Tom, Dick, and Harry formed a ship-building company. Tom was a skilled structural engineer who specialized in designing and building ships. When he wanted to submit a bid to design and build a new tanker-freighter, he didn’t have the money...so he asked Dick and Harry to finance the project. They refused to do so unless they became equal partners with him.
When Tom showed his equal partners his design, they wanted to eliminate the bulbous section on the bow below the waterline because it was ugly. Tom explained the hydrodynamics in an effort to make them understand it was a very good part of the design. But both Dick and Harry were not only uneducated, they’d made their fortune by running a company that made ugly, cheap-but-functional wooden pallets (the kind forklifts move around), and they were determined to gain prestige by showing people they could build something “really classy.” There were a number of design features they wanted to eliminate, and a number of comfort and luxury features they wanted to add.
My grandfather, Boppo, was an engineer who built ships for the U.S. Navy. He taught his son, who then taught me, that “the most dangerous ship on which you can embark is a partnership.” And Tom (in the above example), who thought equality in his partnership was a wonderful concept, found out equality actually gives control to the ignorant and the stupid: No matter what he did, he could not convince Dick and Harry that they shouldn’t change one jot or tittle of his design. They always put it to a vote, and when Tom lost 2 to 1, they’d say, “Don’t worry; two heads are better than one.”
Tom was frustrated and angry. He realized Dick and Harry had good intentions, but they simply lacked the ability to understand either the finer points of nautical engineering or the big picture that, as many Christians in England said when the Puritans were overthrowing the king and forming a democracy: “The foot taketh upon itself the part of the head.” Tom realized he needed to be the single head of the company because two of the three heads of the existing multi-headed company were dragging it down – and they had no idea it was happening! He realized the fatal flaw of equality is it handicaps those whose knowledge and understanding make them better able to make wise decisions (like him), and it puts the real power into the hands of the majority (Dick and Harry) whose ignorance makes them the least capable of making informed decisions. Tom liked his partners; they were good and sincere men. But their limitations were crippling his ability to properly function. As a complacent Christian who’d never really taken many parts of the Bible seriously, Tom began to understand why God designed living beings with multiple members...but always with a single head.
When Tom formed his company he thought making it a democratic partnership was a wise move. And when differences came up like the bulbous bow, when he realized his partners would never understand why in this case ugly was better, and therefore they would never agree/permit the design, in order to move on and complete the ship before the contractual deadline, Tom yielded to the majority. By the time the ship was completed there had been several disagreements with his partners that went the same way the bulbous bow disagreement went – because his partners could not understand the technical reasons behind the correctness of Tom’s design. Now that the ship was complete, Tom realized with the perspective of hindsight that the ignorance of “the majority” makes it blind and incapable of understanding the correctness of the intellectual minority. But the political weight of the majority combined with the carnal fact that they think they are right means – in actual practice – equality actually gives the real power to the stupid masses. Therefore, all of the compromises Tom had to make in order to “move on”, he now realized were actually “moving down.”
Tom had long been bothered by the fact that the educational system in the United States had been going downhill. He now applied what he’d learned from his little democratic partnership to American society in general and to schools in particular. It looked liked the intellectual few who ran the schools (people at the top of the social pyramid) had encountered the same fundamental problem he had when trying to deal with the mentally-average-and-ignorant majority (the bottom of the social pyramid): The absolute impossibility of making bottom-of-the-pyramid parents and students understand the importance of certain issues forced educators to make a series of well-intentioned “compromises” over the years in order to “move on.” (The battleground issues included the importance of proper parenting at home, and in school the necessity of discipline, authority, homework, passing and failing grades, enforcing proper conduct, reading, and writing to the educational process.) Tom suspected that the fundamental flaw in the educational system and in Western civilization was the theory that you get collective wisdom from the bottom-of-the-pyramid majority. It looked like, Tom thought, that Enlightenment theory (called “the Great [democratic] Experiment” in history) has been a main contributor to the “dumbing down” of every facet of society because whenever people allow equality and democratic social and political theory to tear down the authoritative vertical hierarchy that has existed throughout most of history...the result is chaos. And it will always be that way because the bottom of the pyramid will always be too dumb to understand and agree with the top of the pyramid. And the political power granted to the bottom of the pyramid by democracy ensures the inexorable “moving on/moving downhill” slide into chaos – no matter what. The U.S. f-ing Fathers thought/hoped providing the bottom of the pyramid with a completely free education would eventually eliminate the pyramid by truly making all men equal. But it didn’t work because it was all based on nothing but pagan mythology.
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He also thought about how equality affected the family. When his parents divorced, his grandfather told him women’s liberation was ruining marriages because it made wives equal to their husbands. It used to be that husbands were the sole head of the household, but now equality turned wives, who used to be members of the body, into competing heads: Now the household was a two-headed abomination with one of the heads (the husband) tending to be analytical, and the other (the wife) tending to be emotional. In the old days when the husband ruled his own house the wife didn’t argue...because she didn’t have that prerogative, it simply wasn’t allowed. But now equality has given wives, in practice, more power than their husbands – for the reasons similar to those of Dick and Harry above: equality effectively gives the weaker vessel more power than the stronger. That’s why, Tom’s grandfather said, so many Christian husbands now jokingly say things like, “Yeah, the Bible says the man is the head of household, but we know who really wears the pants in the family, har! har!” And that’s why so many couples now argue over so many things, even embarrassingly-trivial things: the emotional head now has the “human right” to turn the differences of opinion (that are natural and commonly-occurring) between analytical men and emotional women into huge fights. That usually did not happen before women’s lib because wives didn’t have that prerogative.
Yes, Tom realized, equality does have an appeal when viewed from a strictly ideological perspective. But in actual practice it has proven to be fatal to the family by turning the old vertical hierarchy into a horizontal entity with no real hierarchy and with the weaker vessels having the advantage – as illustrated by the modern liberation of children.
In the old days children had no “rights” and were therefore seen and not heard. And families did pretty well considering the fact that they were composed of imperfect humans. For example, when the mom ordered her children to do this or that, the kids – for better or for worse – bit their tongues and did it. They weren’t happy about having to clean up their rooms and do other chores...but they had no option because mom and dad were higher up the chain of command. In a way, families were like well-disciplined military units in which effectiveness and efficiency were the impressive result of people who knew their place, knew their jobs, and promptly did them without arguing with their bosses. But now children are stupidly believed to be equal – in spite of their tender age, lack of education, and lack of self control. Children now out-argue their parents...because equality gives the weaker vessels unequal power. Equality has made wives and children unequal partners – like Dick and Harry above.
Equality, which was once a nice pagan theory, has proven to be an abomination because it turns governments, societies, families, and military units into “equal partnerships” that are – in actual practice – nothing but disagreeing, bickering houses divided against themselves...and a house divided against itself divorces.
One day when Tom was thinking about how bad and wrong his multi-headed situation was from a Biblical standpoint, he realized why God is a dictating Monarch rather than a democratic public servant. That made him wonder if today’s democratic egalitarianism is itself an abomination to God because it mocks/subverts His authoritative system of vertical hierarchy by giving power to the lowest common denominator – the majority. Tom got on his knees and asked God for forgiveness, and asked Him to help him have enough faith in the Lord to honestly examine the equality-based fundamental principle of democracy: that you get collective wisdom when you empower the ignorant majority; that the hands and feet should join the head up there on the shoulders and have equal votes – just as Dick and Harry did with Tom.
And, because Tom was beginning to understand God’s consistency, he wondered if the issue of
old-fashioned, thus saith the Lord, take-Him-at-His-word-literally Bible study...which is based on faith
modern idea promoted by theology that committees of men should do their human best to figure out what God really meant to say...which is based on Reason
was nothing more complicated than the question of
should we get our doctrines from God
should we get them from committees of Bible-rejecting theologians?
Should we have a Single Head
should we have multiple-heads establishing doctrine?
And he wondered if the Bible version issue was part of the same question:
Is there one authoritative Bible version (identified by its inerrancy) that could establish doctrinal consistency if it were used,
should we assume that the multiple Bible versions (all known to be corrupt) that have produced contradictory doctrines, a proliferation of denominations and cults, and widespread unbelief in the existence of the inspired word of God are all somehow good?
These Biblical questions bothered Tom, so he asked a couple of buddies who were theologians if they thought the inerrant KJV represented the head at the top of the pyramid, and the corrupt modern versions represented the ignorant majority at the bottom of the pyramid. He asked if they thought tolerating/granting equality to the modern versions was actually giving them the ability to subvert/overrule the authority and effectiveness of the KJV. They listened to him with glazed eyes and told him it sounded like he needed to get a life or a hobby. A few days later he got up intending to do some serious Bible study. But, frankly, he was a little intimidated by the scope and importance of the topics, and he was unsure about how to begin. Then his doorbell rang, and his buddies said they were there to watch the football game with him. Over the next few days Tom gradually lost his sense of urgency about this topic in particular and about Bible study in general...and his life returned to normal.
As I matured as a Bible believer I came up with the title quote. I was merely articulating a truth I’d observed as my relationship with Christ broadened my understanding. Very briefly, here’s a logical buildup to the quote.
Loving self is bad, which is one reason we are to die to self. If I love self, I’ll someday put something I want ahead of Christ and what He says in his Book. Putting anything ahead of Christ is idolatry.
Therefore, in order to properly love Christ my love for Him must be greater than my love for self. Selfish love is bad. Love, in order for it to be true love, therefore, must be external (outward-directed) – it must be unselfish (not inward-directed).
Proper Christians love Christ more than self, and that unselfish love is pure because it contains or embodies the principles and characteristics revealed by the words in His holy Bible. Principles and character traits such as truth, loyality, purity, integrity, character, fidelity, honor, etc., are intangibles – they exist in our minds – but only in direct proportion to how much we value them above self.
If we don’t value principles above ourselves, any love we have is selfish – and therefore not real love. And that is one reason God’s inerrant literal word – line upon line, here a little and there a little – teaches us that Biblical love, which is the only true love, must contain the complete package of synonyms (p.H1-2)...without which the “love”, “faith”, “works”, “belief”, etc. are not real, and are not efficacious (1 Cor 13:1-3). That’s one of the ways the Sword/word of God discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts; it unerringly discerns whether or not the Biblical words out on our “periphery” (Trump W11) have been internalized to the point that they, as principles and characteristics, have become part of who we are. God’s inspired inerrant words really do exist, and we really must eat/internalize them by doing them in the wholeness of God’s synonyms. If we are faithful doers, those living words will reside in our hearts as fire shut up in our bones and we’ll not be able to refrain from our duty (Ezek 2:1-3:4,10,11; Rev 10:10,11; Jer 20:7-9; Jn 4:31-34; Amos 3:8).
I’m not the first one to think about all of this; Richard Lovelace was way ahead of me. Lovelace lived in England during the reign of King Charles I. He was a “Cavalier poet.” We know what a poet is, but some may not know a “Cavalier” (when it is capitalized) is a follower and defender of King Charles I. Lovelace fought for Charles against Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. As a poet, Lovelace wrote “To Lucasta” about a soldier bravely leaving home to go fight against Cromwell’s superior army (excerpted on the Wallpaper’s motivational Quotations Page). The soldier replied to his wife’s protests that he didn’t love her enough to stay home by saying:
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more.
The Lord deserves and demands perfection from us, His servants. Therefore imperfection in our service can be viewed as robbery, as denying Him that which He deserves. Young Christians often serve imperfectly because of ignorance, and when they have grown they look back and realize they (in deed, not intent) had rendered unto Him much that was imperfect; their service had been a series of blemished sacrifices made to a holy God whose love, strength, and mercy forgave those imperfect offerings.
In light of that we can see that Christian learning, Christian growth, and Christian repentance are synonyms. As a “mature” Christian, therefore, I realize that because I still learn more every day I am in a constant process of a form of repentance as I strive to become the kind of perfect servant He wants and deserves. In other words, Christian learning and Christian growth should not be taken lightly: Our love for the Lord should motivate us to zero in on everything in an effort to better understand how we can improve, how we can stop robbing Him of the kind of servants who fully glorify Him.
Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Biblical principles are intangibles; we can’t see them. But if we accept them by faith an interesting thing happens. As we study the Bible and obediently incorporate it into our lives our eyes are opened in a way that is amazing. As we look around at life on this planet, we see, and then understand, and then identify with the teachings and principles revealed in the Bible with such clarity and on such a deep and fundamental level that eventually we realize we neither want life in a world like this nor do we belong. We realize we truly have become strangers and pilgrims on earth...because of the undeniable and wonderful evidence of things not seen. The righteousness, order, and harmony of the kingdom of God are so perfect that the things of this world grow strangely dim...and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
His word is truth. His way is right and good and satisfying and fulfilling. And it only gets better. We reach the point that He is all we want, all we need, and all we hope for because we have absolutely no desire to live in the crappy, hypocritical, contradictory, unsatisfying, shallow, mindless nonsense that we increasingly understand this world to be. Every now and then a series of events causes such a strong reaction deep inside me that, among other things, I am able to objectively look at myself and, with thankful wonder (because faith and belief are concepts I have yet to fully grasp) realize I am a true believer!
My wife and I often react to current events in the news by shaking our heads with frustrated disgust and then saying something, for the millionth time, about how unscriptural and chaotic society is. And then I’ll sometimes say something like, “The Bible says, ‘He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh’, and you know what, I’m going to laugh with Him.”
The new man, born of the Spirit, feeds on all of this evidence of things not seen, and The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (Rom 8:16-25).
Yes, patience. But we are patiently waiting for Him with an eager, longing hope.
When we are reproved and rebuked by fellow Christians and/or by the Lord, we are supposed to respond by evaluating, learning, repenting, and growing:
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Many Christians today, however, are so selfish their reactions often indicate self-based disappointment rather than love for the Lord. Those selfish reactions are indications that their relationships with other Christians are not based on spirit and truth; their friendships are therefore more worldly because they are based on getting along and being alike. In fact, that’s why I prefer to refer to good Christians as comrades rather than as friends.
To me, friends connotes a relationship based mainly on liking each other. But the word comrades connotes a relationship based on devotion/fidelity to something or someone outside of the relationship. The Lord is – and must be – our common bond for all of eternity. In His service we shall find love, peace, satisfaction, and contentment. Notice I didn’t say happiness. I tend to not like the word happy because it is way too dependent on self, which in Christianity indicates shallowness, vanity, and carnality.
There have been many times when I’ve been – from the worldly standpoint of happiness – miserable: wallowing in self pity, rejected, misunderstood, and hated. And in spite of the pain inside, I thanked God for blessing me, and I made sure He knew I had “No regrets, Sir! No regrets!”
The Lord has used the things I’ve suffered to give me insights that have enabled me to understand how to better please Him and edify His people. No pain, no gain.
As comrades we all go through times like that – mostly alone, but sometimes together. And through it all we remain a band of brothers and sisters because as David so succinctly said just before heading out alone to face Goliath, “Is there not a cause?” (You’ve got to walk that lonesome valley, you’ve got to walk it by yourself. Nobody else can walk it for you, you’ve got to walk it by yourself.)
For us that cause is Christ. And we all learn by doing and enduring. And because doing and enduring teach us what it means to love the Lord and suffer anything for His cause, we recognize, appreciate, and respect any and all saints who demonstrate that kind of selfless fidelity to Him.
I’ll close with a verse I’ve used before because it’s such a perfect example of what I’m talking about. It says our comrades are those whose proper fear/love for God makes them glad to be around others who base their lives on the Bible:
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me;
because I have hoped in thy word (Psalm 119:74).
Notice: the verse has nothing to do with friendship, and everything to do with fidelity to the written word of God.
John 11:7,8 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judæa again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
In the above Scripture the Lord and His disciples have received word that Lazarus is sick. If we were to read only the above verses we might think the disciples were selflessly thinking about Christ’s welfare when they cautioned Him against going to a place He might be captured and killed. But when we read the following verses we see that the disciples weren’t so unselfish after all: they were afraid they would be killed along with Christ. And their selfish fear of death made them all later forsake Him when He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane.
John 11:15 ...nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Let’s tuck the above perfectly-natural self-centered reaction into the back of our minds and move on. I am now going to say something that is so astonishing and so shocking it will blow your minds away:
“Trusting in riches won’t save you; if you want to go to heaven you have to put your faith in God.”
Are you astonished? Are you shocked? Did I just blow your minds away? Are you now filled with such fear that you’re even wondering if you are going to heaven? No, of course not...because the above statement is not shocking. In fact it’s rather mild.
But theology teaches that the statement is astonishing beyond measure.
OK, now I’m going to tell you something else that theology says is so shocking it will astound you:
Back during the time of Christ the main gates of cities, including Jerusalem, were kept open during daytime in order to accommodate the large numbers of pedestrians, camels, sheep, goats, commercial carts, merchants, chariots, etc. But at night those main gates, which were quite large and wide, were closed for security purposes – so an invading army couldn’t rush in. But one or two small night gates were left open to accommodate the few people who might be out and about. For security purposes these gates were narrow enough to prevent military chariots and wide formations of soldiers from getting through. The night gates were just wide enough to allow large animals that were commonly used for transportation, such as camels, to squeeze through as long as they did it one at a time and in only one direction at a time. One of these gates in Jerusalem was named The Eye of a Needle.
And once again you find yourself disagreeing with theology: The above info does make sense and it is interesting...but no way is it mind-blowingly astonishing. Let’s ignore the fact that archeologists and historians have found absolutely no evidence that any night gate was ever named The Eye of a Needle in any city in the world, and let’s see what the literal word of God says.
The disciples were not shocked beyond measure when Christ said we should trust in Him rather than in riches, and they were not flabbergasted when He said the only rich men who are going to heaven are those who unload any bulky cargo from their camels and lead the cud-chewing animals through a narrow gate. But, even though Christ seems to be directing His comments at wealthy people, which would exclude His disciples, He did say something that hit His disciples right between the eyes. How do we conclude that? By reading how they reacted to whatever it was that Christ said:
Mark 10:25,26 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
Theologians want you to believe those who followed Christ were appallingly stupid: They claim that right after Christ spoke with a rich man, told him to get rid of his riches, was then rejected by the rich man, and concluded by saying it’s pretty hard for rich people to get into heaven, that the disciples, horrified by what they’d just heard, turned and asked each other, “Who then can be saved?!” That’s right, theologians think not a single disciple had the brains to say to his buddies, “Are you guys morons, or what!? Everything the Lord said was directed at the rich, which means the poor CAN be saved. Guys...that means people like us!”
People are people, and we all tend to selfishly think about ourselves. We noted in John 11, for example, that one of the reasons Christ’s disciples didn’t want Him to go to Jerusalem was they knew they’d have to go with Him and therefore they, too, might be arrested and killed. It is significant that the disciples did not react to whatever the full context of Christ’s talk about the eye of a needle was by patting themselves on the back and saying, “Yahoo! Lookin’ good for us poor folks!” No, in fact they did the opposite, and a clue as to why is: right after they failed to answer their own question about who then could be saved, Christ seems to abruptly change the subject from rich people to all people, which would include His disciples:
Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
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The “who then can be saved” reaction of the disciples, together with the fact that Christ did not say, “With rich men it is impossible...” suggests there was more said during this event than God chose to record in His Bible. And our earlier comparison with the selfish motives of the disciples in John 11 seems to be validated by what they say next, because what Christ told them made them fear for their own salvation:
Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
Why would God not spell it out for us in His Book? Did He sometimes speak in parables and write things in His Book so only they that put line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and they that have eyes and ears that see and hear would get it...but theologians wouldn’t? Yes.
What message should we get? Well, after we absorb the fact that Christ’s message scared off the rich man and caused His poor disciples to be shocked and frightened into asking “who then can be saved” and “but what about us!?”, we should then apply that info by being deadly serious about the war and about doctrinal correctness:
Luke 13:20-24 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened...Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
What could our Lord have told people about this war and about how few are going to be saved that would cause them to react with incredulity and bug-eyed fear? Well, He apparently elected not to spell it out for us. So I’m going to offer a possibility.
The rich man went to the Lord, called Him “Master”, and said “I’m a Commandment-keeping Bible believer; what else do I have to do to be saved?” Since nowhere in the Bible are we told to sell everything we have and give it to poor people, we might conclude that the Lord’s answer to the rich man was directed only at him and was intended to be a figurative slap across his smug and cocky face: The Lord read the young man’s heart, wasn’t impressed, was offended when the man called Him Master (He hates lip service), and decided to show him He was not his master: He told him to sell his stuff, and then to follow Him. And, as with many Christians through the centuries, there was simply no way the man was going to obey and follow Christ because he had his own life to live. And that is what (I think) the Lord’s overall talk was about: obeying and following Him by being a hearer and doer of what the Bible literally says. The vast majority of His children, from the garden of Eden until today, are simply not going to go through that needle’s eye (and we invented theology so we wouldn’t have to).
In reference to Luke 13 above: The Lord said the kingdom of God is like a big batch of bread dough that was leavened...and the leaven spreads until the whole thing is leavened. Then He went around teaching. Then He was asked if only a few will be saved. It may be that the Lord touched upon some of the “Recessive leaven” stuff covered in the War College Trumpets. But there is no proof of that. However, whatever He said about how many can be saved was so horrifying it made His disciples ask if they’d make it. I hope you can see why the Lord has made extensive use of culling over the centuries. And not only that: He has used extremely-horrifying methods of culling His leavened people in attempts to impress upon the rest of us just how serious, how deadly, and how close this war is.
Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
As a young Christian I went to a fairly large, several-day Christian seminar in a huge auditorium in a large city. It was put on by a man I seem to remember was fairly popular back then, but I didn’t – and don’t – know much about him.
Two things happened at the seminar that stuck with me. I’ll deal with the quicker, easier one today, and get to the more in-depth, thought-provoking one tomorrow.
The man illustrated our Christian growth by equating a newly-saved man to a house with many rooms. In a nutshell, a lot of rooms were cleaned out so the Lord could move in fairly quickly – at first. That meant the Christian was growing fairly rapidly...but also fairly superficially. The rate at which the remaining “personal” or “private” rooms were turned over to the Lord slowed considerably. Most Christians, we were told, never completely surrender all of themselves to the Lord; they always keep one or more rooms for themselves where they are in charge – not the Lord.
It was a good story and it made sense. I wanted the Lord to truly and completely govern me, so the story stuck with me. It didn’t make the battles within me any easier, but it was a reminder that I should never BS myself about how “surrendered” I was.
It turns out there are a lot (at least in my life) of what I’ll incorrectly call “little things” that we want to remain in control of. (I say incorrectly because a little leaven leavens the whole lump, an unclean object spoils whatever it touches, a whoring member of a body makes the whole body a harlot, one “little” sin still makes you a sinner, etc.) Whenever we hide something, steal, cheat, lie, “fudge”, don’t fully live up to our responsibilities, don’t help the church as much as we should...and a million other “little” things that nag at us for a while until...finally we forget about them and move on, we, in practice, are unfaithful wives selfishly (and short-sightedly) drifting from one “affair” to another.
When “little” things nag at us we should think of the Lord’s still small voice, which the guy at the seminar described as a gentle knocking on the door as the Lord reminds us that we still aren’t completely surrendered to Him. If the Lord were standing next to us, just about to announce His Second Coming, and watching to see what we’ll do, how we would act in that case is how we should act today. But we’ll only act that way if we are glorifying our Husband by completely submitting to His lead. If we resist His will, we make Him look bad because we have, in His name, done wrong by rebelling against Him by deciding to remain independent. In that instance we have taken His name upon ourselves in vain. And therefore, the very next time we try to end one of our prayers with in Jesus’ name, we hypocritical, self-centered, rebellious, lip-serving bitches ought to be as distraught as Peter was when the cock crowed...because we have denied Him!
HOW THAT LAST ROOM MAKES US JUST LIKE SATAN
I’m going to use Satan to illustrate what submissive obedience is...and isn’t. I hope this will help show how subtle-but-damning theology, rebellion, independence, equality, Reason, and leaven can be...and why they are so dangerously subversive.
Job chapter 2 illustrates something that is contrary to the way most Christians view Satan and his relationship with God: Satan and the other devils submissively go before the throne of God and make themselves available so He can give them tasks to carry out for Him. In other words, the devils – as servants – voluntarily offer to be doers of God’s will. The relationship between God and the devils is cordial; God asks what they’ve been doing, they tell Him, He asks about Job, and they discuss him. And then the Lord tells Satan that, short of killing Job (like he would later be permitted to do to Jesus Christ) he can do whatever he wants in order to test him.
That scenario does not suggest that Satan snarls at God and tries to attack Him whenever he gets a chance. It looks like Satan is what I call a “95% Christian”: he is perfectly happy to do 95% of God’s will, and he thinks that is being a good servant. Compare that with most modern Christians who are “95%-or-less Christians” in order to see how modern Christianity and Satanism are fundamentally the same: Today most Christians are willing to serve God in many ways. But even the best of them have certain items in the Bible they reject and don’t do. That means equality makes them think they have the prerogative to sit in judgment on the word of God in order to either approve and do what it says, or to disapprove and ignore what it says. Satan seems to approve of most of what God wants, which is why I say “95%”. But the fact that Satan rejects 5% of what God says means he is not a true Christian servant; he thinks he has the authority to overrule and reject what God says, he is at violent enmity against the essence of what “God” and “King” and “Almighty” mean, and therefore he is attempting to subvert the definitions of both authority (as in boss) and servant by blurring the distinctions in rank between the two in order to justify retaining sovereignty over that last “little” room. In other words, Satan’s definition of a good Christian servant is radically and fundamentally different from God’s definition. The outcome of the War will determine which definition prevails.
Modern Christians have no idea that they are just like Satan in numerous ways:
· They don’t mind serving Him...95% of the time. That means they are “5% whores”.
· They think the kind of servant they are is good and is the way all Christians should be.
· Satan subverted Eve with his Reason-based Yea, hath God said method of perverting what God literally said. Christians use Reason-based theology to do the same thing. That means, even though faithless unbelieving Christians intend that theology be “good for the church”, in actual practice and effect it is destroying the church by undermining faith in God and belief in the modern existence of His word. There is no bigger crime than that.
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· Christians who use modern Bible versions are being worse than Satan and Hananiah because they are – in practice – promoting theology and declaring that nothing is the word of God, it no longer exists, God did not preserve His word like He said He would. In other words, once theology convinces a born-again Christian that the word of God (as defined by Him) no longer exists, that saint is on his own because he must decide what to believe. In practice and in doctrine he’ll seem to be OK 95% of the time, but the faithless unbelief in the existence of the inspired and inerrant word of God makes him independent, subverted, and not a true servant...because 5% of the time he’ll reject, wrest, “correct”, or ignore the Bible and influence other born-again Christians to do the same thing! Do not make the mistake of thinking all Bible versions are “acceptable” because they “contain 95% of the truth of God’s word”. As you mature by spending quality time with the Lord and His Book in your inner sanctum you’ll increasingly and unequivocally understand that theology’s most effective weapon in its struggle to subvert the church is the plethora of error-filled modern Bible versions.
· Christians who use layman’s aids to cast doubt on and to “correct” various words and verses in the King James Bible are being just like Satan and Hananiah by subverting the word of God. They are actively undermining both faith and belief. They are enemies of our own household who are actively subverting faith in Thus saith the Lord by foolishly and blindly ignoring the miraculous inerrancy of the KJV by pompously and condescendingly asking with dripping skepticism, Yea, hath God said? I say again, they (like Pontius Pilate) have swallowed hook, line, and sinker the self-based Reason of the Greek Skeptics, and therefore boringly and predictably respond to Bible quotes by spouting variations of the air-headed-but-oh-so-“sophisticated” snappy little comeback What is truth?
· Christians who believe and submit to 95% of the Bible but reject 5% of it (such as relatively easy things like spanking, women silent in the church, clamoring against authority figures thought to be froward, political activism, etc., and harder things like selfless love, humility, confession, forgiveness, etc.) are Satanically independent of God and are in violent enmity against Him. They are “5% whores”, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. (And that “5%” is a normal and forgivable part of our Christian childhoods...if we eventually grow out of it.)
· Christians who neither know the Bible nor are striving to become doctrinally-correct Bible experts are no different from atheists who live by I think rather than by Thus saith the Lord. I say again, Satan knows and goes by 95% of the Bible; but slothful and opinionated Christians who are Biblically ignorant are not even as “good” or “useful” a servant to God as Satan is...because they can’t be!
· All of the above undermines the authority of God and His word, it undermines the general concept of authority, and it destroys Christian doctrinal unity within the church, which results in a house divided against itself that has over time fragmented into a chaotic collection of cults and doctrinally corrupt denominations and institutions that all utilize theology to justify their beliefs and practices. I say again to all of you Bible believers who have ears that hear: Theology is not to be tolerated; it is a major offspring of Reason that has been and is destroying the essential foundation of true Christianity – faith.
· All 95% Christians are also just like “Matt Seven”; at Judgment they will attempt to use their history of being 95% good Christians to whitewash the 5% leaven they never purged.
Being 95% Christians actually means those Christians never were submissive to Christ or to His Holy Bible. They were always sitting on the throne of Self. That means they were always sitting in judgment on what the Bible says in order to see if they liked and agreed and would submit to it...or if they’d grab a layman’s aid to change it, switch to an error-filled version that justified their ignoring unpopular verses because “who knows what they really should say”, or turn to science to “prove” the Bible was written by fallible men – not by God – because science incorrectly said the stars and planets are not in the firmament; rabbits don’t chew their cuds; the Creation is a lie; and unicorns, devils, and miracles never existed.
That last little room, that last 5%, that last bastion of Self is Satanic because it is an attempt on our parts to retain control, to be independent, and to have the prerogative to overrule or ignore the plainly-written commandments of Almighty God whenever we don’t like them. The word of God is designed to be a two-edged sword that will help us see that a number of “little things” in the Bible that we’ve either outright rejected, been afraid of, or ignored aren’t so little after all...because they mean we are not fully committed, we haven’t surrendered all, we are not yet good and faithful servants for whom anything and everything God says is of the utmost importance and must and shall be carried out immediately in order to glorify Him as our one and only Head, and to establish by our works of submissive obedience that we have finally achieved our goal of dying to Self so we can actually be His servants.
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The subtlety and danger of the 5% reserved for Self is why I said on TheSwordbearer.org web page Is AOR for You? that as you mature you’ll realize AOR really only covers basic fundamentals of Christianity. You must not think knowing about equality, Reason, theology, democracy, Bible versions, etc. is nearly enough. Christianity isn’t about knowing the “right answers”, it’s about how to successfully fight our way through this war as we learn that our submission to the written word of God (every verse in the Book) is how we gradually wean ourselves of pride, stubbornness, willfulness, and Self and grow into the humble selflessness of being ready, willing, and able to serve God IAW His written word no matter what and no matter how “trivial” we may pretend something is. Making Biblical submission part of who we are is our primary job – and it isn’t easy. Yes, knowing the Bible and being doctrinally correct and mature is a necessary prerequisite, and knowing the stuff in AOR and in these trumpets can help, but how we live with the Lord day in and day out as we go about our earthly life, and how we handle the situations we encounter is our test – and we can’t make it alone! We need the Lord to forgive and teach and shepherd us. Iron-sharpening-iron fellowship with Bible believers is helpful, but because our duty is to become His servants we must each develop our relationship of wifely submission to Him by patiently – through faith, hope, and love – being a doer of the word in every “circumstance” in our lives. Those experiences, no matter whether we handle them Scripturally or if we stumble at the word, will often cause suffering in the form of pain or humiliation or fear. And we will slowly learn obedience/submission by the things which we suffer (Heb 5:8) if we are “exercised” thereby by profiting from those experiences and using them to shape our Christian character, which according to Rom 7:11-25 can be an agonizing process as we increasingly grieve over the fact that our failure to live by every word of God is hurting our beloved Saviour.
Love for our Lord is crucial because if we really do love Him these “little things” that we try to hide, excuse, or ignore along the way will increasingly torment us and bring us to a crisis point in our relationship with Him. We will hate ourselves so much and be so miserable that we’ll eventually realize our lives (and our futures) would be much better if we surrendered completely to Him. If we do not love Him, though, the easier course is to continue BSing ourselves and hope the Lord is looking for independent, unfaithful, cheatin’, unreliable, argumentative, bossy, 95% wives like us who “only” go a-whoring 5% of the time.
When our destroyer pulled into Jacksonville, Florida, three of us young midshipmen on liberty walked out of a Dairy Queen wearing Tropical White Long and licking ice cream cones. Out of nowhere a young beauty in a light pink Sunday dress appeared in front of us and said, “Y’all are midshipmen, aren’t you?” Later, in her parents’ living room, I was sitting next to her on a piano bench. As a young man ignorant of music and unable to carry a tune in a bucket, I was astonished – when her fingers stroked the ivory keys – at how the music swept over me. I have been fond of the piano ever since.
Years later, when I told somebody that I liked music, my wife indirectly taught me something about tradition. She pointed out that I do not like music, have never liked music, and have no talent for music. When I protested that I like golden oldies, marching music, and Christian hymns, she replied that I like those not because I like music, but because I like things I’m familiar with (tradition): During high school I never listened to music on the radio...but many within earshot did; at the Naval Academy I attended military functions at which marching music was played, and I spent many hours on parade grounds and in football stadiums marching to John Philip Sousa; and in church I developed a love for hymns...even joining the choir.
But, but...didn’t I like the piano in Jacksonville? Ah, no; it was probably the girl I liked – not the piano.
All well and good, you say, but we didn’t come here to talk about me and what I like, we came here to talk about the Lord and what He likes. A timely objection, sir, thank you. And with that, let’s get about our Father’s business.
Yesterday I discussed the first of two things I encountered at a large Christian seminar (hiding from the Lord in “private rooms”). Today I’ll cover the second – music without a piano.
At the end of each day’s agenda, all of us at the seminar stood and sang a hymn. There was no piano in the rented auditorium, so we sang a cappella. I already knew I liked church music with a piano, how would I like it a cappella? I was astonished – as hundreds of voices praised God – at how the music swept over me, even producing an emotional response: In my heart we were all at the beginning of eternity standing in an auditorium, singing as the Lord, having won the war, walked onto the stage to initiate His glorious reign:
All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall.
OK, after a pause as I sang – with love and sincerity – that hymn to the Lord in my heart, I’m back.
Later, as time went by in my young Christianity, I learned that some churches think we shouldn’t have pianos or any other form of musical instruments (such as a full rock band); those churches sing their hymns a cappella. Hey, I thought, nothing wrong with that...as my thoughts returned to how much I enjoyed singing a cappella at that seminar.
Nothing wrong with that!? Who did I think I was? Who put me in charge and gave me authority to make pronouncements about right and wrong? I liked piano hymns in church...and I also liked a cappella hymns. Didn’t we earlier agree that we didn’t come here to talk about me and what I like?!
OK, the subject has now been narrowed to what does the Lord think about pianos in church. Should we all vote on it? No, we should consult that which – with our lips – we claim to be our sole authority in all matters:
Read the following and note 1) David thought the Lord should no longer live in the tent He designed for Himself; 2) After Nathan went along with David (because David was a good Christian), the Lord not only told Nathan He did not want David building Him a new house, He also asked a pointed question to underscore His sole authority: “When did I ever ask anybody to build Me a new house?” 3) The Lord also told Nathan to remind David he was picked to replace Saul as king because David was a humble shepherd who glorified God...not an uppity king deciding on his own (!) to replace God’s curtains with cedar walls. So, obviously the Lord likes us to follow Him by paying attention to what He does say and what he doesn’t say: do not add to or take away from His literal words.
2 Samuel 7:2-8 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar? Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
Now let’s pretend David invented the piano because he wanted to praise God with it every Sunday:
1 Chronicles 23:5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.
So far we can only suspect that maybe David – like he’d done with his “better temple” – was dreaming up more “good ideas” (musical instruments) without waiting for, without following, without hanging onto God’s every word. But here comes some more evidence that suggests the Lord wasn’t pleased with 1) David’s decision to come up with instruments of worship he liked, and 2) even though God tried, through Nathan, to teach David to quit coming up with stuff he liked, David expected God Almighty to meekly accept David’s musical instruments as forms of worship:
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Amos 6:1,5 WOE to them that are at ease in Zion... That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
The word invent suggests that God’s people came up with things on their own from their own fertile brains without having been told to do so by the Lord. Let’s see how the Bible treats inventions. (Note, the only reason God deals with inventions in the Bible is they all had to do with how His people thought they were serving and worshipping Him. The Bible makes it clear we are not worshipping, serving, or loving the Lord unless we are being obedient followers of His literal word – neither adding nor subtracting. These inventions in the Bible are bad because they relate to God, but they have nothing to do with, say, inventing an automatic livestock waterer.)
Psalm 99:8 Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.
Psalm 106:29,39 Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them...Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
Now we’re going to zero in on why Amos 6:5 above may have added “to themselves” after the word invent. We’re going to see that doing things for Self is never pleasing, serving, following, glorifying, obeying, or worshipping God...because anything that makes us competing heads by doing what we think is right and good is actually carnality, which is violent enmity against God because it is, in practice, an attempt to dethrone Him by making Him no longer the one and only Head and authority in all matters of faith and practice. The first Scripture below is from when God’s people – without His permission – built the unauthorized altar, Ed; and the second Scripture concerns the infamous tower of Babel.
Joshua 22:26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar,
Genesis 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
With all of that under our belts, let’s do two things. First, let’s pretend we’re starting a church and we’re deciding if we’re going to have a piano with which to praise God. When some of the other men say things like, “Well, I think so-in-so”, and “Well, I like so-in-so”, are you going to speak up and say, “Yeah, but what does the Lord think about all of this?” ...like you did to me above? I hope so, brother.
Second, let’s say you’ve just joined a church, and it’s a good one with edifying sermons and Bible studies, and everybody seems to be Bible oriented. But let’s also say the church has a piano, and you think that not only are there no Scriptural grounds to have a piano, but that there is Biblical evidence that, while the Lord may tolerate musical instruments He didn’t authorize (like He did with David), He may very well think they are abominations because they are (unintentional) challenges to His position as THE authority in ALL matters of faith and practice. And you firmly believe the Lord will be pleased if the church decides to get rid of the piano because 1) you know the Lord will not be offended by a cappella singing, and 2) even if the Lord has nothing against our own unauthorized inventions like pianos that have nothing to do with Him and His literal word, and everything to do with us and what we think and like, we know He’ll understand and appreciate that our decision to sell the church’s piano was motivated by a desire to glorify Him as our true authority in all matters – especially those that have to do with worship services.
If the church you’ve joined is made up of 100 left arms (as I discuss in Trumpet B5) all trying to emulate (Galatians 5:20!) each other, you may find that doctrinal discussions are not appreciated and taken seriously. But if your church is one body with many different members who appreciate and actually feed on doctrinal discussions, thank God, brother, for allowing you to find a good group of saints.
In closing, the a cappella vs. piano issue gradually taught me that I like tradition. But because tradition can make the word of God of none effect in matters of faith and practice, I have to be especially careful to evaluate my preferences to see if they are supported by Scripture or not. By the way, if you are one of the many Christians who merrily sings along with your church piano while at the same time badmouthing churches that use electric guitars and drums, you’re like me – influenced by tradition. There is, in principle, no difference between rock-band instruments and pianos; neither was authorized by God to be used to serve and please Him.
I’ve also learned that “little” issues like this piano business have the potential to make me barricade myself in “my” private room and get stiffnecked and hardhearted when I hear the Lord’s still small voice or His gentle knocking on the door. And if I don’t want to talk with Him about it, I’m certainly not going to come out of the closet by trying to start a doctrinal discussion in church about pianos. But because I really do love the Lord, brother, and really do want to please him, I do not want to find out at Judgment that something as stupidly-trivial (in my opinion) as a piano (of all things!) caused me to offend God. My duty, indeed, my heartfelt desire, is to please Him in all matters – no matter how big or small I might think them to be. I’m not here to decide, I’m here to obey what He wants by getting my marching orders from the literal, written word of God.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
One time a comrade was a guest at our farm. After evening chow he said some things that made me tell him he was a BS artist. When he protested, I went into some embarrassing detail. He seemed to make a half-hearted admission, and after some discussion we all went to bed. The guest room was upstairs. Rather than retire to my bedroom, I went and sat in a dark corner of the living room to spend some time with the Lord – during which I brooded about what had happened.
Was that a creaking noise on the stairway? Then I heard the door at the foot of the stairs quietly open. His shadow slowly angled across the living room. What in the world? I was afraid I’d hurt him; maybe I’d been too harsh. In the almost-dark I saw him quietly pick his Bible up off the counter where he’d left it...and silently glide back upstairs.
What a blessing that was! In his hurt and embarrassment he was putting off going to bed in order to spend time with the Lord in His word. For him the big issue wasn’t his relationship with me; it was his relationship with the Lord! You can’t have that kind of humility unless it has as its foundation a true selfless love for the Lord. I admire and respect that kind of Christian manliness, and we can all profit from his selfless example of taking it to the Lord in prayer.
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!
Back in my youth I came up with this motivational quote about physical endurance:
Mental stamina – determination – is a quality of the mind shattered by fatigue.
But physical stamina – endurance – is built upon fatigue.
It is quite common for Christian athletes to gladly suffer physically during their pursuit of athletic glory. But are we as willing to suffer for eternal glory?
Now I’ll alter the quote in order to make it more directly apply to our Christian walk and the Biblical injunction to endure to the end:
Any good Biblical intention – determination – is a state of mind shattered by life’s experiences.
But Christian obedience – endurance – is built upon the trials of life.
The Bible words it this way:
Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
In fact, suffering as a Christian is so good, we are told it is going to happen to us, and when it does we shouldn’t despair by thinking why me?, we should rejoice and be glad because:
1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange [unusual] concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange [unusual] thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit [attitude] of glory and of God resteth upon you:
In other words, the road to eternal glory is a rough one, and if our road isn’t rough we should be worried that we’re not considered worthy to suffer...because it is unusual not to encounter fiery trials! Verse 14 says if we are “happy” when sufferings occur, that positive attitude is called “the spirit of glory.”
Another reason to be worried if we’re not going through grief and suffering is the never-preached fact that suffering is our New Testament Christian calling:
1 Peter 2:19-21 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
One of the reasons fiery trials are good, as stated above, is we learn obedience from them. That doesn’t mean we’re always going to be successful. Growth often happens this way: We let our natural weaknesses cause us to deny Christ (like Peter) and fail the test, and then our love for Christ causes our conscience to bother us, and then we repent by being a doer of the word when the next trial comes along, and the growth that results makes us realize the trials have actually been good for us in a number of ways...so we actually understand why the Bible says we should rejoice when trials come along – they are opportunities.
We need to make sure we faithfully serve God in the “little things” that we tend to easily ignore and brush aside and forget because our natural carnality makes us rationalize them as “little” and therefore unimportant. Not so, comrade; they are excellent opportunities for growth: If we pass those little tests, the understanding and growth that result will help us when a “fiery trial” comes along. I say again: every day, brother, in every way.
Since trials are good, and since they are what we are called not only to endure, but to endure to the end, how can we make sure trials come our way? The answer is always the same: Learn the Bible and do the Bible. If we do that, everything else will fall into place. That is how our Good Shepherd leads us.
In closing, I’m going to let Peter’s Christian growth make the above point (and I know some of this will be repetitious). At first, Peter thought suffering to be bad and therefore must be avoided. Pay attention to what Christ says in response to Peter: that we must deny self and our preference for the things that be of men, suffer, and then be rewarded in the future:
Mt 16:21-27 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
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Peter did learn. In fact, he learned so much about how necessary and profitable suffering is that he began preaching it as our NT Christian calling, warned us not to expect immediate results from our suffering, and actually blessed us by saying “may you suffer for the Lord”. The change in Peter’s “do not suffer” mindset in Mt 16 to his oft-repeated “may you suffer and rejoice when you do” mindset is dramatic – and is ignored by the modern church.
1 Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1 Pe 3:13,14 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1 Pe 4:1,2,12,13,19 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God...Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you...But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy...Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
1 Pe 5:6,10 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time...But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
It isn’t necessary for me to add the following verses, because you already know our trials and tribulations along our Christian walk are designed to teach us that we are the problem, we are not to be heads doing what we honestly think is right, and are therefore to train ourselves to be humble servants by doing the word of God. But I’ll let these verses emphasize the importance of Peter’s message above.
Je 17:9,10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Ro 8:4-7 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
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|OUR NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN CALLING:
SUFFER...AND ENDURE TO THE END
|THE INEQUALITY IN EQUALITY
|TRUE LOVE IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE TO WHOM PRINCIPLES MEAN LITTLE
|CHRISTIAN REPENTANCE IS GROWTH
|THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN
|WHAT MAKES US COMRADES
|A NEEDLE’S EYE
|5% WHORES...IN JESUS’ NAME
|PICKING ON A PIANO
|A COMRADE’S LOVE AND HUMILITY