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The Certainty of Scripture: What Exactly we Have with the Written Word of God

Maakapoo bay

I am still shocked by how often, while reading something in scripture for perhaps the 100th time, I discover an entirely new, infinitely more potent and even life-altering meaning. The scripture below is one of those for me. Please read it slowly and carefully:

16″ For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:16-21

Peter is teaching us, as clearly as is possible, that not only was he an eye witness to the life, death and return to glory of Jesus Christ, but he was also on the Mount of Transfiguration and actually heard the voice of God the Father praising His beloved son. Peter then goes on to state one of the most profound things I’ve ever read in God’s word: that Bible we have on our phones, on our computers and in our hands…is an even more sure word of prophecy than the divine voice of God speaking out of heaven itself. That…is stunning, and is an incredible truth that should silence every voice that attempts to minimize or marginalize scripture. The word of God is even more certain that God the Father speaking out of a cloud from heaven!! What more could we ever want in terms of direction and guidance?? Not a thing. What this world desperately needs is what Peter describes as a light from God himself, shining brightly and boldly through the thick and heavy darkness of sin…until Jesus returns for His own.

This passage should forever end our desire to listen to the teaching of clever, eloquent and even scholarly men, who, in their vanity, slowly and subtly slip away from the clear words of God, written directly to ALL of us in the holy scriptures. It should also neuter our lust for any type personal “prophecy” or “word of knowledge” from a human being, since God himself has given us the most certain of prophecies via his written word. May we, like the Berean’s, not only learn the scriptures, in full, for ourselves, but also be willing to test those pastors and teachers we love and trust, with the piercing two-edged sword of God’s eternal word. If Paul didn’t mind being examined with scripture, then neither should they. I for one, am blessed to have a pastor who strays neither to the right nor to the left of the words of the living God. I pray that you find may find one as well, but if not, never forget that what you have in your own hands is:”…a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts….” 2 Peter 1:19 Oh, how I long for that day!

EPILOGUE

A friend suggested that it seems as if Peter is denigrating God the Father’s voice by his comments in the passage above. Certainly not. Peter is simply making the point, via the same type of hyperbole that Jesus often used, that scripture is as certain as God’s voice…because it is God’s voice.

BONUS SCRIPTURE: Everything we need for life and godliness

Earlier in this very same chapter (2 Peter 1), Peter sets up the passage quoted in the above article, by telling us:

2 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  2 Peter 1:2-4

How, precisely, do we get grace and peace in our lives? There is only one way: through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. How do we obtain that knowledge? Verse 3 tells us that God, by His divine power, has already given us ALL things pertaining to life and godliness. Then, Peter speaks of the precious promises of God(which we only know through His word), and assures us that the scriptures are more trustworthy than the audible voice of the Father…so we know EXACTLY where our eyes and hearts must go, and it isn’t to flesh:

23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:23-25

**I encourage every single person who reads these two thoughts on the certainty and value of scripture to ask yourself – do you truly believe, in your heart, what Peter is teaching us? To summarize, Peter says:

  1. The scriptures are more certain than anything else on earth, superceding even the audible voice of the Father from a cloud, and
  2. In those scriptures, there is grace, peace and every single thing we need for life and godliness?                                                                                                                                   We truly have been given everything we need to get through this life, by the knowledge of Jesus Christ as He is in his word.  Believe it. Pray it. Live it.

The Beauty and Power of The Written Word of God

The Bible Version Controversy: A Brief History

Repentance, Salvation and The New Bible Versions: Yes, it Really Does Matter

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Piercing the Darkness: Preaching the Gospel in Key West, Florida

Old Post Office Key West16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth….” Romans 1:16

11 “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men….” 1 Corinthians 5:11a

I was never planning on writing about my street evangelism for fear of coming across as boastful, but both my pastor and wife thought that I should share about my recent two day excursion to and through the Florida keys. The Keys have been on my heart for a long time, and I especially longed to go to Key West, where I could gently but directly pierce the darkness with the truth of God’s great mercy, love…and judgement. So, last weekend, I headed south.

Background:

In April of 2014, I felt a strong desire in my spirit to spend my days studying the scriptures intensely, so I began reading and taking voluminous notes on every passage that addressed a doctrine I questioned, an obvious heresy, and the scriptures that dealt with false teaching and false teachers. I have many friends lost in the blinding white light of Bethel, Hillsong, IHOP, Catholicism and the ecumenical movement. In April of 2015, after one year of studying the word, all day every day, I felt an overwhelming urge to go to the streets daily with the simple message of sin, repentance and the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. If someone had told me to go evangelize in the streets a day earlier, I would have told them they were insane. If they had told me not to preach on the streets one day later, I would have said the exact same thing. I knew that this call was from the Lord, and I knew that He would give me the confidence, gentleness and strength to do it…so the next morning I got in my car and headed to Wal Mart.

What I quickly discovered was that America, and especially church goers, needed to understand that biblical Christianity is not about money or any type of temporal success. It is about our sin and His blood. While God does care about our needs, Jesus didn’t come in the flesh in order to bless our businesses or to find us the perfect spouse. He came to earth to pay for our sin, and that He did with blood, sweat and pain. May I preach that message boldly til the day I die.

My general methodology for evangelizing is to go where people are – Wal Marts, Home Depots, gas stations, fast food restaurants, and my favorite: DMV’s. My personal approach is to walk the line at the DMV (or inside/outside the stores listed above), looking each person in the eye, and with a smile, telling them (in Spanish or English) that Jesus Christ loves them and paid for their sins with His blood. I then offer them an excellent tract (Called “Why Did Jesus Die?” published by MWTB). I also offer free Spanish and English Bibles, and I have a special tract for Catholics and Jews, which are carefully targeted to address their beliefs with scripture. I run into Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pagans, Satanists, Hindus, Mormons, crackheads, prostitutes, Transgenders, Druids, prosperity preachers, Pentecostals, Atheists, rich, poor, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Whites. My message to all is the same. The only way to have your sins washed away when you stand before God in judgement, is by having faith in the blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:20-28). Our deeds aren’t good enough to save us. Our sins are far too great. So Jesus came to earth, fully God and fully man, to pay the debt that we could never, ever pay – and He paid that debt with blood (Hebrews 9:22; Revelation 1:5-6).

The Florida Keys

My first stop was Florida City, the last town north of the northern most key. I went to the local Wal Mart, shared the gospel inside the store, and was escorted out by security after about 10 minutes. I then headed over to the Home Depot around the corner, and walked the aisles with no problems. I was able to give a Bible to a man who lived in his car. My usual practice when giving out Bibles is to put a bookmark at 1st John 1, and tell them to read all of 1st John first. In my view, it summarizes the gospel and the Christian life well, especially for a non-believer/recent convert. After witnessing to some people pumping gas, I headed to the islands.

The first major town is Key Largo, and it felt dark to me. That doesn’t really mean anything other than I felt a heaviness in my spirit as I was driving through. There aren’t many big stores there, so I went into a Starbucks (where I witnessed to a proud but angry pagan), and several fast food restaurants, gently moving from table to table. I had some takers, some rejectors, and I met a wonderful Christian family from Norway. That was mutually encouraging, since I consider Europe essentially godless, and it blessed them to see someone preaching the true gospel.

I don’t mind opposition. I get it all the time. Some rebukes are harsher than others. People tell me to get the F out of their face, or that they don’t believe in Santa (or the tooth fairy), or that the idea of sin is a myth. I am hearing that one more frequently, and happily reel off: greed, pride, lust, anger, unforgiveness, and jealousy as they drift away, hoping that perhaps a small seed of truth is planted. Even if people don’t take a tract, I want them to have heard the gospel message. The Holy Spirit can work with that, no matter how they treat me (Rom 3: 17; 1 Cor. 3:5-7). I don’t take it personally. The problem is sin. They love it, and hate the fact that they just might have to deal with it one day at the foot of God’s throne. My prayer is that, even if I don’t see it, they will deal with their sin via repentance and faith in the blood, before they die.

That being said…I went into a Wendy’s and gave out some tracts, and explained to a very tan man in a muscle shirt what is unique about Christianity and why we have to repent and believe. He received it with a smile, and so I headed to the next table where a lady with her little daughter wouldn’t look up but shouted at me to get away from her because she was a Druid. I have met some Druids on the streets before, and they are a unique brand of darkness. Surprising to many, just as freemasonry is covertly prevalent in political,corporate and religious leadership, so is Druidism(at least in the corporate and political spheres), and it, and it’s hidden practices, are vile.

I typically tell Satanists, Druids and other occultists, that I know that satan (Lucifer to them, since they believe that he has given them enlightenment) is real, and I am aware of the fact that he gives them money, sex and power – but he truly hates them, and that they are going into eternal fire with him lest they repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). The Druid lady gave me what, sadly, is a typical response from these types: “I know, and I’m gonna love every minute of it!” That hurts my heart, and I feel the hate…but the seed is planted and I move on.

Next, I ventured into a Denny’s and move from table to table, with generally positive responses. As I was leaving, I stopped by the manager at the hostess stand, and I quickly shared the gospel and offered him a tract. Rather than being angry at me for prosthelitizing in his restaurant, he looked me in the eye, said “praise God,” and took a tract.

As I move south, I stopped and ministered at gas stations and grocery stores, with fairly standard results. One thing I find is that just by being out there preaching the simple gospel, true believers are encouraged – and encourage me. I often have to add on to the end of my little speech that I am a Christian, because many assume that I must be a Jehovah’s Witness. That I am not, and I am glad to explain why (Exodus 3:13-15, in conjunction with John 8:58 are unanswerable).

As I arrive in Key West, I am actually excited…looking forward to the darkness, but I am also nervous because it is unfamiliar. Will I get arrested? Will some drunk guy punch me, bringing my journey to an abrupt end? Will I be accused of harassing gays? Will I be able to find large groups of people? So I hit a grocery store and Home Depot with the gospel, and then attempt to leave a tract with an astrologist but her door is locked. So I head straight to my hotel, which is right in the heart of this beautiful, tropical but spiritually dark town.

I already had a long day of witnessing, and my plan was to rest and go out first thing Sunday morning, but, after an hour, a desire to go to the streets returned, along with my strength. So I headed to the bus stop around the corner, but as I was leaving, I noticed a large Catholic church across the street, with a life-size statue of Mary. A few people were touching it and bowing before it in awe. I was able to catch a few of them (including a lady with an overtly satanic necklace), with a smile and a brilliant Catholic tract that has a drawing of Mary on the cover, looking solemn but with open arms. Inside the tract, scripture resolves, with extreme prejudice, any controversy about who is and isn’t worthy of our adoration and prayers.

I then caught the bus to the old seaport area, which was full of sun baked tourists, and I began to hit it as hard as I could, speaking to individuals and couples, and walking through crowds with my tract in the air and the gospel on my tongue.

I talked to a group of Hindus, and after explaining that: we ALL need to have our sins removed (because they are many); our good deeds aren’t enough; and that the only God who paid for the sins of mankind was Jesus…a few of them took a tract (I also make the point, when necessary, that Jesus isn’t a white man’s God. He is brown, from the near east, and Christianity originated there, not in the USA. It can help at times). I then ran into a Bethel-ized hippie-surfer type (and his scantily clad lady friend) who said that he was a Christian and loved Jesus, but was offended that I was preaching about the blood. He angrily, and semi-drunkenly stated that I should only talk about His love. I explained that the blood IS love, and that without the blood there is no remission of sin (Heb. 9:22). He didn’t even remotely comprehend what I was saying and told me he had been a believer for 37 years and knew more than me (he looked to be about 25 years old…alcohol). I moved on to witness at a small beach and along the perimeter of several waterfront restaurants.

I met a young Swiss couple who were strong believers and were encouraged by what I was doing in the midst of all that revelry. We had a nice talk. I also ran into several groups of intoxicated couples who said that they were Christians but didn’t want to hear about it while they were partying. I also ran into a jovial Christian man who said that he knew Jesus was coming, but wasn’t quite ready to go; along with a few of the typical American “Christians” who rudely tell me that they are already saved, so please – get the heck away from us! Again, that is fairly standard, and I let it roll off my back. However, I will note that I much prefer talking to atheists, homosexuals, crackheads and even biker-gang types, then to lukewarm “Christians.”

I ended up catching several lines of people preparing to board boats for sunset cruises. I walked the lines, gently speaking the gospel, and had a few people take tracts. I also was the recipient of several F bombs, but really, I ran into far fewer of those than I anticipated in such a crazy town.

I then came across a grizzled old man, scorched-red by decades in the sun, who said that God hated him and didn’t answer his prayers. He was tired of working and was tired of life. I explained to him that we can’t use God whenever we want something and then party the rest of the time. He then told me a story about how two pastors told him that they, and by implication, God, had given up on him. I was of course, furious. I informed him that they were not true ministers of Jesus Christ, and that Jesus had not given up on him and never would. I then explained how sin entered the world, and with sin came satan’s reign (John 16:11), therefore, this world will always be difficult. But, if we believe the gospel (which I explained) with our hearts, no matter how much we struggle and fail in this life, we have the next one, and that one is without sin, without tears and without pain. He listened…and then I prayed for him and kept moving.

I continued to run into groups of true European, born-again Christians, joking with some that since there are so few in Europe, they must all be in the keys this weekend. One lady from Scotland told me how a Christian man from her town was on the Titanic. He gave his seat on a rescue boat to another man, and that man (an unbeliever) got saved years later and started the church she and her husband attend today. Talk about bearing fruit even unto death!

After bouncing around Mallory Square, where the multitudes were gathered to watch street performers and the setting sun, I headed to famed Duval Street, home of countless bars and unceasing debauchery. By the mercy of God, I felt strong – full of His confidence, His gentleness, His joy…and most importantly, His word. I walked up and the street, speaking the gospel gently but clearly, and giving tracts to whosoever will. I gave out a few in an art gallery, and proceeded to run into a man who said he was gay and hated God. I saw a group of four gay guys across the street, and went over to talk with them. I gave them the clear message of sin and repentance, and one man said softly that he thought maybe God loved him. I told him that He did, but that he, just like me, must repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ with his heart. We have to choose – the temporary pleasures of this short life or the eternal glory of the next one. The men were friendly, and we discussed true Christianity for a bit, with one of them joking gleefully that he sinned all the time…and then I moved on.

I came across a group of three scraggily young men, one of whom took a tract. He opened it as if he was going to read it, then dropped it on the sidewalk where he and one of his friends trampled on it over and over again. I noticed that they were in a deep state of intoxication…so I backed off until they were finished. I then grabbed the tract, which didn’t look any flatter than it had been before they stomped on it, put back in my stack, and headed on up Duval Street.

A few blocks later I heard someone yelling at me, “hey, hey!” I stopped and turned around to see a 19 year old boy who said he was a Christian, heard me preaching and wanted to talk. His grandparents had some kind of church, but I got the impression that he hadn’t met many other real believers. We had a nice chat. I made sure he understood sin, salvation and the cross, and encouraged him to consider reading a King James Bible, as difficult as it might seem, due to all of the doctrinal deletions in the newer versions. He gave me his phone number and asked me to text him my article on the subject, which I did. The Bible Version Controversy: A Brief History  It was a huge blessing to see a young guy willing to chase me down to hear what I had to say, and then to receive the message that was already floating around in his heart, with joy.

I continued my long journey up Duval Street, spreading the message of the cross to all who would hear, until about 8:30pm, when it started getting dark, and the percentage of sober people dropped into the low single digits. I will not preach to drunk people, and I will not buy them food or clothes, since they chose to spend their meager resources on alcohol rather than on food. I don’t mind giving them a tract to read when they sober up, but generally, they, in their drunkeness, want a buddy to ramble on and on with. It’s like drunk dialing, but without a phone.

I got back to the hotel, fell asleep for a few hours, and woke up at 2:30AM. I laid around for an hour, then moved my car at 3:30AM, in order to have a good, free parking spot the next day. I then pretty much tossed and turned in bed listening to some old Christian radio podcasts until I fell asleep from 6-7:30AM.

After eating the free, low-quality breakfast offered by the small, quaint hotel, which was really like a classic old Key West style house, with extra rooms spread along the perimeter of the property, forming a rectangle, I sat in the courtyard reading my Bible. It was beautiful and quiet. The sun was slipping through a tall Canary Island date palm, and the surrounding foliage was thick and deep-green, with a few splashes of brilliant color scattered throughout the property’s landscape. I could see that some of the guests were watching me to see what I was reading, and it was a blessing to be able to proudly and publicly read the words of the living God as I prepared to start my day.

Just before I checked out, I walked the breakfast area, offering tracts to all. One young couple commented that they saw me reading my Bible, and they both took tracts. Another lady, who I was fairly certain would reject a tract, said with a smile that she had already taken one of the ones I had left by the bagels. I then headed to the streets.

At the bus stop, I met a nice, long-time Key West resident who told me about how she weathered the hurricanes of 2017, and mentioned that she was a Christian too. I didn’t get the sense that she truly understood the biblical Jesus, so we talked and I gave her a tract. We boarded the bus, where I offered the driver a tract and was promptly told not to solicit. My standard response is that I am not technically soliciting, since I am not selling anything. I am giving free stuff to anyone who wants it and won’t take anything in return. That doesn’t seem to resonate with anyone but me.

When I arrived at the old seaport, I ran into several lines of people waiting to board small boats for snorkeling excursions, etc. I always tell tract-taking wafflers that they should take one just to have something to read later. They can always throw it away. That actually works sometimes. I also ran into a guy who told me that he was “really, really” gay – but the gospel is the same for him as it is for anyone. I came across an unhappy satanist I had spoken to the night before, along with a few early morning drunks, and your average squad of young families getting a head start on the day. Then I saw it. El Dorado. A cruise ship, disgorging thousands of unsuspecting passengers at a narrow choke point.

I headed over to a spot just outside of the opening, so as not to be an annoyance, and started preaching to the flood of people from all over the world. I had many passing believers tell me that they were saved, and thank me for doing what I was doing, and I had a few…very few, tract takers. This one man watched me for about 20 minutes, and I laughingly told him during a break in the flow of people, that I was glad that I wasn’t in a results-oriented business. He smiled and nodded. Really, my goal is to get the truth of God out there, in the air, so people hear it whether or not they take a tract. God does the rest:

5 “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Corinthians 3:5-7

Besides the fact that I was able to get the message of the cross out to cruise ship passengers, the only other significant event that morning involved an elderly female tour guide, who literally screamed at me, as loud as she could, not to dare preach to her tour group. I was standing in, what the law describes as a “public forum,” therefore, I had the legal right to be there. I did tell her that if I was in North Korea (or Canada, sadly), I wouldn’t be able to share my views, but here, in the USA, I can – at least for now. I don’t say that to be smug. I say that to emphasize that she has the right to share what I’m certain are her views on the joys of witchcraft, while I have the freedom to share the message of the God who stepped off the throne of heaven to pay for the sins of mankind.

After the ship had emptied, I headed back to Duval Street, hot, sweaty and exhausted. As I headed towards the “southernmost point” of the USA on foot, I continued talking to people and passing out tracts. There was more mid-morning partying going on than usual, because people were preparing to watch the world cup final, which started at 10AM EDT.

Probably the saddest moment for me came as I was strolling down Duval, while speaking to a middle-aged lesbian couple. After sharing the gospel, one of the ladies looked at me, smiled broadly, and announced that she was going to die in her sin. That hurt because she wasn’t ignorant of eternity, and the reality of God’s judgement. She was willingly, and even gleefully, exchanging the short term pleasures of this dying world for an eternity of unrelenting fire. I pray with all of my heart that she will turn to the One who made her, loves her and longs to save her.

After walking Duval, and realizing that most of the people out and about were those I had already preached to either at the cruise port or on the street, I packed my car and was preparing to hit Big Pine Key, Marathon, etc., when I saw that the Catholic church across the street had just finished its service, and there was a large group out front talking and laughing. I grabbed a stack of my “Mary” tracts and headed over. I gave them to the two priests, the nuns, and whoever else would take one. I offered them with a nod, and a knowing smile. One lady in the parking lot asked me if the tract was Catholic, and I told her to open it up and see what Mary actually said (in the Bible). I told her she will love it if she loves Mary.

In the tract, Mary, at the wedding feast, tells the host to obey…her son, and she also says that SHE needs a savior. The tract then goes on to present the gospel of grace through faith vs. the gospel of grace plus works plus the sacraments plus religion, followed by an indefinite roasting in purgatory. God’s word does not return void. I trust that promise with these precious souls.

As I headed north, I stopped at my usual places, and seemed to run into more Christians than normal – especially at the Winn Dixie on Big Pine Key, an island almost destroyed by Hurricane Irma. That was a timely blessing to me after the intensity and darkness of Key West because I received friendly affirmation along with firm, joyful handshakes. As I mentioned earlier, I truly believe that a large part of my evangelism ministry exists to encourage and exhort the believers I come across on the streets – that they might be reminded of the true gospel message, and that, by the grace of God, there are people out there who don’t mind sharing it publicly, middle fingers and all.

The remainder of my journey home was not particularly noteworthy, other than the fact that from the Winn Dixie in Big Pine, to the Home Depot on Marathon, to the Home Depot and Wal Mart (I stayed outside this time) back in Florida City, the gospel was proclaimed, clearly, directly, and with a gentle smile. I did meet a nice young African American couple at a 7-11 in Florida City, and I asked their daughter if she had a Bible. She said no, and her parents let me give her a nice new King James Bible I had packed for the trip. In her parent’s earshot, I was able to explain to her that this book is truth, and that truth can be found no where else. Therefore, she should fill up on it and test every preacher with it. She gave me a big, happy, precious smile, graciously receiving the word of life.

EPILOGUE

14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

I most certainly do not think I am some great evangelist or bear even a passing resemblance to the apostles. I can hop in my air conditioned truck and head home, go to the beach or stop by chipotle at any time. I am simply a man who almost destroyed his life nearly 7 years ago. I am a man who understands that I am nothing and that God is everything. I understand that I am a sinner in desperate need of the blood of Jesus Christ. I go to the streets knowing that the Lord lifted me up out of the pit I had dug for myself…out of the miry clay where I was stuck. He set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm. That rock is Jesus Christ. May He be your rock as well.

I remember, perhaps 8 or 9 years ago, contemplating the parable of the sower and wondering where these people are who bear fruit? I didn’t know any, and I certainly wasn’t one of them. I am simply grateful, that after 47 years on earth, and 29 years as a believer, I was finally equipped(in 2015), through my intense, year-long study of the word, to go out into the field. I don’t see much actual fruit in my line of work, yet I press on, sowing seed which only the Lord can grow into eternal life. I love Him and I trust Him, and it is truly a joy to have the ability and opportunity to preach His blood freely shed for our sin, to all who will hear. To Him be glory, honor and dominion, now and forever…Amen.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:18,20-21

Other articles by this author which might be of interest:

Preach the Word Boldly, and Without Fear

High Treason Against the Living God

Greater Works Than These Shall You do Also

Hell and the Wrath Of God Almighty

Capitalism, The Early Church, and the Heart of A Believer

Jup Beach sky44 “And all that believed were together, and had all things common;45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:44-47

34 “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” Hebrews 10:34-35

24 “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” 1 Corinthians 10:24

I have absolutely zero interest in macro economic policy. I am neither a capitalists, nor a socialist, nor a communist. I am a Bible-believing Christian, and thus, I want ALL of my thoughts and opinions to be searched and refined by the fire of God’s word. I am not concerned about America or the American way. It has led to countless men and women forsaking their families to chase mammon and worldly glory…instead seeking of a quiet, humble, godly life, loving our precious little ones and caring for our spouses. I have been deep in the heart of the seemingly innocuous machine of capitalism, and felt its tear…ripping my heart away from the things of God…slowly, subtlety, and all in the name of “protecting my family’s future.” One thing is certain – IT WILL ALL BURN (2 Peter 3:7-13). Therefore, as we finish our time on this earth, let us consider the reality of forever, where we will rule and reign in paradise with Jesus Christ, and may we turn our hearts from this wicked and dying world, to his everlasting kingdom, to a continuing city, one whose builder and maker…is God. (Heb.11:10; 13:14)

In Revelation 3, God paints us a clear portrait of the state of many churches today, and it isn’t pretty:

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness…15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:14-19

That…is an ugly, but realistic picture of much of western Christianity, which greedy and power-hunger charlatans have spread all across the world – all in the name of Jesus. Wealth and temporal success, along with a focus on our emotional needs (rather than turning our eyes to the One who loves us and gave His body to be beaten and broken for us), seems to be the predominant message in the worship style and teaching of these “churches.” The pastors often seem to be more interested in generating emotional highs and in building their own brands, rather than in building and promoting the eternal brand of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately for these wolves, sound, biblical exposition doesn’t give them what they truly want…money, book deals, speaking engagements, and influence. I have heard horror stories from truly needy believers who have asked some of these churches for just a little bit of help…for food or clothes…but were denied. THAT…is ugly and will not go unpunished. All of us need to test our hearts with scripture when it comes to being free with our resources, and I need to be first in that line.

Below I am going to quote several passages of scripture which illustrate exactly how believers should relate to one and other when it comes to material things. I most certainly am not anywhere close to where I need to be with this, but my heart has been pricked by these truths, therefore, I am seeking the Lord’s help to conform my life to His word. Again, these verses do not apply to governments. I do not trust any government to take my money and distribute it equitably – not now, not ever. We have seen that fail time and time again. These passages are simply provided so that we may test our hearts in the bright-light of scripture by considering both the ways of the early church, and the needs of the believers in our lives. Caring for the needs of the brethren, and especially the poor, will not go unrewarded:

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.Acts 2:44-47

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. Acts 4:32-35

29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.Acts 11:29-30

As the passages above indicate, those in the the early church had no interest whatsoever in storing up cash or goods for themselves. They trusted God, and they trusted each other…and the church multiplied. If only it could be like that again! I fear that we won’t see it until the millennial reign, largely because the deep-rooted tare of greed seems to spring up quickly, even amongst believers.

The passage below reminds us that Jesus left the incomparable glory and beauty of heaven (See, Ezekiel 1), to live a dirty, sweaty, hungry life, in order to redeem us from the sin from which we could never redeem ourselves. Paul uses Jesus, the one who had no place to rest his head (Luke 9:58), as an illustration of how we should relate to one another in the matter of giving and receiving:

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 2 Corinthians 8:9-16

That…is a challenging scripture, especially in light of the willful suffering and poverty Jesus experienced while here on earth solely to save us from an eternity in hell. No one followed his example better than Paul.

At one point, Jesus had to explain to a disappointed multitude that, John the Baptist,as a harbinger for the king of the next world (Jesus), had no interest in wearing fancy clothes or in drawing people to his message of repentance, via the flesh. Isaiah 52:14-15; along with chapter 53, also teach us that Jesus always intended to come in humility and reproach, so that he would not attract people to him by the flesh…but through the power of his spirit. Make no mistake, Jesus was all-powerful while on earth (John 3:35; Col.1:15-20; Col. 2:9), yet he was humble and meek enough to wash the filthy, dust crusted feet of his friends.

Below, Jesus teaches us that John the Baptist, who was the greatest man born of women, and the primary herald and prophet of the one true Savior, did not conform himself to the patterns of this world, but separated himself unto God. We WILL all live in king’s palaces…but not quite yet:

25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Luke 6:25-28

Paul also warns us about liars who equate godliness with financial gain. He savages their outrageous perversion of the truth, and then instructs us to withdraw from them. He then proceeds to teach us the proper attitude towards material possessions:

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.But godliness with contentment is great gain.For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:3-8

It is interesting that the passage above, teaching us to “withdraw” from those who equate godliness with financial gain, is edited heavily in the new Bible versions. Satan knew that in the end times, “pastors” and “prophets” would rise up, teaching their precious little flocks that, if they would just sow their financial seed to them, then they would get rich. As I have seen first hand, many trust those destructive lies. Why? I believe that it is due to a general ignorance of the Bible, greed, and a lack of diligence when it comes to studying the history of our Bible versions. Therefore, most christians have no idea that we are actually told by Paul, in no uncertain terms, to “withdraw” from those who equate monetary success to Jesus Christ. (see,A Brief History of the Bible Version Issue).

Jesus had no place to rest his head. Paul died penniless and in prison, after having suffered countless deprivations: beatings, shipwrecks, and days and nights of starvation. He suffered even to the point of seeking death while in Asia Minor (2 Corinthians 1:8-10). Yet in all those things, he was able to find contentment and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ:

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Philippians 2:11-20

Our goal, as true Bible believers, is to run the earthly race God has given us with the joy and peace of the Lord(Acts 20:24), so that we are not ashamed at his appearing (1 John 2:28). Every single one of us will have to give an account of our lives to Him (2 Corinthians 5:9-11), and for me, that is intimidating. I know He loves me, and I long for him to be pleased with my thoughts and deeds. Yet only his Spirit can destroy the ways of my flesh…so I press on in Jesus Christ and His glorious word, as Paul taught us so beautifully and powerfully in Philippians 3:

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:7-14

EPILOGUE

My purpose for this article is to challenge both myself, and all who claim Jesus Christ as their Savior, with scripture, as it relates to: 1) how we truly view money, and 2) the clever, worldly lies of the American economic machine. Many of us proclaim Christ, yet in the deep places of our hearts, we are trusting in and living for mammon. We can never replace the time lost with our precious families due to excessive time on the golf  course and while chasing the next big deal on a never-ending carousel of business trips. We cannot replace the time lost loving the brethren or sharing the gospel boldly, as the Lord leads us. Once this life is done, every single one of us will look back and wish that we had spent more time and energy building up treasure in heaven, where moths and rust can’t destroy and where thieves can’t break in and steal. Often it seems that we connect with the idea of eternity on a general, intellectual level, yet it doesn’t seem to carry over to our hearts, or affect the way we live.

My hope and prayer is that the scriptures above will light a fire under all of us, not so that we blindly and foolishly sell everything and go live on the streets, but so that we will search our hearts diligently, in order to discover where our treasure truly is…because where your treasure is, their your heart will be also. May we all, at the end of this short life, be able to boldly and truly proclaim:

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.         2 Timothy 4:7-8

A few more articles that may be of interest:

Tithing and the New Testament Church

Boldness for Jesus Christ

The Beauty and Power of the Written Word of God

High Treason Against God

The Purpose of Life, According to Paul

To Love is To Confront Sin

God Doesn’t Always Answer Our Prayers: What the Scriptures Say About Unanswered Prayer

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  James 4:3

 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us….1 John 5:14

While reading through the Bible over the past few years, I have been surprised to come across a substantial number of scriptures, which clearly state that God doesn’t always answer our prayers, and sometimes He doesn’t even hear them. This is the exact opposite of what most churches seem to teach these days. Instead, what I hear…often…is that anything we ask for God WILL provide…if we only just believe. If we don’t receive it? Well, we just don’t have enough faith.  In other words – it’s your own fault that you aren’t healed and aren’t receiving abundant financial blessings! The verses that are often quoted to support this theory, usually in isolation, are similar to Mathew 21:22 below:

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

…And John 11:22

“But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.”

Two well-known verses from Acts come to mind as I consider the meaning of the above scriptures, along with the whole name-it-and-claim-it theological paradigm (for lack of a better, less pretentious word). In reality, the verses from Acts (cited below) should be applied to ANY biblical counsel we receive from man.

In Acts 17:11, Paul commends his Christian brothers and sisters from Berea, not only for receiving the word of God with readiness of mind but also for testing the truth of his words with the scriptures. Paul was one of those rare teachers who was actually blessed when his words were tested in the refining fire of scripture. Furthermore, in Acts 20:17, Paul notes, as he was preparing to leave Ephesus for the last time, that he didn’t cover just a few areas of Christian doctrine while preaching to the church. Instead, he taught “all the counsel of God.” Why did he do this? I believe it was to prevent someone from taking his teaching of out of context and using it for their own personal gain – or using it to create a cult following based on a minor point of doctrine. In other words, Paul knew that if he taught the church the whole counsel of God, then an elder or another believer, who was also present when he was preaching, could correct an errant or deceptive brother after Paul had departed. Doctrinal truth mattered a great deal to him (1 Timothy 4:16).

We too are exhorted by Paul, through Timothy, to study the scriptures intently for ourselves (2 Timothy 2:15), and to refuse to cling to a single verse or passage that appeals to our flesh or just seems right to us, when there are other passages that place that scripture in it’s proper spiritual context. No topic is more needful of intense study than prayer.

It has always troubled me when someone who is not a believer, explains to me that, when they were in some kind of difficulty, they cried out to “God” to help them…and He was silent. Well, there is a reason for that. Below, I will lay out the scriptures that teach us why God doesn’t always answer us or even hear us, and then I will set forth some of the scriptures that tell us when He does both hear and answer us, even if the answer isn’t always what we expect.

WHY GOD DOESN’T ANSWER US:

1. God doesn’t answer us when our prayers revolve around fulfilling our covetous desires:

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  James 4:3

Unfortunately, this profound, but obvious truth (for anyone who studies the scriptures with regularity), is all but ignored by the popular “Christian” authors and teachers of our day. Jesus was poor and had no place to rest His head (Luke 9:58). Paul, too, was poor, had “no certain dwelling place” and walked from town to town across Asia minor, often starving and cold, even after being beaten multiple times with whips and rods (1 Corinthians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27). He was ultimately decapitated after spending the last two years of his life imprisoned in Rome. It is no wonder that the passage below, is ignored by many popular churches today:

If any man teach otherwise and consent not to wholesome words…and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;He is proud, knowing nothing…Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.But godliness with contentment is great gain.For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (*Please note that the highlighted section is ONLY found in the Textus Receptus Greek, and in the KJV in English. Not many pastors today would be in business if we all withdrew from the ones who equated godliness with financial increase, so…they simply use a Bible where it has been efficiently…edited out.)

2. God doesn’t answer us when we delight in or ignore our sin:

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”  Isaiah 59:2

 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me….”  Psalm 66:18

3. God doesn’t answer husbands who aren’t loving their wives:

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.  1 Peter 3:7

We are to love our wives as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25), and if we don’t…then our prayers WILL be hindered. God cares very much for the happiness of our wives, and expects us to love them sacrificially, just as He loved those around Him with no concern for Himself.

4. God doesn’t hear our prayers if we have no regard for the poor:

 “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”  Proverbs 21:13

I believe that a God-honoring way to truly love the poor, is to care for both their bodies and their souls, even if it is just in a small way. I recommend purchasing sound Bible tracts (meaning that they must mention the love of Jesus, and His death on the cross as the only way to cover our sins), and keep them in your car. Also, have little bags of healthy food along with water bottles in your vehicle, so that when you see a genuinely poor person, you can feed their bodies…and their precious, hurting souls. Simply doing one without the other is, in my humble estimation….completely and totally worthless. If we preach to them without caring for their physical bodies, then we are just another yapping, Bible-beating Christian who doesn’t have a clue about their real, urgent needs. Likewise, if we simply care for the physical needs of the poor and don’t share the gospel of Jesus Christ (What is the Gospel? ), which can save their eternal soul from eternal fire, then really, we are wasting our time.

5. God doesn’t answer our prayers, when what we seek isn’t according to His will.

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us…”  1 John 5:14  

There are two great examples of prayers offered with a clear and unshakeable understanding of this great and surpassing truth. The first one I will comment on was by Jesus Christ, as he was about to enter into a time of unspeakable physical and emotional agony. Yet His prayer was not that His will would be done, but that God the Father’s will would be done, no matter the cost:

“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.   Luke 22:42 -44

And the second example is…Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego, who, as they were about to be thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to any other god but God, responded to the king as follows:

16″ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  Daniel 3:16-18

I cannot overstate how much the unconditional trust these three great men had for God…wether they were burned alive in the front of the king or not…has meant to me and my understanding of what it means to follow Him with all of my heart. God is God, and I am not. He gives and He takes away. He does according to HIS good will, whether we understand it or not. We must fully surrender to Him, and trust Him, with all of our hearts. He never makes bad decisions or leaves us to suffer needlessly. He always has a plan, and one day that plan will be clear.

6. God doesn’t answer us when we have our heart set on our idols (vanity, sports, vacations, our child’s performance in school, wealth, our reputations, etc.) rather then on him:

 “Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.”  Ezekiel 1: 1-6

7. God Doesn’t hear our prayers for forgiveness if we are unforgiving:

14″ For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Matthew 6:14-15  

Please note that this verse isn’t meant to imply that one loses their salvation by not forgiving someone. Unforgiveness, in my view, is simply something that we, as believers saved by the blood of the Lamb, will have to deal with at the judgement seat of Christ. Therefore, forgive as you have been forgiven…while there is still time. We don’t have to pretend with God. We simply make the decision to forgive, and ask Him to heal our hearts each time the unforgiveness and pain from the one we seek to forgive, arises. He will honor our decision to forgive. Forgiveness: To the Merciful, God shows Himself Merciful

8. If we are intentionally turning our hearts away from biblical truth or are delighting in evil, then He rejects our prayers:

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Proverbs 28:9 (We are not under law today, but the enduring point seems to be that, if we turn away from his clear, biblical truths, then He turns His ear away from us.)

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”  1 Peter 3:12

WHEN GOD DOES HEAR OUR PRAYERS:

1. God hears our prayers when our hearts are truly set on understanding and obeying Him. The verse below, when the Angel of the Lord spoke to Daniel as he was standing by the Hiddekel River, continues to instruct me regarding what a surrendered/repentant heart towards God, truly means:

12 “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”  Daniel 10:12

Later in that chapter, Daniel is actually called beloved of God. Wow…a man, in that dark time, who was not just loved by God, but was truly beloved of God. I want to be that man! Yes, I know that I am loved by God, but I want more. I want Him to look down at my life and be pleased with, not only my heart towards Him, but also with my actions. I pray that the Lord will help me to set my heart to understand His ways, in spirit and in truth – and to chasten myself before Him…not as law, but out of love.

2.The Lord hears the prayers of those that fear Him, abide in Him and call upon Him in truth:

” The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him:he also will hear their cry, and will save them.” Psalm 145: 18-19

 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling...14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him…”  Psalm 91

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. John 15:4-7      

As some of the other verses quoted in this writing have shown us, when our prayers are a reflection of our lusts, or are outside of the will of God, He doesn’t answer them. However, as the passages above teach us, if we are truly abiding in Jesus Christ, then our desires will gradually, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be conformed to His desires, and as those desires change…we will see our prayers being answered in tangible ways. 

3. God hears our prayers when our lives are pleasing to Him.  This is simply a variation on the theme above, but nevertheless, it is a verse, which clearly states how we are to keep open channels of communication with the One who made us and loves us:

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 1 John 3: 18-22

 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.  1 Peter 3:12

4. God hears our prayers when our requests are in accordance with His will:

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14-15  

 If we truly trust God as much as we claim to, yet don’t see an answer to our petition, then we can know, with certainty, that either our prayer wasn’t according to His will, or His perfect timing has not yet come. When Paul asked God THREE times that the thorn in his flesh be removed…God said ‘no” all three times ( 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Why? Because His purpose was bigger than Paul’s, even though Paul didn’t seem to agree…but Paul ended up accepting God’s answer and conforming his will to God’s. He did not name it and he did not claim it. He pleaded…and then he surrendered, trusting the One who made him, saved him, and loved him:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions,in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I believe that the passages I quoted from Luke 22 and Daniel 3 (Jesus in Gethsemane, and Shadrach, et. al. prior to the fire) best describe what I am trying to communicate with this article, and hopefully, it accurately sets forth what God wants to communicate to us about both prayer and faith, through his beautiful and powerful written word. He hears us and answers us…when our hearts are set on His will, and His will only…no matter the cost – and more than that, when we, like Job, bless his glorious name, whether he builds us up, or for His unsearchable purpose, tears us down:

13 “And there was a day when his (Job’s) sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”  Job 1: 13- 22

As the heaven’s are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than my ways, and of that…I am very glad. I know that I will never come close to getting everything right, and I will always wrestle with sin until the day I go up, yet I love Him and will press on to take hold of that for which He has taken hold of me. I will pursue my great Savior, not out of obligation, but because I love Him, and I know exactly what He did for me, naked, cold and in agony on that rough wooden cross. May we all come to trust and honor the one and only God, who loves us and gave Himself for us, with our prayers and with our lives…no matter the cost.

Preachers, Teachers and Mammon: What the Bible Says about Money and Ministry

Prayer: How to Approach God in Prayer

Preach the Word Boldly and Do Not Be Ashamed of the Gospel

Favorite Scripture #7: “The Grace of God That Bringeth Salvation:” What Does the True Grace of God Teach Us?

Titus 2:11-15

11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.1These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”           

There is no passage of scripture which more accurately describes the effect that the grace of God has on a soul that knows it has been saved from the eternal consequences of sin, than the passage above. When we understand what exactly the true grace of God is, who gave it to us, and at what cost, it should not only bring us to our knees in joyful gratitude and relief, but it should start us down the path of holiness through the Spirit. It should, as this passage states, spark in us a desire to flee the lusts of our flesh, which alienate us from our great God, and should instead turn our eyes, our minds and our hearts, not to this short and often painful life, but to the next one; the life that is with God, in paradise…forever.

It is humbling and sometimes overwhelming to quietly contemplate this impossible truth: that Jesus Christ, the God on the sapphire throne in Ezekiel 1, stepped out of that glory and became a dirty, sweaty man…not because he had to, but because he loved us and was willing to offer himself, without condition, to his cruel and spiteful enemies. As this passage teaches us, he did that, not only because he loves us and wanted to redeem us from the eternal consequences of our sin, but also to purify for himself a people…unique in this world, separated out…who are not primarily focused on growing their businesses and building their reputations, but who are zealous of good works in his name. In other words, as Paul says in Philippians 3, God wants his beloved children to consider everything in this dying world that feeds our reputations, our lusts and our pride…as a loss for the sake of Jesus Christ. Instead, we are exhorted to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us. Phil. 3:7-14 and the purpose of life God isn’t looking for lukewarm believers who simply want a free pass out of hell. He wants men and women who know him, love him, and are willing to give up the short term pleasures of our vain existence, to honor the one who created us and redeemed us with his sweat, blood and pain.

This passage ends with an unmistakable call: teach these words with all authority, and use them, not only to encourage the brethren, but also to rebuke those who teach a false grace – a grace which doesn’t lead to salvation. The authentic grace of God results in a change of mind and heart from the love of sin, to a deep and abiding love of the God who ransomed us from death. The world, and sadly even today’s “Christian” culture, does not take kindly to the true grace of God. They both seem to prefer a false, a cheap grace, which offers a free pass to do as thou wilt…to freely sin and quickly claim his mercy, with no thought of the love, glory and power of the only one who could redeem them from the eternal fires of hell. That mentality (and that heart), does not comprehend the true, saving grace of God. Salvation is not a prayer prayed. It is a heart that understands exactly who Jesus is and believes that it desperately needs his blood to cover the dark and ugly blemish of sin. Anyone who understands the true gospel message will not take sin lightly, and will joyfully pursue godliness and righteousness in this life, while quietly living in hope for the life to come.

We will all wrestle with the weight of sin as long as we are in this body of death, but as we eat, drink and breathe the word, the Spirit will slowly move us away from our old ways and into His ways. While new sins (forgotten or intentionally ignored) always seem to pop up, when we truly understand the surpassing mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we press on to apprehend that for which he has so graciously apprehended us. And as Paul said so eloquently:

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

Sin, Repentance and the Cross of Christ

Grace, Obedience and Salvation: The Narrow Road

Ecumenism Part 1

Hell and the Wrath of God

Tithing and the New Testament Church

Dubois Park and Jupiter Inlet14″ Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross….” Colossians 2:14

10 “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Acts 15:10

7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

I strongly believe that generous giving is an essential element of New Testament Christianity. We are to give to the poor (if coupled with gospel evangelism), and to those who labor in the word, in evangelism and in doctrine. I also believe we are to care for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to the extent that they have physical needs, such as food, clothing and shelter. The scriptures are clear – we are to give joyfully, freely and without any type of man-made limit. We are told time and time again by Jesus and Paul, that we are not to live for the treasures of this dying world but instead are to build up treasure in heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal. Therefore, generosity should be second nature to any true believer, redeemed from the lies of this world by the precious blood of the lamb.

What I wholly reject, based on the clear mandate of scripture, is the teaching that the Old Testament law of tithing (Hebrews 7:5) is still somehow in effect. Jesus abolished the law (ALL OF IT) in his body on the cross. (Ephesians 2:15, Colossians 2:14-17, Hebrews chaps.7-10, Galatians chaps. 2-5, etc.). In the western church, many pastors have greedily and fearfully resurrected a dead doctrine, thereby spitting on the very cross they preach. Tithing perished on calvary, yet is taught as law by tens of thousands of pastors either out of willful ignorance, or in order to manipulate their congregations into giving. If God is truly for their ministries, then HE will provide, with no wresting of the scriptures required.

There are a multitude of sound biblical arguments, which prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that tithing is dead. As a starting point, believers are never, ever told to tithe in the New Testament. Furthermore, there are enormous portions of scripture (in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, to name a few), which torturously lay out the fact that the entire body of Old Testament law died with Jesus on the cross. Yet many pastors still, somehow, gleefully and forcefully proclaim it as the law of the Christian land, without teaching that any other part of the Jewish law (such as animal sacrifices) survived the cross. Why do they cling so tightly to the only law that gives them money? I think we all know the answer, and in America at least, that answer is green.

When I am out evangelizing on the streets, a substantial number of the church goers I meet, especially those from lower income areas,  have been brainwashed into believing that they MUST sow their seed to their pastor by, at a minimum, tithing. They are so indoctrinated by their “church” that they often become angry when anyone suggests the contrary, even when using scriptures. Many are so deceived by this false and legalistic rule, that they ignore the fact that their pastor has a Mercedes and a nice house while they have a bike and share a small, filthy apartment with six other family members. It is disgusting, but just like everywhere else where serious doctrinal error exists, the problem is due to the fact that they haven’t studied the Bible for themselves, but simply trust whatever the well-dressed, charismatic preacher on stage tells them…yet may God be true, and every man a liar. (Romans 3:4).

Paul addresses New Testament giving clearly and directly in 2 Corinthians 9:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”Not only does Paul make it clear that we are not to give with a bad attitude or because we feel we must (ahem…guilt over tithing), but he also makes it resoundingly clear that a generous heart will lead to bountiful reaping. While I do not know what that means exactly, I do know from 1 Timothy 6:4-6, that we are not to equate godliness with financial gain. What I have seen in my own life is that when I am hoarding my money and placing my trust in material blessings, I never seem to have enough, but when I am free with the things the Lord has provided for me, I always seem to be at peace with where I am financially. That…can only be from the Lord.

Another key point in the case against tithing is the fact that, when the Jerusalem Council  met (see, Acts 15) to discuss what elements of the Old Testament Law should survive for the protection and edification of the church (as legalism had begun to leach into the body), money was not even mentioned one time. While many of the converted Jews were trying to reinstitute elements of the OT law (such as circumcision), the concept of creating a new, legal framework for believers was resoundingly rejected by the apostles. Instead, a few simple guidelines were laid out to help protect the young church from slipping into sin. Here is a brief summary of why the Council met, and what was said by the apostles:

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, Thatit was needful to circumcise them (the Gentiles), and to command them to keep the law of Moses.And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe…And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  Acts 15:5-10

After discussing the fact that the church should not be placed in the unbearable fetters of the law, the Council declared:

28″ For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well….”  Acts 15:28-29

Even the way the above passage is phrased makes it clear that no Old Testament laws were put back in place for the church. Instead, the church was simply given guidelines in order to help believers walk in the holiness to which we are all called…and money wasn’t mentioned at all.

The question I have for everyone who considers tithing mandatory or even highly advisable (versus giving freely and generously through the spirit), is: why would you lay a yoke of slavery on either yourself or others that our forefathers in the Judeo-Christian faith couldn’t bear, and one which the actual apostles refused to place on their own disciples?

It has been argued by some that, since tithing preceded the Law of Moses (Abraham tithed to Melchizedek), then it should survive the death of the law as well. My answer to that is simple. Besides the fact that not even one New Testament scripture supports this belief, animal sacrifices also predated the law (Abel, Abraham, etc.), and, like tithing(and circumcision) were merged into the law – yet no one teaches that they somehow survived the cross (not Paul, not Peter, and not even Benny Hinn or Creflo Dollar!). All of the law perished via the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that includes the practices which predated Mosaic Law but were merged into it. I have never heard even one sound argument(or scripture) explaining why tithing survived the cross but circumcision and animal sacrifices did not.  More importantly, there is not even a single letter to a church from an apostle that tells us that tithing is still in effect. Thus, there is no biblical justification for teaching it today. Fortunately, we now have a better testament, a living hope, and the yoke of slavery…is gone.

EPILOGUE

It is often said that biblical doctrine can not be gleaned from one or even two verses on a subject. In the case of tithing, as noted above, there are exactly zero verses where Paul, Peter, James or John tell the church to tithe. In fact, the most direct verse on giving (2 Cor. 9:7, quoted twice in this article) says the very opposite – do not give out of necessity but give what you want to give from your heart. That exhortation is consistent with everything the blood of Jesus Christ did to the law. It was destroyed in the body of his flesh so that a new, better testament, written in blood, might prevail. Thus, in my estimation, those who push this false doctrine, are in deep danger…wresting the scripture to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).

Caring for the needs of the poor, and providing for our Christian brothers and sisters, are most certainly acceptable acts of financial stewardship in the eyes of our holy God. Giving directly to a sound teacher, author or evangelist is also in perfect accord with the scriptures – whether or not they are part of a building with the word “church” on it. Sadly, the corporate “church” has falsely corralled believers into thinking that a 10% tithe must first go to them, and then and only then can one give “offerings” to anyone else. That teaching is self-serving, false, and will not stand at the judgement seat of Christ. The very reason Jesus came to earth to live and then die brutally on a cold, hard cross, was to set us free from the bondage of the law of sin and death (Romans 8). Yet out of ignorance, greed and fear many pastors are quick to place that yoke of slavery right back on our necks…exactly where it was prior to the blood of our great God being spilled to wash away our sin. Pastors and teachers are informed by James that they are under a higher standard of judgment than the average believer (James 3:1). If I were one of them, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with placing even a small part of that unbearable yoke on the necks of God’s precious little flock.

I would love to see pastors, worldwide, reject the false doctrine of tithing, and to publicly repent for the bondage under which they have placed their congregations.  I would love to see them trust the God of heaven and earth to provide for their church no matter the cost, even if they, like Paul (a tentmaker), have to occasionally work to meet all of their needs. If their ministry is truly of Jesus Christ, instead of simply being a means to have a nice middle class lifestyle on the backs of God’s children, then He WILL provide. It may be a struggle, and the pastor’s life might not look like it did when the yoke of slavery was on his congregation, but it just might look a lot more like the life of the greatest apostle to ever preach the gospel….Paul, and great will their reward be in heaven.

Galatians 5:1

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

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Money and the Ministry: What did Jesus and Paul say about it?

Authority and the New Testament Believer

The written word of God is truth

Repentance, Salvation and The New Bible Versions: Yes, it Really Does Matter

3″ I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish…. Luke 13:3, 5

19″ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent….” Acts 17:30

13 “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:13

 

 

In my experience, it has been very rare to attend a church that consistently teaches the narrow road to Jesus Christ…the road that travels through his blood, shed freely for our sins on a cold hard cross. I recently attended a church where the pastor teaches frequently and powerfully against the false, broad-road, happy-go-lucky Jesus, which is so prevalent today. This man, without equivocation, states that the road to heaven is narrow and that few find it. He boldly teaches that the only Jesus who saves us from the consequences of our sin is the one described for us solely in the Bible, and that Jesus is full of love, grace, and mercy…but also unmitigated vengeance in His time. Hell and the Wrath of God Despite the fact that this pastor uses my former longtime-love, the NIV 84, I was able to sit through a few of his sermons, since the substance of the messages were not affected by the textual differences between translations. However, in a recent sermon, this changed, and the truth of God was greatly, and horrifically obscured due to a serious doctrinal change from the Textus Receptus to the newer, critical Greek text, reflected in the differences between the KJV and the NIV/NASB/ESV, et al. The Bible Version Controversy Explained

The sermon in question was on Matthew 9:9-13, and the parallel passage in Luke 5:27-32. The substance of these passages centers around the fact that Jesus surrounded himself with publicans and sinners, and frequently ate and drank with them. In Luke 5:29, the text states that Matthew, who had just been called by Jesus, held a feast in his honor at his own house. However, the pastor, while using Luke to expound on the nature of the dinner (a feast vs. a quiet gathering) focused on the passage in Matthew and noted that, when questioned by the legalistic religious leaders as to why he would spend time with such undesirables, Jesus answered:

13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13 NIV

I believe that this verse is critical for understanding the heart of Jesus Christ towards mankind.  It even explains why he left the glory of heaven …”to call sinners….” Yet the critical Greek Text, which is followed closely by the NIV and all of the other new Bible versions, deletes out THE key phrase at the end of verse 13. Jesus did not just “call sinners” to come and party with him, as so many megachurch preachers want us to believe – and justifiably so using the NIV/NASB. Jesus Christ did come to earth did to call sinners, and he called them to repentance.

In the KJV, and in it’s underlying Greek Text, the Textus Receptus, the Greek word “metanoia” is present at the end of of verse 13, and that word completes this important passage perfectly. Below is Matthew 13:9 in the King James Bible:

“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(emphasis added). ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:13‬ ‭KJV‬

Jesus did not call the unrighteous to further unrighteousness or to simply to hangout with him, as the passage without the repentance language could easily imply to a new believer, a pastor interested in attracting people with a worldly “gospel,’ or to an antinomian (hypergrace proponent). Instead, the God of heaven and earth called the sinners, tax collectors and publicans he loved so dearly, not to fulfill their fleshly lusts, but to turn to him from the wickedness of their sins via repentance. The celebration with Jesus and his disciples was not a time of gluttony and drunkenness. It was a time of true joy – the kind of joy that comes when we know that we are safely hidden in the shadow of God…resting in the freedom and peace that accompanies a broken and contrite heart towards God as a result of an awareness of and hatred for our sin. Sin, Repentance and the Cross

The deletion of repentance in Matthew 9:13 (and in Mark 2:17) brought to my mind another well-known passage, this one addressing those who though they were saved but, shockingly (to them), were not.  “Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” Luke‬ ‭13:26-27‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

I have always wondered who those people were (in the passage above) and why they were so deeply deceived about something as important as their eternal destiny. I think I now understand. They were those who chose to spend time with Jesus, eating, drinking, and perhaps even sitting under his teaching on occasion…yet they refused to turn their hearts away from sin to him via repentance. In other words, they viewed Jesus just as the NIV and most other new Bible versions do…as a cool God/man who really just wants us to follow his ways and hang out with him…no judgement, no pricking of our consciences, no repentance…just chill with Jesus and his posse, and maybe debate some theology over a craft beer or two. After all, isn’t that how Jesus rolled??  Sadly, that Jesus is a fake one, manufactured by our own lustful desire to cling to our sin…and even our Bibles and many of our “churches” affirm that Jesus.

Another oft-quoted verse that, in the NIV appears to justify unmitigated sin, is the famed Romans 8:1:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” NIV

A few years ago I had an unmarried Christian brother quote this verse to me after nights of skinny dipping and heavy drinking. His point to me, when I was attempting to encourage him gently to flee from sin to the Jesus of the Bible was that, “I’m saved, so don’t even talk to me about repenting and turning my heart away from my sin. There is no condemnation no matter what I do.”

Well, the King James Bible tells a different story. It states:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 KJV

The point is not that one has to be perfect to walk uncondemned before Jesus Christ. Instead, the extra clause emphasizes the fact that, if we are truly in Christ Jesus, while we will stumble and fall as we make our way through this wicked world, we, as lovers of Jesus Christ and his precious blood, hate our sin and seek, with all of our hearts to walk not according to our fleshly lusts but according to the spirit. Paul said it best to Titus when he described what should happen when we truly understand the grace of God:

11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ….15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11-13,15

I could go on and on quoting important doctrinal changes to new version Bibles via the underlying critical Greek text, but for the purposes of this article I am simply illustrating how the new versions can absolutely corrupt ones understanding of God’s grace…even when a solid pastor is preaching. If we truly believe with our hearts (per Romans 10:9-10), that Jesus Christ paid for our sins with his blood, free of charge, than we will seek to turn to him from our sin, and honor him…not as works unto salvation, but as love. Jesus himself states:

21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” John 14:21-24

We must all, as disciples of Jesus Christ, desire only the pure milk of the word, and thus, cast off all of our adulterated Bible versions, no matter how easy they are to read and no matter who accuses us of being legalistic. The evidence in favor of the KJV and it’s Greek foundation are overwhelming. See, The Bible Version Controversy Explained . We are told by Jude to contend vigorously for the faith, but how can we do that if we are quoting watered down Bible versions that delete out the clarion call to repentance, a call given by Jesus himself twice in a row in Luke 13 (see the top of the page)? Even Muslims I meet on the streets when I am evangelizing point to the fact that Christians have over a hundred different Bible versions, all of which say different things, while they only have one Quran. Therefore, they cannot even consider trusting the Bible or Christianity. What a brilliant scheme by Satan to easily convince 2 billion Muslims that Christianity has to be false since their holy book contradicts itself in hundreds of places! While I gladly inform them that only one English Bible is actually true, and I note that I would be glad to explain to them the history of the Textus Receptus and KJV, they simply laugh and say that the KJV is only one of hundreds of Bibles, and why should they believe me. Such is the brilliance of satan’s handiwork….

 

EPILOGUE

I loved the NIV and NKJV for 25 years, and I believed what was taught in seminaries and bible colleges about the superiority of the Greek foundation for the new versions (the critical Greek text, whose primary components are Codex Siniaticus and Codex Vaticanus). However, after my wife (like me, an NIV’er at the time), raised serious questions as to why the KJV was so different doctrinally than modern Bibles (after reading straight through six different versions), I decided to dig beyond what I had, like a sheep, been fed.  So…I studied the issue for myself and found well over a hundred serious doctrinal changes, many of which lined up with catholic church doctrine (Acts 8:37, 1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Tim. 2:15, James 5:16 are a few off of the top of my head). My previous in-depth article (linked in the previous paragraph) lays out my findings in much greater detail.

I care about one thing and one thing only – that people escape satan’s wicked lies and pass from death to life via repentance through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have no other agenda than that, and this goal can only be accomplished if we are ALL teaching, exhorting and rebuking with an accurate Bible, a Bible that demands more than that sinners simply follow Jesus. Instead we must use a Bible that repeats over and over and over again the call by both Jesus and his apostles that all men everywhere must repent for the remission of sins.

 

15 “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:15

 

The Beauty and Power of the Written Word of God

Click link for edits and deletions in the so-called New King James Bible