As we get into this segment; I like to share some personal things about my dad when I was just a boy. I believe it will help seal a point that I’d like to make about this. As you know, it’s all about what we desire to call a spiritual walk so, let’s look at this verse:
YE ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH: BUT IF THE SALK HAVE LOST HIS SAVOUR, WHEREWITH SHALL IT BE SALTED? IT IS THENCEFORTH GOOD FOR NOTHING, BUT TO BE CAST OUT, AND TO BE TRODDEN UNDER BY THE FOOT OF MEN.
As a child growing up my mom was a born-again believer but, my dad was not. In those days my mom would take all of us, being her children to a little Methodist Church not far from our house. My dad never went with us and, the life he actually lived was far from being a spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. However, at that very same time he set the standards for the lives we lived as children. Often my dad would cut my hair, he would tell me when I needed my hair cut and then cut it like he said it needed to be cut. We lived on a little farm and, we ate meals together three times a day. At every one of those meals he, my dad led us in prayer thanking God for our food.
In those days as it relates to this verse, you could see this verse vividly. What I would call (Church influence) could even be seen in the people that didn’t even go to Church or claim to be born-again. Another way of putting it is that the Church was the salt of the earth, at least in the part of the world I lived in. It had a powerful influence on the people all around.
It’s actually common knowledge that if you put one grain of salt on about anything, as it dissolves it salts the area all-round the place it settled as a single grain. Any born-again believer, who is by definition is a member of the Church will have to same effect on people. Although we have local Churches and there might be many people that join that local Church; in reality there is a universal Church. Every person that is ever born again, at that second becomes a member of that universal Church which is the body of Jesus Christ. In a perfect world (that Church) will have the same effect on people as it moves about as Jesus Christ had as he moved about in his fleshly body. I’d like to show you another verse of scripture here:
THEREFORE THAT DISCIPLE WHOM JESUS LOVED SAITH UNTO PETER, IT IS THE LORD. NOW WHEN PETER HEARD THAT IT WAS THE LORD, HE GIRT HIS FISHER’S COAT UNTO HIM, (FOR HE WAS NAKED,) AND DID CAST HIMSELF INTO THE SEA.
Are we not a lot like Peter? Do we not act differently when we are around people that are similar to us and then change the way we talk or act when certain people show up? I know as a child I was exactly like that! I cursed like a sailor; probably worse than any sailor I know. However, my whole vocabulary would change when my mom or other people were around. Actually, being spiritual probably had very little to do with my change at that time, it had more to do with authority. I didn’t want to get a whipping.
The whole point I’m trying to make is that the Church, those that walked upright set a standard to be lived by and that standard was recognized by the community around that Church. It was so powerful that people were ashamed if they were caught in acts that were contrary to the standard that was set by the Church.
Often, even people that say they believe, like Peter will drop their spiritual guard when they are in situations that call for it. At that time in my childhood even sinners would feel guilty when caught in a compromising position.
I’d like to share this story with you as it relates to this. There was a son that was going into war, leaving home for the first time ever. His mom was a born-again believer. As he prepared to leave that morning to join other young men in training; his mom said this to him; son; every night at nine o’clock I’ll call your name in prayer! This young man ended up in a foreign country. One night when he was off duty, he went to a bar room and ordered him a drink. The waiter brought it to him, as be turned that drink up to drink it, he seen the clock on the wall, it said (nine o’clock). He stopped and sat the drink down remembering what his mom had said. The power of God was revealed, even in that clock! According to that complete story, that young man changed his life that night sitting in that very bar room! His mom was (the salt of the earth)!
All this, whether we are speaking of Peter, my day, this young soldier or, you, the Church, whether it is seen as local or universal sets a standard for the rules to live by in this world. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. According to God’s design that’s the way it works. It doesn’t matter what a government says or any other organization, when all is said and done, God will have the last word!
Now, I’m old enough to remember the 1960’s in the United States of America. (In my opinion) that decade changed this country! It was a decade of rebellion, young people refusing to except established authority. Personally, now as I look back, I realize that it went much deeper than just those or, we as young people. The real problem was that many parents had begun to turn a blind eye to what the (Church standards) were and had set out to make their own set of guidelines to live by. While many of them were Church members they weren’t content with what God set as examples to live by. In other words, they set out within their local Churches to (quiet) the very voice of God’s Holy Spirit!
Again (in my opinion), once we leave the principle of God’s Holy word as the guidelines that we establish within ourselves, what is it that actually sets a true and viable set of rules to live by? Technically, there is none! Over the course of Biblical history every possible way of helping people to do what’s right in God’s eyes has been tried but failed. Here, I’ll seek to name the ways I see in history that has been tried and failed, right now I can see how all those ways are being tried once again; all at the same time.
Right after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, it was conscience that governed man, basically that ended at Noah’s Ark. Then we see human government right after the flood, Abraham ushered in promise which led up until the law, that ended at the cross of Calvary. Today we live by grace or have the possibility of that at least.
What God’s desire has always been is to have people willing to hear him as he speaks and to freely yield themselves to do his will. In the time to which we now live; God is willing to place himself within a sinful body to help each person overcome their sinful weaknesses. Basically, this world has rejected the very that God offers to every person.
Therefore, leaving any part of God out, whether it’s Jesus Christ or, God’s Holy Spirit what is the standard this world sets? Let’s first look at this verse:
FOR WHEN THE GENTILES, WHICH HAVE NOT THE LAW, DO BY NATURE THE THINGS CONTAINED IN THE LAW, THESE, HAVING NOT THE LAW, ARE A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES:
In other words, each person decides within themselves what they deem to be right and wrong and, that is the law they live by. When we consider that; then the world makes laws and enforces those laws to protect the right of each individual to be whatsoever, they choose to be! Within that very concept then it became unlawful to even attempt to share God’s truth with any person because you are then breaking the law that governs that individual person.
We often wonder if God has a sense of humor. He does however, the average person that is of this world will never laugh at the things that cause God to show his sense of humor!
BECAUSE I HAVE CALLED, AND YE REFUSED; I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HAND, AND NO MAN REGARED, (25) BUT YE HAVE SET AT NAUGHT ALL MY COUNCEL, AND WOULD NONE OF MY REPROOF: (26) I WILL ALSO LAUGH AT YOUR CALAMITY; I WILL MOCK WHEN YOUR FEAR COMETH; (27) WHEN YOUR FEAR COMETH AS DESOLATION, AND YOUR DESTRUCTION COMETH AS A WHIRLWIND; WHEN DISTRESS AND ANGUISH COMETH UPON YOU. (28) THEN SHALL THEY CALL UPON ME, BUT I WILL NOT ANSWER; THEY SHALL SEEK ME EARLY, BUT THEY SHALL NOT FIND ME: (29) FOR THAT THEY HATE KNOWLEDGE, AND DID NOT CHOOSE THE FEAR OF THE LORD: (30) THEY WOULD NONE OF MY COUNCEL: THEY DISPISED ALL MY REPROOF.
I put all those verses here to keep it in context but, I really wanted you to see (HE WILL ALSO LAUGH AT YOUR CALAMITY)! The world, while setting its own guidelines and standard are in that sense (laughing at all that God is! However, believe me, when God starts to laugh not one person on this earth will be laughing with him!
Just before we begin to look at the contrast between the standards of God the Father and this world; I’d like to make a point. Very often as born-again believers we get caught up in the standards of this world. Some of those standards, set by this world, we can’t help. Since we are ambassadors, living in a foreign land we have to adjust to some of those standards. However, we must consider how God’s will plays out within the standards we have to except. As we look at some of these things, only you can decide whether you are seeking to do God’s will in this world or simply allowing this world to set the standards you live by.
Also, as I get into some of these things, I want you all to know; you don’t have to agree with my opinions of the standards of this world. But at least give thought to the things I say and, allow God’s spirit to speak to your heart.
WORLDLY SPIRITUAL STANDARDS
I’ll begin with worldly spiritual standards and move forward from there. Some of these things will be things we never look at as worldly. Let’s start with (Church denomination) or (religious organizations). Why would we as born-again believers even consider that those things are of God? And that, no matter how far we can trace them back? Wow! Even the Church I attend put up a sign a few years ago proclaiming the (landmark value) of the building we attend and, call it a Church!
There are many people that will boast about being members of a denomination or religious organization but, never mention the name of Jesus Christ. That; while every one of them, denominations or religious organizations use the name of Jesus Christ as a vocal point of their very existence.
The world is Satan’s domain! He uses things of this nature to seek to weaken the very power that God’s Spirit has upon this earth to bring about true salvation. This is one of those things where I see that even true believers often get caught up in the beauty of the things of this world. We can make one statement and cause God’s Spirit to begin to unravel this worldly standard that is set even among those that say they believe.
What is spiritual truth? What exactly would God desire to reveal to those that are members of his family, born-again believers? Let’s look at these verses of scripture:
(1 Corinthians 1:12-13)
NOW THIS I SAY, EVERY ONE OF YOU SAITH, I AM OF PAUL: AND I AM OF APOLLOS; AND I OF CEPHAS; AND I OF CHRIST. (13) IS CHRIST DIVIDED? WAS PAUL CRUCIFIED FOR YOU? OR WERE YOU BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF PAUL?
(1 Corinthians 3:4)
FOR WHILE ONE SAITH, I AM OF PAUL; AND ANOTHER, I AM OF APOLLOS; ARE YE NOT CARNAL? (5) WHO THEN IS PAUL, AND WHO IS APOLLOS, BUT MINISTERS BY WHOM YE BELIEVED, EVEN AS THE LORD GAVE TO EVERY MAN?
We can relate these verses to all that I’m saying. God calls men to preach and speak his truth. When truth is revealed, people believe that truth. However, now it becomes the responsibility of every person that believes to grow by the truth that God reveals to every individual that is willing to hear that truth. In the second group of verses we see that he asked (ARE YE NOT CARNAL)? when we place ourselves under what any man believes as an individual, we become carnal and not led by God’s Spirit.
There are colleges and universities that teach men and women to believe and teach what they believe to be truth. However, to a true born-again believer, the only true teacher is the Holy Spirit of God. Can this be a proven point? Look at these verses:
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 TO YOU. (8) AND WHEN HE IS COME, HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD OF SIN, AND OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND OF JUDGMENT: (9) OF SIN, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED NOT ON ME; (10) OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, BECAUSE I GO TO MY FATHER, AND YE SEE ME NO MORE; (11) OF JUDGMENT, BECAUSE THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD IS JUDGED. (12) I HAVE YET MANY THINGS TO SAY UNTO YOU, BUT YE CANNOT BEAR THEM NOW. (13) HOWBEIT WHEN HE, THE SPIRIT OF TRITH, IS COME, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: FOR HE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF; BUT WHATSOEVER HE SHALL HEAR, THAT SHALL HE SPEAK: AND HE WILL SHEW YOU ALL THINGS TO COME.
We see in these verses (God’s standard for spiritual growth). His standard says the His Spirit will guide you to all truth. That means that you can’t necessarily gain that truth from any religious organization, pastor, denomination or any one person. According to the standards set by the world it’s in an ability to become educated, maybe by excepting some denomination or, falling in love with a pastor that preaches a certain way. We can find any number of ways that Satan had devised to try and cause us to feel spiritually mature, even have people to believe we are something we are not but, the truth cannot be found in anything that is of this world. We can find partial truth in a lot of things but, only God’s Spirit will reveal (all truth) to any individual.
I’m going to give you an example that often happens to people, using myself as an example. I’m a licensed electrician in North Carolina. I’ve been licensed since 1975. I went to school, studied the electrical code and passed the exam to become licensed by this state. Basically, speaking now, I never even read the code yet, I still do electrical work. I would say that on average I’m not much different than most electricians. In a day-to-day electrical journey, we simply satisfy the electrical inspector. If we get our work passed by a local that inspector, then we’ve done a good job.
By the world’s standards wouldn’t you say that the average Church member is exactly the same way? As long as the people around us, in our own circles are pleased with our lives then, all is well! I, at one time thought (by what I was taught) that if I wanted to be right with God, I had to attend Church Sunday morning, Sunday School, Sunday night service, Wednesday night service and any special activities that the Church had going on. One day as I grew spiritually i thought; well why don’t I just change denomination, find one that just goes to Church one day a week. At that, at least those people will believe I’m right with God as well!
We know that either one of those sceneries will not make us right with God, don’t we? However, people that control the worldly standards of religion would have you to believe those types of things. There are those (of this world) that are sold out on the fact that since I say I believe in Jesus Christ, I’ve joined Church and been baptized by a duly qualified pastor, I’m right with God.
There’s no end to what can be taught here! I guess I’ve heard about all it is that can be said about what (the worldly standards) are to be right with God. I could go on and on about the things I’ve heard. We could start with, speaking in tongues to be filled with the Holy Ghost, preachers having to wear white shirts to stand behind a pulpit, women wearing dresses, the length of a man’s hair, what Church you are a member of. All these things are standards set by the religious world. At one point in my spiritual walk, I smoked. I had a man tell me that it was bad for my testimony. Now, he might have had a point but, while I smoked, I also witnessed to few people that God’s Spirit brought under conviction, and they asked Jesus Christ to be their savoir. Do you realize that on my very best day, I’m still a sinner? So, am I any less sinner since I quit smoking?
The desire of the religious world is to set standards while too grievous for some people to keep on the other hand, so simple people fall in love with them, working to drive people away from the true and living, Jesus Christ. This, without that Holy Spirit drawing them to his loving grace. I know, I’ve been guilty of some of that very thing. It’s not actually intentional but, it’s rather by the design of the leaders of the spiritual world.
Let’s consider something. As I make these points, it’s not that I agree with or disagree with any of the points. It’s just that you might see just how God’s Spirit works. Let’s start with a woman pastor. There are those that denounce that. We can also use a man or Woman that has been married twice. What about a man that has a drinking problem? What if one of these people, while they are preaching or witnessing to an individual, using God’s word inspired by the Spirit of God actually win someone to Christ. Someone in Church or, out in a parking lot sees themselves as a hell deserving sinner and asked Jesus Christ to come into their heart and save them. In other words, they are born again. Are they not just as saved as any person that preaches or witnesses that think they meet all the requirements to do so?
To be honest; even though we often don’t realize it, the only difference in a lot that the world excepts and the actual spiritual applications of any Church or religious organization is the absence of God’s Holy Spirit. However, If God’s Spirit is not there then it all is a moot point.
Today in the world we live in we seldom see or hear of any standards at all. When we speak of Church in the general sense you can find something that suits you completely. We see preachers preaching with tee shirts, tennis shoes and blue jeans. Their congregation reflects the way they dress. We see and hear music that perfectly reflects the music of this world with just a slight change in the words that are spoken. You might ask me if I have a problem with that? And, if you ask me that question, you just might be missing my point! It has nothing to do with what I like or dislike. It has to do with are you truly born again? Has God’s Spirit taken abode up in your heart?
I completely realize that time moves forward, things and people change the way they do things. It’s no different now than it’s ever been. However, we must realize that we can easily get caught up in emotion, the love of things of this world thinking that God’s in things that he’s not. I’m going to give you a verse of scripture her and we’re going to close this segment.
VERILY, VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, EXCEPT YE EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN, AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, YE HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU.
You can read this whole segment of scripture here. What has just happened is that Jesus has just fed a multitude of people. These people would have followed him to the end of the earth. However, he knows that actually they are following him for all the wrong reasons. My point is; although today it might not be about food as it was in that day but, if it’s not for the right reason then it’s still not real!
When Jesus says, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and, drink his blood; what is he speaking of? Can we say simply the word of God? No, because for all practical reason, that word is being uses in most cases. Again, for all practical reasons, weren’t the people of that day following Jesus Christ? Yes, they were but, it was not one thing about them was changing. Can we say it was all about their flesh and not his?
The (worldly stand) in the religious realm desires for you to be a follower of Jesus Christ but (no inward) change required! You never have to (take his yoke upon you) you never have to (learn of him). Knowing he existed in the flesh is enough.
When these people found out that something had to change about them to truly be (his disciple) they left and followed him no more. I see the same thing today! When Jesus spoke the words (eat my flesh) (drink my blood) it a type of the Holy Spirit being the driving force behind his words. Any person can stand behind a pulpit or, in front of a group and (what we call) (preach) the word of God. That person can more than likely draw many people to follow him. However, when that same word becomes peppered with the Holy Spirit of God, forcing people to make a decision about how they truly are then, all of a sudden many will leave and follow him no more.
You see, look at these two verses:
WHEREFORE IF YE BE DEAD WITH CHRIST FROM THE RUDIMENTS OF THE WORLD, WHY, AS THOUGH LIVING IN THE WORLD, ARE YE SUBJEST TO ORDINNANCES, (21) TOUCH NOT; TASTE NOT; HANDLE NOT; (22) WHICH ALL ARE TO PERISH WITH THE USING:) AFTER THE COMMANDMENTS AND DOCTRINES OF MEN?
BUT IN VAIN THEY DO WORSHIP ME, TEACHING FOR THE DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.
Do you think these things are not happening today? Many people are following men and never even considering what Jesus Christ actually is trying to get them to see. They are eating the flesh of the (religious worldly standards) that is being fed them and not the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, inspired by God’s Holy Spirit!
You, as an individual must decide whether you are actually born again or if you are following the doctrines of men. Not one other person can clearly define what you have inside of you! Also, you can count on the fact that (this world) will more than likely be completely satisfied with all you are. That is, the part of the (worldly religious standard) to which you live. Over the last years I have notice that most, if not all of the religious organizations and denominations are becoming (one in mind), they get along with one another more so than they used to. As we continue to march toward the coming of Christ that point will become more and more relevant!
The next segment:
WORLDLY STANDARDS AND (THE MEDICAL HEALING THEREOF)!