16 Oct 2011
October 16, 2011
How Dare You!
Religious Segregation & Persecution
Matthew 11: 16 - 19
Jesus said, "How shall I describe this generation? These people are like a group of children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, 'We played wedding songs, and you weren't happy, so we played funeral songs, but you weren't sad. For John the Baptist didn't drink wine and he often fasted, and you say, 'He's demon possessed.' And I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, 'He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners! ' But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it."
I will be saying some things this morning that will not make some people happy. I am not here to make people happy. I am here to make the Lord happy. So hang on.....it may be a bumpy ride. I will try and be brief and to the point.
I am appalled at what I hear in the world in the name of Christ Jesus. I am quite certain he and God are, too.
The other day, someone made some comments about two political figures in the USA (presidential hopefuls) intimating quite strongly that one was a Christian and the other not, based on 'their' understanding of what a Christian is. BUT had they had ever been in the church of either to know what exactly their truth of belief? Did they 'assume'? They seemed to be familiar with one and declared it a Christian religion. It sounded like they had 'heard' that the other religion was a cult and not Christian. The declaring person had stated that he would vote for the Christian.
Shame, shame, shame.
"But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it."
There is a 'norm' by which all Christian churches are defined. It saddens me that Christians attack those not subscribing to 'the norm', or, of 'their' doctrinal belief system....all in name of Christ. All doctrines of churches were established by man. They are therefore subject to error. Some churches say they received divine revelation. They may have. Was it for them or for the world? Should 'the norm' or doctrine matter in how we define who knows Christ, loves Christ, has accepted him as their Lord and Savior, and worships him? Should it matter if I put my left sock on before my right or visa versa whether you are my friend, comrade, brother, sister? If someone says they have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and are walking the walk of a righteous person, and bringing others to him, what matters the how? It should not matter HOW you worship, but THAT you worship. It should not matter how the person next to you enacts that, but only that they hopefully do.
People in the political and religious arena are continually crying separation of church and state. But now they want it to meld. Now it seems there is yet another avenue of ridicule and persecution. Anything someone can latch onto and give proof why someone should not be voted for is being used against them. What would happen if someone professed to be a devout Christian, walked a righteous life, was near perfect, was put on the pedestal for world viewing as a political leader and they were found to use the toilet paper from the bottom of the roll instead of the top? The person not wanting them to win would certainly find 'just cause' IN THEIR MIND to persecute them, ridicule them, and cause religious segregation because using from the wrong side of the roll of toilet paper is not in the doctrines of THEIR church as such. WHAT?! Like the name of the television show in the United States, I have to say, "It's Worth What?! tm
What is it worth? How will God and Jesus view this? What will it mean to the/an accuser's future? Will they even have a future with the Lord? Is it 'just' a sin......will they be forgiven? Will God address this? Yup.
'This church is right, this church is wrong'. 'He doesn't believe the same way she does'. People say, 'that is not what scripture says, it says this'; 'it says your tradition is not right, mine is'....blah blah blah. Folks, everyone is different. God speaks to each of us differently. He calls each of us to different paths in his name. HE knows everything in his INfinite wisdom. HE designed to have 12 apostles. Each having a different personality, background, growth process, understanding. HE knew each would go in a different direction to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. HE knew that not everyone is the same, and, HE made provisions for all those folks from different walks of life to have the opportunity to hear about Jesus, accept them as their Lord and Savior, love him, and worship him THEIR way. How dare anyone decide how a personal relationship with Jesus is defined or 'should be' enacted?! How dare anyone declare one way of worship and walking is right or wrong over another?! How dare anyone mandate that their way is the only way, the only truth?! No one church can say RIGHTLY that their church is the only true church. There is error in EVERY church. In EVERY human being. BUT there is RIGHTNESS in the choice to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. No one has the right to tell another how that relationship should be defined. Only Jesus and that person know, with God and Holy Spirit.
"But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it."
Is it really going to matter in the end if you take communion everyday versus once a year or once a month? If what you believe is based on what you have learned from the from the Lord and it aligns with scripture, and is done to honor the Lord, then it is right for you and him. Do you honestly think he is going to hate and attack, ostracize, criticize, persecute, alienate, and segregate those who do it differently from another? Should you then do this to another? Will those 'different' or 'differing' folks be left out of heaven? The only thing that should matter to you is whether YOUR relationship is right with Jesus Christ. You may not declare, demand, mandate, or decide on anyone's personal relationship with Jesus Christ. NOT EVEN a person in a leadership position.
We have religious freedom in the United States. And the U.S. was founded on Christian principles. But we are far from living that out in reality. I fear the reprimand from God.
"But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it."
As Christians, what are we standing for in the United States? How does the world view us? What is the rest of the world standing for? How do we view the world? Most importantly, how does God view all of us? Who are you as a person in Christ? How do you enact your love for him? Is it with love and tolerance? Which side are you on in the following scripture references?
From Galatians 5: 19- 21:
"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality; impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, division, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkeness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God."
Think on these things and do not be fooled.
From Galatians 5: 22-23:
"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law."
Think on these things and do not be fooled.
From Galatians 5: 24-26:
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another."
Think on these things and do not be fooled.
In Paul's final advice in chapter 6 verses 11-17a he says:
"Notice what large letters I use as I write these closing words in my own handwriting. [Interesting emphasis of expression to prove his point.] Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised are doing it for just one reason. They don't want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. And even those who advocate circumcision don't really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples.
As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world's interest in me is also long dead. It doesn't make any difference now whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people. May God's mercy and peace be upon all those who live by this principle. They are the new people of God."
Then he says, 'From now on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things."
Paul is tired of the pain and suffering, strife and divisions caused by persecution and segregation. I am, too. I am QUITE certain God and Jesus are fully fed up with it, and the state of the world at this point as regards the bickering, attacks, wars, the 'he said, he said', and no one being right.
This topic of Paul's is not just about physical circumcision of male humans. It signifies spiritual circumcision as well.
Like spiritual circumcision, purifying fires, prunings, and picking of the fruits of the spirit, we shall be known and....perhaps left by the wayside at the final trumpet call. What choices will you now make?
Here are some more scriptures that can apply to todays topic:
Jesus said, "When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I assure you that I, the Son of Man, will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel."
He will restore your heart and mind.
Jesus said, "But don't be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
"Don't be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid, you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.
"If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven."
Jesus said, "Anyone who welcomes you is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me. If you welcome a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will receive the same reward a prophet gets. And if you welcome good and godly people because of their godliness, you will be given a reward like theirs. And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."
Matthew 5: 21-22:
Jesus said, "You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment. But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell."
Matthew 5: 43-48:
Jesus said, "You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Matthew 7: 1-5:
Jesus said, "Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye, when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye."
Matthew 7: 12:
Jesus said, "Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all this is taught in the law and the prophets."
Matthew 7: 15-20:
Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don't pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced."
This is not about fruit trees, this is about you and me.....good Christians versus not so good.
Matthew 7: 21-23:
Jesus said, "Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as 'Lord', but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell me, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.'"
I address this last reference and the next one not to the person persecuted, but to the person choosing to persecute.
Matthew 7: 13-14
Jesus said, "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow and only a few ever find it."
Will you find the road? Will you enter God's Kingdom? How will you live your life today? Will you persecute in the name of Christ? Will you segregate religions of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit? We are all one in the name of God regardless of how we choose to celebrate and worship him. Remember, please, we are not all on the same page of understanding. Exercise religious tolerance. Love everyone always. Love in his name always.
As I state below and is written on this page always, the definition of a Christian is 'Anyone who believes in God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. Regardless of church name of religious affiliation. It is not how we worship, but that we worship....the Trinity.'
"Wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it."
Let Us Pray
Dear God, help them for they know not what they do. Help me, too, for I am not perfect either. Help all of us who may have or may still hurt others in your name see the light of your love and understand God's wrath for those who do wrong. Let there be no more sorrow, pain, suffering, religious persecution or religious segregation. Help us all to see the truth through the light of your eyes. Forgive the world of all sins. Forgive....me....please. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is sorrow, joy. Where there is anything else that is not of you, remove it from the world, and please, Lord, help me instill you and all for which you stand, walked, died and have risen in season and out. Thank you for living and dying for me.....you are my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to you, God, and Holy Spirit and all you have done for me. Thank you. Let today be a new day in the lives of many. May everyone reading todays message make right choices from now on to love and live as you. May they all practice religious tolerance of other Christians in how they live that out. I know I am supposed to be perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect, but I am not. Nor are others. Let us all strive for that, Lord, and never tire of trying to help us, please. "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God." May others' who profess themselves to be Christian do the same. And now Father, I pray to you saying, "My Father in heaven, help me to hallow your name. May your kingdom come, your will be done by me on earth, as it is done in heaven. I can barely fathom the largeness of that, Lord....help me, stand by me....lead me on. God, give me this day my daily bread....who is Jesus. Forgive me of my sins. I choose to forgive others who have sinned against me. Please keep anyone from attempting to lead me into temptation and always deliver me from evil. You are the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory....forever and ever. Thank you. I love you. Amen.
JesJeJeJJjEJJJ JJThe LORD is king! Let the nations tremble! T***
Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'.
Definition of a Christian: Anyone who believes in God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. Regardless of church name or religious affiliation.
It is not how we worship, but that we worship....the Trinity!
If you feel that the Church of the Holy Spirit has inspired or helped you, we'd like you to prayerfully consider tithing regularly to us or gifting us, so that we can further the work and carry out the will of the Father as proclaimed in Matthew 28:19-20 NLT
"Go and make disciples out of all the nations
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Our Current Cause
It is time to reach into the community and the world around you to see wherein lies the greatest need. As you choose to focus on these areas, do so with a servant's heart. Whether the need is for children, adults, or animals, or any cause in between that will help those in need, ask God how you can best serve his needs, what path you must take, and how long you should persevere. Sometimes we are to be in the lives of others merely as stepping stones. Sometimes we are to touch those lives forever. Whatever journey you are called to take, whatever team you will be a member, know this: God is with you always...even til the end of time. He loves you, is grateful for you, and will help you along life's way, especially if you are helping others along theirs, persevering with a servant's heart.
Please accept my sincerest thanks....and God's....and may God richly bless you!
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One last thing....
Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Bible Authors and Minister