There is no other way to say it but directly: those of you who have been and are being taught by whomever Jesus Christ is only lowly, meek and mild are being deceived! Truly, by His own testimony the Lord Jesus does invite persons weary and heavily weighted down from the “labor” of life in sin and religion to “Come to” Him, “take” His “yoke upon” themselves “and learn from” Him because He is “gentle and lowly in heart.” In doing as He says, these persons “will find rest for” their “souls,” (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV). To the humble, He presents Himself gentle and humble. But the proud in their sins should beware; this same Jesus holy and strong is King and Judge of all mankind!1
Even His Personal advance man, John the Baptist, was concerned if in fact Jesus of Nazareth was Israel’s long awaited Anointed of God--her promised King and Deliverer. After sending back word to John, the Lord essentially gave his eulogy and followed this sharply rebuking three cities of the Galilee that had been privileged to see many of His mighty works of power including Capernaum where His ministry was headquartered (Matthew 11:1-24). Then, the Lord Jesus prayed to His Father in the hearing of all present and on the basis of Their mutual knowledge and relationship, immediately pivoted to His hearers to issue the invitation cited in the opening of this post (Matthew 11:25-30).
Their King stood in their midst loving on them, but they did not receive Him because He did not fit their preconceived profile nor subscribe to their practice of external religion that blinded them as evidenced by what happens in Matthew 12:1-45. He invited faith in Him by the same kind of humble persons He had previously called “Blessed” in a sermon proclaimed to those assembled to Him on a mountain (Mathew 5:1-6, NKJV). Gentle and humble as “The Lamb of God” is part of the character and demeanor of Christ He still presents to those at this very hour that come to Him humble and broken in their sins (Psalm 51:16-17; John 1:29; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Peter 1:18-19, NKJV).
Unfortunately, either through genuine or willful ignorance or purposeful deception, many have portrayed the Lord Jesus as only “The Lamb” or worse, still the cute, harmless “Babe” in the manger. This has led to many false teachings such as Christ being not just tolerant, but accepting of biblically defined sin, His endorsement of other gospels including that built on covetousness for prosperity at all times and syncretism that seats Him at the table with religious figures and idol worshippers antithetical to His Word. And as if these were not enough as examples, many professed Christians deny God's Word denying Christ is now, “the Judge of all the earth,” (Genesis 18:25, NKJV)!2
Blinded by flawed presuppositions, reading into Scripture, purposeful corruption of the same and personal desires for what they want Christ to be, the false teachers also fail to see who He is in fullness not only as “The Lamb of God,” but “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David,” (2 Samuel 7:12-17; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:30-33; Revelation 5:5-6, NKJV). Validated by His resurrection, in strength and manner of a warrior He commenced issuing commands out of His delegated royal authority and continued reigning from the throne He shares with His Father upon being seated after His ascension (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:4-11; Ephesians 1:15-23)!3
To this hour the risen Christ reigns and as Judge is directly responsible for giving authorization for every judgment that has been and will be carried out on earth just as His Father assigned Him (John 5:24-30; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Revelation 20:11-15). He judges with the ready mercy He displayed at Sodom, as foretold of and taught by Him (Genesis 18:23-33; Isaiah 11:1-5; John 7:24).4 Thus, not the righteous or the unsaved humble He foreknows will come to Him need fear. It is the proud wicked to include religionists who resist the Gospel and insult His Person and cross by inventing other ways for folk to come to God besides Him that have much to fear at His soon coming in wrath (John 14:6; Acts 4:8-12; 1 John 2:18-23).5
A proud, overzealous religionist and Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus came to understand something of the terror involved encountering the risen Christ in His glory. In persecution of Christ’s followers, he was on his way to Damascus, Syria to round up and bring any back to Jerusalem in chains. A light “suddenly” engulfed him “from heaven.” “He fell to the ground and heard a voice” not gentle in tone, but resolute and full of authority. The Speaker identified Himself as “Jesus” and Saul “trembling” addressed Him “Lord,” (Acts 9:1-8, 22:6-11, 26:12-15, NKJV). Jesus in royal posture and fearful roar will be gloriously revealed from Heaven for all to see with the foretold results (Jeremiah 25:30-31; Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 1:7-18, 6:12-17, 19:11-16)!
When He comes, He as King and Judge will reign as He has from His resurrection; doing so in His whole eternal character and demeanor as foretold in prophetic Scriptures.6 For example, Psalm 99 declares His universal worship alone as “the LORD our God” and repeatedly emphasizes His holiness (vss. 1-3, 5, 9, NKJV). In His strength He loves justice and sees that it is administered with equity and righteousness; giving His laws as He once did with the saints of old (vss. 4, 6-8). Indeed, He will not be defeated in bringing forth justice for all (Isaiah 42:1-4)! This reality precludes the resumption of abominable idolatry, sorcery, sexual immorality, lying, exploiting and oppressions of any kind during His reign for He “will be a swift witness against” the guilty as Judge (Malachi 3:5-6, NKJV).
1 Read the three-part post beginning January 29, 2017, Jesus, Son Of Man, under the category, The Cause.
2 The Lord did not lose touch with any of His eternal designations or former experiences as deity in His permanent incarnation as the Man, Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, in
Genesis 18:25 Abraham spoke truthfully in that moment of His eternal standing as God the Judge and also prophetically, as the Man his future Descendant since He
stood before him in Human form (John 8:56-59)!
3 As the second Adam, Christ gloriously reigns fully God and fully immortal Man! See the August 11, 2019 post, The Man From Heaven, under the category, Glory To God!
4 Read the two-part post beginning July 18, 2021, God: No Repentance, No Peace, under the category, Call To Repent.
5 See the March 28, 2021 post, The Righteous Wrath Of God, under the categories, Bible Prophecy and The Cause.
6 I present Christ’s blended character and demeanor of Lamb and Lion as that of the Strong Man of God and what the Father wills to conform His adopted sons to as His
image in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. The book and companion Strong Man Of Men’s Group Study are available at your favorite internet book
seller and in the Strong Man Store.
As the Lord leads, I write to encourage the hearts of His faithful saints in the aftermath of my posts from July 4, 2021. In particular, I remind you that all we temporarily now, and will suffer through to the end of our mortal lives or the return of our Lord Jesus Christ is worth it since we are richly rewarded by Him eternally (Romans 8:18)! Until then, you know that it is our privilege to suffer to whatever extent we do in His likeness and cause to His glory (1 Peter 4:12-16). Trust me; I already know this is easier said than done. Yet, this is God’s will for us in spite of the falsehood in much of American Christianity that makes personal dream fulfillment, health and material prosperity its focus.
What exactly are we suffering for at the end of the day as Christians? Is it not for the sake of Christ as His followers and the Kingdom of God He represents as King and Judge?1 Yes, and He does not deceive us about the cost of following Him until He returns to bring the Kingdom of God to earth declaring plainly to all: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross (an instrument of suffering and death), and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, NKJV). Moreover, He soberly urges such ones to “count the cost” which is very steep in prioritizing first love for and sacrificial service to Him in His Kingdom causes (Luke 14:25-35, NKJV).2
This is just as He also lived and served His Father during His earthly sojourn; suffering the agony and humiliation of being crucified naked on a Roman cross to bring about our salvation as foretold (Psalm 22:1-18; Isaiah 53:1-9; John 3:13-17, 19:28-30). As our example in everything, He who insists we be prepared to suffer for Him and His Kingdom causes, suffered first and far greater than any of us that follow Him ever will (Matthew 10:16-33; John 15:18-25; 1 Peter 2:18-25)!3 Thus, as those redeemed for the Kingdom we suffer for its present message in the Gospel from God calling mankind to repent of sin and believe on King Jesus for salvation (Luke 24:46-48; Acts 17:30-31)!
Too, we suffer now, as He did for the Kingdom’s transcendent eternal principles, morality and ethics well articulated in the Bible (Psalm 119:89; Luke 21:33). God has given men freewill and the right to refuse the Gospel and Kingdom. Stirred by demons and hardened in heart by sin, many who reject the Gospel and Kingdom are not simply content with rejection, but feel it necessary to persecute believers among other wicked motives to justify themselves. The uncompromising stand of the faithful our God is “the only true God,” His Gospel the only means of mankind’s salvation and His Word the sole “truth” infuriates them (Isaiah 43:10-13, 44:6-8; John 3:18-21, 17:1-3, 14-17, NKJV).
Atheists, other secular unsaved, jaded unbelieving professed Christians as weak or outright false brethren and religionists along with apostates persecute the faithful around the earth with hostile mockery, scoffing, exclusion from family and community relations as well as support, destruction of personal and church properties, incarceration, physical violence and martyrdom as foretold. As also foretold, however, God will vindicate the suffering His saints have endured and our long wait in faith since the 1st century A.D. for it beginning with the destruction of counterfeit Christianity’s mother (Revelation 17:1-19:4). This is followed by Christ’s glorious return (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)!
On that special one of a kind day, God in Christ will show the world how much He valued the faithfulness of His saints by glorifying us for all to unavoidably see. For the dead in Christ that are raised and His mortal remnant will receive from Him their immortal bodies aglow with the brilliant eternal glory of God shining from them against the backdrop of the darkened heavens as we obey His summons to join His glorious presence in the sky (Isaiah 13:9-10; Daniel 12:2-3; Zechariah 14:5b-7; Mark 13:24-27; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)! For most of the unsaved on that day, our eternal glorification will be among the last things they see alive on earth.
Gentile survivors with the protected elect Jewish remnant will see our reign with Christ over this earth and universe follow our glorification and full outpour of divine wrath (Daniel 7:13-14, 21-22, 27; Revelation 7:1-8, 20:4-6). We will reign as kings and judges as with all things pertaining to the eternal Christian life, in the image of Christ!4 This is exceedingly greater than Noah and Lot’s after wrath experiences! So then, let the faith in our God of the faithful--even every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ--take to heart all He has promised us as vindicating victory and be comforted in “the whole counsel” of His Word (Acts 20:27, NKJV).5 This is as I wrote to you in a previous word of encouragement.6 Our suffering for Christ is not in vain (James 5:7-12).
1 Read the August 1, 2021 post, Jesus Christ King And Judge!, under the category, Instruction.
2 See the two-part post beginning August, 18, 2019, Lined Up Behind Jesus, under the category, Instruction.
3 See the two-part post beginning May 17, 2020, Persecution, Hatred And Betrayal and Persecution Of American Christians Intensifying on November 29, 2020, both under
the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the July 19, 2020 post, Ruling The Earth Under Christ, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
5 As I write in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ are the Lord’s faithful! The book and
companion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study are available at your favorite internet book seller and in the
Strong Man Store.
6 See the August 16, 2020 post, To The Word Of God!, under the category, Encouragement.
Let it be absolutely clear as of first importance that the value of women to God is exactly the same for the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Man! As the Head of every man immediately under Him in God’s order of mankind and Creator, the Lord Jesus also gives full support to the divinely designed value of women to men and families (Matthew 5:27-32; Mark 10:1-16; 1 Corinthians 11:3). Truly, in condescending to become a Man conceived in His mother’s womb, birthed, nourished and nurtured by her, He has firsthand knowledge and appreciation of the experience of His creatures as well. He was raised as any other Male by Joseph and Mary in a Jewish family (Luke 2:21-24, 39-52).
During His ministry years, women were equally with men the beneficiaries of the messianic preaching, teaching and miracles of the Lord Jesus. Indeed, He modeled for all men the disposition God expects of us toward women as a leader, teacher, provider and protector (Luke 4:31-44, 7:1-17, 36-50). Women were well represented among the throngs that flocked to the Lord; becoming devoted disciples and helpers as major supporters (Luke 8:1-3, 10:38-42; John 12:1-8). However, in accord with His Father’s will in the divine order of mankind, the Lord did not appoint any women to become apostles as I explain in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics (Luke 6:12-16).1
The intense love and devotion women are historically known for showed toward Jesus even after His crucifixion resulting in them being the first recorded mortals to hear the news and see Him alive from the dead (Luke 23:50-24:10; John 20:11-18). There is no such thing as coincidence for the God I serve with my whole heart! Thus, to make this last post discussing the value of women to Jesus Christ on Pentecost is completely a God thing since I did not plan it this way. On this day nearly 2,000 years ago female followers of the now, ascended Christ, were also assembled with the apostles who by divine will had just picked the male replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:12-26).
Surely, Mary, the mother of the Lord or other faithful women who had followed Him from the beginning of His ministry would seem to have been prime candidates as well to replace Judas as an apostle. But the Lord did not give any sign whatsoever of a change in men alone being appointed apostles as was given to Peter at a later date concerning him as a Jew interacting with Gentiles (Acts 10:1-29). Nevertheless, when the Holy Spirit arrived as promised by Christ, He came upon all of the firstfruits assembly without discrimination; all spoke in ecstatic praise of the ‘“wonderful works of God’” not having learned, but using the known languages of the Roman Empire (Acts 2:1-13, NKJV)!
Of great significance about the crowd that had gathered to this miraculous occurrence, was the fact it was largely composed of men. This is because the “Feast Of Harvest” or “Weeks” also known as Pentecost was of the three solemn gatherings in the seven holy feast calendar God had expressly commanded that all the men of Israel were to be present (Exodus 23:14-17, 34:22-26; Deuteronomy 16:9-12, 16-17; Acts 2:5, NKJV). When it came time to explain what was going on and preach the Gospel to begin God’s full harvest of souls among the assembly of mostly male prospects, it was Peter that did so, though again, Spirit-filled women were present and could have too (Acts 2:14-41).
Clearly, God was continuing to be consistent with implementing His order of mankind from Adam! Men are His chosen leaders and He did not change this at the onset of the New Testament era.2 3 As a result, from this beginning point at Pentecost with the Lord’s apostles (Acts 2:42) forward in the rest of the New Testament, formally appointed leaders, elders and pastors in the churches were all men. The ministry of deacons as formal helpers to leadership was made up of men in any oversight of church run operational or ministry activities, while in no shocker, women in their role as helpers served with their husbands to help them. Married or single, some women engaged in personal service and help ministries to church members and leaders (Acts 9:36-43; Romans 16:1-2).
The Holy Spirit was not confused nor should we be walking in Him! For when He fell on that first assembly at Pentecost without discrimination to give new birth to each disciple of Christ and power to praise God, He also distributed their spiritual gifts knowing the Lord’s will for each and honoring the divine order (1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:7-16). Therefore, just as the Lord used women to prophesy in the Old Testament, none of them including Deborah ever stood before the whole congregation of Israel to do so as Moses or Jeremiah (Exodus 15:20-21; Judges 4:1-14; 2 Kings 22:14-20; Jeremiah 7:1-2; Luke 2:36-38). Neither were women priests or worship leaders. All of this carried over into this New Testament era as the Spirit imparted spiritual gifts to women (Acts 21:8-9)!
The Lord gives women the ability to prophesy, preach, teach or exercise sign gifts according to His will that is always consistent with His eternal Word and standing order of mankind. Prophesy is addressed to individuals He may send the prophetess to or that might seek her out. It might also be combined with the leadership gifts of preaching for proclaiming the Gospel and God’s message or teaching for biblically instructing women and/or children in gatherings small or large. Service gifts supernaturally enhance a woman’s natural abilities to help their husbands and/or the churches serve the Lord’s Kingdom causes. To go beyond the Lord’s will is sin (1 Corinthians 14:33-40)!4 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics is available through all major internet booksellers, by order from your favorite brick and mortar bookstore and in the
Strong Man Store. I also discuss and elaborate on this issue as the Lord leads in the January 27-February 10, 2017 three-part blog series, Jesus, Son Of Man and in
a June 2017 series, The Value of Men To God and Jesus Christ respectively, all under the category, The Cause.
2 As the Lord leads me to contend in an Appendix of my book, all of the deceitful arguments that are presented within the churches to allow women to preach to, teach
and take authority over men within them in these latter days are all predicated on God having made a change of some kind in His attitude toward or implementation of
the divine order of mankind. This is preposterous not only because the divine order is perfect and beneficial to mankind in this present age, but also because among
other very important reasons it now includes Christ as the Second Adam and the Head of man! Read my April 8, 2018 post, The Second Adam Rules And Judges,
under the categories Call To Repent and Bible Prophecy to consider this point further. You can read my November and December 2007 two-part Commentary,
When Did God Change? to walk through the major arguments of deceit that have enabled rebellion against the divine order in God’s house.
3 Unless one is willing to call God “sexist” or “unfair” (which some feminists do, though, most are careful to attempt to cloak this blasphemy by directing their accusations
to those like me that would have the audacity to hold to God’s Word as it is written), there is no other option but to accept New Testament instruction and example as it
is. Doing so, of course, means feminism that opposes God’s order must be rejected because both approaches to human organization cannot be right at the same time
and are in fact, mutually exclusive. For more on calling God “sexist” or “unfair” read my May 8, 2016 post, God A Sexist?, followed the next week, May 15th with God
Unfair?, both under the category, God’s Creatures.
4 Since so much confusion swirls around the Word of God in these latter days due in major part to poor interpretation, our Ministry as a Christian service continues to of-
fer the free resource, Seven Principles Of Bible Interpretation the Lord led me to prepare to help those that honestly want to know how to interpret God’s Word. Distilled
from the excellent book, Knowing Scripture by Dr. R. C. Sproul that I urge you to get, our free resource is available in the Strong Man Store.
Having just spent time giving serious thanks to God for all of His blessings this Thanksgiving, the Lord again directs my attention to the persecution being suffered by my Christian brethren among many nations. Though I do not write a lot about the ongoing persecution of Christians, I stay regularly informed and prayerful for all. The aforementioned “all” includes not just the suffering faces of those in faraway lands such as North Korea and Nigeria, but increasingly, those enduring persecution in this Western hemisphere and our own nation. Truly, growing hostility toward and persecution of Bible believing Christians in America is a reality that can no longer be dismissed as only isolated.
As a supporter of similarly named, but organizationally unrelated Open Doors USA, our Ministry regularly receives their reports on what is happening among our persecuted Christian brethren around the world.1 Not only are our brethren suffering from family and community exclusion within the nations they live, but government harassment, arrests, unfair trials, incarceration, legally sanctioned mob violence and martyrdom. When the Christian men are targeted for incarceration or murder, it leaves their families to suffer. While Communist and Islamic run nations fill the list of persecutors, nations such as Christian Eritrea, Hindu India and Buddhist Bhutan are also prominent.2
It is about to get really real for those of us that profess to be Christians in America too. Intensifying opposition to the biblical faith once on the fringe of American society is going mainstream. Moral tenets of the faith once taken for granted as absolute and bedrock to American society are not only being challenged, but cast down as no longer acceptable. These are not just tenets governing marriage and family for example, but definitions of objective truth, right and wrong, good and evil as well as justice and injustice. In the wake of this swiftly moving river of moral upheaval, Christians that would dare stand firm for the moral tenets of our faith are suffering varying degrees of persecution.
Besides the “in-your-face” government policies and litigations to remove crosses and nativity scenes as public displays of Christianity to implement falsely believed constitutionally mandated church and state separation, some Christians have suffered being demoted or fired from employment because they had Bibles at their work stations or read them on breaks. And because many secular entities have a “corporate culture” now, that does not tolerate religious expression (though, they publicly trumpet “inclusion” and “diversity” as values), being hired a Christian with a social media presence may be very difficult and once hired, witnessing Christ to co-workers is out.3
American secular colleges and universities that have historically celebrated tolerating various viewpoints as a means in the process of vigorous, but polite debate to sharpen the thinking of young minds have in too many instances today, hung out the “not welcome” sign to a biblical worldview. Biblically conservative Christian students are routinely singled out and held up to ridicule for their faith. Christian professors do not escape either.4 The secular media regularly ignores and mocks Christians that hold to a biblical worldview being quick only to report on high profile “Televangelists” and “Megachurch Pastors” whose sins come to light, while social media giants resist them.5
As I have also commented in other posts, a number of American Christians have been purposely targeted and martyred in mass shootings such as the one at Columbine High School in 1999 along with churches as occurred in Charleston, SC in 2015 and Sutherland Springs, TX in 2017.6 In agreement with all other observers here, none of what American Christians have suffered to date compares with the daily egregious and violent persecution our overseas brethren endure--yet! Praying for “the persecuted church” like it is some disconnected entity that exists only in non-exceptional, often impoverished nations of the world is about to change as persecutors intensify their efforts in America.7 And why? It is their “hour and the power of darkness,” (Luke 22:52-53, NKJV).
For this reason, beyond seeking to sensitize us to the ongoing suffering of our brethren wherever they are as a primary reason for this post, exhorting faithful American Christians to spiritually, mentally and emotionally prepare for the kind of hatred fed persecution our overseas brethren experience is an important secondary reason since our Lord has warned it is to occur in “all nations,” (Matthew 10:16-39, 24:9, NKJV).8 Now, is the time to awake from arrogance and apathy to get ready for what our Lord foretells and assures will take place. Among the equipping resources available is my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics and related group studies.9 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 The organizational parent of Strong Man Ministries is Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. I was led by the Lord to found August 12, 1985. Read some of the
stories of persecuted Christians among the many countries on the 2020 World Watch List of Open Doors USA.
2 What many of our brethren overseas “normally” suffer from their persecutors has been intensified during the Lord’s Coronavirus judgment. As we are banding together
with other Christians to help and encourage one another here at home, the Lord would have us remember our suffering persecuted brethren in those faraway lands
with tangible support as well (1 John 3:16-18).
3 Sadly, our military as a work place is no exception. Read about the case of Chaplain Curt Cizek.
4 To learn more about the experience of Christians on American campuses read the following ACLJ, Beliefnet and IsChristianityTrue articles.
5 I can attest to the heavy-handed resistance of Facebook to biblically conservative ministries such as this one among the social media giants. “Likes” to our pages by
Christians mysteriously dwindle after I write blogs or make posts on their platform that are not politically correct, tolerant etc. which the Lord has had me call them on.
They want me to believe that just making better posts and spending more money to “boost” them will remedy the situation though, such has not been the case since
they also limit the reach of the same. For the record, I do understand a to be expected number of professed Christians that formerly liked our Facebook pages are sub-
ject to “unlike” them at any time as a show of disagreement with me. I get that, but not what Facebook is doing which lately has even taken away page likes whenever
someone has liked a post! I urge Christians that have liked our pages and those of other ministries to check back periodically especially if you have not received a post
in your newsfeeds for a time and re-like the pages if necessary. Also, enlist other Christians on Facebook to like our pages after you have done so.
6 Read for example, the June 8, 2014 post, And Then There Is The War, under the category, instruction. Revisit the cited respective church shootings at the following
links Charleston, SC and Sutherland Springs, TX.
7 See the November 12, 2017 post, God’s Throwaways?, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
8 Read the two-part post beginning May 17, 2020, Persecution, Hatred And Betrayal, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
9 A print copy or digital download of the book published by the Publishing Division of Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. with fresh editing in 2019 for greater clari-
ty and updated web addresses in the footnotes is available at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only).
You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store. Too, leaders can teach, disciple and equip through The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and The
Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study also in the Strong Man Store.
I open Black History Month 2018 as the Lord leads yet again to speak the truth from His Word to professed Christian black Americans to inform our ongoing uplift in this and the three reposts that follow. Having been publically upbraided many times for speaking the truth in love, I do not relish naming names to address grave spiritual error that exists as impediments to our progress. However, in these instances, it was unavoidable. My Christmas Eve 2017 post entitled, “Hedging One’s Religious Bets,” under the category, Instruction serves as the general backdrop for this edited 2012 repost warning specifically about abandoning the faith that has brought us this far.
Originally Posted September 9, 2012
While awaiting my turn at the barbershop recently, I picked up Ebony Magazine--that ubiquitous print icon of the black community from my childhood--and once again encountered an approach to Christianity that has clearly become a liberalizing trend away from the faith of the Bible and our faithful Christian slave forefathers. Oh, the magazine still features prominent black religious figures and churches. However, as in most Western societies over the past generation, there has been an unmistakable shift away from honoring the unique message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the absolute truths and morality of biblical Christianity.
Today, what is frequently offered is a more generic, politically correct and culturally tolerant form of the faith as one of many possible means a person choosing religion as a path can make it work for them. As historically, pastors and churches are leading the way. A case in point is the May 2012 issue of Ebony I was browsing through that featured an article by Rev. A.R. Bernard, the founder and senior pastor of Christian Cultural Center out of Brooklyn, N.Y., entitled, 9 Habits That Lift The Soul.1 According to its set up information, the article is intended to help those wanting to “breathe new life into your spiritual journey” to do so.
This was a great set up and I actually began to read the article with hopes this “Christian” preacher would share some great biblical insights for those seeking what can only come from a personal relationship with the One, true God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God alone (John 14:6). But alas, in the opening sentence my discernment warning lights starting flashing off the charts. In introducing the nine principles to “keep stress and chaos at bay” he has taught members of his congregation, Rev. Bernard writes, “Although these principles are God-centered and Biblical, they apply in general, no matter what your belief system is,” (emphasis mine).
His nine principles are prayer, spiritual study, worship, solitude, giving and service, fasting, reflection, discernment and sharing your story. I will not go through them all, but the first three certainly do speak in a general way to persons of any religious persuasion, but makes some incorrect assumptions in a biblical worldview. He says, for example, “daily prayer is a way to practice an awareness of God.” On the surface, of course, this is true of praying to God. The problem here is with thousands of religions in the world, it appears this “Christian” preacher is falsely assuming as many non-Christians do that all of them really have the same deity or the deities are all equal.
He goes on to counsel not just talking, but listening to “God.” For Christians who take the God of the Bible at His Word that He is the only true God, this is excellent counsel (Isaiah 43:10-13, 44:6-8). But who will everyone else be talking and listening to? Of spiritual study Rev. Bernard says, “Every religion is based on its writings. Whichever faith you subscribe to, become intimately acquainted with the writings that inspire it.” Has God truly made thousands of religious texts among different peoples that all harmoniously present His essential truths and bring them closer to Him? No (Deuteronomy 4:5-14, 32-35; Psalm 147:19-20; Romans 3:1-2, 9:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)!
Concerning worship, Rev. Bernard writes, “This means practicing the sovereignty of God over your life. It’s a reminder that you’re part of something much greater than yourself.” Even atheists can get in on this since they “believe in the universal moral principles that govern humankind.” “Worship,” he goes on to say, “is about acknowledging the power of that which rules your life.” But while this all sounds noble, Jesus Christ says worship of God the Father is done in “spirit and truth” exclusively through Him (John 4:23-24, 14:6, 17:17, NKJV). What then are those outside of Christ worshipping?
No doubt for the sake of the liberal minded inventions of political correctness and tolerance in this 21st century, Ebony Magazine as so many other Western media and institutions of men feel obligated to speak broadly to the widest possible swath of humanity without offending anyone--anyone except Bible believing Christians anyway. However, for the record and those professed Christians that for whatever motive would attempt to create a generic Christianity for mass consumption, the Scripture is plain that Christianity is not a religious invention of man that is generic enough for non-believers to live out bypassing Christ, His cross and the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. To teach so is heresy and a doctrine of demons (Galatians 1:1-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-2)!
We preachers especially walk in Christ’s footsteps heralding the message He brought from Heaven to proclaim to humanity (Matthew 4:23). We do not have the right or authentic release ever from Christ to preach our own or any other message. If you are doing so: fear (2 Corinthians 5:9-11)! Our faithful Christian slave forefathers as aspiring strong men and great women of God did not practice some generic version of Christianity.2 They “got over” trusting solely in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ.3 They prayed to Him; they stood on His Word; they turned from idols, witchcraft and ancestor worship among other religious practices to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alone.
“We have come this far by faith” in the Lord God of the Bible and no-one else!4 Are we now so free and in with the world so good we can turn our backs on Him? Repent anyone who thinks so (James 4:1-10)! Or, do you also despise the example and lessons God has given through the written experience of Israel in the Bible (1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-19)? And with regard to enjoying real peace in a chaotic, trouble and stress filled world, let every seeker find it where it can only be found in Jesus Christ who is the “Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6; John 14:27, 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Find the article at Ebony.com.
2 Learn more about strong men and great women of God in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics available through all major internet booksellers, by order
from your favorite brick and mortar bookstore and in the Strong Man Store.
3 Read a previous Black History Month post, How We Get Over published on February 16, 2014 to understand what is meant by “got over.”
4 Step through the short presentation giving a biblical worldview of the black experience on The From Slavery To Victory Education Project Web Site Home Page at
With the awesome help of the Holy Spirit, I have presented a strong (if brief in this limited blog format) case for the value of men to humanity, God in salvation and His Kingdom cause in the Gospel as well as families. As a close to this special blog series on the value of men, I greatly rejoice to declare the selected words and actions of Jesus, Son of Man and Christ about His “brethren” from the Bible. Only here will I mention in a non-apologetic, matter of fact way for those offended because of attempting to see spiritual reality through rebel feminist constructed, egalitarian eyes, that Christ’s regard for men in no way diminishes females since His eternal good end includes them too!
Truly we are taught that spiritual reality and wisdom--to include what God has done, is doing and will yet do in the future--is only understood by those with the “mind of Christ” revealed to us by the Holy Spirit (John14:15-17; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, NKJV). In revealing the mind of Christ to us, the Holy Spirit fully draws from the Old Testament along with New Testament eyewitness accounts and instruction of the Bible He inspired (John 16:5-15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21)! As well, the Lord Himself comes near to reveal His mind, teach and direct us as promised (John 14:18-21; Acts 9:10-16, 10:1-16). O, the amazingly incredible, unsearchable and limitless ways of God!
Thus, the mind of Christ toward men is first abundantly seen in the Old Testament when for example, a thousand years before He appears on the earth in mortal form, He speaks through His Jewish royal forefather, David, and declares triumphantly at the end of His suffering and death on the cross: “I will declare Your name to My brethren,” (Psalm 22:1-22a, NKJV). Now, while the Psalm goes on to include expanding groups impacted by His Father’s deliverance (Psalm 22:22b-31), the risen Christ speaks of “My brethren” before all even as He does to the first persons to see Him--women--as He instructs them: “Go and tell My brethren…,” (Matthew 28:9-10; John 20:17, NKJV).
Jesus, Son of Man and Christ seeks out His earthly, Jewish brethren first as God’s fellow elect leaders, apostles and soldiers in the dangerous Kingdom warfare and cause for which He had just suffered and would now send them (John 20:19-23)! They would begin as He did with Jewish men as the first audience and heads of households charged by God to lead and teach them. For Jesus, Son of Man is the Anointed Savior-King of the Jews first, then us Gentiles (Isaiah 49:5-7; Acts 1:6-8, 2:36-39; Romans 1:16). With few exceptions conditioned by evangelistic opportunities, the pattern to reach men first and their households would persist among the Gentiles (Acts 10:17-48, 16:11-34).
The writer of Hebrews gets in on this and writes of the ultimate, eternal end of the Lord’s sufferings as “bringing many sons to glory,” (Hebrews 2:5-10, NKJV). He then speaks of how Christ who has done the work and those that are set apart to God as a result “are all of one;” the reason “He is not ashamed to call them brethren,” (Hebrews 2:11, NKJV). After this, the writer cites Psalm 22:22 and further celebrates this astounding truth by quoting from Isaiah 8:17-18 written 700 years before the Lord’s mortal sojourn; putting Him in the midst of His “brethren” voicing obvious delight in God’s redemptive purposes that brought them forth beginning with those of Israel (Hebrews 2:12-13, NKJV).
Indeed, the restoration cause of Christ in the Gospel goes well beyond saving mankind from sin in this present age as all important as this is as a first step. For Him as God and one of us, it is also about what follows salvation; the divine end game and exceedingly great spiritual reality He prayed for on the way to the cross. The opening up of the God Family to include adopted sons of God the Father and brethren for Christ from among Jews and Gentiles who share in His inheritance of life now through the Holy Spirit by faith (John 17:20-26; Romans 8:12-17; Ephesians 1:1-14, 2:11-22, 3:14-15); the fullness of His inheritance that includes resurrection for most, metamorphosis and immortal glory for all the redeemed at His Second Coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 35-57)!
We know that the present age assembly of His mortal brethren in the generic sense includes women. However, in the future, brethren after the metamorphosis that conforms the bodies of all to Christ’s own immortal body will be used without any qualification (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2).1 At last, the value of man to God as eternal sons and rulers in the divine image and likeness as declared at his creation is fulfilled (Genesis 1:26; Revelation 21:7, 22:5c). With His Father, therefore, the value of men to Christ is their redemption as sons, disciples and servants vigorously now engaged with Him in the perilous and risk filled Kingdom cause in the Gospel to restore others; bringing them as brethren with their households into the God Family and an eternal destiny!2
1 Read the July 10-31, 2016 blog posts under the category, God’s Creatures, where the Lord leads me to write about our coming bodily resurrection or living translation to
2 As an excellent supplement to this, the other three posts that preceded it and yes, those still to come dealing with men, I urge the reader to purchase my newly released
audio series, “I AM A MAN” available exclusively in the Strong Man Store. All proceeds go to help fund the work of Strong Man Ministries and our passionate cause to
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love,” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NKJV). The foregoing verses are among the final exhortations to the church at Corinth by the apostle Paul in a deeply sobering letter filled with instruction and correction. I pray these verses will find their mark in the heart of every professing Christian American that reads this blog and is searching for how to handle the morality shift of our nation that is retracting the welcome mat Christianity once had in a God pleasing way. To be sure, Paul’s exhortation does not sit well with our reflexive American cultural mind set to go on the offensive for our rights.
However, he is exhorting us to watch for something far superior to America in her best days; we are to watch for the glorious Second Coming and Kingdom of our Lord as He also taught (Matthew 24:42-44)! We are not to back up on Him in the face of opposition, but literally stand still in the faith--biblical Christianity as it is written! We are to be courageous and strong in the Lord while the opposition presses in on us laboring as aspiring strong men and great women of God in Christ’s image (Ephesians 6:10-20)! Finally, we are to do all of what we do in love--the love supernaturally supplied to us by the Holy Spirit--for fellow believers and those who hate us (Romans 5:5).
Presently, many professing Christians are not giving heed to the apostle Paul’s exhortation and have instead, chosen the American way of fighting--which in the right situation legally is not wrong. But what the Lord led me to write in 2013 about a business situation close to home here in Portland with many similar instances around the nation, I remain steadfast in conviction is not the right one to fight since discrimination violates God’s commandment to us and man’s law. Christians are not to show partiality or if you will, discriminate against someone’s person in making judgments (Deuteronomy 1:16-18; 1 Timothy 5:19-21). The subjects of the 2013 blog have since been penalized by the governing authorities for discrimination and others face similar consequences.
In this edited repost of that blog, I use the hurtful experiences I and most of those of my race with other racial minorities have had in being discriminated against in America as a backdrop to try in love to help my mostly white, conservative evangelical Christian brethren get this right going forward. Based on the Anglo-centric mail that I have received from some organizations, though, I see not only that this original word from the Lord through me as an ignorant black man was ignored, but it appears something sadly predictable as another part of the American way is occurring: discriminated against racial minority Christians are intended to be left to themselves.1 Seriously, racism to the end? Where’s the love? Even so, my God will thwart this evil too and prove His Word right (Acts 27:9-21).
Originally Posted March 3, 2013
I greatly empathize with the position Aaron and Melissa Klein who own the bakery, Sweet Cakes By Melissa here in the Portland area have taken not to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple. They have taken this position out of the biblical conviction that such marriages are wrong which of course, I also share. However, I do not believe they or any other Christian owner of a business open to the public has the right to refuse service to those whose lifestyle they morally disagree.
It would be one thing if this were a church or para-church organization and an immoral person came in demanding that these entities violate the tenets of their faith to allow the individual to become a member, be hired or receive services formally declared to be for Christians only. However, this situation is about Christians that own a business offering services to the general public without any stated restrictions (until now). By their own admission the bakery owners have gay customers and have served them previously.
As a black American, the whole situation is a painful reminder of the evil system of discrimination in this nation that legally permitted businesses to refuse service to blacks based simply on the color of our skin. If service was offered, blacks were humiliated in having to go to the back or side doors to receive it. Many of the white business owners then were good church members and believed they stood on Christian values in their discriminatory conduct as taught and reinforced by their leadership.
In shame, even many nominal white Christians today in honesty would have to admit this kind of targeted discrimination was morally wrong and unbiblical. Yet, many have stood to support the cause of this couple’s right to unlawfully discriminate (with thanks to God and the perseverance of those in the Civil Rights Movement, discrimination in public commerce and accommodations is illegal now) against two gay customers just because they want to marry each other which all Christians with a biblical worldview agree is wrong.
In line with the thinking of the late Chuck Colson and others concerned that we Christians hold to our biblical worldview in every corner of our nation’s secular culture, we are to engage unbelievers and rebels against the divine order in a winsome way. If Christians are going to open businesses serving everyone in the general public, they can be winsome about it for example, by using tactful signage that affirms in a positive way their standing as Christians with a biblical worldview. Their lifestyle, demeanor and conversation should also reflect the joy of relationship with Christ.
Any customers that come in know that this business owner is devoted to Christ and the Word of God and most will respect that. The few who do not respect this and want the Christian business owner to provide their product or service to them should be served in the love and humility of Christ who taught us to love our enemies and healed the cut off ear of one of the men sent to arrest Him (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 22:49-51). The message on a receipt for a product or service rendered can share the Gospel or for instance, read: “Served with love from the God who loves and forgives sinners!”
As I wrote back on December 16, 2012 in the Powerlessness Of Being The Minority, Pt.1, Christians are fast becoming a despised minority in America. Christian businesses which are important and strategic outposts for the Gospel do not need to incite our future persecutors by unnecessarily breaking the law through discriminating against them at this stage of things. In short, while I commend their willingness to take a stand, this is not a Rosa Parks moment for the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, other Christian business owners or Christians at large. If a Christian that owns a business open to the public cannot in good conscience serve same sex couples, close it down. Similarly, if thinking of opening a business with the same conviction, do not open it!
Truly, already Christians are being discriminated against and our values rejected by our once welcoming society (Matthew 5:11-12; Luke 6:22-23). We are not to return evil for evil (Luke 6:31; Romans 12:17-21). The foretold severe persecution just for being willing to confess Christ draws near. As aspiring strong men and great women of God we will have plenty of opportunities to take a stand for Christ and I hope many will in all faithfulness and obedience (Revelation 13, 14:9-13).
1 Examine the art work, photos and primary victims displayed in a sampling of white, conservative evangelical Christian publications addressing the impact cultural change is
having on largely white evangelicals. While most assuredly I appreciate what their proclaimed intentions are, in the 21st century, to call “an oversight” the failure to in-
clude the continuing fight against discrimination by all racial minorities, but especially their brothers in Christ as a related and worthy cause is beyond incredible. Of
course, being the president of a small non-profit, I do also see the fundraising dollars and cents of this “oversight.” Nevertheless, I hope our Christian readers from all
backgrounds will consider donating to our Ministry because of the fair, balanced and truthful way in the Lord I deal with everybody’s stuff including my own!
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