The righteous are only ever trouble to religionists when they refuse to indulge selfish motives with them in sin, go along to get along tolerating or covering up evil or corrupting and compromising the clear teaching and truth of God’s Word applied to every situation! In consequence, as I have experienced, religionists will even lie on God’s faithful stewards and misconstrue their words (Amos 7:10-11).3 Already an outsider “for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV),4 because of such treachery I am an exiled Pastor too! Historically, religionists have also physically assaulted and murdered faithful stewards while deceitfully claiming to serve the same Master (John 16:1-4; Revelation 17:1-6).
Nevertheless, in accord with my calling, gifts and ministry I am not silent; proclaiming God’s will, way and Word as it is written because this is the example of every faithful Old Testament prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ, His apostles and prophets in the New! They did not shrink back from speaking truth to their religious antagonists because it was their stewardship responsibility from God (Luke 11:37-54). Opposition from religionists is not the fault of the righteous that stand up to and cry out against their wickedness. Religionists are at fault since they willfully choose to oppose God who knows their hearts and His plainly written eternally standing Word as the Lord taught (Luke 16:15-18).
Contrary to the convenient misapplication of Scripture actually intended for corrupt religionists concerning what to do with “those who cause divisions,” (Romans 16:17-18, NKJV), God expects His faithful stewards to speak up and out about sin. Paul did so with Peter who did not resist him (Galatians 2:11-21). Yet, loud and prolonged quarreling is not the Lord’s will. If submission to the Word is not forthcoming as is typical with proud religionists (Luke 16:19-31), then, the righteous without giving ground and continuing to faithfully teach gives them over to God if He might bring them to repentance, knowledge of the truth and deliverance from Satan’s control (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
During my Christian journey to date, I have painfully been aware of many men in the churches that with proud religious leaders have not chosen to make the Lord Jesus their Master to serve Him alone. If it is not the love of money that prevents this, it is wife, children, parents, siblings, friends and self invested in personal vanity, job, recreation, hobbies, cars, yards and social clubs to include the local church which is seen and treated as such; differing from those secular only in that it gives a man the outward appearance of being religious and dispatching some duty to God in his attendance, practice of traditions and involvement. To be sure, many of these men are deceived and not saved!
In defiance of Scripture, such men are impossibly attempting to be saved by keeping religious traditions and doing church works (Romans 3:9-31; Ephesians 2:8-9). Religious leadership--many not saved themselves, wickedly insist the men obey them as wise masters in their deadly deceit as they exploit them for their money and labor (Mark 7:1-23).5 A smaller number of other men are saved, but make very little progress in spiritual maturity for lack of instruction in sound doctrine and biblical manhood. They never sell out completely to the Lord as Master of their lives because they do not know it is required of them as religious leadership demands to be served as master instead.
A still smaller number of men in local churches ruled by religionists are more serious about the Lord, but for lack of a made up mind wholly given over to serve Him are torn between two masters. While the other master can be anyone or thing of those already stated, it is typically the local church and the religious requirement of leadership to be more faithful to them in service and doctrine than to the Lord--His will, way and Word as it is written! My heart has gone out to these men over the years many of whom have been dear brothers and personal friends because as others of old, their torn state is filled with fear of their religious leaders and secrecy (John 7:13, 9:13-22, 12:42-43, 19:38-39). They need repentance and courage to serve Him alone from the Lord if they are willing!6
While I too, have had a few moments over the years when fear of religious consequences have caused me to be careful of what I said and to whom I said it, I have sought the Lord for the courage needed to follow His example and that of His apostles as faithful stewards of God. Absent the Holy Spirit leading, controlling and empowering them, the disciples all ran away in fear at first in the face religious men (Mark 14:43-50). After their new birth, however, they became courageous, sold out to and stood firm as apostles and faithful stewards of Jesus Christ, their Master (Acts 4:1-22, 5:17-42). If a man has been truly born again and loves the Lord, he is never to be torn between two masters. He is loyal to Christ as his Master alone and true to His Word (Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29)!7
3 And no wonder since they lie on God too saying, ‘“The Lord says,’” but He had not spoken (Ezekiel 13:6-7, NKJV)!
4 Truly, how can one that is a faithful born again believer in Jesus Christ and member of His Church universal ever be an “outsider” to any professed Christian local
church where He is really honored as Lord? Sin in all of its forms, unbiblical, cliquish membership requirements and nepotism through Christianity as manmade reli-
gion forces Christ and His faithful stewards to be outsiders (Colossians 2:16-23; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 13:9-13; Revelation 3:20)!
5 How wise really are these men since they reject and refuse to obey God’s Word as it is written? Consequently, His judgment of them is just (Jeremiah 8:8-12)!
6 The Lord calls you to repent from fear of sinful men, unwillingness to stand on the truth of His Word as it is written not as it is corrupted to accommodate religious a-
gendas or suffer as He and all of the saints before and around us! Too, He would have you repent from divided loyalties and double mindedness (James 1:5-8, 4:
7-10). If the Lord is Lord, then serve Him as Master remembering religious leaders did not die for nor do they have a Heaven or Hell to put you in. If to you Jesus is
not Lord, why torment yourself trying futilely as He taught to serve two masters? Understand though, that rejection of Jesus as Master leads to no good end now or
in the day of accountability (Matthew 7:21-23, 10:16-39, 12:30).
7 This is the heart of every aspiring strong man and great woman of God I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy or digi-
tal download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy
in the Strong Man Store.
The Lord Jesus Christ is just as plain as He can be in His teaching declaring: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While mammon represents money in applying this passage, the other master besides God can be anyone or anything! In this post as the Lord leads, I write to remind myself and other men that He “ain’t playing” about His requirement that those that would follow Him be exclusively devoted to faithfully serving Him as Master of our lives contrary to what is seen in many churches today.
Contextually, the Lord’s principle of faithfulness to one Master comes near the end of His teaching targeting the issues of the cold hearted Pharisees and scribes that had mingled with the tax collectors and sinners drawn close to hear Him beginning in Luke 15. These religious men could not understand why Jesus representing God would be concerned about sinners and were purposely seeking for an opportunity to discredit Him. So, as He said He would, He taught them in parables about God’s love for sinners (Matthew 13:10-17). Then, directly to His disciples, but with the religious leaders still listening in the Lord begins to teach on stewardship in Luke 16.
In His parable of the unjust steward, the Lord rebukes the Pharisees and scribes in their failure as stewards while warning His disciples at the same time about the requirement of God that His stewards be completely faithful to Him (1 Corinthian 4:2). Every man beginning with his life, in his home and into God’s house has a stewardship responsibility He holds them accountable for (Matthew 12:36-37; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11). In their love of money (not to mention position, power and recognition among other selfish motives), Israel’s religious leaders were unjust as stewards before God their Master just as the man in the Lord’s parable was to his (Luke 16:1-2).
As in the parable, Israel’s religious leaders had mismanaged what God had entrusted to them due to having a greater devotion to money than to Him. Blinded by their devotion to money and hearts made hard through the deceit of sin intrinsic to manmade religion, they did not even have enough fear of God in them to try to do something about their failure, day of impending accountability with and certain judgment by God (Luke 16:3-9). The Lord further teaches that if a man will be faithful with a little to manage, he will also be in more; unjust in minor matters, also those great. Proven unfaithful, such a man disqualifies himself from bigger stewardship responsibilities (Luke 16:10-11).
Moreover, if a man is unfaithful in managing another man’s affairs, the Lord would know “who will give you what is your own” to manage (Luke 16:12, NKJV)? This brings us to the famous dilemma of the one who would serve two masters. No one can successfully serve two masters at once because again the Lord concludes, “either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While they may not have fully understood all of what the Lord was teaching up to this point, the religious leaders present got the message about the unjust steward and forthwith ridiculed Him (Luke 16:14).
Israel’s religious leaders hated, despised and persecuted the Lord Jesus because in contrast to them as unfaithful stewards, He was completely faithful! He was gathering sinners to Himself, preaching the Gospel to, teaching and serving them through mighty miracles because that was His stewardship assignment from God. And God made it known He was pleased with His stewardship to include His death on the cross (Luke 3:21-22; John 8:28-29, 11:38-44, 19:28-30, 20:11-18)! Now, that unfaithful religious stewards persecute the faithful is from the beginning (Genesis 4:1-8), why the Lord was persecuted and any of us too who will be faithful to our Master (2 Timothy 3:12). Indeed, for this reason I have been persecuted by those of manmade Christianity from my infancy in Christ!
As Joshua’s charge and the Lord’s sober instruction on being His authentic disciple have echoed down through the centuries, I heard them and made my choice to serve Him alone in the day of my wholehearted surrender (Joshua 24:14-15; Luke 9:18-26, 14:25-35).1 Since those days in 1979 until now, I have been repeatedly told in word and deed by leaders in churches divergent in geography, ethnicity and size that God’s will, way and Word does not apply in every situation. Also, religious traditions and activities are necessary to be in effect, an “opiate” to “the people.”2 Finally, I was warned not to challenge disobedient leadership or the wicked status quo or be considered what one dear Southern Baptist sister once playfully called me, but others consider true, “trouble.”
1 Read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
2 19th century Communist thinker, Karl Marx, wrote in an article: “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Biblical Christianity is far removed from such a notion being as it
is the salvation, eternal way, life and Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ and every one of His genuine “born again” followers in relationship with Him (John 3:1-8, NKJV)!
First it was the humiliation of missionaries coming from the former imperial possessions of Western nations including America in recent years to evangelize them. Now, in a stunning and decisive stand, United Methodist Christians from largely African nations recently stood against the formerly dominant Western denomination’s insistence on sanctioning the ordination and same sex marriage of LGBTQ persons within its ranks.1 Such is the intense spiritual warfare of these latter days as those that would be faithful to God and His Word as it is written not only must stand against a secular world in rebellion, but those that have infiltrated and would foment it in God’s house!
As a Christian descendant of African slaves in America, I am pleased in the Lord to have founded this Ministry and to be leading its Kingdom cause to restore men, families and communities also standing firmly on God’s Word!2 Surely, it was ‘“for such a time as this’” (Esther 4:13-16, NKJV) in the Body of Christ that God has touched many hearts among those once considered of no account and inferior by their former masters to stand with the faithful of all hues against the “madness” of rebellion and apostasy now underway in the West and a large number of its churches as I write of my own labor in the Preface of my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics; with joy replacing a “dumb donkey” for Christ’s sake (1 Corinthians 1:27-29; 2 Peter 2:12-16, NKJV).3
Prior to the book’s first publication in 2011, the Lord led me to write this edited 2010 Commentary contending for lifelong marriage as He designed it.
Originally Published March 2010
As an institution, marriage is under attack as never before as humanity in rebellion seeks to loose itself from all of God's program laid out in His Word (Psalm 2:1-3). Not only is marriage on the decline due to abandoned moral standards that permit temporary relationships of casual sex and living together, but it is being outright corrupted by those who want to legitimatize their same sex relationships. Destroying marriage as the Bible knows it too is the incredible divorce rate both in and outside of the churches. These divorces occur for many reasons beyond what the Lord Jesus Christ has permitted.
Marriage as God designed it is foundational to human existence and the oldest of all forms of human relationship. Indeed, before God introduced marriage, mankind was bottled up in the seed of the first man. The Bible does not glamorize God's purpose in creating the female version of man; it was to facilitate His will that the earth be filled with humanity through procreation (Genesis 1:27-28a). However, as a blessing to humanity and to sweeten the means to His end, the Lord gave us the gift of marital relationship. Thus, marital relationship exclusively between a man and a woman is of the purposeful construction of God, not society or the State since neither yet existed.
In the presence of Adam God declares, "'It is not good that man should be alone,'" (Genesis 2:18a, NKJV). God already knew that He was going to create a female for the man, but Adam had to know that being alone was not good. Adam also had to appreciate the value of relationship with another creature like him. If relationship for its own sake had been His sole purpose, then God was more than enough! However, procreation as He designed it would require Adam to have a suitably created, committed companion and helper with whom he could relate to for life.
God proclaims, "'I will make him a helper comparable to him,'" (Genesis 2:18b, NKJV). This helper God has in mind would not be an exact duplicate of Adam, but correspond to him as no other creature on earth (Genesis 2:19-20). After putting him to sleep and removing one of his ribs, the Lord God purposefully fashioned a woman and presented her to Adam. As evidenced by his joyful words, this woman corresponded to Adam in every way human--spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically (Genesis 2:21-23). They were equal in their humanity, but had different roles and responsibilities as plainly seen in their order of creation and the unique construction of their bodies.
Adam and his wife had a basic and functional relationship built upon their correspondence that would be mutually satisfying and endure for a lifetime apart from the romanticized notions of love we have today in which an estimated 40-50% of marriages fail in divorce.4 This does not mean they would not enjoy romance. However, this was only a small part of a total relationship that would be sustained in the main by a committed love for each other in unity and their Creator whose purposes they gladly sought to fulfill.
The Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator in the flesh declares, "'What God has joined together, let not man separate,'" (Matthew 19:4-6, NKJV). In God's design of marriage, it is permanent! While because of men's sin hardened hearts He allowed the concept of divorce to enter human experience, the Lord makes it clear before sin "'from the beginning it was not so.'" He permits divorce only after sexual immorality, which is already a break in the marital covenant (Matthew 19:7-9, NKJV). The Lord's apostle, Paul, later addresses the de facto divorce that occurs when an unbelieving spouse permanently deserts the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:10-16).
Aspiring strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ living to please Him and do His will, must labor vigorously to restore marriage as our God designed it. This means that we have to first be sure we are honoring His marital design.5 Then we must lock arms with our pastors that are faithfully holding the line on marriage as God designed it. Unless God's design of marriage is restored, we can count on seeing the rapid fracturing and decay of our society along with its descent into social chaos continue to the point there is “no remedy”6 and in the end, “wrath” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16, NKJV).
1 View the short news story produced by CBN News on its Christian World News program starting 13 minutes and 40 seconds in that interviews a Liberian leader in the
2 See the April 26, 2015 repost, Obeying God’s Word On His Side, under the category, The Cause and many others among my blogs using the search word, “marriage.”
3 The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
4 Google “2018 divorce rate.” Some social scientists actually see a downward trend in divorces driven by millennials for such reasons as marrying later in life (which still
does not conform to God’s will) according to a Bloomberg article.
5 As I discuss in my book, this means among other things marrying “only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39, NKJV), loving his wife in the sacrificial, constructive and es-
teeming care displayed by Christ for the Church (Ephesians 5:25-33a) and honoring the vow of marriage as God intends for men to honor all of our vows (Numbers 30:
1-2; Matthew 5:33-37). Christian women too, must marry only in the Lord and honor the wedding vow as well as love their husbands as Christ loves the Father and the
Church, Him, in all submission and respect (John 6:38, 8:48-49; Ephesians 5:22-24, 33b).
6 A point which since I wrote this in 2010, the Lord led me to proclaim has arrived! Read the first mention of a “point of no return” in the July 15, 2015 part one 2012 re-
post, Powerlessness Of Being The Minority, under the category, Encouragement. A second mention follows in the October 22, 2017 part two 2013 repost, Mocking The
Rainbow, under the category, Biblical Worldview.
As a follow up to the just concluded three part formerly published Commentary series, “Raised To Immortal Glory” and especially part three, the Lord has led me to repost this edited June 2013 blog that originally posted in the same month as the series. All are now in this same blog category, God’s Creatures. This repost seeks to extract more details from Scripture about the glorious, immortal spiritual bodies God is to provide His eternal sons after the likeness of Christ’s.
Originally Posted June 2, 2013
The bodies of the dead in Christ are raised up and those of the living remnant are transformed in less than the blink of an eye at His coming according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. The form and function of their bodies will be like Christ’s own glorious, immortal spiritual body which is equipped for God’s purposes through the endless ages of eternity (Philippians 3:20-21)! And while John in His epistle is clear we on this side of glory will not have a precise picture of what we as glorified immortals will look like until Christ is revealed, he too assures us that we will be like Him (1 John 3:2).
Based on the revelation of the glorified Christ John later saw (Revelation 1:10-17), there are some similarities between the natural body we now have and the glorified spiritual body in the masculine likeness of Christ we will receive at the resurrection. There will also be some tremendous qualitative differences with a few new (to us) features included! With all praises to our God, we do not have to guess or fill in the blanks with a lot of wacky speculation about the immortal spiritual bodies He has prepared for His eternal sons; what He wants known now is in His Word! My mission is to only briefly examine what God’s Word says about our future glorious, immortal spiritual bodies to inspire our further study, reflection, excitement and praise to God!
Scripture gives three sources of knowledge about the future immortal spiritual bodies of the eternal sons of God: our present natural bodies, Christ and the angels. From our natural bodies and Christ’s glorified likeness seen by John, we understand that along with a head featuring hair, a chest, arms, hands, legs and feet, the general frame and form characteristic of the natural human body are to be preserved as will ethnicity (Revelation 21:22-26) in our spiritual bodies. Also, we will retain the five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching with all of the corresponding body parts to include teeth. Raised in His immortal spiritual body that had not yet been glorified, our Lord interacted with His disciples normally using the senses.
He used His and invited His disciples to use their senses and associated natural body parts in His company (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:24-29). In a third post-resurrection meeting with His disciples recorded in John 21:1-14, notice in verse 9 how smell would have played a role in the experience of everyone present including the Lord who cooked breakfast. Indeed, the prophets and the Lord speak of eating and drinking as a fixture in the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 25:6; Luke 22:14-18, 28-30). Of the fruit eaten will be that of the “tree of life,” (Revelation 2:7, NKJV). Now, consider how superior your sensory abilities and experiences will be in perfect spiritual bodies where every sense and body part functions perfectly!
It was our Lord that taught in the resurrection to immortal glory the sons of God will be “equal to the angels,” (Luke 20:34-36, NKJ). In likeness to the eternal existence of God’s spirit creatures, angels, the sons of God will never again marry, procreate or die. Unlike in their previous natural, mortal bodies, there will be no more hormones or bodily features that arouse sexual desire leading to proper sex or that which in sin leads to evil seduction, promiscuity or perversions (Hebrews 13:4). However, this will not be the end to pleasure. By divine design, in immortal spiritual bodies with form and functions fitted to a new, eternal creation, the righteous in Christ will experience new kinds of pleasure in the presence of our holy God forever (Psalm 16:11, 36:7-9; 2 Corinthians 5:16-17)!
As with the holy angels too, the new spiritual bodies of God’s sons will be indestructible as well as impervious to physical pain, sickness, disease and calamity (Revelation 21:4). Like our Lord and angels, the sons of God will be able to appear and disappear (Judges 13:1-14; Luke 24:28-31). We will also be able to fly without wings (Psalm 104:1-3; Isaiah 60:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) as well as travel back and forth between the spiritual and physical dimensions (Judges 13:15-21; Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 11:11-12). We will travel between two dimensions only until the day our God makes the two dimensions, one (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-3)!
The Lord Jesus instructs it is the divine intent that the Holy Spirit should be with the sons of God forever (John 14:16-17)! For faithful Christians, then, the same Holy Spirit who has been our Companion in this life will be with us when these natural bodies die and forever! At the moment of death, whatever have been limits to the Holy Spirit’s display of the eternal divine life and power in the inner man of our mortal experience (Ephesians 3:14-16; Hebrews 6:4-5) are removed. We will henceforth enjoy the overflowing outpour of His life into us up through our embodiment into immortal spiritual bodies and evermore (John 3:34, 6:63, 7:37-39, 10:10; Revelation 21:6, 22:1)!
We will also have direct access, be perfectly attuned to, enjoy and express the inexhaustible riches of God’s knowledge and wisdom. And as we had to be equipped by the Holy Spirit with enabling power in spiritual gifts on this side of glory to do God’s will, in the day of our immortal glory we will also be outfitted by Him with supernatural abilities to carry out the purposes, assignments and work of God for eternity (Ephesians 3:20-21)! Too, well beyond the limitations of the mortal body in sin, doubt and fear, we will routinely do things like walk on water as Peter did and as our Lord showed, exercise the power of God to move mountains in accord with His purposes (Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 11:20-24).
Finally, because of the indwelling presence of God in us, like our Lord the glory of God will shine out from our immortal spiritual bodies as His eternal sons and with even new names, we shall reign with Christ forever (Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 13:43; 2 Timothy 2:10-13; Revelation 2:17, 3:12-13, 21-22, 21:5, 22:3-5)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
Palm Sunday is certainly different though, not unusual this year as pestilence goes. The world is under siege by a new strain of microscopic viral elements that is sickening and killing human beings by the thousands across the earth. Right out of a science fiction movie scientists are scrambling to find a remedy and governments to quell panic and effect policies such as social distancing that are hoped will slow the spread of the Coronavirus or Covid-19. Meanwhile, the unsaved “where’s God in a crisis” crowd spew their blasphemy and closely related scoffing professed Christians deny He has anything do with much less to say in the midst of it. Really?
Each year for nearly 2,000 years we Christians have commemorated Palm Sunday as the one and only full on public assertion by Jesus of Nazareth to be Israel’s Messiah. He did so not with words, but the actions of fulfilling the prophet Zechariah’s prophecy of how He as the Messiah would one day enter Jerusalem--“Lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey,” (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1-11, NKJV). Later in the same week He as the Messiah would be arrested, tried and condemned to death by crucifixion fulfilling yet other prophecies of His action to save His people from their sins. God resurrected Him on the third day after certifying His successful mission (Psalm 22)!
From just the foregoing it is clear God speaks with not just words, but actions past and present as Scripture attests (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-23). He is speaking to all the earth right now for those that will give heed! However, as the prophet Isaiah some 700 years prior cried out, “Who has believed our report” in response to Israel and the world’s unbelief at what God accomplished in His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all from sin and eternal death (Isaiah 53, NKJV), so, today, many even among professing Christianity refuse to hear Him speaking not just in the current Coronavirus, but the many foretold latter day calamities occurring in the world (Luke 21:9-11; Revelation 6:1-7).
So, what is God saying? The Coronavirus is a major magnitude “shot across the bow” to the world that God has turned a corner on His forbearance with mankind. As the Lord led me to write in social media posts that began March 15, 2020 blowing the trumpet of warning He gave me in 1986 (Ezekiel 33:1-9; Amos 3:6-8), He foretold “such things as we are experiencing in our world today would occur and uptick in the rhythms of a pregnant woman’s birth pains as Christ’s return nears (Matthew 24:3-8).” “Gracious, merciful and ‘longsuffering,’ God has given mankind nearly two millennia to get saved by Him through the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Peter 3:9, NKJV).”
“Time is about up!” “God has presently humbled the world with microscopic organisms, but worse is coming not because He hates and wants to destroy mankind, but to cause stubborn rebels that refuse to repent to look up and recognize Him as He to whom all must give an account as sinners (Isaiah 45:22-24)!” For He in love “commands all men everywhere to repent” to be saved from His coming set day to judge the world for sin (Acts 17:30-31, NKJV). This is why no God called preacher (Romans 10:14-15) should be refraining from preaching the Gospel or Christian witnessing Christ (Acts 1:8) during this Coronvirus outbreak or any calamity while comforting and helping the affected.1
Because of rampant disobedience to even the most basic commands and instructions of the biblical faith along with overflowing falsehood and apostasy, Christians and their churches are being spoken to by God too!2 Professed Christian pastors and teachers where guilty are called to repent from their own agenda, messaging and false teaching building followings, legacies and church empires.3 With many cancellations and churches not able to meet for services, God in remedial judgment has called a timeout and is making this a time for us to consider our practice of the biblical faith as stewards4 and what the Church is truly about under Christ as Lord; repenting as needed!
In a March 17th social media post I wrote, “Churchmen, this time of righteous social distancing required by governments is also God’s merciful advance look at what not being able to go to church looks like. Will you be instructing your household from the Bible and leading them in worship as God expects or has your exclusive dependence on the local church to do this for you made you clueless about how to do this as the Lord led me to write would be the case for many if there is no church to go to?”5 If not, you need to repent from your dereliction at home and co-dependence on the local church. Likewise I wrote, “Church leaders you know you are guilty and need to repent to whatever extent you have caused men and women to depend more on you and ‘the church’ than on the Lord!”
Moreover, “the world as we have known it is never going to be the same again after this Coronavirus episode. Will you be leading the church you serve to return to what in too many cases is sin in disobedience as it regards not teaching men to lead in their house or allowing them to do so in God’s or will you repent as you ought setting an example (1 Timothy 2:8-3:13; 1 Peter 5:1-4)?” As the Lord Jesus showed, God from the beginning of His Kingdom cause in the Gospel has been reaching and restoring men as His crucial assigned leaders (Matthew 4:17-22); a fact I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.6 There is much to repent from! The issue is will you hypocritically go into these holy days beginning today refusing His gracious chance to do so?
(There will not be a post on Resurrection Sunday. I will be taking it off to do as I do annually to celebrate the triumphant resurrection of my Lord and His grace to save a wretch like me on the same occasion in 1977--some 1,944 years later! Lord willing, my next post will be on April 19, 2020.)
1 Some falsely teach contrary to Scripture God is not behind this or any other calamity and only seek to comfort and help. See the January 3, 2016 post, The Never
Changing God and Now Is The Day Of Salvation posted December 4, 2016 both under the category, Call To Repent. Preachers, read also my January 10, 2016 post,
God’s Appointed Preacher, under the category, Instruction.
2 Take your pick of the many posts the Lord has had me to make under the category, Call To Repent, looking for reasons rooted in sin and disobedience He is calling
professed Christians and their churches to repentance!
3 Pastor, reflect deeply on the September 27, 2015 post, Empire Building On God’s Program, under the category, Call To Repent. You have no biblical mandate or ex-
cuse to build an empire; only your ego and selfish ambition drive you as those of old (1 Samuel 15:10-12; Daniel 4:28-30; Acts 20:28-30) and God has humbled you.
4 Read my recent two-part post, Torn Between Two Masters that began on March 15, 2020 under the category, Call To Repent.
5 Read the two-part post beginning January 5, 2020 Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time, under the category Bible Prophecy. Also, the Lord led me to write a free one
sheet resource, Men Leading Family Worship At Home. It is intended to help willing Christian men step up to lead worship in their house during this Coronavirus pan-
demic and going forward as part of their regular spiritual leadership responsibility in the home in addition to leading the family out to participate in a local church when
that option is available. Get this free resource now in the Strong Man Store!
6 Get a print copy or digital download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can
also get a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
One of the tragic reasons divorce is prevalent in our times is because marriage as God designed it has been so devalued and underappreciated.1 Divinely instituted marriage is unique to the realm of mankind and is far from anything like seriously dating, or “going steady or together” as unmarried relationships were termed in my youth. Its sexual intimacy because of righteousness is also more satisfying than whatever pleasure is derived from the mere physical, self-gratifying acts of the sexual revolution’s resultant “hook up culture.” Though marriage is for mortal human experience by God’s design,2 it fully pictures what is exclusively eternally divine in the concept of oneness.
To be clear from the outset, after each human soul God loves, evil has vigorously targeted for ruin everything God brought into being to bless his mortal creatures to include marriage. For staggering in the announcement of man’s creation is how by a Creator God in voice expressing plurality: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;’” (Genesis 1:26a, NKJV). Born again Bible students see in this verse the presence and unity of the One, triune God from eternity--Father, Son and Holy Spirit affirmed by Moses (Deuteronomy 6:4) and later, the Son and Word made flesh (Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3, 14, 14:7-11)--acting together to create man.
The triune God is the original unity of One and until man was created, the only such unity! The unity of God is an absolute marvel for all ages as each of the three Persons with different roles and responsibilities that make it up equally share the unique divine nature and character while operating together in voluntary, Selfless harmony (John 5:16-23, 10:30-39, 14:15-31). Created in the image and likeness of God, man was designed to enjoy the intimacy of oneness relationship with God and the eventual female version of himself (Genesis 1:27, 2:18-20). When God created and brought her to the man, he immediately understood the fact she had come out of him (Genesis 2:21-23).
There can be no greater display of mortal human unity than God actually reaching into the physical body of Adam to take a part and from it, lovingly fashion his companion--two from one! Now, marriage is God putting the man and the woman back together in a oneness union of correspondence that incorporates their two spirits, souls and bodies purposely made to unite for physical intimacy (Genesis 2:24-25). Like God, the two persons with different roles and responsibilities would operate in nature and character as one.3 And not only was their physical intimacy to be mutually pleasurable, but from it God designed that children would result from the cooperative joining of their bodies.
Enticing man to sin was intended by Satan to first ruin his oneness relationship with God, then his wife (and subsequent children) in the respective spiritual and physical death God had announced would be the outcome of disobedience. Thus, along with man, marriage and family has been under assault from Eden (Genesis 3:1-13)! What the fallen angelic enemy of God and man did not count on was the depths of His love such that He would seek to save His fallen creature and restore our ruined oneness relationship; taking it to its ultimate, eternal end as the Son of God, Jesus Christ later prayed to have become a reality (Genesis 3:14-15; Matthew 18:10-14; John 3:10-17, 17:11, 20-26)!
Marriage as a living picture of divine oneness is so sacred the Lord Jesus figuratively refers to Himself in parables as a “bridegroom” (Matthew 9:14-15, NKJV). If the Lord is a Bridegroom (Male), then who is His bride (female) but all of those that have trusted in Him for salvation; those eagerly and wisely waiting on His return to be married in a celestial wedding ceremony (Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:26-30; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-14, 21:9).4 The apostle Paul portrays the Lord as the saving Bridegroom who pays the bride price for His betrothed He expects to remain pure and faithful to Him in oneness until their wedding (1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Ephesians 5:25-33); a cleansing purity He accomplished at great Personal cost (Psalm 22:1-21a; Mark 15:15-35; John 19:28-30)!
Not only did Christ sacrifice Himself to save willing fallen mankind and bring us back into oneness relationship with God, but also a man with his wife in the mortal experience of oneness in marriage as divinely designed. As God makes clear through the prophet Malachi, oneness in mortal marriage was the divine intent from the beginning not just for the experience itself, but also for "godly offspring!" Too, oneness is the reason God is not pleased with a man mistreating his spouse and hates the painful violence of divorce (Malachi 2:13-16, NKJV). Salvation wrought by Christ provides the means through Holy Spirit renewed minds and hearts for two otherwise selfish persons to come and stay together as one in marriage with much forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:31-32)!
1 See the March 24, 2019 post, Restoring Marriage As God Designed, under the category, The Cause.
2 In three of the four New Testament Gospels the Lord Jesus Christ plainly teaches that marriage is a mortal human experience for this present age only (Matthew 22:23-
33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40). Understanding this, Christian married couples should count every moment together as a precious gift from God and enjoy this
solely mortal experience to the fullest! Read the June 26, 2016 post, Right Thinking About The Afterlife, under the category, Instruction.
3 The Lord leads me to write more fully about His putting male and female with their different roles and responsibilities back together in marriage as one in my book, The
Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
4 For those Christian men especially that still wrestle with how a mortal daughter of God could also be literally destined to be an immortal, eternal son, consider how we
mortal and eternal sons of God are also figuratively called the “bride” of Christ to be married in a wedding to live thereafter as His eternal “wife.” The intent of God in
both the former and latter instances is the real familial closeness and glory of spiritual oneness that transcends mortal body types! See the June 19, 2016 repost, Eter-
nal Sons Of God, under the category, Instruction.
What a joy for me as a Christian: it’s Christmas Eve! Above any other presents on Christmas, I will rejoice afresh over God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, given to me and all mankind over 2,000 years ago I received personally on April 10, 1977 (Isaiah 9:6-7)! God’s gift of His Son must be received on purpose by faith to be unwrapped into salvation. As the Lord leads me to write in this edited 2013 repost, choosing God’s gift of His Son is to do so in the midst and to the exclusion of all other ostensible gods, religions and ways to God. Reflect and rejoice if you have received God’s gift of His Son; be challenged to receive Him if not. Lord willing, my next post will be on January 7, 2018. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Originally Posted December 1, 2013
The times we live in spiritually are not unlike those in the first century A.D. Then as now there were thousands of religions that featured the worship of unseen spirits as well as images and statues representing men, women, animals, celestial bodies, things of earth’s natural order and man’s creative invention. Then as now the religions spanned the spectrum from moral restraint to complete license including all manner of sexual immorality. Then as now, men made choices as to which if any of all the religions they would embrace. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was introduced then and remains as the exclusive message from the living God summoning men to relationship with Himself.
As the apostle Paul waited in the great city of Athens, Greece many students of the New Testament believe sometime between 49 and 52 A.D., “his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols,” (Acts 17:16, NKJV). Rather than immediately attacking the idolatry which God in His longsuffering forbearance has temporarily permitted, he began to share the Gospel with Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism (who had in common with him a belief in the God of the Bible as it existed then as the Old Testament) and in the public marketplace. Some philosophers invited him to share more in a place called “Mars’ Hill” (Acts 17:17-21, NKJV).
On this platform where all new religious ideas and philosophies were given a hearing, Paul commended how ‘“religious’” the Athenians were in that they even had an altar dedicated ‘“TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.’” The Athenians and others were hedging their religious bets and covering their bases in presenting this altar among the thousands of idols, religions and philosophies of that day. Many today are attempting the same kind of approach by affiliating themselves with multiple faiths citing similarity of teaching and tolerance. After this, the great apostle of the Lord declared, ‘“Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you,’” (Acts 17:22-23, NKJV).
Paul goes on to depict God the way He speaks of Himself in Scripture as the Creator and Lord of the heavens, earth and everything in it including man from whom He needs nothing (Genesis 1:1, 1:26, 2:7; Isaiah 42:5, 45:18; Acts 17:24-25). From the one man, Adam, created in the image and likeness of God, God made every race and tribe of men who live before Him as image bearing offspring--though that image has been marred; felled by sin (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1-11, 17-19, 22-24; Acts 17:26-28). Because men are the created offspring of the living God, Paul asserts they certainly should not "think" to devise art images or craft inanimate objects from earth’s substances to represent His nature (Acts 17:29, NKJV).
The Jewish apostle to non-Jews declares the idols, religions and philosophies of man’s devising; ‘“these times of ignorance God overlooked’” have come to an end spiritually speaking and in days soon to come, all dimensions of existence. For God ‘“now commands all men everywhere to repent’” and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ--that He died on the cross for our sins, was buried and on the third day after rose again--so that He might righteously forgive our sins and cause us to escape the Day of His wrath to be brought by Christ which His resurrection from the dead guarantees (Acts 17:30-31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11)! This is that same Jesus; God in the flesh born at Bethlehem in Israel who Christians celebrate at Christmas (Luke 2:1-20; John 1:1-18)!
The Lord Jesus Himself declares, ‘“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,’” (John 14:6, NKJV). Consistent with the Ten Commandments, He taught redeemed men are to ‘“love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,’” (Deuteronomy 5:6-10, 10:12-13; Mark 12:29-30, NKJV). Surely, this is the heart of every aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ!1 For a man to love and honor anyone including his parents, wife, children, siblings, his life or anything more than Jesus Christ is idolatry and disqualifies him from being His disciple (Luke 9:18-26, 14:25-26; John 14:15).
Similarly, the Lord also taught that a servant cannot be fully devoted to two masters. Both would rightly require love and loyalty. But because the servant is not able to give total love and loyalty to both masters, he ends up hating and despising one of them (Luke 16:13). There is also the matter of mental health consequences since James later writes, “a double-minded man” is “unstable in all his ways,” (James 1:8, NKJV). All of the first century Spirit-filled apostles of the Lord fully devoted themselves in love to and faithfully preached the Gospel about Him. They were also willing to suffer and die standing on the truth that the name of Jesus was the only name by which men can be saved from the coming wrath of God (Acts 4:1-22, 5:12-42).
Therefore, while God has given free willed men the privilege to choose if they will obey the Gospel and be saved or not, He does not allow a man to hedge his religious bets to serve Him and other gods too in that demon inspired Athenian spirit. He calls everyone to make a choice: Christ or the gods, religions and philosophies of men? In the likeness of Joshua, every aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ elects to serve Him alone understanding the ‘“gate”’ to eternal life is not wide, but narrow and sparsely populated (Joshua 24:14-15; Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV)! Such men also rejoice in having made the right decision seeing by faith the aftermath of God’s Day of wrath foretold in His Word (Psalm 96-98; Zechariah 14:9). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
1 Learn more about the heart of the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, available at all major internet
booksellers and in the Strong Man Store.
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