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 Finishing what I started

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Number of posts : 104
Registration date : 2007-06-30

Finishing what I started Empty
PostSubject: Finishing what I started   Finishing what I started Icon_minitimeThu Nov 01, 2007 2:55 pm

I was on the phone with an old friend the other day. He had also been playing at "Calistone" (as it has been now dubbed) and told me that he had been grieved by something I had shared from the stage, and as we spoke he brought up a good point which ironically enough was very close to the point that I had wanted to make before I was cut off, and so as sort of a matter of “clean-up” for any who may have been in attendance I’d like to finish what I had set off to say.

As a matter of background, this was not actually during the performance. This was something that happened while doing a brief sound check as we came on stage.
Something wasn't quite right with the monitors and so while the guys worked hard to figure it out I took advantage of an open mic.
Of course once they got to a certain point it was time for me to be quite and let them finish up…but I, myself, never got to finish up.

My friend is very concerned about the issue of holiness. He is of the opinion that many (most) who call themselves believers will be going to Hell because they are unwilling to keep God's commandments.
Where we part company is in the belief that "enduring to the end" means that our salvation is a moment by moment thing that is never really obtained until we are sized up in the end based on our performance. In effect, no one is ever really "saved".

As he spoke and I listened, I interjected here and there to remind him of certain points of which we are all aware that will in time bring down the logic behind this common heresy.
I know him well enough to understand how he got there and have known for years that the Lord would be speaking to him on the topic of holiness eventually. He has had some "bad Kool-Aid", but he will recover.

However, I have found that it is always important to carefully listen to any rebuke and to consider it's merit even if portions of it are easily dismissed. "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater" as the saying goes.
And so, as follow-up to what my friend had perceived as an endorsement for "Easy Believism" I'd like to publicly clarify my position to anyone who may have been in attendance.

His cage had been rattled by the comment that God is rich in mercy and grace, and that our works will not be the reason we get to Heaven. This is where I had been interrupted and I see nothing wrong or heretical in that statement, however, this was not the point I had wanted to make. Others had already spoken on the topic of holiness that day and my feeling is that while motivation is good, practical instruction needs to follow.

One of the greatest revelations God has re-affirmed in my own life, to which my friend was in full agreement, is the power and the truth of God's Word.
Out of context there are people who want to claim homes and cars and manner of property in the name of Jesus citing various verses about the blessings available to us who believe.
Oddly enough, the break down seems to come when we start to speak of holiness. For when we get to the topic of holiness these same people who are willing to stand on the power of God's Word for personal gain are quick to hide behind verses about the grace of God and Paul's personal struggles with sin.

What if we were to flip this on its head?
What if we were to look at the thorn in Paul's flesh, the life of poverty most of the disciples endured, the horrific deaths of the martyrs, all as examples of what life just might look like for people who wish to walk closely with God…and in contrast to personal gain, Christ becomes my righteousness in a dynamic way! I can be faithful because Christ is my faithfulness.

When all is crashing in around me I can be clear and at peace for I have the Mind of Christ! I can overcome any sinful behavior and live in full accordance with the law, not because I have the power, but because He who is sinless dwells in me!
See what I'm saying? The righteous deeds are not what gets me there, they are the fruit and evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in my life! And this is where the Western Church and our American Dream, the pursuit of happiness, has perverted the gospel. Jesus is not the means to an end. Jesus is the "end" and the joy is merely an evidence of that "end".

It isn't difficult to discern which of these two perspectives is, "loving the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and strength", and which amounts to pure selfishness.
If the thing that brings the greatest joy to my heart is pleasing the Father, then I'm seeking, knocking and asking for the things that please my Father's heart.

So let me end by saying that I am not promoting "personal holiness" as an end to itself. This is not about scoring "brownie points" as some might imagine. I'm not working, "to get in good with the big guy..." That was the mistake the religious leaders of Jesus day had made. It will require humility to obtain the power to overcome, and the fruit will be a grateful/gracious heart.
Again the goal is learning to love God. And what pleases the Father's heart is when we, in faith, allow the Spirit to rule and reign. Holiness is what that looks like…and love, and grace, and mercy.

If this evidence is at work in your life then you are already secure in your salvation and you don't need any arguement of men to make you feel better. Wink
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Torch & Sword

Number of posts : 9
Registration date : 2008-01-31

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PostSubject: Re: Finishing what I started   Finishing what I started Icon_minitimeTue Feb 12, 2008 3:10 pm

I see where you are coming from, but I probably see where your friend is coming from too. Sorry for the long reply. I will post this in a new thread to get a few others involved in the discussion. I would like it to stay friendly though. Just thought I would put a couple of post from other forums that are interesting and can go along with what you are saying here:

Post One:

I know a missionary that in Mexico that if he is seen with a deck of cards or a pair of dice, his reputation will be shot and his ministry greatly hindered. This will result in thousands not being saved. The people he is reaching live in the jungles of Mexico and have never even heard of Jesus. So anyway, he doesn't feel there is anything wrong with a deck of cards or dice in board games etc....but he loves the people there enough to lay down his freedoms for the sake of winning souls.

I am not shooting this at anyone at all, but there are people I know in the area I live that would never give up there freedoms for the sake of winning some. I believe that is very selfish and sad. In the area I live, if I was to use profanity (including what the h_ll), drink, smoke, etc....I would lose my witness as a Christian. It is that simple. This would cause all the people I could win to the Lord to not be won, and them to end up in hell. Is it scriptural to care of others and their eternal state more than our own selfish desires? Of course,

1Corinthins 8:
1. Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
2. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know;
3. but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
4. Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.
5. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,
6. yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
7. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
8. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.
9. But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.
10. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?
11. For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.
12. And thus, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
13. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble.

I think Christians need to quick being selfish and quit compromising. Many know some things they are doing aren't right, but they keep on. Come on man, people are watching and calling Christians hypocrites because of it. I want to live in a way that people will say, "maybe some Christians are hypocrites, but I know one who isn't."

Post Two:

Well, I guess that is the mentality of a lot of people. Me and others are continually witnessing in our areas on the streets and hear people say things like "I know Christians that go to church with hangovers, cheat on their wives, use profanity, get drunk, etc...If they are going to heaven, I sure am!"

So that is why I have a problem with the fakes. People aren't getting saved because of them! If people were really Christians, old things would pass away and all things would become new.

I don't agree in the least that all Christians are hypocrites and that we should ever justify sin. The doctrine that all Christians are hypocrites is a doctrine from the Church of Satan. The aposlte Paul says some things regarding a "brother" that is living in sin:

1Corinthians 5:
1. It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife.
2. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst.
3. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.
4. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5. I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
7. Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
8. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;
10. I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world.
11. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler not even to eat with such a one.
12. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
13. But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

There is a lot of strange teachings in America and have been for years. I believe this has resulted in the story of the Wheat and the Tares which I will post below this comment. A tare looks exactly like wheat. The only way to tell the difference is to wait until harvest time. The wheat will produce grain (or fruit symbolically) at the top, and therefore will bow over from the weight of it. I believe there are many calling themselves Christians in this nation, but are not. They may believe they are because they were told so, grew up in church, or said a little prayer one time to get someone off their case. God knows there hearts and will separate the wheat from the tares just as this prophetic parable shows.

There should be some fruit to see if someone is really born again. Matthew 3:8. "Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance;

Parable of Tares and Wheat
24. He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
25. "But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away.
26. "But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.
27. "And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'
28. "And he said to them, `An enemy has done this!' And the slaves said to him, `Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?'
29. "But he said, `No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them.
30. `Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

I am not going to fight with people. through this forum. I am just sick of having such a hard time witnessing because of hypocrites calling themselves Christians living in unrepentant sin. I wish they would choose which god they are going to serve.

The below passage shows that Jesus has a problem with hypocrisy. The attitude that all Christians are hypocrites is one of the doctrines of the Church of Satan as I mentioned before. I don't think it belongs in the church of Jesus Christ.

Pharisaism Exposed

1. Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2. saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;
3. therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them.
4. "And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
5. "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries, and lengthen the tassels of their garments.
6. "And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7. and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi.
8. "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.
9. "And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
10. "And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.
11. "But the greatest among you shall be your servant.
12. "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Seven Woes
13. "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14. ["Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, even while for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you shall receive greater condemnation.]
15. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16. "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.'
17. "You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold?
18. "And, `Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering upon it, he is obligated.'
19. "You blind men, which is more important, the offering or the altar that sanctifies the offering?
20. "Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it.
21. "And he who swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it.
22. "And he who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
23. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
24. "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
26. "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
27. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
28. "Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30. and say, `If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31. "Consequently you bear witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32. "Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers.
33. "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?
34. "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,
35. that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36. "Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

It is very scriptural to "Examine Ourselves" and make sure that we are truly in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13: 5. "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test?"

Please don't put a reply unless you are going to actually read the whole post I made. I just want the world to see a difference in us that are called to be different. If you are not different than the world, why should I or others believe that you are a Christian? Is it just because you say so? I don't think that is going to work for most people out there.

If people get out on the streets and witness, I think most will start to see what is being talked about here. By the way, I do sincerely and deeply love Neon Cross. You guys have ministered to me since I was a kid. Thanks for that.
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Number of posts : 48
Age : 50
Localisation : Arlington, TX
Registration date : 2007-08-06

Finishing what I started Empty
PostSubject: Re: Finishing what I started   Finishing what I started Icon_minitimeFri Mar 07, 2008 9:40 am

I think we have to consider that most Americans would consider themselves Christians . . . even though they don't really know what that means. They go to church some of the time and tithe every once in a while. They're the ones who tell the pastor that he really zinged it to them.

And then there are those who go to church as often as they can. Going to Bible study groups and getting involved in the life of the church. When the pastor zings one, they know it's aimed right at them. These are the ones being disciples of Christ.

Those of us who are disciples need to reach out to those others in the church who aren't realizing what it means to be a true disciple (or tr00 for those unblack metallers Very Happy ). We are called to make disciples and we need to do so.

To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite artist, Steve Taylor:

Can't understand those Christians so
You type us all in stereo
They're hypocrites, they're such a bore
Well come on in, there's room for one more
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Torch & Sword

Number of posts : 9
Registration date : 2008-01-31

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PostSubject: Re: Finishing what I started   Finishing what I started Icon_minitimeWed Mar 12, 2008 2:26 pm

[quote="Jeffdls"]I think we have to consider that most Americans would consider themselves Christians . . . even though they don't really know what that means. They go to church some of the time and tithe every once in a while. They're the ones who tell the pastor that he really zinged it to them.

And then there are those who go to church as often as they can. Going to Bible study groups and getting involved in the life of the church. When the pastor zings one, they know it's aimed right at them. These are the ones being disciples of Christ.[quote="Jeffdls"]

I like that a lot. I heard a stat that 80% of Americans call themselves Christians. Just thought I would throw that out there. Thanks for this post. Very cool.
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