It’s Not Too Harsh

Please Read 2 John 1:9-11

God says anyone who does not continue in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. Whoever does follow his teaching has both the Father and the son. People who come to you with a different doctrine are to be shunned. We shouldn't welcome them at all. God says don't let them into your house or even say a greeting to them. Anyone who does is a sharer in their evil deeds. Let's examine this for a moment.

To some this seems very harsh. But not when it comes to what's important to them. To illustrate; let's say you're a parent. For many years you teach your children a set of values, things you know will help them make it through life. Then some unscrupulous person(s) comes along and bewitches your children with fancy words and promises. They turn your children completely against everything you taught them. They even turn them against you their parent. How would that make you feel? Now you know God feels at 2 John 1:9-11.

When someone turns folks away from Christ by teaching false doctrines they are helping them go to hell. This is serious. Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him. (John 14:6) Hence our loving Father warns us to completely shun those who would dissuade us from him, and not to listen to any of their rhetoric. Sometimes this gets tricky because many proclaiming to follow Jesus are the very ones spreading untruth. They are being used by the Devil to enslave and kill people. When you really think about it, is avoiding these false teachers too harsh?

DON'T GREET THEM

Again, if you knew of individuals that messed up your children's minds so bad that they threw away everything you taught them, and they now hate even you, would you have a nice warm greeting for them? Of course not. So God is not unreasonable when he says not to even greet those who's business is to get us to believe anything other than the true doctrine of Christ. These people are instrumental in damning many souls forever. There are no warm welcoming greetings or feelings for such people by God or his servants. Anyone who welcomes these soul assassins are sharers in their evil work God says.

How Much? $$$

How much is your soul worth to you? Is it worth a new car? A big house? A great paying Job? The woman or man of your dreams? The best foods this world has to offer? Wearing the finest clothe? Maybe your soul is worth the latest smart phone, or the latest computer. Maybe you're a real high roller and your soul is worth all the above and then some. I just have to ask you this question, 'What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a person trade for their soul?' (Mark 8:36-37)

Please Read Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus knew the value of his soul. He had a purpose in this life. He wasn't about to let the Devil deter him from his mission. Towards the end of Jesus' temptation by the Devil Satan finally gets to the point. He offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory, if he would do just one act of worship to him. That's what he wanted all along; worship. How many wish they had that same offer today? Many. But Jesus knew his soul was worth far more than all the kingdoms of this world and their fleeting glory. Jesus basically told Satan to buzz off, and that he would worship only God. He later went on to fulfill his earthly mission and now sits at the right hand of God. Jesus now holds all power and authority (Matthew 28:18) and will one day destroy Satan once and for all. Amen!

What will we do for fame and fortune? Some seeking these pledged their allegiance to the evil one, and now wish they hadn't. They didn't know that one act of worship would result in more acts, and many sadistic rituals. They live in fear that if they try to leave their cults there's only one way out. Let's pray for those who have been seduced by the Devil. Some of you know who they are. Some of them are considered the movers and shakers of this world. You see a number of them on TV daily, hear them in popular music, etcetera. While hating the evil they do we should also pity and pray for them. They are headed straight for hell if they do not repent. And I wouldn't wish hell on my worse enemy. These people are slaves; prisoners of darkness. They have been taken captive by the evil one to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:25-26) They may smile for TV cameras and photo ops but they hardly enjoy life and the fancy trinkets they've acquired for doing the Devil's bidding. Many now know it wasn't worth it. They need our prayers.

Please Read 1 John 2:15-17 2 Peter 1:10-11

Don't be a sucker. Hold out like Jesus did for the real kingdom; for the eternal prize. Whatever you are offered in this world, if it involves giving up faith, that involves giving up your soul, and is of the Devil. If we have slipped in this area (and all have slipped) we can get back up through confession and repentance to God. (Proverbs 28:13) We can also confess our sins to one another. Praying for one another during these moments is powerful and effective. (James 5:16) Don't be fooled into thinking God won't forgive you. He will forgive all who repent. (Proverbs 28:13) He is rich in mercy, and loves lavishing it on people. Don't fall for the okie-doke. Like Jesus tell Satan to buzz off! Serve only God. The reward is eternally and tremendously great!

 

War Plans

Please Read Ephesians 6:10-12

What if I told you a significant amount of attacks from the evil one will come through those who claim to be Christians? The apostle Paul faced attacks from false believers all the time, (2 Corinthians 11:26) so did Moses, so did Jesus, and many others. It's nothing new. It's a war plan of the enemy. He hopes the aggressive actions of false believers will make us dwell on things like, “Man, if you can't trust a Christians who can you trust?” But many of them are not really Christians. They're just wearing the name; a clever plan. If we harp on the sins of others too long we fall into a trap. And we can become just as unloving and hypocritical as those whose conduct we despise. Has the sins of others affected us to the point of not following God? This is a war plan of the enemy.

I meet many folks who say they are believers in Jesus. After conversing with them for a while I can see that their hearts are broken into many tiny pieces because of past hurts. Many of these hurts are from those who professed to be Christians. This can make the experience feel worse. I go through it sometimes myself. As a young man I remember being devoted to a particular religion that claimed to follow Christ. I (like so many others) had been duped into thinking I was serving God. Later I painfully found out I was tricked, and was following doctrines of men. How did I respond to this news? I became mad at the world. I hated everybody including myself. My wreckless lifestyle even contributed to the loss of my marriage. Hence I believe I can relate to the war plan of hurt and disappointment. And again these missiles seem to be most effective when fired by those who claim to worship God. How can we defend ourselves against these attacks of Satan? By deciding not to love people anymore? By doing what I did and becoming mad at the world? No. That's walking right into Satan's trap. Let's get some encouragement from God's word on how to fight back.

DEFENSE

Please Read Ephesians 6:16

The Bible says when we use our large shield of faith it is so powerful it can defend us against ALL the enemy's attacks. Wow! Then what does our faith say about people who hurt and offend us? Matthew 6:14-15 says if we forgive others who sin against us God will forgive us for our sins. On the other hand if we do not forgive others God won't forgive us. Don't you see? If we hold on to grudges the devil has already won, because he's got us to disobey God. Is the stupid, terrible, thing that somebody did to us, worth losing eternal life? Is holding a grudge really that important? No! When hurt by people let's pray earnestly to God, and beg Him for help to forgive. This is critical. That's our war strategy; living by our faith, not by our feelings. Our Commander and Chief Christ Jesus has ordered us to believe and obey the good news. And forgiving others (though a basic teaching) is a powerful weapon.

Fight Self-Pity

Please Read Matthew 3:1-12

Who would have thought that a guy who lives in the wilderness, who ate bugs (locusts), and dressed weird, would turn out to be one of the most important figures in history? Jesus called him the greatest man born of women. (Matthew 11:11) Wow! That’s saying something. Jesus was talking about none other than John The Baptist. John preached a message of repentance from sins, and pointed people to the coming Messiah. Many flocked to him confessing their sins and were baptized. John helped turn many hearts to the Lord. He prepared the way for Jesus who came on the scene right after him.

What’s interesting about John is he never claimed to be a prophet though he was one. But he did say he was not fit to carry the shoes of the Messiah. John had a low estimate of himself. He was a humble man; a true man of God.

I remember speaking to a believer who had to temporarily live with a friend because she was going through some tough times. She said, “I sometimes feel like; how can I help somebody else when I look at my situation.” Basically she was starting to believe her circumstances rendered her usesless when it came to helping people for the kingdom of God. I couldn’t let that go so I reminded her of how Jesus had NOWHERE to lay his head (Luke 9:58), and asked her, “In spite of His circumstances how many people did Jesus help?” She lit up and said, “Many.” I then asked her, “You remember the homeless lady, you know the one you talk to every morning? Do you know what she told me? She said the first day y’all met you noticed something was wrong with her and started encouraging her. But what you didn’t know was she had decided to kill herself that day. And if not for you talking to her about God she would have done it.” The sister looked at me in amazement. She was already helping people in a big way, but just didn’t know it. Satan was trying to drown her in self-pity, just like he had done to the woman who was about to commit suicide.

What if John The Baptist had gotten swallowed up by self-pity because of his living conditions? He could have dwelled on stuff like, “I live in this crazy wilderness. I don’t have a normal life. I feel so different from other people. I’m homeless. I don’t own anything. I’m just a loser.” If John had thought that way just think of how many lives he would not have touched for the better. John was used to save souls. He would not have been the powerful force he was had he been swallowed up in feeling sorry for himself. John’s life proves that personal circumstances don’t keep us from helping people for The Kingdom Of God. All we need is a good heart that loves people, and God.

The more you focus on the needs of others the less time you have to feel sorry for yourself. Instead we are filled with an awesome joy, because we know our lives have purpose for God’s kingdom, which is also our kingdom. (Ephesians 2:6-7) I must be straightforward here: some of us are not confused like our sister was about our contribution to the kingdom of God. Some of us are just plain selfish. We are too in touch with our image, our looks, our desires, our comforts, etcetera. This is not who we were called to be in Christ Jesus. God called us to be soldiers of Christ, living for the welfare of others ahead of ourselves. (Philippians 2:3-11) If we don’t wake up and repent from selfishness we will soon miss the bus. We must be willing to serve others regardless of our circumstances, just like John.