A Bible verse that every believer in Christ should have memorized because it is needed!
If we would swallow our pride, walk in forgiveness, and help build others up instead of tearing them down - life in the church would be much better.
There is a heresy that has been around for a very long time and seems to be gaining traction again especially amongst Christians. It goes something like this:
"We should all be kind and respectful, we should just love everyone because after all, aren't we all God's children?"
Now I agree with the first part but strongly disagree with the latter. Nowhere in Scripture do we see that everyone is a child of God. Nowhere. In fact, just the opposite is true:
Here in John's Gospel, chapter 1 verses 10-13 we see that Christ came into the world yet the world (people) did not recognize Him. He came to His own yet His own did not receive Him. But, to all those who did receive Him (believed) He gave them the right to become children of God. Read verse 13 closely, you have to be born of God to be a child of God and that birth requires believing in Christ. Let's go to John 3:3, where Jesus and Nicodemus are having a discussion and Nicodemus points out that "no one could perfom the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." Look at Christ's response in John 3:3:
What truth do we see here? That unless you are born again (in Christ) you will not see the kingdom of God. Finally, in Matthew's Gospel, in Jesus' teaching from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-14) we see Christ make a bold claim:
Now, if we are all "God's Children" shouldn't we all go to heaven? Yet, here, Christ proclaims that the majority of people will enter the wide gate that leads to destruction. How can this be if we are all Children of God? Simple: we are not. To say otherwise denies the truth of Scripture and makes Christ (God in the flesh) a liar. The appropriate theological term to use when dealing with people is this: "We are all God's creation."
A Child of God is someone who believes on Christ and Christ alone for their salvation and He gives them the right to become a Child of God. The term "We are all God's Children" speaks to a form of Christian Universalism that God will save everyone in the end because of His love for us. That is heresy and is found nowhere in Scripture.
So Christian, please stop using the term "We are all God's chldren" because we are not.
To begin, let’s define sin as mentioned in the Bible.
A check with an online dictionary brings up the following:
Since the Bible teaches there is nothing apart from God, and the Ten Commandments came from God, that would mean these laws are intrinsic (essential in nature) to God. In other words, they are God’s nature; His personality; who He is.
Therefore, sin is anything contrary or opposing to God Himself.
Meaning, sin is a disconnection and separation from the Lord.
Now that sin is defined, we must examine ourselves. The Bible specifically states ALL have sinned. (Romans 3:23) That includes me, and you, and him, and her, and them, those people over there, and … every single human in the world. There is no exclusion: none.
If each of us examines our thoughts, our actions, our motives, we easily find reasons to hide from God. Why? Because we’re guilty. Everyone experiences a disconnection from God.
The thing is, you are I are very good at concealing our sin. Sin is deceptive. We’ve learned what to say or what not to say to achieve a measure of acknowledgement from other folks. As Christians, we fail to consider the Lord when we hide our motives. We ignore God in our rush to crave acceptance, to be recognized. Thus we’re guilty of disconnecting from God.
There’s a price to pay for being silent to the screams of guilt. If we’re truthful, we fear allowing anyone a peek at our most private fantasies, our most hideous failures, or to observe our most vulnerable moments. We have an inner room in our lives, a top-secret closet with all our sordid stuff. It’s dirty, it’s filthy, yet we keep it hidden and refuse to acknowledge it. We even fail to share with God.
There’s a reason we keep these thoughts secret, we fear judgment.
Sadly, to judge other people is a common human sport.
We panic that others will point fingers. We feel abandoned because of our choices and our thinking. Abandonment and isolation becomes sheer terror. We internally skulk and hide to keep secret our inner self. It’s too unacceptable and hideous to be revealed.
In Romans, Paul gets right to the center of this problem. Everyone shares this disconnect from God. Every one of us are failures, are fearful, are filled with regret, and are helpless. We just don’t want to admit it. We are sinners disconnected from God. As humans, we deny it. As Christians, we ignore it.
Maybe we might point to someone else when their sinful ‘self’ is exposed. However, we never disclose our own guilt. To do so would admit we are spiritually naked and scared. Our religiousness is other-directed and we never allow ourselves to be reflected in the mirror of another’s distress.
We become an audience as if in the darkness of a theater. We watch someone else’s agony on the distant stage, and the remoteness makes us feel protected. We may empathize with the other person, but that’s not the same as being front-and-center. It’s much safer to be a detached observer. Safer—and yet unsatisfying.
There’s a tendency in humans to catalogue moral failures. We often think of lying, cheating, lusting, murder, stealing, adultery, etc. Sins (plural) is much easier to handle because they are defined by an activity. But sin (singular) is much more encompassing, and we almost always see it in others, never ourselves. We’re told from scripture we have a sinful nature, but we never (if ever) see that deceptive beast.
Maybe in our Christian lives we should shift our attitude toward thinking of ourselves as being disconnected from God. If we don’t admit the separation from God, we won’t correct it. If we fail to correct it, we continue to hide our disconnection. The problem feeds on itself. When we disconnect from the Lord, sin runs rampant; sin (singular).
When we disconnect, our human activity becomes filled with concealment. We don’t want others to know of our disconnect status, and attempt to cover it up. Doing that is not very much about choices, but rather, hiding the fact we’re not in communication with God. The result? We’re left empty, we become stressed, and our motives turn secretive. Internally, we lack contentment. Our peace flies away. Within, we’re in turmoil.
To remedy this, a change of attitude it required. It becomes necessary for us to work on why we act as we do, and why we believe as we do, and what to do about it.
“Wait,” you say. “That’s too much.”
Maybe, but the alternative is to stay the same and is much worse in the end. To stay in fellowship with God is absolutely essential for a life without strain, stress, fear, or disconnect from the Lord.
I'm reading/studying 1st Thessalonians this morning and Paul's words in chapter 4 struck me: "Therefore encourage each other with these words." He was referring to the return of Christ. The reason it struck is that I don't encourage others with our Saviors return as I should. That should give us immense joy to think on Christ's return, to give us peace in this sin-filled snot-bucket we wade through. Do we believe that Christ will indeed return? Do not let that promise ring hollow in your heart today. Instead, let it encourage you through whatever pain this life has given you.
1 John 1:5-10 - Walking in the Light, do we desire that? I mean truly desire that as Christians. It is something to dwell on today.
The Question that Changed My Life by David Ryser
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.
Hand raised, Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”
The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.
Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.
What do I mean when I say “really know Him?” Our understanding of knowing and knowledge stems from our western culture (which is based in ancient Greek philosophical thought). We believe we have knowledge (and, by extension, wisdom) when we have collected information. A collection of information is not the same thing as knowledge, especially in the culture of the Bible (which is an eastern, non-Greek, culture). In the eastern culture, all knowledge is experiential. In western/Greek culture, we argue from premise to conclusion without regard for experience–or so we think.
An example might be helpful here. Let us suppose a question based upon the following two premises: First, that wheat does not grow in a cold climate and second, that England has a cold climate. The question: Does wheat grow in England? The vast majority of people from the western/Greek culture would answer, “No. If wheat does not grow in a cold climate and if England has a cold climate, then it follows that wheat does not grow in England.” In the eastern culture, the answer to the same question, based on the same premises, most likely would be, “I don’t know. I’ve never been to England.” We laugh at this thinking, but when I posed the same question to my friends from England, their answer was, “Yes, of course wheat grows in England. We’re from there, and we know wheat grows there.” They overcame their cultural way of thinking because of their life experience. Experience trumps information when it comes to knowledge.
A similar problem exists with our concept of belief. We say we believe something (or someone) apart from personal experience. This definition of belief is not extended to our stockbroker, however. Again, allow me to explain. Suppose my stockbroker phones me and says, “I have a hot tip on a stock that is going to triple in price within the next week. I want your permission to transfer $10,000 from your cash account and buy this stock.” That’s a lot of money for me, so I ask, “Do you really believe this stock will triple in price, and so quickly?” He/she answers, “I sure do.” I say, “That sounds great! How exciting! So how much of your own money have you invested in this stock?” He/she answers, “None.” Does my stockbroker believe? Truly believe? I don’t think so, and suddenly I don’t believe, either. How can we be so discerning in the things of this world, especially when they involve money, and so indiscriminate when it comes to spiritual things? The fact is, we do not know or believe apart from experience. The Bible was written to people who would not understand the concepts of knowledge, belief, and faith apart from experience. I suspect God thinks this way also.
So I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?
I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying me?”
For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.
So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.