Thursday, May 14, 2015, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Rejoice in the Lord Always.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 2 (NASB).
Not in Persuasive Words
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
When Paul said his preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom, he was speaking of human wisdom. He did not use human “wisdom,” i.e. human logic and reasoning and/or the cunning and craftiness of humans in their deceitful scheming (See Eph. 4:14) in order to convince or win people over to his way of thinking and believing. He did not dilute the gospel message to make it more appealing, acceptable and pleasing to the ear, either. He did not fluff up the gospel and sugar-coat it in order to appease those who are inclined to not say anything which might offend people and thus turn them away from “the church.” So many people today are preaching a partial gospel, or a diluted gospel, or a manipulated gospel which does not bring people to the cross of Christ but leaves them still dead in their sins believing they have the hope of heaven when they die, no matter how they have lived their lives on this earth. Many of them literally teach that you can “get saved,” then live like hell on the earth, but never lose your salvation. This is not consistent with the true gospel.
Paul said that he determined to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I don’t believe he left out the resurrection. I believe he was speaking of the whole of the gospel – Jesus died, resurrected, and ascended to the Father, sending his Spirit, saving us from our sins, and coming again one day to receive his bride to himself.
As well, he declared that his message and his preaching were in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that their faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. In other words, he did not conform the gospel to the desires of humans just so that they would like it and him better or so he would not get rejected or persecuted. He preached the whole will of God in sharing the message of our salvation. He taught that Jesus Christ died and was resurrected from the dead so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (See 1 Pet. 2:24). This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation, not just that we would be spared from hell and given the promise of heaven when we die, but that we would live lives transformed by the power of the Spirit of God in new birth of the Spirit, and that we would no longer walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. This is why Jesus gave his life up for us, to set us free from the power of sin (See: Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 8:3-14; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
If They Had Understood
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
I believe the Lord Jesus is giving me a practical application of this to our world today. Many of us who follow the teachings of Christ and that of the apostles in their purest sense, and who preach that Jesus Christ died and was resurrected from the dead so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, are frequently being classified now as “extremists.”
Going along with this, we who are following Jesus with our lives are also being accused of being “intolerant, bigoted, and hateful,” which is a total misrepresentation of what is truly going on, and it is because we teach that we must turn from our sins and turn to follow Jesus Christ in obedience – all in the power and wisdom and working of the Spirit of God within us who has given us new birth in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We also expose the lies and deceptions for what they are and speak out against a “light and fluffy” gospel intended to tickle itching ears which only want to hear feel-good messages, and which reject the truth. So, the gospel and its messengers are getting “the squeeze,” i.e. we who share the gospel are being intimidated and pressured into rejecting the whole will of God for a more universally acceptable faith in God which doesn’t offend people, which tolerates sin, and/or which works to get along with people of all faiths through being tolerant of all religions and beliefs, i.e. which compromises the Christian faith and practice.
This seems to be leading to even greater persecution to come via the removing of our freedom of speech via “the squeeze,” because we speak out against following the ways of this sinful world, and because we call people to repentance. It could also be because we expose their lies and we tell people the truth. The truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is often now being replaced with entertainment, especially as it pertains to lies, deception, manipulations and distractions and as replacement for the truth of God’s word. So many churches today are not being led by the teachings of Christ and of his apostles but are typical cases of Marketing 101 at work. They run the church just like any other business of human origin, and they market it much the same way as many businesses are marketed, looking to please and/or to manipulate the potential customer base so that the customer will return for more, rather than looking to please God, even if potential “customers” are offended by the message of the cross. So, the purpose of “the squeeze” appears to get us to change our positions, to compromise, and to back down or else face the consequences.
I believe this is happening right now on a global level, i.e. that this is directly related to this forming of “the beast,” and that it is not localized to just one country or to just the specific areas of interest mentioned in any particular news article on this subject. We know that the US government has been collecting our phone records, listening in on our phone calls, reading our emails, text messages and social media messages for some time now, and that they have been profiling us and determining which ones of us fit in this category of “religious extremists.” And, they have the authority to even arrest us without charges and without due course of law if they suspect us of “extremist” activity. David Cameron, of the UK, spoke about some of what they are doing to combat “extremists” and this was written about in a linked news article (below). I am also including an article about the US and the measures they have taken to monitor private communications of the citizens of this nation, because I believe it is related, as they all fall under the rule of the “beast” New World Order.
Foolishness to Natural Man
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
One of the reasons why believers in Jesus Christ who hold to the testimony of Jesus and who do not deny his name are being persecuted right now is because natural man (human nature) does not accept the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him. Since he can’t understand them, he attacks, ridicules, belittles, and accuses falsely those who believe in the things of God and who share those beliefs with others. For instance, he can’t understand that we must follow what God’s word teaches us even if it doesn’t make sense according to human logic and reasoning. He can’t understand the idea of submitting to God and of surrendering our wills to him, because he wants to hold on to his life of sin and do as he pleases. So, if we are living and preaching death to sin, and walking in the Spirit, he will be offended by this unless, of course, the Spirit of God moves his heart to believe in Jesus Christ.
Yet, if we are in Christ, by faith in him, we should have the mind of Christ, i.e. we should know and agree with his teachings, his values, and his principles for Christian living. So, we should continue to follow the Word of God and Jesus Christ our Lord, and do what the Word teaches us to do and to say even if it gets us rejected, hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake. As well, we should have the view in mind that it is the Lord who gives, and it is the Lord who takes away, so blessed by the name of the Lord. Amen!
Rejoice in the Lord Always! / An Original Work / January 26, 2013
Based off Phil. 4 & Col. 3
Rejoice in our Lord God always.
I say again: “Rejoice always!”
Let your love and kindness show forth.
Our Lord Christ will soon appear.
Do not let yourself be troubled.
Do not fear your circumstances.
In all of life’s complications,
Pray to God with thankfulness.
God will give you peace and rest.
Set your minds on things of heaven:
What is true and right and lovely.
Do not focus your attention
On the things that pass away.
Therefore put to death your old self.
Clothe yourselves with God’s compassion.
Put the word of Christ in practice.
Let God’s peace rule in your hearts.
Sing songs of praise unto God.
In all of life’s circumstances
I’ll learn to trust; be contented.
Whether I have none or plenty,
I will give thanks unto God.
I can live my life to please Him,
Because Jesus gives me His strength.
My God will meet all of my needs,
From his treasure chest in Christ.
Glory, praise be unto God.