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October 5, 2013
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October 5, 2013
Reprove And Rebuke Sharply With Authority, Ancient Israel Backslides And Worships False Gods, Backslidden America, God's Uncompromising Fiery Prophets And Preachers, Elijah And The Prophets Of Baal, David and Bathsheba, John The Baptist And King Herod, Jesus And The Moneychangers, The Boldness Of Peter And The Apostles, Stephen Is Martyred, Apostle Paul Preaches To Greeks On Mars Hill, We Are To Be Iconoclasts Of The Spirit, Don't Be Friends With The World, Foolish Wisdom Of The World, Our Great Commission, Contrast Between One World Religion Vision And The Great Commission, The Lord's True Church Has Always Been A Persecuted Church
You may recall that earlier I shared a verse with you where the Apostle Paul also wrote "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Let me bring to your attention that according to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the word "reprove" finds its origin in the Greek word "elegcho". This word means to convict, refute, correct, chide or reprehend severely. Paul states the very same thing in the following verse as well:
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:2, KJV
Exactly what is it that gives God's servants this boldness and ability to reprove and rebuke the workers of darkness, and to expose their sins of unbelief and rebellion against God? Jesus Himself tells us in the following verses, and He uses the very same word -- that is, reprove -- to describe the purpose of the Holy Spirit:
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
John 16:7-11, KJV
Following are some additional verses that are found in the New Testament where we likewise see that we are supposed to use the Sword of God's Word to sharply reprove and rebuke sinners and unbelievers with the authority of God's Spirit. In fact, this even applies to our own Christian brethren who have backslidden from the faith:
"Them that sin REBUKE before all, that others also may fear."
1 Timothy 5:20, KJV
"This witness is true. Wherefore REBUKE them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."
Titus 1:13-14, KJV
"These things speak, and exhort, and REBUKE with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
Titus 2:15, KJV
"As many as I love, I REBUKE and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Revelation 3:19, KJV
In the Old Testament we also find the following verse which is quite applicable to these kinds of situations:
"Open rebuke is better than secret love."
Proverbs 27:5, KJV
Upon closely examining the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments, we discover that there are quite a few clear examples where God's holy men -- Prophets, Preachers, and the Apostles and Jesus Himself -- did this very thing. In other words, they were not politically correct menpleasers like so many Christian leaders are today. They did not say "Let's all just have one big, wonderful lovefest so we can appreciate our religious differences. To each his own. You worship your god, and I'll worship my God, and everything will just be so fine and dandy. Let's enjoy our 'happy meal' and be a nice fraternal family." In short, the Lord's fiery Prophets did not compromise what He had given them to say.
As I state in articles such as "The Fruits of Disobedience", the Old Testament is in large part one sad story of one holy Prophet after another rebuking the Israelites for their sins and rebellion against the Lord. Time after time they backslid from the Lord, so that God found it necessary to send another Prophet to warn them to repent. When they chose not to do so, He lowered the axe. If you want to understand the dangerous consequences of compromising with the enemy, simply read the aforementioned series. Just as modern one world religionists seem to think that it is okay to have all of these different religions living side-by-side in peace, the ancient Jews did the same thing. Rather than cleanse the land of all of the pagan belief systems, they allowed some of them to remain. As a result, it wasn't before long that the Israelites also compromised their convictions and began to worship those very same false gods; and that is precisely what got them into serious trouble with the Lord. Consider the following sample verses:
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them."
Deuteronomy 31:16, KJV
"And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger."
Judges 2:12, KJV
"And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him."
Judges 10:6, KJV
"And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them."
1 Chronicles 5:25, KJV
"Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?"
2 Chronicles 25:14-15, KJV
"And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers."
2 Chronicles 28:22-25, KJV
"But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded."
1 Kings 11:1-10, KJV
As I explain in a number of articles, such as "What is Wrong With Modern America?", this is precisely what has happened in the United States as well. Many Americans have now abandoned their Christian heritage and have foolishly embraced Islam, Buddhism, African religions, Native American beliefs, New Age psychobabble and other nonsense which offends the Lord.
Returning to the Lord's faithful messengers, when the Prophet Elijah encountered the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal, he didn't say "So you worship the god Baal? That's cool. I worship the God of Israel, but we can live in peace as fraternal brothers." Quite to the contrary, Elijah was quick to challenge them to a sacrificial duel in order to determine whose god was the real God. Not only that, but when Baal failed to perform, Elijah mocked his false prophets, and then he slew them as well. You will find the complete story in 1 Kings chapter eighteen.
When the Prophet Nathan learned that King David had committed an act of adultery with beautiful Bathsheba, who was the wife of one of David's own soldiers -- that is, Uriah the Hittite -- and then basically murdered Uriah in order to conceal his own sin, Nathan didn't resign himself and say "Oh well; David is the king. He can do whatever he pleases." Rather, Nathan sharply rebuked the king and exposed his sin by saying "Thou art that man." Not only that, but Nathan told David that as a result of his sin, war would never depart from his house, his wives would be violated by strangers, and an enemy would rise up within his own household. That, of course, was David's own son, Absalom. Last of all, Nathan told King David that the son which would be born to him and Bathsheba would die; which he did after seven days. You will find this story in 2 Samuel 11 and 12.
When John the Baptist heard that King Herod had married the wife of his brother Philip -- that is, Herodias -- while his brother Philip was still alive, John didn't say "Oh, that is okay. After all, we all know that love is the most important thing in this world, so we can bend the rules a little. God won't mind." Instead, John boldly exposed King Herod for his sin of adultery. Consequently, some time after that, John was imprisoned by Herod, and later beheaded. Of course, this was all done at the insistence of scheming, wicked Herodias. You will find this particular story in all three of the Synoptic Gospels; that is, Matthew, Mark and Luke.
When Jesus entered the Temple grounds in Jerusalem during the final week of His life, and saw the corrupt merchants and the greedy moneychangers, He didn't say "Howdy boys! It looks like business is brisk today. So, how is your profit margin?" Rather, three of the Gospel writers inform us that Jesus made a whip of small cords, overturned their tables, and drove them all out. So much for political correctness and compromise with the system.
When the Jewish high priest in Jerusalem and other leaders of the Sanhedrin ordered Peter and the Apostles to stop preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, rather than meekly back down and do as they were told, the Apostles boldly told those vicious snakes "We ought to obey God rather than men." As a result, the Apostles were beaten. You will find this story in the Book of Acts chapter five.
When the deacon Stephen found himself engaged in a dispute with certain members of one of the synagogues, which led to his being brought before the high priest and the council -- that is, the Sanhedrin -- he did not attempt to water down his message or compromise his Christian beliefs. Quite to the contrary, Stephen engaged in a very powerful witness with those hypocritical religionists, which culminated with him informing them that God did not dwell in their beautiful Temple in Jerusalem. Unable to bear such a powerful truth, those grievous wolves went crazy and stoned Stephen to death a short while later. You will find this story in the seventh chapter of the Book of Acts.
When the Apostle Paul stood on Mars Hill and preached to the Greeks of Athens, he didn't play Mr. Nice Guy and praise them for their amazing architecture. Neither did Paul marvel at their philosophical ideas, or tell them how wonderful it was that they had so many different gods. Instead, Paul boldly and very bluntly told them that they were too superstitious, that God does not dwell in temples made with hands, and that they worshipped their unknown god out of ignorance. He told them that it was time to repent. In short, Paul wasn't afraid to offend those supposedly learned Greeks. You will find the complete story in Acts chapter seventeen.
The previous paragraphs are just a few examples which clearly demonstrate that we are not supposed to water down the Gospel message, or compromise what we believe, in order to avoid any kind of personal hardships. We are supposed to be iconoclasts of the Spirit who expose, root out and tear down all of the idols of the world; that is, their misguided ideas, beliefs and practices. We are not supposed to so blend in with the children of the world -- such as by joining their fraternity organizations like the Freemasons -- to the point that no one can tell us apart from them. Sadly, that is precisely what so many Christians do today. They quench God's Spirit, they hide their light under a bushel, and the world and its enticements just gobbles them up. However, consider what the Scriptures tell us:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24, KJV
"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Luke 16:13, KJV
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:19, KJV
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
John 17:14-15, KJV
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36, KJV
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18, KJV
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:1-2, KJV
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4, KJV
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:13-16, KJV
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James 4:4, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
Concerning the wayward mentality of the world which is very much contrary to the mind of God, and which contradicts His holy Word, I am reminded of verses such as the following:
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."
1 Corinthians 3:19, KJV
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5, KJV
"For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
1 Corinthians 1:19-21, KJV
As we saw earlier, and as I also point out in the articles entitled "Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?" and "This Little Light, Glory of the Lord and Our Bright Future", as God's ambassadors on the Earth, we are supposed to boldly preach the Gospel of Salvation, come what may. The results are God's business, and not ours. All we need to do is obey the Great Commission which was given to us by Jesus Christ, which is clearly defined in the following verses:
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Matthew 24:14, KJV
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
Matthew 28:19, KJV
"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Luke 24:46-47, KJV
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Mark 16:15, KJV
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:16, KJV
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Acts 1:8, KJV
"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house . . . Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
Acts 20:20, 31, KJV
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things . . . So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:14-15, 17, KJV
"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
1 Corinthians 9:16, KJV
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things."
Galatians 6:6, KJV
"Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:"
Colossians 1:4-6, KJV
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2, KJV
When we stop and really think about it, we cannot help but realize that embracing the One World Religion vision of the Bahá'ís, the Roman Catholics, the World Council of Churches, the ecumenical movement, the Freemasons, the globalists and similar promoters of a so-called New World Order, is totally contrary to the vision of the Great Commission. As we have already seen, the mantra of these misguided people is "Let's all just get along together and be friends. Instead of just looking at our religious differences, why don't we look at our common ground and be fraternal brothers? Rather than be constantly fighting against each other, let's celebrate our religious diversity and demonstrate to the world that we can live together in peace."
This is precisely why we Christians do not fit in, and why we will really never fit in to their plans for a One World Religion. Our faith clearly teaches us that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. Jesus is God's appointed Mediator between God and man. Jesus is the only Sacrificial Lamb who is recognized by the Father. He is the only manner by which any of us can receive forgiveness of sins, and thus inherit Salvation and Eternal Life. Just as the Apostle Paul did with the Greeks on Mars Hill that day, our faith instructs us to boldly tell other religions of the world that they are in fact all misguided, they are wrong, and they are false. Our faith dictates that we tell anyone who embraces any of those false religions, that they must repent of their ignorance, and embrace Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the only true Savior of the world.
Obviously, this is not, has never been, and will never be, a very popular message with many of the deceived children of the world who prefer to follow the traditions of their false religions, or even no religion at all. Thus, as some of the previous verses clearly reveal, if we are faithful to preach the full counsel of God, without compromise, and without any degree of political correctness, we will be persecuted, just as Christ's true Church has always been persecuted. Below are some additional verses which further support this point:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Matthew 23:29-39, KJV
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
Matthew 24:9-10, KJV
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:12-19, KJV
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:18-21, KJV
"Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."
Acts 5:17-18, KJV
"When they [the Jews] heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."
Acts 7:54-8:1-3, KJV
Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.
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