heard it misquoted by several people and , in many cases, misunderstood. Those who are flunkies in the faith or doubters of the truth use this passage for personal defense. I am always amazed on how many misinterpret this passage and use it for their sin nature.

The Greek word for Judge in this instance is krino which means to condemn, punish, and avenge. As believers we should never judge or condemn individuals to an absolute. We don't have that authority or power. We must judge ourselves and look deeper at our own faults before ever looking at another's.  The beauty of this passage teaches us something about ourselves. True humility allows a man to look within himself deeper and fix the issues before he looks at the faults of another. It does not mean that he or she approves of the faults or sinful nature of others. It simply means he or she allows Holy Spirit to change their lives first. We are called not to judge people rashly or quickly based off of our religious standard. Remember that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees during this time. They would judge others based off of their religious doctrine and not the word of God. 

Here is the problem with people misquoting Matthew 7.  This one passage does not tell us to never judge according to His word. In other words, if someone is doing something contrary to God's truth then judgement is given. Not judgement without mercy or grace but godly judgement.

 If judging people is totally wrong then how do we fully follow these scriptures?

Romans 16:17-18  Brothers and sisters, I urge you to watch out for those people who create divisions and who make others fall away from the Christian faith by teaching doctrine that is not the same as you have learned. Stay away from them.  (18)  People like these are not serving Christ our Lord. They are serving their own desires. By their smooth talk and flattering words they deceive unsuspecting people.

2 Corinthians 6:11-18  We have been very open in speaking to you Corinthians. We have a place for you in our hearts.  (12)  We haven't cut you off. Your own emotions have cut you off from us.  (13)  I'm talking to you as I would talk to children. Treat us the same way we've treated you. Make a place for us in your hearts too.  (14)  Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness?  (15)  Can Christ agree with the devil? Can a believer share life with an unbeliever?  (16)  Can God's temple contain false gods? Clearly, we are the temple of the living God. As God said, "I will live and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people."  (17)  The Lord says, "Get away from unbelievers. Separate yourselves from them. Have nothing to do with anything unclean. Then I will welcome you."  (18)  The Lord Almighty says, "I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters."

2 Timothy 3:1-9  You must understand this: In the last days there will be violent periods of time.  (2)  People will be selfish and love money. They will brag, be arrogant, and use abusive language. They will curse their parents, show no gratitude, have no respect for what is holy,  (3)  and lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what is good.  (4)  They will be traitors. They will be reckless and conceited. They will love pleasure rather than God.  (5)  They will appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change them. Stay away from such people.  (6)  Some of these men go into homes and mislead weak-minded women who are burdened with sins and led by all kinds of desires.  (7)  These women are always studying but are never able to recognize the truth.  (8)  As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men oppose the truth. Their minds are corrupt, and the faith they teach is counterfeit.  (9)  Certainly, they won't get very far. Like the stupidity of Jannes and Jambres, their stupidity will be plain to everyone.

1 John 4:1-3  Dear friends, don't believe all people who say that they have the Spirit. Instead, test them. See whether the spirit they have is from God, because there are many false prophets in the world.  (2)  This is how you can recognize God's Spirit: Every person who declares that Jesus Christ has come as a human has the Spirit that is from God.  (3)  But every person who doesn't declare that Jesus Christ has come as a human has a spirit that isn't from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that you have heard is coming. That spirit is already in the world.